Wednesday, April 28, 2010

Backlog of Reviews

I have a pile of fantastic products to review! Here is what you can look forward to in the coming weeks here on Plannerisms:

Dodo Acad-Pads in various sizes and forms, including the new-this-year Personal size Filofax-compatible diary insert!

More Daycraft notebooks: the Cantoon notebook, D-sign notebook, Laptop notebook and Morse Code sketchbook.

A comparison between the Quo Vadis Septanote and Trinote planners. These have a very similar format, but there are some key differences between these planners that I want to point out, to help anyone who is trying to decide which of these planners best fits their needs.

Ecosystem weekly planners and lined journal.

The new 2011 Moleskine Extra Small daily and weekly planners.

Parker Planners pocket-sized undated daily planner.

And just for fun, even though Lady Dandelion already reviewed it on her blog, I want to review the cool Leuchtturm notebook I won from her! I've never used this brand before so it will be fun to check it out.

In addition to these, over on Philofaxy I'll review the Filofax Travel Journal, and the Receipt Envelopes.

As excited as I am about all of these products, I have to force myself not to crank through the reviews all at once. I want to give each product the time and attention it deserves.

So stay tuned for in-depth looks at lots of fun new products!

Saturday, April 24, 2010

My new A5 Domino Filofax with Dodo Pad diary insert!


Here is my new A5 Domino Filofax that I bought at the Filofax store in London! It is great!! I felt like I was meant to get one because I saw so many A5 Dominos while I was at the London Book Fair, and after Jess's comment on my post about it I knew it was just what I've been looking for. And it is!!

I have two other A5 Filofaxes, both Finsbury, one purple and one green. In the past when I've tried to use one as my planner, I quickly abandoned it because the binder is too big and heavy to carry everywhere. I love them, they are beautiful and now they serve me well at home. But I don't like to carry them around.

The Domino solves the portability issues of the A5 binders. The cover weighs almost nothing, unlike a leather binder which significantly adds to the weight of the book. Also, the Domino cover is narrower side to side than other A5 Filofaxes: by 1 to 1.5 cm, depending on the model. And having an elastic band instead of the snap closure contributes to the slimness of the book too.

The rings are huge, which is great for those of us (guilty) who like to cram as many pages and accessories into the book as possible. Again, because the cover itself is so lightweight, I can put in as many pages as I want and the overall weight of the book is still bearable.

The inside cover has a full-length pocket and several smaller pockets. There is no zip pocket in the Domino, so I added a zip pouch accessory onto the rings to hold those little things that might get lost.

There is a note pad inside the back cover. The bottom of the notepad pocket is slotted too, so you can slide the notepad into the bottom of it--that way if you are a lefty you can use the binder upside down and have the note pad inside the left cover for easy writing, and the pockets on the right. Those folks at Filofax know what they're doing!

Another thing I love about the Domino (that I also love about my personal size Domino which I use as my Scotland guidebook) is that the cover can handle my messy life. I am not a tidy person, and I have problems if my planner is too precious. It needs to be able to handle abuse, rain, sticky table surfaces and my not-always-very-clean hands. I'm not afraid to take my Domino into the kitchen with me for fear of setting it down into a blob of jelly.

Another thing about the A5 Domino: it lays flat, immediately. No flapping, no fighting. It's flat.

The first time I ever saw a Domino I thought I wouldn't like the elastic band. But I do, for lots of reasons. As I noted above, it helps make the book more streamlined. Also, it's very handy for tucking papers on the outside of my book for easy access and reference while I'm out and about.

I'm using my Dodo Pad A5 Filofax-compatible diary insert in my Domino, and I love it! I had recently hit a wall with my planner usage--I had gone too far into overly-structured planners that seemed too impersonal and business-like. I'd gotten to the point where I didn't even want to use my planners anymore (*gasp!*) because they seemed so strict, like they were wagging their finger at me about all the things I should be doing. I wanted some color and something fun. So this was perfect timing for me for the Dodo-Domino combination.

