Welcome to Plannerisms

Friday, March 26, 2010

Friday Roll Call!

Okay everybody, it's time for YOU to step up and be heard! Here's what I want to know:

1) What planner are you using right now? Is it a bound book or ring binder (like Filofax etc.)? Daily or weekly layout?

2) Is it working well for you? If not, what's wrong?

3) What do you need your planner to do for you? Just keep track of your appointments and daily to-do lists? Or do you need more from your planner: do you want it to be a life-management tool that helps you set goals and track your progress? Do you have specific needs for your planner?

4) And if you feel like it: what would you like to see in a planner? Would you like to see a planner that's specifically geared to your profession? Would you like a format you've never seen before? Would you like one that opens to a big page size but magically folds down into a tiny portable book? Let's hear your planner wishes and fantasies!


  1. Laurie (and everybody),

    I'm currently using a Filofax Slimline Guildford for everything I need on the go - few months of diary pages, lists I need at work or while away from home, emergency contacts. I'm also using a Filofax Finchley personal size for everything that stays at home.

    I use both for diary/appointments, lists, projects, to-dos. I have other Filofax binders in use as well for various other uses (home projects and information).

    This system works very well for me at this point in my life. The only thing I'd love to see is more selection of the Filofax Slimline binders. The one I have is the only one that has 1/2 inch rings - most of them have 1/4 inch rings or smaller. The 1/2 inch ring is the smallest I can go, so more colors in that ring size would be wonderful!

    Fancy diary pages would be nice as well, though not a requirement.

  2. I use a Moleskine pocket size 2 pages for a week, with the week on one side and a notes page on the other. I've tried bigger things and would stop carrying them because they we too big. I've tried ring binder thingys and had the same problem. Coil bound notebook are a pain to carry, too - the coil gets caught in stuff in your bag. This format works well but I wish they would give Saturday and Sunday the same amount of space as the other days of the week. My husband works shifts and I work at a library open seven days a week. Why do people thing the world stops on Sat - Sun? I need a little space each day to write timed things - appointments, work schedule, etc and anything else goes on the notes page. My brain seems to work a week at a time. A month is too much but I need to see what is coming up in the next few days. The only other downside is come about September I have to have two - this year and next I often have commiments that are in place six months in advance.

  3. Hi Laurie,
    I recently splurged on a personal sized Eton that I carry in my bag. It has my calendar and diary pages as well as some contact information. I also keep work related business cards, rewards cards, etc.
    At my desk I have a large wire-bound monthly FC date manager where I initially schedule appointments. These appointments are also scheduled into Outlook calendar.
    For my workhorse, I use a FC classic with the largest rings they have. I print out calendar pages from Outlook showing my daily schedule and monthly schedule. I also keep hard copies of informational things that I need for my work. I also keep note sheets in this binder, because I take notes at every phone call, take notes about email--I take notes for nearly everything. These note sheets are then reviewed at the end of the day or end of the project--where ever is appropriate and then filed or destroyed. This binder has a handle on the spine and closes with a zipper, so it is secure and easy to carry. It goes with me on work trips. It is bulky, but I find that it does the job. I do keep things in my computer, but fear of computer crashes, makes me keep some hard copies of certain things.

  4. I'm a somewhat schizophrenic planner user. I've never really had one particular type that I've stuck with. Right now I'm using a Moleskine large daily 2010 planner with the pages from a Moleskine large monthly planner stuck in the appropriate places. I MUST have one day per page and I MUST have a two-page monthly spread. (Not many planner have both - other than Blueline Daily books.)

    I have a gorgeous Franklin Covey desk size binder (5 x 8 ish) that I used while I was working, but I have the same problem when it comes to pages.

    So usually I start the year with one thing, use it for a few months, then switch to something else. It's very tedious. Much like the search for the perfect purse. :-)

  5. I am using a wire bound weekly planner that also has tabbed monthly view pages. It is a large 8.5 x 11 size, with plenty of room on each day for me to keep up with appointments for my family of four, and my job as a self employed accountant. I like everything to be in one planner.

    I was online searching for my next perfect planner when I discovered this blog (a blog about planners - no way!). I love my current planner but would like to have lots of writing pages in the back or front (for to do lists or to make notes while away from my desk and tear out the pages later), and some pockets for storing a piece of paper or two. This does not seem to exist, so I moved on and started looking at pad holders.

    Seems like there should be a pad holder with a place to slip in the back cover of my planner, but I haven't found one like this, and it's hard to tell from some online descriptions and photos.

