Friday, July 26, 2013

Offline while traveling

Hey everybody, I'll be offline for a week while traveling. If you would like to order a 2013 Plannerisms planner, go ahead and email me and I'll set up the order when I get back. (Details in the sidebar.)

Thanks to everyone who has asked about the 2014 Plannerisms planners! They are currently in production and will be available next month. I'll make a huge announcement here on Plannerisms when they are ready to order!

Back soon! :)

Thursday, July 25, 2013

The More You Use It, The More Useful It Is

I know this sounds like a "duh" observation, but it's one of my Great Planner Truths.

The usefulness of your planner depends more on how much you use it than the actual planner itself. I referred to this phenomenon in my post New Planner Super-Productivity (which is when you are super-productive while using a new planner, but that productivity declines when the novelty wears off and your attention wanes).

The more you use your planner, the more (and more) useful it becomes. Filofax and other ring-binder users experience this when they have their planner, projects, notes, information, contacts and reference information all in their binder. (This is a wonderful type of Planner Nirvana that for some reason is so elusive!) When your binder contains everything you need to plan your life, it is very useful. But only if you use it! You can have all this stuff in your binder, but if it stays closed and stays at home, you'll never use it. Despite its inherent usefulness, it's useless to you if you don't actually use it.

The best planner, no matter what style or format, is a planner you use often, every day. It holds lots of accumulated information. It is your go-to place to look things up whether past reference or general information. Whether you use One Book To Rule Them All (a wonderful phrase from my friend Rori @RoriRants) or more than one planner like I do, you should know where to look to find whatever you need. I keep my goals and planning in my weekly Plannerisms planner, and tons of reference, recorded information and daily details in my day per page planner. When I record information in my planners, I always know where to find it again. When I don't write details in my planners, that information is just lost.

I experienced TMYUI,TMUII recently in a hard way. Until this week, we had spectacular hot (for here) sunny weather. This is Scotland, so I tried to maximize every day because for all we knew the sunny warm weather could end any day and we could have rain for the rest of the summer! So I took my kids out and about every day to maximize our outdoors time while the weather was good.

We had a great time, but it resulted in a planner breakdown for me. We weren't home as much as I'm used to being, and when we did get home at the end of our days out walking in the woods or swimming at the pool, I was tired and just wanted to veg. By the end of the week the house was pretty much out of control. After three weeks, I didn't even know what I was supposed to be doing anymore. I wasn't using my planners like I need to. They stayed closed most of the time (which leads me to another Great Planner Truth, spoken by my sister: "A closed planner is a dead planner.").

This led to my Filofax experimentation I wrote about in my post Planner Paradox. I was going for that Everything In One Book Filofax Nirvana situation but failed (again). I realized I didn't need a new system, I just needed to use the system I have! So when I got back to my system that works so well for me, and actually USED it, everything went back to normal and I felt in control again!

What are your experiences with The More You Use It, The More Useful It Is?

Tuesday, July 23, 2013

NEW Quo Vadis 2014 Daily 17!

I am so excited to review this brand-new planner from Quo Vadis, the Daily 17! This is a day per page planner in the very hard to find Medium size (12 by 17 cm, 4 3/4 by 6 3/4 inches). In my recent post about this size of planner, I lamented that there aren't nearly enough planner options in this excellent size. It's between A6 and A5 size, small enough to be very portable yet with a large enough page size for lots of writing space.



The Quo Vadis Daily 17 has the same dimensions as the Quo Vadis Textagenda but in a traditional daily format. (Click on photos for a larger view.)

The Daily 17 is available on the Quo Vadis UK website (www.quovadis-diaries.co.uk), which ships worldwide.

Recently I received an email from Quo Vadis UK, who had noticed my blog and very generously offered to send me a product to review. I was thrilled! I absolutely love Quo Vadis planners. I was interested in this planner in particular because I love the Textagenda size, but prefer a traditional diary layout. I even referenced this planner in my post on 12 x 17 cm planners saying how excited I was about it. But soon after, worry crept in. I was afraid the ruling of the lines would be too narrow like on the ABP2 I bought last year, or worse that it wouldn't stay open like that planner. I hesitated to buy it. So when QV UK offered me a sample to review, I was very glad to try this planner out.

