It’s been a month and a half since I moved into my Hobonichi, and I’m totally in love with it still. Today I’d like to share how I use the weekly view, the daily planning, but also, what my week generally looks like, from a day-to-day base. I’m an author and I work from home, I also have mental health issues that require me to be in control of my days, or I’ll lose whole weeks to not doing anything. So, this is both a little look into my Hobonichi and a little bit of a look into my life.
Sunday evening I sit down and colour out all the different blocks on my weekly page. I use this weekly page to plan my appointments in, and I also plan some things that I know I’ll have to do that week. Appointments go into the weekly page first and when I hit that week, I’ll move them over to the correct day. My monthlies (as I’ve shown in my previous post) are mostly for tracking of my TV series, general things like holidays and things like that. I use it as an overview. My weeklies and dailies are specifically for planning.
Same pens, slightly different lighting, so they look a little different in colour. This is what my week generally looks like. To me, it looks a little like a school schedule, and I think that is why it works for me, it’s pre-planned and I have the same schedule each week. I can plan appointments and things like that in my weeks, and I still know what and when and how.
The different colours all have their own purpose. At the top, grey is night time, so sleep. Blue is self-improvement, which at the moment still consists of reading Getting Things Done by David Allen. Then there is blue-green, which is planning and admin work. Then pink, which is writing time. Orange is work time, which sounds a little confusing but this also includes things like editing, cover art, booking of promotions and all other things that need doing for my work. Yellow is relax time, I’m not always good at planning in time to spend on myself, I have a habit to overwork myself and spend time on work right up to bed time. The yellow block is there to remind me that I need to take time off every evening.
My days are pretty standard, I wake up at 6 and go to bed at 9.30, that’s my day. But within those days I spend my time mostly according to this schedule. Mostly, not always as sometimes it simply doesn’t work. The best thing about that is that I can start the next day fresh, and I won’t have to worry about the day before. A day is a day, it starts when I wake up and it ends when I go to bed. Every day needs to be taken on its own sometimes, especially when my brain isn’t at its best.
A little background on me, as I can’t remember if I actually explained this before, but by now, I know some more people are following me and well, I think it’s important to know to understand my rigorous (-ish…) planning methods. I’ve been diagnosed with being ADD (Attention Deficit Disorder) and ASD (Autism Spectrum Disorder) about 10 years ago as I was at the end of my teens. Of course, those terms come with their own baggage, and I’m not going to argue any of them because it’s not the labels that are important, but what those labels describe. For me, in my daily life, I’m affected in different ways. I have a very short attention span, I’m easy distracted, at the same time, I can focus on specific tasks really well, making hours go by before I even look up again. My brain doesn’t distinguish between high or low importance tasks when it locks onto something, it just grabs on and won’t let go. This means that I need to focus my brain in certain directions so I can somewhat control what happens, this isn’t fool proof, but helps. Also, keeping to a schedule and even creating schedules calms down my mind, I know what will happen when. It gives me the stability that I need when I work from home, when I’m the only one who has any say over what happens. So, the scheduling both controls my scatterbrain, but also my need for stability and predictability. Which is why I hate it when people suddenly make plans that push me off schedule in ways that I can easily fit into the rest of my schedule, for example meeting with someone not at the start of one of my day blocks, but somewhere in the middle, it puts me off schedule, which makes me very nervous.
Anyway, back to the planning. Let’s start at the start of the week:
This week I’m experimenting with writing out my hours in the day as the small timeline was not big enough for my half-hour blocks. On the left of the numbers is the planning that I’ve taken from my weekly.
Every day starts with a block of ‘self-improvement’, which is basically a block of time that I spend reading non-fiction that will help me with myself and/or work. At the moment I’m reading Getting Things Done by David Allen, which I’m liking. I know a lot of people say to set a page count for reading, but I’ve found that setting a time works better for me, as my concentration isn’t always the same. Some days I read 7 pages and some days 27, I always make notes during my writing into one of my notebooks, so I can look back at it later. I find that since I do a lot of work that creates “output”, like writing, editing, creating things, I need some time each day for some “input”, learning mostly. In the early morning I can start my day productively by doing some “input”, which sets up my brain to move on to more energy draining things, like creating. I believe that if you do a lot of “output” work, as many of us in creative jobs do, it’s good to also have some “input” time set apart. A moment in your day to stretch your brain a little, to give it new things to learn and to not always be in “output” mode. And, for someone like me, it allows me to actually get through my to-read list of books that I’ve been meaning to read but somehow never find the time for. Self-improvement also means that it doesn’t just have to be reading, I could slot anything in here that is useful for me and/or my work.
