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Monday, January 30, 2012

Printed holidays

I like to have holidays printed in my planner's daily spaces, but I know not everyone does.

Planners have a wide range of holiday inclusion, from none at all to too many irrelevant ones. Finding the right balance is tricky, and I suppose you can't please everyone.

Moleskine does a good job of pleasing as many people as possible I suppose: holidays are not printed as words in the day spaces, but the abbreviation of each country with a holiday is represented on the day. It's up to you to figure out exactly what the holiday is. I always write in US and UK holidays, when Daylight Savings and European Summer Time begin and end, and other reminders on the date. It's a tedious process but worth it to have it already in my book when I need it.  The flip side of having to write it in myself is of course that I don't have anything irrelevant to my needs in my day spaces.

Quo Vadis planners (English versions) have US and UK holidays, clock-changing, and other days of note like Halloween already printed in the day spaces. They also have holidays of major religions printed on the day spaces. So unless you follow all major world religions, inevitably there will be something irrelevant to you pre-printed. Not a big deal, but some people are bothered by it I guess.

My favorite way of doing holidays in the day spaces is the way Filofax does it. US, UK, Australian and Canadian holidays and clock-changings are pre-printed on the days. Many religious holidays are indicated. And the holidays of loads of other countries are represented by their country abbreviation on the day. For example Indonesia (where I'm currently living) has its holidays indicated on the days by the abbreviation RI, which is convenient for me.

So in effect, the way Filofax does holidays is a combination of how Quo Vadis and Moleskine do it. Although curiously, I've noticed that Halloween is not printed in the Filofax diaries on October 31! I guess technically it's not a religious holiday or a public holiday so maybe that's why it got excluded. As a cultural tradition, I think it should be included. I guess I'm a holiday maximalist! Having all the holidays pre-printed means I don't have to write in anything to prep my planner, and makes me feel like I know what's going on elsewhere in the world.

What about you? Do you like to have holidays written in the day spaces of your planner? Or do they just take up space?

Friday, January 27, 2012

15% off all Success Choice products!

The Success Choice has given me a very generous discount code for Plannerisms readers!!  Enter code plannerisms12 at checkout to get 15% off your total purchase!

Success Choice planners have a unique setup with weekly layouts, monthly calendars, space to set and track goals, guides for household routines and personal growth.  It's a very comprehensive system to help you in every aspect of your life. The planners come in spiral-bound quarterly editions, or loose-leaf for your binder. 

Take a look at my review of the spiral-bound planners here with lots of photos and descriptions of the features.

There is also an Address Book insert available that is way more than just an address book--see my review of it here.

The paper used in the planners and address book is recycled, acid-free and archival for permanent records.

The Success Choice also sells hand-made leather covers for their planners,  see my review of the beautiful, soft brushed leather cover here.

GUESS WHAT! Success Choice now sells RING BINDERS for their loose leaf planner inserts!!  Check them out here!

All of The Success Choice products are made and printed in the USA.

And more great news: the 2013 planners will have wider line spacing in the daily spaces, due to popular demand. Thank you Success Choice for listening to your customers!

Many thanks to The Success Choice for offering this very generous discount code to Plannerisms readers. I will put this in the sidebar for future reference!

How many times do you write it?

This is a little bit of a follow-on to my previous post, and is another topic I've been thinking about for awhile.  How many times, in how many places, do you write your appointments and other daily commitments?

My limit, apparently, is two. I can keep up with writing this level of detail in only two planner formats at once. Daily and monthly is fine. Weekly and monthly is also fine. Even daily and weekly is fine. Daily, weekly and monthly = planner breakdown.

My recent experiment incorporating my weekly planner into my system with my daily and monthly failed rather quickly. I felt overwhelmed keeping up on all the different planners, and felt scattered instead of in control. I was very surprised! After all, I'd used a daily diary and weekly planner together for most of last year. Why did it fail now?

