Your daily kit...

I need some motivation and guidance. You always find ways to spark my creativity and desire to succeed at this organizing/productivity quest we all seem to be on.

What do you utilize daily? Paper or electronic, journaling or time tracking... etc etc etc.

My current setting is leaving me feeling like something is STILL missing. I'm looking to you for inspiration - for that missing piece of my puzzle. :) Take care.

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A few M&M's always help me thru the day
"I think the surest sign that there is intelligent life out there in the universe is that none of it has tried to contact us." (Calvin and Hobbes/Bill Waterson)


You have spies watching me? I have a few Hershey's miniatures left in my drawer... there will be no survivors. :D

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so spill the beans... what

so spill the beans... what is your daily gear?

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Beans, beans, everywhere !!

To be honest, my kit is still evolving (? mutating ?)

I'll share this much, it may help:
The final form of my kit should be a detailed Classic or Letter size planner to hold all the details and such. I will back that up with a home-made variant Circa-PDA/Hipster. I found that a 3 by 5, top bound notebook fits very nice in my pocket along with a small assortment of writing implements (I should hammer that into a quickie article). I use that as a portable In-Box and then transfer to the larger, more permanent planner. I do not plan to carry the larger, detailed planner at all times, but I am trying to carry the hipster-CircaPDA always.

Does that help anyone ?
"I think the surest sign that there is intelligent life out there in the universe is that none of it has tried to contact us." (Calvin and Hobbes/Bill Waterson)

Did-Do lists?

Has anyone employed a "Did Do" list to keep track of what you completed? Lifehacker: Did Do List

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I have some pages I'm using this month experimentally. I'm moving to a larger size because I have more crud to track at work this month, potentially.

Anyway, here's the daily page.

  • down the left, the times in half-hour increments from 6am to 10pm.
  • next two columns to the right are very skinny, maybe 3mm wide, just subdivisions of the times into quarter hours (no letters or numbers, just littler boxes).
  • next column is wide--hours have solid horizontal lines, halves have dotted lines.
  • last column is also wide, same rule.
  • beneath the above, a simple ruled section about three inches of the bottom of the page.

The way I use it is this:

When I print my daily pages, a few standard preprinted reminders get printed in the farthest column to the right, at the top of the page. Just dated to-dos, basically, with no particular time. Example: Refill prescription, or so-and-so's birthday.. For today, this column also gets a record of what I've eaten (lined up with the time I ate it) and the occasional to-do item I capture from a voicemail or something temporarily.

When planning future days, I write the appointments into the other wide column (the one on the left half of the page) next to the appropriate time. Includes the subject, who the organizer is, and concall info. For today, I jot a note in this column about what I did during this block of time. Example: Lunch, read news, termites, monthly report..

The two skinny quarter-hour columns are a record of whether my time went to 'personal' use or 'business' use. So it starts out blank and I draw in squares and rectangles through the day. This is the 'record' of the two major categories.

The section at the bottom is getting a few shopping list ideas, quickie notes, and my weight today.

All of that is on the right-hand page. The left hand page is a more traditional Next Actions list.

So my daily page is sort of a blend of advance planning and what I actually did. I could use color coding, I suppose, to differentiate future and past, but I really don't care. After I file the day in the archive, it won't matter whether I knew two weeks in advance about the blah blah meeting, it will only matter that I went.



I usually just write it on the day's "to-do" list and mark it done. (This really isn't because I'm obsessive-compulsive. :) I really can't remember by the end of the day, and then wonder what I *did* all day, if I don't.)

Be blessed!
~Rachel <><

I use a paper planner with

I use a paper planner with seperate small journal. My problem is not organizing but actually getting to my list of jobs. I can write a mean to-do list but nothing ever gets crossed off :(

What are you using right now and maybe we can see something missing?

apart from food

I use a paper planner (I just have a new filofax, a personal piazza and I love it), a journal at home I write in most days, and a large notebook for notes on books and articles I read for my thesis, notes from meetings with my supervisor and drafts of chapters. This last one is going to be replaced by rollabind discs filled with paper as soon as it gets here, right now it is an ordinary spiral bound book.
Do you know what you are missing? I believe these things to be essential:
- a planner to record appointments and to do lists
- a journal or sketchbook to play and write and do what you want (can be a section in your planner)
- and a place to record notes for work or school or whatever you do.
Do you have all these?

Good list!

I think your essentials list is a good starting point!

My setup is becoming increasingly modular as I find myself needing more stuff. I used to just carry one big bag, but I've broken it up.

