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Monday, May 30, 2011

Jottrr notebook new features!

I won this Jottrr notebook in a giveaway from The Paperie!  Many thanks!

There are several updates and new features since I last reviewed a Jottrr notebook. Click here to see my previous Jottrr review.

The Jottrr is an A5 size notebook with 160 pages of thick 120g paper including blank, lined and graph pages.  The notebook lies flat easily. You can click on the photo above and below for a larger view of the band detailing the product features.

I love the pink! The wide elastic band holds the book closed securely.
The cover is flexible without being floppy. 

New feature: there is now a color-matched woven bookmark to indicate your current page.  If you click on the photo for a larger view you can see that the left page is blank and the right page is lined. This is extremely useful for artists and scientists alike: drawings, samples and data on the left, notes on the right.
Every page is numbered! Very useful feature.
There are 20 perforated pages for those times when you need to remove a page.
There are 8 graph pages, which are perforated. Having blank, lined and graph pages all in the same notebook is very useful, and I've never heard of it in any other brand of notebook.

Another new feature of the Jottrr notebooks: there are two fold-out A4 size pages! These are also perforated for easy removal if you wish. This is another feature I've never seen in any other notebook.

There is a pocket in the back of the book to hold loose papers, cards, or anything else you want to keep with your notebook.

Many thanks again to The Paperie for sending me this excellent, high quality, unique notebook!

Jottrr notebooks come in pink, yellow or charcoal covers and can be purchased from The Paperie UK.  You can see more information about Jottrr notebooks at www.jottrr.com.

Friday, May 27, 2011

Reader question: Textagenda format in larger size?

Reader Sam emailed me to ask if I know of a planner in the Textagenda format (with timed schedule at the top of the page and space below for notes) but in a larger size, A5 or even A4. Here is a photo of the format I mean:
The Quo Vadis Textagenda is slightly smaller than A5 size, and is an academic-year dairy. The Quo Vadis Notor is the exact same size and format in the calendar year.

Has anyone seen a similar format in a larger size?

Thanks in advance for any information!

Thursday, May 26, 2011

WeekDate Restart

Image copyright WeekDate
You may have noticed I've been Tweeting about WeekDate planners a lot recently. It's because I'm pining for mine, which I stupidly put in my sea shipment (which hasn't arrived yet). I remember sadly putting my WeekDate planner on my shelf along with my other planners and notebooks not in current use, for the movers to pack in a box and put on the boat. My WeekDate, with its clever system of managing recurring events, represented my happy, settled life in Scotland. When that fell through, I thought I woudn't have a use for my WeekDate planner here in my new, disrupted life in Indonesia.

But now that I'm starting to settle in a bit and my life is returning to a regular pattern of school and activities, I'm desperate to get my WeekDate back into my hands!

What's even more reason for me to want it is that I've joined a Facebook group to follow the FlyLady system of household management. We're a Filofax group, so the idea is to use our Filofaxes as our FlyLady Control Journals. I will do this, but the main planning of routines and Zone Work will be done in my WeekDate. Kay Odell, the genius designer who created WeekDate planners, Tweeted recently that she has been a Flybaby for years and that the WeekDate is perfect for using with the FlyLady system!

I've been told that our shipment will arrive Monday (but I'll believe it when I see it!).  My office box of planners will be the first box I open!

Once I've got my WeekDate back up and running, I will post photos of how I'm using it to keep track of all our summertime activities (kids in sports and dance), social engagements, and my FlyLady routines and zones! I'm also trying to establish other routines like regular exercise. I don't naturally follow routines, but I think WeekDate's recurring weekly section will be hugely useful in helping me get in the habit of following routines.

The 2012 WeekDate planners are already available for pre-order! Click here to see the selection. I think I'm going to get the Bohemian one, but am trying to decide between that and the Twisted Sistah!

I have already pre-ordered the WeekDate Wall calendar which goes August 2011- December 2012. Click here for more information and to see how it works. This will be a great way of keeping track of everyone without having to re-write things constantly!

WeekDate is giving away two WeekDate Wall calendars through GoodReads! Click here to visit the giveaway entry page. Good luck and happy WeekDating!

