I may not be working now but I have been thinking about what sort of format would suit me if I were still working. The Filofax or any similar open-ring planner would be ideal for work. Even better if it were in A5 size as it provides more space to write things down. So here’s how I would set up my imaginary work planner.
I would definitely start with a Month on Two Page (MO2P) calendar system to note down my work days and any important events or classes to attend.
Then I would move to a Day on Two Pages (DO2P) format for daily tasks. Having a full day’s space for scheduling is helpful if your schedule is as busy as how mine was. These pages can be found on Philofaxy’s website, which has a fantastic range of free printables in every useful format you can think of.
(Just ignore the dates for now as this is for demonstration purposes only.)
The left is dedicated to a schedule, e.g. meetings or to-dos that are time-sensitive, and the right has Tasks and Notes sections. I’ll try to keep cute stickers and washi tape to a minimum because they will take up precious writing space. But use colourful pens and highlighters if possible. I find highlighting completed tasks to be better visually than adding a check mark. I will add stamps here and there but only if they add value to the page.
A full-year’s worth of pages in the planner is not required because that can bulk it up and weigh it down. I’d want a planner or system that is portable and lightweight and not something that can be a chore to lug around. I would probably keep a quarter’s worth (e.g. four months) at a time. But the monthly pages can be the full year, which allows me to plan some important events in advance.
There are quite a few extras to stuff into the planner too such as pages for national/state public holidays, important contacts, international dialling codes, timezones, quick notes, master to-do lists, work related goals and objectives, finance tracker (to track my monthly salary input and output), personal info and emergency contact page, a dashboard for sticky notes,… basically whatever that I’ll find useful.
I would also keep a separate notebook for notes. That’s only because I have something to refer to in the future especially if I am removing previous months’ pages from the planner on a monthly or quarterly basis. There may be something important that transpired during a meeting that I do not want to forget or lose (such as a conversation with the boss).
Keeping meetings in sync on the smartphone or computer can compliment a paper planner too. An electronic gadget has the ability to alarm or beep if there is an upcoming meeting or event, something a physical planner can’t do. But the planner is mainly to track “everything” that I need to accomplish in the day. And if I review it several times a day, I will likely be a more organised and well-planned person 🙂
Anyway, I hope you found this post useful. It may be difficult to get into a planning routine and it can seem overwhelming but it will get easier as time goes by. I cannot retain everything in my head so having a second brain a.k.a. paper planner really helps. I just wish I had thought of this when I was working and if I do decide to go back to the workforce, I’ll know what to do then.
If you’re looking for free printable diary pages, I’d suggest checking the Philofaxy Diary Inserts. There are so many different formats available that I’m quite sure you can find something you’ll need. Alternatively, you can purchase ready-made ones from most bookstores.
Do you use a planner for work and what have you found to be most helpful to keep you organised during a busy work day? Pop in and share your thoughts as I’d love to learn more tips from you.