As the days spin down, it's time to be thinking about how to plan all of your events and activities for 2013. In the past, we've talked a lot about finding the right planner to keep your days in order. Just a year ago, in Paper Doll Marks the Calendar for a Successful 2012, I shared my tips for selecting the consummate planner system, whether paper or digital, for your needs.
A daily planner is essential for marking your appointments, tracking your tasks, and being able to make decisions as you move through your life as a mobile juggernaut! But you also need a command center that stays put -- something to which everyone in the house or office can refer to avoid conflicts and misunderstandings.
If it's just your life and there are no tiny humans in the house or fellow staffers in the office, and if you're entirely content to flip through your planner every time you want to gauge momentum on a project, that's great. But if you've got to blend information about multiple people's obligations or need to track multiple deadlines and goals in a Big Picture way, you'll want something highly visible and maybe a little in-your-face. Today's post presents solutions that can do that.
NeuYear's Seize the Year 2013 has a novel way of showing you the entire year at a glance. This product, begun on the crowdsource-invention leader, Kickstarter, recognizes that there's a mental roadblock put up when full year calendars only show you separate months, usually in three rows of four columns each. The problem? When we plan our lives, we tend to think in weeks, not months, so seeing three days of a week on one month's block and four on another tends to fiddle with our brains.
We see this in monthly planner calendar pages, too, of course. That's why, when you flip calendar pages from February to March on a Tuesday, you may be shocked to find a major deadline or important appointment happening in the first few days of the new month. Oops! With Seize the Year, you can really see the fingers-do-the-walking distance between start and end dates of projects (whether it means getting into bikini shape for that first beach day or taking your entrepreneurial venture from dream to deliverable).
So, the Seize the Year calendar mixes obviously essential features with some nifty new ones. Yes, the calendar spans a full twelve months from January to December, and it's laminated so you can use dry-erase markers, or sticky notes if that's your preference. (A non-laminated version is available for those who prefer permanence in their scheduling lives.)
However, the boxes are larger than you see on most full-year calendars, giving you more space to write important information so you can see it from across the office. The full 27" x 39" poster-size calendar has a vertical orientation on one side and is horizontally arrayed on the other, to fit your door or wall space, as it works for you. In terms of the finer details, each week is displayed with weekdays grouped together and weekends separately, to give you more clarity about what you're doing and when. And, as NeuYear points out, dotted vertical lines reduce what they call "chart junk" so you can emphasize your deadlines.
It's $30 at the NeuYear site, but you can choose to Tweet about it (just once) to get a code for 20% off.
If you don't want something quite so big, but you'd still like to keep your master calendar in front of you, Mead's Organizher line has some lovely enhancements for home or office. For instance, the Write 'N Wipe Monthly calendar, which comes in grey
or pink adds some classy snazziness to your time management plan.
This dry-erase calendar has ample space for each day, with an informational column at the left to help you plan your own life, your kids' activities and even your meals. For those who prefer to focus on one week at a time, there's a Write 'N Wipe Weekly version, too -- same colors, same boxes, but it limits excess visual stimuli so you can focus on what you need to know.
Get two...one for "this week" and one for "next week" and rotate them on the fridge as necessary.
The Organizher line also includes a Week-to-Week Magnetic Notepad, with an enlarged version of the Write 'N Wipe Weekly on the front and a To-Do list on the back. Instead of write-on/wipe-off, it's a pad of paper with the essentials printed on the front and back -- use each page for a week, tear it off, and either toss it or save it for short-term reference. Then start each week with a fresh page.
Organizher products are available exclusively at Target, generally for under $10.
Of course, there are many wonderful options for Big Picture thinking in the calendar realm, including the PlanetSafe Dry Erase Planners I profiled when I recapped the 2010 NAPO Conference and Expo. For those who like a more free-form calendaring system and the ease of being able to move colorful "sticky" task assignments at will, the 7-Column Sticky-Note Task Planner may be ideal.
This eco-friendly planner works with dry- or wet-erase markers, is designed to work equally well with colorful sticky notes (which won't fall off), and comes in two versions, 19" wide by 24" tall, or 24" wide by 19" tall, for $21.95.
If you prefer to combine your task planning with a more traditional calendaring system, PlanetSafe has you covered with the Sticky-Note 30-day 7/5 Column option.
There's a standard calendar, a place for extra notes, a section for priorities by each day of the week, and a five-section row for each of your special projects...all for $21.95.
And, if part of your plan for the coming year is to be kind to the environment, you'll be comforted by the fact that PlanetSafe uses no petroleum based products. The entire line is made from 100% (post-consumer waste) recycled paper, organic vegetable inks and a 100% biodegradable plant-based film laminate.
Finally, although it's not a calendar, per se, Dreamfarm's Membo is the keenest up-on-the-wall reminder system I've seen in a while. Even if you know what you have to do, sometimes you're not sure -- did you do it? You can tell if the dishwasher has been run by inspecting the dishes within, but you can't tell if someone in your house has fed the kitty by the same method. Did you take your pill? Did someone take the puppy out for a walk? How will you be certain?
Membo is a slightly off-the-wall, on-the-wall solution for knowing whether a repetitive task has been completed. Just watch the video:
The Membo board holds tiles -- on the front of each tile, you see the task to be performed. On the back, a check mark or a filled-in version of the task signifies completion. When you complete the task, simply flip the tile and everyone (including you) will be certain it was done as planned.
The Membo comes in nine yummy colors: Bubblegum, Canary Yellow, Charcoal, Dreamfarm Blue, Fire Truck, Granny Smith, Ivory, Lavender and Pumpkin:
and in four main styles: Dog, Cat, Fish and day-of-the-week "Tick" (by which they mean tick marks or check marks, not the Lyme Disease carriers)!
Purchase Membo from the Dreamfarm website for about $20, or search Dreamfarm's Find A Store page for a location near you. Dreamfarm's sales venues are eclectic. Here in Chattanooga, home to Paper Doll HQ, my options were the Hunter Museum gift shop or Mia Cuccina, a cookware emporium.
Finally, as the last days of the year tick down, and you start to plan your goals, your appointments and your tasks, you might want to check out Janet Barclay's December 2012 Professional Organizers Blog Carnival on "Reflection and Planning" at Janet Barclay's Organized Assistant blog. (And yes, ahem, there's a piece from Paper Doll included among the contributions.)
Please feel free to share your favorite wall calendar and planning solutions, and I hope you're having a lovely time counting down to the end of the year. Or, y'know, the end of the world later this week, if you're Mayan.)
Julie Bestry, President of Best Results Organizing in Chattanooga, TN, is a Certified Professional Organizer®, speaker and author. Julie helps overwhelmed individuals and businesses save time and money, reduce stress and increase productivity through new organizational skills and systems.
For information on how Julie can turn your chaos into serenity and learn how you can Tickle Yourself Organized visit Best Results Organizing.
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