Planning Regime - Update

by Stuart Lennon

February is drawing to a close; time then to review where I am with my planning routine.

I set out my plans here. On 1857 (a podcast that I do with TJ Cosgrove), I intimated that I was aware that the regime was going to be tough to maintain.

I was using a pair of desk books, my Trigg Life-Mapper and my diary from Smythson. These two books have different features.

The Trigg is day-to-page, with proscribed sections for To Do, Plan, Delegate, Delay and room for four appointments. Built into the book are areas for planning and goal-setting. 

Trigg Life Mapper

The Smythson is a horizontal week to view, with a more traditional 'time line' from top to bottom, running from 8 until 8.

Where nearly every page of the Trigg is formatted, the Smythson has a large section of ruled pages, some plain and even a few graph.

I have found the Trigg approach useful. It overlaps with a course that I have been following by Shawn Blanc of the Sweet Setup, which is his own take on personal productivity. I am now very much focused on getting the most important things identified and completed each day, rather than being busy for the sake of it. 

I do however struggle with the Trigg for time blocking. Visually, I find it much easier with a week-to-view, as this helps me identify where I have meaningful blocks of time available, and allows me to block time off for important tasks. 

Gradually, I have found myself using the Trigg methodology in the Smythson book. I also find the lined pages useful for writing drafts. I use the top of each day to track three habits that I am determined to cement into my days. (Read, Exercise and Meditate.)

Smythson Diary

At the top of the page, each morning, I write the top three tasks that I want to achieve during the day. Just three. These are the three things by which I will judge the success of the day. Sometimes, there might only be two. The vital thing is that these are important things. Each morning, I'll decide which are the top tasks, note them here and block time off for them.

So - in terms of prioritisation, the Smythson is winning out for me, because of my personal preference for the week-to-view.

Apart from my desk books, I was using my Every Day Carry for data capture. This continues. I'm going through two or three pocket notebooks a month. These are for a combination of things - task lists, quick thoughts, ideas for blog posts, podcasts, anything really. 

Daily Carry

Now, brace yourself, but I do also use digital tools for capture. Photographs for one, but also I might want to make a task from an email, or simply when I have a phone in my hand. For this, I use Things. I have it on my computer, but mostly I use it on my IOS devices. 

The data from the digital devices and the pocket notebooks all feeds into my daily planning. Some entries simply get ticked off, because they are done. Some might get digitally dealt with, filed into specific projects in Things or into my calendar. Others get added to a rolling To Do list at my desk. surprise, surprise this might be a variety of different notebooks. 😁 Right now, it's a Slate by Blackwing.

Overall, I'm enjoying the tools, and feeling productive. It's good.

How are you all getting on?