Friday, September 12, 2014

How I set up my day planner

I've been enjoying my paper planner so much lately that I decided to write about it again. I know this is one of those "what is in my purse / what did I have for lunch" topics that not everyone is interested in, but it's the kind of post I love, so, so be it.

I, of course, keep a lot of information in my cell phone, and that's great, and I periodically try to just go with that, i.e., be electronic-only, but I haven't found a good enough notetaking alternative, and also, you know, when the zombie apocalypse comes, I'm going to be glad that I have all this stuff written down and not in my phone exclusively.

All kidding aside, there are a few things that I don't want to rely on my phone for, and two of them are phone numbers and medical records. A few years ago I read a book about a natural disaster that cut off the electricity, and once everyone's cell phones died, no one knew anyone else's phone numbers, because they didn't need to since they were in their phone. So I made up a little card that has my family's and friends' phone numbers on it, and I made one for Bob, too.

I also have a card in my wallet that lists the medications I'm currently taking, and the ones that Bob takes. Because that's something that's pretty important, and I can't always remember everything off the top of my head. If my phone is stolen, or lost, or dead, then I still have a record that I can refer to.

So, the binder.

My binder is a big, squishy Franklin Covey leather one in a light beige with a very subtle shimmer to it. I'm not sure what that's all about. I don't remember when I bought it, but it was a long time ago, and I'm sure it was on sale. It it the Classic size--5" x 8" -- with seven rings, and has a zipper all the way around, which I love; it keeps stuff from falling out, and keeps everything in much better shape than it would be in an open binder.

Some of the inserts are Franklin Planner and some are DayTimer, and a few are just random things that I have picked up in office supply stores. Oh, and I was SO disappointed to find that all of the Franklin Covey brick-and-mortar stores have closed, except for one in Minnesota or somewhere. I do understand that paper planners are sort of dinosaur-like given the current electronic climate, but I always enjoyed going into the stores and browsing. It's not possible now, everything has to be ordered over the internet.

From the front, the binder contains:

Plastic one-sheet hole punch, useful for punching random pieces of paper so they fit in the binder and don't get lost

Front inside zipper pocket: A few 3x5 cards and a small Post-It pad

Front inside card slots: Business cards (mine) and a credit card-sized calculator

Page lifter (one in the front and one in the back, this keeps the pages from getting messed up when I close the binder)

Vinyl zip pocket: Post-It flags and tabs

Business card holder - Business cards and reminder cards

Page protector containing the binder flyleaf with my contact information

Page protector containing a couple of photos of Bob and me

Plastic pocket divider page with return address labels and miscellaneous loose papers

Dividers - I couldn't find what I wanted, so I created these myself by cutting down some clear plastic dividers I already had. The tabs are:

Phone - Emergency phone numbers and other numbers I refer to frequently

Calendars - Planning calendars that came with the planner insert, from 2014 to 2022!

Work - Information that I need to have easily accessible for work

Personal - Current medications, medical history, Christmas list, other miscellaneous personal information

Book Notes - I'm working on a new book, so this section holds notes, research, lists, scenes, brainstorming, etc., related to the book project

After the tabs are some lined blank paper, then

Two page per month calendar tabs for a year (July 2014 to June 2015)

One month of DayTimer Classic Size (5x8) two-page-per-day daily pages. When the month is finished I go through all of the daily pages for that month and put any important information on the monthly diary record on that month's tab page, then remove the month's pages and add the next month. I leave the calendar page dividers there so I can refer back to them. I wish I had room for more months, ideally three -- the previous month, the current month, and the next month -- but I just don't. It makes the binder too full and hard to close. I just have to be diligent in making notes on the calendar pages that I can transfer to the daily pages when I put them in.

I've tried different brands and different sizes and layouts, and I always come back to this one. Franklin Planner has a comparable design, but I like DayTimer's better. The paper is wonderful, smooth and thick, and I like the layout. The left-hand page has a "To be done" section, an appointment section with times from 7 a.m. to 10 p.m., a "Phone calls" section, and an Expense and Reimbursement Record section.

The right-hand page is called Diary and Work Record, and it's a completely blank, lined page, and that's my favorite part. I use it for meeting notes, journaling, and lately, affirmations. If I run out of room, I just go get one of the blank pages and stick it in there and keep on writing.

And two pens in the pen loops, a black one and a pink one for making things stand out -- both are Pilot G-2 07 roller balls, my current favorite pens.

Over the years I've gotten tired of carrying a big binder around and tried smaller ones, but for me, they just aren't as useful or satisfying, so for now, this is it.