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Monday, August 30, 2010

2011 Trinote updates

Those of you who were upset about the changes made to the 2009 Trinote will be VERY happy with the 2011 Trinote!  All the issues that users complained about have been fixed.  Thank you for listening to your customers, Quo Vadis!

For those of you who are unfamiliar with this saga, you can read about it here in the Quo Vadis blog post about it, and also in the Trinote user reviews.  Some things people complained about included the too-dark lines on the daily columns, jumpy fonts, holidays taking up too much space in the too-small daily Priority boxes, and the Pay-Receive box was unnecessarily large.  I can definitely see why long-time users were upset with the changes.

But for the 2011 Trinote, all of these issues have been fixed.  The result is a sleek, streamlined look on the weekly pages that everyone will love (click on the photos to enlarge):

Here is a comparison between the 2010 and 2011 Trinotes, close up on the tops of the daily spaces.  At the top is the new 2011 version,  lying under the 2010 version.  You can see the 2011 version has smaller fonts, which gives more space in the daily Priority boxes.  Also the 2011 print is smaller, so holidays take up less space:

Here is a side by side of the Sunday spaces.  The smaller font means the Sunday spaces in 2011 (at right) are a little bit bigger:

The list boxes in the 2011 version no longer have words cluttering up the spaces.  A simple icon tells you what goes in each box (2010 at left, 2011 on right). You can also see that the large 2010 Pay-Receive box has been replaced in the 2011 Trinote by a large box for notes, and the $ box above it is smaller.

The lines are fainter in the 2011 Trinote (2011 on left, 2010 on right):

Also in the 2011 Trinote are the other features that I love so much like the Anno-Planner for the current year:
and the following year:

Detailed maps of all the continents:

An excellent time zones map:

A detailed international calling codes list:

Pages to record your financial totals:

Planning calendars for last-this-next year, and the removable address booklet:
You can buy the 2011 Trinote now on The Daily Planner and other websites, and in stores.

This Trinote was very generously sent to me by Karen at Exaclair, thank you so much Karen!  She even included the Soya cover that I love so much.  And, she also included a Rhodia Meeting Notebook which I will review soon!

Thursday, August 26, 2010

2011 WeekDate planner

Now that I have my 2011 WeekDate planner in my hands, I wanted to follow up on my previous post about WeekDate and show you some photos of some of the features.  If you haven't read my previous post about WeekDate, please click here to read my post about the planners and the company in general, then come back here for the specifics on the 2011 WeekDate weekly planner.

First, a little background: when I wrote my first post about WeekDate, I was absolutely smitten with these planners and decided I had to have one.  They were available for pre-order, but by the time they were shipped I would be already living in the UK, so I needed international shipping (WeekDate is based in the US).  At that time, the cost for international shipping was prohibitively high.  We are talking, $35 for a $37 planner.  This put it out of my price range and I was very disappointed that it looked like I would have to miss out on the chance to try this planner.

But then suddenly, WeekDate announced they were drastically lowering international shipping rates!  Now to ship one of their planners to the UK costs under 13 dollars, which put it firmly back into my price range so I ordered one up immediately!!  I had my eye on the gorgeous Fireworks cover and wanted to order it ASAP before they ran out.  (Last year most of the 2010 WeekDate planners sold out in the fall, so I knew I had to act fast to get the cover I wanted.)

I had some PayPal difficulties since I have a US PayPal account but a UK shipping address, which apparently doesn't fly with PP.  I emailed WeekDate (during what was the middle of the night their time) to ask if they knew a way around it.  But then I decided to go ahead and order, and have it shipped to my sister who could then send it on to me in the UK.  When the folks at WeekDate got to work the next morning, they saw my email and my order in the system, and quickly emailed me back to say they could send it to me in the UK and generously further discount my shipping, giving me the US shipping rate to show their appreciation for my previous WeekDate post.  So, heaps of praise and many thanks to WeekDate for the shipping discount and their fantastic customer service!!

More WeekDate joy: the 2011 WeekDate planners were expected to ship August 15 but were ready and shipping out eleven days EARLY.  Which meant that when I arrived at my new home here in Scotland, my WeekDate planner was ALREADY here waiting for me!!  You can imagine what an exciting homecoming surprise that was for me!!  They even threw in a couple extra of the super-cool WeekDate pencils for me.  Thank you WeekDate!

