Guest post from the always inspiring Lisa Valuyskaya, sharing her genius on getting organized for 2012.
Every year, it has been the same story.
I’d get the shiny new organizer that seemed so promising in the store. I’d write and plan in it for the first week of January, patiently trying to fit my various projects, activities, to-do’s and doodles into the tiny time slots. By the second week of January, I would only take note of a few things, starting a separate to-do list and planning notebook – both filled with notes and doodles.
Somewhere around mid-February, I’d give up, frustrated by the assumption that all my tasks were supposed to be scheduled between 9 am and 6 pm, and by the lack of space to sketch and brainstorm. If I didn’t throw them out, I’d have quite a collection of these organizers by now – the first few weeks filled in, with the notes getting rarer as time went by, and, finally tapering off into nothing but blank pages all the way through December 31st.
In my search for an organizing system that worked for me, I had tried some software solutions as well, but these had other limitations – the biggest one being that I actually had to be at the computer to use them. (60% of the time, I am not. In fact, I am writing this post on paper, while sitting in a cozy café and sipping a cappuccino.)
Also, what about sketches and doodles and mind maps and sticky notes? No organizing system can be complete without those!
No, a paper system was the only way to go.
So a couple of years ago, I created a weekly grid that answered all of my needs. It has been refined and tweaked since then, and this is the result:
Initially, I had simply printed the pages and got them bound locally, as professionally printing just one copy was not possible. Later, as more and more people asked me where I got this organizer, I was able to print a few copies – but of course, I had to decide how many to print in advance. This year, I found the perfect solution with print on demand.
Which means that there is a 2012 copy ready to be printed for anyone who wants one!
Here is mine:
So how is this organizer different from most?
First and foremost, the actual scheduling slots are extremely flexible. Morning, afternoon and evening divisions let me put in my own hours the way I want them – whether my day starts at 6 or 10 am. (Both of these happen fairly regularly.) I keep most things flexible, without set times, unless I have an actual appointment – but it can easily work for someone who likes a more structured schedule as well, simply by adding the times.
The notes at the top of the pages allow me to plan the bigger tasks for the week – and to see them at a glance. These are divided into four categories by different background colors. The categories can be named anything you want, or even be varied, depending on the week’s focus (mine are usually Work, Play, Ideas, and Get in Touch).
Last but not least, the subtle dot grid below is the perfect place for additional notes, doodles, or even taped or glued reminders and memories. I use it mostly for quick sketches and brainstorming sessions, but I can imagine plenty of other uses. In fact, I would love to hear how you would use this space.
Oh, and in case you were wondering if I still use this one at the end of the year – I do.
Here is proof:
So is this organizer right for you?
If you have been sitting there nodding your head along to my gripes with those regular organizers, and if you still prefer the pen-and-paper method for keeping track of things, brainstorming and to-do lists, then this is the perfect solution for you. But I think you already know that.
If, on the other hand, you are not quite convinced or feel like it’s lacking a feature that is vital for your needs, then I’d say it isn’t quite right for you. I would love to hear your input and ideas though, so that I can incorporate them in the 2013 version. (Just leave me a comment below, email me at lisa (at) ideastylist (.) com, or tweet your idea to @LisaValuyskaya.)
The 2012 I’m My Own Boss organizer featured here is available from Amazon for $22.95.
The format is 8×10”, 114 pages (2 pages per week, plus 2012 and 2013 at-glance calendars and personal information page), soft glossy cover.
And if you order by December 24th, you could win a free one!
The winner will be randomly drawn from all orders completed by December 24th, and I will refund you in full by December 25th – or you can choose to get another copy for free.
A great Christmas present, don’t you think?
A premium version of the organizer is also available, for the price of $59.95. It features a hard cover and monthly planning pages You can see the preview and purchase it here.
I truly hope this organizer helps you find time for the really important things and make the most of your 2012.
In addition to Italian, Russian and Dutch, Lisa speaks fluent Marketing, Advertising and Design, and is happy to translate any concepts and terms into plain English. She is also very quick at picking up new vocabularies and will be fluent in your industry-speak in no time.
* Lisa is also the creative force behind the look of Deva Coaching and a joy to work with.
You can find Lisa. . .