Yesterday, a package containing the JustThree Fortnight Planner by my friend Sam Hotchkiss and his mother Carol, arrived at my doorstep. Those of you who have spent time with me, know that I love lists, notebooks, and pens. While I often use Todoist for many of my daily tasks, there’s something magical about quality paper and handwriting. A pen gracefully flowing on quality paper brings feelings on permanence and beauty.
Needless to say, when I was told that I could possibly enhance my daily back-pocket notebook that hold so dearly, with one specifically tailored to people like myself with ADHD, I expressed a bit of a “shut up and take my money”-like reaction. The thought that I could receive a prototype, while shaping the future of it based on my needs and feedback, gave me unprecedented optimism that my ADHD-induced daily chaos and forgetfulness could be relieved; if only a minuscule amount.
Simple, minimal, and attractive
Because nearly everybody reading this is likely hearing about the JustThree Fortnight Planner for the first time, I feel it appropriate to first describe the physical aspects of it. The design is rather minimal, which is ideal for those of us who need to get rid of panic-inducing clutter, but robust enough to show that it is more than my typical Moleskine notebook in my back pocket.
Because JustThree is meant to be something carried around daily, the size is excellent. Kept to a standard size, most people who already carry a daily notebook will find the size easily recognizable and accommodating. Considering it is meant to be of daily use for an entire 2 weeks, I’m rather amazed at how thin it is. Holding side by side, JustThree is about 2/3 thinner than my daily Moleskine, and about a 1/2 inch shorter. It doesn’t seem like a big difference, but it’s certainly a bit noticeable, while maintaining a familiar form factor.
The cover is made of high quality cardboard, that will better form and wear based on how you carry it. The printing and design of the cover allows for simplicity with a bit of elegance. Because the JustThree is meant to be used and set aside, start and end dates are also printed on the front, allowing for easier indexing of completed notebooks.
Due to the cardboard cover, it does appear to show “finger goo” a bit more than I prefer. Being the hermit developer that I am, I already have a bit of grease from the pizza I was devouring at my desk while initially beginning with my journey. It shows some character on the lightly stained cover, but just may be a reflection on my need to be a desk-bound sloth with too much attention to detail and not enough sleep.
Inside, the paper is quality, but not necessarily what I prefer. It’s hard to explain in words, but the JustThree’s paper doesn’t quite seem up to par for my tastes when compared to my typical Moleskine. The best way that I can describe it would be more of a thinner, more rigid paper when compared to a more plushy paper in my Moleskine. I’m terribly picky when writing, and while not a deal-breaker, it causes me a small amount of discomfort. Ideally, if a Molekine version of the JustThree were to be released, even for a premium, I would much prefer it over the existing paper.
Taking a peek inside
Enough of the prettiness and on to function. The first page of the JustThree contains spaces to enter your name in the event of unfortunate loss, as well as a listing of the top 3 priorities that fortnight. Because of its placement on the first page, I feel it will provide a constant reminder of what needs to be achieved in the time period.
Next, are total of 4 pages to better list overall tasks to be performed during the fortnight. 2 of these pages are listings of things to do for yourself this fortnight, and the other 2 are things to do for others. Personally, I’ve never considered noting things to do for others within my various to-do lists and calendars, but I love the idea. Because plans over the next couple weeks are laid out ahead of time, better critical thinking can be done to make not only increase productivity over the time period, but also assist in becoming an overall better person.
Following this pattern, weeks are also broken down to their own dedicated pages, with additional space for notes. This is where the name JustThree really begins to reveal itself. Often times, I place far too many things on my to-do lists with unrealistic expectations of myself. With JustThree, there is only space for 3 tasks to do for myself, and another 3 for tasks to do for others. This lack of space is entirely intentional, and provides a clear understanding of the week to come without becoming overwhelmed by tasks.
Daily items are laid out similarly to the weekly outlook in having 3 daily items that to be completed for yourself and others. Why 6 daily tasks when there are only a total of 6 weekly tasks? Because unexpected goals pop up, and prioritization is done for you before you even realize it. Because of the intentionally limited space, I’m forced to organize my tasks based on priority. If something pops to up, I can place it within my daily tasks without impacting my weekly or bi-weekly goals.
Daily productivity is further enhanced with the inclusion of logging. These logs include 1-10 markers for productivity level, an attractive and unobtrusive way of delegating time, as well as spaces for mood, sleep, substance intake, and exercise. If kept up with, it seems that it could provide a quality understanding of patterns in my daily life, as well as a bit of constructive guilt. It feels good to mark things down and check off boxes,. If I leave the exercise box empty, I’m going to feel lazy and work to get something in that box each day.
At the very back of JustThree, there is a traditional to-do list marked for additional items that don’t quite fit into a prioritized goal, but are intended to be remembered. I’m the sort of guy that has to use a calendar and to-do list for things as simple as cleaning off my desk or sending a quick email to someone, so this is a must-have. The inclusion of a more abstract list of tasks adds a bit of relaxation to the hyper-productivity of JustThree.
Overall first impressions
Overall, I’m quite excited to see JustThree grow into a tool that I rely on. I’ve an absurd amount of guided productivity notebooks, but always seem to go back to my generic, lined Moleskine. While that usually works great, it’s harder to track goals and progress. JustThree takes those ideas and lays them out in a way that causes critical thinking and prioritization to not only increase productivity, but also quality of life.
Of course, I’m not entirely sure how well I will be able to stick to it at the moment, or how useful it will become over time, but I have high hopes for it. Expect to see another post in a week on my progress.
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