Tale of a Vandal Notebook User: More #Chronodex


Daily pictograph
hours informed by color
parade time well-spent

Nearly four years after my first post about Chronodex, using Patrick Ng’s visual planner continues to evolve. If you’ve nothing else to do but stalk my blog, you’ll remember at first I modified his idea by using a graphical dial, but eventually made my way back to Patrick’s original design—downloading his weekly planner he freely shares twice a year.

Last year because of various interfering life-ifying reasons, I had many blank days appearing in my weekly planner. Empty days translated to a lot of wasted space in my Midori Traveler’s Notebook.

Preparing for 2016 required some pondering over 2015’s many blank weeks. In retrospect, some of those blanks grew out of boredom with the routine of recording my days. Thus, it was time to shake things up a little bit.

During my early days with Chronodex, a daily undated format worked well. Later on, I moved over to Patrick’s Weekly Planner so that I could glance a full week all at once. The weekly format worked great the first year, and fell apart the second.

Using Chronodex much like a diary, it’s a representation of how my time has been spent. Continuing with the Chronodex still feels like a good idea.

In addition to the Chronodex Weekly Planner, Patrick provides a Chronodex Daily Scheduler. Patrick’s wonderful designs are always worth exploring.

Chronodex Daily Scheduler with GTD To-Do List. © Patrick Ng

Chronodex Daily Scheduler with GTD To-Do List.  © Patrick Ng

The Daily Scheduler’s designed in a 3-fold format for A4 paper. The familiar Chronodex image is featured, of course, along with some to-do lists. Patrick also includes some nice graphics to check off how much water you drink, and to remind you the weather for the day.

Close-up of water and weather icons. © Patrick Ng

Close-up of water and weather icons. © Patrick Ng

I used the Daily Scheduler for a week to test it out. The test was a needed reminder of how well an undated daily Chronodex format has worked for me in the past.

Basically, I use the Chronodex to record how a day of writing has gone. An undated format works for me because sometimes given unavoidable-crucial-Life-responsibilities-at-this-time-in-my-life stories don’t get written, edited or even thought about. On those days, the Chronodex gets forgotten. An undated format means I can pick up the next page in my Chronodex and get on with things. There’s no series of empty dates that glare out at me, reminding of the not-writing times. I like that.

There were some areas of Patrick’s Daily Scheduler that didn’t resonate for me, and so I, uh, took them out.

Keeping his Chronodex image is a given, ay?

I kept the area he called “Focus.” An area that literally represents what the day’s focus will be.

Additionally, I kept the area he called “Gratitude,” because, well, gratitude; important, healthy, and essential for living, IMHO. (For years I’ve kept a gratitude journal. The Scheduler augments that.)

Instead of all the to-do areas, I made an area called “Notes.” “Notes” lists any details I want to capture about what I’m working on, thinking about, or anything that needs deeper attention for the next day or so. Before I begin a new day, I review the previous day’s “Notes.” Sometimes thoughts under “Notes” become the “Focus” on another day. Simple, ay?  I like this approach.

2016 Chronodex for moi

2016 Chronodex for moi

Patrick’s Daily Scheduler prints a dot-grid background. I went with a blank background so that I could use up some Rhodia graph paper. While the paper is A4 size, I cut the paper down in order to use a two-fold format. While my format is not as cool as Patrick’s, it suits my needs—which is the “going indie” point, ay?

In case you’re wondering: the cut-off strips of the graph paper sit on my desk as available note/scribble paper.

I don’t use Patrick’s water and weather icons, but did incorporate some icons that were useful to me. The top set consists of very basic weather icons. The bottom set is used to record where I’ve been—coffee house, library, with my dog, home office, or traveling.

These color icons print in black & white via my laser printer.

These color icons print in black & white via my laser printer.

At the end of the day, I check off all the things under “Focus” that were attended to. I keep the focus area to a small, accomplishable list. Sometimes it includes Life things that need attention. Mostly the list contains broad strokes; not a lot of detail.

The other thing I’ve been experimenting with for my Chronodex is the use of color pencils. There’s been a box sitting in my supply closet for eons, and it has been put to use. The pencils are lightweight, portable, and don’t saturate the paper (unlike my beloved Sailor Brush highlighters).

A good writing day

A good writing day: Blue = writing time / Green = new project time / pink = chores / orange = eating/fitness time

So far so good with this simple Chronodex format for 2016. I print these out ten at a time. Printing double-sided, that’s twenty days worth of record keeping, easily fitting into my Midori TN.

Again, kudos and gratitude goes to Patrick Ng for his work in helping us to think about how we view time. Like many others, I’m looking forward to the day when he manufactures a Chronodex stamp for us to use, too.

Find Chronodex on Patrick Ng’s blog, or on Facebook.


Tales of a Vandal Notebook User: