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Tuesday, December 14, 2010

I regret to inform you...

that my Filofax experiment has failed.  A moment of silence please.

Here's what went wrong:

1) Written in too many places:

I knew that writing everything in three times (in the monthly, weekly and daily sections) would be a lot to keep up on.  But that wasn't the half of it.

I wrote my monthly goals on the back side of the monthly pages.  As a result, my goals weren't visible while looking at my month.  Even worse, my weekly tasks were written on the back side of the weekly pages, again out of sight. I had to look at my weekly to-dos often, and write them into the day pages where I thought I might do them. But if those tasks didn't get done that day, I had to re-evaluate when I might get it done and write it in then.  Wash, rinse and repeat.

As a result I had several different places to look for any given thing I'd written.  And, I didn't have any overall views of anything.  The other day I needed to look something up in my Trinote and realized there are only two views: my weekly page with that week's tasks, and my monthly calendar with that month's goals.  So much simpler.  And no flipping page after page to find what I need.

I gave up on this system after just a few days because it was proving to be a lot of work double and triple checking that I had things written where they should be.  After only a few days I was already losing things in the pages. This week I'm very busy and have a lot to prepare for, and I can't afford to miss any details.  I went back to my trusty Trinote to make sure I get everything done properly during this very busy time.  This system could possibly work for me if I had more patience and diligence with keeping up on it.  But my goal for my 2011 planner is the opposite: I want my planner to be as simple as possible. 

2) Size matters:

Part of the reason I'm looking for something other than my Trinote is to have a smaller, slimmer and lighter book.  My Filofax is not.

Below is the lineup of the Planner Finalists.  Left to right they are Trinote, WeekDate, Moleskine vertical weekly (with the rabbit postcard I got as a free gift with my Rabbit planner taped to the front), and personal size Filofax.  As you can see, the Filofax has the smallest footprint.  
But man is it fat!  The Filofax is the same thickness as the other 3 planners stacked up.  (Please ignore my messy kitchen in the background.)
 Here is the Filofax next to the Moleskine weekly vertical.  Yeah.
And don't even get me started on the weight.  The Moleskine and the WeekDate are virtually weightless, the Filofax weighs a ton.

I'm glad I did this Filofax experiment, because I've tried for years now to make my Filofax work well for me as my planner and this system was definitely worth a try.

So now I've narrowed it down to the WeekDate, Moleskine vertical weekly, or Trinote!

Starting December 27th I'll have a competition between my WeekDate and Moleskine.  By the end of January I'll either have  a clear winner, or the Trinote will prove to be the best after all.

There can be only one!!!!!!


  1. I would like to suggest or should that be propose... a slim A5 Filofax but with QV Timer 21 in it.

    My reasoning...
    1. The QV is almost Trinote in layout and size.
    2. But in Filofax format it is smaller and flexible.

    The Adelphi in A5 only has 20mm rings.. 'special slimline' which if dedicated as your planner I'm sure would work....


    Stick to your Tri-note.. I think from what I've read it comes the closest to your needs... not perfect 100% but very close I would say...

    But I'm sure you will enjoy proving me wrong...!!! But that's ok...


  2. Hi Steve,

    That Adelphi seems like it should be a slimline due to the smaller rings and no closure. But, I saw it in person at the Filofax shop and it's definitely not slimline. It has a gusseted pocket inside the front cover and a notepad in the back cover, and these add quite a lot of bulk so the result is not that much difference from a normal A5 binder unfortunately. I'm still going to hold out hope for a true slimline A5 someday in the future!

    Not to mention that the Adelphi is very very far out of my current price range.

    In the meantime, anther reason my Filofax failed is because I'm dedicated to using a bound book due to better archiving and record-keeping. I tend to lose Filofax pages (despite my best efforts to archive them) and in general can't seem to keep track of loose leaf pages as well as bound-in ones.

    I will keep your idea in mind in the future though! You never know what I'll come around to!!

  3. Wow, I actually love how fat your Filofax looks. Bet it's a pain to carry around though.
    BTW, a messy kitchen is a sign of life, embrace it. (or tell people that any way ;)
    I'm loving this series on your planner "trials"...I'll almost be sad when you pick just one, haha.

  4. Laurie, I hear your pain. What I want is a TARDIS planner! Small on the outside but big on the inside! Laws of physics indeed.

    For years I've tried various versions of a smaller size (Personal/Compact 3.75" by 6.75"). But I didn't have enough room for my notes and stuff. Same happened to me with bound planners - I couldn't customize them or add notes pages where I needed them.

