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 in the UK.


  1. Interesting to see how this is working out for you Laurie.

    Made in France of course.... I've seen a few in local shops.. more than any other planner of course. The French tend to buy French things, cars, electrical goods and planners..

  2. Just wanted to say THANK YOU!!!
    You are 100% right about the Trinote. I'm totally in love with it. I was a strict Moleskine user but dreaded the way inks could be seen on the other side of pages. And I was sold on the notes to the right format. But when I read some of your posts about the Trinote format... I realized that I needed to get better about actually getting stuff done. So it's here... and I'm loving it. I can see the whole week and am better able to actually PLAN when I'll get stuff done vs. just hoping to fit it in. Thank you again!

  3. Steve, that's right! I'd forgotten that France is the Land Of Exaclair. I remember last time I was in Paris perusing the glorious selection of QV planners. I bought a Textagenda, in French, and it has loads of great maps and local info in it. Still have it, of course. ;)

    S-T Mama, I'm so glad you are loving your Trinote! And I totally agree, the weekly layout allows me to see what I have to do and when I have time to do it.

  4. Interesting to read about this, since I just recently purchased my very first Moleskine planner (

    Great blog! :)

  5. I just found your blog thru Paper Notes in a Digital World. This post was great!!! Thank you for sharing all that with us. Love the blog :)

  6. melydia, I like your Moleskine post!

    sanfranjessica, glad you like my blog! I just discovered PNIDW recently when Mike referenced my post. Wow, what rock have I been under?? His blog is great! It's at:

    Thanks for reading, everyone! :)

  7. Oh my! After reading this I really want to give a go to a bound planner, but am so anal about just sticking to ONE planner, not to mention my deep love for Filofax, that I will have to wait it out until New Year's to start, perhaps, my 18month Moleskine.

  8. Oni, believe me, it's very hard to stay away from Filofaxes. In fact, there have been MANY times over the past several years (and recently, too) when I've gone back, only to have it fail quickly. As much as I adore my Filofaxes, I can't use them as my planner/ diary. Personal size pages are WAY too small, and A5 binders are too big and heavy to carry everywhere (especially now that I walk so much every day, my bag is heavy enough already!!).

    If you guys think this Trinote is great, just wait until next week when I post photos of the 2011 Trinote. GET READY because it is wonderful. You might remember when everyone hated the changes made in the 2009 and 2010 version? Those have been fixed. The 2011 version has a wonderfully streamlined look in the weekly pages. I LOVE it. I'll have a huge post all about it in a few days!