Friday, October 8, 2010

Daily Diary + Weekly Planner

Here are the details of how I'm using my daily diary (my Quo Vadis Textagenda that I reviewed yesterday) and my weekly planner (currently using my 2011 Life Book Diary) concurrently.

My weekly planner is Mission Control.  In it I write all my appointments, do my meal planning, plan holidays and otherwise do general planning.  In the Monthly section I see the overview of each month, track bills due and paid, fill in my monthly budget totals, write my monthly goals and monthly reviews.

Even though the day spaces in the weekly planning pages of the Life Book Diary are pretty big, they are still not big enough for everything I want to write each day (which is a lot). So, I ordered up my Textagenda.

I know some people find it redundant to use a weekly planner and a daily diary at the same time.  And then I know other people who use both, or have separate weekly and daily sections in their Filofax.  I'm using a setup similar to how this woman uses her Filofax as her planner, and her notebook for each day's task list. In fact she was my inspiration for using this two-book system, so many thanks to her!

I had a few days to think about how I was going to use my Textagenda while I waited for it to get here, so even though it's only Day 1 of using it, my plan is fully formed:  my Textagenda is all about Today.  My weekly planner is for planning ahead (which I absolutely need a week view to do), my Textagenda is for planning and recording today.

Today's appointments get written in the timed schedule area at the top of the page, and the day's priority goes in the Priority box.

Today's to-do list is written on the lines below. This is the space where I can do a brain dump to get out of my head all of those little details of what I need to do, things to bring with me that day, steps to do in a certain order, and whatever else needs to get done today.

Today's page is also today's In-Box. All those little notes, numbers, ideas, whatever comes at me throughout the day gets jotted on the page.  It's very handy to grab my planner, open it to today's page, and jot anything down rather than dig for a notebook or scrap of paper and then hope I can find that note again later.

Today's expenditures get written on today's page, to capture them immediately (and not rely on my questionable ability to keep all my receipts until the end of the day to tally later). At the end of the week I write totals for each category (groceries, kids' activities, gifts etc.) in my weekly planner, then at the end of the month I total each of these categories for the month.  I find it simplifies my process to have weekly category totals, which makes my monthly totaling much easier to accomplish (and therefore much more likely that I'll actually do it).

Today's record of events like: stuff I want to remember to write in my journal later at home; learning activities and books I read with my kids that day; exercise; the weather; and anything else I want to keep as a record of the day.  Some things (like journaling memories) may get transferred to a different book later, but writing it on today's page is a convenient way to capture it and allows me find it again later easily.

Any appointments or events scheduled while I'm out and about get written into their appropriate date and time, and I also make a note on today's page to write it into my weekly planner at home.

I carry my Textagenda with me everywhere, and my weekly planner stays at home, so at the end of the day I review today's page and transfer anything that needs to be written into my weekly planner. For me, it's very helpful to have only one place, today's page, where everything gets written even if I have to transfer it somewhere else later. That way the information gets captured reliably and I can find it again easily.

There are so many ways to use a daily book.  I love this article on the At-A-Glance blog about various ways to use a day per page diary (some of which I have incorporated into my Textagenda usage).  You'll notice my comment on that blog post, which refers to my post When Is A Planner Not A Planner? that has more ideas for how to use a daily book.


  1. Thanks for sharing this, Laurie! I'm one of those people who have both a weekly AND a daily section in their Filofax. Your system had the big plus that you can see both at the same time, whereas I have to turn pages.
    I have just one question regarding your setup: how do you make appointments when on-the-go, without having your appointment book (Life Book) with you? Aren't you afraid of double bookings?

  2. Great question, Jotje. I write all my appointments into my daily diary and keep it constantly updated with all my appointments and events. In fact, the daily has become my main diary for appointments. Then when I get home I write the appointment into my weekly planner so I still have the weekly view of my appointments, to help me prepare for what's coming up. So, I do have to write each appointment into two separate books, but like you noted I have the advantage of seeing the daily details and weekly overview side by side.