When I was looking at the website before my WeekDate planner arrived I had some questions like, are holidays pre-printed on the day spaces?  Where are the Phone and Annual record cards located in the planner?  What are some of the other features?  And how exactly does this all work?  I am happy to answer all of these questions below!

Okay, I'll shut up now and show you some photos!

Here is the absolutely gorgeous Fireworks cover!  It makes me happy every time I look at it!

When you open up the WeekDate, here is what it looks like, with the Weekly section closed. Recurring monthly events go in the top section.  In the bottom section, there is space for weekly recurring events for each day of the week.  Also in the bottom section, at the left is a spot to record those things that happen on a specific date every month, like your rent due on the first day of the month or bills due on the 15th.  Click on the photo for a larger view:
You can see in my enthusiasm to try it out I've already written in some recurring events, like trash pickup on odd weeks and recycling pickup on even weeks (week numbers are printed on the weekly pages for easy reference).  Also, the local farmer's market happens every third Saturday of the month.  It's a very exciting concept that monthly and weekly recurring events only need to be written once!  Then if something changes, I erase it and write in the new day or time, only once!

Here is the WeekDate open in all its glory:

The back sides of the weekly pages are lined for WeekDate Whatever: lists, notes, reminders, financial records, anything!

US holidays are pre-printed on the daily spaces, as are solstices and equinoxes (click on the photo for a larger view):

Even reminders like Tax Day are pre-printed!  This is a very nice feature.

The right lower corner of the weekly page has the month indicated, making it very easy to find the month you are looking for when flipping through your planner.  Also, the edge of the page tears off to find the current week instantly.

The first day of a new month is indicated on the day space (see Sept 1 on the Thursday space):

By now you've seen How It Works, so you know how the monthly and weekly color coding corresponds. One question I had was regarding the 4th and 5th week, and Last week and how they relate.  Below you can see a photo illustrating the answer.  This is a photo of the last week of July 2011.  If you look at the monthly overview calendar at the left, you can see the layout of the month.  You can see by the color coding that Monday through Thursday are the Fourth Monday-Thursday of the month.  Friday-Sunday are the Fifth Friday-Sunday of the month.  And the entire week is highlighted in the date space as the Last of the month.  I'm fascinated by how this works!!  Click on the photo for a larger view.

I also like that lined area on the left, under the monthly reference calendar.  It's very useful for things specific to that week like important reminders, weekly totals for groceries/ gas/ Starbucks, this week's main goals, mantras, or anything else you need to keep visible.

An annual reference calendar for all of 2011 is on the back cover on the outside of the planner, which is excellent for quick-reference without even opening the planner:

A reference calendar for all of 2012 is printed on the last page of the weekly planner:

You can write your contacts on the Phone card for quick reference, and can move the card to your new WeekDate planner the following year. The Phone card is located in a clear pocket when you first open the WeekDate, for easy access:

You can write birthdays, anniversaries, reminders to renew your insurance premiums, and any other annually recurring events on the Annuals card.  This lives in a clear pocket at the back of the planner behind the weekly pages:

If you are interested in a 2011 WeekDate planner, you should hurry to order yours soon!  Last year many of the 2010 weekly planner cover styles sold out in early autumn, and they completely sold out of all the 2010 weekly planners and monthly wall planners the FIRST WEEK of January!  I noticed on their website that the 2011 planners are selling quickly and especially the Fireworks, Tangy Turquoise and Eleven cover styles are going fast.

WeekDate products are sold only online, at http://www.weekdate.com/products.htm

Monday, August 23, 2010

The Planner That Saved My Sanity: The Quo Vadis Trinote

You may remember my Planner Crisis post at the beginning of this month, where my sister Sandy convinced me to use the Quo Vadis Trinote planner to get me through my move.  Now that I'm here on the other side, I wanted to follow up and give you the details on how this planner absolutely saved my sanity before and during my move, and is working spectacularly well for me now in my new life.

There has been a lot of Trinote love here on Plannerisms: my sister uses one, I reviewed this one recently, and I've discussed them periodically.  I won't do an actual review here, I'll just describe what about it in particular is working so well for me right now. (The answer is, "everything.")

