Tuesday, July 27, 2010

reecovid notepad

 
reecovid is a new brand of recycled notebooks (and soon, address books and diaries!) made of 100% post-consumer waste materials.  I received this beautiful notepad as a sample from the company.  Thank you reecovid!

The pretty designs on the cover are the female symbol evolving into a flower.

reecovid notepads are all gorgeous, and are each named after an environmentally-conscious woman.  This notepad I received is the Alicia notepad.  I love the pink and purple color combination!  The hard cover is biodegradable, with a bra-strap elastic closure which is a fun and feminine detail.

reecovid ("recovered") products are especially eco-friendly.


Their "waste, not chaste" logo means no virgin materials are used in the production of the products.
Sustainability and the environment are at the forefront of every feature.  The cover is a 2-ring binder, which is refillable with 100% post-consumer recycled paper reecovid notepad refills.  The cover can be re-used indefinitely, which reduces the number of covers that wind up in the landfill.  Used pages are fully recyclable.  In addition, the binders do not use animal glues that are commonly used in the book-binding process, so the products are in fact vegan.  You can read more about their "green checklist" for their products here and their Green Credentials here.

Inside the cover there is a pretty female-symbol pattern, which was a nice surprise when I opened the book.

The paper is A5 size, and holes punched with a standard (European) 2-hole punch fit on the rings.

The paper is thick and smooth, with a subtle rule:

I did ink tests with various pens, which you can see below:

On the back side of the page you can see there is absolutely no bleed-through, and you can barely even tell there's writing on the reverse:

The binder rings open easily for page removal or replacement.
The D rings are arranged so that the pages are not moved when the cover is opened and closed:


The products are eco-friendly, feminine and fun.  But it doesn't stop there: reecovid has a foundation for women in Africa to assist them in recovering from sexual violence. 

reecovid is based in Scotland (which of course I find especially exciting!), and all the products are produced in the UK.

You can find reecovid on Twitter (@reecovid) and on Facebook

Many thanks again to reecovid for this beautiful notepad!  I can hardly wait for the address books and diaries to come out!!

Sunday, July 25, 2010

It's That Time of Year Again!!

Please take a minute to read my slightly manic Philofaxy post from one year ago today, It's That Time of Year Again!!  In it I express my excitement about the plethora of planners available this time of year, ask readers about their own planner setup, hope for my own Planner Nirvana, and tell a funny story about my pet hermit crab.

A special shout-out and bigtime Thank You to those of you who commented on this post last year and who are STILL reading my planner ramblings an entire year later.  You're awesome!  Thanks for sticking by my side.  Maybe together we can reach Planner Nirvana!

What's different about your current planner setup than what you were using last year?  Is it the same? Or is it radically different?  Do you feel you have achieved Planner Nirvana, or like so many of us, are you still searching?

Friday, July 23, 2010

Result, Then Action

One of my New Year's Resolutions this year (which I keep in my planner for year-long visibility) is:

Think about what I want the RESULT to be, then work toward it.

This seems like Goal Setting 101, but thinking about it this way makes a big difference for me.

For example, one of the Results I want is to know more about world politics and events.  So, the actions I need to take toward that Result are to spend less time on blogs and more on news websites.  Since I have a limited amount of time I can spend on the computer, I have to prioritize.

Another example is, my household duties.  I am not naturally domestic, and I do not enjoy cleaning.  I definitely put the "or" in chore:  "I could clean, OR I could do something more fun!  Like watch grass grow."

But in reality, if I want things to work well at home, there are a lot of things that I need to do on a daily basis to keep up.  Thinking of the desired Result gives the endless loop of chores purpose.  When I reach for a towel/ shirt/ sock I want there to be a stack of them folded on the shelf.  That means I have to do the laundry regularly (which I am good at), then fold and put them away immediately (which I am not good at).  The result is always having towels/ shirts/ socks on hand.

I guess the distinction for me is, rather than big Achievement Goals like getting a degree or running a marathon, my Results are things I can achieve on a daily basis.  And the good news is, unlike long-term Goals, I can see Results immediately (if I do the Actions).

Wednesday, July 21, 2010

Gettin' It DONE

Shortly after our daughter was born, my husband and I were walking with her (baby securely wrapped on me in the sling) around our neighborhood on Capitol Hill in DC.  We lived in an apartment the size of a shoebox just so we could be in that beautiful neighborhood with the big expensive houses and historic buildings.  As we strolled along, we came up to two city worker men who were repairing the sidewalk.  Just then, a very fit woman jogged by pushing her baby in a jogging stroller.  Clearly impressed with her multi-tasking, one of the men said, "She's running WITH the baby."  And the other man said, "Gettin' it DONE."