Let me take you for a walk through this book to show you all the excellent features!

First of all, the Habana cover is gorgeous. It's so nice to touch, and is firm yet flexible. On the Daily 17 it is available in black, red, or this beautiful lilac! I like the elastic strap to keep it closed in my bag.

I've gone on and on before about what a perfect size this book is. It really is a great combination of portability and writing space. It's so nice to hold in your hands and fits so easily in a bag.

The first page has information in English and French on Quo Vadis's environmental policies. While we're here let me point out the paper is wonderful, as all Quo Vadis paper is. The paper in this particular planner is ivory, 60 gsm, super smooth and acid free.
I don't have fountain pens so I can't comment on its performance there, but here is a test with several different pens:



Next is a page to note school holidays and personal information in multiple languages.

Next is a feature I love in Quo Vadis planners: the Anno Planner showing the entire year at a glance.

Next are month as column calendars that give you more space to note events.

Here is the daily layout, in six languages. There is space for the day's priority, and timed lines from 8 am to 9 pm with a few lines beyond that. Also you can see there is a ribbon placemarker and tear-off corners so you can choose how to mark your daily page.

My worries about the ruling were unfounded: I measure the ruling at 4.5 mm, which is very writable. There are 29 lines per page, so there is lots of writing space each day.

After the daily pages there is an Anno Planner for the following year, for forward planning.

Then there are pages with international telephone codes and international holidays.

There is an excellent page of conversions, then come the maps!

I love maps in planners! There are excellent maps of European countries,
all the continents, and a world time zones map.

Inside the back cover I was thrilled to find a pocket and a Notes booklet!

This Notes booklet has the same wonderful paper as the planner, and each page is microperforated so you can tear out pages for notes or remove pages that are no longer relevant.

Here is a comparison of the Textagenda's daily page on the left and the Daily 17 page on the right so you can compare the formats.

The books are the exact same size.

Below you can see the two-page spread comparison of the Textagenda on top and the Daily 17 on the bottom.

If you've seen my video on my ongoing day per page planner saga, you'll know that I've been looking for a planner exactly like this! So many daily planners are either pocket (too small) or A5 (too big). I'm very happy to have this Daily 17 for 2014!

The Daily 17 is a wonderful addition to the Quo Vadis lineup and is an excellent choice for anyone who wants a portable daily planner with plenty of writing space in a traditional diary format.

Many huge thanks to Quo Vadis UK for sending me this planner as a sample to review!

Saturday, July 20, 2013

Planner Paradox

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?

Monday, July 15, 2013

My journey to Journal 21

Here's a fun story of planner obsession for you!

So as you may know, I've had lots of success this year using a large day per page diary (the Time Traveler diary, to be specific) as my everyday records book and journal. I've struggled a bit with the size and weight in my bag. But I have been so consistent with recording and journaling in it, which I've been unable to do for years, that the weight is worth it. I have decided that a large daily book is just my thing.

Cue panic: what will I use NEXT year?? I must have a large daily planner!

(I know, I know. I can't help it.)

Time Traveler planners are from the US, but I ordered mine from Amazon UK. But, what if Amazon UK won't carry the 2014 Time Traveler planners?? The Time Traveler website only ships within the US! And, Time Traveler planners don't ship until September, so I would have to wait a few months before I would know whether I'd even be able to get one or not.

I wanted to get a large day per page planner for 2014 as soon as possible, to have the security of knowing I have what works for me already on deck for next year. And in fairness to myself, usually by now I have at least one daily Moleskine planner in my hands. But I have decided I can't buy Moleskine planners any more because my pens bleed through and make the other side of the page unusable. I wanted either another Time Traveler, or something just as wonderful.

Steve recently did a guest post on my blog with his day-per-page Journal 21, which made me pull out my Journal 21 that I reviewed here several years ago. It really is such a nice planner, with super smooth paper and month calendars! Those are so hard to find in daily planners.

