{Planner Maniac} One Book July 2017 review

by Julia

It’s August already which means it’s time to wrap things up about the One Book July experience for 2017. Every year I learn something more about myself in terms of panning systems and preferences, and that’s why I like taking part in the challenge so badly.

For some weird reason, while it is a summer vacation kind of month for everyone else, for me July seems to be a quite busy (and somewhat life-changing) period for me, every single year. Which means

a) I need a functional planning system even more

b) I don’t have much time to dedicate to any other planner-related project

So basically during July I kind of set the ground for the things I would like to explore and expand in the following months (planner-wise). I will be moving again next year so this will definitely be a trend for 2018 as well!

This year too I’ve identified a couple of pivot points that are going to be the compass for my future decisions and set ups, but I also want to pinpoint a few open questions I’ll have to reflect upon in the next months:

  1. my current system works. I’ve been facing one of the worst planner slumps I ever had between September 2016 and March 201; things got a little better in April when I started experimenting with Strike Thru system – but I soon realised it just wasn’t enough for me. So at the end of May I deduced I needed the ‘structured flexibility’ that only a ring planner can provide me with, and I finally got to put my Filofax Boston Compact into use. I set it up with the GTD-inspired system I had experimented with back in September, and combined it with my Paperblanks Slim weekly diary – which has been the only constant bit in my planning process since February. Even thought there are still a few things I have to tweak (see below), it’s an easy, non-overlapping, trustworthy system. 
  2. I need lines. Everywhere. As much as I would love to have one of those amazing handwritings I actually don’t, and having to write in plain paper makes things even worse. This is why the Paperblanks has been a real deal breaker for me, and why things with the Muji planner didn’t work out. So lined, grid or dotted paper, but no blank.
  3. paper brain dump is key. I don’t know why I didn’t do this before (I had not designed a brain dump section in my first experience with GTD back in September), because it’s a real game changer. I still type quick notes on my phone when I’m out and about but jotting down ideas in a trusted place where I know there’re gonna be re-read and revised (instead of just sitting there for millennia) is huge for me. It doesn’t simply help reducing the pressure on my mind but it also ensures I actually take action on those ideas, evaluating and sorting them at the right time. Amazing.
  4. open question No. 1: how should I organise my weekly/dailies? (and my monthlies as well, but those are less urgent). I have a section for daily pages in my Filofax that are just grid papers I normally use in bullet-journal style. But this often doesn’t work out well, so in July I started playing more with my trusted digital apps (Trello and Wunderlist). I liked it but after a while I felt the need to go back to paper (unsurprisingly),though I don’t have a new system in mind that could work better than bullet journal at the moment. I use my Paperblanks weekly pages for appointments, due dates and time-bound activities – and I want it to stay that way, I definitely don’t want to mess it up with to dos and tasks. So in this regard I’m back at the starting point.
  5. open question No. 2: should I be bold with my planner again? Now that I know my system works, should I start incorporating new bits in it? Or this is exactly the way to go back to planner slump? I found a few ladies on YouTube that have given me a lot of inspirations/ideas lately + I know I tend to get bored after a while if I keep using always the same inserts. So I would like to find simple ways of introducing small novelties to keep me interested, without altering the system itself significantly.

One of the ‘side effects’ of One Book July is that it always awakens the planner passion in me, so I guess I’ll give it even more energy during August and I expect myself to be more proactive in implementing new planner uses and strategies 📒