Thursday, November 20, 2014

Guest post: My Life In A Pocket

Many thanks to Helen for this excellent guest post on how she (very effectively) runs her life from her pocket Moleskine planner!

My Life in a Pocket

Firstly thank you to Laurie for letting me post about my new set-up. When I was researching new ways of planning, I found very little about using pocket sized bound planners, so thought it would be useful to share this in case it helps anyone else.

Back in August life changed significantly for me. I left my corporate job and became self employed. At the time I didn’t realize how much this would change the way I planned.  Before I go on, I must thank David (who know who you are!) for helping me in those first few weeks to settle into the self employed world and supporting me in trying to work out what my new planning system should look like.  Your advice was wonderful and much appreciated!

So, my life before August… I was an engineer working in a large company. I had many people reporting to me, and had many deadlines and hundreds of very small tasks to get through each week. On top of this, I had all of my personal appointment and tasks and lists. This is how I organized my life:

Work – I had an A5 note book which I used as a day book. All my meeting notes went into this. Because I had so many tasks to keep track of, some of which came through an electronic system, I used that system to keep a track of everything. Each day, tasks to be done on that day would be transferred to my day book and ticked off as they were done.  My work diary was online in the office.

Home -  I used a personal Filofax which housed my diary, task lists, general lists eg. Present ideas, books to read etc.  My diary was basically personal appointments only. Work appointments changed so quickly I couldn’t keep up on paper and really didn’t need to. Tasks were put into the week on two pages diary for ticking off as and when they were done. My blog planning was also done in my Filofax.

When I left, suddenly there was a gaping hole. The tools that I organized my working life with were no longer there. Also my working life had changed, and those types of tools were not really necessary anymore. So, I started on a voyage of trial and error to see what would work. What I came up with surprised me somewhat.

Here is what I wanted:
  1. Something as small as I could get away with. When I see clients I have to carry a lot of stuff, so a bulging Filofax wasn’t going to work anymore.
  2. A diary I could easily archive. This headed me towards a bound diary. 
  3. I wanted to keep notes in my diary about important things that I wanted to keep for posterity. 
  4. I needed a way to keep track of my to-dos both work and personal
For two weeks I kept a note of the parts of my current set-up that I used when I was out of the house. This told me what I needed to carry with me and what I didn’t. Not wanting to waste money on diaries and stationary which wouldn’t work out, I started to experiment with what I had.  I downloaded various templates from the Moleskine website, and started to work out how I might use the different sizes and layouts.

I quickly homed in on the pocket size, but it seemed so small, but after some trial and error, I realized it could work… and here it is:
Pocket Moleskine Weekly notebook, Peanuts

I picked a pocket moleskine week on one page with notes diary. I chose the Peanuts version, because who doesn’t like Snoopy?

In the front I keep some sticky notes and flags for making notes and jotting things down when I am out and about. 
Sticky notes

The monthly spread looks small, but it is useable. I use this for planning when I am free to take on work and when I am booked. Everything is written in pencil as plans change often. Once the appointment has happened I write it in pen. I carry a Lamy 4-Pen with me everywhere. It has red, blue and black ink plus a pencil and eraser.  I only write in black, and I like very plain pages. Very occasionally I will put a red star next to something if it is urgent or very important. I enjoy looking at people’s decorated pages, but I can’t make it work for me. I can’t see through the decoration to the important stuff!
Monthly spread

It also has a page for holidays and events, which is where I list birthdays, remembrance days etc. This is a page I have in my Filofax, and I like to have it with me to remind me to buy cards.
Special events pages

Flicking to the back, the Moleskine has 5 notes pages. I have used these to carry important information that I need when I am out and about. I printed them out and glued them in. In my Filofax I have pages and pages of addresses, phone numbers, logins etc. I don’t need them all when I am out, just key information, the rest stays in my Filo at home.  At the very back I have some list sticky notes for use as I need.
Page for important home info

Pages for contacts

Sticky note pad at back for lists

Now, to the main part of the book. The diary.

The photos show mocked up pages in an old diary as I couldn’t find one which didn’t have personal or confidential business items on it.

On the left hand side go appointments. I don’t have that many, and when I do they tend to be half day or all day affairs. Sometimes I may be booked for a whole week by a client, and then I write it in at the very top of the page so it is obvious that week is full.

You will see letters in brackets on some days eg. (G). This means the gardeners are coming and I need to pay them. It is a regular appointment and it saves space. The blue circle on Thursday tells me it is recycling week for bin collection.
Weekly pages: individual day appointments and notes/ tasks
On the right hand side are the notes pages. I extend the lines between each day across, so each day has about 4 lines each. The very top of this page is used for general notes or reminders which are for the week, and not a specific day. You can see that I note down all sorts of things, hours to bill a client. Phone calls, blog entries which are scheduled to publish.