Ever since, this has been my and my husband's favorite phrase for accomplishing what we need to, even in less than ideal circumstances.  Well my friends, I am happy to report that I am Gettin' It DONE.

You may have seen my comment on Yvotchka's excellent article What's A Girl TO DO about my recent planner "crash-and-burn Epic Fail crap-tastrophe."  I had been using my Moleskine weekly notebook as my planner, because I needed the notes page for my weekly lists.  As my move gets closer, I have certain things I need to do each week to prepare.

But to be honest, I've hardly been using my Mole WN at all, and barely even looking at it (which we all know is Planner Death).  The day spaces are too small to write in everything I need to do each day.  The weekly notes pages were the only useful thing about it, but that wasn't enough for me.

But then, other situations made me realize I really need to be using my Filofax.  Perfect example: earlier this week we all had our leaving-post medical exams.  I brought my Mole.  Big mistake.  The entire time, I needed my Filofax over and over again.  Filling out paperwork: when did this happen?  What were these dates?  Since my Mole just started at the beginning of this month, I don't have a record of any previous months.  It took some major remembering and back-counting to figure out dates.  Then during the exams I had to jot notes, weights,  and follow-up questions randomly on my weekly notes page.  If only I'd had my Filofax, I could have created a new Medical page for each of us, with all of this information instantly consolidated and filed in the correct tabbed section for future reference.  As it is, I have to re-copy my scrawled notes and hope I get it right.

So, fed up with the whole thing, I started over.  I opened up a new page in my large Noteletts notebook and used an entire two-page spread to write every single thing I need to do before our move.  Big tasks and small, timed and untimed.  I did a Brain Dump and got it all out there in front of me.  Now with this information to work with, I can figure out what needs to be done and when, and write it into my day spaces accordingly.  In my Filofax

Will this system work for me in the long run? I don't know and honestly I don't care.  I switch my system around so often I can't be bothered to think about what will work for me long-term.  And after I've moved, my circumstances will be different anyway, so who knows what will work for me best then?  Right now I need to do what works for me right now.

Monday, July 19, 2010

Where Oh Where?

There are certain perils associated with using multiple planners, Filofaxes and notebooks at once, especially if you switch around as often as I do.  I reach a point where, instead of keeping me organized, my multiple books just add to the chaos.

Here's an example of my current situation: The Big Move I've been planning for months happens in less than a month now (YAAAYYYY!!!!).  In preparation for this Big Move, I've been writing lists and notes for nearly a year about what I need to do before, during and after the move.  Packing lists.  Information about our new location.  And, what I'm doing right now: changing our address.

We have loads of things to change our address with:  insurance of all kinds, banks, the list is very long.  And one section of that list is Magazine Subscriptions.

We get a lot of magazine subscriptions because we live in a non-English speaking country, so if we want to read anything that's not online we have to order it.  Plus it helps morale when living overseas to get fun things in the mail.

But, it's been hard for me to keep track of when each magazine is due to expire, which ones I've renewed and which ones I haven't, and the website or phone number to renew or cancel each subscription.

I write lists like these in my Filofax. But, over the past two years that I've lived here and needed to keep track of things like magazine subscriptions, I've used several different Filofaxes.  Not only that, but I go back and forth between Filofax sizes, write some lists in this one and other lists in that one, and have partially (but not completely) up to date lists in several Filofaxes at once.

Now this is coming back around to bite me.  I don't know what's the most recent record of expiration and renewal of my subscriptions.  So, I'm going to have to call each individual magazine's subscriptions department to ask when my subscription is due to expire, and if I need to change my address with them at all or if the subscription is due to expire soon.

Next time, I think I'll just keep my magazine subscriptions information in a file folder!!

What do you do with lists like these?  Do you write them in your Filofax, do you have a notebook designated for information like this, or do you keep files at home?

Thursday, July 15, 2010

Plan-It Day Planners August 2010-August 2011

I'm so excited Plan-It planners now come in the academic-year format! I LOVE the new colors and styles of the covers.

I saw this gorgeous bird cover a couple of months ago on Amazon and had to have it!

I ordered it from Amazon for a great price. (Search Amazon.com for daily student Plan-It day planner)

I emailed Paul Alford, CEO of Plan-It/ Student Media Group to tell him congratulations on his new line of academic-year planners with their beautiful covers.  He emailed me back and offered to send me some of the new planners and asked for my feedback on them.  Thanks so much Paul!!  You know I'm always more than happy to give feedback on planners!  ;)

Paul very generously sent me four planners from the new August 2010-August 2011 line, which you can see in the photo at the top of this post.  You will notice two of them have plastic spiral bindings and two have white wire bindings.  Paul asked which I thought works better and is more aesthetically pleasing.  (The plastic spiral, definitely.  The pages turn easily without catching).

