I feel like I have been a very organized person in most aspects of my life, including work. However, when I took on a different role last year, I found that my style of organizing tasks and notes just wasn't cutting it.
Due to the nature of my job, I tend to write down a lot of notes. These notes are separate from meeting notes, and are of a more day to day type nature. For virtually all phone conversations and face to face discussions, I am taking notes, even if it is just the name of the person and a few words that summarize what was talked about. From these discussions I often generate to-do list items.
In the past I was very successful organizing these tasks either with the weekly view on the uncalendar (which I previously reviewed) or even just a little notebook with a daily task list which I would transfer to a new page everyday. I could leave this on my desk and work directly from this list. However, those items do not work well now that I am taking all of these notes, as that is what I am primarily using. When I try and use two separate books, I either end up taking notes in the planner and there is not nearly enough room for that or I scribble the task in my notes where they easily get missed.
So I decided to use my Arc hole punch and rings to make a custom solution for this problem. Here is what I needed with this planner:
Quality paper, with narrow lines (so no Arc branded paper)
Small enough to fit between my keyboard when pushed forward and the edge of my desk, since I am also often using the computer on these calls to look things up and what not
Task list on each page, but without having to re-write it due to the number of tasks/projects
Space on the task list to keep things that need to be on my radar in front of my face everyday, as some items
can take days or weeks to resolve
A spot to outline the daily priorities
from the task list
Flexibility, because one day I may take three notes on a half a page and other days I may take five pages of notes.
This story will read a bit like Goldilocks and the Three Bears....I couldn't get the planner to work out "just right". I started with a simple, initial prototype as displayed in the first picture. For the cover, I re-purposed some of the junky manilla folders that I had around since they were well past their prime. I really wanted this notebook to have a binding at the top of the page rather than the side, so that I didn't have to write across the rings. It was challenging to line the punch up correctly with the paper due to the fact there was no marked line on the Arc punch for this size of paper or for a top of sheet punch.
The first prototype was just a regular letter sized sheet that was punched and bound using the standard Arc discs. But it was too big to fit in front of the keyboard. In an effort to go smaller, I bought a pack of notepads, tore out the pages and bound those. This ended up being a bit too small as you can see from the picture.
I didn't really like either of these initial prototypes due to page size and because the discs were too big. I bought a heavier weight ream of paper and hat it custom cut at Staples and I bought discs from Levenger that were only 1/4" instead of the 1" discs from Staples.
I ended up cutting the paper down one inch from the side and top and with the smaller disc (which hold about 50 pages) it was the perfect size. I also took the time to print the paper with various colors, line widths, borders, dot grid, margins/no margins etc. This solved my color, quality and size problems.
To solve my task problems, I printed half sheets with plenty of room for tasks as well as keeping a separate area for daily priorities. For items I need to keep on my radar, I just write on the back of the list or use a post it on the back. This half sheet can be moved as I go from page to page and it keeps the list in front of me so I don't scribble tasks on the note pages. The cover is another folder that I picked up from the Target One Spot section several months ago.
Here is a shot of the planner in action. Notice the half sheet, moveable task list and the yellow dot grid paper.
I started using this planner at the beginning of September and so far it has worked out OK. There are still some design flaws, like some of the ruling is a bit too narrow and the line color and weight on some sheets is too dark. The best pages are really the dot grid, I think I could just do an entire one of these with dot grid paper.
I would love to hear your ideas to make improve upon this design or any tips for better organization. also let me know if you have any questions!
Finally, time for me to share my Chicago, H Mart finds. Inside of H Mart is a store called Fancy Pencil Land. There are no links to the little store, but there are some reviews on Yelp. I picked up these six Morning Glory brand notebooks. They all ranged in price from 3.99 to 5.99.
The main difference between all the notebooks were the covers. The green one below is hardback, one had a poly cover and a couple were regular notebook weight covers. Some the pages had some margins and some didn't. All were color coded, except for the one that is like a sketchbook (see below).
I did a quick pen test, just to illustrate paper quality. I picked a ton of pens, so hopefully there is an example for everyone. Overall, the paper does very well. Some minor show through with the more bold felt tip pens, but no real bleed-through. (By the way, nearly every pen on this test was purchased from JetPens so if you see something you like, visit them!
This notebook is somewhat unique because it is unlined and more of a newsprint paper. I think it is meant to be a sketchbook.
Now for the best part, a giveaway! I think this notebook is meant for lefties, now I am not 100% sure of that--but it makes sense based on the spiral being removed from the side. I am not a left handed and although this notebook is cool, I feel like I should give it a good home somewhere else. Now that being said, you do not have to be a lefty to win. All you have to do is leave a comment on the blog. The contest will be open until 11:59pm on Sunday, September 29, 2013. After that I will do a random number generator to pick a winner. I'll ship it to you anywhere, so no need to be in the US to win.
I'll announce the winner on Monday, September 30, 2013. Then you have until Sunday, October 6th to email me at schoolsupplydance AT gmail, to give me your email address. So be sure to check back if you comment.
