Time Management

A5 Filofax Day Planner

I had some preprinted pages like this one in the 1980's in my Personal size Filofax. Having converted to an A5 binder a couple of years ago, I decided to recreate the page for A5 usage.

Feel free to edit the page to meet your own requirements.

Usage advice: 

I've found this useful to planning my day when I seem to have more tasks ahead of me than I think I can manage. Or I use it at the end of the day to plan the next day.

Paper size: 
A5
License: 
Creative Commons
Applications required: 
MS Word, OpenOffice, Adobe Reader
Language: 
English

Weekly Action Sheet

A double-sided template designed to help you keep track of your main goals and to-do list for the week.

Shows Aims, Deadlines and Daily Goals on the face and a To-Do List on the rear.

Thumbnail: 
weeklysheet1.jpg
Usage advice: 

I use an electronic device to manage my diary (linked to my networked office calendar) but find that this 'hard-copy' sheet that I can physically see and touch on my desk helps me to keep an eye on those pressing issues that don't appear in my diary.

I take the opportunity at the weekend to review my priorities for the week ahead and to transfer any unresolved items from my previous to-do list to the new sheet.

Paper size: 
A4
License: 
Creative Commons
Applications required: 
OpenOffice or PDF viewer
Language: 
English

Priority Planner LS

This single-page PlannerPad-ish format incorporates your choice of priorities (a La Stephen Covey), project lists, GTD-ish contextual Next Action lists, a spot to write this week's MUST DO goal, and space for a week's list of appointments for those who only have one or two appointments a day. This form is very flexible, Word-based, and can be tweaked any number of ways.

Thumbnail: 
PriorityPlanner LS with Appts.jpg
Usage advice: 

1. Works either Landscape or Portrait, though Portrait gives more cell room.

2. The Priority numbers across the top are a system I created several years ago after reading Stephen Covey's 7-Habits book that allow me to key everything from notes on the back of a business card to massive files to 7 pre-decided priorities in my life (God, family, etc). In other words, the numbers are pre-decided priorities, not a rating for the projects below. If I have a project under my Number 1 Priority, it takes first importance and gets the majority of my time until completed and I try not to take on more than 3 major projects at any one time. Though that's the way I use the numbers, feel free to use them as a project rating system if you'd like, or delete them completely.

3. The Next Action section is loosely based on David Allen's Getting Things Done contextual task lists and the headings can be tweaked as you see fit.

4. An AM/PM Appointments section is included here; however, for those who find it's more convenient to keep appointments on a timed calendar, simply delete the Appointments section and add the Appointments space to the Next Action section, or vice-versa if you have a lot of appointments and few Next Actions.

5. The Priority Planner LS is Letter size, but can be printed 2 per page to create "Classic" or "Junior" 5.5 x8.5 size. However, printing Letter gives more cell space, so I find it preferable to print it full Letter size, then punch the TOP edge, fold it in half and insert into my Rollabind dayplanner. Folds out for full viewing, or I can leave it folded and just turn the page to see the other half.

Feel free to tweak as you see fit, though if you please also feel free to change the copyright line to say "Copyright DDDD, [your name]. Adapted with permission from the Priority Planner LS, copyright 2007, Laura D. Sanders"

Paper size: 
Letter
License: 
Creative Commons
Applications required: 
Microsoft Word or other word processor
Language: 
English

Task Cards

Color coded and labeled 3x5 task cards. The labels are on both the top and bottom so they are visible if stored upright or bound on top. Print out 5 per letter sized sheet. Sorry the colors are a little girly. I included the power point file so the user can modify the color and labels.

Note: I've removed the Power Point file because it is not working. I'll try to figure it out and put an editable file up some time.

Thumbnail: 
tc thumbnail.jpg
Usage advice: 

Print out on card stock and cut. I use one task per card, then recycle.

Paper size: 
Index Card (3 x 5)
License: 
Creative Commons
Applications required: 
Power Point, PDF reader
Language: 
English

Daily Dairy, One page, Classic

My days are task and information heavy, with the occasional appointment. On my perpetual quest for the perfect planner, I was browsing the Paper Chase planners and notebooks at Borders when I came across their page per day diaries, a simple lined page with the date at the top that allows you to write whatever and however you want. Two days ago, a forum topic here led me to the Quo Vadis website which had a page per day diary format with a little bit of space for appointments. My first submission to DIYP is my attempt at both of those formats.

