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Friday, February 18, 2011

Moving on to the Quo Vadis Minister Habana

You knew this was coming: impending move = planner crisis!

The crisis of the week is crazy vaccine schedules. All of us have to get multiple vaccines, at specific time intervals.  The kids also have to get medical exams for school applications. Packout and departure dates are yet to be determined. There's so much to plan ahead for, predictably the Moleskine day per page planner wasn't cutting it. I needed to see a week at a time to schedule multiple appointments throughout each week.  Even the small but functional monthly calendars in the Moleskine couldn't handle the planning load.

Christine's recent post on her Quo Vadis President planner got me thinking about my Quo Vadis Minister planner, which has the exact same format as the President but in a slightly smaller size.  Those of you who have been reading my blog for a long time may remember that I used a Quo Vadis Minister Equology planner at the beginning of 2010 and loved it, but eventually abandoned it due to lack of monthly pages.  (Click here to see my full review of the Minister Equology in my photo set on Flickr.) I don't know why I never thought of printing out monthly calendars and sticking them in, because it's so easy.  (Click here to see how I printed monthly calendars for my Trinote planner).

Last fall my Trinote saw me through my move to Scotland beautifully, but I longed for something more portable.

Cue the Minister Habana. (Click here for my review of the 2011 Minister Habana for lots of photos and information about it.)  It is narrower than the Trinote, and has no address booklet so it's much slimmer too.  (I put a super-slim Moleskine address booklet into the back pocket of the Minister for my contacts, which added practically no bulk at all.)

The firm yet flexible cover closes with an elastic strap, keeping it closed and protected in my bag.

Another happy discovery: the Habana version has a couple of blank pages at the beginning and end of the bound pages, giving me several pages for notes, lists and reference information instead of just the one notes page in the refillable-cover version.

The week at a glance with boxes for notes is keeping me organized with everything I have going on. It's nice to return to this familiar format after I used it last year too.

I've been using the maps a lot lately (more on that in my next post), and I need the international dialing information (which includes Indonesia!).

Another thing that's useful for me right now, which my Moleskine lacks, is the Minister's annual planner for next year. (Photo shows this year's but next year's planner is the same format, with the entire year across the two-page spread with months as columns).
Something else that's great: the bound Habana Minister has tear-off corners AND a ribbon placemarker. So now I have easy access to all 3 calendar formats: I tore off the corners starting at the right corner of the annual planner in the front of the book, and tore off all the corners up to the current week.  So when I flip to the left, I get the annual planner, and when I flip to the right it opens directly to the current week. Then I use the ribbon to mark the current month's calendars (which I have taped into the book).

So the combination of the weekly layout with space for lists; portable slim size; maps and international reference material; pretty cover with elastic strap closure; and the addition of monthly calendars makes the Minister a winner!


  1. I still cannot believe you have to move again so soon.

  2. So do I get this right: are you moving to Indosesia?! And how comes you have to move so frequently? (ignore these questions, if they are too nosy ...)

    I can totally understand that you missed your weekly view in these times. Have you though of Planner Pad? It also has monthly pages and a very sensible weekly view, where the ToDos are already incorporated. They sell Q4 versions (sept 2010-aug 2011) in their Closeout for a very cheap price. And the postage to Holland was very reasonable. I got it for my DH who proved to be incapable of using the Pocket Filofax I gave him. I hope that the Planner Pad will be better suited to his needs (he MUST see Todos together with the weekly schedule, and the Pocket failed to due its tiny size. He refuses to try the Personal, because that's too bulky). Should the PlannerPad not work out, I'll reread your entire blog for new inspirations ... LOL

  3. Hey, Laurie! I'm wondering where you put the monthly calendars? Can you show a pic? And for what purpose do you use the monthly calendar, if you have the weekly? I'm wondering if they serve two separate purposes so that you avoid duplicating entries. I have the same question for the year overview pages (oh, what, that year-at-a-time is just for next year, right?).

    Thank you, and if you want to see how this post influenced me, see today's post at my blog!

  4. Jotje: my husband works in international development (with the exception of this time here in Scotland where he's been doing post-graduate study) so we move often, and usually to developing countries. This time we are moving to Indonesia, for an unknown period of time, in about 5 weeks. I'm actually surprised I'm not freaking out more than I am. Maybe that will come later!

    It's very interesting, a LOT of people have recommended I try a Planner Pad. I've resisted so far because the daily schedule/ details are at the BOTTOM of the page, and I need them at the top where they are most visible. But I may consider it in the future.

    Nancy, I'm excited for you that you've ordered the Minister! Obviously, I have used a LOT of planners, and I find the Minister to have a great combination of functionality and portability.

    To answer your questions: The year overview pages are of the current year (near the front of the book) and of the following year (near the back of the book). These pages are great for viewing long-range plans like holidays and travel. But I don't use these for detailed planning.

    I use monthly calendars to plan beyond the current week, and to see weekly patterns. For example, my kids had vaccines on Friday, and they have to have follow-up vaccines 1 week and 3 weeks later. It's much easier for me to use monthly calendars to see when is 1 week and 3 weeks from last Friday. I also use monthly calendars for deadlines, bills due, tracking blog posts, exercise, and anything else that I need an overview of, or to see what's coming up in future weeks easily.

    I hope this makes sense and is helpful! Take a look at this post:


    to see how I printed monthly calendars for my Trinote awhile back (I don't have photos yet for my Minister and I'm traveling this weekend so hopefully I'll get some up in a few days.)

    Here is where I stick them: The Minister's weekly pages begin the week of end November/ beginning December. I don't use those pages, so that's 8 pages where I stick one month per page, January through August. Then I have to put September- December at the back of the book on the four Receipts and Payments pages that I don't use. Even though the year's worth of monthly calendars are split up in my book, having monthly calendars is so important to me that I don't mind. Although of course ideally they would already be printed near the front of the book.

    I may consider for next year the Quo Vadis Space 24 which is the same size as the Minister but has horizontal days and a page for notes each week, with actual monthly calendars at the beginning of the book:


  5. Laurie -

    Thank you very much for your detailed response, it all makes good sense and, yes, though splitting the months could get on the nerves of SOME people, it's good that you're not one of them. I was the type that used to be bothered by that, but I got over it after poring over pages and pages and photos and photos of hipster PDAs (hPDA). Seeing people live like that helped to loosen me up a lot and allowed more flexibility and creativity in my organizational solutions.

    With appreciation,


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