Here you can see the inside cover of my Domino, and the front of the Dodo Pad diary insert. You can also see my Dodo Reminder Stickers tucked into the pocket inside the front cover. I really like the light-colored faux suede interior of the Domino, it looks and feels really nice.

Here is my Dodo Pad diary insert in action! You can click on the photos for a larger view.
I love that the page opposite the weekly schedule has plenty of room for all my lists and notes. In general, I use the daily boxes as: first box, important thing to highlight that day. Next 2 boxes, morning activities. Last 2 boxes, afternoon/ evening. I'm not strict about it though. I write across the boxes, in the margins, at the top and bottoms of the page, on the other page, wherever. There's plenty of room for all my little notes to myself.

Here's a closer look at the weekly page. This particular week has a couple of sticker-worthy events, so you can see how I use my stickers.
Also you can see how I've set up my tabs. I forced myself to use only 6 tabs, because I tend to get too tab-crazy. Directories has emergency info, contact numbers, whatever else I need to quick-reference.

Here is a look behind my Financial tab, with the Filofax calculator I splurged on. I have a calculator that I use in my Personal size Filofaxes but it doesn't fit on the A5 rings. I figured, I use it all the time in my Personal size, I better have one in my A5! I'm glad I got it.

The Dodo Pad diary insert has Annual Planning calendars for this year:

And next year, which is really nice:

I didn't take a picture, but right before my Addresses section I have my maps. Behind the addresses I have two top-opening pouches, the zip pouch I mentioned above, and a business card holder. With all of these I can collect whatever bits I need throughout the day, then when I get home I can put them wherever they belong.

I'm sure my tabs usage will evolve over time, which is why I use the colored tape flags from the Filofax Sticky Notes accessory to label my tabs. That way I can move them around whenever I need to.

When I was at the Filofax store the only color choices for the A5 Domino were black, brown or red. I wanted a cheery color so I went for the red, which I don't normally use. Now on the website they have the A5 Dominos in faux snakeskin, and they look really cool! While I was at the store I saw Domino folios in pink and purple, and personal size binders in a cobalt blue that I like too, so I'm hoping they'll come out with these colors in the A5. If they come out with a purple one you can bet I'll get it!!

Friday, April 23, 2010

Home again!

I made it back home! Hooray! I managed to catch a flight very early yesterday morning. I had a wonderful time in London, but it's good to be back home.

I have so much to tell you! My trip was very planner-intensive, and I have lots of new products to review. I have posted the full list, along with other topics I'll be telling you about, on Philofaxy. I'll be reviewing my new Filofax (more on that below), the Filofax Travel Journal and Receipts Envelopes (generously given to me by Brigitte at the Filofax shop during our discussion--that will be a whole post of its own!), several new awesome products from Dodo Pad, and the new-this-year Extra Small Moleskine daily and weekly planners. I'll post the Filofax-related things over on Philofaxy and everything else here on Plannerisms, so stay tuned to both!

I bought a new A5 Domino Filofax while I was there and have put my A5 Filofax-compatible Dodo Pad diary into it. This is now my full-time planner, which I will tell you more about soon in a post on Philofaxy. I will update What I'm Currently Using soon to give some details of how I'm using this as my planner and how it fits in with other planners I'm using.

So check back soon on both Plannerisms and Philofaxy for new products, new reviews and lots of news!

Tuesday, April 20, 2010

London Book Fair

I'm still stuck here in London due to the ash cloud, but am having a great time! Yesterday I spent all day at the London Book Fair, and it was an absolute blast. (Okay, maybe that makes me a geek calling a book fair an "absolute blast"). Rebecca Jay, Managing Director of Dodo Pad, was very kind and gave me a ticket into the fair. I got to hang out with her at the Dodo Pad display and talk to people about Dodo Pads!

