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Wednesday, August 4, 2010

Planner crisis averted!

In yesterday's post I speculated about what planner might work best for me in my new life.  Meanwhile, I'm experiencing a full-blown Planner Crisis right now, before my big move.  Even worse than your typical Planner Fail, a Planner Crisis is when my planner system has an Epic Fail right when I need the most planning power possible.  This normally happens to me during a move.

So I contacted my most trusted Planner Adviser, my sister, to beg her advice.  She asked me what I'm currently using and I told her my Personal size Filofax with the Week on 2 Pages.  Her reply was, "WHY in the WORLD are you using the personal size weekly pages????  You know they are too small for you!!!!!"  And of course she is absolutely right.  The last time the Personal Wo2P ever really worked for me was grad school, almost a decade ago.  Ever since then (with my increasingly complicated life), they are just too small.  I've tried several times since then to use them, and they do indeed fail me every time.  I love my personal size Filofax, and I keep trying to "make it work," without success.  (You can read about two such PWo2P fails in my 13 Planners post.)

She talked through my needs with me and asked a crucial question about my To Do list: what is more important, chronology or categorization?  I said mostly categorization, because the only real chronology besides actual scheduled appointments is what tasks I have to do specifically during a particular week.

My sis recommended the Quo Vadis Trinote, which she has been using with great success this year.  I have a 2010 Trinote, generously sent to me by Karen at Exaclair, that I reviewed here not long ago.

The Quo Vadis Trinote is very similar to the Quo Vadis Minister, which I used at the beginning of this year and really liked.  I abandoned the Minister when I decided to hack my own self-made planner in a Moleskine notebook, then I went on to my A5 Domino, then back to my Moleskine weekly notebook which recently experienced a "crash-and-burn Epic Fail crap-tastrophe," then turned to my Personal size Deco Filofax.  Fascinatingly, my sister had a similar journey from Filofax to Moleskine to Trinote, which she chronicled here in her guest post.

Some readers commented on my last post with the very valid point: why not just switch to an A5 Filofax?  Actually, I've done that twice before (once being two years ago during my last move, and again this past April) and both times they quickly failed.  The book is just too big and heavy for me to take everywhere.  Honestly, I could take my Trinote (as my planner) AND my personal Filofax (as my reference book) with me everywhere in my bag and the two of them together would still be lighter and less bulky than my A5 Filofax. I know some people do carry a Filofax and separate planner/ diary book, so this wouldn't necessarily be completely insane if I decided to do this.

Additionally, the Trinote has features that no Filofax pages can replicate.  First of all, the pages are even larger than A5: about 1/2 wider and 1 inch taller.  (Trinote measures 7 1/4 by 9 1/2 inches, very generous page size.)  But, the book itself is only 1/2 inch thick and very light, and therefore very portable.

The weekly layout is just what I need right now.  This is some serious planning power (photo of my sister's Trinote):

Timed day columns, with Notes space at the bottom of each day.  And, categorized list boxes at the right, so I can keep all my tasks straight.

I considered just going back to the Minister since it is so similar, but decided to go with the Trinote for 3 reasons:

1) The Notes boxes at the bottom of each day's column are similar to the Recurrent Weekly boxes at the bottom of the day columns in the WeekDate planner, so I thought that might give me enough of a fix to sustain me until January when I can start using my WeekDate! (Edited to add: the 2011 WeekDate planners are already shipping!!  Mine could possibly even be already there waiting for me when I get to Scotland!!)

2) I like the Trinote's Sunday Situation better than the Minister's.

3) I couldn't pass up the opportunity to use the same planner as my sister uses!!

Many, many thanks to my wonderful sister, who is always there to talk me through a Planner Crisis!  I love you sis!!  :)

So last night I set up my Trinote, and immediately felt better and much more in control.  The large page size gives me plenty of room to write.  The weekly spread with the large daily columns lets me see what I need to do, and when I have time to do it.  And the categorized list boxes at the right allow me to group all of my phone calls/ emails/ paperwork tasks together so I can streamline my time.  I can see everything all at once, so there is NO "out of sight, out of mind."

Edited to add:  the large daily columns are key.  They give me space to write in little details that otherwise would slip my mind.  You would think I'd have learned my lesson back in March when I wrote about this exact same issue in How Big Is Your Day?  Note to self: I need a LARGE page size with BIG daily spaces, a WEEK to view, with space for LISTS ON the week view pages!  Don't even bother with any other format!

So where does this lead?  Who knows.  Maybe my Trinote will get me through the move, and once I settle in I'll go back to my Filofax.  Maybe I'll even use the Trinote through the end of this year, then switch to my WeekDate in 2011.  The good news is, if I'm completely in love with my Trinote by the end of this year, I can always get one for 2011 because they are sold in the UK!  Planner Win-Win!


  1. Laurie, I really enjoyed this post! Really cool to have a sister that you can turn to when in planner crisis!
    I know my situation wasn't quite the same as yours when I moved (no kids) so it was a bit easier. But it made me remember how I too was starting to feel a bit of a planner fail with my Filofax, which is why I decided to also use the QuoVadis to help keep things organised.
    Which raises this question in my head: could it be that the Filofax layouts aren't quite 'move-friendly'? Because I also noticed I was having serious 'out of sight-out of mind' related issues.

