Love (Planning) In The Time of Cholera (CoronaVirus)

With less need for traditional scheduling and planning, is this a good time to introduce a new tool to organize commitments and things to do? Sure, with an asterisk.

I’ve chased so many planning tools and methods trying to find my holy grail solution, only to have each sputter out from either boredom or realizing I was spending too much time futzing with the tool instead of doing the work of basic planning.

There likely isn’t a paper format I haven’t tried, or an electronic one, in my hopes of finding that “third hand” to make tracking things and projecting what’s coming a seamless and intuitive benefit. They all failed me for one reason or another, but because of my love of analog and paper stuff, I trudge on. Like a faithful detectorist who’s spurred on with hopes of that buried gold coin showing up eventually, I continue to browse new offerings through stationery shops and electronic apps.

While I hesitate to say “this is it,” I may have stumbled onto a solution that meets my quirky needs from an analog planner and tracker: Write Notepads Weekly Planner. Considering I jumped to this from a Hobonichi Techo Weeks, small, coat-pocket sized planner to the wire-bound, 10” x 7” Write Notepads, my search has no rules nor logic it seems. I have, in the past, easily shifted from an app, to a pocket planner, to a desk-type diary format without a rational reason, other than the quest which propels me forward (that dang grail thing, you see).

I doubt my needs from a paper planner are unique, but I do realize everyone has different needs and expectations. For me, two things pin at the top of my must-have list: starts on Monday, and treats each of the seven days in a week with equal favor. Many planners short-change weekends into two tiny, “oops, we almost forgot about the weekend” squares that hold little more than a doodle or two. For freelancers and creatives, the muse doesn’t take the weekend off, so why should our planners?

Past those two needs, it must have decent paper so I can use any writing tool I want, some structure but not too much, and not too pretty, else my desire that a planner be a servant and not a distraction won’t be met.

A planner works for me when I can add appointments, to-dos, thoughts, bits about ideas, story snippets about the day or remembrances, and about anything else that needs jotting by day or week. Needs to also be an undated format so I can use a few spreads as planning out routines for a typical week without being specific which day or week.

The Write Notepads planner gives me all the above and more. I love it’s thick, sturdy covers, since I sometimes sit in bed working with it. The wire-binding on the end means I can open up a spread to see a full seven days with lots of room while at my desk. As said, my needs combine a lot of things that most planners I’ve used struggle to keep up with. Some days it’s a list of appointments, other days scribbles and notes of a reminder sort, while other notations might spread project ideas across several days, refusing to stay within rigid, solar days.

But back to the enigmatic title: is this time of sheltering-in and working-from-home a good time to start a new planner? Traditionally, most people think of setting up a planner in January, or if they’re more proactive, in the fall. For me, the right time is when the old planner/system isn’t working and I find something that appears to be a better answer!

But why now? Life will go on and if you’re doing the good work while waiting for the return of social closeness, there’s plenty to plan and note along the way. I also sometimes capture what I’ve done that day in the planner, then follow up with a Sunday weekly review, a usual check in these dark times that I’m staying mentally active. Plus, scheduling can always include play times, including things to do with kids at home. There’s plenty of reasons to keep office habits going, even if you’re not going to the office.

If all you use a planner for is to note phone calls to make or time-stamped appointments to not forget, then a paper planner probably isn’t a good idea and I would suggest just use an app on your Smartphone instead. But if, like me, you need an “assistant” that’s more open to whatever needs noting and associating with a day, week, or month, then the organic process that using a good, paper planner provides can’t be beat. I think better and make more meaningful connections to my planning when I use a paper planner.

Photos show the form and layouts, but like any analog planner, it’s hard to tell if will work for you until you’ve driven it around the block, so to speak. You can pick up one at the Write Notepads site and see if it works for you.

Write Notepads Weekly Planner specs:

  • 10” X 7” letterpress board cover stock with rounded corners
  • Cover colors available: black, blue, kraft, pistachio, red
  • 70# paper for pencil or pen
  • 60-week 7-day system
  • 180° lie-flat opening
  • Made in the U.S.A.