The answer is, because I'm using a finer level of detail in my monthly planner. When I use a daily and weekly together, my monthly only gets used for permanent reference things like birthdays, holidays, bills and due dates, etc. The fixed, static dates. But lately I've been using my monthly planner in a much more detailed, interactive way by writing in appointments, meetings, reminders, and other scheduled events.

This requires me to look at my monthly planner every day. And of course I have to look at my daily planner several times throughout the day. Adding my weekly planner, where I had to update entries and consult it daily too, was too much.

Not a big surprise really, since I had a similar fail about a year ago.

Which brought me to the realization that my writing and consulting on a daily basis threshold is two places.  Which is good to know, because it allows me to choose the two formats that work best for me at that time.

I know some people who can keep up with daily, weekly and monthly planners all at once (and I would like to be one of these people because each format allows for a different perspective of your schedule). I also know people who have to stick to one format, usually weekly, to avoid redundancy.

What about you? How many places do you write your daily things?

Consolidating calendars

I've been thinking of writing this post for awhile but put it off, because I already know what some people will suggest as a solution: "Go digital!"  But it's not as simple as that.

By "consolidating calendars" I mean, getting all the calendars and timelines in your life down to a simpler, usable system.  I thought, maybe most people have this figured out by now. But yesterday as I was surfing blogs I found a reply on one where someone was struggling to consolidate all of her calendars: work, personal, her husband's work schedule, blogging, knitting, etc. And I thought, ok maybe there will be some interest in this topic after all!

My first thought as to who needs help consolidating calendars goes to parents with kids in school. My kids' school doesn't have a regular schedule (for example, every Tuesday is Library Day). Instead, each month the teachers print out a calendar of what their class is doing each day of the month. That way I can consult the calendar each day and know whether to send swim gear, library books or PE kit. It's complicated, but I guess it avoids redundancy in the schedule.

Anyway, I don't write these things into my planner because there's no need. It's simpler just to consult the calendars on my fridge than to re-write all this stuff. But it means I have several places to look each day to see what's happening: each child's classroom calendar, and my planner. Three places is do-able. But at what point do you reach the state of "too many places to look?"

Even people who only have their own schedule to keep track of have different types of calendars to maintain: work, personal, study/ university/ grad school/ night school etc., blog post scheduling,  volunteer work, etc. It can be a lot to keep up on!

There's no one right way to keep track of multiple calendars at once. For keeping track of multiple peoples' schedules, the easiest way to see who is doing what each day is to use one of those family calendars where each person has their own column for each day of the week or month. This works well not only for families but also for roommates, coworkers, and any other place where you need to see who's where each day.

Some people like to keep their work planner separate from their personal planner. This works fine if your work/ personal lives are truly separate, or have little overlap.  For example, when I worked in a corporation we all had to use Outlook for our work schedules so that people could schedule meetings with everyone who needed to be there. I kept all of my personal stuff in my Filofax. In the rare instance I needed to schedule something during work hours, like a dentist appointment, it was pretty easy to figure out a good time.

Some people, especially those whose work and personal commitments don't follow exact time delineations, might function better having everything all together in one planner. This not only helps avoid overlapping or double booking appointments, it also helps you see what's coming up in a different aspect of your life. For example, you might not necessarily put on your work schedule to buy flowers for the dinner party that night, but if you have everything in one planner you would.

I do know there are lots of electronic options for combining calendars. Partners can share a digital calendar system where they can see each other's schedule and get automatically updated when the other person's schedule changes. But, when you use a paper planner it encourages communication to tell each other when the schedule has changed. I like that.

What about you? What method do you use to keep track of your work, blogging, hobbies, study, kids and/ or partner's schedule, and everything else you've got going on in your life? Do you find it helpful to combine everything in one calendar/ planner, or keep some things separate?

Tuesday, January 24, 2012

Discount for Plannerisms readers on OfficeHero.co.uk!

OfficeHero.co.uk is a new office supplies website with great prices on all your office needs.

Plannerisms readers get a special 5% discount! Just enter the code Planner1sm at checkout.

This offer is good for ALL of this year!  And for your easy reference, I have also posted this discount code in the sidebar for whenever you need it.

