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Wednesday, February 29, 2012

Quo Vadis Executive weekly planner

I've been curious to try this planner for a long time, so I finally ordered one from Alkos.com. This is the Quo Vadis Executive weekly planner (click here for the Quo Vadis product page for more info).

In the past I have successfully used the Quo Vadis Minister, which is a larger version of the Executive, and the larger Trinote which has a very similar format. I wanted to try the Executive for a more portable version of this extremely efficient week + notes format.

First, some details. The Executive is 6 1/4 inches (16 cm) square, making it very portable in any bag. It's a 13 month weekly planner, starting at the beginning of December and going all the way through the end of the following December. I find this very handy because I usually travel over the Christmas holidays and this way I don't have to switch planners in the middle of my trip.
The paper used in the Executive is my very favorite paper in the world: Clairefontaine 90 gsm, extra white, super-smooth. It is designed for fountain pen use, and gives a wonderful writing experience. It is acid-free for archiving, chlorine-free and sustainably sourced.

I chose the brown Soya cover because I love the smooth leather-like feel, but the Executive is also available with Club or Vinyl covers in a selection of colors.

At the front of the planner are some information pages including international dialing codes, which I use and really appreciate!  (Click on photos for larger views.)

Near the front of the planner is a two-page spread of the entire year with months as columns. This Anno-Planner is a fantastic way to map out the year and plan travel, holidays, bills due and deadlines.  There is also an Anno-Planner for the following year at the back of the planner.
The weekly format has an excellent structure that allows you to see what you need to do and when you have time to do it. The timed daily columns have a Priority box at the top for the key event or reminder for the day. 
Holidays, phases of the moon and reminders such as Daylight Savings Time are pre-printed, which I appreciate enormously because otherwise I would have to write in all of this information.

Below is a closeup of the dashboard for categorized lists including To Call, To Email, Pay/Receive and Notes.
The corners are perforated to tear off at the end of each week, to find the current week easily.

Sundays are located under all the other days, to maximize space for the other days of the week and to allow room for the lists. 
After the weekly pages there are loads of maps including an excellent time zones map, and continent maps.

After that are several Pay/ Receive pages, which I never use and would rather have for notes or, especially, monthly calendars.
At the back of the planner there is a reference calendar for last-this-next year, and a removable address book.
This is an excellent, powerful planner with an extremely efficient weekly format, annual overviews, and spectacular paper in a compact and portable size. Another winning planner from Quo Vadis!

Tuesday, February 28, 2012

No Pinterest

I forbid all images and all content from Plannerisms and my Flickr account to be pinned on Pinterest. I have stated this in my sidebar, and also have added a "no Pinterest" image to try to get the message across.

Pinning images on Pinterest violates the copyright of my blog. If you have pinned images from Plannerisms on Pinterest, please remove them.   I have contacted Pinterest directly to remove all Plannerisms images, and I expect them to do so immediately.

I know Pinterest seems like a fun way to share images you like, but it's not all fun and games.

Please click here to read Steve's excellent article about why he is against Pinterest. I'm against it for all the same reasons.  I'm also against it for personal privacy issues for users, which you can read about in my comment here on the Quo Vadis Blog.

When I first discovered that my images were pinned on Pinterest, I got very angry. My first thought was to completely erase all of my content and images on Plannerisms, Facebook and Flickr. I'm still considering this, actually.  I love Plannerisms and I would miss it very much if I had to destroy it because of some intrusive website like Pinterest.

So please, don't pin my stuff.

Monday, February 27, 2012

New Poll: What type of cover do you prefer for your planner?

Please vote in my new poll, over there in the sidebar. ---->

Some people prefer black covers. I have to admit, they do look professional. But I find them boring at best, and depressing at worst. So whenever I'm using a planner with a black cover I either let my kids decorate it, or buy a cover for it.

I prefer colored covers, especially purple. I don't normally go for patterns or photos, but I've seen some really pretty ones.