    So now I'm using a ringbound 5.5" x 8.5" (about A5) size. I found the lightest weight binder that I could to help make up for weight issues. The office store people thought I was crazy taking binders to the Mail products aisle to weigh them...

    Also I use a handbag that is as lightweight as I could find - a Kipling Defea bag.

    A couple of product ideas:
    1. I saw this Tom Bihn Field Journal Notebook http://www.tombihn.com/page/001/PROD/ACC/TB1910 that looks cool with loads of pen pockets. A bit expensive though.
    2. I use this for highlighting - it is actually meant to be a Bible drylighter but holds 8 colors in a nice compact form: Pentel PH158 Bible Highlighter 8 Color Mechanical Pencil. It is very convenient, and also fun for drawing.

  5. Hi Laurie, there is no failure in trying, only a failure to try, or something like that!
    What I’m attempting to say is at least you know what does not work for you, which is just as valuable as knowing what does work for you, it just takes longer when you are collecting all the “nots” first! I admire your creativity and perseverance. You are a problem-solver extraordinaire! I’m going to bet you stick with the Tri-note for 2011 :-)

  6. LOL Rori! I too am wondering what I will do when/ if I find a planner I like enough to use for a whole year!

    Sarahb1 now that I look at the Tom B binder, I realize someone else sent me that link not long ago. (Steve was that you?) I do love that binder, especially the plum color! And it would even hold the Half Size Pro Uncalendar loose leaf pages. It is out of my price range though. Interesting what you said about a planner that folds down small and opens out big-- I just realized today that's exactly what my WeekDate is! It's trifold so it folds down as small as the Moleskine, but when it's open it's so much bigger/ more space to write. I really like that highlighter pencil!! Great that it has so many colors in one! I'll have to look for this, it would be fun to have.

    Stefee, thank you for all of your help and advice during my Filofax experiment! It's too bad it's just not what I'm looking for right now. I tend to go in cycles though, so I may come back around to it at some point!

    And LOL, maybe we should be taking bets on what planner I'll end up using for 2011!!

  7. Hey Sarahb1, cool pencil! I'm going to try and order one at Staples today. Sometimes my highlighter smears notes I've written with a gel pen. BTW, speaking of lightweight bags, the Tom Bihn Cafe Bags are awesome!

  8. I for one will be eagerly following your week date exploits although I will never give up on my Filofax! Hehe.
    Let the competition begin!

  9. Your comments on the Adelphi noted. I was amused to see how they have put the pen loop horizontal in the back cover on that one. Yes point taken about the pad and the front inside the front cover adding to the bulk...

    I just hope Laurie that this agony isn't keeping you awake at nights.

    It might just be me, but more people seem to be agonising over their set up for next year. More so than I recall happening last year...

    I blame the interweb... we are all so well connected now and can so easily see each others set ups and read so much about different set ups and how and why they work and don't work. We are potentially getting information overload, too many ideas too many options.

    I would love to get a group of folks together for a day to try and come up with a new planner design that served everyone as well as possible. I wouldn't restrict them on size or on fixed or loose leaf, those would be options once the design had been idealised.

  10. Steve I agree, I've noticed a lot of people stressing over what planner to choose for 2011. I guess if we didn't have so much choice we would just deal with whatever was available to us!

    It would be fun to hear what everyone's idea of what the ideal planner format would be!

  11. That thought just crossed my mind earlier this week when I contemplated my own and others planner woes. Too many ideas, too many planner options, too many temptations. A blessing, a curse. It's good to do a thorough analysis of your needs before making any choice today or you'll be swept away in all directions.

  12. I've just today hacked some monthly on 2 pages from kate spade to fit my FC Classic binder because I prefer it to the FC monthlies. It took some time but I'm very happy with the result. To make a planner truly one's own, it's necessary to hack it DIY style. Although it was fun, I was thinking during the entire time that I had better things to do (like my Todo list!!!)

  13. Hi Laurie,
    I was thinking that you'd realize how heavy the Filofax would be...I tried posting this and other comments within the past week from an older computer I was using, which wouldn't let me post (something wrong with it anyway).
    The Moleskine design suddenly looks beautiful to me again. The simpler, the more versatile. It would be a shame to let them go to waste, Laurie. I say, Moleskine(s) will be your choice!

  14. Hi Laurie,
    Inspired by Jotje's post regarding her Filofax use, did I set up my Filo again.
    Comparing my lovely effective Trinote with my Malden, I did not so much focus on size (I carry ridiculously large bags anyway), but on weight. To my big suprise did my newly set up Filo end up weighing less than the Trinote (without any extra paper inserts). Not by much, but nevertheless an important factor for me.
    I love reading your posts. Good luck finding your best planner yet!


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