Beautiful planning

I’m always on the lookout for new ways to plan tasks and time using my tablet, and I’ve been through probably all of the free apps and not a few of the cheaper paid ones. Ultimately they all fall down, for me, because I am a stationery geek at heart and I like things I can draw and write on as I think of stuff. Though I’ve been using Evernote a lot lately I’m finding I still want, basically, a good quality notebook and decent pens to hand.

I’ve looked at several of the handwriting and drawing apps too, and I have to say there’s no single one which is best at everything. But last week I found 2 things which combine to give me a very pleasing day planner – one that I can draw on using tablet & stylus, and import easily to Evernote for a permanent record.

The first thing is an app called Pen and Ink. It’s free with in-app purchases that extend the range of tools, and I particularly like it because of the ink pen tool. It’s a pleasure to write with, like having top-quality watercolour paper and an old fashioned artist’s drawing pen without the inky fingers and expense.

The second thing is the Chronodex planner, which is a template for a day’s thoughts and notes. I’ve drawn up an example below of how I think my next working day is likely to go. You can see that I’m emphatically not a mornings person, and need to schedule in anything requiring full focus for once I’ve had coffee and a chance to build up some momentum.


Credit: Chronodex based on template by Patrick Ng.

This appeals to me for several reasons:
1. It mimics pen and paper
2. It allows me to scribble in all the white spaces
3. It acts like a mind map – you work out from the centre
4. It’s visually pleasing

Obviously you can do all these things with a linear day planner or schedule, but I’ve always found I run out of space alongside 11am and 3pm, when I tend to be powering through lists of tasks, and 8am and 12pm are conspicuously blank. 

I used the free online template, saved as a picture file, imported into Pen and Ink as a background that I then traced over using the ink pen tool. That gives me a template picture that I duplicate each day and draw in the day’s events, the tasks I want to get done (at the right times) and then any additional notes as I either complete or defer them. The beauty of this design is that you can work with it in a way that suits you, so if checklists are your thing you can still incorporate them, and if mind mapping works for you you can do that too.

Where this is really working for me though, is that each day’s finished article is easily imported in the Evernote journal entry for that day, and sits on top of my typed vJournal entry as a reminder of what I got done and what I didn’t finish. When I do my weekly review I look at each entry in turn to make sure I haven’t missed anything.

For more info on the Chronodex, which is free to use, take a look at this blog at , and the designer’s own website at


About jargonaut

Unashamed geek lost in policy land. Frequently required to believe three impossible things before breakfast, and implement them by tea time.
This entry was posted in Just me, Ramblings, The Geek Wonk Interface and tagged , , , . Bookmark the permalink.

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