This is what a lot of my mornings look like if I’ve gotten so distracted in the morning that I forgot to eat my breakfast before starting my self-improvement block. I’m getting used to multi tasking like this.
As you can see in the picture of my weekly, this is the only day where there is no writing block in the morning. This has a very specific reason, Mondays are hard for me to concentrate. Often I have a little difficulty getting back into my week, but that is not all. Mondays I do laundry, and the washing machine is… about 8 feet away from my desk. We only have a washing machine, so I have to hang the clothes to dry, which takes a couple of days. When the washing machine is on, it’s loud. Loud noises don’t allow me to concentrate properly, especially not for things like writing.
So, Mondays are my admin and plan days. This usually means making sure all my wordcounts for the previous week, all the hours I worked, admin stuff like that, is taken care of. Also, having to contact people and other things that need planning for later. Monday morning, and also afternoon sometimes is for getting everything out of the way so I can focus for the rest of the week. I actually keep a list of “Monday tasks”, tasks that I purposefully move to the next Monday so that they won’t take time away from other tasks.
The first Monday of the month is also dedicated to doing my finances of the previous month. The rules in my country are that I need to hand in my VAT statement every quarter, but by doing the actual work every month, it only takes me a couple of minutes every quarter to pull everything together. And since I plan this time in advance, I have the time to sit down and do it without having to worry about other tasks.
Onto the rest of the week:
My other days of the week largely look the same, waking up at 6, doing my self-improvement at 7, and then start my work day at 9. Every day starts with a little block of planning, to give me some time to focus myself and know what I’m doing that day. Then it’s onto writing, until around 12. I take a two hour break for lunch as I start my day at 7, and by then I need a little time off. So, at 2, I’m back to work, by then it fully depends on my mood and my priorities for what I do then. This can be booking promos, designing art, writing, editing, anything really.
After my day ends, I’m off. Usually it just depends on my day what happens next, but somewhere between 5 and 7 we usually have dinner and then I spend my evening doing, whatever I want. I often spend it playing videogames, working in my art journal and doing things like that. At 9.30 everything is turned off, and I’m off to bed.
One of the most important things around here, is that we leave all our electronics at our desks. There is no mobile phone at our beds. Our alarms are very simple alarm clocks, that do exactly what they need. They tell the time and wake us up when needed. The sound is horrible, I can’t stand it, but that’s exactly why they work so well. I also have my kindle at my bed, so I can read a little before I fall asleep, and that’s it. I have a basic e-ink kindle, so, while in theory I could browse the internet, it’s a huge hassle and I never do it. I don’t think this would work with a machine that had easier access to the internet, even if you could technically turn the internet off each time (because, be honest, at the end of the day we’re all tired, how good are you going to be at resisting the temptation of turning it back on one last time?) I go to bed at 9.30, and fall asleep between 10.30 and 11.
When I shut the computer down at 9.30, I’m no longer connected to the outside world, allowing me to calm down and stop my brain from being all over the place. For me, this is very important as my brain needs some low-sensory time so it can properly calm down and process everything. This little time at the end of the day also allows me to read some fiction, authors that I really love and things like that. At the moment, I’m reading Flaunt by E. Davies, and I’m really loving it, I hate it when I have to put the book down each night!
Sleep, and especially getting enough of it, is another pillar of me being healthy. I try to get at least 7 hours of sleep each night (11 to 6), I usually am able to get enough. It doesn’t always work, but as other things, I have to move on from that. So even if I don’t get enough sleep one night, I have to get to bed on time the next night. Just because I mess up once, doesn’t mean that I can’t get back on track the next night. Sleep is when our brain deals with the things we experience during the day and by sleeping enough, we can stay our best and keep ourselves healthy. Please don’t forget about your sleep.
One last thing, you can see that I also plan out our meals in the weekly view:
Every evening you can see what we’ll be eating. HD means Hairy Dieters, which is the books we make most of our recipes from. Putting it here is the easiest place of all the different places. The monhlies is too little space and too much planning, and the dailies is not visible enough. So I put them here, as this is the best place to view them. For example, on Saturday we were at a party where everybody brought some food with them, so we didn’t have to plan a meal for that day. Luckily, we still had a day food leftover from before that. Since this is my main view for what is happening when, this is also the best place for us to plan our meals.
Okay, sorry for the long long post! I hope it was interesting. If you have any questions or comments, please leave them below!