It was lots of fun to hear people's Dodo Pad stories. One woman said her family has a "Dodo Pad dynasty" where every year at Christmas the tradition is for the women to give their daughters Dodo Pads. Her grandmother, mother, aunts, cousins, they all give a Dodo Pad to each of their daughters. What a great story! Other people had never seen a Dodo Pad before so I got to show them the diaries and organizers for the first time. Watching someone discover the Dodo is a fun experience--their eyes light up when they see the colorful art and quirky humor.

One of the first things Rebecca did was to show me her red A5 Domino Filofax, in which she uses the A5 Dodo Pad diary inserts! Wow!! I own a personal size Domino but had never seen the A5 before. It has huge rings so it can hold loads of pages, but the footprint of the book seems smaller than other A5's because there's no strap, and the cover seems narrower. And because the cover weighs next to nothing, it's so much lighter than my leather A5 binder. I was intrigued...

During the course of the day I saw lots of people carrying around their planners in their hand, which was a rare opportunity for me to see planners in action! I saw lots and lots of Filofaxes--mostly Personal size, but to my surprise many A5 Dominos! There it is again!! Taunting me! I saw one guy carrying his A5 Domino with a bunch of papers stuck under the elastic on the outside of the book for easy reference. Now I'm really itching for one!! I may have to make a trip back to the Filofax store before I leave London...

I also saw lots of Moleskine planners and notebooks. Which gave me an idea--I looked at the index and sure enough Moleskine was there! So I made a beeline over to their display and was thrilled to see their new 2011 planners on display! Silvia Salvadori was there from Milan to represent Moleskine, and she was very nice. When I explained that I blog about planners she was very happy to talk to me about their new products and answered my questions. I am very happy to report that she confirmed: All the 2011 Moleskine planners do have the month calendars with the days as squares large enough to write in! No more months as columns with a line per day. She asked if that is a good thing and I said absolutely yes, and that many Plannerisms readers have asked for this monthly format so a lot of people will be very happy. I'm sure there will be some who prefer the columns and lines, but in general I think people will be very happy with the new monthly format.

Silvia also very generously gave me two free samples of the Extra Small Moleskine planners: the Daily with the dark pink cover (which I adore) and the Weekly with the dark blue cover (which is very handsome). These planners are tiny, almost exactly the same size as a smartphone. Of course the daily is thicker, but still very small. It's almost exactly the dimensions of a pack of tissues. You could easily carry your extra small Mole planner along with your phone. When I get home I will do a full review of these with photos!

Silvia also showed me the new products in their Office line: the A4 folios, folders, binders and paper. They are very professional-looking, and have the clean Moleskine look and the elastic strap for portability. She also showed me the new Moleskine sticky notes set and index cards set, which look really nice.

Silvia was very happy to talk to me and said Moleskine loves bloggers because they really appreciate the feedback and love to know what their customers need and want from their products. I really respect a company that listens to their customers and works so hard to meet their needs. Bravo Moleskine!

In all it was a great day at the London Book Fair. If you get the chance to go, be sure to check out Dodo Pad at booth C510 and Moleskine at J605!

Friday, April 16, 2010

Stranded in London

So, have you heard there's a giant Icelandic volcanic ash cloud over the UK? And that it's grounded all the flights? Well, my flight back home today is one of the thousands of flights cancelled. And, nobody knows when flights will resume because the volcano is still erupting. And then when flights DO resume, there will be a huge backlog of people who need to travel. So...

Weekend in London! Woo hoo! :D

I got to visit the Filofax store yesterday, but only for a few minutes. I got to see some of the new Filofaxes out now: the Heart and Songbird ones are very pretty, I especially like the Songbird. I held the Chameleon and expected the leather would be firm like a Finsbury, but it is like BUTTAH. Nice and soft. I also saw the new Letts notebooks, which are really nice and would be excellent for travel. Not only do they have an elastic strap, they also have international information like dialing codes etc. which make them especially useful.

I somehow managed to hold myself back from buying any Filofaxes, but I did take the opportunity to stock up on a bunch of refills, stickers, business card holder inserts, etc. I also bought the pink week on 2 pages diary insert, and popped it into my Deco. So pretty!! I'll post pics when I get home!

