Welcome to Plannerisms

Monday, April 18, 2011

Raise your hand if you're having planner issues.

*Raises hand*

terriknits commented on my previous post that she has seen a lot of posts recently about people being dissatisfied with their current planner format.  I know I am! Who else is having planner trouble??

Some of it may have to do with the fact that it's nearly impossible to find a replacement for a problematic planner this time of the year. I keep telling myself that if I can just hang on until my Extra Large 18 month Moleskine weekly notebook starts at the end of June, it will solve all of my problems.

But right now my life is changing yet again, and it's hard to find a planner that can cope.  I'm currently using my self-made planner in my Daycraft notebook, which has a week + notes format.  But I have lots of new things going on: my blogging life is ramping up; I'm looking for a job starting in August when both kids will be in school; and I'm desperately looking for a way to get back to Scotland next year with possibilities including job searching and applying for a graduate degree program there.  So I busted into my lovely A5 Domino (but not as my planner) and gave each of these working topics its own tabbed section.

Of course I wish I could have my planner and tabbed sections all in one book for convenience, but this is a road I've been down many times before. The A5 binder is too big to take everywhere with me, and the Personal size Filofax diary pages are too small (despite my multiple attempts with a variety of formats).  So for now I have to be content having my planner separate from my working sections, so that I can take my planner with me and leave my A5 Filofax at home.

I have found a definite pattern of planner formats I tend to cycle through:

Large week + notes format bound planner:  This tends to work for me most of the time, but when I have a lot of things going on I want sections in my Filofax to keep track of all of my ongoing projects.  Which makes me want to have everything in one book. So I try...

A5 Filofax with week on 2 pages diary and categorized tabbed sections: This seems glorious for awhile until I get tired of hauling the gigantic book around with me, and I realize it's impossible to take along when I travel.  So then I go to... 

Personal size Filofax: Because I want the portability and flexibility of having my diary and tabbed sections all in one book. But this too quickly breaks down because the day spaces are too small, and I need a weekly view.

So then I go back to the large week + notes format planner, and it all starts over again.  Sometimes I throw into the mix a day per page planner, which works fine when I don't have much to plan ahead for but lots to write. I love the detailed record it creates, but it always falls down in the planning-ahead department.

So that's my usual cycle of planners.  Does anyone have any recommendations for me to try something different?

Do you tend to cycle through planner formats?  Are you currently suffering from planner dissatisfaction?


  1. Usually I can stick with a planner format for a long time. I had my Botanic for 2 years. However if the nature of my job changes then I definitely need to tweak my system. Currently I am using my personal Damson Adelphi and my WeekDate planner (the latter for planning my weekly and daily ToDos) and it is working well. However I am dissatisfied as I want to use one system only. Before I started my phD the Adelphi on its own was fine for my day to day Public Health service work. But now I need to record more details of my day.

    So I am currently tweaking my system and I am running a poll on which binder I should use for my PhD planner. Help me decide by checking out this link


    And Laurie I hope you NEVER find planner nirvana as I love reading your blog too much.

  2. Hi,
    I am still happy with the 18 months format by Moleskine®. The last 2-3 years I was using the large version and I am thinking of trying the pocket version. I had a go in 2009 and it did not work for me but I like the smaller format as it fits easier into everything really.

    I agree with you that week on one page and a plain second page for projects and other stuff works fine most of the time. I was wondering also if I should try the monthly notebook where you have only a monthly overview but more blank pages at the end of the planner. I would love to see and touch one first before I get one. Maybe this could work for you?

    Happy Finding the Right Planner!

  3. I have an answer... a little unconventional, but you know me, I always get there normally by a long but interesting route...

    So firstly Laurie I want you to enrol at a gym and get really really fit, scary fit in fact.

    Then you have to develop a love for expensive large hand bags, now I don't think this will be too difficult? The choice should be large and varied.

    The net result of these two activities is that the A5 Filofax you know you want to use will seem such a doddle to carry it won't feel heavy and in your new bigger hand bags it will look lost in there.

    Then you will have the same thoughts about the A4 being too big.....

  4. oh yes, definitely I am!
    I thought I'd found my perfect solution, I would make the perfect custom planner in my personal filofax- I'd print the specific pages I need from outlook or templates from word- so during term-time I could have day-to-a-page plus weekly columned to record my lectures, shifts and meeting, and then during the holidays I could have week-on-2-pages because I don't have much to record then.
    But now I'm going to try the dodopad in my A5, although I know it would be quite heavy (although I'm used to that as I frequently carry 4 or 5 heavy books with me every day"!)
    I have a malden crimson pocket that I'm not using properly so I wanted to return it to filofax but because I've lost half the diary I can't return it because It's not in original condition... so now I have to find a use for it! But then I feel like I would make my personal Kendal (which I am currently using for my diary) redundant!
    I'm the sort of person who needs 1 diary in 1 place but I still need to find some uses for each filo... and I still have the urge to buy more, especially with my birthday coming up!!

  5. For the record, I'm currently back to using my A5 Domino with the Quo Vadis inserts from Steve. I can't help using it when all my other working information is in the book too. I'm going to switch to a larger handbag and see what it's like to carry it around.

