Friday, 27 November 2015

Distracted by the shinies and other planner musings.

When my kids were little, they used to watch a TV programme on CBeebies called "The Shiny Show".

It was a quiz for little people which involved watching videos and answering questions about them. For every question the character answered correctly they received a "shiny". The one who answered most right at the end was the winner of the "Super Shiny".

Like my kids, I'm clearly easily distracted by the "Shinies". For me though, they tend to shinies of the planner variety.

You know what I mean, I'm sure. You disappear down the Instagram/YouTube/Tumblr rabbit hole for a while when suddenly you see a planner shiny. Something that catches your eye. You hop on over to wherever you spotted it and suddenly, there it is. This is clearly THE THING that is going to make all your planner dreams a reality. You must have it/implement it/set it up immediately. Planner peace awaits, right?? Mostly wrong it seems.

Since I stumbled into the online planner community at the beginning of the year my planner has been through more reinventions than Madonna. Then, after months of becoming enraptured with the planner shinies, I finally had the dawning realisation that it wouldn't matter what happy new shiny planner gadget/decoration/tool I had. If the basis of my system wasn't there. If I wasn't using it consistently. If it wasn't making me more organised, it wasn't working.

Some of you, I know, know this already. I would say why didn't you say something and save me the months of pain, but I know, realistically, that this is a thought process all planner addicts have to go through. We need to get our shiny loving phase out before we can get down to business!

In August I abandoned all pre-printed journals/inserts/shinies and pulled out large, squared, plain covered moleskine cahier. It fits in my fauxdori (which I deliberately made with overhang) along with a couple of other notebooks. That's what I've been using to plan the last three months. I'm slowly working out the tweaks of what I need and what I don't need. Reviewing regularly to see what I'm including and what I'm not. Things might actually, finally be coming together for my planning.

So, what I have learned by letting go of the planner shiny distraction? Quite a bit, actually.

1) I like the TN style of notebook. I like a separate planner bit and a separate journal bit and a zip pocket and I like being able to switch books in and out.

2) I absolutely MUST have some sort monthly spread going on for birthdays/appointments and forward planning. I also like them all in one place and like Mo2p spread that has room for reasonable squares. With a Monday start (who starts their week on a Sunday? Bizarre! LOL).

3) For daily pages, regardless of what else I used I always end up using a bullet journal style for notes. Something about Ryder Carroll's Bullet Journal idea just clicked with me. It makes sense. It works. I always come back to it.

4) I like an index, and I like some colour coding. Just 4 or 5 colours (one each for family and one for work). That's enough and works for me.

5) Whilst I like the pretties (washi tape/stickers/fun post its). I don't need it, and sometimes it distracts me from actually planning.

6) I need a least a large cahier/A5 size to plan in. Anything smaller just doesn't cut it.

7) I also need to be able to fit the darn thing in my bag because my planner needs to go where I go. I literally cannot keep things in my head for a more than a few seconds these days.

8) I need to write everything down. EVERY. DAMN. THING. Last week in work I thought of something I needed to do whilst having my lunch, I walked over to fill my cup with water and by the time I'd gotten back to my table I had forgotten what it was. WRITE IT DOWN!! Argghhhh!! Stupid, almost 40yo memory crappness!

9) I don't like a separate work and personal planner. I've been working in my fauxdori for personal and an A5 Filofax for work. It's not good for the planning side. I need one list to work from or I miss things. That said, I also need some sort of repository for meeting notes so a separate large evernote  moleskine seems to be taking care of that. All the minutes, all in one place.

I'm hoping to take part in a couple of planner challenges for December (because, clearly, December is not busy enough for a working mother of two! LOL). I've signed up for the December #PlanWithMeChallenge and I'm also going to do #OneBookDecember (being that I'm already planning to be in one book anyway). I'm hoping these will help focus me even more on what's working and what isn't so I can be centred on the planning and not the planner for the month.

Photos of the December set up will be along at some point next week, and maybe a video update if I can find a moment to record something in peace. Hah!