I want to give my Rickshaw Bagworks Moleskine Folio an A+ in Travel. It is perfect for traveling. Here are 2 great examples:

On the plane: the zip pocket holds my passport, the clear back pocket holds my flight itinerary, my Moleskine is my planner where I have written my hotel reservation information. When they hand out the immigration cards to fill out, instead of digging through my bag for all the info, it's all there in my Folio: Passport number? In the pocket. Incoming flight number? Back pocket. Address in UK? Written in my Mole planner. Golden.

Example #2: I've been carrying my Mole folio in my bag with me as I go out and about. (My Filofax stays in my hotel room--locked securely in the safe!--unless I need the tons of info inside it. Yesterday I did need all the info in my Filo so I carried it in my bag that day. Most of the time my Filofax is Mission Control back in my room.).

Anyway, Mole folio in my bag. In the clear back pocket I have put my Filofax London map, folded so that the area I'm in is visible through the clear pocket. So if I get lost while I'm out and about, I just open my book and have a look. It looks like I'm just checking my agenda, and I don't look like a lost tourist with my map out. Blending: priceless.

Also in the zip pocket I keep extra currency, receipts to save for reimbursement later, my return train ticket for whenever I eventually head back to the airport, etc.

Rickshaw: well done with the folio. I know Mark travels a ton, and he has really nailed it with this travel-friendly folio. Ultra-convenient, and super-cool looking too.

For now I'm off to the British Museum! Rosetta Stone, here I come! :D

Monday, April 12, 2010

Offline while traveling

I'm headed to London, where I'll be mostly offline. I'll pop in every now and then when I can. :)

After much deliberation I decided to bring my Deco Filofax with me, because it contains so much information I need, and all my maps. But at the last minute, I've decided to ALSO bring my self-made Moleskine planner, because I didn't want to have to re-copy everything from my Filo planner pages into my Mole when I get back. My Mole planner lives in my Rickshaw Bagworks Moleskine folio, which has a zip pocket for my passport and clear pocket in the back for papers. Yes I'm carrying a lot, but I just couldn't choose one!

I'm planning to visit the Filofax Mother Ship (aka the Conduit Street shop) sometime while I'm there. I will have a full report for you when I get back! :D

Wednesday, April 7, 2010

Reader Needs Help! Need suggestions for Week + Notes planners

Note Booker, who writes the awesome blog Note Booker, Esq. sent me an email with some specifics on what type of planner he's looking for:


I am looking for a planner that has the following features:

1. No address book section. (That info is all in my phone, no sense carrying around the extra paper.)
2. Monthly AND weekly views. (It's hard to plan ahead without a monthly view, but I want the detail of a weekly view to plan my week.)
3. A notes page opposite each weekly view. (So I can outline my priorities for the week. Something like the Quo Vadis Space 24)
4. Goes through the end of 2011.

I've been looking around, but #2 has been impossible to find, and it is probably the most important consideration. Any suggestions?

Here are the planners I suggested to him, but I want to know if any of you fine readers know of any other planner that would better fit his requirements:

The only bound week + notes planner that I know of that will go all the way through the end of 2011 is the Moleskine 18 month Weekly Notebook. It begins in July, and ends December 2011. (I reviewed mine here on Plannerisms) The Moleskine planner doesn't have monthly calendars per se, but does have monthly planning pages with the months as columns with a line per day. The hard cover books have removable address booklets, the soft cover ones have none.

Very similar to the Moleskine weekly notebook, but a brand I haven't tried yet is the Ecosystem weekly planner. This has the same week + notes format, but has an advantage: they sell a separate monthly calendar insert to slip into the back pocket.

So there he would have the week + notes, and monthly calendars together in one book. But as far as I know they only come in the calendar year, so he would have to get separate books for this year and next year.

