Want to experiment? Let me help. I have made my arguments before about the benefits of using a paper-based planning system – paper has permanence, you use it all the time anyway, it doesn’t crash, it’s more adaptable than most apps, you can put the paper you receive into it, and it doesn’t cost £50 or more a month to maintain. But people are often reluctant to commit to using paper-based systems because buying a commercial system seems so expensive. I’ll get to that in a bit but, in fairness, no-one is going to invest umpteen quid in a Filofax (for example) if they don’t think it’ll work for them. So here’s my solution.
Try it for a month. I have published a One-Month Sample Planning System for you to try to see if it would be worth your while to try this method permanently. £5 plus postage (free if you’re a Prime member). That’s less cash than two pints.
This planner contains one-month of Daily Pages, three month planning pages, 3 master task lists, 4 goal-planning pages and 4 generic Project Lists. And it contains instructions on how to use it.
I am not proposing you buy a year’s worth. Just the one to see if it works for you in your situation.
If you use it and don’t like it, fine. You tried, and you probably learned something you can use in whatever system you prefer. If you try and it do like it, you can experiment either with finding a commercial version, or designing your own. (That’s another hint.) Or you can download the pages from the sample through my website HERE. That way you just need a 4-ring binder to keep them in and your job might oblige, or you can get something good from a shop. To be blunt, if you take that option you might want to buy the book ‘Police Time Management’ for the full MO for using one but you can probably also work out how to do it for yourself. Buying the book saves time. 😊
About commercial systems. You can go to Filofax, FranklinPlanner or Daytimers (all .com) and pay for a diary system (c£30-£50) and a binder (circa £50-£150) for a handy A5-ish version, and a bit more for an A4 equivalent (although only Filofax does ‘proper’ A4 and A5). You can get binders via EBay for more sensible outlay, though. Using your imagination you can save buckets of beer money.
If you’re really clever, like wot I is, you can design your own, get Amazon to publish it via kdp.amazon.com and get them to publish a years’ worth of your own design, bound as a paperback, for silly money – and maybe someone else will buy it.
One of the benefits of this approach is that everything you receive in the post – and as attachments in e-mails – tends to be based on the A4 template, the size of paper you use in your printer and which you can buy cheaply. Which means you can punch the letter you get, or print and punch the e-mail attachment, slap it into the planning system in the appropriate place – and forget about it. It’ll appear just when you want it. Without having to remember which OneNote file, memory card or phone you put it on.
And it’s a lot easier to write any additional notes on a bit of paper than on the electronic version on your device. And then easier to file it safely for when you need to reference the contents in a few years.
Yes, I know digital is good. But how often have you had a hard-drive go pop having ‘forgotten’ to back up, DropBox, OneNote etc with a copy of that bit of ‘paper’ you now need? Yep, me too.
How good is paper? Well, how many ads have you seen for devices that are ‘just like paper’, which you can ‘write on’ and ‘print’ – which are advertised as cutting edge. ‘Nuff said.