Space And Time: Planning Next Week | Giftie Etcetera: Space And Time: Planning Next Week

Saturday, January 25, 2014

Space And Time: Planning Next Week

There is a big difference between knowing what you need to do today and knowing what you need to do next week. One of the main reasons that I use a paper planner is the ability to visualize my upcoming week.

Honestly, electronic planning works really well for knowing what you need to do today. If something pops up that must be done, you just do it. Open Outlook and check off those three tasks. Go to Google Calendars and note that 3 p.m. appointment. Use Evernote to make a list. But electronic planning makes it too easy to add stuff to next week. After all, computers have virtually unlimited capacity for adding appointments and tasks. 

Paper artificially creates limited space. Limited space, while it's something that everyone who loves planners eventually whines about, is one of the greatest strengths of paper planners. 

As I add things to next week, I eventually run out of room. When my layout (a horizontal weekly layout, in my case) creates an artificial barrier to adding anything else to my task list, I either have to stop adding things or rearrange and reschedule things to other weeks. The artificial barrier (space) reflects a real life barrier - limited time to actually accomplish tasks. The lack of space forces me to plan next week in a way that is actually doable.

My monthly calendar shows timed events. Next week is already busy. I know if I schedule too much other stuff, I will be overwhelmed and too busy to focus on important things. Again, limiting my appointments to these teeny tiny blocks is a positive thing.

If I just kept my tasks in Outlook or my calendar on-line, I don't think I would be as aware of what is upcoming. There is nothing like writing something down and realizing that you are out of space already, a week in advance. It forces you to prioritize what actually needs to get done.

For example, right now, my general task list is full. I need to do some things or it will be overwhelming. Even limiting myself to a hot list helps me think reasonably about what I can and should do.

When you choose your layout, think about what you are actually capable of accomplishing in the time allotted on the paper. 

If you are consistently overbooking, maybe you have too much space! (Gasp! Too much space?!? It can happen, you know. :) ) If you consistently have too much time and accomplish everything on your list, maybe you have too little space. Adjust accordingly.



yezenia said...

Excellent points!

RobbieKay said...

I like how you box in red your due dates. Will probably be stealing that idea.

Josh LaPorte said...

Yes, I always notice that electronic to-do lists become gigantic and mind-boggling. I look at them, don't know where to start, and do something else to assuage the panicky feeling. Paper rarely creates these panic-paralysis situations and certainly the limited physical space creates some barriers to overloading the agenda. Good point!

Anonymous said...

I tried to make the electronic planners work for me. Space might have been a reason why it didn't. said...

Agreed. I posted a tip once that said if you run out of space on your to-do list, you're probably going to run out of time, too. Something like that.

Limits are helpful. When I start thinking I want bigger pages, I remind myself that I can't get done what I'm putting on my smaller pages so why do I need more room?! I don't!