I use a bullet journaling approach for my notes:

A round bullet is for a note, and a box is for a task. I’ll come to tasks in a minute. Now I am a bit of a neat freak, and I like my boxes to be square… so I use an eraser guard made by Derwent as a stencil.  It fits perfectly in the pocket at the back of the book, so I can pull it out, stencil in the shape I want as a bullet, and make the note.  I also have a Pocket sized Filofax ruler in the pocket at the back in case I need to draw any straight lines or measure anything.
Derwent stencils and Filofax ruler

So, back to tasks. The number of tasks I have has dropped dramatically, which frankly is a relief. I used to have 70 – 80 per day to get through at work (I never managed to clear the list each day). I used to write every task in my diary in my Filofax. I came to realize that my diary now is for recording significant things related to my personal and business life.  I won’t need to know in ten years time that I put the rubbish out every Thursday!  I have the master list in my Filo. Each week I review what needs to be done the following week, normally on a Friday afternoon. Any task which is unusual, or I would like to record that I have done eg. Submit tax return gets written in the diary with a little box.  Everything else which has to be done, but is part of the detritus of life I write on a sticky note and put in the diary. The sticky is binned once it is no longer relevant.
Tasks list sticky note
All those other lists of books to read, present ideas, blog planning etc are still in my Filofax, which now stays at home. Every now and then I will grab my Filo and take it with me, but it is less than once per month and I have never needed it and not had it.  I keep a separate journal inspired by Millie’s Moleskine diary, so this keeps my more private musings and observations away from the administrative running of my life.

I have been using this system for a couple of months now and really pleased with it. I thought the limited space would be a problem, but what it has done is make me really think about what I need all of the time, and what I don’t.  Recording absolutely everything in one place is a nice idea, but it doesn’t work for me. It feels overwhelming and makes me stray away from what is important. I have bought another Moleskine, Peanuts edition again, for next year. I feel really settled with this. I enjoy using it, and enjoy how quickly I can see the important parts of my current week, and past weeks without going through pages and pages of detail.  I now carry a really portable system which works for me 99% of the time. If I need anything more, my Filofax comes with me too.
What I carry with me

I’d love to know if anyone else has made a pocket sized bound book work for them.

Wow thanks again so much to Helen for sharing her super-efficient portable system! Please comment below.

Monday, November 17, 2014

Moleskine 2016 planners catalog!!

Every year about this time I start searching the internet for the new Moleskine catalog. Imagine my delight when I found it so early in the year! Here it is:

http://www.raincoast.com/images/uploads/catalogues/s15-Moleskine.pdf

The 2016 planner collection starts on page 58. Here are some of my observations and highlights:

  • Edited because I just realized the Turntable planners are no more!
  • The weekly notebook planners FINALLY come with colored hard covers! Hooray!
  • The new colors apply to the day per page planners too. They are red, Hay Yellow (instead of the current orange-yellow, which I like), Royal Blue, Tide Green (instead of the current Oxide Green which I really like) and Mauve Purple (combining the current Magenta pink and Violet purple colors).
  • Looks like the Weekly Horizontal planners only come with black covers now? Except extra small which also comes in red.
  • The Panoramic and Professional series of planners are still there, which I am glad to see. 
  • Limited Edition planners are Star Wars again (even more cartoony than in years past), Le Petit Prince again with very nice looking cloth covers, and Peanuts again. 
  • And the Evernote planner, which is a cool idea.
And that's it, wow. The Moleskine planner selection continues to contract. I'm relieved to see the day per page planners are still offered, I've been using them since 2008 so I'd be really upset if they were no more. And obviously the weekly notebook planners are a huge hit for them, but otherwise their selection is on the shrink (even more so than last year).

Something else I noticed is their Chapters Journal (page 47), those look interesting.

Meanwhile I don't care for the Batman or Mad Hatter themed notebooks.

I like the Notebook Tool Belt on page 41-42 as an obvious competitor to many similar notebook accessories I've seen online. I wonder what the price will be though.

What do you think about next year's Moleskine collection?

Sunday, November 16, 2014

2015 Plannerisms planners available mid-December

I've just heard from my publisher that the 2015 Plannerisms planners should be available to order mid-December. They will be available to order from the Collins UK website again like they have been in years past. I don't have a link yet because it's not live yet. This is the very latest info I have, and I will update you when things are firm.

I don't know the price yet but am assuming it will be similar to last year which was about $20 USD. I don't have any more information right now but I'll be sure to update you when I do!

Thanks again to everyone for your interest in Plannerisms planners!

Sunday, November 9, 2014

Free printable planners

Finding your perfect planner doesn't have to be expensive. In fact, if you have a printer you can try out lots of free printables and set yourself up for the year at relatively minimal cost (depending on how expensive your printer ink is!).

