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!


  1. ...oooohhh. I may have to blatantly copy you. I grabbed a Peanuts pocket daily Moleskine not too long ago, and haven't figured out how to use it. I greatly prefer weekly planning as opposed to monthly. And I like having a page for each day, but I feel like it takes up too much room in my Filofax.

    I also really want the cotton cream WO2P now - those look just gorgeous.

    Let us know how it works! (As if you wouldn't!)

  2. Lovely set-up, and such a pretty binder. The Aston reminds me of raspberry sorbet. Hmmn. I must be hungry...

    I bought a monthly Moleskine on clearance "just because." I like your idea of it as a "goal keeper" of sorts to stay at home.

    My set-up is in a little bit of flux, but not in a bad way. Yet. ;)

  3. It DOES look like raspberry sorbet! Mmmmmmm.....

    You are lucky you found a monthly Moleskine, I was looking for one recently for someone and everywhere I looked online was out of stock. They are very nice to have "just in case" a need arises for them sometime in the year!

  4. I have been following your quest for a while because it's been my quest also for many years. I hope this set up works for you now! My scheduling needs are very simple now - didn't always be this way! As our life-styles change so do our planner needs. I did try the pocket moleskin daily through most of January, based on your running commentary, and found the use of it very effective. However, I don't want to carry both my Malden Filofax (personal, which I got for myself this Christmas to replace same-sized no-name brand I've had for years) as well as the pocket diary around in my purse. I got day-per-page Daytimer pages and use with the tabbed month pages and that seems to be working ok after getting used to the page setups. As you wrote, I want to use the thing, not just lug it around! It's comforting to know I'm not the only one who's struggled with this type of planner re-organization tribulation! Thanks for sharing the journey and not giving up yet!

    1. Glad you discovered the Sarasa... it's my all-time favorite gel pen! I, too, admire your tenacity in constantly tweaking a system that isn't quite right. I've never been able to make a daily and weekly work together, although I've often wished I could because I see the value in having both views. I'll look forward to watching you work this one!

      - Tina

  5. Hi. I, like you am in constant search of a perfect system and I keep toying with how you use the Daily Moleskine pocket for a daily record. Since I like a week view as well, going back to a personal filofax weekly may work (I am back to an A5 but hate carrying it around!!!!). How do you balance your appointments in both the daily and weekly? Is your weekly the master or do you write all appointments in both the weekly and the daily? Or do you only write the appointments in the daily each morning when you are planning your day?

  6. Thanks for your encouraging feedback everyone! :)

    Dea, great question. While I've been using a pocket daily Mole along with a weekly planner (of various kinds) for almost a year now, I go back and forth on how to use the daily. When I used my big Organised Mum planner as my weekly, it stayed at home and my pocket daily went everywhere with me, so I had to write all my forward events into my daily. I then transferred those back into my weekly to see the layout of my week.

    But I've found what works better is if I use my weekly planner for all forward events, and my daily only for planning today. This helps me see the long view better, and helps me see what I need to do and when I have time to do it. It also helps avoid scheduling conflicts.

    The thing is though, when I use the weekly for forward planning and the daily for detailed daily records, I have to carry both everywhere with me. If you're only going to carry the daily, you'll need to put all forward scheduled events into it. Last year I tried to use a weekly and daily combo where the daily went everywhere with me but only contained today, and the weekly held all my forward plans but stayed home. As you might imagine it quickly failed because I wasn't able to plan or schedule anything outside of the house!

  7. I'm using a similar system that has been working well. I use a Leuchtturm small notebook for my daily planner. It's not as bulky as the Moleskine daily. Every day I date a page and then put in my daily to-dos, notes and captures, and things that happened. If I need to use more than one page, I can. The Leuchtturm has a table- of-contents that I use for archiving. One little notebook typically lasts about 3 months.

    If I need to plan while I'm out, I use my Imperial Purple Pocket Finchley. I use the monthly view - and the spaces ARE tiny, but I only note MAJOR things. When I'm out scheduling something, I can quickly see if there is anything major on a particular date that may conflict. I also use this filo for lists, medical, reference, etc. It goes everywhere. I've been toying with the idea of putting in several months worth of the WO2P in this filo so I can better plan while on the run.

    My master planner is where I have so much angst. I have been alternating between the Quo Vadis Scholar, the Minister and a beautiful Malden Filofax. I just can't get my master system down. This planner needs to stay at home and generally contains my weekly planning, my goals, my contexts, etc.

    Any suggestions for my master planner? Much gnashing of teeth over here....

  8. Nice set-up. I think as well that the Moleskine- filofax comination works best. I still use my large daily moleskine for detailed day planning and the finsbury pocket as a wallet plus monthly overview, notes,and important numbers plus a calculator. So far it works fine!

  9. thanks for the tips. I see what you mean, it will really depend on what you plan on carrying around with you. I think i might try a daily to just plan the day and set up a personal filofax with a weekly view to carry with me everywhere. This may allow my personal size to not fail, because i always fret when there is not enough room on really busy days. But if i am using a daily for day planning, then the daily can theoretically stay at home, or, take it with me if i need it that day. i will let you know how it goes!!!

