Tuesday, August 12, 2008

Day-Week-Month-Year Planning

I just got my new day planner-slash-date book in the mail. I have been waiting long enough, I think. I started bugging my usual source back in June because it uses an academic calender, and I run out of calendar days at the end of July.

I've looked and looked for other versions, but this one fits me precisely. Each month has a two-page spread of days, and each week has a two-page spread of days, upon which each day is divided into 12 hours, with room for a summary, and two areas for projects and primary objectives. There's even a condensed Forward Planning Calendar for the upcoming year. Dude, this calender is awesome. And portable.

I have happily used Payne's Time Management System for years, and having experienced this calender, I can't go back to somebody else's inferior version.

This year, my source dried up. I bugged them several times, left my name and number to be notified when the new ones arrived, I begged them to nag the people who order new stock, to no avail. So when I called them two days into August (last chance!), and they still had not arrived, I tracked down the manufacturer online and *ordered* one for myself from Virginia. It was a drastic step because usually I am all for supporting local businesses, but c'mon! It was August and I had run out of days. Did they think everyone takes August off?

So I have this new one that just arrived. I haven't started writing in it yet, although I have been filling up the condensed planner in back. It says things like: Olympics Start 08/08/08 and Bush's Last Day 01/20/09, and Valentina Lisitsa concert in Nov. Also things like Mammogram at 10:40 (canceled) and M&S's wedding extravaganza, Ted's house concert, and Don't Forget to Pick Blueberries This Month. Plus, oh yeah, all the gigs I've got coming up in the next 4 months, circled in florescent pencil.

I don't know what's holding me back from entering all my information onto the fresh, clean pages. Maybe I have invested so much in my condensed version that it's daunting to transfer the whole thing to the full sized calendar. Maybe that's it. Back when I had a January to January datebook, it was always a chore to transfer all the birthdays from one to the other, and I'd invariably miss a few. Now it's not just a fresh year, it's a backlog.

Well, get to it, missy. Time's not going to wait for you and the longer you wait, the more tiresome it will be.

I will be relieved when it's done, I know. I love filling in and scheduling. When I was in college, I'd spend hours picking over the offerings and requirements in the next semester's new course catalogue, and construct a schedule of clarity and beauty. I had my main coursework plotted out over *years*. The charts were something to behold. My academic advisor was *very* impressed, but it was just the way I worked. Had to get it down on paper.

I still like the visuals. I can scan across a page and ask myself if I am over-extending myself by piling up appointments and sessions and gigs. I like spacing them out so that the pages look balanced. Orange for gigs, yellow for tutoring or teaching. Birthdays and special occasions up top. Arrows to account for time spent commuting. Do I already have a lot of things packed into one day or one month? If it looks balanced, I think my life is more balanced too.

I think the satisfaction of the day planner also comes from being a concrete reminder of my decisions. Once I make a decision and put it on the schedule, it's practically done. No more (reliving the) stress over whether I should do this or that. I took the gig in mid September, but not the one in early January. Done! Nice and neat on the page. No more debating or hand-wringing. And if something gets rescheduled or deleted, I cross it out or, if that's too messy, stritch a little white-out across the box. Begone! Out of sight, out of schedule; no time to waste on regrets and what-ifs.

You know how the world tumbles around in ones head? Well, the way it does in mine, anyway. I enjoy taking the different colored blocks and blobs that tumble aboout, pluck them out the air, and arrange them so they make sense. That's my day planner, a conceptual arrangement. That's my NEW day planner, put into use. Yay!


Lori said...

I have tried print calendars/diaries/etc several times but none have worked for me. But I do have a pda which works beautifully. What's really great is I can transfer dates (especially birthdays) just by syncing up with my computer.

Joy! said...

PDAs can be a lifesaver. I am too visually-oriented (needing paper) to do well with an electronic calendar, but my husband was very happy with his palm-pilot and now with his online calendar. I am still the keeper of the social calendar, however. :)