Advanced planning…

I picked up a 2015 year planner for my Filofax while in Selfridges yesterday. I’ve been working on some big, long-term projects (more on that in a few months) lately, and I’ve noticed that looking at the year on a single sheet of paper is actually more helpful than on screen.

Even the 21″ screen of my iMac.

Having used my 2014 planner to good effect, I picked up one for next year, as some of my projects definitely spill over into 2015.

Most helpful? Seeing ‘blocked out’ days that are either already spoken for or are spent on a plane. I’m definitely not noting exactly what I’m doing on each day – that detail still goes into my calendar on my iPhone/iPad/iMac. But for a top-down view of my general business and key deadlines, paper can’t be beat.

Planning your week is very, very useful. Reviewing your month also. But seeing your entire year, its commitments and – for me, anyway – where free spots are, to facilitate travel to far-flung lands, is incredibly useful. Seriously though, it’s too easy to over-commit or be too optimistic about what you can actually do without a higher-level view of time.

I’d never (if I can help it!) book in two full weeks of training delivery, for example – as it just keeps me away from the ‘office’ and the day to day admin that needs to be done in a business. All that stuff piles up in the background. Looking at my calendar only from week to week means this could actually happen!

David Allen’s ‘Getting Things Done’ methodology reminds us to look up from the immediate tasks level on a regular basis. It’s a really useful way to remain mindful of longer term commitments and goals. A pure focus on tasks to be done in the here and now means we’re unlikely to ensure we achieve goals most important to us.

I’ve been playing around with the year view for a few months now. It’s not a replacement for iCal, and couldn’t accommodate the level of detail I put into my electronic calendar. But for getting a bird’s eye view of commitments and free time, I can highly recommend it. I’m not a fan of writing and re-writing things: be it to-do lists or calendar entries. So only the most important and key deadlines go in here.

And I’m even using colours. Which is most unlike me! But it helps me tell what’s what on such a small page. Green for confirmed client work, red for ‘blocked out’ or ‘busy’ time and yellow for my holidays. The latter is quite motivating! I’m counting down the days until our next trip to Japan. But I can also see the relatively ‘dead’ time around the Christmas holidays and other Bank Holidays.

This is not me moving to paper full-time – I couldn’t live without my gadgets – but for high-level planning, I can really recommend the year planner approach.

Drugs are bad, M’kay?

Yesterday, I was hit with a dose of hay fever that almost incapacitated me. Seriously. I met @Nutchild and @FrankDJS for some BBQ at Bodean’s at Tower Hill and spent most of the meal preparing to sneeze, bracing myself for a sneeze, sneezing and recovering from a sneeze.

All while trying to avoid sharing my allergy-tinged mucus with my dining companions. And dealing with the tissue-related detritus piling up around me. Attractive it was not.

I had taken my usual antihistamines, but they weren’t doing the trick. So, I did the only sensible thing and self-medicated: upping my dose by taking my night-time tablet early. And then repeating this when I got him, forgetting I’d taken an earlier one. And then taking a Niquil tablet, imported from the US, to help me sleep.

Help me sleep, it did. Too much, in fact.

I was woken up at 0900 this morning and, despite washing, dressing and getting on the tube, didn’t actually wake up properly until about 1100, when I was breaking my rule and having a coffee with breakfast. It just about scratched the surface of my drug coma.

I really only felt truly awake once I’d had some lunch at my favourite haunt: Yo! Sushi in Selfridges.


Owing to a later than usual breakfast, I was surprisingly reserved and only had two plates. The usual delicious pickled aubergine and a plate of garlic teriyaki beef. Pictured below.

Actually, it wasn’t all down to breakfast. I also ate my own body-weight while at Bodean’s last night: BBQ chicken wings, a large “Soho Special”, followed by chocolate muffin and ice-cream. To say I waddled home would be an understatement.


It will definitely be a small dinner tonight – I’m not built for this kind of abuse to my digestive tract. Bodean’s (the way I eat it, anyway) is a once a month treat, if that.

I’m still eating the anti-histamies, as it seems that pollen levels are off the scale in London right now. As such, I’ll probably drop off for an unplanned snooze at any point. It’s like seeing my twilight years – eating too much, popping pills and falling asleep at any time of the day.

Sounds quite nice, actually.


Stroopwafels and tea

Courtesy of the lovely people at HEMA, some delicious stroopwafels to enjoy after dinner.

I think I was pretty reserved in only taking three out of the packet. They’re nom-tastic and very more-ish.

Slightly worried that I now have an unlimited access to Stroopwafels in London. Before, I could only get them on occasional visits to the Netherlands.

Now? A MacPsych staple with tea. Better get running…


Not another Filofax?!

I’ve flitted and hopped from one paper-based note-taking solution to another over the last few years. I love Moleskine notebooks due to their quality. But removing pages for scanning or sharing is a pain. Plus, they’re pricey.

On a similar note, I love Filofaxes due to their flexibility and how I can personalise the set-up and content. But they can get quite heavy – especially the A5 models – making them less than portable. And they’re pricey.

Ideally, I like to rely on one system for those times when paper is the optimal solution. When typing straight into Evernote would be disruptive…or impossible.

Without wanting to jinx myself, I think I might have arrived at a solution.

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