is this really planner peace?

Part of this year has been trying to find a planning/organisation system that works for my personal needs. I’ve got the work life organised down pat, but it’s navigating through my dynamic personal life that’s proven to be challenging. I thought I’d write a few thoughts about the systems that I’ve used this year. But before I get stuck into it, I ultimately had a goal in mind: a planner and/or organisation system that is flexible and adaptable enough to accommodate for my (ever-changing) needs. Was it really that much to ask for?

By nature, I’m not the kind of person who has time to decorate my planner pages with washi tape, embellish with doodling, etc. I’m straight down to business, and for me, the decorations and trimmings are more of a distraction, although you’ll find me doing something really wild, crazy and uncharacteristic like using calligraphy to denote a special event. Hah. Don’t get me wrong, I really enjoy and appreciate the many beautiful planner pages I see on my Instagram feed, but I always wonder where people get the time to do this and do they plan to plan their planner pages? That being said, I’m a collector of conversations (my own (yep, lots going on in my head!), my own with others or overheard) and I like to log my days via what I like to call “daily souvenirs” (e.g. business cards of food haunts, pamphlets, etc.), so when I do get some me time, I go rampart with the visuals and it looks like a kindergartener’s pasta craft activity. I kid, but let’s get down to it, shall we?

I’ve tried 5 different systems/planners this year, going back and forth several times in the year to use each one, unless I thought it was totally useless and I’ve abandoned it completely. I’m not posting a lot of pictures in this entry because there are bits of info that I would like to keep private, so this is going to be a text heavy post. At the end is a run down of what I’m currently using and will be using going into 2015.

 

The Bullet Journal

The number of views I get a day for my rendition of the Bullet Journal system averages about 300 views a day. It’s basically my entire traffic this year. As much as I like how dynamic this system is, I’ve more or less ditched it. Below was my last attempt at adapting it to my needs.

month bullet journalThis was the monthly pages. I divided it up into three columns – morning, afternoon, evening – and then wrote down the events and appointments for each day under the appropriate column. The coloured boxes to the left of the dates was used to signify when the day was completed and was more a tracking tool for me.

month bujo layout

This was a monthly bullet journal (as opposed to daily and weekly) with a little calendar written on the top left hand corner of the page as a reminder. I used the same signifiers/bullets as I have in previous posts. In the end, this didn’t work for me because, again, my needs changed.

The Verdict: I like that it’s adaptable enough to use with any system, that’s why I’ve used some of the bullets/signifiers going into my current system. I can’t live without forward planning, and sometimes I don’t have my phone with me, or I run out of battery, and then I’m screwed. There are so many creative hacks out there to handle this, and I’ve tried them all. I also had a problem with collections. I found myself ripping out pages and sticky taping them into my new pages or I re-wrote some of them during my lunch hours. Argh! Too annoying! I think the bullet journal has some strong elements to it, but after using it for a year and a half, things like archiving (i.e. what do I do with my old books, notes, etc.) and migrating information between notebooks, has really been challenging and I need something that is less fussy.

 

The ring bound planner (e.g. Filofax)

I actually didn’t go out and buy an authentic Filofax, knowing full well that I’d only use it for a little while (hmm, maybe this was a self-fulfilling prophecy in itself?!). I ended up making my own out of cheap materials – an Officeworks A5 binder, DIY Manila folder dividers/tabs, and DIY planner pages.

The Verdict: This tryst ended quickly. The prepping was fun, but when I got around to using it, it felt like I was carrying around too much unnecessary crap. Did I really need to be carrying around 6 types of sticky notes and a multitude of coloured pens?! The weight in my bag certainly didn’t help with my back problems! I want to be organised but I don’t want to be a freaken packhorse! I also didn’t like how I had to punch holes into anything new I wanted to put in it, which meant carrying around a heavy arse hole punch. Yeah, I’m not a binder type of girl. (On a side note though, I bought myself a smaller version as a birthday present, and that ended quickly, too. I’m thinking of regifting my own birthday present, or maybe a giveaway if I reach a certain number of followers or views? Who knows, nobody actually reads this blog except for my mum – hi mum!) What I did like about this system is that you can compartmentalise and organise information into its place – love, love, love! And that solved the problems of the lists I wanted to keep with me everywhere I go, but the cons outweighed the pros, unfortunately.

 

The Hobonichi

More like a fauxbonichi. I was smart about this and didn’t go face first into purchasing it. I used grid Moleskine cahiers and HAND DREW the pages for one month.

The Verdict: The prepping killed me! And once I got around to actually using it, I didn’t fill up even close to a seventh of a page. I really liked the page layout of the Hobonichi Weeks, so I’ve appropriated elements of this into my current system.

