Video: Project-Based Planning

I thought I’d show you how I do project-based planning. Project-based planning is a complement to traditional schedule-based planning systems. This video features the process I use to plan projects over the long term and also monthly and weekly.

In this video, you’ll see the planner pages I use to manage the time I allocate for projects. These pages have, in full or in part, the following:

  • Project Master Plan
  • Monthly Project Plotter
  • Weekly Project Plotter

As I mentioned in the video, I will make these pages available for download here on my blog. So, if haven’t subscribed yet, this is the perfect time to do so. :)

Project-Based vs. Schedule-Based Planning

Earlier this year, I started taking on more regular projects for freelance writing clients. As I worked through the projects each week, I quickly realized that my simple schedule-based planning system wasn’t cutting it.

My setup then had a monthly calendar and two pages per day. What I needed was a week’s overview. Specifically, I needed a time management system that could tell me how much time I actually have available for tasks each week. Something that didn’t just remind me of appointments, but also told me how many “open” hours I had.

My solution was to supplement my schedule-based planning system with one that’s project-based.

Projects vs. Tasks

Before I go further, I probably should let you know how I define a project vs. a task.

Projects are not simply a set of tasks I can easily check off a list. For me, a project needs more thinking or “noodling” time than a task. It may be completed in segments. It requires a bit more planning.

For example, cleaning the bathroom is a task. It just needs to be done.

Sewing a pair of pajamas is a project. It involves a series of steps and requires some thinking through (type of fabric, whether I need to get some supplies, figuring out the right size, etc.). That time for thinking is included in the number of hours I allot to the sewing project.

So, on to project-based planning…

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Video: Review of the Pentel Arts 8-Colour Automatic Pencil

Another video today! This time, it’s my review of the Pentel Arts 8-Colour Automatic Pencil. Yes, that’s spelled “colour.” :)

If you’ve seen my review of Franklin Covey’s Boston Binder, you’ve already had a quick look at this pencil. Today, I’m showing you the details.

A few things about this automatic pencil:

  • It comes with eight colors: red, yellow, orange, pink, brown, light green, blue, and light blue.
  • The refills are 2 mm.
  • No bleedthrough even on thin paper.

Available on Amazon (aff.).

Four Basic Types of Information Your Planning System Needs to Capture

Franklin-planner-inserts-Real-Life-Adventures-color-tabsEvery planning system is different. You could use paper planners, digital devices, or a combination of both. But regardless of what you choose, there are four basic types of information that your system needs to be able to capture.

These four are appointments, tasks, contacts and documents.

Today, I’ll talk about these bits of information, what they are, and how I manage them. Oh, by the way, I use a paper planner (as you may know ;) ), but my all-encompassing system is actually a combination of digital and paper.

Appointments

Appointments are tasks that have a time associated with them. These are things I know I have to do at a certain hour of the day and/or day of the week. A appointment with the doctor is an example. There’s a specific hour and minute I have to be there.

I also consider some whole-day affairs to be appointments. A family picnic gets blocked off my schedule when I know I’m not going to do anything else.

As long as it’s an entry in my planner around which I schedule other activities, I consider it an appointment.

Can they be moved around? Of course. We’ve all had to re-schedule a visit to the dentist.

Productivity-creativity-plannerEvery planning system needs a way to store appointment information. When we think of personal organizers or planners, we often think about a way to track this info so that we can be where we’re supposed to be at the right time.

This is why all organizers have calendars in them (whether it’s monthly, weekly, daily or the whole gamut). Depending on how your day is structured, your calendar could be a general overview or precisely divided into 15-minute increments.

At its most basic level, a planning system is simply a schedule of appointments for the day, week, or month. But to be more effective in our daily lives, we need to go beyond that. And most people do.

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