I’ve always subscribed to the notion that if you use a planner you should only have 1. I have a hard enough time remembering the stuff I put in my single planner let alone if I had multiple planner to juggle my life through.
I’ve used a 2 page per day planner for most of my life. I did move away to using digital for about 10 years and also used notebooks ala bullet journal for about 5. But one thing has been pretty consistent over the past 35 plus years – only use one planner at a time. I can’t imagine the complexity of trying to keep track of separate work and home planners, hobby planners, church planners, etc. I know that I would overbook myself if I had planners in more than 1 place.
However I must admit that I do have multiple calendars I deal with. I am working diligently to integrate my Google calendar interface with my planner. I put scheduled events and appointments that impact me in my planner calendar as well as family events that affect my own schedule.
I refer to the various calendars that are gathered into my Google calendar when I plan for the week. Those typically include things like deadlines and state and national events. I place the events that impact me in my planner and ignore the rest. Our school district also has Apple calendar within our email, so that is another place to check up, however, when I receive an invite to an Apple calendar event, I simply put it in my datebook and I’m good go.
I admit that I’m not really an expert at time management. However it seems to me that if I spread my attention across multiple calendars and planners, something will get lost. I want my system to be as simple as possible, yet detailed enough to keep me out of trouble and focused on the highest priorities. I also want to use the smallest size of planner that I can in order to maximize portability.
I’ve chosen the classic size Franklin planner. The paper size is half letter or 8 1/2″ by 5 1/2″. The binder size I have has a slightly larger footprint than that but is portable enough to go with me almost everywhere. The ring size in my binder is around 1 1/4″ so that limits the amount of paper I can carry to right around 1″ thick . I rotate the pages in and out. I always have the current month and will keep the previous month in the binder for the first week to 10 days of the month or until I no longer need to refer back to it. I am experimenting with not putting the next month’s pages in until I take out the previous month. We’ll see how that goes.
The calendar function of the Franklin planner is 1 month on 2 pages. This gives adequate space to succinctly list appointments and scheduled events, yet doesn’t take up too much space in the binder. The daily pages fit behind the month calendar and seem to have everything I need to organize myself with spots for appointments and scheduled events, prioritized daily action list and a small tracker on the left side and then a full page for daily notes on the right hand side.
As far as note-taking in the planner, I always have the greatest intention to document every interaction/meeting or records of phone calls, but sometimes I don’t get that done. I think that being able to reflect back on workflow, events, interactions etc., can help me see how and why I am effective or ineffective and give me some ideas of how to improve. I’ll try to be more diligent in recording the daily notes and see if that works. I’ve noticed a few bloggers/vloggers who use the daily notes in the future to pre-plan meetings or events on specific days in the future so I may consider that sometime.
When it comes to format of the notes, I always write the name of the person I’ve talked to or the name of the project and underline that to make it stand out. I then drop to the next line indent a bit and either make a dash or a number and start selectively writing out key details in short form. Some interactions may have 4-10 bullet points, others only 1 or 2. I can quickly scan those notes and see if there are any actions I could or should take in order to move the project or task forward, sort of in GTD form. If I do a good job at that step I don’t end up with more things on my prioritized task list for the future.
I think the note taking process will be very helpful in daily and weekly reflections about my productivity. I might be able to identify patterns of inefficiency or even better, great efficiency. I may start adding some time notations as well in order to see if there is a particular time where I am more effective during my discretionary time.
Our current school year finishes this week but I am already thinking about scheduling and planning for next fall. Our school is developing a career academy called AMAC or The Academy of Manufacturing, Agriculture and Construction. My teaching load will be changing and I will be taking on the job placement/internships functions for the three strands in the Academy. I must develop a system that will provide for adequate preparation time for instruction as well as supervision of work-based placements and networking with potential work sites and sponsors for the program. I anticipate using more time-blocks and appointments and scheduled events in order to get stuff done during my discretionary time available.
I’m confident that the traditional 2 page per day layout of my Franklin planner will be up to the task of helping me in this new professional phase.