My planning tools for next year: Diary, planner and notebook

Planning

The planning tools we use would change and evolve as our roles and preference changes.  I have purchased tools that I would use to help me organize my time, appointments and tasks for the following year in my role as a blogger and caregiver.

Diary and monthly planner for time management

I am very much a pen and paper girl. I would be using mainly a diary with undated pages and a B5 monthly planner (colourful style) as shown above. These items are purchased from a bookstore in Thailand during my stay there.Both the items cost a total of 200 baht (less than USD7 dollars).   At the same time, I would be using lightweight notebooks to jot down my ideas on the go.

Diary

Diaries come in 2 versions- the dated and undated versions. Both serve different purposes and needs. When I was working in corporate and during my initial stage as I transition to be a caregiver, I was using a dated diary. Dated diaries are useful because it allows you to flip to the date you want and plan ahead, skipping between dates without any confusion. I used it to plan my daily tasks, plot appointments and important reminders as well to list down my expenses for the day.

One of the downsides of using a dated diary is that sometimes there are insufficient space to write down something for a day, and some days are empty. It may be a problem to some but for me, if there isn’t sufficient space to write down something for the day, I would just go to a previous date which was not utilized, strike out the date and write on it.

This year, I did manage to survive without a diary but I sometimes find things are not as organized as I would like to be. I tend to write more- blog ideas, organizing posts and also the need to schedule my tasks and responsibilities ….and these things are all over the place (ie in different notebooks!). Hence I decided to get an undated diary where I can use it to write down things- blog ideas, notes from books and planning.

A diary or a planner would be something that you would want to use it frequently to better organize and manage your time. Therefore, it should be something that comes in a colour, design and texture that you like. When I first saw the soft pastel lilac diary, I really like it. But I hesitated and left the store the first time without buying it, thinking to explore more and perhaps another branch would have it. When I visited another branch, that particular colour was not available. And I was not able to find anything that I like more so I finally went back to the store and bought the diary. Fortunately it is still available (what is meant to be yours, would be yours, hee hee)

Planner with monthly spread

When I was working in corporate, I would buy monthly planners and often ended up not using them. However in my current role, I find monthly planners are useful for me to jot down important dates and appointments I have at a glance.

There was a few months in this year that I set a particular target for my blogs whereby I need to prepare certain number of articles in advance and then set a time to publish these articles. Because I run multiple blogs, I plotted the publishing dates of all the blogs on the same monthly planner. It is very useful to be able to see everything at the monthly view. The planner is also very light and small enough to fit into my bag where I am able to carry it around.

Even though I did not manage to meet the goals that I set for myself, but I was close enough. It would be impossible to achieve anything as near to what I’ve managed to do had it not been for putting things down in pen and paper.

The takeaway would be then that we can use the monthly planner to help us set goals, break it down into manageable portions and then work on daily to achieve it. I cannot say how many times when I had a little spare time and just wish to watch YouTube, all I had to do was open my planner and realize that how far I would be behind my goals if I were to use it for non goal orientated activities.

Notebooks

I do not have the habit of carrying my diary out and putting it all over the place as I do not wish to lose it. Or that someone open it up and read the contents because I tend to do a lot of writing and major goal planning in my diary that  I prefer to keep to myself. Therefore when I am out and about, I would carry a light weight, thin notebooks just for jotting down stuff and ideas. I’ve already used

The notebooks are purchased from Office Mate (also in Thailand) that sells stationery. In the picture below, the one of the left (brown color) has been filled up. I find the Double A brand good because it is lightweight, easy to write on and carry around. When I find that it comes in my favourite colour, I went ahead and bought 4 of them. I also bought some smaller notebooks to have one to jot down my mom’s blood pressure as required by the doctor and in case I wanted a notebook that I can carry in my pocket.

Notebooks for jotting down tasks

Well, that is from me for next year. Hopefully this post would give you an idea to plan for your year ahead. Happy planning!

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