Image copyright WeekDate and Sellers Publishing

Wednesday, May 25, 2011

2012 Moleskine planners: small update

My 2012 daily pocket Moleskine arrived this week! I couldn't resist opening it up and looking through it.
I'm happy to report the monthly calendars are still there, just the way I like them:

The print is darker and crisper in the 2012 planner than the 2011 one, which is nice.

I noticed one difference: the page with distances between cities is gone, and now the international dialing codes list spans the two-page spread.  Actually it's the same in the 2011-2012 Moleskine weekly notebook, I now realize. Click on this photo to see a closeup:

Here is the list in this year's planner:

Here is the two-page list in next year's planner:

I like the updated list with more countries. But, I still wish Moleskine would include the codes for dialing OUT of each country as well as dialing in. There have been times when I've been in a foreign country and had to call home, but had a hard time finding out the code to dial out of that country.

Anyway, a small but significant difference!

Monday, May 23, 2011

Be prepared

Lately I'm learning that it's best to be prepared, so if something happens you can hit the ground running.

I think being a parent has caused me to think this way. Before, it didn't really matter if I had a stack of clean towels or at least a half tank of fuel in the car. But now, when my kid is sick in the middle of the night and needs to be driven to the emergency clinic, I damn well better have those things prepared.

As with just about every topic, the idea of preparedness makes me think of planners. And I don't mean just writing your schedule into your planner to feel prepared for your day.

The planner that makes me feel the most prepared is my Filofax.  When my Filofax is updated and in active use, I feel ready for anything. In it I have emergency numbers, contacts, and important information like insurance policies. 

A few weeks ago my daughter was very ill with a very high fever. My thermometer was only in degrees F and I needed to tell the doctor what her temp was in degrees C. My Filofax conversion chart and calculator on the rings gave me the answer in 5 seconds flat.

If there's one planner that has everything I need so that I could walk out the door and be ready for anything, it would be my Filofax.

How does your planner help you feel prepared?

Sunday, May 22, 2011

UK people: please tell me some "British" diary brands!

I'm on the lookout for specifically British diary brands. Here are some I already know:

Letts is a British diary brand, which also owns Filofax.  Letts diaries are printed in Scotland (bonus points!).

Dodo Pad has been a British diary icon for 44+ years now.

What other brands of diary are British? 

And the big question: are there any diaries that are specifically Scottish??

Saturday, May 21, 2011

Please vote: which planner/ diary brand do you use?

At the top of my sidebar please see my poll and vote for which brand of planner you use. If you use a brand not listed, please post a comment and tell us what brand of planner/ diary you use!

I'm curious to see what Plannerisms readers currently use for their planning needs. And, knowing what you use will help me gear future posts toward your interests (or alternatively, expand your planner horizons!).

Thanks for your input! :)

Update: What I'm Currently Using

I recently adjusted my system in a slight but significant way.

I'm happy to report I'm still enjoying using my self-made planner in my purple Daycraft Signature notebook (click here to read my post about the details).  I love this notebook. The purple cover is gorgeous and soft to touch and the paper is thick and smooth.  Using this notebook is an excellent aesthetic experience. In fact the next time I'm at the bookstore I'm going to buy another one of these to have on hand as a journal or for some other noble purpose.

After a few weeks of use I changed the weekly format to match that of the Moleskine Weekly Notebook, because I prefer linearity of my days throughout the week.
But, predictably, the day spaces were too small for me.  I have learned through precise mathematical study that I need day spaces of at least 60 sq cm, and the day spaces in my self-made planner are only 46 sq cm.

So a couple of weeks ago, as I have done in the past, I busted into my Moleskine pocket size day-per-page diary to use as a supplement to my weekly planner. I've done this many times over the years when I have really busy days and need more space to map out my day. The difference this time is I'm doing it over a longer time period. Here's how I'm using these two planners together:

I still use my weekly planner to plan future events, so I can see what's coming up.  I use the blank page each week to write my lists of what needs to be done that week.

Every evening I fill in tomorrow's page in my Mole with my schedule for that day and specific tasks (especially ones that need to be done at a particular time of day). This is helping me immensely, because I can map out my day and get a good grasp of what to do and when. I don't write future things into my daily Mole, just the current day.