I didn't include texture in my poll, but I always prefer a soft texture. Either soft and smooth leather or leather-like, or fuzzy (like suede or felt).

What type of cover do you prefer for your planner?  Or do you have any preference?

Tuesday, February 21, 2012

10% off Rickshaw Bagworks!

Anyone who has been reading this blog for awhile knows I love Rickshaw Bagworks custom Moleskine Folios and Messenger bags.

Now Rickshaw Bags has a very generous offer for Plannerisms readers: 10% off your order!

Just enter plannerisms12 at checkout on www.rickshawbags.com!

Many thanks to Rickshaw for this excellent offer to readers!

For those of you who might be unfamiliar with Rickshaw's awesome Moleskine folios and Messenger bags, see my reviews below.

My custom Zero Messenger bags in:

Performance Tweed


Extra small patterned

My custom Moleskine Folios in:

Purple faux suede

Extra Large purple faux suede


The Customizer is highly addictive, don't say I didn't warn you!

Friday, February 17, 2012

Filofax paper pH test

Maudie did an excellent bunch of pH tests on Filofax paper, to determine if they are acidic or not (and therefore how well they will archive).

Click here to check out her results over at Maudie Made!

Tuesday, February 14, 2012

How do you structure your days?

I structure my days chronologically, but it occurred to me there might be other ways to map out your day.

I'm very linear in general so I find it very helpful to map out my day hour by hour. This helps me prepare for what's coming up. If I need to bring something with me, like my kids' sports gear when I pick them up from school, I write that into the hour before pickup so I remember to have those things with me when I walk out the door.

Generally my days are structured as "before pickup" and "after pickup."  During the day when my kids are at school is when I do my blog posting, housework, grocery shopping, phone calls, errands, and whatever else I need to do that day.  After pickup it's a whirlwind of activities, practices, homework and projects. So I know when I write out my tasks for the day that if I don't have time to do it before I leave to pick them up, it's not going to get done that day. This helps me be more realistic about what I can accomplish in a day.

It's hard for me to imagine a non-chronological day, but I can guess for people who don't need an hourly schedule there might be different ways to structure their days. Maybe they use blocks of time to work on projects.  Some freelancers and contractors might work on things when they can and total up their billable hours as they happen.

Do you structure your days in a non-chronological way? How does that work for you?

Saturday, February 11, 2012

Paper vs. Digital: an iPhone user's perspective

I've stated many times why I prefer paper planners: they're archival, I like the tactile and visual aspects, I'm analog in general, etc.  I won't even start on the path to digital, because I have no interest in it. I don't care if it's more efficient or convenient, I like paper and that's it.

My sister has used and loved paper planners for years and has written several guest posts here on Plannerisms including ones about her love affair with her Moleskine weekly notebook, then how she dumped it for the super-efficient Quo Vadis Trinote. It seemed like a love affair that would last forever.

Then she got an iPhone.

But she's still on the fence as to whether or not to use it for her planning and note-taking needs. Apps are great and all, but they can't replicate the feel of pen on paper, and flipping through pages.

Will she convert to digital entirely?  Will she use some sort of paper-digital combo?

Read her excellent post about it here: Organization - Digital vs. Tangible on her awesome blog 100 Days of Venting.

I know I'll be following this saga closely!!!

Wednesday, February 8, 2012

Holborn Zip personal size Filofax in Wine

I am very excited to review the Holborn Filofax! This is one of their newer line of binders, and it is gorgeous.

The Holborn binders and folders are made from buttery-soft buffalo leather. Many of you have, or have heard of the Malden and know it's extremely popular because if its super-soft buffalo leather. The Holborn is like a more dressed-up version of the Malden.

First of all, many thanks to Filofax for sending me this beautiful binder as a sample to review!  This Filofax is the Holborn Zip, Personal size, Wine color.

