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Friday, March 5, 2010

How big is your day?

I tend to fill up the day spaces in my planner, whatever the size. When I use a weekly planner with small day spaces, I can write maybe 3 things in today’s space and the day seems full. "Whew!" I think, "I've done a lot today!" Maybe, maybe not. It depends on what those three things are.

For some people, a planner with small day spaces works fine. Especially if you have meetings or other events that take a lot of time in your day, maybe 3 or 4 things on today's space is plenty.

My days tend to be full of tasks, with only an occasional scheduled event thrown in. I also have a bad memory so I like to write a record of what I did, and when, since I won't remember. These details quickly fill up a small day space.

When I wrote my March 1 post on Philofaxy I thought I had the answer to the small day space. It made perfect sense to have non-time dependent things OFF the day space, and on a list somewhere else. It made me VERY hopeful that I could use my fabulous Deco Filofax (with its small day spaces on the weekly planner layout) as my planner-and-everything book.

But, let's face it. I'm so out of sight, out of mind I should probably change my name to OSOM. So whenever I saw blank space on my calendar, instead of switching to list mode I thought, "Sweet! I don't have jack to do today!" And, as a result, I didn't do jack.

I hate to call it a Filo Fail, because if I were more diligent about checking my lists all the time, I could "make it work" although that phrase makes me shudder just thinking it. (And anyway, I'll still use my gorgeous Filo as my "everything except my planner" book so that's no loss.)

So now I need to learn to accept, and even embrace, who I am. Whatever the size of my daily space, I tend to fill it. If it's a small space that's full after just a few entries, I do those and I'm done. If it's a big space, I fill it, and crank out some productivity. Anything that doesn't get accomplished today gets arrowed over to tomorrow. My Lesson Learned: use a planner with big day spaces!

So, how about you? Do you do well with having only a few things scheduled and the rest on a list? Or are you a member of the OSOM club and have to have everything in front of you on today's space? How big is YOUR day?


  1. Hi Laurie,

    We had a chat on Philofaxy a few weeks back about my possibly switching to a page-per-day to record all my immediate to-do's and appointments on one page, and I'm glad to report that this seems to be fitting in with University life well. I'm still using my week-on-two pages as well in the front on my Filo but have a 'Today' marker in each to make sure I cross-reference constantly. At the moment I'm still working out exactly what I am writing where, so there's a lot of duplicating of info but hey, at least writing it twice makes it even more likely that I'll remember!

  2. I don't know, I'm just driving myself crazy. And you have been such a help on trying get me on the right path.
    Right now I have my FC classic in front of me with 2 pages per day which like you I NEED to write everything that needs accomplished and have it in front of me every minute of the day.
    I do a ton of writing and make notes ALL day long from the thousands of items I have up in the air for my job all at the same time. The simple personal Filo just isn't enough although I LOVE the smell amd have looked at all the pictures of others that have filled it until it looks like it will burst! I am envious but I need the structure that FC brings to me. For Gods sake I'm catholic, does that tell you anything about needed structure!
    So I have a Filo Kendal personal I'm not using, I have a Filo Kendal A5 I'm not using.
    I need help.
    I have a page per day for both, I have notes and tabs and adress pages. I have it all at a cost of a small fortune, but I can't get my head around this.
    I would absolutely love to use this personal. Being able to stick it in my laptop briefcase would be a dream. And filling it to the brim would really make me proud, but I jsut can't put the FC down. It works and keeps me calm.
    Someone help me make the Filo do the same!!
    Please !!

  3. Hi!
    First, thanks for your blog, its great. I m relatively new to filofax and paper planners. I do the following:
    I have week-on-two pages where i note my appointments. Behind the diary i have my todo-lists. I have one sheet per month and extra sheets for projects. Some tasks requires a specific day. I note that date beside the task.
    In my diary on that very day i draw a small circle. One circle for each todo of that day. So i can see in my calendar how many tasks i have to do on that day (eg. 5 circles means 5 todos). When a todo is completed i fill up the circle. This way i see how many todos are done and how many are open. Works for me so far.

    I started using a filofax planer last year, before i only used software and digital devices.

  4. I know what you mean about out of sight, out of mind. At the same time, I've found it difficult to plan the just-right number of tasks into a day, I'm either overly ambitious or too easygoing in my planning -- in turns, forming a terrible vicious cycle of discouragement.

    Since my recent switch to Time/System, I've really learned to appreciate the "Activities Checklist" form, which is twice as wide as a normal sheet (minus the hole-punched part of the page), and is stored folded over over the current day's planning pages. When planning your day and evaluating your next move, you fold out this sheet, and you can look at it with your current schedule plus any must-do-today items you've written into your daily page. I think it's an ideal combination of day-to-day scheduling and keeping a discretionary-time to-do list.

    I may not be explaining the Activities Checklist and its use very well. If you're interested, check out the site, which has a lot of detailed information on how the planner is designed to be used (though they say, of course, that you can use it however you wish). The US site (http://www.timesystem.us/) has less information than the EU site (http://www.timesystem.eu/) linked by Philofaxy, but the basic products they offer look the same.

    I think this is the sort of sheet which is easy to hack/adapt with a little bit of patience. The Time/System compact size is not compatible with the Filofax personal. (Alas. Doesn't Filofax simply make the best binders? I've been thinking about finding someone that might be able to transfer the actual rings from one binder to another. I have an old Filofax binder I love something fierce, it's perfectly aged and distressed.)

  5. I'm definitely OSOM right there with you Laurie.

    To the point where, like gregorym, I find myself drawn to my Filo's (repeatedly and at high cost) but actually USING the structured FC system with the To-Do's & notes right on my daily diary page.

