Being more productive and focused thanks to a new paper diary
Wanting to be more organised and more productive is hardly big news. We have known for a long time that emails we send based around being organised are far more popular. We all want to be more productive and more effective with our time. Basically, to get more done in less time. Please.
Another well known fact is the link between stationery and achieving this goal. Stationery makes you more effective. It is true. Even if you combine it with digital solutions, the act of writing out plans and ideas allows you to better visualise and manage the problems you have, and then shape them into something that will work for you. Whether it’s using a notebook or keeping a paper diary, pen and paper is good for you. It’s not a coincidence that we have made branded notebooks for almost every major tech company over the years. Even the best technology can’t overcome the power of pen and paper.
My Issue With Diaries, Planners & Journals
I have always shied away from keeping a paper diary in favour of a digital one, whilst keeping day-to-day notes and lists of what to do in my notebook. It works, up to a point. Where I feel it falls down for me is that it lacks a bigger picture of where I need to get to. Daily lists can head off in the wrong direction, and need bringing back on track. In short, I need a more prescriptive system to work to. Blank pages are an issue.
This is nothing new – in recent times we have had the popularity of the Bullet Journal, and this in turn has spawned a thousand imitations, one of the most recent being the Leuchtturm Change Journal. But these are systems I have never found work for me, and they rely too much on me following a system to make it happen. Still too many blank pages to let drift creep in.
So is there a solution? Well, just maybe there is.
The Design Trust Diary Planner
This diary popped up as a comment on a recent blog piece we did about the 10 Best Diaries for 2020. I hadn’t heard of it so I checked it out, and was suitably intrigued. Could this be the answer? I was very kindly sent a copy to review.
So what is it? Well, it is essentially a weekly paper diary, but one that has a simple idea running through it. You set out your aim for the year, then gradually break that into more manageable and achievable chunks until you arrive at daily tasks. A yearly goal becomes a series of quarterly or 90-day goals which in turn form a series of monthly goals, and this filters down to a weekly diary with daily to-do lists helping you with being organised. You manage your daily time around a much bigger plan knowing that you are putting effort and attention where you need it to go. So no more blank pages!
What marks this diary out is that it has almost 50 pages of notes to guide you in setting up your plans and getting organised. From explaining the thinking behind the diary, through some good pointers to help manage your time, as well as helping you set up marketing plans, social media plans and even financial targets this is a long way from having a blank page to work with. It also goes further in not just getting you to fill in boxes but explaining why and how to use that information. If that isn’t enough for you then there is also some online training included to help with goal setting and planning.
I asked to see a copy of this diary because I have never seen a diary quite like this. Whilst I would normally not consider such a solution, I felt it was something that I should embrace. It is a highly prescriptive format but one that I feel might just work for me.
I like how it steers clear of often-found self-help style and sticks to the basic idea of planning out your ideas into actions. Now it isn’t cheap – £45 is a lot for a diary. But then this is so much more than just that. If you factor in the guidance, the training and the potential to unlock results then £45 seems like a good investment.
I also like the focus on quarterly chunks – as it says in the diary 90 days is long enough to make a difference and short enough to keep you motivated.
There is no doubt that this will only work for some people – it is intended for creative businesses (designers, event organisers, bloggers and more), but could be used by anyone who has to make plans and set out a path to achieve them. I would also like to revisit this further down the line to see how much better organised I have become. So over the next few weeks I will prepare myself with my 2020 plans and then see how I get on.