Happy Shopping! :)

2012 Moleskine Bakin weekly planner

I have to admit I bought this planner because the cover is just so cool!  My photo doesn't do justice to the coppery metallic design.
 Inside it's a horizontal weekly format, with all the usual Moleskine features.
As you might notice, I wrote the month at the top left corner, to make it easier to see where I am in the book.  Moleskine printed the months all the way into the middle of the book which makes it harder to find the month/ week I'm looking for.

Right now I'm using the weekly pages as a modified week + notes, where I use the spaces directly under the printed days of the week to plan my days, and the middle of the weekly spread for my tasks lists for that week. I have separate lists for Goals, Email/ Call, Household, Blogs and any other specific topics for that week.

I use the last line on each day's space to write the dinner menu for that day. It really helps me do meal planning to see the entire week at a spread so I can see when my busy days are and what meals I'm able to spend more time on.

Using a weekly spread to plan my week and write my lists allows me to see what I need to do and when I have time to do it.

You can read about how I'm using this planner along with my daily and monthly planners in What I'm Currently Using.

Friday, January 20, 2012

Archival quality planners

Today's Free For All Friday on Philofaxy has me thinking about archival quality planners.

I use my planners for planning, but I like to keep them forever and look at them years later so it's important to me that my planner have archival quality paper. Unfortunately, it seems that not a lot of planner companies use archival paper.

I don't know a lot about paper and what makes it archival or not, but I know it's important for it to be acid-free/ pH neutral.

I also know this is not at all the same as chlorine-free. Chlorine-free means no chlorine was used in the paper's bleaching process. This is better for the environment but I don't know if it makes any difference to the archival quality of the paper.

The only three planner brands I know of that specifically are archival quality/ use acid-free paper are Moleskine, Leuchtturm and Quo Vadis.

**Edited to add:  Paperblanks and Cartesio planners also use acid-free paper. The Success Choice planners use acid-free, archival recycled paper. Also I have confirmation from the company that Collins uses only acid-free paper in all their products.

Does anyone know of any other planners that are archival and use acid-free paper?

Thursday, January 19, 2012

How to use monthly or weekly AND daily planners at the same time

My friend @RoriRants tweeted a question recently (to paraphrase): how do you use a weekly (or in my case monthly) planner and a daily planner/ diary at the same time without being completely redundant?  Great question!  Here's some ideas.

I used a weekly planner and daily diary at the same time for most of last year. This year so far I'm using a monthly planner instead of the weekly, and still using a daily. Here's how I do it:

In the weekly or monthly planner, I write all my future plans. Upcoming appointments, school holidays and activities, my husband's days off from work, travel, birthdays, etc. All future events go in here.  I also write my dinner menus for the week so I can plan quick meals on evenings I get home later, and to see past meals for ideas (or to see when I'm getting too repetitive with the meals).

In the daily, I write everything that happens today. Today's appointments, cute things my kids did and said, the weather, my list of things I need to do today, things I did today that weren't on the list like phone calls and emails. This creates an excellent record of what I did and when.

Using the monthly or weekly for planning and the daily for recording minimizes redundancy, and allows me to use each format for what it's good at.

You can see more details on how I use my daily diary here, and how I used my weekly planner along with it here.

Those of you who use a daily planner and also a monthly or weekly planner, how do you do it? What do you write in each planner?

Wednesday, January 18, 2012

2012 Planners on sale now

If you haven't gotten your 2012 planner yet, or are having a Planner Fail with your current system, don't wait to get your new planner!  Many are already sold out.

Here are some brands that have their 2012 planners on sale at a discount:

Moleskine and More still has several sizes and formats of 2012 Moleskine planners available, which they can customize for you with your initials, name, or words of your choice embossed on the cover. Click here to go to their planners page.

Also Ginko Papers has their remaining 2012 calendars and planners at discounted prices, be sure to check out their gorgeous designs here.

Dodo Pad has most formats of their 2012 diaries at 50% off, click here to see!

