21 July 2016

The Hitch Hikers Guide to the Plannerverse - Episode 21

How to derail your planning system by over thinking

Over planning things is just as dangerous as under planning or not planning.

If you are spending more time planning than doing, then something has gone wrong somewhere. Or if planning is taking you too long each week to up date your planner then you are not going to be very efficient and also it ceases to be a useful tool and becomes a burden and things start to slip through the cracks.

Have a sit down with the Gruesome Twosome in Episode 21 where we zen out on planning

If you have ideas for future episodes please send them to steve at philofaxy dot com

Show Notes (timings approximate)
00:00 - Introductions
01:00 - When is the task too big?
02:00 - Stick to small
03:00 - Notebook scribblers!
05:00 - Finding the happy medium
07:30 - The evidence of incorrect use of a planner in Steve's first Filofax!
10:00 - Using your planner in a productive way
11:30 - Quo Vadis - Daily 21 planner/journal
13:00 - Journalling
14:30 - Segments of life (Past, Present and Future)
16:00 - Spending time to plan
17:45 - Trust your planner
18:15 - Listener challenge - Keep your planner open
19:30 - Can you have too many sections in your planner
22:00 - Where to write things down.
23:00 - Indexing
24:00 - Training your brain
25:00 - Don't over think things
27:00 - What is in our planners this week
27:45 - Tip of the week

Episode 21 - How to derail your planning system by over thinking

A direct download is also available here: Episode21.mp3

Show notes: A5 docx pdf  Personal docx pdf

NB: A5 is in A4 format so it can be scaled to suit A5 or A6 size. Personal is for printing direct on Personal size paper.

Presenters - Karine Tovmassian and Steve Morton
Editing and production - Steve Morton

Our Websites: The Streamlined LifeThinker ExtraordinaireThinker Extraordinaire (Services) Philofaxy, Travellers Notebook Times

Naturally we would love to hear your feedback on the podcast. If you use iTunes please gives us your rating or reviews of the podcast.

Previous Episodes:

20 - Digital devices/services and your analogue planner A5 docx pdf  Personal docx pdf
19 - What To Keep In Your 'Others' Tab - A5 docx pdf  Personal docx pdf
18 - Zombie Apocalypse Preparation - A5 docx pdf  Personal docx pdf
17 - Managing Finances In Your Planner - A5 docx pdf  Personal docx pdf
16 - Planning for those of us who actually can't live without planning, with guest co-host Carie Harling - A5 docx pdf  Personal docx pdf
15 - Automation NirvanaA5 docx pdf  Personal docx pdf
14 - Work Life Balance and Your Planner - A5 docx pdf  Personal docx pdf
13 - GTD Productivity And Using Your Paper Planner - A5 docx pdf  Personal docx pdf
12 - Job Seeking and Keeping - A5 docx pdf  Personal docx pdf
11 - Planner Fail -  A5 docx pdf  Personal docx pdf
10 - Planner Hacks - A5 docx pdf  Personal docx pdf
9 - Planner Planning - A5 docx pdf  Personal docx pdf
8 - Choosing Inserts - A5 docx pdf  Personal docx pdf
7 - How do you carry your planner - A5 docx pdf  Personal docx pdf
6 - Planners on the go - A5 docx pdf  Personal docx pdf
5 - Why would you pay more than the price of a Filofax? - A5 docx pdf  Personal docx pdf
4 - Using Your Planner To Create Permanent Habit Changes - A5 docx pdf  Personal docx pdf
3 - Getting on with two or more planners - A5 docx pdf Personal docx pdf
2 - Where to start your planning journey and why - A5 docx pdf  Personal docx pdf
1 - What size and why....  - A5 docx pdf  Personal docx pdf