    For a while I carried my planner in a small soft briefcase with a shoulder strap and threw in a yellow pad, a pen and some business cards but this seems like overkill when I could just come to a meeting with one thing - my perfect planner. I want something that would be good for meeting with clients and going to the PTO meeting!

  6. Thanks everybody for your replies! It's really interesting to see the variety of systems you are all using.

    Kate, do you know what's the brand name of your planner? I'd like to check it out.

    Winnie, I had the same gripe with the Moleskine weekly notebook: the tiny weekend days. I hope they modify their format some day to eliminate most of the empty space at the top of the weekly page and make Saturday and Sunday the same size as the weekdays.

    Terri I love your idea of sticking the monthly pages into your daily planner. I too have to have monthly pages in my weekly planner.

    Kanalt I agree, I'd love to see more colors of the 1/2 inch ring slimline binders, and more colors of the Guildford in general, I love that inside pocket! What I really want is a slimline A5 Guildford, that is just wide enough for the pages. I love that page size but the regular A5 binders are too big and heavy for me.

    Ally I've heard the Eton is wonderful! And, I like hearing about your work system. From what I've heard, FC is hard to beat for work because it's so functional.

    Thanks again everybody! I hope for more comments, I find this really interesting.

  7. Ok Laurie, you know how crazy my recent planner issues have been. That being said, I have set my mind on what has worked in the past. I use a FC 2 page per day for everything (which is my career) I have no real personal life right now so I work 7 days a week in some manner or another. I have tried the Filos as you well know. I need good paper, a lot of writing room (classic size) and something that looks like I'm ready for the day. (Leather unstructured FC)
    I have decided that this works best and I will stick with it the rest of the year. I am currently researching "Time Design" in classic size for next year. With the fold out "to do" list it may work. The company is sending me samples as I will be making a decision for our company for 2010. To make me feel better about my recent stress over planners (again you are one that is well aware) I have just purchased a Korchmar hard sided briefcase. I know that is old fashion but hey at 50, I AM old fashion!
    I bought the 5" deep style so I can carry my planner. I have a laptop bag but that isn't always with me or needs to be.
    Thanks for posting the question!

  8. I have a desk-size (8.5X5.5) Daytimer binder with weekly Franklin Covey "guts"....and then I have some daytimer notepads and misc stuff I have put in it..

    It works well for what I do, because all of my "work stuff" is done via computer software (call scheduling, etc.)...it is my personal "life" in the binder. I have made my own spreadsheets for stuff like bills and expense-tracking :P

    It works....but I am tempted to buy the FC check register pages....other than that, I'm happy :)

    I also carry a "jotter" full of index cards for to-do lists and notes in my purse...and a pocket 2-year monthly calendar in my purse...and a moleskine for a journal, with gel pens. I have a big purse :P

  9. Hi Laurie (and everyone else!),

    I'm using a Dodo Pad at the moment. It is definitely not a match made in heaven. I think I might have commented to you before about how I was an idiot and accidentally ordered the wrong side because I assumed the measurements given were in inches (they were in cm). As such, it's TINY and I struggle to fit in everything that I need. Also, because it's quite packed with stuff of its own (which I love, but isn't really ideal in such a small book), my tasks and meetings don't really stand out.

    I use my diary to organise meetings and write down things I need to remember. For example, this week's blank page reads:
    Amazon £12.95 [with a tick box so when the parcel arrives I can tick it off]
    Olive oil."

    I note birthdays, important events, any TV shows I want to see and other work type things (press releases, mailing dates and other boring things!). I don't use it for tracking life goals, etc. I have a journal and I do tasks like that in there.

    I don't think I need a planner specifically geared to my profession. I work for a conservation charity and my work life isn't that different to other office folks' lives (it just features more trees!). I'd like to see a decent recycled materials planner. Letts made a really nice one last year, but it was a narrow handbag shape and there wasn't really enough space. I want one with 100% recycled paper (that can take wet ink), maybe that recycled tyres material for the covers (I love the texture of that stuff), and environmentally-friendly inks and glue. For bonus points, some of the proceeds should go to a conservation charity! And, I want the planner to be in any colour other than black! In fact, the designers should go wild and have different covers maybe. I would love something in the style of Geninne's art (http://blogdelanine.blogspot.com/), or those Daycraft planners you've featured recently.

    I was lusting after one of the Moleskine Artist Planners this year, but the price puts me off a bit. What if I don't like it?