My next suggestion is one that Booker sent me: the Quo Vadis Space 24. This has a removable address book. These planners have the huge advantage of having a for-real monthly section at the beginning of the planner, with the days as squares large enough to write in. Additionally, they also have the planning calendars with the months as columns, one line per day. As with all Quo Vadis planners, the paper is a dream to write on. But again, they are calendar-year only.

Of course another option is a Filofax, which has the week + notes diary insert for Personal and also A5 sizes. And he can also put in the monthly calendars.

All of these are good planners, but none of them are exactly and completely what he's looking for.

Does anyone know of a planner that completely fulfills all his requirements? If you do, please post in the comments! Thanks!

Cool Blog: Diary Doodle Books

I've just now discovered this really cool blog:

Diary Doodle Books

The artist (Mark) draws in his weekly planner, every week. This year he's using a Moleskine weekly planner. He's done some really amazing drawings!!

Hey Mark, wanna do a guest post here on Plannerisms? I think your diary doodle books are great!

Monday, April 5, 2010

Sandy's Reflexions sketchbook

Here is another awesome guest post from my sister Sandy, about her Reflexions sketchbook. I mentioned how she uses it in my Lists, Lists Everywhere post. Here she goes into more details! I feel like I should be taking notes...

About a year ago, one of my co-workers turned me onto Reflexions spiral bound notebooks. I ordered one, and I love it! It has a hard, black cover, in a double wire spiral, field sketchbook style. The front cover can flip all the way around, onto the back of itself, creating a hard surface to write on while you’re standing (say, taking a quote from someone) or making notes “in the field.”

I carry the 7’ x 10’ size, but the sketchbook I use also comes in 5 ½” and 11” sizes. The paper is acid free in a light cream color. It’s a 70lb weight and has an even texture that takes ink, colored pencils, chalk, and pastels like a champ. I can use this book very efficiently, because the lack of bleed-through allows me to use both sides of every page.

Reflexions also has other cool products, such as the notebooks with the white, linen cover, which I happen to find exceptionally gorgeous!

This website is the one that I order from when purchasing my Reflexions notebook:

http://www.jerrysartarama.com/discount-art-supplies/Paper/Drawing-and-Multimedia-Paper-and-Boards/Reflexions-Drawing-and-Sketch-Journals.htm

To piggy-back off of Laurie’s blog post Desperate Times Call For Desperate Measures, this IS my catch-all, overflow side-kick to my Quo Vadis Trinote planner.

My Reflexions notebook is in chronological order. It is a reflection/reflexion of my life. It shows that my life is a tapestry of personal and professional aspects of my life. There are lists how I feel about a decision I need to make (Pros vs. Cons), lists of bills that I need to pay (before I started using my Trinote religiously for this purpose) intermingled with quotes from our clients that I include in our marketing brochures, and theme ideas for my son’s birthday party. There are notes from marketing strategy meetings at work, lists of apps that I want to put on my iPhone, Avon orders that I need to place for my Avon customers, and information about puppy training classes that I might register my boxer puppy for.

So, my Reflexions book is something my planner could never be. It is a chronological record of my thoughts and feelings, as well as a gathering of detailed information and lists, where as my planner is a chronological record of my tasks and appointments. I love them both, and both are necessary in my life to keep me focused and clear minded.

Friday, April 2, 2010

Desperate Times Call For Desperate Measures

I'm feeling very overwhelmed lately with everything I have going on. It must be the phase of the moon or something, because it's not just me: every time I've called my sister this week we wind up going on for an hour about all the things we're freaking out about.

I emailed Sandy a photo of the hot mess that is My Planner This Week (MPTW), something we do for each other often. It gives us ideas of how to use our planners, and also helps each other understand what's going on in our lives that week. I told her, rather than me going on and on about what's happening in my life I should just send her a photo of MPTW so she can see it and go, "Wow, no wonder you're freaking out."

I love my weekly planner, and I need it to help me prepare for what's coming up in the week. But there are times, like now, when seeing everything I need to do all week long gets pretty overwhelming.

