Tuesday, October 28, 2014

Back from Iceland! And back to Filofax! (Actually, FC!) (Updated: and back to Filofax!)

I got back yesterday from 2 1/2 weeks in Iceland! It was AWESOME. I'd been wanting to go for literally 20 years, and I was so happy to be there. It's amazing. But back to planners for now.

***Update is all the way at the bottom of the post before the Iceland photos**

I didn't bring any planners with me at all on my trip. I wanted to focus on my trip and not on planning.

Big mistake.

In the absence of all my daily tasks I'm normally constantly reacting to, my mind was free to wander and think about other things. And as usual on long trips, my husband and I talked about future plans, holidays, investment ideas, etc. Without my Filofax I had no place to write all our big plans. Every day I wished I had brought it with me on my trip.

I haven't used a Filofax as my planner in a long time, for various reasons. But I do keep my long-term and monthly recurring planning in it as well as long-term records and lists. I decided I need to use this all the time as my planner, not just as something I look at only once per month.

For awhile I had trouble with annually recurring things creeping up on me. Several months ago I came up with a brilliant (if I do say so myself) solution:

I use month on two pages grid calendars with the backs of the pages lined for notes, so I can splice pages between months without obscuring the month view. These are the Philofaxy free downloadable month with notes pages. I added month tabs (from PlannerPads.com).


For each month I have a blue page with things written on it that happen in that month every year. Birthdays, school breaks, holiday planning, even things like when the salmon are leaping at our local waterfall goes on the blue pages. Then I move them to next year's month when the month is over. This keeps me from having to reinvent the wheel every year.

After the blue page I have a yellow page of specific expenses for that month. This way big expenses don't take me by surprise. For example in June you can see my car is due for its annual inspection, and we have to pay our car insurance. You'll notice as foreigners having our UK driver's licenses for only one year we pay a hideous amount for insurance. But I digress.
Also between the months I put things specific to that month, like trip planning, birthday party plans, back-to-school checklists, etc. That way I can plan ahead (even far into the future) for these events, and the information is in front of me when I need it.

I have month on two pages with notes all the way through the end of 2015, then I have the Franklin Covey month planners for 2016 (which came with my 2015 weekly pages). These are printed back to back, so when the 2016 month pages with lined backs become available later next year I'll have to transfer everything over.


After those pages I have a blue page for each year for the next 20 years. This sounds ridiculous, but it's to keep track of when we are each due for things like vaccine boosters (since we've had vaccines in several different countries over the years, the doctor's office isn't aware of when we're due). I also have to keep track of when our passports and visas are due for renewal so we can do that well in advance because I can't afford for those to expire!

After that I have one year of the Franklin Covey weekly pages. I like the FC weekly pages best because the backs of the pages are lined, which is where I put my weekly to-do lists. This is the Blooms pattern.

 After my weekly pages I have my tabs as follows:

You'll notice my son decorated my divider a couple of years ago. :) In my tabs I keep info like household cleaning schedules, car maintenance records, financial info, etc.

By now you might be thinking, this is a heck of a lot of pages to put into a Filofax. And you are right. I was disappointed to discover I couldn't fit all these pages in any of my personal size Filos. But it all fits perfectly in my Franklin Covey Compact size binder (which I posted lots of details about here).

With all these pages it is a fatty-boo-batty. And it weighs 830 grams. But I feel so much better having my whole-life planning in one place!
Buuuut, (and there's always a but, right?) what about my Bullet Journal? I have determined via years of trial and error I must have a daily record book separate from my weekly planner. But on my trip I got really tired of carrying my large Moleskine in my gorgeous but heavy leather Oberon designs cover. So I had already planned to downsize my Bullet Journal. But what will I use? More on that in my next post.

***Update: after a few days of using my big and chunky FC, I realized I really did need to downsize it. I wasn't taking it anywhere with me, much to my detriment. So I took out some weekly pages, leaving only 6 months' worth in, and discovered to my delight the pages fit just fine in my personal Kendal Filofax. It weighs in at a totally reasonable 640 g. Hooray for portability!

And now, some photos of Iceland!



18 comments:

  1. The monthly blue pages are an amazing idea. Doing that TODAY!

    http://giftieetcetera.blogspot.com

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    1. Thanks! Glad you like the blue pages trick. It has pretty much changed my life.