Organised Mum has some of their 2012 calendars and diaries on sale.

Do you know of any other companies who have discounts on their planners?  Are you searching for a new planner?

Monday, January 16, 2012

Two week evaluation: How's your planner working for you?

Now that we are a couple of weeks into the year, you've got an idea of how well your planner is functioning for you. 

Is it working well?  Needs some tweaking? Or is it a Planner Fail and you're on the search for something else?

I don't want to cause a panic, but if you need a different planner be sure to grab it now while you can. Many brands/ styles of planners are already sold out (including the WeekDate weekly planners and some Moleskine sizes and formats). And once we get into March-April (aka the Planner Dry Season), they get really scarce and you have to wait until the academic year planners start in the summer!

So what about you? Are you happy with your setup, or searching for something else?

Friday, January 13, 2012

Rickshaw Zero messenger bag in new Performance Tweed

Here's my new custom Zero Messenger bag from Rickshaw Bagworks in the Aubergine Performance Tweed with Iris interior!

I chose this color combination on their Customizer (which is very addictive, don't say I didn't warn ya!).

I'd been looking at their Performance Tweed fabrics for awhile, contemplating which color to get. Then they came out with the Aubergine color, which put me into a bit of a frenzy. Then in November they had a one-day-only 1/2 off sale. Sold!

Look how awesome it looks next to my (well-loved) Zero bag in Iris and pink!

I'm really looking forward to using my new Rickshaw Zero bag!  Thanks for another amazing bag Rickshaw!  Love ya!

2012 Moleskine Monthly Notebook

Huge thanks to my mom for getting me the 2012 Moleskine Monthly Notebook for Christmas!!!  I wanted one of these last year but by the time I got around to ordering one, they were tragically sold out. So I've spent the past year pining for one lamenting what could have been looking forward to trying it out this year!

The Moleskine Monthly Notebook is a monthly planner only, no weekly views. It has all the usual Moleskine features including the international information, ivory paper, placemarker and pocket in the back. It comes in Pocket, Large and Extra Large sizes. Mine is the Large size, approximately 5 by 8 1/2 inches.

The Monthly Notebook only comes with the soft cover in black. I had formerly shunned all Moleskine soft covers on principle. I wanted the durability of the hard cover. But I have to say, I'm loving the soft cover, especially in such a slim book. It makes the book very lightweight and slim, so it easily goes everywhere with me in my bag.  And it feels nice in my hands.  Cover Win!

The planner has a few different types of monthly planners. Side by side reference calendars for this year and next year, very handy:

Months as columns for all of the current year, 4 months to view:
And months as columns for all of next year:
The meat of the planner is month on two pages grid calendars for all of the current year (shown at the top of this post), with a two-page spread of lined note pages between each month:

I use these notes pages for that month's goals, specific things I need to do that month (like vaccine boosters, insurance or magazine renewals, etc), and monthly reviews.

Then after December there are 53 lined pages for notes. Even if you use a two-page spread after December like the rest of the months, that still gives you 51 notes pages, which is enough for one page per week of the entire year (minus one week, and there's sure to be a week of vacation in there somewhere when you won't need an entire page that week).

So here's how I'm using it:

I use the monthly columns for overviews, which is extremely useful to see long-range plans like school holidays and travel. 

I use the month on two page calendars for all appointments, activities, bills due and paid, holidays, birthdays, and any other scheduled details.

Like I said above, I use the two-page spread between the months for monthly specifics. I'll use a notes page per week for my weekly lists and to-dos, notes and whatever else.  I'm not too structured about how I use these notes pages, I love the flexibility of the unformatted pages.

I love the stripped-down simplicity of this monthly planner. The monthly grids are completely uncluttered, so anything I write is very visible. I can use the notes pages in any way I need to at the time, there's no set way to use it.

I'm using this Monthly Notebook as an accompaniment to my day per page diary, which keeps my daily to-do lists and details. So I use my Monthly for the overview and Daily for the specifics.

