I have struggled previously with paper diaries because of changing appointments which get messy and then confusing to decipher; I have therefore stuck with electronic diaries for the past few years. However I had inspiration in the hairdressers a few months ago when I realised they booked appointments in with a pencil so they can rub them out if they move. Such a simple tip that I had never considered.
I am currently using a standard DIY planner A5 calendar template. Its not perfect for my needs, but because I haven’t managed to create my own template I have adapted my use of theirs. You can read notes on the picture to help with the description by clicking on it.
The week pages
I want a diary which has appointment slots for each day so I can easily see when I’m in meetings and when I’m free. I also want a task list area for each day where I can add tasks which need to be completed that day. The template I use shows 24 hours and that is not necessary for me, between 6am and 9pm would be fine. I therefore use the space for 00:00 to 06:00 for repeating tasks. These differ from the tasks at the bottom of the day because they do not need to be completed on the day, but act as a reminder. I will write another post about how I deal with repeating tasks later.
I haven’t found a use for the spare space on the left of the template yet. I have recently thought about using it to write a list of highlights from the week because I don’t currently store this information and I think it would be a good thing to start. The only other thought I’ve had is to move my repeating tasks to the side bar because there would be more room to write the task than on each day and then linking it back to the day either with numbers or the date, but this may get confusing.
The month pages
To reduce the paper in the organiser, I try to carry only five weeks; the previous week and the next four weeks. For the following 11 months I use a month to a page template from DIY planner; I then transfer the information on to the weekly planner sheets.
I have been using this system for almost four months now and have found it successful. Of course there are times when I don’t transfer appointments from work’s electronic calendar (especially if I miss a weekly review), but this was the same with my earlier system of using my Palm Tungsten E because I was not able to sync it. The system works particularly well with repeating tasks which has made a noticeable difference in general organisation.