  2. Good point, Oni. I think in general Quo Vadis planners are set up to work well for very busy people, no matter what they are busy about. I know whenever I am at my busiest, it's QV I turn to!

    I think this is also a big reason why some people fluctuate between Filofax and Franklin Covey diary inserts. Franklin Covey is designed to work well for very busy people.

    Filofax diary inserts are not a "system." They are fine for keeping track of basic appointments, or for a not-very-busy schedule, but they don't seem to be designed to handle very busy times. In my experience, at least.

  3. Interesting point! After my last major move 3 years ago I switched from Personal to A5 again ...

    Laurie, glad you found "your" planner after all! I hope it'll continue to do the job! I was about to suggest you'd carry a slimmer A5 Filofax (like the purple Adelphi?), but that was before I learned that you'd already made your decision.

    I'm very curious how it works out. For me, after so many years of loose-planner pages, I cannot work with bound diaries anymore ...

  4. Thanks Jotje!

    I am curious what a slimline A5 would do for me. It could possibly be my solution. Unfortunately the Adelphi is way out of my current price range!!

  5. I'm so happy for you that you found something to help you through this major milestone of your life. You've really found a niche with your planner passion, and I'm so proud of you every time I read your blog entries! (and super psyched that I get to be part of them!) I love you, Sis!

  6. Thank you!! I love you too!!

    And YOU deserve a prize for listening to my planner angst for SO MANY YEARS and always being supportive, understanding, and extremely helpful. Never once have you said, "Whatever. It's paper. You write on it."


  7. Laurie how do you keep track of your year when you change planners so much? I'd be lost!

    I am a new reader of your blog so each time I read one of your posts I find myself with 4 of 5 other pages open by the time I get to the end, all the previous posts you refer to. I'm loving it. I may just have to go back and start reading the archives :D

    One final thing. I never considered using a filofax without diary pages before reading your (and associated) blog and now I have 4 in use, only one with diary pages in it. My main filofax, my gorgeous personal Finsbury in Raspberry is my main planner with diary, to do, finance and notes, one is a fitness journal, one a travel journal (OK this has diary pages for the dates of travel) and one a craft journal.

    What have you done to me? lol

  8. Maybe we should come up with page ideas for a Filofax moving pack like we did for the wedding pack over at Philofaxy!

    I was going to say the same thing, about the Slim A5. This way you can move the pages you need for any given day. I have done this with the personal size and it works well. It's too bad they don't have a slim A5 in other models (like the Domino) - I would so buy one for work!

  9. LOL Karen! Sorry to have passed on my planner sickness to you!!

    I was JUST telling my husband yesterday that I need to have a list of planners and the dates I used them. Whenever I have to look something up, I have to look through several planners for the year! Problem is, where would I keep the list?? LOL

    Oh, and the open-window thing is a trick Steve taught me. It's a bit of HTML magic that allows the link to automatically open in a new window. It keeps you from getting lost from the current post with all the window-opening!

    Kanalt, I don't know why Filofax hasn't made a true slimline A5 yet, people have been asking for them for years. It would be wonderful for people who use an A5 at work and/ or home, then you can put the pages in your slimline that you need to carry with you, move pages from one to another easily, etc.

    And yes, a Moving Pack would be very useful!! I'd want lists similar to the packing and preparation lists in the Travel Pack: what to do months, weeks, and days ahead; packing tips, etc. Maybe I should write it! I've certainly moved enough times to know what to do. This is move #24 in 18 years!!

  10. Switch to a different A5 brand? Seems that BSB offers "sort of slimline" 20 mm ring size A5 binders. Faux leather, thus very cheap.
    One looks like a Domino-copy:
    The other somewhere between Piazza and Classic (okay, with a lot of phantasy ;-)):
    Not as pretty as Adelphi (which - I just found out - is not available in Purple, only in Red and Black), but a whole lot cheaper.

  11. Thanks for that Jotje! I've never heard of BSB before, I'll have to check them out. :)

  12. I use the Quo Vadis Minister!

    I used to use a Daytimer but got tired of changing in the months.

    I love reading your posts!


  13. I just happened upon your site and I feel like I am looking in the mirror! I am having a planner crisis at the moment and I have been unsettled since 2009 and have changed multiple times between filofax personal, Filofax A5, franklin classic, the Planner Pad, just a notebook combined with WhoMi Agenda and I still do not feel settled. I just ordered a Vertical Moleskine large which I haven't tried before, I think my problem is I love the A5 size, but hate the bulkiness. I also struggle with not having it be portable, I feel naked without my appointments and notes with me at all times and I hate always having to use such a big purse. But having a separate purse calendar bugs me....ugh!! I have been looking for my perfect planner as well, for about 3 years. Perhaps if the Moleskine fails I will try the Trinote. I need to take a lot of notes but hate carrying a 2nd notebook. I am also not liking rings anymore. Thanks for your site!

  14. Dea thanks for your comment, I'm glad you like my blog!

    After my umpteeth fail using the A5 Filofax, I have come to determine that I have to use a planner and separate notebooks. If I use a Trinote or other week + notes format, I can get away with using my planner for appointments and to-dos. But I have to have notebooks by subject for other things like my blogs, long-term lists, etc. That way my planner is portable enough to take with me everywhere, and I only carry with me what I need.

    Good luck finding what works for you!! It's a journey. :)


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