Usage advice: 

These are MS Word 2000 documents, so they should be easy to manipulate. I use a 0.6 inch margin on the hole punch side and a 0.4 inch margin on the free side. The top of the document is a two cell table so the date can be easily changed and it will still align properly. I spent an afternoon trying to learn OOo draw and using the widgets, but I never got the hang of it.

I'm still in the experimental stage with these, so I've only printed a week's worth. I suppose if I was going to do a lot of them I would just blank out the dates and handwrite them in later.

Paper size: 
Classic (5.5 x 8.5)
License: 
Creative Commons
Applications required: 
Microsoft Word
Language: 
English

Action Plan Worksheet

Action Plan Worksheet

Thumbnail: 
Action Plan Worksheet.png
Usage advice: 

Created for managing action plans.

Paper size: 
Letter
License: 
Public Domain
Applications required: 
Adobe Reader, Microsoft Word, OpenOffice
Language: 
English

Keep the Ball Moving: Using Your Planner to Maintain Momentum

David Solot is a vice president and organizational development consultant working out of Princeton, NJ. He specializes in helping companies hire and develop top performers, using a combination of psychological assessments, individual coaching, and strategic planning tools. David holds a Masters Degree in clinical psychology from the University of North Carolina at Greensboro, and is an active member of both SHRM and the APA.


“The ball's in your court.” Regardless of our interest in sports, we've all heard and used that metaphor. Even in your day-to-day working environment. The meaning is pretty simple – it's your turn to act. You might be working on a project with peers and need to provide the next piece of data. You could be negotiating a deal over the phone and need to make the next call. You could be doing market research for a new product and need to pass along what you've learned. Whatever the topic may be, when the ball's in your court, it means you need to act.

The ability to handle the ball when it's in your court is critical to how your peers, your managers, and your clients perceive you. One of the worst mistakes you can make in business is to “drop the ball.” Like the original expression, you don't need to be an athlete to understand what this one means. When the ball's in your court and you drop it, you failed to act. Or failed to act appropriately. You may have gotten distracted and failed to make a critical phone call at the right time. You might have failed to give information to the key stakeholders by a required due date. You might have failed to sign the new contract sitting on your desk instead of getting it into the hands of your client. All these actions say one thing: You dropped the ball.

In this economy, our actions or inactions takes on a monumental level of importance. When times are good and sales are plentiful, dropping the ball can be a minor annoyance. When times are hard, however, each opportunity for your business or career becomes critical. Dropping the ball results in lost revenue, a lost job offer, or even the insidious downwards creep of your performance evaluation.

So you have the ball. It's in your court ... how do you handle it? With my clients and my employees, I teach two simple concepts for maintaining momentum.

2009 Dated Weekly Calendar (2-up) English

This is an English translation of the excellent French Calendar (2-up) that Celie submitted earlier this year.

Usage advice: 

Print Double-sided, either auto or manual, and cut down the middle.

Paper size: 
Classic (5.5 x 8.5)
License: 
Creative Commons
Applications required: 
PDF Reader
Language: 
English

2009 Monthly Calendar (Circa or Classic)

2009 monthly calendar to use with a classic-sized journal or circa junior (5.5x 8.5). Pre-formatted PDF. Just print double-sided, cut the pages in half, punch and insert. (Please note that the thumbnail shows half of a month/one page of the calendar.)

Thumbnail: 
samplepage.jpg
Usage advice: 

View and print using Acrobat Reader (free download from Adobe). The original file is in ancient PageMaker 7.0. If anyone would like a copy please feel free to contact me. Please don't ask me to change fonts or make other design/size alterations - I'd love to, but haven't time. You're most welcome to ask me for a copy of the original PageMaker file and alter it as you want.

Paper size: 
Classic (5.5 x 8.5)
License: 
Creative Commons
Applications required: 
Acrobat Reader
Language: 
English