I use my weekly lists page as my Master List and today's page in my Moleskine as Today's To Do's, kind of like Bill Westerman's Getting Sh-t Done system.  At the end of each day, I have a record in my Mole of exactly what I did that day, like a more-detailed version of Austin Kleon's logbook.

At 126 sq cm per daily page, my pocket size daily Moleskine has plenty of room to write everything I need to do on any given day. In fact, if there are more things to do than will fit into that day's space, I don't have time to get it all done in one day. (If I were using the pages for journal entries though, I'd need the Large daily).

Just for fun, here are a couple of photos of the cover of my daily pocket Moleskine with a heart sticker my kids gave me, and the year in silver Sharpie on the spine.

Click here to see the page edges of my Mole, where I drew monthly tabs.

I really like the size of the pocket daily Mole, the way it fits in my hand, and the look of the pages.

I'm enjoying using these two planners, because I really like them both and this way they each have a purpose. And because the weekly is only for future planning and the daily is for arranging and recording only today, their purposes don't overlap so it's not confusing. Also they are each so small they both fit easily in my bag.

But to be honest, I expect this system just to get me through until my 2011-2012 Extra Large Moleskine Weekly Notebook starts at the end of next month. I have very high expectations for it!

Wednesday, May 18, 2011

Please comment: How does your planner help you?

I love reading about how people's planners help them in their lives.

I have to admit I'm addicted to Uncalendar's What Customers Say section. I love reading people's enthusiasm about the planners, and every now and then somebody goes into a little bit of detail about how they use their planner or how the Uncalendar has helped them in their life.

My Filofax Love Posts list is full of examples of how people's Filofax helps them in their life.

What about you? Does your planner help you set goals, manage a busy family, control your finances, track your health and fitness, manage a heavy workload, or keep you on target for graduation?

Please post a comment!

Tuesday, May 17, 2011

Reader searching for Day on Two Pages bound planner

Reader Melissa emailed me recently asking if I know of a bound-book planner in the Day on Two Pages format (with the day's schedule on one page and the facing page for notes).  This is different from the very common day per page with each day on a single page.

The only bound planner with this format that I know of is made by Letts in the UK in the A4 size (approximately 8 1/2 by 12 inches), so it's a massive book for business use.

I told Melissa about Franklin Covey's day on two pages format inserts, and that Filofax USA has the format in personal size.

Does anyone know of a bound-book planner, in a normal size, with the day on two pages format?

Thanks for any suggestions!

Sunday, May 15, 2011

Consistency is key

I hear you: that's a laugh coming from someone who uses more than a dozen planners each year!  I have learned a valuable lesson from my switching-around experiences.

In most things in life, consistency is key. It's certainly true for parenting: you have to discipline your kids in the same way consistently so they can learn cause and effect. It's also true for fitness: how much more slim and fit would I be right now if I'd exercised most days for the past 3 years?

And not surprisingly, consistency is key when creating a journal, diary or logbook.  Ever since my post on diaries etc. I've been thinking a lot about what I want from my planner and journal. It's true I like to use my planner to plan and as a record of what I've done, in the form of a detailed logbook. But over the years I've gone back and forth over whether I want to combine my journal and planner into one book or keep them separate (and if so what format for each?).

We all know I flit from planner to planner, but in the past 2 years I've also had a journal breakdown.

Above you can see a photo of my large Moleskine daily planners that I've been using as journals for the past 4 years now.  (You can click here to read my post about it with more details).

In 2008 and 2009 I was very consistent in writing in my journals, and managed to write almost every day. Now when I look back through these journals, they paint a very accurate picture of what my life was like at the time, moving from Moscow to Albania with small children. I was good about writing cute things my kids said and did.  Even the stressful stuff is gratifying to read now, knowing I managed to get through it with my sanity (mostly) intact.

Then in 2010 I stopped writing in my journal around March or so, because I was so stressed out all the time and I didn't want to fill my journal with constant bitching. But the result was that by not writing anything I missed out on capturing my kids' cute sayings, and the fun things we did. That makes me sad.

A few months ago I thought maybe I should switch to a non-dated blank notebook for my journal. I wrote in it for a few days, tried to catch up on past events, then put it down because it was turning into a non-chronological mess.