 

The Moleskine week-to-a-page-with-notes

I created a small notebook with some DIY pages that looked like the Moleskine planner. I used this type of planner for many many years, and when I started uni again, it just couldn’t keep up with me.

The Verdict: I actually used this far longer than the others mentioned above and used it with the bullet journal signifiers/bullets at one stage as well. I found that I would run out of room sometimes with my daily log/souvenirs, and it got ridiculously chunky at one point with the amount of pages I taped on.

 

The Midori Traveler’s Notebook

I made a foamdori earlier this year, and I ended up using this with the makeshift Moleskine planner and I created a couple of other inserts as well.

The Verdict: My foamdori disintegrated after a couple of months use, so that’s more of a material/design flaw rather than a complete system failure. I had six inserts to begin with – planner, to do lists, blog, logbook, writing journal, sketch book – and boy, that created weight very quickly. Once the foamdori kicked the bucket, I wasn’t bothered making another one.

 

My hybrid system

My current system is a use of several systems. I made a denimdori the other day for my inserts, now down to just three – 1 x planner, 1 x combo To Do/Logbook, 1 x combo Blog/Writing journal. The denimdori was made out of leftover Japanese denim and a fat quarter with fusible web ironed on the edges for reinforcement, then I used eyelets for the holes and some hat elastic (aka tube elastic). It is handstitched, but it was my first official day of holidays, so I decided to slow down.

denimdori set upThe covers of the inserts were made from magazine pages I had lying around. It’s holding up so far, but I really need to get some rubber bands to hold the inserts together. My planner pages are weekly on one page with notes on the other side.

planner layoutThe notes side usually consists of bullet journal style annotations, but I’ve reduced the signifiers to the square, interpunction and em-dash, with events and appointments written on the weekly side. I’m also using three different highlighters for colour coding events and appointments. The other system I carry around with me is my folder:

folder detailsThis was something I picked up at Daiso around March this year. When I think about it, this has basically been in my bag with me throughout all of the system trials, and acted like a repository of random artifacts, well, documents and what not. I kept daily souvenirs here, important bills, work information, etc., that I felt would feel out of place in the system I was using at any given time. If not for this folder, there would’ve been many a time when I would’ve gone to an appointment and not had the right documentation. So I cleaned it out and sectioned it off to hold different things – personal, home, work, miscellaneous – and this is how I’ve handled carrying around important information. This is the end result:

set upI leave a spare pocket at the front to hold my planner insert on the days when I know I’m not going to need anything else. I’ve only started using it at the start of December, but it just feels right. I’m not obligated to carry both the folder and denimdori all the time and can swap them around as my needs change.

So how has your year of planning gone for you? Have you found a planning system that suits all of your needs? What have you found challenging and useful?

dm

timeline 17122014

As part of growing my creativity next year, I’ve decided to create the Decade Thirty Timeline series. I haven’t decided on what particular day I’d do this each month, but the premise is documenting a 12-hour time frame in four pictures with associated thoughts (just because I like visuals and writing).

timeline 17122014

This is my third last day at work.

6AM

“This will ultimately save me this morning.”

9AM

“How many points do I need to rack up to qualify next year? Hmmm, 20?! Yup, doable in a couple of hours.”

12PM

“I need to find this file so I can wrap up this year’s caseload.” [turns around to see packed up boxes after the office move] “Fuck that.”

3PM

“Green juice – mmm, nom, nom!” [gag] “I’ve just aspirated an entire vegetable patch! Not so nice green juice today.”

dm

 

 

9 fun things to try

Even though my activity status on this blog hasn’t been very regular, I still seem to find the odd time, now and again, browse through the net and social networks. I thought I’d share some of these interesting finds, and I’m going to choose at least two of them to do next year.

1. Snail mail

When I was younger, I used to have two pen pals I regularly wrote to, and since email became the norm, I haven’t actually kept in touch with either of them. I used to write monthly letters to friends back in Brisbane when I lived interstate or overseas, and now that I’m living back here, I just don’t do it. A couple of months ago I came across Papered Thoughts’ Mail Tag post inspired by the lovely Bianca Jagoe of Goodnight Little Spoon. It’s a fun way of getting to know someone through the post. I love following this hashtag on Instagram!

2. 52 Lists

If you hadn’t guessed already, I LOVE making lists! I found this link by Moorea Seal, who creates pages for your lists. There’s also the lists created by Pippa of Meet Me at Mike’s. I’ve done a couple of these before and loved the concept, and was definitely a task that I can keep coming back to when I had a spare moment.

