DIYPlanner.com

Generic Forms

Life is a complicated affair, and sometimes the D*I*Y Planner team just can't anticipate all the bizarre little things you'd like to track and organise. Or can we? Herewith, a number of generic forms that can be used for multiple purposes. Whether you're counting the number of red cars that pass your house during suppertime, or making a vendetta list of all the people who have crossed your path and boy are they going to be sorry!. there's probably an efficient way to do it.

4-Section
This mysteriously unnamed form (pages 63-64) consists of four sections arranged vertically. Each one contains room for a section title or name, and six rows that contain an optional row name and a double field.
Matrix
The Matrix form is a generic all-purpose table template that comes in landscape (horizontal) and portrait (vertical) varieties. Think of this form as an "analog spreadsheet", capable of tracking whatever tabular data you'd like. Both versions have nine columns, which allows a row to contain a title, the seven days of the week, and a summary field. Possible uses include: exercise tracking; comparison shopping; weight-loss program progress; project task allocation and/or deadlines; distance between various locations; student grading; district financial reports; home brewing records; science experiments; timesheets; hamster breeding results; and whatever other strange things your mind might conceive of tracking.
Checklist
Generic form for almost any type of list you might want to make. Possible uses: read/review items; things to pack for vacation; items on loan; books to find at the library; project materials lists; preparation for event launches; and beautiful women/men who haven't yet turned you down for a date. Check off as appropriate.

Tomorrow and Tomorrow and Tomorrow

The D*I*Y Planner has crept in its petty pace long enough. 'Tis a tale told by a monkey, full of Mound bars and curry, signifying a verion 3.0 release tomorrow.

And an end to sleep deprivation, one hopes.

A Note About Methodology

The D*I*Y Planner system was originally based upon Getting Things Done (a.k.a., GTD), the excellent productivity system and book of the same name by David Allen. This was a direct result of the influence that Mr. Allen's ideas had upon the designer, Douglas Johnston, and as such, many of the templates and the methods and examples given in this handbook are directly inspired by GTD.

We should point out, however, that the templates and methods here are not necessarily representative of only the GTD productivity system. Especially with version 3.0, we have made every effort possible to make our forms 'organisationally agnostic', so that they can be used with other popular productivity systems, including Covey's First Things First, and whatever system you choose to invent yourself. Complete flexibility, adaptable to any time/life management you see fit, is our goal, and it is not an easy one.

That being said, GTD is essentially our starting point, and if the templates and instructions here intrique you, we heartily suggest purchasing a copy of Mr. Allen's books or audiobooks.

In the meantime, please feel free to wander among the articles and forums at DIYPlanner.com to see how other people are implementing paper-based productivity systems. Many of the members are quite up for discussion, and inspiration lurks everywhere.


Actions and Agendas

Once upon a time, there was the humble to-do list. It suited many people's purposes, but only if they lived an uncomplicated life. Today, we tend to break projects down into many different types of actions, each one requiring a different way of handling. The D*I*Y Planner has a number of options for managing and tracking your actions, so you can choose whichever ones make the most sense for your lifestyle.

Actions
An action is simply a task to get done. In GTD, this concept is further refined in terms of "Next Actions", where each one is a single concrete action that can move a project forward, usually within a specific context, such as work, home, errands, hobbies, at the phone, or at the computer. (A good idea is to label the top of the form with the context: "NA@Calls", "NA@Errands", "NA@Home", etc..) It's also useful for filtering the clutter out of your to-do list which may be full of things that you could do, if only you were in a different context. A long list full of things you can't do right now can be hard to face, but a short, focused list of things you can at that moment can be a source of inspiration and accomplishment. Whenever possible, remember to break down your actions into short doable tasks, taking 15 minutes or less.
Waiting For
Sometimes you've just got to wait for the parcel to arrive, or the book to come back from the friend you loaned it to, or your partner to clean out the garage. You may have delegated the writing of a report to someone, or a project might be put on hold pending an estimate from a contractor. Sometimes there isn't anything you can do to push external things along, but you also don't want to forget all those items that are put on hold. The Waiting For list is the place to park all of those "I need to remember this" things so they don't vanish. If you have many Waiting For items that logically group together (as in the GTD notion of context), you could put them all on the same page.

The one-line version has a completion check box, a space for your "delegate" or priority, the description of what you're waiting for, the date you started waiting, and the completion date. The two-line version is suitable for tracking more complex items, such as those things that are part of your project management system. Along with the completion check box, there is room for the task description, the name of the person responsible for completing the task, the date you asked them to work on it, the due date, the completion date, priority, and notes. Remember to review your Waiting For list daily to ensure that things are moving along apace.