Well my friends, desperate times call for desperate measures. It's time to get shit done.

So I turned to one of my favorite websites ever, Getting Sh-t Done by Bill Westerman. For those of you who haven't read about GSD yet, get yourself over there and read it. It is a distilled version of all those productivity systems everybody's reading about these days.

I talked about GSD a little bit in my Lists, Lists Everywhere post earlier this week. It's a great way to whittle down your To-Do lists, and manage lots of tasks. As Bill says, GSD keeps you "focused on the tasks at hand rather than on the task of organizing." For those of us who tend to get bogged down in organizing instead of doing, this is the jump-start we need.

I busted out my Journal 21 day per page planner (that I reviewed here on Plannerisms) to use for my daily lists. The large pages have plenty of room to write in any scheduled items and my huge list of tasks that day. There's also enough room to fill in what I actually did, which is often different from what I intended to do. Plus I love the monthly calendars in the front of the Journal 21 so I can see upcoming events at a glance.I don't tear out the corners of my daily planners because I don't like how it looks. So I'm using tape flags to mark the pages of the current month (blue) and today (bright pink).

Then I put GSD into action: I wrote out my Master List of everything I need to do (in a separate notebook). Then I went through and decided on what I could do today.

On today's page in my Journal 21 I first wrote into the left side of the page (next to the printed times) any scheduled events. Then in the right side of the page I listed my tasks. This helps me see when I'll have time to do the tasks, but doesn't force me to artificially schedule them.

Now I have a whole page on which to capture everything, even those tiny tasks that I wouldn't normally write into today's space on my weekly planner (such as replace the battery in the carbon monoxide detector, which woke me up with its low-battery beep very early this morning). This of course makes a great record of what I did and when.

Having all my tasks on one master list, then filtering them into what I can do Today helps me 1) be realistic about what I can accomplish in a day and 2) plow through and get it done.

Once I've gotten through all those tasks hanging over me, then I'll be free to Do Epic Shit (by Charlie Gilkey, who writes one of my other favorite websites, Productive Flourishing). I love his message: people aren't born epic and then go on to do epic shit. "Everyday people do epic shit and then become epic." Rock on, Charlie. My favorite part of his article is in the last two lines. Go read it, and then go do some epic shit.

What do you do when you're feeling overwhelmed? Can your planner handle everything you throw at it, or do you have to break out of it sometimes?

And, what are you doing that's epic? Tell us about it!

Thursday, April 1, 2010

Daycraft Chromatic Days diary

Here is another gorgeous planner generously sent to me by Daycraft, the #1 brand of diaries and notebooks in Hong Kong. Like all the other Daycraft diaries/ planners I've had the privilege to review here on Plannerisms, the Chromatic Days diary is beautiful, well made, and of the highest quality. My photos unfortunately don't do it justice at all!

This planner is A6 size, approximately 4 1/2 by 6 inches. And it is extremely slim, because it has one week per page:The small day spaces are good for people who don't need to write a lot in each day, or as a supplement to your main planner. The weekend days have the same amount of space as the weekdays.

In addition to the weekly pages, the planner has monthly calendars for September 2009-December 2010. As we all know by now, I love monthly calendars in weekly planners!


There are also monthly calendars for January-August 2011 for longer-range planning.
There are reference calendars for 2009, 2010 and 2011:
There are pages for notes, contacts, and this very useful Venue List for your favorite shops, doctor/ dentist, hair salons etc. for easy reference:
There is a list of International Holidays for 2010, and a Personal Information page.

The edge of the pages is printed with bands of color, which this photo doesn't capture very well but looks really nice:

There is a green ribbon pagemarker that matches the color of the shimmery green cover. The cover is flexible and soft to touch. The 70 gsm paper is very white, and every page has the pretty color bands across the top.

Daycraft is currently looking for distributors in the US and Europe, and I hope they find them soon because I think these beautiful little books will be very popular!! I'm really glad to have gotten the chance to review them.