Because the monthly pages are smack in the middle of the book, it took a little flipping of pages to locate whatever month I was looking for. So I used a Sharpie marker to indicate the edges of each month's pages, running down the edges (as I have done in my day per page diaries *1* *2* *3* years in a row now).  Now I can go directly to the month I'm looking for!

Also as I like to do in my day per page diary, I had my kids decorate some of the pages for me. There are so many notes pages, I wasn't at all worried about them using up too many pages. I handed them the book and asked them not to draw on any of the pages with squares (the monthly calendars themselves) and let them have at it. The result, as always, is that now I have original art from my children in my planner, which makes me absolutely cherish it!
"Our house and Christmas tree"

"Walking through the snowy forest"

I am loving this system. The monthly notebook is a great companion to my pocket daily.  It's excellent for monthly and longer-range planning, lists and notes while my daily book plans and records each day's details. They are both light and portable so they go together easily in my bag.

My mom liked this planner so much she ordered one for herself too!

Thanks again Mommy for getting me this planner! I hope this gives you some ideas on how to use yours. Love you!!

Thursday, January 12, 2012

What I'm currently using: Why oh why??

Some of you may have noticed in my What I'm Currently Using page (in the sidebar) that I've switched things up a little.

At the moment, I'm not using my Organised Mum Life Book. Some of you have expressed shock that I've abandoned the planner that I was loving so much! And to be completely honest I'm surprised myself, because I absolutely love the Life Book. I love it.

But over the past couple of months I found myself using it less and less. It's too big to carry with me everywhere so it sits on my desk next to my computer. My day per page planner goes everywhere with me and is my main planner with all my daily details, so my Org Mum was more like a worksheet to see the weeks and months mapped out. I wrote my weekly lists on the weekly pages along with appointments and meal planning.  It works really well. When I use it, that is.

But as I wrote less and less in it I realized that I wrote so little into the daily spaces each week, I could get away with just a monthly view rather than weekly.

My mom gave me a Moleskine Monthly Notebook for Christmas (click here for review), which I've been wanting to try with my daily book for a long time. Monthly views, and pages for notes and lists. Sheer simplicity.

And to further explain my planner changeup, here's what's going on with my life right now. We might be doing yet another international move this summer...or not...or we might stay an additional year here...or not!  As you might imagine, the uncertainty of possible major life changes is making me anxious and I'm looking for a way to feel more in control.

The massive benefit of my Moleskine Monthly Notebook is that it's small and slim so it goes in my bag with me everywhere.  So when I'm out and about and think of something else to add to my lists or longer-range planning I can capture it directly and not have to try to remember to write it into my book when I get home.

Don't get me wrong, I still adore my OM. I might go back to it (you know how I am). Once things are settled I might start using it again, I can totally see myself doing that.  But for now I'm trying out the portability of the Monthly Notebook. When you read my review of it you'll see lots of reasons why I like it.

Will I stay with my Monthly Notebook? Will I go back to the Organised Mum Life Book that I love so much? Will I switch to something completely different?  Only time will tell, so stay tuned!

Planner Tally 2011

2011 was another year of switching around in lots of different planners. Here is what I used:

I started 2011 determined to choose one planner that I would use all year by the end of January. That was the plan, at least.  I was very excited to experiment with the WeekDate planner, and a slight tweak of the Moleskine vertical weekly planner.

Then in mid-January my life was completely upended when I found out we would be moving from Scotland to Indonesia in just 2 months. All my goals and plans for the year were suddenly thrown out the window, and I had yet another international move to prepare for.  As I tend to do in these situations, I went for the comfort factor of my Filofax.

When the moving preparations really geared up, I turned to my pocket size daily Moleskine diary, because I was able to carry it around in my pocket to write down all the millions of little details I had to do to prepare for our move before they escaped my scattered and stressed-out brain.

During our moving preparations we all had to get a million vaccines before moving to Indonesia. While scheduling dozens of vaccines over a 6 week period, I realized all this scheduling would be much easier in a weekly planner with days as vertical columns, so I moved over into my Quo Vadis Minister Habana.  This planner got me through my move with my sanity (mostly) intact.