3. 52 weeks of drawing

In a past life, art was basically my life. There was never a moment when I didn’t have a sketchbook to draw in, actually, it didn’t really matter what was around me, I was always drawing. The Paper Mama released this awesome mind map/illustration of weekly challenges. This will definitely be something that could set off those artistic sparks again.

4. Doodle-A-Day Challenge

In the same light as above, Stick Girl Productions posted these cute prompts on her Instagram feed.

5. “1 Page at a Time” by Adam J. Kurtz

I bought Keri Smith’s “Wreck This Journal” many years ago, and invested a good year into it, only to lose it during one of our many location moves. I’ve been enquiring at several local bookstores for this book, but no one seems to have it. I might have to order it online after all that!

6. “Currently…” lists

Lists again, I know! Gotta love them! There are so many versions of these, that I just need to pick one and run with it haha!

7. Photo A Day Challenge

I see these all the time on Instagram, and I think I’ve always been seriously time poor, and end up taking crappy photos

8. Journalling Prompts

I’ve wanted to get back into daily journalling and there are several websites that I use for journalling topics, when I’m out of ideas. This might be a good idea going into next year.

9. Free Planning Pages

I’ve considered publishing a few planner page creations onto my website. There are a lot out there, and it’s just a matter putting them out there now, I guess.

So, my questions to my lovely readers are:

  • Which two challenges should I do?
  • What tips do you have in motivating yourself to keep going on each challenge?
  • Where do you get your inspirations from?

Happy Sunday everyone!

dm

work organisation

Well, hey there, it’s been awhile. I haven’t been doing a great job of keeping this blog of mine updated this year, although that was my main intention this year. I have been busy though. Work has been insane, oh and did I mention that I also got married last month? Yup, it was a short but sweet ceremony at the registry office followed by a picnic in the parklands with close family and friends. The weather held out, and we had a blast! I’d definitely do it again – the picnic, not the marriage!

That aside, I thought today I’d share with you my work planning/organisation tools. I’m an itinerant speech-language pathologist (SLP), so organisation is paramount to making my life stress-free when I travel from one location to another. I visit each location anywhere from 3-6 times every ten week term, and see an average of 10-12 clients at each location at any given time. Because of confidentiality reasons, I can’t publish/post any pictures, documents or information that can identify where I work and the people I see. This means that this post with be text heavy, and the examples I post have been recreated using simple Microsoft Word software.

For each location, I have a binder with tabs and plastic sleeves for necessary documentation, and a small notebook for those times when I need to explain something to a client. I take this binder with me on the days that I’m assigned to a particular location and it’s a nice springboard for that day’s work.

I also have a base location, where I have 3 trays. The top tray is my Inbox, filled with actions that need to be completed that week. The middle tray is anything that needs to be filed away. The bottom tray holds the recesses of my mind… no, I’m joking, but really it’s filled with things that I can’t find a home for because I have a tiny office that I share with 6 people. The base location office is filled with every SLP resource known to humankind. I had the pleasure of stocktaking and organising the shelves, etc., a few months ago. I know, right? It was the best day ever! Moving right along…

My every day must-haves in my work bag (apart from the essentials) are my weekly planner pages (made by me) and a Piccadilly notebook for bullet journalling. Below is a recreated sample of my weekly planner pages

Work planner - weeklyI made this using Microsoft Publisher, printed out the pages back-to-back, and bound them together (Google ‘bookbinding techniques’ and there is vast array of tutorials that will occupy you for months!). I also bought a few plastic sleeves from Daiso that I bound as part of my planner. The numbers at the top represent the months of the year, and I’ve highlighted ’10’ on this for October. I left the dates empty and wrote these down after I bound my book. I also write my location to the right hand side to remind myself where I’m going for that day. I usually do this months in advance. I then write the hours I’ve worked on the first line, so completing my timesheet at the end of the week is easier. Each day is separated into three columns which represent morning, afternoon and evening (or late afternoon, as I like to call it). This is where I write the clients that I’m seeing, and the bottom part, I usually save for any reminders.

This is a recreated example of my bullet journal

Work planner - bullet journalI have kept the bullets to a minimum, choosing to use the squares for tasks, circles for appointments/meetings/etc., and filled dot for notes. I don’t use the arrow for task migration, instead opt for highlighting anything that needs to be carried over to the following location visit. This has been extremely good for me to use because it’s also served as a clinical journal for the entire year, and great to jog my memory for the next visit. Also sometimes, I don’t have enough admin time to update progress notes for client files, and this has been super handy for those times. I have various other notations and profession-specific abbreviations, but I’ve outlined the most relevant.

So there you have it, my work organisation. I have other sheets and logbooks related to work that I’ll share later on. These are the bare bones of my planning. How do you manage your workload?

dm