Trying out the Chronodex: please, no planner-pressure!

Planner anxiety, planner stress, planner pressure… We all hate it!

We watch too many YouTube-videos and they make us want to go all perfect. The prettiest stickers, the loveliest washi and Frixions only – god forbid we would scratch something out!

I am a perfect example of Planner Peer Pressure, and until recently I was a Frixion-only girl that would go back and fill in appointments and tasks for days, or sometimes weeks passed, because I couldn’t bear the sight of empty pages. They made me feel… Boring, or inadequate, or… I don’t know.

Juggling with set-ups and inserts and trying to find ‘my’ system, I recently (aka in April or something) managed to set my A5 up in the ‘perfect’ way for me. I haven’t changed anything since, and that is a first for me.

But carrying that heavy planner around in my handbag was just silly, so after months of screaming that personal size was not for me, I caved and went ‘back’ to personal. I double now: personal in my handbag, A5 at home and at work on my desk.

OK, so that was that. Personal in the handbag it is. But wait – what inserts will I use? Agh. On came the planner pressure again.

I fiddled around with printables to see what worked, and tried three or four calendars at once to see what I used and what remained untouched.

So far, I found out:

  • I need a Mo2P for a general overview.
  • I need a Wo2P (cotton cream with equal weekend spacing, thank you Karen!) for weekly appointment planning
  • I need some form of daily notes & tracking but the Wo2P is too small to include that as well.

Kim was so kind to send me a Do2P from Day Runner to try out. I LOVE the space it gives me, but I can’t work with the pre-printed hours: my day ends at about 11PM and the pages only go until 5PM. I’ve been using the notes page for the extra hours, but most of the times, my evenings are more filled up than the day is. So I need a fix for that.

Also, I only use the Do2P during the week. It does not get used on the weekends. Not at all. There, my Wo2P is enough. If there are free days during the week, I’m pretty sure I won’t be using them either.

Thèn… Jhosie shared the Patrick Ng Chronodex-templates on her blog and, well, I fell in love with them. I’m a chaotic, visual person and I immediately saw what benefits it could have for me. So I printed out Jhosie’s papers and the Patrick Ng ones as well, to see which ones I like. I will start using them over the weekend.

I will use them as Do2P: Chronodex on the left, blank page on the right, for scribbles, to-do lists, post-its, … By using blank templates (no dates mentioned), I can just use one when I feel the need to. Every workday? Only Tuesdays and Fridays? Who cares. No white pages, no planner-pressure, just a clear, visual solution when I feel I need extra room for planning and notes.

Does anyone else use this flexible system of just taking a planner page when you need one, rather than using one every day by default?

PS: No more Frixions, either. Coleto FTW!

 

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To Do lists vs. Ta Da lists

There has been quite some conversation going on in the new ‘Filo Focus’ group, and amongst other things we were talking about ‘hacks’ to keep your attention on your tasks and projects. I’m a classic case of non-DX’ed ADD (which gets A LOT better with taking omega 3-6-9 capsules… but only IF I DON’T FORGET TAKING THEM :p) so my life is based on To Do lists. If I don’t write it down, it doesn’t get done. The Post-It industry has profited a lot from my purchases over the last couple of years.

But, as I discovered many of you have experienced, I sometimes just can’t seem to start. I’ll be at home with a looong to do list but I get anxious at seeing all of those unfinished tasks (sometimes several pages, if I go all GTD and clear my hear on paper) and I just get, well, overwhelmed. At the end of the day I won’t have anything done.

At work, this happens to me too, sometimes. Luckily I have short deadlines (I work SO good under deadlines) and I get everything done just fine, but beginning, or planning my day, seems to be a struggle over and over again. I had two weeks off from work, at home with my son, and used that time to think things through before going back to work tomorrow.

So! I had to think of solutions. I started by analysing my problem. It all comes down to:

– being overwhelmed when seeing a large list of tasks, and not starting anything

– having the attention span of a mosquito

– feeling inadequate when I haven’t crossed EVERYTHING off in the evening, aka setting too high standards for myself

– loosing track of time

What have I tried the last week? Writing Ta Da lists next to my To Do lists.

Ta Da lists are a concept I use from the Flylady system. It’s a list of accomplishments. It really gets me motivated to see my Ta Da list in the evening and being happy with everything I’ve done. I still use my master To Do lists (in my A5 for work and in my Personal for, well, personal :p) but I write a task on my Ta Da list everytimes it is finished.

I started doing that at work a couple of weeks ago, on my Time Management inserts in my A5 Gillio planner: I write down what I’ve done, on what day, and what category it belongs to. That way I can see what project takes up most of my time.

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That was working out great, so I’m now making Ta Da lists in my Filofax at home as well.

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I also use a timer set to 15 minutes, because if I enter the bathroom to do some laundry, you can be sure I will discover something else that grabs my attention either on the way to the bathroom, or inside the bathroom. Like the shoe rack in the hall that could use some organisation or my ever growing stock of cosmetics that need re-arranging. The timer reminds me I was actually there for something else 😉

I can afterwards put this Ta Da list next to my master To Do list and cross off what has been done. The satisfaction of filling this little post-it is great, it encourages me not to leave it empty, and I try not to overthink: if I did it, it goes on the list. Not debating with myself over ‘is that really an accomplishment, taking out the trash?’. Yes. It goes on the list.

And I keep them in my planner for some days because I like how it reminds me I’m on track 🙂

Does anybody have other hacks to share?