Friday, November 29, 2013

Free For All Friday No. 12: The Endless Dilemma, Ring Binder or Bound Book?

I know this is an issue many of us deal with, and after all these years I'm still torn between a ring binder or bound book. Not for my actual planner, which of course is my Plannerisms planner, but for my daily records and lists.

This year I'm using a dated day per page diary, and have decided to switch to something else next year for more freedom to write more than a page each day and to have space for my lists. I really like the permanence of a bound book, but I also like the flexibility of a ring binder!

Yesterday I posted about my new Star Wars Moleskine notebook I plan to use as my daily records and lists book. As much as I will enjoy the large pages and the permanence, I wonder if it will turn into a big jumble.

Add the fact that in the last couple of weeks I have bought two new Filofax binders: a personal Cuban Chili that I've had my eye on for ages, and an awesome personal Kendal from Kate (TPS)! Which of course gives me the urge to use one of my gorgeous new leather Filofaxes!

The bottom line is, which will work better for me: permanence in a bound book or the ability to have tabbed sections and remove irrelevant pages in a ring binder?  Keep in mind I'm juggling home, blogs, online work, kids, personal, bills/ financial, and possibly starting a new job in a couple of weeks!

So let's hear it from you: what system helps you keep it all straight when you have a lot of different roles to manage?

And as always on Fridays, feel free to discuss and/ or ask anything planner-related!

29 comments:

  1. I did wonder about this and considered going back to a filofax next year. However, when I thought about it I realised that there is very little in my notebook that I need to access on a regular basis. For me it is more of a way of sorting out my thoughts and organising each day. The pages I access regularly have sticky tabs. They are the.'waiting for' page, the weekly plan and the current month. I use the ribbon for the current day. Just about everything else is only relevant for the day I use it or accessed so rarely that the index is sufficient. I do like the security of knowing that if I need some information it will be there even if it takes me a minute to find. I found that sometimes I removed pages from my filofax thinking I no longer needed it, or because I needed the space and later regretted it. Of course next year I will not need to draw out monthly and weekly spreads as I will be using my plannerisms planner!

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    1. Sydney this has been my experience too, both in the past when I've used a Filofax (getting rid of pages and regretting it later) and the permanence of bound pages in my day per page diary this year. I really like that whatever I write into my bound book will be there forever. I capture so many more things that way.

      One thing I really like is whenever we are waiting for something (at a restaurant, etc.) my kids like to draw in whatever book I'm using. When they do that in my bound book, it's so much fun to look back on later and see their little-kid drawings in the context of what else was going on in my life at the time. I could also do this with my Filofax if I were really disciplined about putting all the pages into my archival binder instead of somewhere else, but it's still not the same.

      PS I hope you love your Plannerisms planner! :)

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  3. Laurie, what have you done with the filofax pages from previous years? Are they archived? Are they still sitting scattered across various binders? Did you accidentally bin some pages? Do you have an archive place/system - I recall reading an earlier post where you bought an FC archive binder as well as some diary pages...

    They reason I'm asking is, well, firstly I'm nosey :-) but secondly I'm wondering how... Valid, if you will your fear actually is about he impermanence of binder pages.

    I'm the complete opposite of you, if I'm just scribbling to organise my thoughts (identify my 3 Most Important Things, work out how to juggle the schedule, record what money I spent, etc) then it turns out I really don't like having it in a book. Books are beautiful and, apparently according to my brain, should be filled with beautiful things! I LIKE that I can recycle my day's pages without upsetting the whole apple cart.

    ... Of course at the same time I wish I was journaling, including recording the poignant/funny/etc moments of my days... But I also can't seem to do this in a book, I do maybe 3 days and then just stop! I've been reading Zen To Done and am considering dedicating a month to developing the habit, since I keep wishing I was doing it.

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    1. Gail back in the day when I had just one Filofax, I was good about archiving my pages directly into storage binders. But as my Filofax collection grew, I started switching pages among binders and inevitably things got misplaced. Not to mention, when I archive pages in a separate binder they don't have the same context as they did in their Filofax. I wrote about this phenomenon here: http://www.plannerisms.com/2013/07/planner-paradox.html

      And yes I have had some catastrophic Filofax page losses! I wrote about one in particular here: http://www.plannerisms.com/2011/02/lost-filofax-pages-drive-me-crazy.html

      Gail have you ever tried using a dated page-per-day diary? I used one this year and it really got me in the habit of using it every single day. After all, if you don't use it that day, the page is wasted! I'm hoping I can maintain this discipline in an undated book.

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    2. Wow, Laurie, I can see why you switched to bound notebooks!!

