Thank you to Graham for this guest post on graphical daily planning.
Our lives all look pretty different, and we all have different ways of organising them. This is reflected in the myriad of systems and layouts we each have to organise our Filofaxes. Some people don’t feel comfortable with the list and block layout that most diary inserts take, and there’s been quite a lot of interest in systems which provide a more graphical representation of our days.
These systems make use of our familiarity with analogue clock faces and develop from there. There’s a basic problem with a clock to show our days because one round of the clock only covers half the hours of the day, so many of these graphical systems have had to evolve away from the clock face and use colour coding to increase the visual usefulness and impact of the graphic. There are also the inevitable clashes between systems using a 12-hour clock system (most of them), and those using a 24-hour system (my own preference).
I have seen inserts with two empty clock faces on each day’s page, one for the morning and the other for the afternoon and evening, but I find these confusing. I automatically continue planning after midday on the morning clock face, forgetting to move across to the other. This isn’t a system commonly used and a more refined system is called for.
Patrick Ng’s Chronodex system (see his blog at http://scription.typepad.com/blog/2011/11/scription-chronodex-weekly-planner-2012-free-download-with-the-cost-of-a-prayer.html#.U4XWNzjBZaQ ) might have been the one that gave this move towards graphical daily planning wings. It pulls the two clock faces into one, being based on a typical 9 to 5 working day with space for a few hours before and after to plan events outside those times. The single graphic covers 18 hours, and when it’s filled in it gives the most pleasing representation of time of the systems I’ve tried.
However, planning anything in the hours outside 09:00 to 21:00 is ineffective, and its spiky layout and initially unintuitive nature has put people off and set them looking for alternatives.
Kent from Oz created the popular Spiraldex (See his video and blog post), which is visually more pleasing to many than the Chronodex system and, by moving a step away from the clock face paradigm by using a spiral, it allows more hours to be planned. Several people have made their own versions of this to suit their own lives, for example the Pingadex (blog, and video) .
There are aspects of this device that I find problematic, though. Each hour’s segment doesn’t get the same amount of space, and whilst there is space to write notes outside the segments between 12:00 and 21:00, this isn’t the case for the hours between 6:00 and 12:00, so notations are often written with lines or arrows crossing the other segments. My sense of balance and symmetry is easily offended, and this doesn’t really help me to visualise my day.
My own thoughts and preferences, like everybody else’s, is relevant to my own situation. I don’t have a 24-hour lifestyle and don’t generally need to refer to what happens before 8:00 or after 21:00 (though if I am doing something during those times I would need to be able to add it or draw it in somewhere). My life also isn’t event orientated and most of what I do is recurring, so I manage tasks on a computer, not in my Filofax. I really want to be able to see at a glance not only what I have to do, but how much time it will take and therefore how much time I have left over. I wanted equal spacing for each time period, I wanted something that distinguished mornings from afternoons, and I wanted spacing around all sections for any relevant notations.
This is my initial attempt.
When filling it in, I draw a line to show a time period where something is happening or may happen, but which won’t occupy time completely, such as a delivery window, and fill the segment with a block of colour when there is a fixed appointment where nothing else can be planned. As the segments are the same size and all have a space around them for notes, this allows me to easily review how much time is assigned and how much is spare.
This is clearly just a prototype. The graphics need sprucing up and the 21:00 and 15:00 aligning, etc. It might be improved by thickening the bands, only starting at 8:00 in the morning, adding more concentric rings to help with colouring in, drawing lines to delimit the hourly segments, adding 15 minute dashes and adding more hour numbers. I’m very open to hearing what people think of this system and how it could be tweaked to make it more useful to more people with different ways of working.
Feedback? Let me know!
Graham Rhind http://www.grcdi.nl/author.htm