    I actually went looking for a list this morning and practically tore my office apart hunting only to find it behind a "Misc" tab in one of my Filo's. Yeah, apparently I am a tabbed list failure.

    In fact, I have come to believe that gregorym and I are actually the same person; I could have written the same post he did. Maybe we are. I mean, notice you never see the two of us in the same room at the same time...

  6. YM, You are too funny.
    I was thinking the same thing. But you are younger tha me! LOL
    What is scary is that we do think alike.
    I hope you and I eventually settle in on what we really like to use and actually stop the craziness.
    Funny, I was driving this morning and it actually crossed my mind that I have spent so much money on Filo and planner pages and still revert back to the FC. Why can't I just settle for the fact that if I use the FC classic and the 2 page per day format and "let it be".
    I really would love to use the Filo but....
    P.S. I just ordered a larger laptop bag so I can carry my FC classic in it. Is that "nuts" or what????

  7. Thanks for all the great replies everyone! I love hearing how you are using your systems.

    YM and gregorym, what is it about FC in particular that makes it more useful to you than Filofax? I know little about FC except that it is more structured than Filofax.

  8. Laurie, For me it's that 2 page per day format that makes it hard not to use. Left side daily task list and appointments, right side notes. This is what I was trained on 5 years ago when I started my new job. FC came in to our managers meeting and it was "structure at first sight" so to speak. Plus the paper in FC is much better than Filo (thicker). Plus the calendars for each month are completely seperated so you can put "monthly tabs" in between each month. Filo crosses print so the end of one month may be printed on the back of the beginning of another. Kinda screws up the use of seperation tabs. So I completely pull one month out of my FC without screwing up the previous or future month. I guess for me it's all about what I was taught to use. I really wish I could change to use the Filo. The covers are soooo much nicer. I can't get out of my head some of the pictures of the personal Filos FULL and thick that I've looked at on Flikr. I wish I could bring myself over. I've tried the personal and the A5. Another problem is that I don't have enough personal stuff going on to use the Filo just for that. Unfortunately my career is everything and my personal life revoles around that. I've been like this for the 35 years I've been working and I know that won't change. My last purchase from FC was a new supremo classic binder for $129.00. It's very professional looking and I carry it everyday. So I have an A5 kendal and a personal Kendal in their boxes screaming for me to get them out and put the FC away. Please tell me how I can do that? You and Steve are a graet read and YM jsut makes me laugh all the time, I love her thought process, it's so much like mine. We could be related! YM may say something different, but then again we are the same person so I'll let her vent on my behalf. LOL
    Scary when two people think that much alike though.
    Please keep writing, this is my highlight of everyday, that is to read what you and Steve write.

  9. Laurie, I have to agree with gregorym (big surprise since we are in fact the same person!)about the FC paper and the fact that you can appropriately tab the months. The fact that you can't do that with Filo drives me BATTY. I happen to use the page on 1 day format, but only because I can fit an entire year in my FC binder that way - 6 months if I use the 2 page per day.

    Since the Filo personal & FC compact sizes allow for insert interchangeability, I am trying my new Filo Guildford personal with FC compact pages in it (they don't stick out enough to bug me) but the Filo A5 and FC classic are not compatible for inserts, so that bites.

    Like my alter ego gregorym, I find myself gravitating back to my FC. For my designer handbag's sake, a compact, but since I just bought my TB2 messenger, now I can go back to my classic. And is it any surprise that its a black Supremo open binder?!

    I'm tellin' ya...

    Long story long, it comes down to the paper quality, the ability to tab out the months and having calendar space, to-do's and notes all in one place when I open my binder up to the day.

    Oh, and it's a small detail, but I love the FC elasticized pen holders. I can use my Montblanc or whatever fat pen I want without a second thought.

    They lay flat right out of the box too...

  10. Deskfax worked well, too bad they don't support the size well anymore. I did the FC monarch for many years- great pluses were the letter size paper made custom things simple, and plenty of room. Negatives were sheer size, I got the thinnest open monarch they had, but was still a biggy. I can't say I remember the paper being better, I'll check it tomorrow at my office. I didn't like all the FC themes...Filo is much simpler and classic graphically And well Filo's are just...better. I'm using a Cuban slimline with 2 days per page right now, and a spiral or moleskine alongside. I miss the Deskfax...a xtra large cahier fits perfectly in it. And the overall size is just perfect for office/desk/meeting use. I'm trying to figure out how to order nice B5 paper from Japan to get back into the Deskfax.

  11. YM and gregorym, I can definitely understand the advantages of being able to separate the months. That's something I've wished Filofax would do for a long time. (Still holding out hope it's one of the new products coming out this spring!!). And, not having to search around behind tabs for your notes would definitely be a huge advantage too. I've had many a Filo Fail from things lurking behind tabs!

    jl, you've hit upon a topic that is an issue for many of us: the paper size compatibility issue. Since US paper is sized differently than paper in the rest of the world, binder compatibility is a big issue. For example, Filofax A5 users in Europe have the advantage of being able to find A5 paper anywhere. With a hole punch, they can put any paper they want into their Filo. And because A5 size paper is just half A4 size, they can fold or cut A4s in half and those go in also.

    We Americans have nothing equivalent to A5, and A4 is taller and narrower than our letter size paper. So we have to buy specially-sized paper. I can definitely see how the Monarch size would be a huge (literally, in the case of the big book) advantage, to be able to use letter size paper. Anything you are working on can go directly into the binder with no sizing issues!

    Yet again something to hope for: Filofaxes with American size paper....

  12. So, I thought about trying to use some of the FC papers in my A5 Lyndhurst by re-punching them with a FC hole punch--but have not tried. I am in a quandary!


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