Irrelevant But Cute Backstory
I’ve gone through a lot of different systems in my life, so I wasn’t simply saying, “I need a day planner,” I was saying, “My current day planner isn’t working. It’s time to rethink.” I’ve been in the “rethinking” process continually. These pictures below show where I started. They are schedules I wrote when I was eleven years old. They were drawn with a knock-off, ten-marker Sharpie set with a short shelf life on a 5″x7″ manilla drawing pad that I had purchased at a zoo gift shop. I’ve come a long way since then.
Unless you’re eleven, you probably won’t gain any inspiration from the schedule above. The things that you need from a schedule will be very personalized for you. Here are some signs that you need a schedule:
- You forget about events, and often say to your friends, “I meant to be there. . . It just slipped my mind.”
- You forget about assignments at school or projects at work.
- You forget what nights the moon is full and you’re accidentally wreaking havoc to small villages when you turn into a werewolf.
- You have a fluid work schedule. You don’t work 8-5; it’s different every week. Who would be able to (successfully) keep all that in their head?
- You live your life on sticky notes. There’s nothing wrong with sticky notes, but they can’t follow you wherever you go.
- You have a rich life: coffee dates, dinner dates, birthdays and birthday parties, vacations, graduations, potlucks, etc.
- You pay bills. Get a calendar. Right now.
- You have more than one child.
- OR, you breathe.
What you need will be different from what I need, but here are four essential components of any good planner and what they do for me.
- Weekly View: I know what’s coming up tomorrow, the next day and this weekend quickly. This keeps me mindful of the future so that nothing sneaks up on me (except sneak attacks).
- To-Do Space: I can see the homework assignments due every week, which I prefer to write on the day they’re due in my planner.
- Daily Do’s Space: There are tasks I want to accomplish every day, like reading my Bible and doing the dishes. I need a place to log and check these off on a daily basis.
- Future Space: This last requirement takes all the planners I’ve made myself out of the running. I need to be able to write down things that are happening next month, Christmas plans, etc. When you’re creating schedules/task lists/monthly calendars, you simply can’t commit to writing or printing four months at a time unless you already know that it’s going to be the perfect system. (It works for other people, though.)
I’ve made several switches between electronic and manual day planners, but for me the physical action of writing something down is relieving. (I would give electronic scheduling another try if my favorite app were sync-able via iCloud.)
I am using At-A-Glance’s Weekly/Monthly 2013 Planner and it looks like this. I write down my specific, color-coded appointments and events for the next week on Monday mornings, so this page was filled in September 23rd. When I look at this, I know that I need to find time for my homework and I know exactly what time is free for studying, blogging and socializing.
By the end of the week my planner looks like a rainbow waged a devastating civil war. Assignments (purple) are crossed off, appointments (green) have been scratched out, classes (blue) have been cancelled, my tutorees (yellow) have been scheduled and rescheduled (notice the white-out!), exams (red) have been listed, and study times (pink) have been planned. My color code system helps me look at something and immediately know what things I will be doing. I also keep a count of the hours I work in the top right hand corner so that I can match up my checks when I get paid.
On an entirely unrelated note,
I took the Myers-Briggs personality test and was given this synopsis:
“INTJs live in the world of ideas and strategic planning.” (source)