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  2. Love this post! That sense of having your whole life planning in one place -- priceless! And your Iceland pics are gorgeous!

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    1. Thanks! Photos don't even do the place justice. Spectacular land.

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  3. Blue pages! For the next 20 years! Brilliant! (Says the expat with similar vaccination and passport tracking issues.) Printing tomorrow!!

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    1. Glad you like it! This has been the only way I've found works well to keep track of boosters and renewals for all 4 of us.

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  4. Welcome back :)

    I have something similar to your blue and yellow pages going already, but I love the future years idea.

    I keep a running document in Evernote for long term stuff, but I don't review/add to it as frequently as I should.

    How do you like the Blooms weeklies? I have them in Classic size for next year for work, but I feel like the design is more dominant than I remember it being when I used it last (2004?) And the script font is hard to read quickly.

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    1. Bree, I really wish FC's UK website offered the Monticello or similar non-busy pattern in the Compact size weekly pages. My only options here were the Blooms, the Seasons (which I used in the past and wanted something different), the Her Point of View which doesn't have the daily columns I need, and the Recycled which has the weeks printed back to back, depriving me of the weekly list space I need. So really Blooms was my only option, but yes I would prefer something with a clear layout.

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    2. I ended up paying a huge amount of money to ship the Monticello pages to the UK after all. I couldn't stand the Blooms design interfering with my writing any more!

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  5. Laurie,

    FABULOUS pictures! I am so glad that you got to see Iceland and capture so much beauty.

    Your idea having of monthly pages for the upcoming year is quite brilliant. I do a version of that with my Time Traveler daily journal. Your post has me thinking on how I can employ the many FC and FF binders I own.

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    1. Thanks! I'd love to know how you implement this in your bound planner. Sticky notes would work.

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  6. Beautiful photographs! Iceland has such amazing geology. Thanks for the vicarious pleasure. I love how you've organized your (very pretty!) planner to be such a complete reference. Will spend some happy hours tonight reviewing my own inserts to see how thorough they are, using yours as an example. Thanks for this helpful post! And congrats on that great vacation in Iceland!

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    1. Thanks Christine! Yes Iceland is a geologist's dream. I have some great photos of us in the middle of the Atlantic rift!

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  7. Just take a small notebook with you on your next holiday so you don't lose those ideas.

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  8. I'm glad you had such a wonderful time here in my beautiful country, Iceland. I hope you weren't affected by the sulfur dioxide pollution that has been harassing Icelanders in the past few weeks. It was pretty bad here up north, where I live, this week.

    It's pretty hard to get refills for Filofax here, only one store I know of carries them, and they just sell the basics, mostly lined paper and calendar refills. Where I live, in the north, they also have a couple of binders from an old stock.
    After a 5 year period of trying to use my phone for planning in digital style, I tried to use a Filofax, Personal size Pennybridge for planner/wallet. I ordered it last spring, from UK and got it fine, but the zipper broke in just a couple of months. It's too small for my planning, besides, I love to use pen and paper, so up with my Time Manager International planner that I successfully used for many years before my "digital" period.
    So, currently I use a compact binder from Time Manager International, but it was popular here in the 1980's. They have a form they call "Annual schedule" that has a similar purpose as your blue sheets, to record things that happen annually. You can see it at: http://shop.timemanager.com/shop/us/annual-schedule-originalformat-479p.html I personally think it's very useful. Time Manager's original size is a little bigger than the personal Filofax pages, but the same size ring mechanism. I like Time Manager because of how international it is with almost no text, but symbols that make sense to me, and I have learned to use. Is there anyone else out there that uses Time Manager?

    Thank you for your wonderful blog, I read it regularly for inspiration and fun.

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  9. Great post! It made me realize I don't have monthly pages, and haven't used them for a while. I tend to buy them every year and not use them. I think if I set them up this way, I would use them!

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  10. Great pictures. Iceland should definitely go on my bucket list. Speaking of lists, I have separate pages for each past year, where I note major events, personal, historical, political, etc. but your idea to expand it into the future for the next 20 years to mark important reminders, like passport renewals, etc. is a great idea and I will apply to my system. Thank you.

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  11. Adding "blue & yellow pages" to my list of Must-Haves.

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