Thursday, September 10, 2009

My Book

Long before I wrote my first short story or novel, there was "My Book."

About 15 years ago I started using a day planner regularly. Known to one and all as "My Book," I keep my calendar, addresses (snail and e-mail), and important facts (size of vacuum cleaner bags, type of printer cartridges, etc) in there.

I like the Day Runner brand – Week-In-View – style with replaceable pages and a 7-ringed, leather zipped cover. It has to have a zipped cover so I can keep all the loose notes and folded bits of paper I add to the front or back of the book. For about a year I carried a copy of my Echelon contract around with me in "My Book." Not sure I really needed daily access to it, but I did need to reference it a couple of times when I was travelling and my worn, much folded copy came in handy.

As much as I love computers and my Blackberry, one would think I would have made the leap from my pen and paper day planner to an electronic life monitor some time ago. I tried. Really I did. My father loves his Palm and gave me a basic model for Christmas some years back. I entered dates into the Palm but couldn't give up my day planner. Where would I put all those bits of paper that people hand me? Where would I keep the copies of my hotel reservations, my coupons, meeting notes, and all those business cards that I need immediate access to?

"My Book" goes with me everywhere. If I forget and leave it in the car, I usually have to run out in the middle of the night and get it – there will be something in it that I need in order to finish a project, write a response to an email, or schedule a meeting. I have about two years worth of information in it at any one time. If I'm ever a person of interest in a crime and a detective wants to know what I was doing on any particular date, I'm ready! I can not only tell him where I was but what size air filters I was buying and whether or not that was "trash" day at my house. And yes, I do live in fear of someone stealing "My Book." My only consolation is that it's rather large and wouldn't fit in someone's pocket or purse.

Speaking of being ready, I need to order my 2010 inserts this month. I already have appointments and events to enter for next year.

How about you? How do you keep track of your life?

Evelyn David


  1. I have a Franklin Covey paper planner that I've been using for about 15 years as well. Started with the little one and graduated to the big mama about 12 years ago. It has my entire life in it and every day, I write down my to-do list, crossing off what I've accomplished with a sense of pride (we won't talk about the things that don't get crossed off and appear every day). I haven't been able to really use my BB to its full advantage. I guess I'm rocking it old school but glad I have company like you Evelyn!. Maggie

  2. I am list-obsessed and dominated. It's a flaw and a problem at times.

    I keep a revolving main list of pertinent info (that vacuum cleaner bag size, etc.) and a to-do list, in general order of importance and deadline as one calendar entry entitled "Agenda" in MS OutLook. I look at it several times a day, change it, then eventually move it to the next date on the calendar. It never goes away.

    That seems to be all I need. Otherwise, deadlines for contract work and social events all have their own entries on OutLook, some with reminders set to pop up at me a given number of hours or days beforehand. Like I need those because I review my calendar probably at minimum six times a day.

    And, did I mention that I'm list-obsessed?

  3. Wow, my husband thinks I'm a female Monk but y'all put me to shame. I do make lists, but not as many as I used to, and I try to keep track of all dates on the little fridge calendar. Mostly, I make lists in my head! Sometimes I can't fall asleep at night for hours as I organize my life in my brain.


  4. I keep many, many lists on paper. When I cross everything off I throw them away. I get free tablets from everyone I've ever given money to--something I no longer do. I have enough to last for the rest of my life.

    I also have a notebook that I keep lists of things that I have to do on a more long term basis.

    An no, I don't use my iPhone or my computer for either. My iPhone because I don't really know how to use it for much of anything yet and the computer because I probably couldn't find the list after I made it.


  5. I avoid technology whenever possible. My address book/day planner keeps me from total disorganization.

    I also have a wet-erase two-calendar system on the wall for more immediate activities. I have four kids and they're color coded. I can tell at a glance who has tests, games, lessons, etc... It is a system that works wonders for our family.

    Except for when someone gets the bright idea to use the calendars for target practice with their squirt gun. But that's a different subject.

  6. Wow, a soul mate! I tried a Palm years ago when they were fairly new, but nobody I knew had one, so whenever I whipped it out people backed away slowly, saying: "You own one of THOSE?" like it was a BMW or something. Sigh. And it was more time consuming to open and write into. I went back to day planners, but I have to have month-at-a-glance rather than week-at-a-glance calendars. I've gotta be able to see the whole month before I plan something. My little planner is full of extra notes, grocery list, wish list, to-do list, etc.

    I started keeping a calendar/to-do list decades ago when I missed an important meeting with my son's teacher. And found myself driving past places I needed to stop and backtracking.

    Great post, thanks.