I still can't get over how pretty the covers are!  Here's a view of the back covers:


I got some close-up shots of the cover designs so you could see some of the details.  Here is the beautiful Paisley Bird cover, and close-up:





Here is the Bird Stripe cover, with a close-up.  So pretty!!




The Carolina Stripe cover has a very classy-looking color combination and pattern:


I know that Kaylyn, SMG's Operations Director designed the Paisley Bird covers.  I don't know who the artist was who did the others, but they did a great job!  The art is gorgeous.

Those of you who remember my review of the Plan-It University and 2010 Fashion planners will remember that I loved them, for so many reasons.  There are so many great features!  I'll walk you through the new August 2010-August 2011 planners and explain what it is about them that I like so much.

First let me say this: You know when you're watching an Olympic downhill skier or diver and they make it look so easy? These planners are like that.  They make it look so easy.  But when you start looking through them, everywhere you look there are excellent, highly useful features that exponentially increase the functionality of the planner.

Second, let me say this: so many planners these days are too serious, too boring, not pretty or interesting.  They are so focused on "time management" or "productivity" that they completely lack personality.  What I love about these planners is they have a fun, lighthearted personality AND kick-ass productivity.  Let me show you what I mean.

Inside the front cover there is a 2010 Year At At Glance calendar for easy reference of the entire year.

The first page of the planner has space for your contact info.  Also on this page there are the websites to find Plan-It and Student Media Group on Twitter (twitter.com/planitplanners) and Facebook (facebook.com/studentmediagroup), and the website for Style Hop (www.stylehop.com) where the fun monthly fashion tips came from!


The next page has a 2-page spread for two semesters' worth of your class schedule.  I like timetables like this even for those of us who are not in school ourselves, for writing recurring weekly events for myself and other members of my family, as a handy quick reference when I'm planning each week:

Okay, here come the planner's features that really make it stand out: there are monthly planning calendars with the month across the entire 2-page spread, so there's plenty of room to write in the daily squares:

This monthly calendar is packed with features, you can click on the photo for a larger view to see what I mean.  At the top of the monthly pages are fun fashion tips and trivia.  The calendar itself has the holidays printed in the day spaces, for easy planning around holidays and events. There's a column for Notes at the right side of the page.

The current month and year is clearly printed at the top, and last and next month's calendars are on this month's page for reference too, which is a very handy feature:


Also you will notice that the month is indicated in a colored tab at the edge of the pages, to make it easy to find the month you are looking for when flipping through your book.  The tabs for all the months of the year are arranged down the side of the page:

And here is a feature that's very hard to find: the months are embedded in the weekly section at the beginning of each month! I love this.  You can easily plan from month to month by flipping to the monthly tab.  And, having the months in with the weeks, I've discovered, has a special effect for those of us who are Procrastinators (with a capital P).  Let me explain:

With each month's calendar at the beginning of that month's weekly pages, I am so much more aware of where I am in the month as the weeks progress.  I can easily see, because of the month tabs, as I am approaching the following month.  I no longer have the problem of one month flowing into the next. No more beginning-of-the-month surprises.

This works extremely well for deadline-oriented people.  Students who need to complete assignments on time, writers who have to submit their manuscripts, businesspeople who need to finish their projects--anyone who needs to keep their target date in sight.

The weekly setup works great too.  It looks deceptively simple (click to enlarge photo):

At the top of the weekly pages, the current month and year are clearly indicated.  There is also a planning calendar of the current month, which is very handy.  I like to use a highlighter to mark the current week, to help keep myself on track as the weeks progress.  Also you will notice the monthly tabs at the edges of the pages.  There is a pretty swirl design in the background on the pages, which is a nice touch.

The daily spaces have the holidays printed, which is great, and a large space at the top of each day where you can write that day's priority, deadline, special event, birthday, etc.

Monday through Wednesday are on the left page, each with ten lines.  Thursday through Sunday are on the right page.  Thursday and Friday each have 8 lines, Saturday has 7 lines and Sunday has 5 lines.  This, in my opinion, is very smart.  I usually have the most to do in the first half of the week, and on weekends I tend to do more on Saturday than Sunday.  The result is that the days that need more space have it, and weekend days don't get edged out.

Because the day spaces are lined but not timed, they are very flexible and can be used in many different ways.  If you have a lot of appointments, you can use the left side of the day's space for morning and the right side for afternoon.  Or, you can write appointments on the left side of the day's space and To-Dos on the right.  Or, you can write across the entire space if you want.  There are no constraints.