Shortly after my move to Indonesia my real planner crisis began as I tried to figure out what would best fit my new life. I was chomping at the bit to use my new A5 Filofax Domino in the gorgeous Ultraviolet color, so I busted that out. Despite a few attempts, I soon abandoned it because it was just too big and heavy to carry everywhere.

At this point I only had my luggage, and my shipment with a variety of planners would not arrive for more than a month (despite the shipping company's "less than a week" promise). Nothing like having a planner crisis with no planners available! Also considering it was April, which is the Planner Dry Season, I was stuck for planner options.

So I bought a notebook and made my own planner, which was pretty successful.  The day spaces were too small for everything I wanted to write, so I added in my pocket daily Moleskine for the daily details, and this worked well.

Then in June as I was struggling to settle into my new house and new life, I struggled with what planner to use.  After a couple of scary medical incidents, I realized I had to have my Filofax with me at all times with our medical information in it.  With my Filofax as my information book, I tried various planner combinations including going back to my self-made planner and then to my WeekDate, while using my daily pocket Moleskine as my log book.

In July I used the Women's Success Planner, which has loads of goal-setting tips and household reminders. It's very comprehensive and I was very excited to use it.

Then when school started in August I switched to my Extra Large 18 month Moleskine weekly notebook, because I needed the massive amounts of writing space and because I'd been gagging to use it ever since I ordered it back in early March.

The XL turned out to be just too big and heavy to carry all the time in my bag, and I had a planner crisis. On the advice of my sister I turned to the Quo Vadis Trinote, which is the planner that saw me through my move to Scotland. 

Then in October I moved over into my 2011 Organised Mum Life Book, because it's what I was using exactly a year before in Scotland and I was feeling nostalgic. I used my pocket daily Moleskine along with it and this sytem worked so well that I bought the 2012 Organised Mum Life Book and continued to use this setup for the rest of the year.

I've left out a couple of short-term switchings-around, and I haven't even bothered to count up this total because, wow. It's a lot.

At this point, who can even speculate what I'll use in 2012? 

Here is the reverse-chronology I posted on my What I'm Currently Using page, for more information on dates of use and why I used each thing:

October 17-December 31, 2011:  I was feeling nostalgic for my Organised Mum Life Book because it's what I was using about this time last year in Scotland, so I got it back out again.  It runs Sept 2010 through the end of December 2011 so I can still use it now.  I LOVE the month on 2 pages calendars with the pages between the months for goals, notes and budgeting. I also love all the notes pages in the back for annual planning and goals. There's plenty of space at the sides of the weekly pages for my to-do lists, which I can categorize any way I want. The only thing I struggle with in this planner is the day spaces are a little small for me. I get around this by using my Pocket Daily Moleskine as my log book, as I have done for most of this year. I switched straight over to my 2012 Life Book diary (which goes from mid-August 2011 through the end of December 2012) when it arrived Nov 4. It has some excellent updates this year, which you can read all about in my review here.  I also treated myself to the purple faux leather cover which I love!

September 8-October 16: After a total Planner Breakdown, my ever-wise sister convinced me to go back to using the Quo Vadis Trinote, which worked so well for me last year. The XL Mole was just too big and heavy in my bag. The Trinote is much slimmer and lighter and more portable, and the days as (huge) columns give me plenty of room to write the multitudes of things I need to do each day.  The categorized list boxes alongside my weekly schedule allow me to see what I need to do and when I have time to do it.

August 17-Sept 7: When the school year began I discovered I needed the maximum writing space of my 2011-2012 Extra Large Moleskine Weekly Notebook.  On it I have my Dodo Pad Nubuck cover in Aqua. I use my WeekDate Wall calendar on my fridge to keep everyone's activities visible for the whole family.

(September 1-3: In an attempt to incorporate journaling into my daily life, I switched to my Large Moleskine day per page, which you can read about here. Predictably, the day per page didn't allow me to plan ahead so back to my XL Mole I went.)