This Trinote was generously sent to me by Karen at Exaclair, and is the same one I wrote about in my post where I compared the Trinote to the Septanote planner.  The more I use it, the more I wonder how I ever functioned without it.

The Trinote's weekly layout with the large daily columns and the designated list boxes works very well for busy people, no matter what you are busy about.  While I was preparing for my move, I had plenty of space to list my millions of to-dos each day.  I was able to list appointments and note deadlines, and make notes in the Notes space at the bottom of each day.  The list boxes for Phone/ Email/ Do/ Pay-Receive really helped me keep my tasks straight.

Now that I'm here in Scotland, the Trinote is continuing to work extremely well for me.  I'm already a million times busier than I was in Albania.  Doing the school run twice a day, having my kids in activities, tracking bills on two continents and generally being involved in more things means I need a powerful planner to keep it all straight.

Sandy, you were right: the timed columns definitely help me schedule my day's events, and let me easily see how much time I have in between!

Something that's extremely useful for me: the Trinote has US and UK holidays (even Scotland-specific ones!) printed on the day spaces.

If you've ever lived in a foreign country, you know how important it is to be informed about local holidays (especially ones you aren't familiar with).  And having the US ones too helps me feel connected to what's going on back home.

In addition to official country holidays, there are things I love having on the day spaces like the phases of the moon and solstices/ equinoxes.  These are very important to me, so I really appreciate having them already designated on their days. (Click to enlarge photo to see what types of info are at the top of the day columns.)

For the record, as much as I've complained about the small Sunday spaces in Quo Vadis planners, to be perfectly honest I can't see myself needing any more space for Sunday than this.

The advantage of having those big list boxes hugely outweighs a full-size Sunday column.

And hey Quo Vadis, here's some more conflicting customer input for you: as vocal as I've been about wanting monthly pages, in my current experience they are not nearly as important as the address booklet. I'm using my wall calendar for monthly stuff, so that the whole family can see appointments and events, so re-writing those in monthly calendars in my planner would be redundant.  And as it turns out, I'm using the address booklet in the back of my Trinote EXTENSIVELY.  I write in all my new contacts, local information for reference, billing addresses etc.  I am using the address booklet insert INSTEAD of my Filofax.  What?!?!

I started out carrying my Trinote and personal size Filofax (as my reference book) everywhere with me, but after just a couple of days I started leaving my Filofax at home. I walk nearly everywhere, and the extra weight and bulk of carrying my Filo just wasn't worth it. Now I use a small Clairefontaine notebook (also generously sent to me by Karen) to capture notes and jot lists, then transfer the info to the appropriate location later.

The Trinote is very useful for keeping track of finances.  I'm using the anno-planner (with the entire year in view across the two-page spread, months as columns) to keep track of bills just like I did all those years ago with my Septanote.

I'm using the Notes spaces at the bottom of the daily columns to track expenditures and make financial notes.

I love having the Pay-Receive box each week to make note of bills I need to pay that week.  In the back of the planner there are record pages for daily expenses and income with spaces for monthly totals, but I'm not using those right now. 

Something I love about Quo Vadis planners is that they are very aesthetically pleasing. A lot of attention goes into the materials.  The paper, of course, is legendary.  Fountain pen users love it.  I adore the silky-smooth texture.  This particular planner has a Soya cover that looks like leather but wipes clean easily, and feels wonderfully soft to the touch.
The soft cover and smooth paper together create a wonderful tactile experience that I really appreciate.

I use the pockets inside the cover to tuck in papers so they don't get lost. Full-size pages folded in half or thirds fit in easily.

This planner is working so well for me, I plan to use it through the rest of this year.  I can't stand the thought of not having one in 2011, so I will definitely get another one.

The Trinote measures 7 1/4 by 9 1/2 inches, which fits perfectly in my Rickshaw Bagworks Small Zero messenger bag (which goes everywhere with me all day).

If you like the Trinote but need even more space to write, the Prenote has the exact same layout and measures a generous 8 1/4 by 11 5/8 inches.

You can buy the Trinote and the Prenote with a variety of cover materials and colors at various retailers in the US, or at www.quovadis-diaries.co.uk in the UK.

Friday, August 20, 2010

Back online!

I'm all moved into my new house in Scotland, and my internet connection is up and running!  It feels good to be connected to the outside world again!