I haven't written in this year's daily Moleskine at all, because two weeks into this year we discovered that we were leaving Scotland, and I couldn't bear to write anything. Again, this makes me sad because I missed out on capturing all the wonderful things we were able to do while we were there.

This morning I decided to compare my journals and make a final decision on what to use, then use it.

After looking through both the dated daily and undated blank journals, I've decided to get back into the large dated day per page Moleskine as my journal.  While thumbing through the pages, I enjoy seeing each day on its own page.  The progress through the day per page book mirrors my own progress through the year. Each book, like each year, has a beginning and an end.

Another thing I love about the day per page is that I can go back and fill in empty days. This is my new project: I will refer to my planners and back-fill empty days, so that I can re-create the consistency of having written most days. I remember this and last year well enough (with the help of my planners) to write what we did each day. There are some specifics that are lost, but I'll be able to fill in most things. That way when I read through my journals (now, and years from now), I won't have months missing at a time.

I've already ordered the 2012 Moleskine large day per page planner, which I plan to use as my journal next year. We'll see how long I can maintain the consistency!

Friday, May 13, 2011

Can the right planner make you a better parent?

Well, yes and no.

If by "better parent" you mean, can it help you to remember all the things you need to do for your kids and family, then yes.

Your planner can help you avoid double-booking events during your kids' sports practice. It can remind you to schedule doctor and dentist checkups, and vaccines to keep your kids healthy. It can help you with menu planning to feed them nutritious meals. It can remind you to take your kids to the library, to the park, and to the aquarium.  It can help you schedule paying your bills on time to keep a roof over your heads and shoes on their feet.

But in the end, you still have to actually do all of these things yourself. That's what makes you a good parent.

I've definitely bought planners in the past hoping they would make me a better parent. There's loads of family- and mom-oriented planners out there in a variety of styles and formats. Some help you keep track of your busy family easily. Some help you with budgeting and money management. Some help you plan fun and memorable holidays.  And yes these are very useful tools. But you have to use those tools. In the end it's just words on paper--you have to go out and DO those things you've planned.

In the past I've also bought planners that I hoped would make me a better employee, or a better student. There are plenty of planners that are structured to help you be better at a specific role, or even multiple roles (working parent, working student, etc.)

Have you ever, or do you currently use a planner specifically designed to help you in a particular role, whether parenting, at work, or while studying?  Did you find it especially helpful, or not?

Wednesday, May 11, 2011

New Daycraft notebooks: Illusions and Skinz

Many thanks to Daycraft for sending me these very cool notebooks to review! And my apologies to them for the shipping difficulties. One box of samples was sent to me, and after several weeks was presumed to be lost so a second box was sent.  The second box arrived safe and well, then a couple of weeks later the first box arrived too! So now I have a whole lot of awesome notebooks!

The Illusions and Skinz notebooks are new to the Daycraft lineup.  They're so new they're not up on the website yet, but are in the 2012 catalog.

Below is the selection I received: two A4 size Illusions notebooks, three A5 size Illusions notebooks, and an A6 size Skinz notebook:
I was very interested to see the Illusions notebooks come in A4 size. Click on the photo to enlarge and get a good view of the optical illusions on the covers!
The covers are made from laminated paper, so they are flexible without being floppy.

There are 176 pages of white, 100g woodfree paper which is fountain pen friendly.  I don't have fountain pens, so I tested the paper with three of my soakingest-through pens I have: black and red Pelikan Inkys, and a black Faber-Castel Broadpen.  For reference, these all bleed straight through Moleskine paper in a bad way.

You can see on the reverse side of the page there is hardly any show-through to the other side of the page, and absolutely no bleed-through.