The styling of the Holborn is classic, and would be excellent for business or personal use (or a combination of both).  The contrast stitching looks great:
The Filofax logo is subtly embossed on the front cover and, delightfully, on the zip pull tab!
There is a full-length pocket on the exterior front cover:
The front pocket could easily fit my phone if I wanted to carry it there:

The zip-around security means no worries about papers and loose ends falling out:
More of the stitching, very stylish:

The inside of the Holborn has lots of pockets and fun hidey-places!  At first glance it looks ordinary enough, with loads of slots to hold cards:

Just to the left of the cards is a full-length, open pocket:
This can hold receipts, bills, or even a slim notebook such as a pocket Moleskine cahier or a Filofax Flex slim notebook. (I don't have either of these at home to officially experiment unfortunately!)

Here is the inside of the back cover:

In the back cover there is another full-length open pocket that could hold bills, and in there is a full length zip pocket for coins or other items you don't want escaping:

The leather pen loop is elasticated on the back to accommodate a range of pen sizes:
Here is the binder open:

Here is the Holborn Zip in action and fully loaded!

I haven't used a zipped binder since my very first Filofax-like binder, so it feels good to go back to my roots!  And the leather on the Holborn is so smooth and soft, I want to pet and handle it all the time!

Based on information I've seen about the Filofax lineup this year, I have good news and bad news:

The good news is, the Wine color Holborn products will be more widely available starting next month.

The bad news is, the Zipped Holborns are being discontinued!

You can still get zipped Holborns in personal and A5 size at www.PensAndLeather.com, click here to see their Holborn range.  (I am not affiliated with PAN but I have ordered from them before and was very pleased.)

Many thanks again to Filofax!

Friday, February 3, 2012

Signature Gutenberg Notebooks by Daycraft

Here are the much-talked-about Signature Gutenberg Notebooks by Daycraft. Many thanks to Daycraft for sending me these notebooks as samples to review!

These notebooks are the white Helvetica A6 size and the black Times New Roman A5 size.

Each notebook has representations of the typeface embossed on the front of the soft Italian PU cover:

 and on the back:
The white Helvetica has black page edges, which looks really cool:
The 100 gsm woodfree paper is cream colored with 6 mm ruling. There is a black ribbon page marker:

The end papers are black, and inside the front cover there is a printed history of the typeface:

The Times New Roman notebook has its typeface embossed on the front and back covers:

The cream woodfree paper is 100 gsm in this notebook too, with 6 mm ruling, and a white ribbon placemarker:

The history of the Times New Roman typeface is printed inside the front cover:
It's fascinating to read the origin and history of use of these typefaces that we see every day and are now such an integral part of our day to day lives.

From what I understand, Daycraft is currently searching for a US distributor. In the meantime, you can order Daycraft products with international shipping from Vera Chan. Enter the discount code plannerisms to get 20% off all products including Daycraft notebooks and planners!

Many thanks again to Daycraft!

Thursday, February 2, 2012

What I'm Currently Using update: The one where I go back on everything I said before.

This week I've been going back and forth a lot between planners to figure out what I need. It's been a long journey in just 3 days!

At the beginning of the week, I was using my Moleskine Monthly Notebook and my Moleskine Daily Pocket diary. The daily pocket is the one consistent thing in my planner world. It is my rock. All my daily details go into it. And because it contains permanent records of every day, that gives me more freedom to flit around with my other formats.

You might remember last week (was it only just last week?) I tried to incorporate my Moleskine Bakin weekly planner into the mix so that I could see a week view. This format didn't work well for me, and having to fill things in every day in daily, weekly and monthly formats quickly broke down. So at that point I went back to using my Monthly for planning and my Daily for recording.

This week I decided I really do need a weekly format for planning. The more I used my Monthly for planning, the harder it got. As the page filled up, it was harder to see what was going on. Too many details in a monthly calendar just didn't work for me.

