I see from the reminder in my datebook that it’s time to order my planner for 2010! As long as I can remember, I have loved calendars of all shapes and sizes, so this is a task I generally look forward to. However, as there seem to be more and more options every year, I could really use your help choosing one. In fact, I will give a free copy of my e-book, Organizing Your Life, Your Way to the person who suggests the planner that best meets my needs.
As background information, I’m currently using a Day Runner tabbed weekly calendar refill, inserted in a Day Timer black leather cover with my initials on the front. There are a lot of things I like about it:
- It’s compact so I can easily slip it in my purse when I’m going out.
- It holds a pad of notepaper, which I use to jot down my mileage when I use my car for business.
- There’s a loop to hold my pencil, so it’s always there when I need it.
- I love the leather cover! It looks elegant, feels nice, and I paid a lot of money for it shortly before I decided to switch to an electronic calendar, a phase that lasted about four years before I decided to take Marcia Francois‘ advice to “embrace my paper-ness” and bought my 2009 refill.
I chose the weekly format this year because I wasn’t entirely sure I’d be making a full transition from my Outlook calendar, so I wanted to keep it simple and inexpensive. Now that I’m convinced that paper works best for me, I’m prepared to spend more to get exactly what I need.
For the last few months, I’ve been using an Excel spreadsheet to plan my weekly activities, as shown below (click to view enlargement).
I have a master to-do list which I refer to when I’m filling out the time slots each week.
Although this works well for me, I could probably eliminate this step and streamline my planning process if my planner was laid out in a weekly grid format.
It would probably make sense for the master to-do list to be part of my planner as well, instead of on a separate sheet of paper.
Most of my activities are not scheduled for specific times, so the time slots aren’t really that important to me; I’d therefore prefer to have most of the daily section blank to write my daily tasks, with a smaller section for scheduled appointments.
I realize that to accommodate this format, I’ll probably have to move to a larger size, and I’m okay with that. As a virtual assistant, I rarely need my planner when I’m away from my office, so portability is not high on my priority list. I can still make use of my lovely leather cover by inserting a small notebook to use when I’m out and about.
I’d also like to have monthly views for reference purposes, as well as a place to jot down dates for the following year.
Coil bound is nice, but not essential.
In terms of function, that’s all I really need! My contacts are stored in my computer and cell phone, so I don’t need an address book or any other sections.
I’m pretty task-oriented, so function is much more important to me than esthetics, but I wouldn’t mind seeing some nice colors, artwork, and/or motivational quotes.
If you think you know just the product I’m looking for, please leave me a comment below. I’m open to a physical product or downloadable pages that I can print, or any other suggestion you may have. Feel free to include affiliate links or links to your own product – anything goes! And as I mentioned above, the person who suggests the planner that best meets my needs will receive a free copy of Organizing Your Life, Your Way!
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