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Monday, November 29, 2010

2010 Planners Tally

You may remember my 13 Planners post, where I tallied up all the planners I used in 2009.  Now it's time to total up all the planners I used in 2010.

First, keep in mind that I do actually use most of the planners I review, usually for a few days, to get a good idea of how they work.  Sometimes I switch to that planner, but often I go back to the planner I was using before.  I won't include these planners in my total for this year.

I will number the planners as I go:

So, those of you who have been following my planner saga for the past year will remember I started 2010 with my 1) Quo Vadis Minister, which I loved.  I started it at the end of November 2009, and I used it until March 2010 (which is a very long time for me to continuously use a planner!).

Then in March I had a really busy time and felt like I needed more space each week to write my lists.  Also I wanted pages to write my monthly goals and reviews. And, I really wanted month view calendars.

So, I drew up a 2) DIY planner in my large lined Moleskine notebook.  I am not much of a DIY-er and am not at all artistic, so this was a major feat for me.  I decided I would make My Ultimate Planner. (But you might guess how that turned out since I'm not using this planner anymore).

It was a great idea: pages for goals, month on 2 pages calendars, and week views with vertical columns for days.  To give myself lots of room for my lists, I put a blank 2-page spread between each week.  I even put month tabs down the side (as I like so much ).  It's a portable size, and has the Moleskine planner's address booklet in the back.  I thought this planner was absolutely The Shit.

But...(and you knew this was coming) it turned out not to be the end-all be-all I expected it to be.  As it turned out, having to turn the page to see my lists was a Fail.  Yes apparently I really am that out-of-sight out-of-mind that I have to have my lists visible alongside my weekly schedule.  Also, I found it very annoying when flipping through my book that the weeks were not back to back.  And I missed having information pages like dialing codes and time zones in my planner.

Not only that, but the black cover and format I drew were very boring and way too serious.  So when I went to London in April it was the perfect time for me to switch to the very fun 3) Dodo Pad A5 Filofax insert in my new Filofax Domino.  I loved the weekly changing pages, art, humor and colors.

But, as has happened before, I eventually quit using my A5 Filofax as my main planner because it was just too big and heavy to carry everywhere with me.   At the beginning of June I started using my purple-covered 4) Plan-It Planner because I love the large month calendars embedded in the weeks.   But after a couple of weeks I had problems because there wasn't space for my lists on the weekly page.

So in mid-June I switched to my 5) 2009-2010 Moleskine weekly notebook because it has an entire page each week for lists and notes.  Also  I think I used this because I was impatient to begin my 6) 2010-2011 Moleskine weekly notebook at the beginning of July.  Despite the fact that I used the weekly notebook format for much of 2009 and was never completely satisfied with it because the day spaces are too small for me, I gave it a try again. I thought the new monthly planning calendars might make a big difference.  And to be honest, I was excited to start a fresh new planner.

Near the end of July, my moving preparations were really gearing up.  For those who weren't following at the time, my husband was changing careers and my family and I were moving internationally.  A very stressful situation to put it mildly.  So predictably I had a planner crisis.  I was having a hard time keeping track of all the moving logistics and what needed to be done when. Also, I needed a lot of information handy, which usually makes me turn to my Filofax.  So after my Filofax revamp, I moved into my 7) personal size Filofax with week on 2 pages diary and used my large Noteletts notebook for moving lists and notes.  You can read about that here.

But despite the post title, that wasn't gettin' it done.  I had a full-blown planner crisis.  My wise younger sister helped me through it and suggested I use the planner she's had great success with for the past year, the 8) Quo Vadis Trinote.  This planner got me through my move beautifully, and definitely saved my sanity through the difficult transition.

After I started to settle into my new place and new life, I got adventurous again with my planners.  Being in the UK opened up new planner possibilities for me.  I'd had my eye on the 9) Life Book for awhile and couldn't resist trying it.  It has monthly calendars (which I love and need) and space for lists on the weekly layout.  Also, now that my household is on a school-year schedule it seemed like it would be more convenient to have an academic-year planner.  So I switched from my super-efficient Trinote to the Life Book.

Before long I discovered that the Life Book's daily spaces were not nearly big enough for me to write everything I need to write each day.  So I ordered up the 10) Quo Vadis Textagenda (UK version) day per page planner.  I used the Textagenda together with the Life Book (which you can read about here).  Using two planners at once quickly failed and I went back to my Trinote.

So, 10 planners is better than 13.  But still, this is ridiculous.  If I have to look anything up, I have to search through all these planners to see where it's written.  I'd really love to commit to one planner for a whole year!  But in order to accomplish this, I think the planner would have to be perfect.  I need My Ideal Planner.

As excellent as my Trinote is, it's lacking some features I'd like: monthly calendars, a pretty cover and a smaller more portable size.  The first two I've fixed (with my addition of monthly calendars and colored covers), but there's no way to shrink the book.  If I can't find a smaller version of My Ideal Planner, then my Trinote might possibly be it.  But I still want to see if I can find something that works as well for me as the Trinote, but in a smaller size. This gets tricky because a smaller size book means less writing space, and as we all know I like to write a lot in my planner.

I plan to use my Trinote through the end of this year, but come January the battle of the 2011 planners will begin.  More on that in my next post!

**Edited later to add:  Before the end of 2010 I also tried:

11) My large Moleskine day per page planner. (You can read about that failure here.)

12) Personal size Filofax daily + weekly (Read about that failure here.)

