READER ADVISORY: EXTREME PLANNING NERDOUT AHEAD
The techo with this cover costs $170 in Kiwi dollars, before shipping. Ouch. But I love the Hobonichi. I love the paper. I love the careful design. I love the binding. I love everything about it except it doesn’t work for me at all.
Reason one: there’s only one page per day and I need two (more about that in a second). Reason two: I customize it anyway. I print out (and buy) habit-tracker stickers because apparently I have reached the point I can no longer remember if I have taken my meds each day unless I see proof. I had an actual self-inking rubber stamp made for tracking if I hit my daily writing goals. Reason three: the Hobonichi is supposed to be complete in itself, so you can’t add pages. But I need pages, for projects, and weekly reviews, and blog post ideas, a To Buy When I Have Lots of Money list etc. It’s been kind of ludicrous this year. I’ve been running five planners simultaneously: Blogs, Projects, Weekly/Monthly reviews with forward strategic planning, the actual Hobonichi for my weekly planning, and my everyday carry journal in which I was doing my daily planning as well as journaling.
When I logged into the Hobonichi website I fully expected to choose something to order on 1 September when they go on sale. Instead I went and spent $60 on FranklinCovey Classic inserts, because they have two pages for a day.
I need both those pages. I may actually have adult ADHD, who knows (more probably I am just lazy and unmotivated) but I sure find it helpful to live my life according to the same principles that are recommended to adults with ADHD. The Adult ADHD Toolkit is my bible, and I cannot recommend it enough to anyone who struggles with executive function aka Getting Shit Done.
I need to write everything down.
My daily to do list starts out with Have a Shower, then Eat Breakfast, because if it’s not on the list, life looks too hard. There’s just so much to do when you’re trying to adult, you know? I can very easily spend a day lying in bed. It helps me beyond belief to write everything down. Every step. Every hour. I need a list of tasks I have to do. And then, very importantly, I need a place to write what I am actually going to do right now, in this next ten minutes. The next action required for whatever I’m working on. I know it’s horribly anally retentive, but it works for me (you can see why I wonder if I do actually have ADHD).
So with the FranklinCovey inserts, I get the space, I can cull my other stuff to fit one single binder, and run it for everything (except my journal).
But then I was bitching to my friend Chris that I was going to have to tape and re-punch the FC inserts, because FC binders have seven holes, and the rest of the world has six. And because she is a genius Chris suggested instead of taping and re-punching literally 365 pages, I print my own inserts instead.
Have you noticed how many times Chris has improved my life over the last couple of years? I certainly have. She’s like a productivity/effectiveness deity.
Having enriched the FranklinCovey coffers with a bushel of money already, I bit the bullet and designed my perfect printable daily planner insert. It holds everything I need. And now I’ve made a template for myself, I figured I’d share it in case anyone else wanted to either use it, or adapt it. You can download it in pdf from the link.
It’s undated, and designed to be printed on A5 paper (dear Americans, this is the larger Filofax size, and basically the same as Franklin Covey Classic. You’ll have to cut down from letter size, but there are no crop marks for this).
Let me list to you its features, as you peer into the workings of my distracted, flitting mind.
A) What blog post will I write/post today? Sized to fit 1″ PostIt flags, so when I almost inevitably fail to write the post I can move the task to the next day’s page.
B) Three key priorities per day maximum. What I must focus on to achieve my goals, instead of making planner templates.
C) All those things I need to do every day (not necessarily all at once). If it’s not ticked off I haven’t done it. Also forces me to not “forget” to exercise.
D) 8 tasks to do for work, 4 for home, and bills to pay. My To Do list is always much longer, but I can’t do everything in a day. Making myself choose tasks from my full list forces me to focus my attention on the most important tasks and work effectively.
E) My writing goals for the day. No Zero Days can mean whatever you need it to mean. If I only write a sentence then at least it’s not a Zero Day. I made progress. I didn’t just lie in bed all day (this happens).
F) The one important thing I need to remember that day. Designed for a 1/2″ PostIt.
G) Each square represents one Pomodoro. There’s a total of 16, making 8 hours of work. I cross them off as I work. I actually use a double Pomodoro of 50 minutes, with a 10 minute break. That way I get to cross off two at once *celebrates*. Before now I’ve been using this awesome checkbox stamp from CoolJapanSTAMP.
H) Summary of my daily word count, and time spent actually working, according to Rescue Time. Without this I can fool myself I worked hard when I only spent 20 minutes actually writing shit.
I) Daily schedule, running from 6am to midnight. Fun fact: for about two years I woke up at 3.40 so I could write before I left for work. This schedule would not work for that. I fill this out in pencil and PostIts, like I did my Hobonichi up above. Every task has a time slot, including recreation.
The reverse is a simple lined page, for Next Actions, or, for humans who unlike me can hold more than one thought in their head, notes and extra tasks.
You can see I put the Daily Plan on the left, and the Next Actions on the right. This is because I’m right handed. I can take the Plan page out of the binder to plan everything the night before. Then the sheet I use throughout the day is Next Actions, and it’s much easier to write on it without the rings by my wrist. For lefty use, reverse position.
I have this 6-hole punch, which I bought on Etsy. It’s cheaper and sturdier than the Filofax ones.
So, yeah. That’s how I schedule my days, including weekends. As always, there are no affiliate links on my blog. If I recommend a product it’s only because I like it. And now I have to find someone to buy an unopened 2017 FranklinCovey Classic insert pack.
EDIT: There’s an A4 version of the planner here: writers daily planner A4