  10. The orchid Aston is so nice looking how could you resist? How do you like it? Is it pleasant to write in and handle? Would you recommend it highly?

  11. Dea if you didn't want to carry your daily planner with you, you could add a daily sheet in your Filofax on busy days so all you have to carry with you is your Filo. Then if you wanted to you could transfer that info over into your daily planner at the end of the day as a permanent record. Just an idea for how to carry only your Filo.

    Savannah I absolutely recommend the Aston! It is soft, and a joy to handle and use all day. The more I use it the more I like it. I love looking at the color, it reminds me of heather in bloom. (In fact, I don't normally name my Filofaxes, but in my mind I call this one "Heather!") I love the way the cotton cream pages look in this binder, so classy.

    Of course, it's easy for me to recommend the Aston because I received it as a gift! It is pretty expensive. But worth it in my opinion for such a classy looking Filo that is such a pleasure to use. If I could afford it I would certainly purchase it myself.

  12. What happened to the Mom's Life Planner? So far this year I have the Erin Condrin planner, the BusyBodyBook and the Womans Success Book....just got the last 2 and haven't tried them yet. I also just got my 1st 'smart' phone and using Cozi app have set up all kinds of schedules and lists! I like that its always handy and with me, but there's no permanent record of whatI have done because I'm always deleting what I've done! Yikes! What's a girl to do!!?

  13. ok I have had a planner revelation!!! I got my pocket daily moleskine in the mail yesterday and I am in LOVE. I had a little orange leather cover that fits perfectly and lets me use the elastic band. This is coming with me everywhere. I set it up so I am using it for my to-do's by day (must be done to-do's only, not master lists) and my scheduled appointments. I am using the teeny little monthly calendars in the front to list major appts (non work related unless I am out of town). I then set up a personal sized filofax ringed binder that only contains my master lists with tabs MUST DO (with a separate tab for Personal/Prospects/Projects) CAN DO (no separate tabs) and WOULD LIKE TO DO (no separate tabs) and I put some notepaper in the back. Carrying both books around is so much easier than carrying a big bulky A5 version, I think this might be my answer!! will keep you posted after I give it a good week of testing.

  14. Oh and I also am arranging my daily pages where the right side of the page is appointments and the left side of each page is To Do's for the day. I figure I will write in little notes about the day on the pages too. I used your idea about putting any major events (birthdays, travel destination, etc.) up top. I found some great colored tape strips on and it makes everything look so great (little green checkered tape and all kinds of colors) cut a strip, write with a thin sharpy on top and it's so pretty!!!!!

  15. Dea that sounds great! I'm glad you've found a system that's working well for you. I'm really loving my daily Moleskine + weekly diary in Filofax.

  16. I am late to the party, but I am feeling very comfortable using the Taskmaster for work and the Graphic Image for personal stuff. I think at least right now a bound book is nice in that I don't have to figure out how to set it up. Leaving work at work has alleviated some stress. And the Graphic Image is very functional and also beautiful. I had to get over the cost hurdle but then added up how much I spend messing with inserts and other planners.

  17. mstraat great point, I definitely spend more each year on planners than the cost of one Graphic Image planner. If I used only that, I would actually save money!

    Great to hear your Taskmaster is working well for you and work and that you are enjoying your Graphic Image planner too. I think I asked you before but I forget, what's the paper like in the Graphic Image? I remember you said it's acid-free, but how smooth is it and what color? Thanks! (Obviously I'm tempted!)

  18. The Graphic Image paper is similar in color to Moleskine and very smooth. A bit heavier too. The Micron pen doesn't show through; will try to remember to test others though I don't have fountain pens. There is a statement about the paper in the back of the book, including ecological concerns. The archival bit says: "All materials in this book meet established criteria for their preservation for several hundred years without significant deterioration under normal use and storage conditions."

  19. Not that I am enabling (well, kinda) but there is a version called "desk" that is 7"x9.25", same number of pages, with timed vertical columns for each day. ;-)

  20. Ooooh, that bit about "Several hundred years" may just have pushed me over the edge lemming-style! I'm always looking for archival books and this sounds perfect! The daily would be great as a combined planner + journal. And yes, that larger one with the daily columns would be really great for mapping out my weeks. Hmmm, now I've got some thinking to do!! Thanks...I think! ;D

    Would you be at all interested in doing a guest post on your Graphic Image? It's a brand I've never had on Plannerisms before, and I'm fascinated by all the features--paper, maps, format etc. Let me know what you think, there's no hurry! :)

  21. Thanks Laurie. It sounds like a a great planner to look at and to use.

  22. OMG! You are my people! I bounce around from planner to planner always trying to refine and work out how it should all go together! I am once again going back to a planner though I've been using a notebook (simple JenActionPlanner) for notes at work because I take a lot of them. I think I have a good way to avoid copying my To Do list every day (because it's honestly just too large for that kind of activity.) I guess I don't use my Franklin (am I allowed to use that word here?) the way I'm supposed to, but I have to make it work for me :)

    It was good to see someone do what I am doing all the time. Made me feel better about myself somehow.