Wednesday, October 23, 2013

Making It Work

I've been thinking about something I wrote in my Planner Fail post: when I say I'm going to "make it work," that's an indicator the planner has already failed. That said, there are ways to make a planner work for you, even if it's not your functional ideal.

There are lots of reasons why you might WANT to use a planner that doesn't work flawlessly and effortlessly for you. Sometimes there's an emotional attachment to a planner and you just really want to use it. Sometimes you really could use a larger planner, but you can't stand to lug it around.

Whatever the reason, there are ways to make a planner work for you.

Issue: You need a larger page size, but want to use a smaller planner.

Ideas: One option is to write smaller. Depending on your limits of dexterity and eyesight, this could make it possible to use a smaller page size effectively.

This has been an issue for me in the past. I like a big page, but I don't always like a big book. Once I was getting frustrated with the small weekly pages in my personal Filofax. I wanted so badly to use my beautiful ivory Deco but struggled to make those small daily spaces work for me. While I was fretting about it, my husband pointed out, "You could just learn to write smaller." Actually, yes, I could.

Another option is to use a two-page spread instead of one page. This will allow you to stretch out your thoughts in a smaller book.

If you are using a ring binder, you can put an extra page in when you need more writing space. This works well in weekly pages, allowing more space for lists or particularly busy days.

Issue: You want to use a ring binder with smaller rings. There are lots of reasons for this: you love a particular binder with smaller rings; you are tired of carrying a thick binder and want to streamline; or you could use larger rings but need to stick with the binder you've got.

Ideas: The only way to use smaller rings is to have fewer pages on the rings. Evaluate what's on your rings and make some decisions about what you really, actually need to carry around everywhere with you. There are probably a lot of pages you could leave at home in a separate binder.

Another option is to use a different diary format. Weekly instead of daily will save you loads of pages. Do you really fill each daily page? Maybe you could use a weekly format most of the time and clip in an extra page for especially busy days. Also, you could use monthly pages for forward planning and only keep a few weeks of weekly or daily pages on the rings to help you slim things down.

Do you have a planner that you want to make work for you? What are your issues? Please comment so we can all give you some ideas!

19 comments:

  1. For 1 in 10 of the population, there's a far more important reason for needing a binder with small rings - or a planner with no rings - being left-handed! It's physically impossible for us to write around a big ring mechanism. The page always has to be taken out to write on it.

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    1. It's just as difficult for right-handed people to write on the left hand side of a ring bound planner, surely?

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    2. I'm with you, Tim; it's a right-handed world. I don't take pages out as it is inconvenient to do that all the time. My solution is to use a 'brick' of cut-to size paper and put it behind the right hand pages. That only works at home of course.

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    3. Tim, Please check out my blog post for lefties. I use rings. :)

      http://giftieetcetera.blogspot.com/2013/10/video-lefties-using-planner-when-you.html

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  2. True - but something like 80% of writing tends to be on the right hand page. It's not so often that I need to turn over and carry on writing my shopping list or meeting notes on the left hand page. And of course, dated day pages are always geared to writing all your key appointments and tasks on the right hand page,

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    1. Tim,
      This might not work ideally--you'd have to reformat ALL your inserts--but could you turn your planner horizontally so the rings are at the top of the page?
      Like I said...out of the box thinking...
      PM

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    2. Thanks PM. Horizontal is great - and I have tried it - but not many printed inserts are made this way. To be fair, Ray Blake and Steve Morton have come up with a few. For now, I've been using a Slimline Holborn (11mm rings) when out-and-about and a Moleskine large monthly planner in a Filofax Flex cover in the office and at meetings.

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    3. Tim,
      Yes, I could see how the Flex system would be perfect for Lefties! That's a great idea!
      Does the Slimline Holborn work out ok for you? I assume you have to have a pretty minimalist set up in there.
      PM

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  3. Issue: You need a larger page size, but want to use a smaller planner."

    So true!
    As a college student, I need to write a lot for each day (schedule, assignments, workgroup meetings..). I have a Filofax in pocket size, which I bought because it was small enough to fit in my bag. The Wo2P insert worked great... until I got more and more things to do! I switched to Philofaxy DpV insert but I prefer Wo2P more because I can see my whole week at a glance. So I just went back to wo2P and put a note sheet between each week for extra notes.

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  4. Has anyone REALLY successfully learned to write small?
    And can those of you who've done this share your secret?
    I'm sure its a simple...practice, practice, practice.
    PM

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  5. Maybe if you are 'crafting' your pages artistically you can take the time to write smaller, but if you use your planner to work, to jot appointments and make quick notes, you just can't take the time to adjust your handwriting. That would never work for me. The planner has to suit MY needs. I'm not making art, I'm managing my life and work. If you write large or have lots to record, you really do need a larger page size and can adapt for portability with smaller rings on your binder, or a bound book.

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  6. I can write small although I prefer to write big. But it's not just that. I want white space. I want freedom. I want plenty of room to jot down anything and everything. I use a FC Compact but I want to use the FC Classic. The larger page gives me more freedom and it is easier to write on. The smaller page feels cramped. But I haven't been able to switch to the Classic because it's too big! Back to the original dilemma.

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    1. Agreed! I love the extra space and the compact does cramp my style, thus I pack a big one!

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  7. Late for the party (also, water is still wet) but on the notion of writing smaller. I noticed that once I made lined notebooks ( I make mine for TN size) and purchased a tiiiny-tipped pen for it cause, my journaling clearly took turn to smaller writing. But when I´m on working mode- I jot down notes with a handwriting that could be seen from outer space, still.

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  8. I also use codes and abbreviations. That way, i don't write so much in a smaller space.

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    1. Giftie that is genius! I remember HomemakersDaily had a post awhile back on using abbreviations and codes in small monthly calendars to save space.

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  9. While it may be difficult to write small if you're not used to it, using a fine point pen might be a good idea. Like 0.4mm or 0.5mm. It has definitely helped me.

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  10. So far my only issue is having too much in my planner but that's an easy fix. I am a righty and don't always realize how many leftys are out there, but maybe there is a way someone could either make their own inserts so that the commonly used spaces are in a comfortable usable space in the set up. I don't know why more companies don't make pages for leftys.

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