    Here is an example of how this works: Let's say I'm out and about today Oct 9. While I'm out I make an appointment for dinner at 6 pm on Oct. 16. So, in my daily diary I'll write my Dinner in the 6pm space on Oct 16. And also, I'll write on today's page (Oct 9) "Dinner 6pm Oct 16." Then at the end of the day when I review today's captured information, I remember to write that appointment into my weekly planner.

  3. Great post Laurie - your thoughts on "Today" were very helpful. I had also seen the At-a-glance post when looking at a couple of planners onine and was thinking of this daily process. So when you posted about the "Today" concept more in relation to Textagenda, I was hooked. Especially when you covered the part about the "inbox" - I had just started using the small weekly planner I carry in my purse for just such a function (info. collections from voice mails, items from co-worker "drop ins", kids' plans, etc.) but was finding it would be nice to have that information recorded for a specific day, and still something small I could keep with me.

    Also, I've really enjoyed the Minister postings and when I saw Quo Vadis products in the store I was very impressed with their paper quality but earlier, just couldn't justify buying one of those and switching over my primary weekly planner.

    But since this concept and planner would fit with something I was already trying to do (and give me an excuse to buy Quo Vadis product with their paper), yesterday I went to a store where I recalled seeing the Textagenda products, bought one and then converted over my current weekly planner I carry in purse to the new daily one. So far, yesterday and today, working as planned for "Today" focus!
    Thanks again for your blog!

  4. Hi Karensa, glad your Textagenda is working well for you! And I absolutely agree, the paper in the Quo Vadis planners is the best. It's nice that the book I use every day has such wonderfully smooth white paper. I love it!

  5. Another thought: how do you handle ToDo lists? If they are on your daily pages, doesn't mean frequently rewriting them? Unless you use post-its, or unless you are one of the rare people that actually finishes daily ToDo lists (I think I betrayed myself here ... ;-)).

    Your appointment setup sounds safe and feasible to me!

  6. Great question Jotje, here's how I keep track of To Dos:

    I write my weekly to-do lists on my weekly page, at the right side (there is a specific place for Things To Do). I review these each day so I can remember to do them when I get around to it.

    Things that must be done on a specific day get written into my daily dairy on the day they must be done.

  7. What a wonderful post, Laurie!!
    I really like the way you've set up your system. It makes perfect sense, you keep records of your day ON THE DAY, so there's no way to miss them!
    Also, I'm glad you explained on your previous comment how you go about your To Do list, as I have it sightly similar to yours, but even so can manage to procrastinate (I guess it's not my planner's fault anymore).

    I have one question: how long does it usually take you to transfer all the Textagenda info into your weekly planner?
    I know it's been only a week with your new system, but how is it working so far? are you happy with it? have you tweaked something in the meantime?

  8. Well, to be completely and totally honest, this system is not working all that well for me unfortunately. Using two separate planners is making me feel scattered. Perhaps the worst thing is that I don't look often enough at my weekly list that's on my weekly planner. The list is not visible enough. And at the moment I'm writing each appointment and event 4 or 5 times: in my Textagenda 1) on the day it happens, and 2) on today to remind myself to write it in 3) my weekly section of my Life Book. Then I usually write it also 4) on the wall calendar so my family can see, and even 5) in the monthly section of the Life Book. It's stressing me out!

    Not looking at my weekly To Do list is the worst thing, and things are going undone. I'm still tweaking this system, but I wonder if it will actually work for me long term.

    I'm thinking of going back to my Trinote, because the categorized list boxes organize my to-dos so well and keep them visible. The big day spaces and daily notes space might be big enough, if I can write neatly.

    We'll see what I come up with. My planner usage is always a work in progress. I'll keep you posted!

  9. My A5 with my QV Timer 21 in it is working great as my desk planner. It stays open on then of my desk, always available to quickly look things up, I don't have to wait the short time it takes to open iCal on my iMac. Like your Trinote Laurie I can add notes and appointments all on the same page. I think the layout is great.


  10. Yes I really think that layout is the best, everything is visible so nothing falls victim to my "out of sight out of mind" tendencies.