After my last post about dealing with my perfectionism I was asked to write about how I make my plans. So this is it. And lots more. Because organizing yourself is a highly individual thing, and where non-creative people maybe would just use a run-off the mill planner you can buy in the store, creative brains rarely work with prefabricated grids and patterns. Still, life can be overwhelming and having some sort of support-system helping with that, can take a lot of anxiety out of pretending to be a grown-up, responsible adult. This post is by no means exhaustive, so if you have further questions, please ask!
What I plan to talk about:
- Choosing the right system
- Where to begin
- The Benefits of Colour Coding
- Sticky Notes
- How I do it
What I’m not going to talk about:
Apps and other computer-based means of self-organization, there are just to freakin’ many. And they don’t work with me at. all.
Choosing the right system
So. The creative brain. I often visualize mine as a mirror labyrinth filled with balloons, confetti and sparkle, unicorns, streamers and a billion of interesting knick-knacks. There’s a whole other universe hiding in there. Naturally, this makes it very hard to focus on this universe, and its demands and tasks. If I don’t (and I’ve slipped often enough to know this by heart now) put my ideas and tasks to paper, they vanish in this labyrinth to be never seen again. The tricky thing is to find a system that works for your brain and your days. I spent the most part of my day in an office, I don’t have a lot of other appointments I need to keep track of, and I have a complex long-term project running in the background. You might be a freelancer with deadlines and clients, you might need a place to doodle ideas for illustrations, etc, etc… Are you a highly visual person? Do you thrive with tick-off boxes? Do you need to monitor progress? There’s a lot of stuff to be taken into consideration.
There are lots and lots and lots of ready-made personal planners to chose from, if your brain needs prefabricated grids and slots and your days demand a calendar for dates and appointments. They run the gamut from the customizable and very expensive Filofax-System, the Midori Traveler’s Notebook, the Hobonichi Techo and the Passion Planner to all the less sophisticated, but cheap solutions your local stationary shop offers you.
If your brain needs a more flexible thing, there’s an equally staggering amount of solutions to chose from. DIY planners like the Hipster PDA or the Bullet Journal, or sophisticated project management workflows like Kanban boards or Scrum (nicked from software development). Or you come up with a system yourself.
If stuff on paper is not your thing, I gently direct you to the app store of your preferred flavour to choose from one the many, many, many To-do-List apps that can be found there. They come with all the bells and whistles, and build in reminders, which can be useful.
What works for me: I never seem to be able to find a planner that suits all my needs, although I love the neatness of the stuff you can buy. I’m a perfectionist after all. So I took a sturdy notebook, and build one myself, which I’m going to introduce further down. My very few appointments and other time-sensible stuff lives in iCal and pings me if needed, and I also have all my contacts on my iPhone and Mac, because that’s where I need them.
Somehow this blogpost got out of hand and really long, so I put the rest of it under the cut. Continue reading