Stepping out of Lurkdom

Hi all. I've been lurking for months and decided I should introduce myself. I have boxes of office supplies and still don't have enough. I have a stack of Levenger catalogs that I look at whenever I need a lift. And I change some portion or part of my planning system at least once a month.

I've finally found a place I belong.....

Right now, my planning "system" is nearly all Circa. I have a punch I bought when they first came out. Levenger sent me a post card with a "special interdictory rate" on the punch and that was too much for my to resist. I'm so glad I did because once I owned such the thing, the possibilities become more endless. I keep my calendar stuff (daily, weekly, monthly) in a 3x5 leather Circa which I got many years ago the last time they did Circa perforated 3x5s. I used to keep my tasks in a hack I did of two mead index card keepers and a mead RingDex (the plastic index card pockets can be removed from the index card keeper and then put on the rings of the RingDex, if you bunch holes for the rings of the cover for the index holder that works as a great cover.) When Levenger came out with the Ciria pda, I had to get one (just the plastic cover one -- for now), which I'm now using as my task list. The disadvantage over my previous hack is that I have to punch everything I put in it. The advantage is that it is easier to flip through my tasks. I actually do my overall weekly planning in a Circa letter size binder and adore the new Pocket Dock-it. I've also designed a rather clunky form which lets me see my whole week at once, then cut them down into 3x5 to put in my 3x5 planner.

So am I enough of a planner geek to play with you all?


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Hail, fellow geek!

Oh, you definitely belong here. Welcome!

Yep, You Qualify



I agree

I am so glad to see yet another planner 3x5 nut. I just love this. Something that I have been made fun of for a long long time finally has a place. I never dreamed people other than myself love this stuff.I wonder what to do to become a member.

Christmas gift

Two years ago at our office gift exchange i received a big box of office supplies and absolutely loved it. My coworkers got a charge out of how excited i was about it. I was beside myself as it was the best gift I had recieved at the office gift exchange in years and they were all wondering what the big deal was but happy for me nonetheless.

the perfect planner

I just wish the perfect planner and 3x5 system for me would jump out and make its presence known.

One word: prototype!

As a software developer, I'm a big fan of Frederick Brooks' The Mythical Man-Month which has a chapter entitled Plan to Throw One Away Here's a quote from that chapter (added emphasis is mine.)

In most projects, the first system built is barely usable. It may be too slow, too big, too awkward to use, or all three. There is no alternative but to start again, smarting but smarter, and build a redesigned version in which these problems are solved. [...] When a new system concept or new technology is used, one has to build a system to throw away, for even the best planning is not so omniscient as to get it right the first time.

Personally, I think Fred Brooks is a very wise man. :-)

Finding the "perfect" system (software or planning) seems like an evolutionary process to me. Once you dummy up a system and try it, you'll know what you like and don't like, and have a clearer picture of what will meet your needs. Fresh off of reading GTD, it took me about an hour and a half to cobble together something from an old three-ring binder and scrap paper cut to 3x5 size. A week and a half into using my prototype planners, and I knew what I wanted to change for the "next release."

It's very, very hard to get something 100% right on the first try. Better IMHO to buy a pack of 3x5s for $1 at the local supermarket, make a set of card bleachers out of a manila folder, grab a binder clip, and see what happens. And then after that, reward yourself with a trip to Levenger. ;-)

Bravo !! Been there, done that !!

You other software weenies will agree with this one.

How many times have you seen a proof-of-concept system magically mutated into a production-system-that-should-never-have-been ?

Contrarywise, I have had the pleasure of building a system exactly as described. A proof-of-concept/learn-the-ropes system that was mostly thrown away for the Second Iteration In Which We Apply Our Lessons Learned (I still like A.A. Milne)
"I think the surest sign that there is intelligent life out there in the universe is that none of it has tried to contact us." (Calvin and Hobbes/Bill Waterson)

Luckily the user base is small!

Oh yes, I've had that happen, too. What you learn to do is build more flexibly (another Brooks must-do) so when the inevitable changes happen, you can accommodate. I've learned never to trust any requirement involving the words "always" or "never" (as in "we will always have good data for this value." Hmmm.) The world is a messy place, and it takes some stirring around before you can build software (or planners) to cope with it.

With a planning system, you are lucky in that you are the sole customer (and developer and testing department!) so nobody has to know how badly you Goofed Up the first implementation of your Grand Plans.

Pooh is also Very Wise Indeed.

second system syndrome

Just beware of "Second System Syndrome". I can't remember if that was from Mythical Man-Month or not, but here's the idea. You build a simple prototype and get it working as your first system. What a lot of programmers do is try to apply ALL the cool new stuff they learned building their first system into the second system they build.

I'd imagine this would be a scary thing to happen to a planner. You'll end up with a set of forms that you would have to have at least a 2 inch binder to contain the whole thing.


It is indeed!

This second system is the most dangerous system a man ever designs. [...] The general tendency is to over-design the second system, using all the ideas and frills that were cautiously sidetracked on the first one.

My "second system" is still a paperboard cover on circa-punched paper, though I did tend to go overboard on my own form design for 3x5s when simple lists would have sufficed.

Looks like I need to re-read MM-M again...