As I mentioned last week, I recently decided to go back to a paper planner for time and task management. My needs were essentially the same as they were in 2009, when I reached out to my readers for their paper planner recommendations.
At that time I chose the myAgenda from momAgenda, and found it to be an excellent product, but with the US-Canada exchange rate being so high right now, along with the cost of shipping, I just couldn’t bring myself to order one (I’ve since discovered I could have purchased one from Chapters Indigo, but $58 CDN is still a bit steep for me) .
I set out to find a planner that met the following criteria:
- Available in Canada
- Weekly grid format
- Blank pages for recording notes separate from the weekly layout
- Not cluttered with hours, as most of my activities are not scheduled for specific times
- Monthly views for reference purposes
- Calendar for the following year
- Coil bound
- Beginning mid-year (since we were already well into the year when I decided I needed one)
- Under $40 (including shipping)
The Action Day Planner Academic Calendar was exactly what I was looking for, at a very good price!
It’s hard to see the details in my above photo, so here’s a clean view of the layout. The sections are exactly what I need to keep track of my business and personal commitments for each week.
Here’s how I use each section:
1. Tasks to execute
This section is for tasks that can be done in one sitting. There’s lots of space here, so I group them by type of task: client work, marketing, admin, and personal tasks.
It’s so much easier to jot things down that pop into my head than to enter them into the software I’d been using!
Plus, because I add to the list throughout the week, it’s easy to see which requests came in first, and I can easily scan the list to find something I can complete in the time I have left in the day.
2. Daily columns
At the beginning of the week, I look at my commitments and decide when I’ll work on each one. I don’t worry about the time slots, but I do make note of any scheduled activities, whether they’re in the office (such as phone calls or webinars) or outside (such as networking events or medical appointments, so I won’t schedule as many tasks for that day.
I like that Saturday and Sunday are together, so I can view the weekend at a glance.
3. Delegation & teamwork this week
When I delegate something to one of my subcontractors, noting it here allows me to keep track of it easily so nothing falls between the cracks. Again, this is more efficient than entering such items in my task management software.
4. Goals/projects I am going to work on this week
This section is for things that cannot be completed in one sitting, such as website design projects. I don’t often use the second and third columns, but it’s a helpful place for me to keep track of information I need from a client before I can continue working on a project.
It also includes several pages of information and exercises to help you form the right attitude about yourself and your work, set yearly and weekly goals, and use your planner effectively.
Overall, the Action Day Planner a great product for the price. It’s also available as a regular yearly calendar, so if you’re looking for a planner for the new year for yourself or a client, this is definitely one to look at.
Do you use a paper planner? Which one’s your favorite?