  1. A wonderfully thought-provoking podcast yet again. I actually listened to it first thing in the morning as I was going about my schedule and things and now for the second time, and made some notes as I listened. I am a great believer in always finding space to improve and these podcasts make me ask myself questions if there is something that could be done better. This week I made a note to myself that I must include times to enjoy our home because it is always clean and as organized as possible, and I still hover about with a bottle of bleach like my life was depending upon it.
    However, back to all things planner. I used to be a champion in over planning. It practically was my super-force. Now, on weekly basis I write a list of things that need be done. I then underline the most urgent and important ones and start at them. If there are things that need be done on certain days, I schedule them in to those days and the rest of the underlined things get scattered about to the rest of the week-days. The non- underlined tasks get done after every first priority task is done. And the rest will get transferred to the next week. I also will do my best to mount the most difficult ones and urgent ones ASAP, because then it´s all downhill from there. You get a rush after "accomplishing".
    On days that I have lots of things to do, I draw a line in the middle of the paper. On the left side I write things that absolutely need be done. No negotiation. On the right side of the paper I write things that are not scheduled appointments, things that are absolutely not must-do´s. First I tackle the left side from my list. After which it all seems so much less daunting and I see that the list on the right side is not inconceivable at all. And I write things that I have done down on my journal. Studies show that this releases dopamine and serotonin in your brain and I´ve seen that it works at least in my case. We are not just work horses, and I´ve seen that if I won´t pat my back then who else is going to do it?

    Now, journaling. Steve´s story about the birth of their son reminded me of the time when I was pregnant. I then used a5 Balmoral from which half was a planner, half was a journal. I used to write so much on those pages during those what seemed like endless days and months. I still read those old entries after 12 years now. See, I used to journal in my planners as well as in my journals. I still do. Back in the day I used to be bright-eyed and perky enough to number the pages (just in case they went lost but they never do so I stopped that nonsense) and just binded the pages as I removed them and added a new bunch of papers. And I used any string of yarn closest to hand. There is a collection of cotton yarn, wool yarn from my knitting basket, dental floss... name it, basically. I just threaded through the holes loosely enough that the pages are still movable but snugly enough that they are securely put. I still have old journal entries from decades ago (the ones that I haven´t burned because of escandalos. I might be old and boring now but this state has not always been the case), neatly binded chronologically and very readable.
    (A side note- oh, how the Filofax paper has deteriorated. You can easily see when I stopped buying Filofax papers and started punching holes on my own store-bought papers.)

    Actually, to this date I still have a separate notebook in a4 that I use as my journal but in all honesty, I use my planner pages more. Because they always are there. I get an idea, I flop the thing open and jot it down. I get a thought or want to write down something that I saw or hear, I immediately will write that thing down because the next second I will have forgotten it already.

    As always, very interesting and thought-provoking podcast. I wish there will be an endless stream of these podcasts and will now proceed with my life by not living in a museum but instead, enjoying the goodnesses around.

  2. As I listened to the podcast and you were talking about where to put the information in the planner. I write everything down on a post it note then transfer it. Things pop into my head at a fast speed and I need to get them down. It’s easier for it to be on a post it or even just a piece of note paper. Then I transfer those items at night when I review my planner.
    I also have been at the point where I don’t want to look at my planner because the list is too daunting. So somedays I just do things and add them on the page so I know I’ve accomplished something. Once I’ve gotten a few down and “checked off” then I can look at my brain dump list and pull stuff off of there.

  3. I really like how Karine stressed about correlating the purpose of the planner with your tabs. Totally makes sense. When you start the year with certain goals and even if you have a system to keep on track (perhaps your weekly or daily view) it would be worthwhile to keep a tabbed section for each. Thus you have a place for lists, quotes, ideas, etc.

  4. Very interesting! I want to add something on compulsive scribblers, though :-) It's been proven that handwriting things, in a meeting for example, helps your brain process them. So even if you don't ever reference them later, you will actually remember the important things better than somebody who just listened and didn't write down, OR than someone who typed it on the computer. So, yay to scribbling, it kind of makes you smarter :)