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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!


  1. loving the new format. fyi.

    i would recommend keeping a personal size filofax with the week on two pages but supplementing with the day planner page for your extra info that you will use throughout the week. here is some info.


    BUT by all means try out that weekdate planner. meaning, load it up as if you were using it realtime and see how it feels for you. then if you love it, adopt it. and if you dont, your filofax will always be there for you.

  2. Thanks colie! Glad you like the new look! :)

    Thanks for the link about the day planner pages, I do have some of those in my stash.

    I know I turn to my Filofax when I'm stressed, for the comfort factor. But every time I go back to it, I realize I need a bigger weekly page.

    I think I will keep using it as my reference and everything-but-my-planner book. But for now, I think I will actually try out my Quo Vadis Trinote:


    My sister has been using a Trinote this year, and it really keeps her organized. I think the large page size and list boxes will help me sort out what I need to do and when.

    I ALWAYS have a planner crisis right before a major event. Every time! I wonder when I'll finally find the planner that will work in my day to day life AND major events too??

  3. Laurie - have you tried the BusyBodyBook - you can buy them from amazon UK.

  4. Hi quos,

    No I've never tried the BusyBodyBook, I'll have to take a look at it!

    Thanks for the suggestion! :)

  5. aren't the trinotes as big as the A5s? if so why not just get an A5?

  6. Hi Laurie
    For some reason, I have a gut feeling that you might find an A5 possibly the sort of size you are going to need with the whole new life style and pressures on your time with the children at school or pre-school, plus a lot more things you can get involved with in Scotland with the locals speaking your language...

    My advice for what it's worth... keep cool and don't panic in to changing your systems just for the sake of it. Go with what you know first and find the weak points and look at what might fix those.

    I know when our son was at home we just use to have a family planner on the wall, with a month in view with columns for each person, it was in the hallway, near the phone so you could quickly see who was where on what day if you got invited to something on the phone.

    I still like a decent wall planner to this day... they work for me!!


  7. Oh the choices! I have to say that I also LOVE those day planner pages. This is the one thing that's making me question my (quasi) decision to move to the pocket rather than personal size - the day planner pages are not available in the pocket size. And I love them so much I'm not sure I want to give them up.

    But back to you - I also have to admit that I was thinking the same thing while reading your requirements - why not an A5? I have never used one myself but it sounds as if it would fit your needs. Plus it has the flexibility to allow for change as your needs change, unlike the bound systems. And it's a Filofax!

  8. Ciao Laurie!
    if you go to live in Scotland, you need these books:


  9. Thanks for your comments everybody!

    I have tried, twice, (once 2 years ago during my last move, and again this past April) to use an A5 as my main planner, and it has failed both times because it is just too big for me to carry around everywhere with me. It would be fine if I were going to leave it at home and refer to it there, but I need to take my planner with me everywhere. The page size is great, but the book is just too big and heavy.

    colie, the Trinote pages are 1/2 inch wider and a full inch taller than A5, but the book itself is only 1/2 inch thick, and infinitely lighter than my A5 Filofax!

    For my wall planner I do like the Dodo Pad wall calendar, it has a column for each person which helps with seeing everyone's comings and goings at a glance!

  10. Massimo, thanks for the link to the Alwych notebooks, I may have to get some of those!!

  11. Have you looked at the Organised Mum Life Book diary? They are also available in Grid layout, although I assume that would only be handy when your kids are a bit older and have real schedules of their own.
    The general Lifebook has a Todo-list to the right and a shopping list to the left. You could order a faux leather cover with the book, which is actually A5 size. I have pics of the new Life Book on my Flickr page.
    I use their Family Weekly Planner on the wall. Check out www.organisedmum.com

    Obviously you could also use an A5 Filo with the Family Lifestyle pack (again Grid layout), or the general 2page per week layout, adding a post-it or smaller perforated sheet for lists.

    My guess is that you'll back to your A5 (Domino?) in no time ;-)

    P.S. Love your new blog layout!!!!

  12. Hi Jotje,

    Seems like grid layouts (like Dodo Pad, BusyBodyBook and Organized Mum) are very popular for families. I do like that layout for an overview of everyone's week, but for my own personal planner I need much larger day spaces for my daily details and to-dos.

    New post on my current solution, coming soon! :)


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