    Steve I love your idea of getting scary-fit!!

    TPS, I bet you'll find other uses for your Filofaxes. I always seem to, even if it's not the typical diary useage. I have a Medical Filofax for myself and my family and a Filofax specifically designated for traveling in Scotland. I know other people have Filofaxes designated for crafts, scrapbooking or other hobbies. You could use one to organize your blogging!

  6. Steve, you took the words (more eloquently) right out of my mouth! I was going to say I have two words for you...bigger handbag ; )

    In all seriousness, I feel your pain...I can never seem to find the perfect system either.

  7. For my mid year switch I just picked up the Action Day planner. The format of it I love. The size I love. But I still had to hack it and add monthly views (I need weekly and monthly) and I need to add a pocket so place things in there. Also, there are designated columns for project planning and I pretty much ignore them and use my own headings. I have loved in the past, the Planner Pad and I may go back to it. But the personal size is still a bit too big for me and there are not enough plain note pages. Action planner gives you 35 pages worth of notes. I have been toying with just using a monthly and a notebook for lists which is inevitably what I need for the week but it would have to be big enough to write a lot and yet small enough to take around. I do always have a big handbag but I still don't like a huge planner and yet I do want it to have everything.

  8. You know I've had issues. LOL
    Time System returned
    Daytimer returned
    I just ordered an A5 Finsbury zip.
    1 PPD business with extra "to do's".
    Going to try an intigrate some of the TS ideas into a brand new Filo.
    Blank dividers should make it simple.
    Let you know the outcome.

  9. *waves hand in air*
    I decided to try week-on-2-pages with monthly tabs. My change/addition in work contracts means I need more planner real estate. With the bound weekly vertical planner that need was filled, but I did not have room for my extra notes.

    I like the Filofax Academic inserts but my binder has 7 rings, not 6, so they wouldn't work. DayTimer has some; I found one (called Serenity) that has a lot of open space and not too much "frou frou" on the page, so hopefully that will work. It is the Classic 5.5 x 8.5 size.

  10. Mami China, I had never heard of the Action Day planner before, it has an interesting layout. I like the prioritization of tasks built into the weekly plan.

    Greg I hope the A5 zipped Fins works well for you!!

    Terri I hope your new setup works well for you. Keep us updated as you use it!

  11. Hi Laurie, just having a wander through your blog - it's fantastic! A whole blog dedicated to planners, I think I'll be here a while...
    Thanks again for your comment!

  12. Hand Raised!

    I am trying my best to stick to my Wo2P Filofax inserts, but am constantly surfing around for something new. It's not that the Filo inserts are bad, it's just that they are lacking something... I don't know what.

    And I agree with Steve's idea- sounds perfect!

  13. Hi Laurie! I found your blog this week and have had a joy reading it!
    I am on the way to my 3rd planner this year--MomAgenda, the Moleskine Large, and I am trying to get a Filofax in a lovely purple of some sort, but seems like no one in the US has any, ARG. Your Grape was the one that drove me to this Google-ing obsession!
    I also (on your suggestion) ordered the Minister inserts from QuoVadis (hopefully they will fit if I can find a Personal size planner!).
    I am getting ready to have a major job change and therefore my planner needs are changing. Hopeing Filofax is the answer. . . :)

  14. Oh, and does anyone know how long shipping from the UK Filofax site takes to the US? If I am going to order a planner from there, I will be ordering some inserts as well, and was just wondering how long I will be pining. . .

  15. Gosh you are right, the only Personal size purple binder available on the Filofaxusa.com site right now is the Domino! There's not even the Raspberry Finsbury anymore! Where's the purple Finchley? I wonder why they are all gone?

    In my experience it takes about a week to ship from Filofax UK to the US, but I've never ordered a binder, only inserts. Be warned though, unless they have changed their policy (from us complaining), Filofax UK charges shipping by the value of the order, not by weight, so more expensive binders will cost you more to ship. Like I said though this may have changed because so many of us complained about it!

    And Jill, by the way, you HAVE seen Philofaxy.com haven't you? If not, go over and check out a whole bunch of people who love Filofax...if you dare!! ;D

  16. Terri, the Serenity is wonderful - I've used it in the personal (DayTimer portable) size. Very unobtrusive lines, times on the left instead of the middle, and pretty colors and pictures :-)

  17. @ Petra - I am waiting for them to come in the mail. I checked the rest of the formats (and the ones I'd been using in 2006) and I HATED that stupid time/line going down the middle of the day space. The Serenity looked the least obtrusive and had the most "writing" space on them.

  18. Jill V. - DON'T rely on Filofaxusa. They're apparently the last to get everything. I just ordered an aqua finsbury personal size from pensandleather.com this morning and already have notification that it has shipped. I'm so excited! I LOVE the aqua, but I dropped mine and it took all the color off. Filofaxusa wouldn't do more than a 25% discount on a future order and I couldn't stand to use something so trashy looking. Now I can start fresh (and for approx. $10 less than filofasusa is charging). Can't wait to get it!