      For most of the past 10+ years I've bought a dated DPP diary (usually just boring WHS ones) at least once during that year (often I’ve impulse-bought another one when the academic diaries came out). I hate seeing the blank pages from when I didn't put anything on a day, which then makes me EVEN LESS likely to use it! The thinking's backwards, I know, but my track record is dire. Tons of dated diaries with maybe 2% of pages used, whereas my Filofax gets used repeatedly every day.

      Part of it is that I dislike both lined *and* plain pages, which means my options for a dated DPP are severely limited. Since I've been so much more successful in ring-bound systems with squared paper for the past 18+ months, when my FC Compact arrives next month I'm planning to stick with that. But as the pages are a little wider (and the rings a little bigger!) I'm hoping I'll be able to add a journaling section. And maybe I can cut into my reading time during my commute, a little, to write (I travel 90+ mins each way. Gotta love London, that's the AVERAGE Londoner's commute).

      Suggestion for your undated books - when you finish one day, go ahead and write the next day's date at the top of the next page? Then when you get up in the morning the page has already been started.

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    3. Re archiving - in my quest to simplify, my archiving system for planner pages is... an A5 box file. If I decide a Filofax page/section can be removed but shouldn’t be recycled, it just goes in there. There’s no sorting. Each page either has A Box (http://giftieetcetera.blogspot.co.uk/2013/10/beyond-usual-new-ways-to-write-in-your.html) or a title (depending on whether I started the page before or after reading Giftie’s post!) and diary pages are obviously already dated. Personal and A5 pages are all mixed together. And yet, so far, on the rare occasions when I've needed to go find something, it's been reasonably quick to find, just scanning the tops of the pages and because I still vaguely know what the page should look like.

      A similar system was how I overcame my aversion to dealing with the post – open the envelope, recycle what can be recycled, put what needs dealing with in my Filofax, and anything else goes in “The Bin” (a new, tall, rectangular kitchen bin). It was supposed to be an interim step until we got around to buying a filing cabinet but 1) we still need to make space first and 2) we almost never need to get things out of “The Bin” anyway, so it works just fine. The stuff we tend to need is already nearer the top anyway!

      Making it as simple and quick and easy as possible is the key for me to do my filing religiously.

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  4. I have the Plannerism Planner which I hope will encourage me to actually not only plan what needs to be done, but to actually do what needs to be done.

    I already own several Volant notebooks and I intend to use them for my daily records. I know this is overkill, but my intention is to transcribe them into Evernote so they are searchable.

    Anyway, to answer your question about bound or unbound, I prefer the bound. They're lighter and I am more apt to actually carry them with me. I used to have a DayTimer which was ring based and I loved it, but my life has changed since then. For my daily stuff, I need something for recording, not for organizing.

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    1. Elaine thank you for buying a Plannerisms planner, I hope you love it!

      I think the Volant notebook will be an excellent companion to the Plannerisms for capturing your daily records. They are so slim and light, the two books can easily go everywhere with you (making it much more likely you will use them often!). I've had the same problem in the past with ring binders, they are bulkier and heavier than the same page size in a bound book.

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    2. Meant to add I think your Evernote idea is great! I've definitely had moments when I wished my notebook was searchable!

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  5. I hope to achieve the best of both worlds by doing an adapted bullet journal in an arc notebook.
    That way I can archive pages to keep the book portable and remove any dead pages.

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    1. Christine I'd love to know how you get on with the Arc. I know people love them because you get flexibility of use like a ring bound but in a slimmer and more portable book.

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  6. I'm looking forward to seeing if and how your system evolves if you do start a new job in two weeks! Very excited for you - hope it all comes through as you wish. I have to use ring bound to accommodate my two jobs (1 paid and 1 avocational) but recall you writing about keeping your work planners separate. So I'm hoping to learn more about how you do that, if the job comes about. Best of luck!

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    1. Thanks Christine! Fingers crossed! And you can bet I'll blog all about my setup as it evolves. :)

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    2. best news I've had all year Laurie

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  7. I find that a good storage binder manages most of my page archive issues; I just put everything into the archive binder. This is easier because I only use one planner; everything starts in the same place and, eventually, moves into the same storage binder. I do bin some note pages if there is just randomness on them. My issue is much more about retrieval than storage. I rarely have the patience to page through an entire year's worth of pages to find a specific list or figure out what day I finished a project. I try to arrange storage binders to be as chronological as possible. To be perfectly honest, I may look into my archive two times per year, and usually only for the most recent year. I often wonder if I spend too much time preparing for the future and dwelling on the past. I try to keep focus on today and not be too preoccupied with what happened last month or last year. There is a wonderful sense of control that comes with being able to see what you were up to years ago, although in my case much of this is cringe-worthy!