Combined Actions
The Combined Actions template gives you one form to store all your next actions and pending items in one handy place, along with some notes. People often use this form across from a daily or weekly calendar so that they may see everything they need in one spread.
Actions Quadrant
The Actions Quadrant template has many uses, depending upon your needs. For example, you can use it to divide aspects of a project by role or team member, you can separate components of your life (work, home, social, etc.), or you use it simply as a categorised action list.
Agenda(s)
Need a quick way to track your meetings, or what topics you need to bring up with certain people? The Agenda templates are for you. It contains fields to write down the People or Groups you need to talk to, the list of topics you need to talk to them about, and a field for recording a due date or the number of minutes a meeting item is alloted. A handy checklist is also included so that you know whether or not you have any open items left. Available as full and split forms.
Potentials Quicklist
The Potentials Quicklist template allows you to store all those "I might want to do... someday" projects in one list. Want to install a wooden floor in your house, or write a novel? This is where you would store all those projects that have been nibbling in the back of your brain but which cannot be done immediately. Storing them on this quicklist gets them out of your brain and onto the page for future reference. In GTD, this is the "Someday/Maybe List". Don't forget to write down your reason for each item, so you can remember why you wanted to do it in the first place.
Potential Projects
Remember all those items you had down on your Potentials Quicklist? Well, the Potential Project template captures all the information needed to turn those quick ideas into fully fledged projects. It gives you fields to expand upon the original idea, add notes, and sketch out an idea of what the project may eventually look like. You can store two projects on each planning page.
To Do List
The To Do template is simply a well-rounded to-do list for those people whose action lists need not be so complicated by contexts and project management issues. Use the prompts to make sure you don't forget to do anything important, or to delegate a task whenever it's needed.

Health

The Health Package is very slim at the moment, but there are plans to add more forms as time goes on. In the meantime, we present the two most requested forms, the Exercise Log and the Diet Tracker.

Exercise Log
This template gives you a place to record your fitness goals and track what makes you sweat. It lists columns for date, activity, time or repetitions, weight or intensity, and calories burnt. The form also has space for you to write your own thoughts and notes at the bottom of the page.
Diet Tracker
One of most perilous things the designer of the D*I*Y Planner has ever done was to ask for feedback about forms to track a diet. (He has never actually embarked upon such a life- and mood-altering experience.) This is what he came up with, based upon much research and many, many suggestions, often contradictory in nature. As such, he's sure it will be universally hated.

*ahem*.

The Diet Tracker template allows you to track the progress on your diet. It contains columns for recording calories eaten at breakfast, lunch and dinner as well as the information on nutrition for each food intake. You can track two week’s worth of food intake on one single form. And at the end of every form, you can add up all the totals, note your new weight, and work out the difference from the previous week. Various notes fields are added for variations in diet methods.

If you have any heartfelt reactions to share regarding this template, please send them to the designer, and he'll be sure to ignore them at his leisure.

Miscellaneous Templates

Ah, the rest of the forms, those little outcasts bereft of a nice defined category....

Personal Profile
This form is for owner information such as your name, phone numbers and email address, as well as for an emergency contact. You should certainly take the time to fill this out as soon as possible. If your planner were to be lost, these details can help a kindly soul return it to you. Note that this template is generally meant to be put on the flip side of your cover so that it's easy to find.
Important Numbers
These are all the numbers you need in an emergency, in one place, so you don't have to go digging for information if a crisis occurs. Take a half-hour and find the numbers for your local hospital, fire department, poison control centre, landlord, etc. The flip side of the template is for other numbers such as babysitters, drugstores, copy centres, technical/computer helpdesks, crisis hotlines, support groups and --most urgent of all-- pizza delivery places.

Traditionally the important numbers page follows your personal
profile pages in your planner, but printing an extra copy to post on your refrigerator never hurts.

Trip Diary
If you're one of those people whose job mandates car travel and keeping track of mileage, this form is for you. Use it to keep track of dates, destinations, and odometer readings. Down below is space for items of impact or important notes, such as 'Went on personal trip to park: -22.00 km' or 'Delay at garage for fuel tank plug (4 hrs at Burin)'. This template can also be easily used as a milage diary to record just how far your car goes before gassing up at the next stop.
Automotive Maintenance Log
If you own a car, truck, ATV, skidoo, or any means of motorised transportation, then you have a reason to keep records of each and every time you take your vehicle into service. You may want to use the Auto Maintenance Log to keep track of all these times in your planner, as well as warranty information.
FrankenForm
The FrankenForm was designed as a printer test page so that you might experiment with your settings to achieve optimal results. Print, tweak, print, tweak... you know the drill. Since this form contains almost all the standard elements and greyscales of the other forms, once you get this one right, you should have no problem with using the same settings for the rest of the forms. For more information about printing out the templates, please review the Printing documentation or your printer's manual.

Finance

Whether you have a penny to lend or a penny to spend, what better way to track your finances than with a set of D*I*Y Planner forms?