  19. oh dear. I went to pensandleather.com . Who KNEW there was such a great variety of Filo binders. I was completely happy with my DayTimer "Malibu" turquoise blue binder. Now I'm having binder envy.

  20. Terri, don't be envious. DayTimer has some very nice pocket arrangements and I love the black rings on many of their binders. That said, I have mostly filos because I think the quality is much better. Somehow Filos are just more refined, even if they're the nonleather, cheaper versions! The Metropol is the nicest "plastic" binder I've ever seen. I use my DayTimer inserts in Filos (the personal/portable size matches perfectly).

    Okay, so I'll revise my advice -- quit being envious and go buy some filos ;-)

  21. I received my new aqua Finsbury from pensandleather.com in today's mail and moved right into it. I'm thrilled! The leather is beautiful and soft -- and shiny, unlike the binders I received from filofaxusa. No question where my future filofaxes will come from! I'm not going to even bother with training it to lie flat...will just let it happen naturally over time.

  22. @petra, I've ordered some FF inserts; after a few weeks of a trial, if I can make the personal page-a-day format work, I'll get a nice FF binder.

    Since my last comment above, I realized my pseudo-A5 is just too damn big and I've moved down to a personal side. We'll see.

  23. Here is my planner dilemma. After much trial and error I have determined that I like the following: 1. A notebook to write notes in for work 2. A calendar that is portable in my purse and 3. A weekly view (think Planner Pad) for tasks that I can have a week at a view. My problem is, that I want this all together, in something small enough to carry around (I totally agree with your A5 Domino stress) but is large enough to write in that fits in my purse. I stress when I try a purse mini book and a master desk planner, I stress when I try a medium ring agenda. I am currently using a small leather notebook that also contains my calendar that I can carry in my purse and The Planner Pad that lives on my desk, and I am in constant anxt, particularly since the Planner Pad is ugly black and I can't find a cover to fit it. It sounds like I have some of the same issues as you, have you any suggestions?

  24. Hi Dea,

    I recommend you use a separate notebook for work separate from your planner, too avoid things getting too bulky. I recommend the Moleskine Volant notebooks, they are superslim and come in sizes from Extra Small to Extra Large. I would recommend the Large or Extra Large size for work.

    And, I would recommend only one planner, not a separate one in your bag and one on your desk. It's too stressful to keep two planners synched, and something is bound to slip through the cracks.

    I've found that the Quo Vadis Trinote and Minister planners have a nice big page size but are super-slim so very portable. You can see all about them in my sidebar, just click on the name of the planner. You might have a hard time finding them this time of year and might have to wait for their academic-year versions: Septanote and Academic Minister, which you can see here:



    These also come with pretty covers too.

    I have found from personal experience that I like a large page size, and if the book is slim like these are they are still very portable.

    Let me know what you think of these suggestions, and if you want more ideas. :)

  25. I was able to find a large pink Minister with elastic closure on ebay and ordered it so I am excited to try it! This might work, if I have a separate notebook to write all my work notes in. It may not stress me out if I make a division between Planner and Notebook, I've never tried that separation before. I had a similar separation issue when I stressed about not having my planner also be my wallet (which it was for years when I was able to use a personal Filofax). I have since gotten over that hump. I will let you know how it goes. I should get the Minister early next week. There is nothing better than waiting for a new planner to arrive in the mail hoping that it will solve all of your planner problems!!!!! Thanks for your idea :)

  26. Hi Laurie,
    I just discovered your blog and enjoy a lot!

    I am considering to get my first quo vadis after reading your blog.
    and I am thinking of academic minister, because of the beautiful Robert le Heros cover. do you have any review, details, or experience of those retro covers? And do you know about academic minister robert le heros is bound or refillable? because on the catalogue it was bound, but here (the link) is refillable. thanks.


  27. Hi frogdanceflower,

    I haven't used a planner with a Robert Le Heros cover but my sister has. She said the cover is not hard, but "firm" (not completely soft but not rigid either). I do know that the Le Heros covers are bound, not refillable.

    I'm glad you like my blog, thanks for reading! :)

  28. To clarify: the RLH covers are in fact bound. I did see on the link you provided that it says refillable, but I think that is the standard information for the Academic Minister. Many of its cover options are refillable but the RLH is not. Here is the link to the cover-specific information stating it is bound:


    In my experience with the UK Quo Vadis website there are many oversights and mistakes like that, so you have to be careful. You may not always get what they say it is!

  29. Hi Laurie, thanks! your reply is much faster than quo vadis. I emailed them about this yesterday, and still have no reply from them. your reply is very useful. I may choose Academic Minister not with the RLH covers but soho cover(Red). do you have any photo of minister in soho red cover? The website also only has the partial square pic, did not have the picture of the whole notebook that your blog has.

    I also feel the uk website has so many errors.

    http://issuu.com/exaclair/docs/qvexcatalog2012 this has the clearer description of each product.

    for example, the insert note according to the catalog is blank. Each has 16 pages. However, the simple accurate information is not show on uk website,

  30. Sorry frogdanceflower, I don't have any experience with the Soho cover so I can't help you there. I would expect the catalog has the most accurate information, so check that before making your final decision. Good luck! :)


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