Friday, 13 May 2011

Trying to wed TMI with Filofax (but expecting a divorce…)

I’m not sure if this is really about Paper, Pens or Ink and is verging away from filofaxes… but, after exchanging emails and ideas with a fellow Philofaxer, I have been trying to adapt the Time Manager International (TMI) system for use in a filofax, although so far, without massive success.

Whereas in hell at work, I am well-organised and achieve my goals etc, on the home/personal front, I do less well and I want to try and improve on it. Hence me trying to plan the other areas of my life a little more constructively.

The crux of the TMI system (as far as I can tell) is to think of all the things you aim to do as part of a tree – the goals are the trunk, then coming from those goals are key areas (branches) and then under the key areas are tasks to be achieved in those key areas (twigs) and under this are the activities needed to complete the task (leaves). The activities seem to translate to ‘to do’ although they are specifically linked to the tasks and key areas. Anything else is a ‘don’t forget’ (like – don’t forget to pick up your dry cleaning).

Well, I’ve tried to write out some key areas (writing; Chimwemwe work; the garden; etc), and underneath those key areas the tasks (finish novel #3; raise £1000 for Chimwemwe by autumn; finish re-organising the big border; etc). Then I did the activities (short-term and long-term) that are required to accomplish the tasks (and ultimately contribute towards the goal) but now I’m a bit stuck. My gut feeling has been to put them all together in one ‘to-do’ section which would also have my ‘don’t forget’ stuff in and then transcribe activities onto weekly and daily lists. However, the TMI system seems to have the sections separated (from my reading of it, though I am happy to be corrected), where the goals go together, then all the key areas for that goal and then all the tasks and then the activities, but that is way too much filing for someone like me where out of sight is most definitely out of mind! I think I must be blending other systems into the TMI system because what I have done is to put the activities for the key areas onto separate sheets (one for each key area) and then file them behind the ‘don’t forget’ page in the ‘to-do’ section. The trick appears to be, to turn over the page and read through all the activities when planning the week and the day.

I know – I am an educated woman who, amazingly, holds down a well paid job and who can at times make OCD look slapdash. So (you’d think!) turning the page wouldn’t be that taxing. Well, it’s taking a bit of getting used to, because my usual method is to put a star-rating next to each work-related task when I’m in hell at work, and to do the *** ones first and the * ones last and so when I’m planning my work day/week, I scan down the big to-do list looking for the ***.
Although at work, that makes compiling my daily/weekly lists pretty easy to sort out, at home it’s taking a bit of getting used to. The trouble is that I find it hard with several pretty equal strands to rate which activity is the most important. Consequently, nothing has a * and certainly nothing has *** so I stare at my list and feel a bit lost. Then I write out far too much stuff for the day and don’t get it done and then I feel like I’m unproductive…

Only time will tell how well I get on with this.

How do others sort their ‘key areas’ and task lists? I honestly feel like I’m making this way harder than it should be!


Sunday, 8 May 2011

The Turquoise Baroque is here…

Well, Filofax France has delivered my new turquoise baroque sooner than expected (although without a world map… There wasn’t one in the pink one either. I pointed this out to them as it is described as containing one and they have sent two cartes du monde to me tout suite).

So, what’s it like?

It came in a slip-case (sadly, as they are nowhere near as useful as the boxes for keeping spare sheets etc. in). The diary is a week on two pages, horizontally arranged, with no lines. (This is the version.)

The other contents were fairly standard. There was a clear transparent sheet, six labelled dividers (surprisingly in English, considering I bought it from France), several sheets of coloured paper, to-do sheets, bank account sheets, personal expense sheets, business card holder, Today page marker/ruler, A-Z dividers and address sheets. As I said, a world map was listed on the site but not supplied.

It is an interesting colour. I’m not sure others would necessarily describe it as turquoise. It’s a blue with a hint of green in it, but perhaps not green enough to be truly turquoise. However, it is a beautiful colour and I am sorely tempted to move the contents of the pink (rose électrique!) version into it. The interior is glorious. In some ways, the embossing is more obvious because of the colour.

It's not as bright as this...

More this colour, though a bit greener

Isn't the embossing fabulous!
And am I also going to get a crimson Malden…?


Despite Caribbean Princess’s impressive enabling skills, and despite the fact that they are a really good price at City Organiser, I don’t think that I will. I had been very tempted by the Malden because I was worried that the pink was too girly and not quite professional-looking enough, but the blue/turquoise/teal is just fine on that count. And taking a sensible view (ha ha ha ha ha!), I honestly can’t justify getting one! I can barely justify getting this one!
I know everyone adores their Maldens and it does look like a lovely filofax, but I will stay individual with my baroques. The interior is almost the same layout but the embossing on the inside makes it just that bit more special!

So, how will I use it? Well, I love it and I love the pink one too, but tempted as I am to shift everything into the new one immediately, I think I am going to try and save it until the autumn and move everything over on the equinox. Turquoise for autumn-winter and pink for spring-summer.

I know.

I see the flaw too.

Only two filofaxes???

Aye. Right.

As DH would say: “That’s an aspiration, not necessarily an outcome.”