The Philofaxy free printable planners come in a huge range of formats and sizes. They are designed to be used for ring binders (Filofax etc.).

Homemakers Daily also has some free printable pages for Filofax and Franklin Covey binders, in daily and weekly formats. Also at the bottom of this post she has a download for my favorite weekly planner format.

Productive Flourishing planners are different from usual planners in that they are designed for people who work to projects/ tasks rather than to a time schedule. Each month they make their planners selection available for free downloading, or you can buy the whole year if you don't want to wait for them to come out each month.

Passion Planner has free downloads of their weekly planner, or you can buy their bound version. Heads-up: the free printable has Monday starting weeks but their 2015 bound planner to purchase has Sunday-starting weeks. I have to admit I printed out some of these free pages and have been playing with them this week.

Here are a bunch I haven't tried myself but look good:

L2E

The Handmade Home

Organized Home

PrintablePlanners.net

DIY Planner templates

CrazyLittleProjects not only has great-looking printables but also some stellar planning advice.

Emily Ley

Scroll down this post from GlueSticksBlog to see links to all the various pages she used to create her free printable planner.

She used the monthly calendars from Miss Tina (2015 version in the link).

Scattered Squirrel has a great variety of undated printables.

What are your favorite free printable planners?

Thursday, November 6, 2014

1 Page At At Time by Adam J. Kurtz

This is my new favorite thing. Get ready to be obsessed:


1 Page At A Time is a book, but not really. It has 365 pages but it's not a planner or a diary. I knew I loved it when I opened it to this page:

This wonderful thing arrived yesterday just as I was on my way out the door so I ripped it out of the packaging and chucked it in my bag. I had a couple of flip-throughs yesterday but didn't have time to get to know it.

This morning the weather is really horrible. See:

You can't even see from this photo how shitty it is outside today: blowing a gale and raining sideways. I knew what I should do: some work. I knew what I wanted to do: take myself out for coffee, which I almost never ever do.

So I opened the book randomly 8-ball style and it opened to this page:
Thank you little yellow book for being my enabler!

So I went to the coffee shop with no planners or notebooks at all so I wouldn't be distracted. Just me and this awesome little book.

I know I'm supposed to do one page at a time (it is the title, after all), but part of the joy of this book is breaking rules so I flipped around in the book. I don't want to give away too many of the wonderful surprises in this book so most of these page shots are ones I've already seen online anyway. Believe me, it is so nice to turn the page and see what comes up each time.



Some of it is goofy. Most of it is funny. Some of it is existential. All of it is awesome. It reminds me not to take everything, especially books/ notebooks, so seriously all the time. And it gets me off the internet for awhile.

It is wonderful and special and you want one. I ordered this one from Amazon.

You might remember I mentioned ordering this book in this post where I talked about this guy's planner I ordered too. It is the Unsolicited Advice planner and I can't wait to get it. He says using the planner and the 1 Page At A Time book together is double the fun. I'll see if he's right!

Wednesday, November 5, 2014

Guest post: Federal Supply Memoranda notebook review

Many thanks to Jane for this guest review!

My name is Jane, I'm a middle school art teacher, and I've been a part of the Plannerisms and planning community since 2009. Thanks to this site, I've finally found what works for me, and hope to pass along ideas to someone else. A huge thanks to Laurie for letting me write this and for all her amazing work here and all over the internet!

About three months ago, I realized I needed a "ubiquitous capture device," in addition to my planner. In the past, I've tried to make my planner as small as I can. I've tried pocket Filofaxes, mini Filofaxes, and lots of pocket sized notebooks such as Moleskine, Field Notes, and off-brands. Yet, I never had enough room for planning or making diagrams. So, I realized I need something I can write in on the go, and add to my personal Kendal Filofax later.

However, I think I've found it. Everyone in the planner community calls it 'their unicorn" and although I like the mental image, I choose a different one. I call this my holy grail.

Behold the humble Federal Supply Memoranda Notebook!
The front and back of the Memoranda book

SPECS

This notebook measures 3.625 inches (3 5/8 inches or 92 mm) by 5.625 inches (5 5/8 inches or 143 mm).  It is 1/4 an inch wide (.5 inches or 12.7 mm) and has a flexible cover.
Flexible cover

The inside has a blank page, that I'd use as an index.
Index page

The spacing on the blue ruled paper is a 1/4 of an inch (.25 inches or 6.35 mm). You can see the comparison to Filofax ruled paper.
Ruled pages

The binding is actually sewn together. It contains 72 pages, so 144 front and back. This does not have flatability when you first open it. You can get some, but not all the way.
Stitched and glued binding

This is a hardy notebook. It takes being roughed up quite nicely. I really like the vintage look of the notebook, so I decided to color the outside edge a different color, so I can find what I need. I had a black marker handy, and the rest is history.

