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Yesterday I promoted the idea of designing or buying a systemised personal organiser so that instead of living moment to moment ‘as it comes’ you can live moment to moment ‘by design’. I’d gamble a lot of readers would have resisted the idea for any number of reasons (which are all covered in my book, Police Time Management).

We all live by ‘forms’. We’re constantly filling out applications, invoices, receipts, requests and other things because someone else wants them. I would wager that, right now (American for ‘now’, by the way), you have some forms in front of you for completion, or from which you will elicit some specific data pertinent to your current role. Am I right? I am.

So why not have your own forms which suit your situation and make your life better?

Although I currently use a purchased system, I did design my own system and use it in the same way. I designed forms on Word, printed them on A4 (Folio) paper, punched the pages using a 4-hole punch from a stationers, and kept them all – along with records, documents, receipts, booking confirmations and reference materials in a Wenger document case, although I also managed to find a leather A4 Filofax* binder in perfect condition for £2 in a charity shop, once. Bargain! (Remember, how to do all of that is downloadable HERE for free and at no risk.)

Everything I needed could be carried in that case, and anything that came into my possession could go into it, too. It cost me about £30, but here’s a BIG clue to saving on binders – use EBay. I’ve bought some £100+ binders there for a tenner, including the one I use at the moment. But go for the best quality you can, and Wenger is high quality at a ‘sensible’ price. That said, if you don’t need additional pockets, pen-loops or rain-proofing, any 4-ring binder can do the job.

Size is important.

A5/Statement size with 7-ring binders are available from Franklinplanner.com or daytimers.com (or co.uk) and form availability is excellent. I find them a teeny bit pricey but the quality is good and the size is probably the smallest most users should go. The diary pages address most needs.


If you are in any doubt about using a system like this, get an A4 binder and a 4-ring paper punch, print 30-31 of the below page back-to-back, read the free book so you know how to prepare and use it, and try it for a month. If you find it does serve you, consider whether to continue using it (adapting it as you feel suits you) or buying a posh system for Christmas. (You do NOT need another digital device or another jumper.)

I dare you.

1 day page diary page link