Carried every day, in a mini-backpack:
-- Classic-sized Rollabind notebook: calendar, journal, reference section, important papers
-- Palm Tx with keyboard: to-do list, address book, calendar (I keep my calendar in the Palm _and_ in my notebook; better to duplicate then to forget something), things to entertain myself with (books, music, and games)

Additional for work days:
-- Classic-size Rolla "book" containing work papers I have to carry (fits in mini-backpack)

Additional for school, carried in plain black canvas tote bag:
-- Letter-size Rolla notebook for note-taking
-- Textbooks
-- Rolla binders containing class notes and labs

I came up with an idea today to make my keyring modular, too -- get a bunch of those little detachable keyrings and make separate rings for work and home. Then I can attach the work one to my main one on work days. (I only work 2-3 days a week, and have to carry a big keyring for those days.)

I am slowly starting to get a grip on organizing my stuff... :)

[ web site ]

Current kit:

My current kit:

A circa/rolla mock-leather foldover notebook.
* 2 page spread per week layout (but I don't keep the entire year in it - thats in the storage notebook at home).
* Year on a page for tracking appointments and things like changing contacts, etc.
* My finance tracker... basically for ensuring I pay my bills on time.
* A zip pouch (DIYSara style) for stamps and address labels, etc.
* Currently I carry around my pets health records but I'm realizing I don't need them with me all the time lol.

I carry a circa/rolla hPDA.
* The contents used to be organized but lately have been reduced to just one 'Next Actions' list. I designed new templates with icons, just haven't printed any.
* I have two pieces of clear report cover just inside the back cover for erasable lists... like shopping lists.

I carry a few index cards punched in the center of the left edge - held together with a binder ring. This is my 'brain dump'.

In my purse, I have a lil moleskine blank cahier. I jot down lil tidbits of thoughts I have... nothing important or earth-shattering.

In my bag I have my paperchase squared journal which I doodle, write, journal or brainstorm in. Honestly I haven't used it much in the last couple of months despite wanting to... something always came up. I started using it again last night to help map out a plan for a book I want to make for a gift.

So thats my 'kit' ... It needs more 'flow' I think. : /

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Daily Routine

What do you utilize daily? Paper or electronic, journaling or time tracking... etc etc etc.

Only one thing gets used daily --- email. :-| On a normal work day, however, I also use my paper-based planner. Day-to-a-view pages from filoFAX' professional time management range with day info on right side and notes on left. Month-to-view pages (in the same filoFAX annual updates) and a year-overview (boring, yes, it's from the annual filoFAX update too).

I supplement this with blank sheets --- A4 folded to A5 sometimes cut --- punched with the desk punch. These serve as extra day sheets, meeting notes, thoughts, sketches, etc. Sometimes Google documents serves the same purpose; if I'm on-line while working with a student in computer lab I store gleanings in a Google document; though I might change that to Google Notes once that really goes live. Google has a significant benefit that I don't have to do backups plus it's available pretty much everywhere even on strange Windozey systems I don't normally use.

Planner does not include contacts at all; those are either already in my emailer's addressbook or phone list on my mobile (aka cell) phone. After seven years of carrying around a contacts section in my planner I realised that I hd not once referred to it so I expunge it from the binder. I use the energies (carrying it and updating it) for more profitable things.

The info section of my planner includes some stuff intended for daily use, e.g. my prayer diary. But that really is it.

I'm no fan of journalling --- being a theoreticain not a reflector. Don't get me started on reflectivity; I am savage about it. If you don't believe me ask my interpreting tutors for a copy of one of my recent term papers. But you'd better be brave or have a strong stomach before doing so.

my new thoughts

(many thanks to Nay Nay for jumpstarting my creative planner engine!)

I am thinking of stopping at Target and buying a clutch size covey planner... then I can implement a quarter page system loosely based on the planner pad ideas. Top area for weekly projects or notes that I can categorize (@home, @garden, @comp etc). Then the need for separate lists would be nonexistant. I would be binding it with circa discs and most likely following karenb's example : LINK

My issues with this idea:

purchasing ANOTHER planner system that has the potential to join the others in the abyss under my desk (I looked, one has faded ... faded! ... in the darkness under my desk... poor neglected personal sized planner system :()

switching formats completely. I have so many 3x5s from work it is REDICULOUS! If paper didn't weigh so much I would be sending you all some!

this could be just "one of those crazy sara ideas" that I'm psyched about but soon realize it is ... a ... "OOOO SHINY" reaction.

input would be more than appreciated. :)

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Try before you buy


Before you buy the clutch, make your pages. Print them out and staple them into a booklet for, say, a couple of weeks or a month.

If you get through a whole month with your quarter-page booklet and you love the pages but hate the staples, then go buy the clutch.


I *always* prototype first. I have at least a half-dozen prototypes that I have since discarded for various reasons. I'm also the one who makes paper cutouts of furniture to rearrange on a diagram of a room before I start moving stuff around for real.


Great idea! I should do a

Great idea! I should do a circa bound version with a cutsie cover first... just to test it all out. I'll have to start designing the pages... :)

PS... I do that too: graph paper + lil furniture pieces makes it a lot easier to convince people to help you move stuff around since you know it will work. :D

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