Inside the back cover of the planner is a year at a glance calendar for all of 2011, and a handy quick-reference page for your Frequent Numbers:

The page size is generous, yet the book is still slim and portable:  each page measures approximately 5 1/4 by 8 1/4 inches.  It will fit into any bookbag easily, and nearly any purse, so that you can take your planer with you everywhere.

The spiral binding allows the book to lay completely flat, and even fold back on itself with no problem.

Plan-It 2010-2011 academic year planners are available now on Amazon.  You can click the links below to go directly to the Amazon pages:

Here is the Paisely Bird cover planner:

2010-2011 Daily Fashion Plan-It Day Planner Organizer Agenda - August to August- Paisley Bird2010-2011 Daily Fashion Plan-It Day Planner Organizer Agenda - August to August- Paisley Bird

Here is the beautiful natural-tones Bird Stripe cover:
2010-2011 Daily Fashion Student Day Planner Organizer Agenda August to August- Bird Stripe2010-2011 Daily Fashion Student Day Planner Organizer Agenda August to August- Bird Stripe

 And here is the Carolina Stripe:

2010-2011 Daily Fashion Day Student Planner Organizer Agenda August to August- Carolina Stripe2010-2011 Daily Fashion Day Student Planner Organizer Agenda August to August- Carolina Stripe

They also have the purple cover I love so much, in the 2010-2011 version! (this is the cover on my 2010 Plan-It):


2010-2011 Daily Fashion Plan-It Day Student Planner Organizer Agenda August to August- Purple Passion2010-2011 Daily Fashion Plan-It Day Student Planner Organizer Agenda August to August- Purple Passion

They also have more cover colors and styles, which you can see all of here:

Search Amazon.com for daily student Plan-It day planner

Plan-It also makes planners for universities, which the university bookstores give to students for free with purchase.  Local businesses advertise directly to students by having their ad printed in the planners, where students will see them every day!  If you are interested in putting an ad for your business into your local university's Plan-It planner, click here for more information.  You can see what these ads look like in the planners in my review of the University planners here.

If you are a university student looking for an internship in sales and marketing, check out Student Media Group's internship program!  Click here for info.

Many thanks again to Paul Alford for sending me these planners!  These are fantastic products from a wonderful company.

Tuesday, July 13, 2010

WeekDate Planners

WeekDate planners look so unique and interesting, I just have to talk about them!

To clarify: I don't have one of these in my possession, so I can only show you images and links from their website.  But I can't resist discussing all the possibilities for a planner like this.

WeekDate's layout is one I've never seen before.  Their concept is, "Only Write It Once."  Click here to see the details of How it Works, but here is the basic concept:  you only write your recurring events ONCE, instead of re-writing them every week.

The top portion of the planner has space to write your monthly recurring events.  It's color coded to the weeks (more on that in a mo) so that you can see at a glance if today is your management meeting that happens the last Thursday of each month, your book club that meets the second Wednesday of each month, or your rent that's due the first of each month.  You can even use this section to track your FlyLady Zone Work.


The middle section has your daily details for the current week.  Along the top of the weekly page is a color code that matches where you are in the monthly calendar in the top section, to help you keep track of where you are in the month.


As if that all weren't exciting enough (which it is), here is the part I'm especially excited about: the bottom section has space to write your weekly recurring events:
This is where you write those events that happen every week: your Monday morning staff meeting.  Your children's sports and dance practices.  Your carpool schedule.  Your Saturday morning pottery class. You can even remind yourself every week to put out the trash the night before trash pickup day.

You write in all of those appointments and events that happen at a specific time every week. Then if the time or date changes, you erase it and change it to the new day or time, ONCE.  No more flipping through your planner changing dates and times every week!  And, let's face it: every time that you have to re-write something is an opportunity for it to slip through the cracks.  This eliminates that.

But you can even go beyond your weekly scheduled events and use this section for goals and reminders of what you WANT to accomplish.  If you are working on an exercise program or are training for a race, you can write your weekly training schedule (once!).  You can write two dinner menus at the bottom of each day and viola, there is a two-week rotating meal plan!  No more wondering what to make for dinner.  You can even remind yourself to call your Mom every Sunday.

Once you have your monthly, weekly and daily specifics written in, you look all the way up and down each daily column to see what you have to do that day.

I can see how this would be extremely helpful for people who have a lot of recurring events and appointments.  I know a huge benefit of electronic organizers is you don't have to re-write recurring events all the time.  For those of us who love pencil and paper, this is a wonderful paper alternative to an electronic organizer.

