This is something we've been through before: the bound vs. ring-binder planner dilemma. I've been struggling with it myself, and should have known I'm not the only one; I've seen some online conversations from other folks who are struggling with the same issues. So, let's revisit this topic, shall we?
As you know, I've had a lot of success with bound planners. And over the years, I haven't had much success with using a Filofax as my planner (although it's excellent as an information and reference book).
But, I think most Filofax-users experience a certain period of time when their Filofax seems to work gloriously for them and they enjoy the wonderful feeling of having Everything In One Book. Planner, notes, reference information, contacts and everything else you need, right there in one grab-and-go book! Spectacular!
Except, here's a Planner Paradox for you: you can have Everything In One Book! But, you can't have EVERYTHING in one book. When you have other sections and pages, normally you can't carry the entire year of diary pages in your binder. You have to switch out diary pages periodically, and remove notes and other pages when they are no longer immediately relevant.
That's when keeping track of your pages and archiving well becomes important. And this is where my ring-bound system falls down. Back in the glory days of my Filofax usage when I only had one Filofax, I was pretty good at archiving pages into annually-marked storage binders. But now that I have several Filofaxes, I tend to switch pages around among them as I change my mind about which binder to use.When the pages are out of the binder where I wrote on them, they lose context and become hard to find. Not to mention, when I write a bit of information into my Filofax, I try to write it into the relevant tabbed section. But did that book title go under Lists? Me? Projects? Information? I don't know!
Contrast this with my bound planner usage. For a few years now I've been using a weekly planner to plan and a day per page planner to capture information and record my days. Here's an example of how well this capture system works for me: last year when I flew home for my grandmother's funeral, I really liked my sister's foundation and wrote down what she uses so the next time I need to buy foundation I can get the same. If I'd written that in my Filofax, it would be long gone. But because I wrote it on that day's page in my bound book, I'll always be able to find it again. Granted, most information isn't written on such eventful and memorable days. But, I use the monthly grid calendars at the front of my bound book as an index of events (like how Patty uses her Monthly Index pages in her Franklin Covey planner) so I can quickly find information and events chronologically.
So here's my own Planner Paradox I've been experiencing lately: even though my weekly + daily setup has been working well, I always wonder if it could be better. I admit, using two planners can make me feel scattered. Sometimes I miss that Everything In One Book comfort-factor. And, I never know where to write medium- and long-term lists.
So I busted out my Filofax and drew up a Personal size version of my Plannerisms planner format and switched over. And for a few days I enjoyed EIOB. Except, not really. Yes I had my weekly and monthly pages, lists, notes, household cleaning schedules, bills, car maintenance information, etc etc etc in one book. But, I didn't have my daily pages in there. I've been down that road several times before, and after much trial and error I know I absolutely must have my daily pages in a bound book. The stuff I write in there is way too important to float around on removable, easy-to-lose pages. So that meant I had two large bulky books in use. When I use a large daily and my weekly Plannerisms planner, I can carry them both in my bag (although I normally don't). But my Filo and my large daily went over the size and weight limit of my personal tolerance. No-go.
The biggest problem with using my large daily book and my Filofax is that it was my Filofax that was going everywhere with me in my bag as my capture device, not my daily book. Capturing information in my Filo is faulty, as I described above. And since I couldn't carry both books in one bag, my daily book became neglected. Empty daily pages are a dangerous thing for me. Important information wasn't being captured.
Also, I write tasks and relevant projects in the weekly and monthly pages of my Plannerisms planner so I see what I need to do when I need to do it. Tasks and projects languished behind tabs in my Filofax and were easily ignored. With this combination of issues, my system quickly broke down.
So my solution is to go back to my bound Plannerisms planner (relief!) and I've ordered up notes booklets that will fit into the back of my planner (these ones, in case you are interested) for those medium and long range notes. Now I can keep everything in bound books, but still have a place to write information and keep it with me.
I admit, my ideal situation is a bound daily book for daily recording, a bound weekly planner for planning and a ring binder for information. I've done that before, and even though it's great to have all that information, it's way too much in my bag.
What's your current Planner Paradox?