Wednesday, June 1, 2011

Guest post: Dora's work diaries!

Dora very graciously agreed to do a guest post detailing how she uses her large softcover day per page Moleskine planner as her work diary! Click on any of the photos for a larger view.

Ok, so I am new at this blog stuff, and also new at letting people look at my boring work diaries, so bear with me!

So, I have kept ‘work diaries’ all my working life. In the days before computers became the norm in the workplace (showing my age here!), your ‘diary’ is where you kept everything.

I used to work in real estate, so back then, the Real Estate Institute of Victoria (REIV) used to issue its members with these hard-bound day-per page quarto sized planners, that everyone used so I suppose I got used to that format, size and style from an early age, until, one day, sitting on top of the discount bin near the checkout, I encountered my first Moleskine.

I, of course, had absolutely no idea what I had stumbled upon. I had never even heard of the brand before as, in Australia, Moleskines are hard-to-find items. Elite stationary and large bookstores in the city were your only option then (before the online revolution, that is), so I really had no idea that they had such a cult following until I was watching the news one night and they ran a story about how Jennifer Hawkins was seen ‘writing in her Moleskine diary”. 

I thought it was odd that they mentioned the brand, but sure enough at work the next day, everyone recognised the name of the diary, and all of a sudden all the girls wanted one as well. 

The following year, we did a bulk on-line order for them!

Initially, I just liked the look and feel to it. It attracted me primarily because it was soft bound, day to a page and smaller than quarto (fitting into the handbag was easier!). I wasn’t even going to use it for work, more a personal diary (and they are whole different story).

Now I am in the fourth year of using the Moleskine for work, and although I find it hard to commit to any kind of notebook or journal for other purposes, I have to admit, it almost feels like the Moleskine and I are in a committed long term working relationship!

Essentially, it holds all my appointments, ideas, forward planning and to-do-lists.

My husband and I run our own training college and we employ about 25 staff, so there is quite a bit I have to keep track of.

It comes home with me every night and sits open on tomorrows page on the kitchen table. Whenever I remember something (normally while cooking dinner or watching TV), I jot it down on the page. The whole idea being that the next day I do the task and cross it off the list (OK, well, the intentions are there!)

I kind of have a reference key too. If you see “LM” in a circle, it means I ‘left a message’. “CI” means its a ‘continuous improvement’ task that we have to log, and “IV” means it’s an ‘industry validation’ task that needs to be registered. (Government requirements)

This allows me to plan the week in advance, and the tasks around any appointments I have to attend to as well.

Although I applaud Moleskine for adding in the monthly style calendar planning grids this year, I found that they are too small and narrow for my use. So from last year I hacked my own monthly planner pages into the diary.

I found some tabbed monthly planner inserts made by Collins Debden and have pasted them in at the beginning of each month.

They take up two pages, so I pasted them in to the closest Saturday and Sunday pages to the beginning of each month. Where there were no close Saturday/Sunday pages, I paste it in on the closest Saturday/Sunday page BEFORE the next month.

These make it pretty easy to find where I am at, as I find that I use the ribbon for my daily page.

At the very front of the diary, I have used normal binder clips to attach a thin Moleskine plain cashiers journal. The purpose of this is for more planning/sketching space for longer-term projects that may stretch into the next year. The idea being, that I unclip the cashiers journal and attach it to next years diary, and can easily access it and take it out to work on, an then simply clip it back in.

Here is a picture of an idea I came up with for a policy that we are going to implement in January 2012.

I use this for ‘fun’ things too, like a friends baby shower that I am organising, and a few ideas I have had for this years Christmas Party.

At the back of the planner, is where I tend to just throw in other bits and pieces that I may need. For example, a couple of bills I need to pay personally, a note from the gardener with a contact number on it, etc.

The back pocket that comes with the diary holds extra smaller bits and pieces, like business cards, a CD someone gave me, and other random things.

Inside the pocket is a smaller Moleskine (again) insert book that I found in a previous years diary that has tabbed sections.

This just holds some random peoples emails addresses, a few courses that we are hoping to provide in the next few years (I cross them off as we go), gift ideas I have for certain people and other misc ramblings.

All in all, this may not be suitable for everyone, but I have found that my ‘system’ keeps evolving as time goes on, and it works for me to organise myself in this manner.

Many thanks to Dora for sharing this with us!  This gives me some great ideas on how to better use my planner. :)


  1. LOVE IT! Wish there was a picture of how the outsides were decorated! I caught a glimpse and it looks really neat.

    I adore it when people post pictures of their written all over pages, and stuffed planners. I dig 'em stuffy and fluffy!

    Great post, thanks Laurie and Dora!

  2. What a great post - thanks for sharing how you use your notebooks, Dora! I love how everyday LIFE is depicted in notebooks & filofaxes - and how very special, creative & dissimilar each person's version ends up - as it very well should! Laurie, as always, I am inspired by this blog!

    P.S. I had this weird AMAZON popup window saying something about 'BUY ME' while I was loading/reading this post. It popped up and then disappeared several times. Is that something I did/my browser (CHROME) does or is it something inherent with this post/blog? Anybody else have this happening to them while reading this entry? Very curious.

  3. ATB, I do have Amazon popup ads in my sidebar for the 2012 Moleskine planners--if you hover over the name of the item, it pops up to show you a picture of it and the price. Actually just now I noticed they are showing the wrong image, so I will get rid of those. Sorry for any inconvenience!

  4. Oh, Laurie, yes fix the incorrect item but don't get rid of anything on your blog because of what I experienced! I will just make sure my cursor is located somewhere else other than on the right side of this blog while I am loading/reading these post entries! Now that I am aware of what caused it, I can prevent it!

    Thanks for your quick response, Laurie!

  5. No worries, I actually found those to be pretty annoying. I got rid of them and instead I put a list of Moleskine things I use near the bottom of my sidebar. The photos are static so people can see each item without having popup windows all over the place. I get asked a lot what I use, and (I hope) it's convenient for people to see these on my blog and if they are interested they can see what the prices are. I order a lot of Moleskine things from Amazon because the prices are so good, but there are loads of great online retailers that sell Moleskine too.

  6. it's great posts and pics like this that make me want to flip back to Mole!

  7. great post and great pics. i tend to to that to my planner to, highlights, clips, post it flags... besides being helpful in terms of organization, i kind of like the fact that at the end of the year it looks "lived" if you know what I mean...

  8. @Carmen
    "lived", excellent description! I like that look also.

  9. I love nosing in people's diaries (as do we all!). Thanks for sharing, Dora! I think I've seen someone else attaching a notebook to their planner so that they have more "jotting space". I've never tried it, but I like the idea.

  10. Ok, I've now read this post 6 times. Maybe I should get a Mole?

  11. Hey, would Laurie and Dora be willing to do an update post? PLEASE??