This organizer that I've featured is their weekly planner, which is now available for pre-sale for the 2011 version.  If you are interested, I suggest you order yours soon because last year they sold out very quickly!

Other WeekDate products that look really cool:

The monthly wall calendar with the same "Write It Once" plan.


A dry-erase whiteboard version of the weekly planner, and the WeekDate Whenever undated version of the weekly planner.  You can also download a July 2010-July 2011 dated WeekDate planner to print, cut and bind yourself.

You can find WeekDate on Twitter (where you've probably seen me re-tweet their useful calendar reminders for each day of the week) and also on Facebook.

Click here to see suggestions of how to use your WeekDate planner, and click here to learn more about WeekDate.

Sunday, July 11, 2010

Greg's Renaissance Art leather Moleskine cover

Philofaxy reader Greg (whom we all know and love as gregorym) emailed me recently asking my planner advice.

For a long time he has gone back and forth between Filofax and Franklin Covey ring-bound planner systems.  But he had the realization that he never opens the rings to move any pages around, so what was the point of a ring-bound system?  He wanted to try switching to a bound-book planner and asked for my suggestions.  As we all know, I am always more than happy to provide planner suggestions!!

One of his criteria for a bound planner was that it must have a leather cover, sturdy and substantial, that would look good year after year of daily use.  I offered a few suggestions of planners that have leather cover options.  I also mentioned that he could get a Moleskine planner and have a custom leather cover made for it.  I am extremely happy with my custom leather cover by Renaissance Art, and directed Greg to their website to check out their wide selection of leathers, colors and styles of Moleskine covers.  When he told me he was looking for an Indiana Jones style leather cover, I knew he would love the Rustic Leather covers (which is what he ordered, with customization, in the photo at the top of this post).  It turned out great!

He also found a 2010 daily Moleskine planner still available online, for a great price, so he is able to start his new planner system immediately!

Greg, congratulations on your handsome new Ren Art cover, and good luck with your new daily Moleskine system!  Keep us updated as it progresses!

Thursday, July 8, 2010

Leuchtturm Master Size Weekly Planners




Leuchtturm 1917 very generously sent me two of their Master size weekly planners to review.  Thank you Leuchtturm!

These planners are huge at 225 x 315 mm  (approx 12 1/2 x 9 inches).  They are larger than A4 paper so that you can put A4 pages into them without folding or bending the papers.  Obviously you won't be taking this planner around with you everywhere, but if you carry a laptop case or briefcase for work then it's entirely reasonable to fit one of these planners into your bag.  They are excellent desk planners.

I have the 2010 Weekly Planner and the Weekly Planner + Notebook

Here is the Weekly Planner:


It has all 7 days as columns across the huge two-page spread (click on photo for larger view):

Notice my Pilot V5 pen for scale.  This book is huge!

This would be excellent for someone who is very busy, or to schedule everyone in an office into the same book.  Each daily column is timed from 7:00 to 22:00, and below each column is a large space for daily Notes.  The 8th column has last-this-next months with the current week highlighted, and more space for notes below.  The print is faint and unobtrusive so your writing will really stand out.  Holidays are indicated with the country abbreviations at the very bottom of each day's Notes space.

Here is the Weekly Planner + Notebook :




It has the familiar week + notes format that is so popular these days (with good reason in my opinion, it's an extremely useful format):



Notice my pen again and my hand for scale.  Everything on this weekly format is scaled up to the size of the book, giving it a very Alice In Wonderland feel: the print is larger, even the line spacing on the notes page is larger (the ruled lines are nearly half an inch apart!).  Holidays are indicated in each day's space with the country's abbreviation.  This again would be an excellent planner for someone who is very busy, and who also wants to take notes each week.

Both of these weekly formats have the same features: hard cover, ribbon placemarker, elastic strap, and pocket in the back.

These planners have monthly planning pages with the months as columns and a line per day:


There are also annual planning pages for the current and future year:



Here is a very cool feature: Project Planning pages for the entire year:



In the back of each book there is a full-page size card that is quadruled on one side and lined on the other to place under your page for tidy writing, sketching or graphs.  Each book also has a page of stickers to label the cover and spine of your book, and a booklet that fits into the back pocket:




 This booklet contains an annual planner that you could use for any year, or to record birthdays and anniversaries that recur each year:


The rest of the booklet consists of tabbed alphabetical pages:


The planners are thread bound with acid-free paper.

When the 2011 Master size Leuchhturm planners become available, you can find them at Journaling Arts for excellent prices.

Many thanks again to Leuchtturm 1917 for sending me so many of their excellent products to review! You can see all of my Leuchtturm reviews here.