A Good Plan Today…

…is better than a perfect plan tomorrow.

So says an old Proverb.  I tend to agree. We plan the best we can for today – with the best planner we can come up with – and deal with how we, and it, will need to adapt to what comes tomorrow.  Or next week.  Or next year.

To bastardize Ockham’s Razor (sorry William), while the simplest solution may not always be the right one, certainly metaphorically shaving off anything unnecessary will help to reveal the solution to any problem in its most basic form.  The key is to remove extraneous elements, but not slice off too much.

In response to some questions about how I specifically use my aforementioned planning system, here is what’s left after I did some time management shaving:

1 Plastic envelope – catch-all for receipts, coupons, transit passes, fortunes from lunch, etc.

1 Tabbed Section – entitled “Brainstorm”, this is a blank Franklin Covey tab with a Franklin Covey sticker of a lightbulb icon. Since this is my only non-calendar section, it is more brain dump than storm. Here you will find lined paper (from the Swing Pad) with random, non date-specific notes, a quote that catches my attention, the license plate of the a-hole who cut me off on the motorway. Not a static section, things come and go as they become/fail to be relevent.

6 Months of Franklin Covey 2Page per Day (Original) calendar inserts – the layout of which allows me to record daily To Do’s, Appointments and Daily Tracker items (I use this area to record the weather) on the left page and Notes on the right page. On the Notes page I record my Gratitude Journal items, what I eat and my workouts. There is ample room for all of that and more.

12 Months of Franklin Covey Tabbed Month on 2 Pages – which are generously included in the 2Page per Day Original pack referenced above. I keep the entire year so that, while I don’t have the daily pages for the second half of the year in there yet, I can jot down any future planning items on the monthly pages. Conversely, when I ultimately take the first half of the year out and replace it with the last six months, I will have the Jan – June monthly pages to reference for past events.

These refills also include pages at the beginning of each month for a Monthly Index and a Master Task List (for both personal items and business items), and at the end of each month for Expense Tracking.

The Monthly index is very handy. I fill it out at the end of the month so that I can quickly reference at one glance pertinent information without having to flip through each day once the month has passed.

1 Swing Pad accessory – this snaps into the ring mechanism and holds a refillable note pad. When in use, the pad will swing out so that you don’t have to flip to the pad itself (at the back of the planner in my case) in order to use it. You purchase the Swing Pad accessory once ($8.95 and it comes with 1 note pad) and from then on you only need to purchase note pad refills (sold in packs of 3 for around $5).

Check out pictures of this baby in action here.

Although the Malden does have a note pad pocket on the inside of the rear cover, Filofax note sheets are obviously not the same width as the rest of my FC inserts, so that was a no-go.  The Swing Pad is nice, however, because it allows any planner binder to have a note pad, not just the ones with the pocket.

1 Franklin Covey Progressive Task List PageFinder – ingenious little buggers these! They have a layout similar to the Progressive Daily Task List found on FC pages (on the left page of my 2Page per Day inserts if you care) but are hole-punched heavy card stock so they can be easily moved from day-to-day. I keep my daily To Do items on each respective day’s page, but use this item for ongoing  tasks, or reminders, or my day’s grocery list. Suffice to say they come in very handy, and since you get 26 of them for $3.95 you don’t have to feel guilty actually using them.

And that my friends is IT. All the inserts I have in my planner. Everything fits, the pages turn easily and although it is fun in theory to have an array of tabbed sections for this or that (diet & exercise, writing projects, various lists, etc.), I found I actually rarely used the tabbed sections, so I decided I could let them go. Out of sight, out of mind for me I guess.

Certainly all circumstances in life have an infinite number of solutions; the right solution and any number of other solutions that are either mostly right, partly right, or completely wrong; the same goes for planners.

What I am finding works best for me is to record everything ON THE DAILY PAGE. Then, should I need to look back (with the help of the Monthly Index feature – and even searching through an archived year indexed in this way would be feasible), it’s all right there.

A complicated woman finding peace with a simpler planner.  Who knew?

2 Comments (+add yours?)

  1. kanalt
    Apr 19, 2011 @ 11:16:56

    Well now you’re just making my dilemma more complicated. Now I want to try these too. But since I have tons of Filofax inserts and they are not the same size as the FC, I can’t justify the purchase – I’d have to also purchase the extra note sheets and the blank tabs and the weekly layout as well as the dailies. I did think about taking the financial hit though… I must look into this further.

  2. Rori
    Apr 19, 2011 @ 14:36:24

    “A good plan today is better than a perfect plan tomorrow” Thank you, Sensei! I used to love those Master Task List spaces, because when you archived your year, stuff was easier to find.
    Swing Pad Accessory-Loves it. Used to keep it in my classic size. It’s one of the things I’ve missed from every binder since I quit using FC.
    I love this set-up. Although I do use my tabbed sections, and I especially love playing in them when I have spare time to futz around.
    Ok, I’m going to FC to see what I find…l8trs.

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