We are absolutely loving our new place.  We are very busy with settling-in stuff, setting up our bank accounts and things like that.

Our belongings will arrive in stages.  So far all we have is what we brought with us in our luggage, which is pretty easy to deal with.  In a week or two, our air shipment will arrive.  I expected this shipment to have already been here by now but just found out today it's taking longer than expected, which is annoying. 

Then next month sometime, the rest of our stuff will arrive and the REAL unpacking and putting away will begin.

In the meantime, there's lots of fun to come on Plannerisms!  I'll post reviews of my 2011 WeekDate planner (which was ALREADY waiting for me when I arrived last Friday, that is SUPER fast international shipping!), the new Daycraft products (whenever they arrive with the rest of my air freight), and a cool new notebook generously sent to me by The Paperie. And, I will give you all of the glorious details about the planner that saved my sanity during this move.  So stay tuned!

Friday, August 13, 2010

Moving Day!

Today's the big day!  As you read this, my family and I are jetting off to our new home and our new life!  The months of preparation are finally over, and we are on our way.

I have a couple of posts auto-scheduled, and I hope to be back online soon with more Plannerisms!

In the meantime, Happy Planning!


Monday, August 9, 2010

Rickshaw Bagworks Daily Moleskine Folio

Yes, I ordered another Rickshaw Bagworks Moleskine folio! This time I got the folio to fit the Daily planner, in the same Iris (purple) and pink color combination that I love!

The Daily planner folio is thicker than the Classic size, to accommodate the thicker book. You can see the expanded cloth area around the zipper:

Be sure to notice, the Daily planner folio comes with an interior pouch for a smartphone.

There's also a generously-sized pen pocket that can hold a fat pen or a couple of thin ones.  It also has the interior zip pocket that I love so much for holding passports and other important stuff.

In the back of the folio there's a clear pocket for holding papers etc.

There are 3 types of Folios: Classic (which you can see my review of here) that has lots of pen pockets and fits the Moleskine notebook or weekly planner; Smartphone that holds your phone and also is sized to fit a Moleskine notebook or weekly planner; and Daily which has a smartphone pocket and is thicker to hold the Daily Moleskine planner.

Also for fun I got a Simple Pocket for my Zero Messenger bag (again, in that Iris color that I love so much!).

It sticks onto the velcro strip that is already inside the bag.

This zip pocket is perfect for those small important things (like my keys) that might escape if my bag gets overturned.

Here is my small Zero bag along with my matching Daily planner folio! I love the matching set!

Yay Rickshaw!

Friday, August 6, 2010


Rollabind very generously sent me this notebook as a sample to review.  Thank you Rollabind!

I had never used Rollabind products before so this was my first experience with disc-bound pages.  It's an interesting concept to me.  It seems like an excellent merger between the flexibility of a ring-bound system with the ability to add and remove pages, yet with the slimness and portability of a regular notebook.

An additional benefit of a disc-bound system is you can put in any size pages at all.  Just punch them with the Rollabind punch, and even small scraps of paper will fit on the discs.

This notebook has a polypro cover which is flexible yet very durable, and wipes clean easily.  It holds US Letter size paper (8 1/2 by 11 inches), so it can hold meeting notes, class notes, photocopies, absolutely anything--just punch it and into the notebook it goes.

The pages can be removed and replaced easily.

You just pull the pages up off the discs, and press in pages back onto the discs.  The notched tabs fit onto the discs easily.
The Rollabind selection is huge!  There are various sizes, and a wide variety of covers from the very reasonably priced polypro line, all the way up to elegant leather.  There's even a line of eco-friendly recycled notebooks too.

You can find Rollabind online at www.rollabind.com and you can follow them on Twitter @Rollabind.

Many thanks again to Rollabind for giving me the opportunity to try out their system!

Wednesday, August 4, 2010

Planner crisis averted!

In yesterday's post I speculated about what planner might work best for me in my new life.  Meanwhile, I'm experiencing a full-blown Planner Crisis right now, before my big move.  Even worse than your typical Planner Fail, a Planner Crisis is when my planner system has an Epic Fail right when I need the most planning power possible.  This normally happens to me during a move.