So instead I'm now using my Monthly Notebook as my Goals book.  Which, to be honest, was how I had originally intended to use it. After I got it I decided to try this experiment of using it as my planner, along with my daily diary.  I wasn't entirely surprised to find out I really do need a weekly view for planning, since I've been planning with weekly views forever.

So now my Monthly Notebook Goals Book has my monthly goals on the page behind each month, and my mid-month and monthly reviews on the page opposite. I'll write my weekly reviews in the numerous lined pages at the back of the book, one page per week. Monthly goals + monthly and weekly reviews in a bound, archival book = Huge Win!

That's all well and good, you say, but what the heck planner am I using now?  Good question. Onward to the Weekly Planners:

I busted out my Moleskine weekly notebook in the Large size that I had hanging around "just in case" (not XL that I deemed too big last year) because it's a format that generally works well for me.  On the weekly pages I filled in all of my scheduled events for February. Immediately I appreciated having an entire page each week for all of my categorized weekly lists: Urgent, To Call/ Email, Household, Personal etc. Then off I went on my day.

I had a busy day out and about with meetings, activities and other things to do. We all know my bag is heavy, but carrying my Filofax, daily Moleskine, and 18 month weekly notebook all at once seemed excessive.  Not to mention, there were seven unused months' worth of pages in the weekly notebook. Wouldn't it make a lot more sense to put only the weekly pages I need into the Filofax that I carry everywhere anyway?  Well, yes. Yes it would.

***If you are still reading at this point, thank you!  Hang in there, we're almost there and you're in for a pleasant surprise too!

So I put the Cotton Cream week on 2 pages that came with my Aston Filofax into my Aqua Finsbury Medical Filofax.  This Filofax had gotten to the point where I only opened it when some unpleasant medical thing was happening, and I was starting to get bad associations with using it despite it being a beautiful and very nice Filofax. I had to nip that in the bud and make friends with my Filofax again.

So I loaded up the weekly pages, and freshened up the whole thing--I took out unused pages, archived old notes, revived my Me section and updated my Lists.

Anyone who has been reading this blog awhile knows how many times I've tried and failed to use the personal size weekly pages. The day spaces are Just Too Small. Except now, I only need them for an overview of scheduled events, and for meal planning. All the daily tasks, phone calls, and other details go into my daily Moleskine. (My question to myself: why didn't I figure this out sooner??)  I write Urgent tasks and reminders for each particular week in the This Week space above each Monday. Non-urgent and ongoing tasks go behind my Lists tab for easy access.  I'm feeling really good about this!

Cotton Cream week on 2 pages in my Aston Orchid
And just to take it a step further, I decided for a real change of pace to move over into my new Aston Orchid. I had intended to wait until we move before using it, but I decided I'm tired of waiting for things and this is something I can enjoy right now.

I did a direct transfer of all the contents right out of the Aqua Finsbury and directly into the Aston Orchid. Boom. Done.

And to round out the newness of it all, I even bought a new pen to go with my new Filofax: a Zebra Sarasa Clip that was an impulse purchase at the bookstore.  It's joyful, and I highly recommend it to all you pen lovers out there.

So to recap: I said I can't use Filofax weekly inserts because the day spaces are too small and they are not archival. (Problem solved by using my daily Moleskine for this.)  I said I would wait until moving to use my Aston, and start fresh will all-new pages.  (I want to enjoy using it now.)

And the result?

It feels really good to use my Filofax once more as my Trusted Adviser and Comfortable Companion. I've missed that.
Aston Filofax in Orchid, with new pen and my phone. I think the colors of the phone, Orchid and Cotton Cream look nice together!

So now I think I've got a really good system going. My daily Moleskine holds the permanent records of all my daily details. My Filofax has my weekly overviews and all the other stuff I need every day. Only two small-ish books to carry around each day. I think I've got all the bases covered!

Will it work for me long-term?  Only time will tell!