Saturday, March 5, 2011

Day Planners

I've long had an obsession with day planners, starting in my high school years when I would painstakingly hand-draw monthly calendars on graph paper each month. In my early professional life I swore by Day-Timer (C), and used their planners and inserts. Later I relied on virtual methods - our office had Outlook and I synchronized it with a used Casio Cassiopeia (a PDA so old it ran on Windows Compact Edition). These days our household uses a Google calendar that we can all access wherever we are.

I've been a bit nostalgic for my old paper-based planners, though, and recently while reading Julie Morgenstern's book "Time Management from the Inside Out" I was surprised to realize that I'm one of those visual people she recommends should stick with physical planners. I've been using one of my old-fashioned, hand-drawn calendars this week and I'm amazed at how much less stress I feel! (I've gotten a lot done, too.)

At Zellers today I found a planner I thought would work - it's the right size and has two pages per week, plus monthly calendars. I was hugely annoyed when I got home to realize that it runs from June 2009 to August 2010; it's half a year out of date! At Staples there was nothing that appealed to me, probably because I'm shopping at exactly the wrong time of year.

So, here's what I found on the web today, in increasing order of excitement, with pros and cons:
  1. The original Day-Timer site. If I find my old cover, I can use new refills. Although they have some decent new themes, I can't find any two-page-per-week that don't have less time for Saturday and Sunday. Their appointments never go past 6pm, either.
  2. Day-Runner has funkier themes and more fun books and inserts, but they still stick to a half-block for weekend days.
  3. MomAgenda has the appropriate emphasis on all parts of life (not just professional), have blocks of space for kids as well as me, and have some fun stuff in the sale bin right now. The shipping costs are higher than I'm willing to pay, though.
  4. The Mead website has a weekly planner that I like on sale, but they add $10 for international shipments. Bad form!
  5. Somehow I ended up at the website 43Folders, which I'm sure has crossed my path before, but I'm not sure in what context. I've gotta like a website that tells me to stop reading it and get to work on something productive! The 43 folders turns out to refer to an email organization system from 2006, which is probably still worth looking at today, although I'm unlikely to change my never-delete strategy for email.
  6. I'm most excited about the website, which I can't believe I've never found before! The author seems to be a designer and productivity superuser who has desigend lots of do-it-yourself pages that you can print, cut, and punch to fit in whatever planner cover you already own. This might just be the logical next step from my hand-drawn pages folded in half, because the "classic" pages are the same size.

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