I always buy a diary in about November each year with all good intentions of using it the following year,Then it gets to February and it ends up gathering dust on the shelf in the van,

I tend to keep everything in my brain, when i get to a job i remember what i have done the previous week and what needs doing on this visit,

I jot the odd note on a little clipboard pad on the dash but most of the time everything is from memory, Am i alone in doing this? does everybody else use a diary? Maybe you use IPads and Smart phones to keep organized?

I can appreciate that Landscapers and Designers would need to use a diary because of the nature of the jobs, but in maintenance I am generally visiting the same sites week after week with the odd one off job here and there.

Tags: diary, organisation

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My day to page A 5 diary usually reaches the end of the year looking dog eared and stuffed full of bits of paper - yes it gets used and used heavily! This years model has metal reinforced corners so it hopefully doesn't get so battered, quite so quickly.

It travels in and out of the house daily, from the van to the house at night and back again the next day. I have the 'week to view' plan on sheets of paper on a large pin board in the office throughout the busy season so that I always have a 'back up' of the important information.

I have to jot things down such as appointments for quotes, important phone numbers for clients and suppliers, delivery timings, machine service schedules - you name it, it'll be in my diary....

IPads and Smart phones are not my cup of tea - the battery doesn't go flat on good old fashioned paper!

In order to organise my business efficently, I try to plan working routes, job groupings etc into areas, without the diary I couldn't do this as effectively as I do. My work spreads me over up to 6 towns and villages through the week and I try to fit in quotes around paying work to avoid 'dead time' spent travelling, careful use of the diary also avoids having to go back to the suppliers because I promised Mr and Mrs so and so that I would put them some lawn fertiliser or lawn sand on when I next visited and finding out that i had forgotten to load it on the van in the morning..

Perhaps your memory is just better than mine Andy!

My diary looks as good as new at the end of the year Adam lol,

before i go to sleep at night i tend to think about the next days work, the jobs, what needs doing, the materials etc that may need to be taken.

I wouldn't say my memory is better Adam, I would say you are more organized than me :-D

I use an online diary, www.toodledo.com  its free although you can pay for some things... not sure what.  there is also an app for iphone, i dont use this as i keep getting it wrong and if i change something on the phone, next time i log in on computer to undoes what i did on phone and vice versa. 

I used to use a normal diary but once i started getting busy (more customers) i found it more difficult and time consuming.  With the online diary i enter the customers address once and set it to repeat how ever often we visit, weekly fortnightly etc, once its been ticked off as completed it automatically adds it on to next time. 

You can add notes on each entry (job) for gate numbers passwords etc,

I then use a customer database to keep a check on customers accounts, so i always know who owes money and how much each customer has spent, and monthly and yearly takings etc that system is called Amphis Customer and cost £100 (one time payment but worth every penny)

I must say that is one thing that my memory has let me down on, customers payments!

Luckily my customers are honest, but the amount of times i've gone to a job and the customer has said "oh and i owe you from last time when i was out" and i haven't remembered!!

Dread to think how much money has slipped through the net because of this.

I will have to do something about that.



Craig Downey said:

I use an online diary, www.toodledo.com  its free although you can pay for some things... not sure what.  there is also an app for iphone, i dont use this as i keep getting it wrong and if i change something on the phone, next time i log in on computer to undoes what i did on phone and vice versa. 

I used to use a normal diary but once i started getting busy (more customers) i found it more difficult and time consuming.  With the online diary i enter the customers address once and set it to repeat how every often we visit, weekly fortnightly etc, once its been ticked off as completed it automatically adds it on to next time. 

Gate numbers passwords etc, i tend to remember what needs doing for every customers so dont tend to make notes of this type of thing. 

I then use a customer database to keep a check on customers accounts, so i always know who owes money and how much each customer has spent, and monthly and yearly takings etc that system is called Amphis Customer and cost £100 (one time payment but worth every penny)

Its a god send !!  i really would recommend it, it is a bit of a comitment making sure to update the system every night with the days work... you can do it how ever often you want but i try to do it wvery day while its fresh in my mind.  You can download the software and use it free to try it out, i think you can hold upto 3 customers on it before you have to pay.

You can then send letters to all your customers with offers on or what ever, its really good ( i am not on commision by the way lol)

I'll look into it Craig, Thanks :-)

Craig Downey said:

Its a god send !!  i really would recommend it, it is a bit of a comitment making sure to update the system every night with the days work... you can do it how ever often you want but i try to do it wvery day while its fresh in my mind.  You can download the software and use it free to try it out, i think you can hold upto 3 customers on it before you have to pay.

