Over at David Seah’s Printable CEO resources is a form that I have been utilizing essentially as my desk planner: the “Resource Scheduler”. The Resource Scheduler is one component of his Resource/Time Tracker tool.
The function of the tool is to make it easy to map the deliverables on one’s radar for the week to specific time blocks during the week that this deliverable will be worked on. It’s handy because the user only has to enter the reference for the deliverable (i.e. “D1″) on the calendar, and if things shift, it’s easy to erase and reallocate time for working on that effort.
For my usage, I’ve kept a stack of the Resource Scheduler form dated for usually about eight to ten weeks ahead in a clipboard on my desk. I draw large “X” marks to block out time for meetings and for when I would be out of the office. Then I can identify for each week what deliverables I expect to have on my radar at that time (basically that’s my tickler file).
So, where does my new planner system come in?
I have been carrying a Franklin Planner around for several years now, but I simply haven’t been finding that I “work” the way it’s oriented to. I don’t use the daily to-do lists (my Resource Scheduler does that), I don’t keep daily records of events (I have several print-, computer- and web-based resources for that – that’s a whole ‘nother realm so let’s not talk about that here…) and I don’t use the calendar for mapping my time (between my computer/Blackberry based calendar and, again, the Resource Scheduler). The only writing that I did use my daily pages for would be to jot down thoughts & reflections if I found myself having “interstitial” time – at lunch when I would be out in the field at a project site, or sitting for a moment when I’d get to an event early (which is what I do). (Yesterday, I pulled from my planner binder the July pages which had not a single jot written on any of the pages.) I do use the goal planning resources, and I take and keep notes from meetings that I attend in the tabs at the back. (If you use Franklin Planners, you know what the tabs that I’m referring to are.)
Recognizing that much of that system wasn’t working for me, I finally went ahead and created my own calendar pages which emulated the Resource Scheduler form (I’d been meaning to do that for some time). Also, I devised business card size mini-note pages for use as task listings for various projects I’m working on. (Day-Timer carries business card holder sheets for 8.5″x5.5″ binders.)
So, construction and usage:
- Planning, goal setting, etc. are all per the Franklin Planner tools.
- On the calendar, each week has deliverable entries for professional “D#” and personal “P#” efforts. In the calendar blocks, each line on the calendar represents one hour of the day, and the sub-boxes for 8-12, 1-5 and 6-10 are included from David Seah’s form to make blocking out time on various tasks simple.
- Placed inside the planner binder after this month’s calendar pages are the Franklin Planner Weekly Compass bookmark, two or three business card sheets with four mini-note pages in each, and three or four blank 8.5″x5.5″ ruled note pages for my interstitial capture. Mini-notes sheets are identifed as “To-Do”, for individual projects, and for “threads”, which to me are higher-order perspective tasks or concepts that I’m wanting to be working on.
I’ve only just inaugurated this, so I’ll be reporting back on how it’s going, but I already see the ways that this tool will help me advance my own goal setting. Plus, it makes the Franklin Planner resource more directed for me – I use it to record forward-looking matters and meeting notetaking – so I’m less at a loss to decide what kind of jottings go where.
Here are the forms (for 8.5″x5.5″):
The calendar pages are intended to be printed double-sided on card stock, with the holes to be punched on the outside edges. I’m afraid the user has to craft the tabs as part of cutting the cards in half to make the classic size pages. (I don’t rightly know what to do with all the blank space and I’m open to suggestions. Also, I’m thinking about replacing the note page on the back of the calendar with four “starter” mini-notes pages, where I can capture threads or other in mind for that month (partially with that, I’m not really sure what a full note page is useful for).
(The sides need to be cut right at the edge of the lines to be the correct size horizontally.)