Last month my wife bought a disc-bound notebook (The Happy Planner) at our local Michael’s and after getting home I took the time to examine the product and thought it was brilliant. If you don’t know, a disc-bound notebook allows you to pull sheets out of the binding and then return it to the binding. This allows you to rearrange the pages into any order you require. They are offered by different of companies (including Martha Stewart in the U.S.) but the most well known brand is ARC by Staples. I ordered the letter-sized version first for my writing (of which I will discuss in a future post) as well as the half size (8.5″ x 5.5″) for my office journal (pictured above). I also picked up the product-specific hole punch, two sets of the larger 1.5″ rings as well as the package of tab dividers. The original ARC notebooks come with a set of 1/4″ rings (I’ll talk about uses for them in yet another post). At about the same time I was reading about a time management system called Bullet Journal which I thought would be a great way to track my daily tasks in the office. So I decided to marry up the two systems to create a system specifically designed for the office.
Daily ARC Bullet Journal Pages
In my office I am required to track the time I spend on each specific assignment. For years I was tracking this on cue cards. Each day was a different cue card and after entering the information I would toss the cue card. I wanted to find a good system that was easy to use. When I bought my smaller ARC I wanted to also buy daily calendar pages, but they were not available (a week over two pages is available). So I headed over to Pinterest and searched for Daily Calendar. There are literally hundreds of ideas, but it finally came down to me designing my own pages. Using Numbers I designed the page you see on the right. The left edge of the page was cut off due to poor scaling during printing. I quickly realized that 30 minute blocks were not precise enough for my needs in the office. It ended up, as the sample shows there was a great deal of space wasted. I decided to go back to the laptop and redesign the page to be more effective and a better use of space. I returned to Pinterest for inspiration.
Designing my Wheel of Time
With all due respect to Robert Jordan, I gave this design the name Wheel of Time because, well, it is a wheel of time. I found this design on Pinterest. It is a simplified Chronodex design. Each hour is divided into five 12.5 minutes segments. As I work on an assignment I fill in a 12.5 minute block. At the end of the day I add up the different coloured blocks, multiplied by 12.5 to get the total number of minutes and then divide by 60 to get a value in hours.
Time = (#ofBlocks x 12.5) / 60
Time = (18 x 12.5) / 60
Time = (225) / 60
Time = 3.75 hours
However, the problem that I discovered using this system is I would sometimes get numbers like 3.125 hours but our time tracking tool counted in quarter hours so I needed to make some changes to the wheel, including a way to track evening tasks that overlap with my office tasks. I recommend the use of Papermate’s Gel Pens for writing in you ARC Journal. It’s a smooth line and vibrate colours with zero ink bleed.
Wheel of Time 2.0
I created this by dramatically modifying a design I had found while searching again for Chronodex on Pinterest. There is an inner wheel for personal appointments as well as an outer wheel for office task time tracking. Working very much the same way as the original design, this time the hours are divided into four equal parts rather than five which now aligns with the office’s time tracking software. As you can see the centre area is used for the day of the week and the date. I’m not sure what the remaining centre area will be for; maybe the weather log (see left corner of the original wheel design). The space below the wheel is used for note taking as needed. The space above the wheel is wasted, so I will be moving the wheel up the next time I print pages. I may also divide the lower space into a note area and a to-do task list. I’m going to sketch out some ideas in the coming weeks.
In future posts I’m going to discuss the Bullet Journal part of the ARC system as well as how I design my pages as they are custom and then finally I will discuss how I plan to use the full-sized ARC system for my writing.
Available PDF Files
Do you use a Bullet Journal? Do you use an ARC system? What are your thoughts on them? How do you use them? Please leave me a comment as I’d like to hear your take on your own system.