So I contacted my most trusted Planner Adviser, my sister, to beg her advice.  She asked me what I'm currently using and I told her my Personal size Filofax with the Week on 2 Pages.  Her reply was, "WHY in the WORLD are you using the personal size weekly pages????  You know they are too small for you!!!!!"  And of course she is absolutely right.  The last time the Personal Wo2P ever really worked for me was grad school, almost a decade ago.  Ever since then (with my increasingly complicated life), they are just too small.  I've tried several times since then to use them, and they do indeed fail me every time.  I love my personal size Filofax, and I keep trying to "make it work," without success.  (You can read about two such PWo2P fails in my 13 Planners post.)

She talked through my needs with me and asked a crucial question about my To Do list: what is more important, chronology or categorization?  I said mostly categorization, because the only real chronology besides actual scheduled appointments is what tasks I have to do specifically during a particular week.

My sis recommended the Quo Vadis Trinote, which she has been using with great success this year.  I have a 2010 Trinote, generously sent to me by Karen at Exaclair, that I reviewed here not long ago.

The Quo Vadis Trinote is very similar to the Quo Vadis Minister, which I used at the beginning of this year and really liked.  I abandoned the Minister when I decided to hack my own self-made planner in a Moleskine notebook, then I went on to my A5 Domino, then back to my Moleskine weekly notebook which recently experienced a "crash-and-burn Epic Fail crap-tastrophe," then turned to my Personal size Deco Filofax.  Fascinatingly, my sister had a similar journey from Filofax to Moleskine to Trinote, which she chronicled here in her guest post.

Some readers commented on my last post with the very valid point: why not just switch to an A5 Filofax?  Actually, I've done that twice before (once being two years ago during my last move, and again this past April) and both times they quickly failed.  The book is just too big and heavy for me to take everywhere.  Honestly, I could take my Trinote (as my planner) AND my personal Filofax (as my reference book) with me everywhere in my bag and the two of them together would still be lighter and less bulky than my A5 Filofax. I know some people do carry a Filofax and separate planner/ diary book, so this wouldn't necessarily be completely insane if I decided to do this.

Additionally, the Trinote has features that no Filofax pages can replicate.  First of all, the pages are even larger than A5: about 1/2 wider and 1 inch taller.  (Trinote measures 7 1/4 by 9 1/2 inches, very generous page size.)  But, the book itself is only 1/2 inch thick and very light, and therefore very portable.

The weekly layout is just what I need right now.  This is some serious planning power (photo of my sister's Trinote):

Timed day columns, with Notes space at the bottom of each day.  And, categorized list boxes at the right, so I can keep all my tasks straight.

I considered just going back to the Minister since it is so similar, but decided to go with the Trinote for 3 reasons:

1) The Notes boxes at the bottom of each day's column are similar to the Recurrent Weekly boxes at the bottom of the day columns in the WeekDate planner, so I thought that might give me enough of a fix to sustain me until January when I can start using my WeekDate! (Edited to add: the 2011 WeekDate planners are already shipping!!  Mine could possibly even be already there waiting for me when I get to Scotland!!)

2) I like the Trinote's Sunday Situation better than the Minister's.

3) I couldn't pass up the opportunity to use the same planner as my sister uses!!

Many, many thanks to my wonderful sister, who is always there to talk me through a Planner Crisis!  I love you sis!!  :)

So last night I set up my Trinote, and immediately felt better and much more in control.  The large page size gives me plenty of room to write.  The weekly spread with the large daily columns lets me see what I need to do, and when I have time to do it.  And the categorized list boxes at the right allow me to group all of my phone calls/ emails/ paperwork tasks together so I can streamline my time.  I can see everything all at once, so there is NO "out of sight, out of mind."

Edited to add:  the large daily columns are key.  They give me space to write in little details that otherwise would slip my mind.  You would think I'd have learned my lesson back in March when I wrote about this exact same issue in How Big Is Your Day?  Note to self: I need a LARGE page size with BIG daily spaces, a WEEK to view, with space for LISTS ON the week view pages!  Don't even bother with any other format!

So where does this lead?  Who knows.  Maybe my Trinote will get me through the move, and once I settle in I'll go back to my Filofax.  Maybe I'll even use the Trinote through the end of this year, then switch to my WeekDate in 2011.  The good news is, if I'm completely in love with my Trinote by the end of this year, I can always get one for 2011 because they are sold in the UK!  Planner Win-Win!