To Buy
A variation on the basic checklist, this form offers a check box, a blank space for the item description, and a line for the store and cost. The bottom of the template offers a notes section and a box for the grand total of your spending spree. Simply write in your "topic" (such as Music, DVDs, Computer Equipment, Books, Electronic Gear, Home Improvement, Christmas Gifts, etc.) and keep track of the store and cost. Check them off as you get them. If you need to purchase materials for a project, you can use a copy of this form there as well. Especially helpful for gathering all those little "wishlist" items that occur to you at every time except when you're actually in a store.
Shopping
Simple checklist-based template for groceries, office supplies, and any other list of items that you'll need to purchase while out on errands. Group by store for greater efficiency.
Finances
The Finances template allows you to track your spending and keep your bank account in check. You can use this to create a monthly budget, complete with dates on which bills need to be paid and the amounts due, or just as a simple ledger to record how much you spend and on what. Also handy for those people needing to keep careful track of their expense accounts.
Check Register
The Check Register template helps manage your checking account, and includes columns for check number, date, transaction, category, credits, debits, bank balance, and whether or not the check was reconciled with your bank.
Receipts
Ah, our little craft project. While you're on the go, use this handy little envelope to hold and keep track of your receipts. This form is to be printed on 8.5"x11" (or A4) paper and folded. The instructions are included on the bottom of the page.

Creativity

Writers and artists unite! It's time to break out your paints, pencils and tech pens and get funky with your planning self. We've got forms for journal writing, storyboarding, recording publication markets, tracking submissions, and web design. Put a little pizazz into your organiser, let your imagination out to play, and grab some of these forms to try out. Write a journal or update your website design. See where your creativity takes you.

Journal
The D*I*Y Planner pack contains three variants of a Journal template used to record daily thoughts or musings: lined plain, lined with small sketch box, and lined with a header area. Use these forms to keep track of thoughts and musings about life and the world around you.
Storyboard
The D*I*Y Planner kit contains a wide variety of storyboards for you to sketch on or plot out visual projects, like film or theatre. This set contains three types, available as rectangular and curved: 1-up with notes; 2-up with some writing space, and 6-up.
Story Idea
This template helps you plan and outline ideas for all kinds of writing assignments, both fiction and non-fiction. The prompts ensure you follow the classic writer's mantra --what, who, where and when-- and provide space for notes and brainstorming (usually the "how").
Publications Market
Stop lugging around that ten-pound copy of The Writer's Market and keep track of your preferred publishing outlets with this handy template. Each form holds two records, and includes fields for the publication's name, the publisher, standard contact information, the publication's genres or accepted subjects, their circulation, frequency, distribution, and a check box to record whether you've received a copy of their guidelines. This form also contains some lines to add additional thoughts and notes.
Submissions
This template helps writers and designers to keep track of their submissions. Each template holds three records, and includes fields for the title of the piece, the name of the file in your digital or paper filing system, the periodical or publisher the work was submitted to, any necessary reference number, the date sent, postage, enclosures, mailing details, and a dated section for results.
Web Design (I and II)
These two useful project-planning templates help web designers lay out their vision and document their site development. Web Design I is best suited for the initial design work. It includes space for the site name, client, site purpose, and target market. The bulk of the form area is a grid for sketching out design ideas and a place for design notes.

Web Design II documents revisions and modifications to the original design. In addition to the sketching and note space, the form includes fields for the design revision number, the date those revisions were made, who performed the revisions, a listing of the modifications made (or to be made), and a dated signature line for sign-off by the client or supervisor.

Notes Templates

What organiser pack would be complete without its own set of note-taking forms? The D*I*Y Planner Kit contains four different types of note taking forms that range from ordinary ruled formats to Cornell Notes.

Notes
The D*I*Y Planner template kit contains three variations of a ruled Notes template: light, dark, and no shaded margin. We suggest keeping a good supply of these in your planner's Inbox tab so you can collect any sort of information on a moment's notice, then move it elsewhere as needed. Some suggestions for possible uses:

  • Information that wouldn't fit entirely on other forms (e.g., further details for a project outline, such as more resources, contact people, procedures, etc.)
  • A daily work journal, listing things done and when
  • Rough notes taken during meetings or phone calls that you'd want to move to a pertinent section later
  • Technical information for mail, servers, networks, etc.
  • Schedules for events
  • People to keep in touch with on a regular basis
  • Restaurants or stores to check out
  • List of birthdays (keep a master list, and copy these dates into your calendar each year)
  • Outlines for reports or other documents
  • Suggestions for improvements to these templates ;-)
  • ...and so much more...
Cornell Notes
Cornell Notes is a note-taking method developed by Walter Pauk of Cornell University. Students and professors benefit from this style as it simplifies structure, provokes thinking, and helps internalize the discussion. The template has three sections: Notes, Summary and Cues. This form is best used when taking notes in class, discussions, seminars, or meetings. For larger PDF files suitable for a letter-size planner, as well as instructions on how to use this system, go to American Digest's Free Cornell Note Forms.
Grid
The Grid template is a simple grid-line notes sheet, especially suitable for such things as design sketches, mathematics, diagrams, map-making, game designs, and landscaping.
Dots
The Dots template is a simple dotted notes sheet, suitable for many of the same uses as the Grid template, but without distracting lines.