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Monday, January 18, 2010

I’ll Give It a Tri, Or “Why I divorced my Moleskine”

Here is another awesome guest post from my sister Sandy, where she reviews her Quo Vadis Trinote planner:

Ever since my sister introduced me to the world of the Moleskine week + notes weekly planner, I have used it religiously and faithfully. That is, until 2 years later, when she revealed the various styles of planners offered by Quo Vadis. Back when I was in my first semester of college, I used a Quo Vadis Daily Text Agenda. But now, in this stage of my life, there is a lot more to plan than when I’m going to meet with the study group and what outfit I’m wearing to this weekend’s party. I need some SERIOUS planning capabilities. Karen at Exaclair was EXTREMELY generous and allowed me to sample the Quo Vadis Trinote Agenda Planning Diary. I’ve been using it for a month now, and I can honestly say that I’ve shelved my Moleskine. (Enter gasp here)

I was afraid that the Trinote would be too large for me, since I can’t carry it in my purse. But, so far that hasn’t caused a huge problem. I do like the bigger size, so that I can put papers inside without the edges of my papers getting messed up. I can even paperclip a bill and its corresponding envelope on the weekly spread that it’s due. I wish there was some sort of elastic band or snap closure, so that my papers wouldn’t fall out when I have a clumsy moment. But, it works when I’m having a good day. So, yes, size matters, but function matters even more.

I.LOVE.THE.FORMAT. Holy Vertical Columns, Batman! I didn’t think my life was busy enough to justify using weekly columns, but it turns out that it is. AND, it turns out that this is the most visually efficient format for me and my visually stimulated mind. This format actually makes me recall meetings that I would’ve otherwise completely forgotten, because I remember that I wrote something in a certain space on the page. I don’t remember what I wrote, but I remember seeing something around 3pm on Wednesday. So, I check, and sure enough – there it is! An appointment I nearly forgot about popped into my head, because of the format design. And if I don't get something done on the day it's written, I can just draw an arrow over to the next day's column to remember to do it tomorrow.

The Notes spaces at the bottom of the daily columns are good for recording my daily expenses (in red, of course) and whatever other notes I have that day.

Lists on the right are organized well, although I don’t use the fax/email one often, so I need to think of something new for that. The pay-receive list is the best ever, because I can write what bills are due and figure out which ones I pay with this check and which ones can wait until next payday. I can visually see (here we go again) what’s coming up.

The top has clearly marked the days of the week and dates, along with a Priority line and extra space below it to help me remember what bills are due, when my son’s school is closed, when I need to submit an expense report, or when it’s my niece’s birthday…. events specific to that day that need to stay on the top of my mind.

Love the quarterly monthly view calendars on the right and the from-to dates of the current week (for example “December 14th – December 20th” in the photo above), so that I know which week it is and I can quickly flip through to get to the date I’m looking for.

Paper is fabulous. Who doesn’t know about the fabulousness of Quo Vadis paper yet?!

Sunday is smaller but an efficient use of space, because I have fewer appointments (maybe a baptism or a birthday party to attend) & the notes space for Sunday is big enough to write details for the party or just a to-do list for the day (clean house, wrap presents, buy groceries).

I love, love, love the removable address book, because I’ve made it a reference book instead of an address book. Under “C” I have all the information about my car… when I got my oil changed, when I got my tires rotated, the insurance company’s contact info, my loan number, etc. Under “A” I have the addresses and dates for every place I’ve ever lived and when I lived there. Under “M” I have “Medical Directory,” which lists the phone number for the pharmacy, the doctor, and contact info for my health insurance, eye insurance, dentist, and dermatologist. How awesome is it to flip to ONE page and have all that right there?

Can’t decide how to use the Anno planning 2010 spread, because it is so precious (my preciousssss) that I’m afraid to tarnish it. Any suggestions?

There is only one Notes page and, like the anno planner, it's too precious to tarnish. What good is a planner if you don’t use it though?

The Receipts/Payments section could be my budget section for the year, but I hate budgeting, and using this section would be stressful, not fun. What other monthly reoccurring items can I record? There are enough blanks to record something for every day of the month… the weather? My mood? The possibilities are endless!!! Wait, there are enough spaces to record the weather on one side and my mood on the next.

The maps are beautiful!

2011 anno planning section for future planning. Excellent for upcoming doctor’s appointments made at the end of 2010 for 2011.

It’s extremely handy that the holidays are listed at the top of each corresponding day’s column. I also appreciate knowing the moon’s cycle, which can also be found at the top of the corresponding day’s column as well. It helped me plan to STAY HOME on New Year’s Eve, when it was not only “Amateur Night” at the bars (aka “So You Think You Can Drink?), but also a full moon, meaning that the city was soaking and seeping with drunken crazies. I’ll be sure to keep an eye out for the similar thing on Saturday night, January 30. If I worked for the police department, this would be a helpful tool, so that I would know in advance that is was going to be a “busy night.”

Biggest dilemma: What pen should I use? The pens I like to use tend to smear on the paper, because it’s kind of glossy. But, I don’t like my handwriting when I use a ball-point, and I like to use lots of colors to indicate various categories: finances, meetings, deadlines, and my son’s activities.

Overall, the TriNote meets all my needs, except that I wish it had an elastic closure. I’m working on creating a hack for that, though. Also, the size is great for having enough space for planning, but since I can’t carry it in my purse, I tend to leave it places & lose it for short periods of time. This is unacceptable. I will have to adjust my lifestyle, or what size purse I carry, to incorporate the Trinote into my life, but in the end, I know it will be worth it.

In summary: “I do so like green eggs and ham! Thank you! Thank you,

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