I’ve been using a planner regularly for the last 12 years or so. I’ve been an avid reader of all planner related blogs, Philofaxy being one of the best source. I’ve also read a number of organizing books… GTD, 7 Habits, etc.

Over the years, I tried very hard to adopt one method or the other, use optimal layouts or even follow a certain bloggers way. None of them worked to well for me and somehow or the other it always broke down.

I may not have the perfect system… because if you know what’s good for you, you should always be tweaking your system. But what works is when you make it your own. So, I do a few things that are absolutely against conventional planning wisdom….

  1. No Dashboard: I can’t capture and then process. Everything just naturally goes into my to-do list, which never seems to get shorter.
  2. Schedule in a Calendar: I use weekly inserts, occassionally daily pages and most recently monthly pages as well. I put in big events like the end of school term or deadlines like when a client’s document expires. Meetings and appointments have to go in the phone or outlook.
  3. Reminders: I don’t put in regular reminders like take your medicine or remember to take your chequebook. That goes in the phone too so I get an alert.
  4. Journal / Record: I don’t record much… in terms of journaling or the weather or fitness. I do track monthly budget and bills on one page, without any special format. Just tally them up.
  5. Dividers: While I do have dividers, I don’t think they are really used in any way. I just have them because they seem to create a visual boundary. I rely heavily on 3 page markers, magnetic bookmarks and paper clips. Simple and easy.
  6. Weekly reviews: I don’t do weekly reviews at the end of the week. I’m so exhausted by the time the week ends, I just want to switch off. I do some sort of review on the first day of the week, during the first half hour at work.
  7. Weekends: I don’t schedule weekends and I hardly ever look in my planner. If I have something important on the weekend, it would be written out during the week so I prepare for it. If it’s an event, it’s on the phone. The only time I may look at the planner is if I need to refer to some notes or project planning.

Ok, so my system doesn’t always work. Occasionally, I’ll have total planner fail and throw away my planner for a while… but that’s may be for a few hours. Then I’ll think of new ways to tweak my system and try to make it work.

Happy planning…!