I wanted to share the last two week's worth of layouts. I posted this first picture when it was just a blank page, but I wanted to share what it looked like when I was done with it. I clearly need more to do, so that my weeks are more decorated!
There are several things I like about this week....first being the chevron washi tape. I think it is adorable. Second, I love the little post it note that is half graph paper half notebook paper. I wish I had full size sheets in a notebook with that layout--it would make for a great DIY planner background. I am also really having fun with this weekly layout. I need to mess around with it a bit more to try and find a way to make the weekend larger and the weekdays smaller. I rarely have stuff to do during the week except for work and I have a completely different work planner system.
Just as a side note, every pen I used on these layouts were from JetPens and are a mix of Sakura Gelly Rolls and Marvy LePens.
Stay tuned, as I will have a giveaway posted tomorrow and my post will cover all the cute stuff I bought in Chicago! I also have one more giveaway waiting in the wings from one of my favorite retailers...so keep an eye out for that.
This past weekend we took a trip to Chicago. The trip was all about retail therapy and I wanted to visit a store a co-worker told me about. In Niles, IL there is a store called H Mart, which is a Korean grocery store. To be honest, I had never heard of this store, but this gal from work shared that there was a great stationery section, so I knew I had to go check it out.
I was not disapointed. This little tiny shop inside the larger H Mart store was stocked to the ceiling with all sorts of stuff. From headbands to sticker to Hello Kitty and posters of bands--this place had it all. But most importantly they had pencils and notebooks. My wallet is quite a bit lighter after this visit and my stock of notebooks s much larger!
I will post more notebook pictures later this week, but here is just a taste of what I purchased.
These stickers are super cute and there were a lot to choose from. Plus the ones on the left are a bit raised/puffy. For the flags, I think those of you who use a Filo Fax type planner would like these because they are hole punched for a binder.
I also picked up a small undated planner. I bought it solely because I liked the cover, that was the total selling point for me. However, when I opened it up and saw how great the pages are, I was even happier with the purchase. Each page is decorated and is colorful. It has the monthly and weekly layout design I favor as well as a lot of space in the back for notes. To be honest, I will probably never use this planner, as I can't see breaking away from my DIY planner right now, but I just had to have it.
I also want to share one more thing. Most of the notebooks that I picked up are very similar, but one is not like the others. Therefore, I have decided to give it away! I am excited to do a giveaway post and I plan to post it later this week when I post the notebook pictures. Keep watching this space!
Work has been super busy this last 10 days or so, which is unfortunate because it infringing on my down time! This is especially poor timing since I am finding tons of random things to use when decorating my weeks in my planner.
I took a quick picture of a few things. I am most excited about the sticky notes I found in the dollar section of Target. These would be the book that looks like a composition book with triangles on it and the weather themed pack. I think the rabbit paperclips are cute as well, but those came from a little shop in Iowa City. I obviously won't need to use all of those on my planner, so the office may find some rabbit paperclips floating around!
I have a few more pages of layouts. This will bring my layouts to current and even show a blank layout for this week.
I glued in a sheet that I printed from http://incompetech.com/graphpaper/ then stuck in a piece of scrap paper from a previous project. I did some minimal decorating with a stamp and a small doodle.
I tried something completely new this week. I painted the right side of the page with hot pink acrylic paint. I did glue two pages together to ensure the page would be sturdy enough to handle the paint since this is a Moleskine and it doesn't always behave well. The paint worked amazingly well. I was actually surprised. I used a white Sakura Gelly Roll pen and it wrote just fine over the acrylic paint. The top border is a fabric sticker, cut to size. I did have to go over the word "August" about 5 times for it to show up well enough. On the paint, the pens tended to bleed. The pen that worked the best was fine point sharpies and the Sakura.
Due to my current love of all types of mint green, I wanted to just keep this week super simple. I only used mint green-ish inks and black ink. Specifically black Sharpie pen, Copic Multiliner in turquoise, and the Uni-ball Signo Angelic pen in green. I also tried a different layout on this week. This is new to the planner, I haven't used this layout before and I like it a lot.
I also want to point out this washi tape....I made it! I bought a roll of green masking tape and using a rubber stamp and Staz-On black ink pad, I created my own custom tape. I just used the stamp all willy-nilly. I wasn't trying to keep the pattern perfect, just pretty. Has anyone else made their own washi-tape? If so, I'd love to hear about what ink works the best for you. Staz-On ink seemed to work the best out of what I had.
This is the mostly finished and undecorated layout for this week. Again, this is a totally new layout. The majority of the tape is some cheap stuff I found in a dollar bin at Walgreens. It isn't paper tape it is more slick than regular washi tape.
Since I usually only have a few layouts worked out ahead of time, one of the main things I find lacking is the ability to plan several months ahead. I have no idea why I just don't add calendars since I am the one making this thing....but I never have. So again, like for summer I put in a few printables from Ahh-Design for planning out the upcoming fall and winter.