You can then send letters to all your customers with offers on or what ever, its really good ( i am not on commision by the way lol)

Paul, just by looking at your van i knew you'd be very organized lol,

I think your schedule is a hell of a lot more complex than mine though,

Paul @ PPCH Services said:

I simply couldn't operate with out a diary, My work is a mix, from clients I work for 1 day a month, Day a fortnight clients, small grass cut type jobs, commercial clients with variying monthly time demands, One off maintance and landscapeing and bi annual regular hedge cuting customers. Not to mention property maintance work, clients going on holiday needing extra visits etc etc.

In short, a seriusly hectic schedule that needs scheduling a year in advance, is usually chocker 1-3 months in advance and needs constant referal too.

I also use the notes area, contacts list and reminder function on my I phone in tandem with the paper diary

I know not everyone is a fan of Ipads/Iphones but we love them. We have 1 Ipad and an Iphone each. They all automatically sync with each other through wireless, so that when my husband gets in from work the bits he has written on his Iphone will copy to my phone and the Ipad- and vice versa- anything I have written will go to his. We also have the contacts, emails and note app all doing the same thing. Best thing as well is that we have the calender synced to google calenders so that our diary is available on any computer which has the internet. The contacts addresses are copied to the calendar and then from there my hubby uses google maps to plan his route.

Also, there is never any danger of losing information as every time to are connected to our wifi our iphones and ipad sync with itunes and automatically download everything.

Another thing is the camera which is synced so any photos my husband or I take of jobs goes to the Ipad and I can upload them to facebook, twitter etc.

So going back to the diary question- I write everything down electronically using the calendar and note app on the iphone/ipad. Although I do miss having a real paper diary- because I used to cover it in doodles when I was on the phone!

My diary is one of the most important things I use. Typical reasons why i need it are:

  • client calls while I'm out on site, gives me their address for a quote, I could never remember it, so write it down. I can also see exactly when I am available for a visit
  • Job on a Thu requires a new fence post. Tue I see I pass by the timber merchant, so I write down what to buy and when to buy it to ensure I am prepared
  • New client needs a one-off job that's not scheduled. I am full, but this is a 7hr job. I decide when I can do it and fit it in with staff for the day
  • I'll be out and about and suddenly think "I need to order new goggles". I write in in the diary for the coming weekend so I don't forget to buy them

Many, many more reasons, but without my diary I would let people down and things would be so chaotic.

My A5 day to day diary is used on a daily basis. Could not be without it

a doodler eh? I do that too, I've doodled on many an important bit of paper when I'm on the phone!! lol

I can definately see the advantages of the syncing technology, :-)

Aye and Susan Naing said:

I know not everyone is a fan of Ipads/Iphones but we love them. We have 1 Ipad and an Iphone each. They all automatically sync with each other through wireless, so that when my husband gets in from work the bits he has written on his Iphone will copy to my phone and the Ipad- and vice versa- anything I have written will go to his. We also have the contacts, emails and note app all doing the same thing. Best thing as well is that we have the calender synced to google calenders so that our diary is available on any computer which has the internet. The contacts addresses are copied to the calendar and then from there my hubby uses google maps to plan his route.

Also, there is never any danger of losing information as every time to are connected to our wifi our iphones and ipad sync with itunes and automatically download everything.

Another thing is the camera which is synced so any photos my husband or I take of jobs goes to the Ipad and I can upload them to facebook, twitter etc.

So going back to the diary question- I write everything down electronically using the calendar and note app on the iphone/ipad. Although I do miss having a real paper diary- because I used to cover it in doodles when I was on the phone!

I can certainly see your points there Dan,

I certainly write things down, but on the pad on the dash so it's in front of me like your fence post example, also measurements for things, addresses, phone numbers etc get written down.

I tend to do the same jobs on the same days of the week so if someone rang with a one off job, i know what i'm doing on what days, so can say what day i would be able to fit it in.

Don't get me wrong i'm not anti-diary! wish i could get into using one, each years starts off well then i go back to my way. It isn't chaotic though everything gets done.



Dan Frazer Gardening said:

My diary is one of the most important things I use. Typical reasons why i need it are:

  • client calls while I'm out on site, gives me their address for a quote, I could never remember it, so write it down. I can also see exactly when I am available for a visit
  • Job on a Thu requires a new fence post. Tue I see I pass by the timber merchant, so I write down what to buy and when to buy it to ensure I am prepared
  • New client needs a one-off job that's not scheduled. I am full, but this is a 7hr job. I decide when I can do it and fit it in with staff for the day
  • I'll be out and about and suddenly think "I need to order new goggles". I write in in the diary for the coming weekend so I don't forget to buy them

Many, many more reasons, but without my diary I would let people down and things would be so chaotic.

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