Enter the Matrix

In the past few months, ever since D*I*Y Planner 2.0 was released, I've heard from some very interesting (and often very strange) people who are sharing some ideas about what they want to track in their planners. In all, I have fielded maybe a hundred or so requests for certain types of templates. Some I have provided in one form or another, such as the Contact form for the Hipster PDA Edition, which you'll probably see in the 3.0 release of the classic kit. Some are so niche that I can't justify spending much time on them -- the Night Watchman log and the Tropical Fish Breeding requests come to mind. And then there are those concerning subjects I know so little about that I cannot create effective templates -- the Make-Up Accessoriser, the Carb-Counter, the Ovulation Indexer and certain types of fitness forms are good examples. (My wife will attest to my lack of knowledge --and interest-- in make-up, hair products, fashion accessories and anything else that sends my testosterone into a tizzy. And ovulation...! I get confused by our garbage collection schedule!)

Just because I'm not producing templates for these things doesn't mean that you have to do without your precious diet logs and breeding trackers, though. About 90% of requests that come from the users of the D*I*Y Planner system can probably do just fine with one particular form, the Matrix. (And please, no blue pill / red pill jokes: I've heard them all.)


In the classic 5.5x8.5 and A5 'Planner kits, the Matrix comes in two versions, portrait and landscape. (There is also a Hipster PDA version.) It is essentially meant for keeping track of tabular data. Herewith, some examples:

  • Grade Tracker : Students, why use another agenda when you have a perfectly good planner? Teachers, why do you need to carry around that big heavy red book?
  • Book/Tape/CD/etc. Borrowing : What did you borrow, and from whom? To whom did you loan your Greatest Hits of the New Kids on the Block CD? Add a date column for library books, and you'll always know when you have to return things at a glance.
  • Time Sheet : Yes, some of us are accountable for our time, as those boss types keep reminding us. Workdays across the top, times down the left, and job numbers or dockets in the grid. (Or any other way that makes sense for you.)
  • Brewer's Log : Track your batch name, number, start date, starting specific gravity, rack/bottling dates, and ending SG. (I think I'll create a dedicated version of this later, since I'm back into wine making.)
  • Diet Log : Day/date, breakfast calories, lunch calories, and so on, with a totals column at the end.
  • Weight Training : Date, types, reps, times, and so on.
  • Hobby Logs : What do you do, and how do you track it? If it can be put into a table, mayhaps the Matrix will work for you. Suggestions: Ham Radio Logs; Photographic Info (shot, time, place, f-stop, shutter, etc.); Comic Collection; Old Time Radio episodes; Fish Breeding; Hitchcock DVDs; O(prah) Magazine Collection; The Ultimate Sandwich.
  • Cleaning Logs : Which employee or roommate has to clean the toilet next, and when?
  • Inventory List : Keep a basic inventory control list for your business or hobby.
  • Lottery "System" : Not a joke. I know people that do this: put in the winning numbers to the 6-49 Lottery every week, to see if they can find a pattern. For the pathologically numeric.
  • Accounting : Some accountants wrote to thank me for providing this form, although I couldn't fathom their exact usage. Sounded impressive, though, as anyone managing large sums of money generally are.
  • Neighbourhood Watch : What car was parked next door from 10:30 am to 3:00 am last night? Your neighbour's business is your own. So says the yellow vest and fancy flashlight.
  • Writer's Submissions : What article was sent to whom, and when? Track rejection letters as they trickle in, celebrate publication by supporting your favourite paper productivity website. Ahem.
  • Ummm... Ovulation?

Of course, much of this you can do in a spreadsheet or database, and perhaps more effectively. But would it really be as much fun?

Any other ideas?

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Thank you

This is a great example. I have looked at the matrix many times, but my life is pretty uncomplicated. I am home all the time, and have few demands on my life. Yup, I am retired! But, I have been letting a lot of things slip. This form will help me be accountable to myself. Thanks Dougj