13) Personal size Filofax 2 days per page. (Aaaaand, that failure here, scroll all the way down to the bottom of the comments.)


  1. Oh dear! I love reading about all your different planners though :-) So keep up the indecision and the good work!
    Bring on 2011.......

  2. Oh I'm so glad to see I'm not the only one who switches planners all the time because I cannot find the perfect one. I also have this problem with purses, and have come to the conclusion that There Is No Perfect Purse (or Planner). Can't wait to see what you do with 2011...

  3. LOL, great post - you're a fantastic writer, Laurie! I enjoyed your 13 planners post, too.

    I think part of your planner dilemma is that you know too much. Or I'm projecting this onto you. Until recently, I had little sense of all the types of planners out there. I noticed that the more I see (mostly via your blog, and recently in a well-stocked store), the more I realize what I want in a planner, and that there always seem to be drawbacks. 6 weeks ago I thought the large Moleskine weekly + notes was perfect. Now I'm not so sure. I personalized it a bit right away, so I can't give it away anymore. But I can't justify buying another one.
    Lesson learned: next year, I'll make a more informed decision.

    On a separate note, would you recommend a website dealing with international moves? I'm sure there are some, but I haven't looked into it yet. The thought of my upcoming move (not sure exactly when) is stressing me out. Thanks, Laurie.

  4. Hi Christine,

    First: You are at least partially right about knowing too much. But, having said that, I've been fussing with planners for many years now, since way before I knew of so many brands and types. And, interestingly, my favorites now are pretty much my favorites from years ago (with a few new additions). So, I think I have more or less figured out my style, it's just a matter of narrowing it down to the Best of the Best.

    My next post will be all about that! I will welcome any input people have on helping me find My Ideal Planner. (Criteria to come.)

    Second: Actually I don't know of any international move websites in particular. We've done it so many times it didn't even occur to me to look up a specific website. One thing we did do a little bit of is look up websites on the location we were moving to. There were lots of blogs for people relocating here, but they were mostly people from the US moving here with the oil industry. They were all upset they couldn't find their American brand of peanut butter or whatever, so those blogs were not helpful. But every now and then they had a nugget of information that was useful.

    Best of luck to you!! Feel free to email me about it if you want.

  5. A5 Timer 21... could be your answer in your A5 Filofax... go on you know you want to try it...

  6. Nice try, Steve! Nope, I've tried to use an A5 Filofax enough times to know that it fails every time. It's too big and heavy to carry everywhere, and I absolutely must have portability. Nice idea though!

  7. Perhaps you should try not so usual planners for 2011. I used german X17 planners for 2010. I was absolutely satisfied. For 2011 I'm planning to use korean planners either from Icon-ic or Invite.L. Maybe you should check them out:
    X17: http://www.myx17.com/
    Icon-ic: http://www.icon-ic.com
    Invite.L: http://www.invitel.co.kr

  8. I'm losing it over how much I identify with this post! Laurie you absolutely need to make your own, don't you think??? How about if you actually broke apart the ones you like, printed and added other pages you want, and then had the whole thing trimmed and re-bound? (I'm serious). For years I've been saying I was going to make my own; I've designed pages from scratch and altered pages of existing calendars (I'm fairly artistic and I have the number stamp), but there's always been something wrong still, some overall cohesion that's missing. Now I am breathlessly waiting on a Korean planner I ordered from ebay. They are worth checking out, lots of features plus unique design. LOVE this blog!

  9. calculi, those planners all look great! I actually considered buying the Iconic one last month but got the Rabbit one instead.

    Carol, I'm seriously considering making my own planner. I need to figure out where/ how to get it bound, because I want a hard-bound book. Does anyone know about bookbinders?

  10. I'm telling you, you have GOT to try a Planner Pad. I'm fixing to start a blog, and will post pics, or I can email some to you if you wish, about how I use mine. They are SO flexible, and portable, and lots of room to write like crazy. Now, it may not be perfect (haha) but it is highly customizable, and I'm finding that that is part of the fun of making a planner YOURS for the year. Check out this video : http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=lB8G9i2XrAU. Let me know what you think, and if you'd like to see pics of mine, I'd be happy to send them!

  11. Rori thanks so much for that video, I love seeing how they use their Planner Pads! It does look very adaptable, but I wonder if I would get overwhelmed with so much written on the page. That's what happened when I used the large size Uncalendar, because I filled the spaces with to-dos and lists, then when looking at the filled pages I didn't even know where to look first to see what needed to be done right now.

    I would love to see photos of yours to get a better idea of how it's used!

  12. Laurie, when I was going to make my own I planned to go to Staples, the US office supply chain. They do different kind of bindings, cheap. Maybe you can find something similar. Can't wait to see what you come up with!

  13. @Laurie: I just ordered those Journal J diary along with other products from Iconic and Invite.L. The eBay Reseller "sellzzang" was kind enough to source those which were not available on his eBay shop. Since these diaries are undated, you can order and taste any time. :-) Perhaps, you may like japanese Midori MD diaries. I have other Midori products, but these diaries I saw few weeks ago in local shop in Seattle. The link to the product info:

  14. Add to this my 2 Days Per Page insert in my personal Filofax Deco. I used it for the last week of December and unfortunately I can confidently say it was a failed experiment, but definitely worth a try.

    December 27 I start using my 2011 Moleskine vertical weekly. I have a lot of hope for this planner!


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