So I went to the Quo Vadis UK website because I know they carry some US Quo Vadis planners. Lo and behold, a Journal 21 refill was listed on the website. I ordered it up when I ordered my Space 24 weekly planner.

Then I received a very nice and apologetic email from Quo Vadis UK that they no longer have access to the 2014 Journal 21 planners (which are a non-stock item and can only be stocked from the US by special order very early in the year).

I was undeterred! By this point I absolutely had to have a 2014 Journal 21. So I searched US websites and found the least heart-stopping international shipping (from Alkos) and ordered up my 2014 Journal 21, with the gorgeous Club cover in Lilac!  It shipped only an hour after I ordered, and got here just a week and a half later! Super fast!
I love the color!

This year's Lilac cover is more pinky than the Lilac club cover from my 2010 Journal 21. I can switch out the refillable covers, so I'll use whichever color strikes my fancy that day!
The 2014 Quo Vadis Journal 21 day per page planner still has all the same great features as the 2010 Journal 21 (you can click through here to see my post with detailed photos of all the features). The only differences I noticed are that the corners are squared now instead of rounded like the 2010 version's, and the print in the 2014 is just slightly darker which I prefer because it looks more crisp.

Here is the excellent daily layout with month reference calendars and month indicators at the edge of the page to easily find the month you're looking for (a feature I LOVE!). (Click on photos to enlarge.)

There are monthly grid calendars, which are so hard to find in day per page planners!

And there are monthly column calendars to track expenditures and longer-range plans.

All the other great features are still there too like the Anno-Planner overview calendar for the following year, bound-in address pages and more. And as I mentioned before, that super-smooth Quo Vadis paper!

I'm happy (and I admit, relieved!) to have this daily 2014 planner in my hands!

Friday, July 12, 2013

Quo Vadis Space 24 week + notes planner

People have been recommending this planner to me for years. And last year Paulien did an excellent guest post here on Plannerisms about her Space 24 to further try to convince me to get this planner. I don't know what took me so long, but I finally got one!

Ok, I'll be really honest here: for years I bought Moleskine week + notes planners, and couldn't justify getting another week + notes planner at the same time. But this year I finally decided I can't buy Moleskine planners any more because my pens bleed through the paper making the opposite side of the page unusable. So this year instead I got the Quo Vadis Space 24 with its 90 gsm super-smooth paper!

I'll also admit I had my reservations about the very slight greenish tint of the paper, the same as in the Journal 21 I reviewed years ago, but after looking at it for awhile I discovered it really is soothing and pleasant to look at. In fact, I also ordered a Journal 21 for 2014 (which is a whole 'nother story which I will tell you about another day!).

The Space 24 is from the US and is in Quo Vadis's Exacompta line of planners, but they are available on the Quo Vadis UK website (which is where I ordered it from). This is the gorgeous Club cover in Purple! (How could I resist it, right??)

Here's a walk through the book. (Quo Vadis, I have a few suggestions for changes and have marked them with a ***.) Click on photos for a larger view.

The first two-page spread has personal information and holidays for the US and Canada for the current and next year.

The next page has holidays for several countries around the world, and a page for conversions.

***Quo Vadis, please insert December 26 Boxing Day as a holiday in the UK, which it is.

***Also, here's me being picky: I use a temperature conversion scale often to switch from C to F and back again. This one gives the conversion equation instead. I'm not going to take the time to do the math. I would much prefer a quick-reference scale with temperatures in 5 degree C increments from -40 to 100 degrees C and the corresponding degrees F.


The next two-page spread has a time zone map for the US and an excellent reference page with international phone codes.

There are excellent maps of North and South America, but no other countries.

Next there is a planner with months as columns with six months at a glance.

Next are month per page grid calendars! Hooray!! The daily squares are nice and big with plenty of space to write.

Now the weekly pages! Monday through Friday are on the left page, Saturday and Sunday are at the bottom of the right page. Most of the right page is lined for list and notes.

