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Friday, December 24, 2010

There Is No Spoon

Or rather, there is no Perfect Planner, I think.

(Sorry you guys, I feel like I'm telling you all there's no Santa Claus!)

I've come to this realization lately as I'm using my Filofax Deco with 2 Days Per Page planner insert, which is going well but isn't perfect.  Click on the link and scroll down to see my comments and updates on how it's going.

I started thinking of all the planners I've used, what has worked for me and what hasn't.  And it makes me think, of all the dozens/ hundreds of planners I've used, the fact that I haven't found The One makes me think I'm doing it wrong!  I mean, really, I must be.

What I thought was my ideal planner, with a big weekly layout, large day spaces and lots of space to write lists on the weekly page results in total overwhelm when I have so much written on the pages that I don't even know where to look first.

But when I take things off the page and put them behind tabs in my Filofax, I have the out-of-sight, out-of-mind problem.

There is no perfect solution.  I just have to be disciplined enough to check my lists regularly, and re-write things if I need to.  I don't need a better planner, I just need to be a better planner user.

That said, some planners are better for me than others.  For example, if the day spaces are too small to write everything I need, the planner is destined to fail.

Also, some planners are better for me at different times of my life and might not work at all at other times.  Example: the day per page planner that worked beautifully for me for all of 2005, but DPP planners don't work well for me during times when I need to do a lot of planning ahead.

My other issue is that it's impossible to settle on one planner for a whole year when my life (and planner needs) change so much during that year.

Is there any perfect solution?  Probably not.  But I will continue to search for, if not my Perfect Planner, then at least the best planner for my current situation.

And by the way, if you didn't understand the title of this post, go watch The Matrix and you will.  :)


  1. Okay, I know you will never consider this, but here goes anyway! Use a smartphone calendar and a paper to-do list. By paper to-do list, I mean a large, notebook size something that has a pocket in the pack and use avery-type repositionable folder labels to divide the journal/notebook into sections.
    The smartphone calendar will get you where you need to be, when you need to be there! I also use reminders on my smartphone, so it beeps at me for example 15 minutes before my haircut appointment time so I can get there in time. If I need to remember to pick up milk before I go home, I add to my smartphone calendar at 5pm - "milk!" and it will beep at 5pm (and I can't ignore the beep!).
    The paper to-do list I have divided into "home" and "work". Then for "home" I have different pages for: things that need to be done online, things that need to be done around the house, things that need to be taken care of outside the house (return gift, get stamps, visit baby, etc.). I have been using this system for about three months and I absolutely love it. I tried to keep my to-do lists on my smart phone, but I just wanted to see all my to dos at the same time - that and I just love paper!

  2. Kate, thank you for your suggestion, and I do understand the benefits of an electronic organizer, but I don't think I'll ever use one. Part of what I love about paper planners is being able to look back through them 10 or 20 years later, which I would not be able to do with an electronic planner. That, and I have a deep mistrust of technology. I hate messing with devices! I can barely stand to deal with my laptop. I'm very analog.

    Thank you for the suggestion though!

  3. Hi Laurie,

    I discovered your blog last week while online searching for the perfect planner. I am a bit ashamed of my planner obsession and it’s good to know that I am not alone… so thank you!!!!

    I have been through the gamut of planners and was hoping that for 2011 I would find the right one and stick to it. It’s been about three years since I last used my Filofax and I was very close to purchasing a new one for 2011 until I read about your experiments and the memories just came flooding back. This is when I decided to turn to ebay and experiment …

    Last night I purchased five Korean planners: Smiley Diary version 2, Himori 2011 Bohemian Diary (purchased mainly because of the front cover photo insert), Himori 2011 Episode Diary (very cute …comes with a wristlet strap), Day Drawing Time Planner 2011 (I think this one will be my favorite…mini with monthly, weekly and daily !!!!), and the Sentimental Diary (purchased for the photo insert b/c the Bohemian’s weekly format is questionable). I am wondering if anyone has had experience with any of these brands. My hopes are high that one of them will work out for 2011. I will be crushed if they all turn out to be lemons. I need a Plan B!

    I have really enjoyed reading all the posts on this blog and am looking forward to Laurie’s final planner decision for 2011.

    Happy Holidays!


  4. bud thanks for reading my blog, I'm glad you like it! No, you are definitely not alone in your planner fixation. All those planners you got sound fantastic! Are you interested in doing any guest posts about them? I'd love to hear more about them and even see photos if possible. If you are interested please email me at:


    I hope one of them turns out to be a great planner for you this year!

  5. Bud8, yes, please have Laurie post your reviews (sounds like eye candy)! Have you seen the Journal J? It's on ebay as well and looks really good to me.

  6. I just love it when you get new Plannerisms converts!

  7. Laurie have you tested this one? Everything seems to be easily visible all at once. Plus it offers a money back guarantee if you are not happy after six months,


  8. Hi Janet,

    I've never tried a Planner Pad although lots of people have recommended them to me. I don't want to pay international shipping and tax for one, to be completely honest. I don't know what their international shipping rates are, but I've paid between $20-30 just for shipping on some things and want to avoid that.

    Also, I have so many 2011 planners already, I can't justify buying a new one!

  9. Laurie, I think you are totally right: there is no perfect planner. But some have more Pro's or Cons for your individual life than others. I think to succeed you must pick one and stick with it. Also, I don't think that any planner will work without the discipline and effort of its user. But you already figured that one out ...
    Even though I feel finally settled, I have lots of fun following your quest! LOL

  10. Oh, and for everybody who wants to drool over Bud8's Korean Planners, here are the Ebay item numbers. I actually had 2 of these in my Saved Seller list, as I love to go all those phantastic pics that they always include in these ads!
    That Day Drawing Planner IS indeed gorgeous! Here's the item no:270657249540

    Smiley Diary, ver2:270679810462
    Episode Diary: 270679826090
    Didn't find the Himori Bohemian, but I found the Iconic Bohemian Diary: 280608581113
    And the Sentimental Diary: 280584941861

    You really must browse those stores! Enjoy!

  11. Christine.... I saw Journal J...it looks fantastic! I want it, I want it, I want it!!!!

    And yes Jotje, the pictures posted on their ads are so stylish.... like planners are the coolest thing in Korea! These planners seem to be a calendar, diary, scrap book, etc... rolled into one...


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