  10. Millie,

    Another Dodo Pad user! I use the Wall Pad and I love it. I especially love how it's different every week with dates of note or something funny. Have you seen the Dodo Pad blog? www.dodopadblog.com ;D

    If you like your Dodo Pad but want the larger size and don't want to wait all year, I highly recommend the Acad-Pad. It doesn't start until August, but will be available in a couple of weeks. If you want one you'd be smart to order early because they sell out every year.

    A feature I love about the desk size Dodo-Pads and Acad-Pads is that they have a pocket in the back for papers. Dodo Pad also now sells a slimline address booklet specifically sized to fit in the pocket to be used year after year (which is a feature I love to see in every planner!).

    For a recycled planner with recycled cover I recommend the Equology line by Quo Vadis. I have the Minister which has 90 g paper. As you would expect from recycled paper, it absorbs wet ink more than slick paper does, but because it's thick I don't have a problem with bleed-through. The Equology line of recycled planners comes in daily or weekly formats, for the calendar or academic year. You can see the Equology line here:


    And if you are in the UK their website is:


    They have an excellent environmental policy, and they do use vegetable-based inks with environmentally-safe fixatives.


  11. 1. I am currently using the Quo Vadis Trinote, weekly spread with timed, vertical columns for each day, notes boxes at the bottom of each day, and task boxes on the right-hand page for “To Do” items, including calls to make, emails, see-do, and pay-receive.

    2. This format is working very well for me, because I can see what’s coming up throughout the week. I love the timed vertical columns, because it helps me see what my schedule looks like each day… when I’m free, and when I’m booked. The Priority box at the top of each day is handy too. This is where I write what bill is due and how much it costs. Then, I have a list of bills due/amounts/dates due in the pay-receive box on the right. This is the best way for me to handle my finances. In the notes boxes under each day, I keep lots of random notes, such as lists, reminders, deadlines, addresses/phone numbers, directions and random documentation.

    I have 2 specific needs for my planner: 1. Help remind me where I need to be and when I need to be there (the timed vertical columns) and 2. A place to purge my mind of everything that I need to do when my time isn’t occupied (the notes boxes and task boxes). So, my needs are pretty much fulfilled.

    3. My planner wishes and fantasies… I suppose if it could clean my house and take my dogs for a walk, that would be nice.

  12. Greg I'm glad you've settled on what works for you, at least until you can check out the Time Design one. Why do we torture ourselves over planners?? I'm currently bogged down in planner indecision myself.

    M I like your system! I too have a big purse. I'm of the "more is more" mindset. I'm definitely not a minimalist!

    Sis I'm so glad the Trinote is working so well for you!! And yes, a planner that could take care of household tasks--if we could make that one we'd be set!!

  13. Hi Laurie,

    I hadn't seen the Dodopad blog, but I have now! Have added to my RSS feed.

    I will look at the Quo Vadis planners website, thanks for the link.

    I keep my addresses in a separate notebook now - it was annoying copying details over to a new planner each year!

  14. Terri I forgot to mention: Quo Vadis makes day-per-page planners with month views in the planner. The Journal 21 is the same size as your large daily Moleskine, and the Daily Pocket is very small. They both have a day per page with the current month's reference calendar on the page, monthly calendars with the days as blocks you can write in, and annual planners with the months as columns, one line per day.

    Here is the Journal 21:


    And here is my review of the Journal 21 with lots of photos of the features:


    Here is the Daily Pocket:


    So there are a couple of possibilities for next year if you don't want to hack your Moleskine again!

  15. Thanks for the Quo Vadis suggestions. I'll keep them in mind. A couple of years ago I came across an academic-year planner that had my monthly calendar followed by daily pages. That worked well for me (other than the fact that it didn't follow the calendar year).

    My needs are mostly personal vs work. I used to work in a federal government office and had a pda as well as a paper planner (Franklin Covey). I still used it for my personal stuff, but never found the perfect combination of pages. I tried smaller formats but more often than not, I would run out of space on the page and have taped, sticky-noted or glued in extra pages and notes.

    Now I'm in a different job which I work from home at and have a Blackberry for my work scheduling. So my planner needs are completely personal. Some days I have hardly anything on the page; some days I use up more than one page. My notes can be recipes, knitting pattern mods and ideas, library lists, etc. etc. Most of my planners, whatever the format, have a profusion of sticky notes on the pages. (And I love that Post It came out with a 5x7 post it with a little glam!)

    I'm not a die-hard Moleskine fan; in fact I more often use the Blueline/Brownline coil daily diaries as they're bendable and I can cram them into my bag. But this year I got the Moleskine soft cover, so that's a little better.

    I enjoyed reading everyone's notes and comments about what works (and what doesn't) for them!


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