Tuesday, August 3, 2010

New Life. New Planner?

So as you all know by now, I am moving in just a few days.  Which means my life is about to change radically, again.

I am moving to Scotland, which will be the 4th foreign country I've lived in.  I've also lived in Nepal (2 yrs), Russia (3 yrs) and Albania, where I've been living for the past 2 years.  So, Scotland will be the first foreign country where I can read, write, speak and understand the language fluently.  Because of this, I will have a much more "normal" life there than I've had in other countries so far.

Additionally, my oldest child starts school in a couple of weeks, which means we will be on a school schedule for the next 13 years until my youngest graduates!  Packing lunches and getting out the door at a specific time every morning is something I haven't done in 5 years, so that will be an adjustment. 

Along with school comes after-school activities.  And, we will be living in a country where there will be more opportunities for things to do for all of us:  sports and dance for the kids, movie theatres, parks and malls.  Not to mention all the outdoor activities we'll be able to do there: hiking, biking, trips to the seaside.  There are so many fun things to do!  We'll all be a lot busier in general. 

And so, inevitably, I'm wondering what planner will work best for me in my busy new life!

I'm currently using my personal size Filofax, and having slight issues with the Week on 2 Pages (mostly, where to put this week's To Do lists.  Yvotchka summarized this issue perfectly in What's a Girl TO DO.).  Also it would be nice to have a place to write my weekly goals to keep them visible all the time.  I tried using my Moleskine 18 month weekly notebook because I can write my weekly lists and goals on the notes page each week, but the day spaces aren't big enough.  I need big day spaces, and a page for notes alongside the weekly page, without the book being enormous.

Possible solution:  I pre-ordered a 2011 WeekDate planner (with the so-beautiful Fireworks cover!) and I have to admit I'm pining for it a little obsessively.  It ships in a couple of weeks from now, and it will probably take a little while to get to me in the UK.  Not to mention that I won't be able to actually start using it until January.  But, I'm extremely curious about this format.  It has all 7 days as full-size columns, which I love. And, the back side of each weekly page is lined for lists, so it is in effect a week + notes format (which works well for me).  So I'm chomping at the bit for this one!

I'm currently experimenting with my Plan-It planner, it has so many features that I love like the large monthly calendars and the month tabs down the side of the pages.  The day spaces are so big, I might be able to use the inner half of them for my lists.  I would prefer a whole page for my lists each week though.  Hmmm, Plan-It, any plans to make a week + notes format?

Then of course there are other planner possibilities.  Luckily for me I have piles of 2010 planners at home, so I have a selection on hand to choose from.  I already have the 2011 weekly vertical Moleskine that I plan to try as a modified week + notes layout.  And, living in the UK will surely open new planner possibilities for me that I've never even seen or heard of before!

A major change in life circumstances normally requires a tweak of the system at the very least, and usually a total overhaul due to Planner Fail.  I'm going to do my best to roll with it.

What planner system will work best for me in my new life?  Will my Filofax turn out to work fine for me after all?  Will the WeekDate lead me to Planner Nirvana?  Will I discover the solution at WH Smith?  As always, I'm sure it will be a work in progress.

Do YOU have any recommendations for me? My ideal planner has:

1) Big day spaces, untimed

2) Someplace, preferably on the weekly spread, for lists that week

3) Portable size book: 6 by 9 inches is about the size limit

4) A pretty cover!

I'd love any suggestions!

Routines, routines

I do not naturally follow routines.  But, the more I look around the internet and at my very organized friends, I realize routines are necessary for a tidy house, getting one and one's family out the door on time daily, and having a well-run and less stressful life in general.

Routines are the backbone of the FlyLady program, which I first discovered several years ago.  As much as I love her positive attitude and fun vibe, I just couldn't jump on the bandwagon completely.

Recently I discovered Unclutterer, whose August 2 post has lots of links to great ideas for creating personal routines to make your life run more smoothly.

Even Gala Darling has tips for creating a daily routine you love.

Just the idea of a routine makes me want to rebel.  But, I know they are all about planning ahead and doing things ahead of time instead of at the second they need done (like scrounging today's clothes out of the laundry basket, or finally cleaning the bathroom when it looks like a biohazard).

Do you use routines?