This notebook doesn't have a page marker, elastic closure, or an internal pocket. I'm probably in the minority here, but it doesn't bother me.

Also, about 4 out of the 12 came with odd corners--they were either over shaven or irregular. Just something to be aware of.
Takes a beating yet still holds it together

COMPARISONS

Compared to both a Moleskine or Leuchtturm1917, I actually like the feel of the Memoranda book. Why? It slides into my pocket easier. The Memoranda book is slightly taller than a pocket Moleskine and narrower in the width. Plus, this thing is going to stay together much longer than a Moleskine Cahier or Volant. The covers have fallen off previously owned Cahiers and pages have fallen out of my Volants.

Comparison to a pocket Moleskine

However, it's shorter and more narrow than a pocket Leuchtturm1917.

Comparison to a pocket Leuchtturm1917

PEN TEST

I'll admit, I used to be a pen snob. I had to write with gel ink and only certain pens would do. However, with teaching, I don't have time to wait around for my ink to dry. It's amazing how your priorities change when you're dealing with 30 middle school kids armed with art tools. (Fun fact: a tween translates that term into 'weapon,' by the way.) So, I tend to use ballpoint or pencil.

Check out how your weapon, er, writing tool fairs below.
Front of pen test

Back of pen test

PRICING

I was able to purchase 12 of these notebooks for $12.99 including free UPS delivery. That's a cost of $1.08 per notebook, while a single pocket notebook of any other brand will be around $10.  You can order them here for that price.

They also sell a shorter, top opening version here.

And a reporter style version here.

Amazon also sells them, but they are MUCH more expensive. They sell 3 notebooks for $9.99, plus shipping.

POSSIBILITIES

Now, I know members of our community will balk at the army forest green and gold decor. I personally love it. It's just so . . . different than the bright pinks, blues, purples, and neon colors that are the current trend.

But if you dig bright colors, bust out the washi, duct tape, or scrapbook paper (and cover it with clear packing tape) to create your own covers! The possibilities are endless. You could decorate each one according to the major month's holiday. You could take a lovely card that was sent to you and recycle it for a cover. You could decorate it all in stickers. 

The options are mind boggling.

I'm not sure if this would fit into an official Midori Traveler's passport notebook (I think it's too tall), but I'm sure you could contact other members of our community to make you one.

MISCELLANEOUS

The really neat things about these notebooks is that they are made by Industries for the Blind. You can read more about their services on the PaperClipsetc.com website.

I've done some limited research, and apparently, these notebooks have been manufactured for 40 years. If you go to this eBay listing, you can see they used to be produced in hardback. 

However, I read during the 90's, they stopped producing hardback versions, and converted to soft covers instead. If anyone knows about these, or has a collection of them, please tell us in the comments below!
This is how I roll. I keep my current list open or open to a blank page folded over with my Zebra 301F Compact pen. (It unfolds into a full size pen. You can purchase the 301F at Jet Pens.)

CONCLUSION

You might wonder how I stumbled across this humble notebook. I found this YouTube video. It is a riot--seriously, no eating or drinking while you're watching. And the best part--he hits on a major planner truth . . . SIMPLE IS GOOD!

Monday, November 3, 2014

Kickstarter planners binge

I went on a bit of a planner-buying binge today. Here's what I ordered:

The Unsolicited Advice planner looked too fun to pass up. This guy's stuff looks so funny and real I must have it. I also ordered his book 1 Page at a Time (from Amazon) because again, how could I resist?



Then after I put my payment through, Kickstarter recommended for me the It's Different Every Day calendar, which also looked like lots of fun. I thought my kids would like the daily activities, facts and quotes. So I pledged for that one too. They are not yet at their funding goal, and I really hope they make it because I really want this calendar!



Then I was on a planners kick so I went to check out one that several people have recommended to me: the Passion Planner.
Image totally lifted from PassionPlanner.com but since I'm using it to promote their planner surely they won't mind.

This one isn't on Kickstarter anymore, but it was last year. Anyway, it looks similar to a gigantic version of my Plannerisms planner (which is still not printed, don't ask). After reading the testimonials and story I finally caved and ordered one, despite the fact that the 2015 version has Sunday-start weeks which I don't really like but am willing to overlook if I love the rest of the planner. I downloaded the free weekly pages so I can try it out in the meantime, but I'm looking forward to seeing the rest of the content of the book.

***Updated: I only just now discovered that there is a Passion Planner half size (5.5 by 8.5 inches) on Kickstarter. It has all the same features of the full size one in a more portable book.  Click here for a flip-through to check it out.

I have to admit there's some really exciting new planners on Kickstarter these days. I really like seeing new and different planners coming out. Recently I posted about the Week Dominator planner's Kickstarter campaign. It has been fully funded so I'm really excited to get mine soon!


Since none of these planners are shipping yet, it will be awhile before I receive them. But once I do you can count on reviews!