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    1. Josh you are absolutely right, if I could be disciplined enough to move pages from my working binder only to the storage binder, I would save just as much or more than in my bound book. I'm still inspired by Patty's post on how she has archived all her pages for more than 20 years! http://homemakersdaily.com/how-to-retrieve-information-in-your-planner-quickly-easily/

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  8. I love my Filofax, but hubby has come home from the casino having won a bit of money last night (not a huge amount, but enough to buy us some nice treats today), and I'm thinking that I should get the Yoda notebook and use it for my things to do - not appointments etc, they will stay in my Filofax, but listing things that I must get done. The message on the front of the notebook may motivate me to get things done instead of just "trying" to get things done :-)

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  9. That is my dilemma as well. I love the bound books and I love seeing moleskine notebooks filled with words, drawings, paper clippings but I only manage to use them for a couple of days. As much as I like them I miss the flexibility of the ring binder, the accessories, like the calculator, and the ability to keep notes through the years without having to copy them again. So a ring binder for me, I am anxiously waiting for my first Franklin Covey refill to put in a Filofax binder and I have a small pocket molesine notebook in one of the pockets to satisfy my need for a bound journal. I have to admit though that I do not archive the daily pages only the year planners, but I keep as I said notes from year to year.

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  10. I've been using my Plannerisms planner alongside a Quo Vadis ABP2 up until September this year, which worked pretty well but not perfect as I had various other note books with projects, lists etc which I kept forgetting to look at. Then I saw your post about the Bullet Journal and was hooked! I abandoned the Quo Vadis and bought some gridded Moleskine cahiers, one of which is tucked in the back pocket of the Plannerisms planner. This was ok but I found the cahier not pleasing to journal in so am now using a gridded Leuchtturm 1917 pocket notebook for daily records. Like you though I find it too small, so I have just ordered the A5 size to replace the Moleskine and the pocket Leuchtturm and only have two booka on the go. But it's much heavier than I thought it would be! I really love the colour (cornflower blue) but I don't know if I can bear to lug it all around every time I go out. Are there any alternatives that you know of? I haven't seen many gridded notebooks with all the same features and lovely paper as the Leuchtturms. If only it was a bit slimmer!

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    1. Sue I agree, as much as I like the Leuchtturm paper the hardcover notebooks are just a little too heavy for me. They do make softcover ones, which I haven't tried but am assuming would be lighter.

      Moleskine makes gridded page notebooks if you don't mind the paper. And the Moleskine Volant notebooks are slimmer and more portable.

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    2. I didn't know about the softcover Leuchtturms, but it appears they only come in black. They make slim coloured notebooks but only in the master size. I'm not mad about Moleskine paper but it's not a deal breaker, the Volants look pretty but don't appear to come in gridded format. Perhaps I'm just too picky!

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  11. I swear I change my mind on this hourly! Now I'm thinking of using my new personal Kendal with FC day on 2 pages diary for my daily pages, with tabbed sections for my individual topics. Then as Josh pointed out, archiving pages directly into a designated archive binder. This would be a very organized way of recording my days and keeping my lists and notes easy to find. I think January will be an interesting month of experimentation!

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  12. Laurie, can I access your incredible planner knowledge? Somewhere in the last month or so, either here or on philofaxy (or possibly a blog post off a philofaxy webfinds, argh!), someone reviewed some compact FC weekly planner inserts. The specific detail I'm interested in right now is that the weeks were not printed back to back, they were interspersed with notes/to do pages. Do you know whether ALL FC compact weekly pages do that, or if it was just one particular kind? Thanks!

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    1. Gail the Franklin Covey weekly pages are not printed back to back, as you said, and as far as I know they are all that way. I've only used Monticello and Seasons though, so if there is a style that is printed back to back I haven't seen it. I remember reading reviews on the FC page awhile back and it seems like their 100% recycled Classic design is printed back to back, which some users complained about, but I haven't used that one so I can't confirm. I remember asking on tomorrow's Free For All Tuesday on Philofaxy to see if anyone can confirm.

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    2. Correct, green are back to back. Blooms has the lined pages between each week. Her Point of View have a lined page only when the month changes during the week.

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  13. I really need a ring bound binder. I've tried many bound planners (and particularly like the look of yours), but I use my planner for far too many things.

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  14. The decision was made for me by my genius 7 year old! I showed him my new Kendal Filofax with the scrumptious leather, and the Yoda Moleskine and told him I'm having a hard time deciding which to use first, what did he think? I expected him to say the Filofax, because a few days before he had commented on how nice the leather is and how cool the secret pocket is. But he said I should use the Yoda. I asked why, and he said, "Because you haven't tried this one before." Brilliant! He's absolutely right: I've tried Filofaxes with various permutations of daily pages and tabbed sections, but I've never tried a blank book with an index system like the Yoda one and my 3-piece index system in it. Decision made! I know I will like the permanence of the bound pages, and the large page size. My only question is whether I'll be able to find what I'm looking for in my book. I'll be curious to see how my indexing experiment goes!

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