Monday, April 27, 2015

Planner Hack: Temporary Planner Pages

On a regular basis (like every single day), I get lazy. I'll do my planning, but not follow through. I'll write half of a word and believe, foolishly, that I will remember what I meant later. I use tags to move around reminders so that I don't have to rewrite routine tasks.

And, sometime, I rip out a planner page and move it somewhere else.

planner tips and tricks, planner hacks, tear out

No bothering with rings for me. Nope. Just rip out quickly and move to someplace else.

It works because the quick rip leaves tiny tears between the left edge of the paper and the hole punch holes. Those tears allow you to press the page securely into your planner.

It occurred to me that such a trick could be used for good instead of evil.

If you make a temporary list (say, a task list for a big meeting coming up or an errands list for a certain day), there is no need to go through the trouble of opening the planner to the dashboard to get blank paper, writing on the paper, undoing the rings, and moving the paper to the area where you need it (like project pages or in the weekly spread).

Instead, if you rip the paper out quickly, you can then press it gently into the rings anywhere in your planner.

For example, tomorrow I substitute teach. It will be a light teaching schedule with many breaks, but I won't have proper wi-fi access. I will need something to do during the breaks.

In addition to my usual daily docket page, I plan to make a temporary task list of things that need doing, but can be done at the school and without wi-fi (such as calling for a doctor's appointment, entering my receipts into my accounting app, and revising a document in Word). That list will be placed next to my daily docket in my weekly spread.

I want to keep the list, so I can continue it when I next substitute teach, but it will move to another week by then.

Of course, I COULD just open the rings and move the paper. But this technique has so many advantages over opening the rings:

* Tearing out the page forces me to complete the list BEFORE the little slits next to the hole punches wear out and allow the paper to fall out of my planner.

* The torn pages remind me that this list is temporary.

* Having torn pages makes it easy for me, psychologically, to toss the list once complete. (You know you have the same problems with hoarding planner pages!)

* I get to be lazy!

NOTE: I do NOT recommend this hack for permanent pages. Only use on temporary pages, as the effectiveness wears out and pages will fall out of your planner if you move them too often.

Be sure to comment below if you have other ideas for ways to use this hack. Of course, comments on my hoarder tendencies and how you share them are also encouraged.


Saturday, April 25, 2015

Cut Grocery Shopping Time in Half

Grocery shopping for a family of four takes me, on average, about two hours. Wandering through the store is a major portion of that time.

People kept telling me to use a map of the store. But I still had to look at the map and determine where each item was located. And the map included so much irrelevant stuff!

I did something simpler.

Step 1: Mark down aisle numbers as you shop.

I brought my grocery list to the store (simply jotted in my planner) and as I picked up an item, I wrote down the aisle number. 

Step 2: Make a simple table in Word or Excel of the aisles with your old, marked up grocery list.

TIP: Divide it into dry and cold food.

Step 3: Insert the items that you bought into the proper spot.

Oil is on Aisle 5, for example.

Now, when I make my grocery list, I can refer to this list.

Step 4: Set up your new grocery list (either in your planner or on a printout of this custom map) by aisle.

TIP: Write aisle number next to grocery on list, using spacing to leave room to add items.

2 - bread
2 - hot dog buns

? - raisins

11 - snacks

12 - chicken breasts

15 - eggs

Step 5: Each week, add any items that are not already on the list.

I buy some things only every now and then or monthly, but when I find them in the store, I make a note to add them to my running grocery list.

In the example above, I did that with raisins.

There is no reason to spend oodles of time shopping. A simple custom-made map of the store will be worth the time investment.

Today, grocery shopping took less than an hour!

Bonus points if you noticed that my first "COLD" food is "Hot Food." (I sometimes grab rotisserie chicken or something in the hot food area near produce.)

As an added bonus, this list makes a great reminder of what you might need at the store.


Friday, April 24, 2015

Temporary Lists: A Place in a Planner

Sometimes a list is not appropriate for a Project or a Notes/ABC File page.

It might be too active and need space on the weekly spread. Or it might be too short.

Right now, I have three of those lists going on: 

*timesheet log (covers a 2-week period),

*gifts (covers only the next two months, and just notes which of my sisters is purchasing which gift for which family members; we will reimburse each other as they are purchased), and

*owed (things owed to me or from me to others; should be taken care of over the next few weeks).

planner, post-it, dashboard

These lists are written on post-it notes. Each moves to my weekly spread if and when I will be dealing with it.

For example, the day that my timesheet is actually due (noted on my weekly spread), the sticky note with the times will move to the weekly spread.

When I am going to see my relative who is selling donuts for a fundraiser, I'll move the "owed" list to that day to remember to pay her.

Therefore, I just need a resting point for these lists where they are easily accessible, but not with my more complex projects or my notes (because they are quite active).

These temporary lists, as seen above, are stored right behind my post-it sticky note dashboard. The plastic card is perfect for holding sticky notes. Entries about the lists (like "Timesheet Due Thursday" or "Mom's Birthday - buy gift" with the "buy gift" scratched out because my sister bought it) go on the weekly pages.

So far, this little hack is working perfectly.

I'm thinking about putting menu here, too, instead of in my critical, limited weekly space.

Let me know if you have any other ideas for temporary lists!