The pages are lined (9mm) with reverse-arrows at each end of the lines for an optical illusion effect (click on photo below for a better view).
The insides of the covers have the same patterns as the outside, and in the back there is a full size pocket:
Click on the photo below to see the details on the product information band:
Below are the A5 size Illusions notebooks. My favorite is the one on the left, because it looks like the wheels rotate when you look at it! Very cool.
The A5 Illusions notebooks also have 176 pages of white 100 g woodfree paper. The lines are narrower than in the A4 at 6.5mm, and have the same arrow illusion at the ends of each line.
The A5 notebooks also have a full size pocket in the back of the book.
Click the photo below to see the product details.
Next up is the new Skinz notebook. This is just one of the cover options in the Skinz lineup.
The cover is soft, and the tattoo pattern runs across to the back of the book:
Inside the book is a page of temporary tattoos you can apply to match your notebook!
The page edges are red, which looks really cool:

Inside, the 100g beige woodfree paper is lined (6.5mm) and has a tattoo pattern at the top of each page.
Click on the photo below to see the product information.
Many thanks again to Daycraft for sending me these awesome notebooks! I am continually impressed by the very high quality of Daycraft products and the unique cover options.

Folks in Asia can expect to see the Illusions and Skinz notebooks on shelves soon.

People outside of Asia, don't despair! You can always order Daycraft products at http://www.verachan.com/online-shop/ and don't forget to quote code plannerisms at checkout to receive 20% off your entire order!

And now for the first time, Daycraft products are available to purchase in the US: the Cookie Bookie line of notebooks is available in the MoMA shop. So if you find yourself there, be sure to check them out!

Tuesday, May 10, 2011


I've noticed there's a lot of beeping going on in this modern age.

I live in a very texting-heavy culture these days, so my phone beeps at me many times per day to indicate I've received a text.

Each room in my house has a wall-mounted air conditioner that beeps when I turn it on or off, change the temperature or fan speed.

Even my washing machine beeps melodiously throughout the wash to indicate when it moves from wash to spin to rinse, then when it's done.  It sounds like I've loaded my clothes into R2D2, who then proceeds to give me beeping updates on the status of my clothing.  Does it really need to do that? Can't it just beep once when it's done?

I personally do not like beeping, it's distracting and I don't like random noises.

This is just one of the many reasons why I love using a paper planner. It doesn't beep at me. It doesn't add to the auditory overload I already feel on any given day. It's not demanding. It's just there when I need it.

Do you get annoyed by beeps too? Or do you rely on beeps to remind you of things you would otherwise forget?

Saturday, May 7, 2011

2012 Moleskine 12 month planners shipping now from Amazon!

Amazon.com is shipping most of the Moleskine 2012 planners already!!

The classic planners like the daily and weekly in Extra-Small, Pocket, and Large sizes are shipping now as well as the new Professional series planners (including the tough-sounding Taskmaster!).

Some of the new planner formats are not yet available (like the limited edition ones or the new Cahier planners) but keep checking because they will be shipping soon.

I have put links to some of my favorites in my sidebar for your convenience (scroll down and find them below the 18 month Moleskines), but be sure to browse around Amazon to see what's available.

Moleskine has lots of new planner sizes and formats for 2012 including the new Professionals series of planners, and the Cahier planners.  You can see the entire 2012 Moleskine planner selection in the current Moleskine catalog at:


The 2012 planners begin on pages 96-97!

I've already ordered the Large and Pocket size daily planners, because I've been getting both for about 5 years now and I always seem to find a use for them.

Will you be getting any of the 2012 Moleskine planners?

Thursday, May 5, 2011

Planner, diary, journal?

This is a topic I've touched on a little bit here on Plannerisms and also over at Philofaxy. I don't want to get picky about semantics, I'm just fascinated by the cultural differences in how we use our planners/ diaries.

In the US, your planner (or daily planner, or agenda, or whatever; there is no standard definition) is where you schedule appointments. Your journal is where you write about your experiences, thoughts and feelings.  Sometimes people combine the two into one book, but the ideas are distinct.

In the US the word "diary" conjures up an image of a 13 year old girl, alone in her room writing in a pink book, "Dear Diary, today Todd talked to me! EEEEEEEEE!!!"  If you make a reference to your "diary" in the US you will probably get a smirk at the least, or maybe even a "Dear Diary" comment. 

I love the British version of a diary, where people schedule upcoming events and appointments, and also record what happened.  (Correct me if I'm wrong please my British friends!)  This is what I want. I need to plan, and I need to keep a record of my days. In the past when I've kept a journal, I rarely ever look back at it. But I do find a diary, a record, to be very useful.

