Monday Tools

It’s Monday. Which means it’s time to get back to work and be grateful that the boss isn’t a Patriots or a Falcons fan. Today, I thought I’d peel back a couple of tools that I think are working for me these days.

First, in the realm of the printed calendar. Yes, I have seen the future, and it’s printed and bound and the batteries don’t die. That’s a printed calendar. Why? Because there are far too many things that go wrong on the digital one. Do I have enough service? Is my phone responding? Can I get it typed up quickly?

In truth: no. No, I cannot. It takes me too long to get the right app open and then enter information. It’s rude to you as you wait for me and wastes both of our time. But I can flip open a paper calendar and it’s all right there. And if I do not have it on me, I have one other notebook on me that I will reconcile when I get back to my calendar.

So, what calendar? I have waffled among several calendars, but then came to this conclusion: I have to grab a dated calendar. If I have to write in the dates, I won’t use it. That one question: will I use it? canceled several calendar/planners that I liked otherwise. That includes the Basics Notebook (now the NOMATIC notebook) and the Week Dominator. I still live and die by NeuYear.net’s yearly calendars. There is nothing better for seeing the year as a whole at a glance. And I love the task pads that they make and still use those—but the weekly calendar has been set aside. It was also big, more of a desk format.

The Nomatic Notebook has some great features and it’s in the smaller size (6x9 ish) that I like. But the undated nature made it a problem. Again, that’s me.

I’m using Ink and Volt’s Volt Planner. The one thing it lacks is a strap to hold it closed, but overall, it’s got a good layout and the extras are helpful (if used). I like that the times of day are blocks (morning, afternoon) instead of hours, though I could use an additional block for some days. The brainstorming charts are great, and the month calendars are with the appropriate weeks.

There are couple of items on the Nomatic that I would add to the Volt, and if the Nomatic were dated, I’d reconsider, but as it stands I’ll keep with the Volt.

Now, alongside the Volt as my planner (and the big NeuYear Annual Calendar on the wall), I use two other pieces of paper. The first is a standard-size Moleskine Professional Notebook (hardcover). It’s got the right layout for everyday journaling for me, including tracking todos and learnings. The other item is a pocket-sized Moleskine Hardcover notebook. If I’m away from my desk, that little notebook is (should be) within arm’s reach. (within reason) That’s where everything goes that doesn’t get dealt with immediately. See me in the grocery store and want me to put something on my calendar? It goes in there, and then when I reconcile the two, I get it all caught up.

This all requires a personal discipline to make it work. And, when I do it, it works.

The next items is digital: I’m back to using Nozbe as my center point for digital organization. By linking it with Evernote and Google Calendar, it becomes a one-stop glance at what needs done in a day. If there’s an Evernote reminder, it shows up. I put dates in Nozbe and that goes to Gcal, and then I can send invites if need be.

Is it all perfect?

No.

It does take the first Pomodoro (more on that another day) to make sure everything’s in sync. That’s okay. It gives me a look at my day before I get into it. Frequently, that’s actually my last look at work for the night.

Those are the tools that are working for me right now.

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