Sunday, 18 March 2012

Planner Fail?

Aargh!!! What to do, what to do? No pictures today I'm afraid as I just have no time, but I will take some pics of my current setup before I change.

I decided to try the "one life, one Filofax" theory for this year, and as far as it goes it has done me well for work on a day to day basis. Kept me on track, helped me plan my workload, and helped me actually start finishing work on time most days. I manage to write in any personal reminders and appointments (usually), and so am where I am supposed to be when I am supposed to be. It has been great using a personal size instead of an A5 as I can take it everywhere with me, no leaving at work as it takes up too much space in my bag, or is just too heavy.

However, I haven't been using it that much for longer term planning, and really must start doing so if I want to address areas other than just the standard day to day stuff. Currently I am using the Swedish WO2P diary, along with the MO2P tabbed diary and the horizontal year planner for capturing most of my meetings, deadlines, time off, children's holidays etc.

My poor Filo is just not fulfilling it's potential. I have the sections set up to make my life easier (diary, capture pages,  next actions, project list, project plans, information), but if I am honest I use the diary and the capture pages. Nothing else is used because I just haven't had the time to use it properly - or is it because this set up just isn't what I need...?

For my day to day stuff I use the WO2P, interleaved with To Do lists as I just haven't found a layout that works for me. I had my templates that I used when I was in my A5 before which were great for me, but since moving to a personal and deciding that I would use the inserts that I have (as you have seen from my stock-take post there were quite a few) I just haven't had the same feeling that the inserts are right for what I need. I have been able to make this set-up work for me so far as I have only been considering the day to day stuff and not thinking about the longer term stuff - other than to have a sheet of lined paper between the tabs of my MO2P tabbed inserts, or my personal stuff (apart from the occasional important things that I have to remember).

Unfortunately the time has come where I really must start getting my long-term goals and objectives planned, and also must concentrate on myself and my family more rather than just the work things, so I need more space.

I sat for a while trying to work out if I could fit all this into a personal filo, but having looked at all the areas I need to cover, and the fact that I would probably need diary sections for both work and home/personal planning I don't think I can manage it. So the time has come to make a decision - do I move to two planners, one for work & one for home, or do I continue trying for one life one filo, but scale it up to an A5?

If I do go to an A5, then I think I can fit most things into my planner if I use a similar setup to Missus Aka (Christa) in her fabulous post here. As I only have four A5 Filofaxes - including the red Domino which I just bought, yay!!! (and there are some good reductions around at the moment) this would give me a good reason excuse to get some more, although the fact that some will be discontinued shortly is a perfectly good reason to buy some more anyway o).

I shall set up a poll shortly to help me work out what to do...



  1. I'm not sure you really have hit planner fail... I think you've hit 'not enough time' fail. Can you not have a goals/next actions (to do) section with a sheet for each area (home/work/you/family) or even each sub-area (you, another thing for you, a thing for family, another thing for family... etc). Then the only trick is to make sure you find half an hour a week to look at it and transfer things from those lists to your week diary/weekly or daily to do sheets. I colour-code like mad so I can see at a glance whether I'm getting all my work things done but not my 'me' things done.
    I don't know if you know what I'm on about... but hope you work it out soon.

  2. Oh dear, I'm with Amanda I think it's time fail less than a planner fail. That said I am a 2 filo girl with the personal for me and the A5 for work. But that works well for me - I like having the 2 separate and independent.

    Maybe try the A5 size with some of the fabulous print your own templates that Ray and Steve did and see how you get on (loving the A5 purchasing justtifications there too!!)


  3. Thanks guys. I have got pages for each area of my life in my sections, but I just don't use them. I find it too much hassle to keep flipping back and forth between sections - I don't know why. It could be that I just haven't got it set up right for me, and as I'm not spending enough time properly planning my non-work stuff then I don't bother using the sections properly, or it may be that I just need to be able to have everything viewable at the same time... I have colour coding to a degree - generally if it's written with my BIC 4 colour then it's work related, and if it's written with the BIC fashion colours then it's not, and use that in my WO2P and my To Do lists, but just don't have the planning capabilities in order at the moment... But I do come armed with a 20% off code for FF due to responding to their survey re what I use my A4 for (not a lot at the moment), and the Chameleons are half price at the moment... Feeling a splurge coming - A5 Flex, a couple of Dominoes and one or 2 Chameleons may be making their way into my basket... ;o)

  4. I hear you.... When it came down to it the more sectioning I did, the less it worked for me. I write everything on graph paper as daily to dos and only write appts in the wo2p sheets. I keep everything inter-leaved but thats only two kinds of sheets


  5. @ Tracey - that's pretty much the sort of layout I'm currently using for my day-to-day stuff, I just would like to see everything laid out more neatly for me as my work To-Dos can be pretty immense. I use different coloured pen so I can see my personal stuff, but just feeal that I need to start getting more in there *sigh*

    1. I had similar difficulties. Here is what I've worked out which seems to work pretty well:
      1. I have DayTimer month on two pages tabbed. These have space for to-do's on the back sides of the month view, so I drop things I want to do in April on the back of the appropriate page. Usually I can assign tasks/projects to a specific month. If not, I just drop them into a "projects" sheet.
      2. I keep this month and next month's day on two pages, and several times a week I transfer tasks from the monthly list onto day pages to get done that day. I do a lot of this in pencil so I can adjust it if priorities change or something takes much longer than anticipated.
      3. I tick off things done on both the monthly and daily lists.
      4. As new projects and tasks come up, I just jot them into appropriate months in pencil right away. I then adjust them as necessary.
      5. I look at the month view several times a day. I add all appointments to these pages (again, pencil), and daily transfer things to the day pages.
      6. A lot of smaller to-dos that come up go right onto day pages and never make it to the monthly list, just to make sure I get to them that day.
      7. I've gotten much more realistic about what I can get to in a day. I am careful not to overbook myself. I've gotten much better at delegating at work and prioritizing at home.

      I find it helpful that the DayTimer inserts interleave together, so I can put all of March daily pages between the March and April monthly pages. Makes it easy to flip from "today" to "this month" or "next month." I find it not too much work to copy things once. I feel like I am doing better at big picture planning with this setup. Hope this might be helpful to you!

  6. Josh - this is similar to what I do, too.

  7. @ Josh - this is similar to what I have been doing with the daily stuff and tasks, but for the planning of anything else it's just not working for me. However, I have just started attempting to use an A5, with new templates and everything, but I'm just not getting it yet (although I did only start it on Monday, and haven't had time to sit down with it to get it done properly yet). That will probably end up being my next post... missing the personal already though...