24 June 2012

Nan's 2012 Midyear Setup : Work

After sticking to a rather dull routine for a couple of years, I've started changing things again. For a long time, I used 3 Finsburys: Black A5 for work (DPP, supplemented by A5 spiral notebooks); Red Personal (also DPP) as my wallet and personal organizer; Turquoise Pocket (2DPP) for diet and exercise records. I've already tweaked things a couple times this year, but in keeping with my standard rule of only changing my system once every 6 months, I've settled on a setup that I will use for the 2nd half of 2012.

After all, July 1 is a new year of sorts, isn't it? It's when academic year planners typically begin!

Today I'll start with my Work A5:

I found I really wasn't making full use of the DPP business diary. Some days had nothing written on the page. Yet it was the DPP diary that was keeping me in the boring Black Finsbury with its 1.25" rings. I barely had room for the diary, A-Z tabs, and a few pages of notes. I switched to Wo2P (the vertical format for appointments) and could finally start using the beautiful Cherry Classic that I'd bought at the New York Meet Up in 2011 and I'd be able to organize my work better with tabs.

So far, this is working out really well. I have the diary first, with the following tabs:

Daily: The quick to-do list I jot down first thing in the morning after reviewing all my projects. These are things that really need to be done on that particular day; certain phone calls made; work handed in; forms filled out. I use salmon lined paper in this section.

Projects: One To-Do page labeled at the top for each project. Additional pages of notes and To-Do pages go behind it. The tasks I record here often have multiple steps; the Daily lists are where I break down the individual steps. For example, one Project step might be "get contract signed," a task that may involve several phone calls and emails, spread over a number of days.

Meetings: The notes I take during meetings. After a meeting, a spend a few minutes adding any tasks that come up during the meeting to my project lists. I still try to review my meeting notes a couple of times a week.

A-Z tabs: My primary work contacts. These are people for whom I need to know multiple phone numbers and their mailing addresses, not those whom I work with by email only. Those don't need to exist anywhere outside my computer's address book. I also keep reference information behind the tabs. For example, a page of insurance information might go behind the IJ tab.

The A5 also holds a white ruled notepad in the back, a sticky notes card (the same one that also fits into a Personal organizer), a business card holder, and a pocket for receipts for business related expenses.

I have a metal punch for the A5, so I can move pages from an A5 notebook into the organizer, which I don't do as often as I used to. But it's really nice to have the option.


  1. I have been looking for a setup to use for work. This idea may work for me. Do you carry the A5 or leave it in the desk?

  2. This is interesting for work - I may review mine and compare!

    1. I loved reading Nan's setup and would love to see yours too Alison. I think we do similar kind of work (writing/editing/PR)

  3. I don't carry it with me all the time. Because I work at home one day a week, and some nights and weekends, I do transport it home with me every day. I use a wheeled laptop case which also has enough room for notebooks and Filofaxes, files, power cords, cellphone, pens, etc.

  4. I just started using the A to Z tabs. They are much more useful then I imagined

  5. That's a really good idea, filing notes and people under the AZ tabs - that might just convince me to use them.

  6. It's nice to know i wasnt the only who spent a few hours this weekend tweaking things around in my Filofax ;-)

  7. I totally agree with Tracy and Lily. Everytime I read about the A to Z Tabs, i´m wondering why I don´t use them. Maybe i´ve just not found the right "How to use them".

    My Malden needs some serious Attention tomorrow. It´s a bit unsorted and unloved at the moment. Thank you for sharing your ideas.

    The "Daily"/every morning ToDo List would work very well for me. I´ll give it a try ;)

  8. Hi Nan
    Interesting to read, I too used to use the DPP Business A5 insert, but like you I found some days had almost nothing on them.

    This year I switched to the Week on Two Pages, but I'm now using the Enhanced TM Week per View insert designed and created by Ray and Myself. I've tweaked the design a couple of times. But I'm finding this format works very well for me.

    I feel more in control of my appointments and tasks relying less on my own memory to remember things I've got to do etc.


  9. Nina, I know "Daily" sounds like a silly name for the tab. It really stands for "Daily Priorities," those tasks that are a priority for that particular day.

    1. No no no! I think "Daily" is the perfect Name for this Tab and for this whole habit to Start the Day on the right Foot.
      Like carpe diem ;) hihi

    2. I love that for a tab: Carpe Diem! I may get out my label maker and make one of those tabs right now!

    3. :) Kelly that's just great. I had exactly the same thought a few hours ago when i was thinking about my last comment.
      Carpe diem ;)