The Monday-Friday daily spaces are lined and timed:
Saturday and Sunday at the bottom of the opposite page are lined but not timed. The Notes space gives you loads of space each week for lists and notes!

***Here's another thing I would like to change: Holidays are printed on the day space on the 11 o'clock line. So if you write anything in at 11:00 you'll obscure the printed holiday.

I would prefer the holiday situation as in the Rhodia planner with the holiday printed at the top of the day:
Or even better at the left at the top of the day like this:

After the weekly pages there is an excellent overview planner for the following year so you can fill in upcoming events and appointments before you have your following-year planner.

The back page of the planner is this Travel Expense record, which is only useful if you need to record travel expenses.
***I would prefer this page to be blank for notes, or to have a
reference calendar like this (from the Quo Vadis Trinote planner):

I'm guessing the planner doesn't have one of these reference calendars because there are already so many monthly calendars throughout the book. But, I do use these reference calendars to map out things long-term all on one page.

Tucked into the back of the planner is an address booklet. Also available for separate purchase are notes booklets, which I should have ordered! I think I'll go back to the website to get some.

The Space 24 is slightly larger than A5, 6 1/4 inches wide by 9 3/8 inches tall. But it's very slim and lightweight so it can go everywhere in your bag easily.

So there's the Space 24! It's a fantastic planner and I'm glad I finally got one!!

Wednesday, July 10, 2013

WeekDate planners HALF PRICE!!

The amazing WeekDate planners are now HALF PRICE!! You still have half the year to use it, so it's definitely worth it!! Click here to see the WeekDate product page to see their 50% off planners. Some of their cover designs are already sold out, so hurry to get the one you want! It's a great chance to try this amazing system if you've been curious about it.

Anyone who has read my blog for awhile knows I love the WeekDate concept of Only Write It Once. The genius WeekDate design allows you to write weekly and monthly recurring events only once! No rewriting! No double-booking! And, nothing slips through the cracks.

I've done several posts on WeekDate planners showing all their features and ideas on how to use them.  This post on my 2013 WeekDate planner has links to my 2012 and 2011 WeekDates, ideas on how to use them and a link to photos of my WeekDate planner in use to give you some ideas. Check it out!

Their 2013 Monthly calendars are on sale too! I love mine because everyone can see what's on every day and week. (Click here to see my review post.) They go all the way through the end of this year. Grab one while you can!

You can see more information about WeekDate and all their products at www.WeekDate.com. They are also on Twitter with great time-management tips, and on Facebook too!

Tuesday, July 9, 2013

Monthly cleaning schedule

In my last post I showed you how I'm using the daily goals column in my Plannerisms planner's weekly pages for summer planning.

Today I'll show you a new method I'm using to track my cleaning schedule each month. I'm using the right page of the lined pages between each month's calendars in my Plannerisms planner to map out which cleaning tasks need to happen each week of the month:


I like this method because it allows me to see what needs to be done each week. I tend to put off things that just need to be done once per month. Actually, I tend to put off most cleaning tasks! This allows me to see on one page when I last did each task and when it needs to be done again. If I slack and don't do the task on the designated week, I have to arrow it over to the next week. When I see my Arrows Of Procrastination I know I need to step it up!

Do you use a system to track household cleaning tasks?

Friday, July 5, 2013

Summer planning

I promised to show you some details on how I've been using my Plannerisms planner (which won my mid-year planner award, of course!).  Here is one way I'm using my weekly pages to plan this summer.

I love the column at the beginning of the week for writing daily goals so I don't have to rewrite them every day. I just check them off each day for a quick visual on how well I'm completing my daily goals.

This summer I'm using that column for goals for myself and my kids. It would be all too easy to let summer just drift by! I want us to have fun but stay on-task too.

You can see my daily goals are to go for a walk (my preferred form of exercise), let the kiddos have outside playtime, have reading time for all of us, keep up on their violin practice and daily chores. With this simple system I can make sure each day of our summer is fun and productive without having set routines, and that we get outside every day. I like that it's easy to follow and not too structured.

How are you planning your summer?