I first started using a planner book as a time management tool in 1990. It
was just a small pocket calendar that only showed the months. In other
words, when you opened it, you would see a month. It included all 12
months and a few blank pages in the back.
I bought this calendar for a few bucks when I started my first full-time job when I left graduate school at Marquette University in Milwaukee. I got a job at the City of Milwaukee in the Engineering Department.
I started out by writing any appointments I had for my job. Since I was
just starting the only appointments had to do with human resource
issues, such as insurance meetings, forms I needed to fill out and other
stuff like that. I didn't have to worry about time management that much
at that stage of my career. My job was mostly show up on time and work
for 8 hours on what my supervisors told me to do.
I quickly started using the calendar for my personal life. My job did not need tracking but my personal life did. I kept track of the days I worked out either with weights, biking or walking. I really liked it for keeping track of my social calendar. I used it to plan my weekend outings with the guys and any after work parties, dinners and things like that.
It was rewarding to be able to stay on top of everything and just as rewarding to have a written remembrance of the past happenings and events. I still have those calendars from those days as a reminder or a keepsake for reminiscing. It was fun to be involved with time management for my social life and for keeping track of my workouts.
Looking at those old calendars makes me wish that I had kept calendars during high school and college. There are so many things I did that I wish I could remember the year and who with.
You will find that keeping your calendars adds a lot of value to your life. You will look back at those calendars and enjoy your memories.
I really wish I had a calendar from the days when I went on vacation with my family. I cannot even remember all the years that we went to Glacier National Park.
Going on those trips with my family were some of the best times of my life growing up and I wish I had a well worn, beaten up calendar to mark the days and the year and some of the highlights of the trip.
I am never going to make that mistake again. Anything even a little bit fun I write down on my calendar and in other places too. Keeping track of your fun ought to be part of the fun.
I don’t like to write excessively in my calendars, but a few words on a monthly calendar go a long way to helping my memory.
Now I use a Classic Original Classic Size Ring-bound Daily Planner from Franklin.
If you want to see exactly what I use
I started with the daily pages but went to the weekly style a number of years ago. It works for me.
You will need the ringed book
Then you need to determine what type of cover you want. I use the Open style now . I did have a zippered cover at one time. This would be good if you are worried about stuff falling out. I prefer the open style. It is lighter, smaller and looks better. I treat this book well and take care of it. I do not throw it around so it has lasted for years. It is so important to me.
I have used the classic size from when I started using it in 1996. I don’t use the planner as the Franklin people say exactly. I am not interested in tracking everything to the degree that they suggest. Certainly, you can if you want. It is a great time management tool because it is customizable and includes the normal areas you need to be organized.
I like it because I can use it for business and personal time management. I carry it every day to work and bring it home. I also use it for various projects. The leather holder has pockets and is a convenient way to carry around papers you are working on. It has your calendar so you can make any appointments right away.
I keep it on my desk at work right between my phone and my computer.
At home I keep it on a table to the right of my recliner in my living room where I spend the majority of my time at home.
I take it with me to restaurants, coffee shops and libraries when I am planning, writing, thinking and goal setting.
The point is, I keep it handy.
I keep the current month in
the book. I do not like to keep the previous month or the next month in
the book because then it is too big and bulky and heavier. During the
first week of the current month I will go back through the previous
month’s entries to check if there is anything I should be doing or if
there is some information I should rewrite.
Then I take out the previous months daily entries and file them but leave the month calendar in my book. I keep the entire years worth of months in my book, the same as if it were just a monthly calendar. I still keep track of my appointments, my workouts and social events. I use it for all my time management needs.
When I was single I kept track of parties, vacations, outings, dinners, who I was with and the people I met.
When I was married I kept track of my wife’s appointments as well as my own.
Once I had children, I kept track of their appointments also.
Now that I am single again, I keep track of everything, especially, my kid’s events and my social calendar.
You could also use your planner to keep track of your goals. Writing down the events gives me a sense of accomplishment. I can look back over the months and get a feeling for the busyness of certain times of the year.
It helps with the time management and planning for the year ahead. I can look back and see that there was quite a bit of fun and good times. It also helps for discussion with others who don’t have a planner and can’t remember what month or year we last got together.
Since I have started keeping a planner book I can’t imagine not having one. I think I would be lost without it. I don't know how anyone would be able to do any time management without one.
I haven’t got to the point where I would keep my planner book on my computer or palm pilot or phone. Maybe someday I will give it a try. It just seems more satisfying to write things down and keep it in a book.
I use the computer a lot and my smart phone a bit. But certain things just seem to be better handwritten on paper. Plus I am a little older, not growing up with computers and smart phones.
Again, do it how you want, if you love the electronic version of planner book or your phone, go ahead and try it.
I just am not sure how to always have your computer handy. Dealing continuously with a phone just seems so maddening. The paper planner book works well anytime, anywhere. I think even if you have a laptop computer or palm pilot you will still need a paper planner also.
I don’t want this book to be bulky and heavy so I don’t go overboard with lists and tracking. I just keep what is important for my time
management needs and have backup information elsewhere.
I can always make adjustments to the book based on my current needs. I have a Franklin hole punch so that I can put any paper into the planner book.
I also do some reducing of the material so that what I keep in the planner book is condensed because again, I carry this book a lot and want it to be as light as possible but have all the information I need at the time.
Since I have it with me I can refer to it often and add and subtract from it constantly.
The front cover of the planner book has a vertical pocket and a business card size pocket. I put a 3 inch by 5 inch notebook in the front vertical pocket along with some index cards.
The notebook is for writing my goals. I like a separate notebook so that my goals are even more portable. I can put this notebook in my pants pocket or my shirt pocket to be even more portable.
I have index cards for making short lists and for making notes at any time. There are many times that I don’t want to carry my planner book around, it is just too big, but carrying an index card or two is not too difficult.
The small notebook and index cards are like miniature time management tools.
The rear cover of the planner book has one horizontal pocket. I put any papers I want to review or refer to in the near future in this pocket. I would put mail to mail in this pocket. I would put current mail here. I use this pocket as my work pocket. Sometimes I have a lot of papers here because I don’t know what to do about them.
Since my planner book is 5 – ½ inches by 8 inches the pockets are not big enough to hold a full size sheet of paper. I just fold a full size sheet of paper in half and it fits perfectly in the pocket. Normal letters fit great in this pocket also.
I do not want to switch to a full size paper planner. That would be just too much to carry around. I also do not want to switch to the smaller size either. There would just not be enough room to have the detail that I want for my time management needs.
So if you want to get organized and improve your time management skills, get some type of Planner Book.