An excellent example of using a diary as a record is Austin Kleon's logbook.  Okay follow me here: I was looking around Notebook Stories (I love that blog) and discovered a link to Austin Kleon's website, which is great. (Austin Kleon is an artist, poet and author of the book Newspaper Blackout.) I discovered his very inspirational post How To Steal Like An Artist, which I immediately bookmarked before I even finished reading the post.

I was especially interested in "9. Be boring. It's the only way to get work done." His advice is to get a calendar, and a logbook.  If you want to go directly to a post specifically about his calendar click here. His calendar is not a traditional one that I think of, it's not about scheduling appointments by time, but more about tracking his work.

I was even more intrigued by his logbook, which he keeps in a Moleskine day per page planner. Click here to see his post all about his logbook. It's a not-too-detailed record of what he did each day.  This is the type of thing I like, to have a record of my days and to remember what I did.

I tend to use my planner to plan things and to record them too, to see what I intended to do each day/ week and then what I actually did. It helps me get better at budgeting my time, and also serves as an excellent reference of when I paid bills, made phone calls, or whatever else I need a record of.

Do you use a planner (to schedule upcoming appointments and events), a logbook (to record what you did), or a diary (both combined)?

Sunday, May 1, 2011

How many notebooks/ planners do you need to use?

This is a topic that has come up a lot recently here on Plannerisms and on other blogs. How do you manage your schedule, to-dos, and notes? Should we expect to be able to handle all of this information in one book?

Below is a breakdown of what you need. These don't necessarily have to be separate entities; under the list I have some combination ideas. Everyone needs:

1) A place to write down appointments. This can be in a planner, or electronically.

2) A place to keep your addresses and contacts. This can be electronically, on paper, or a combination of both.

3) A place to write your to-do lists. Today's list, longer term to-dos, home projects, etc.

4) A place to capture notes, numbers and ideas on the go. For most people a pocket size notebook works well for this. Review captured information often and move it to the proper location for action or reference.

5) A place for detailed notes. Usually you'll need a separate notebook for each major project, kind of like how you used a separate notebook for each class in college. You need a separate notebook specifically for work notes.  If you have more than one major project at work, you should keep a separate notebook for each so you can have each project's timeline, notes, and actions all together.

6) A journal book, if you journal.

Sometimes you can combine two or more of these:

A Filofax can have it all, up to a certain point.  But people run into trouble when they think they SHOULD be able to fit everything in their life into one binder when actually their needs have outgrown the one binder and really they need to branch out into multiple books.  I had this issue with my first Filofax, and finally realized I needed to break out into separate Filofaxes or notebooks for some things.

Planners with a week + notes format like the Moleskine weekly notebook can combine appointments with weekly lists and notes. But again some people run into problems when they expect the weekly notes page should be enough space for ALL their notes for that entire week, when really they need a separate notebook to capture detailed notes and ideas, especially at work.  I am adamant that you should have a work notebook separate from your planner, and the work notebook should stay at work (if at all possible).

A day per page diary can combine some of the above items as well.  Laura Reyna uses her large Moleskine daily diary for her appointments, daily lists, food diary and journal (which you can read about in my post Experimenting with Large Moleskine Day Per Page Planner). I love this idea! If you use a portable day per page diary, it can also serve as your inbox/ capture notebook where you write all the little bits of information that come in each day, to be processed later.  (Note again: work notes need to be separate!)

You might wonder why I'm so insistent that work notes should be separate from your planner. I've seen issues with several readers who feel like their work notes should fit into their Filofax or planner. In my opinion, you should keep your work notes in a separate notebook or binder so that 1) you are not limited in the amount of notes you can take, and 2) your planner can stay portable enough to go everywhere with you while your work notes stay at work.  For your work notes you might prefer a steno notebook or other bound book, or a loose-leaf binder. I like using a full-size loose-leaf binder for work projects because documents can be slipped into a clear pocket that goes on the rings, keeping documentation and reports in with your notes.

Awhile back, Time Management Ninja addressed the issue of how many places you should keep information in his post The Power Of 1.  (You can read my disagreement here.) I think his approach would work if you kept everything electronically, but for those of us who are mostly on paper we have to divide and conquer.

How many planners/ notebooks/ Filofaxes do you actively use at once? Do you have a separate notebook for each hobby and project? Do you prefer to keep things together? And the big question: how do you manage work notes?