July 6-August 16: Woman's Success Planner (www.thesuccesschoice.com) with daily Moleskine as logbook

June 21- July 5: WeekDate planner with daily Moleskine as logbook.

June 13-21   Back to self-made planner with daily Moleskine as logbook.

June 4-12  Filofax as information book and daily Moleskine as logbook.

April 10-June 3: Self-made planner in Daycraft Signature sketchbook.  See my May 21 update of how I'm also using my Moleskine daily pocket planner along with it.

April 2- 9: A5 Domino Filofax (in the new Ultra Violet color) with the Quo Vadis Timer 21 inserts sent to me by Steve!

February 21- April 1: Quo Vadis Minister Habana weekly planner, with monthly calendars taped into the pages and a slim Moleskine address booklet in the back pocket.

February 1-20: Moleskine pocket size day per page.

January 16-31: Week on 2 pages in Filofax Deco.

January 8-15: Self-Made planner in Moleskine notebook.
(Concurrently "Calling the Dog")
January 8-15: WeekDate planner.

January 1-7: Moleskine large vertical weekly planner.

Wednesday, January 11, 2012

Guest review: Moleskine Taskmaster planner

Enormous thanks to Mstraat who graciously offered to review the 2012 Moleskine Taskmaster weekly planner. I've been very curious about this planner, so I really appreciate this review!!  Here's Mstraat with the glorious details:

I’d like to start by thanking Laurie and the folks at Jenni Bick for the embossed 2012 large daily Moleskine I won in the plannerisms.com giveaway. Of course I subsequently had to view every item on the moleskineandmore.com site and as a result came across something I have needed at work: a planner that has some space for appointments but, more importantly, lots and lots of space for lists. Here is a tour of the Moleskine Professional 2012 Taskmaster Planner – X Large.

The Taskmaster is the usual Moleskine X-Large size of 7.5 x 10 inches (19.5 x 25.4 cm). It is hardcover and so should be sturdy though that adds a bit to the weight, which is 1.5 pounds (680 gm) according to my kitchen scale. By comparison, the daily large Moleskine weighs in at 1.25 pounds, so it isn’t much heavier. It is not quite so thick as the daily one.
Many of the features are the same as in other Moleskine products; ivory colored paper that is fairly thin so you’ll need to be careful what pen is used; “in case of loss” inside the front, followed by pages for personal data yearly overviews for 2012 and 2013; month on one page grids for 2012, a space at the bottom of each page for notes; international holidays; one page for travel planning and one for travels memo; time zones, international airport and flight duration listings; conversions and clothing sizes; and two blank pages with legend.

The weekly pages are a vertical layout, with the date and days across the top as well as indications for international holidays and moon phases.

You can see in the photo of the left side page that there are times for appointments, one line per half hour but printed hourly, with a blank space midday.

On the right side notice that Saturday and Sunday share the column with no times printed to the lines, and that at the bottom there is a small calendar for current and following month. At the bottom side left the week number is printed, and the month on the right.

So far this is pretty mundane planner stuff, but the page following the weekly calendar is what made my heart beat faster!

Look at all the space for lists! One of the features I like in a planner is the ability to use space as I want without needing to white out pre-printed titles. The left side page has the week’s dates and month at the top with lots of blank space, then two sets of lines with a blank space between. The lines are arranged as four columns with tick boxes at the left side of each and a slight break in the center of the lines, but the boxes are faint enough to write clear across the lines if you prefer.

The right hand side has “actions and projects” printed at the top, again with blank space.

There are two sets of lines that extend across the page with a blank space in the center. At the left of each line is a tick box and two dots at the right to use for your own follow up markings.

There is a set of these pages following each week, and I can imagine all sorts of ways to use them. To do lists could be arranged by day, week or project. Project and action lists could be located behind the appropriate date. There is room for agenda item notes or meeting follow up lists. . . Maybe you can tell I completely fell under the Taskmaster’s spell. To finish up, as in other Moleskine planners there are seven blank pages for notes at the back of the Taskmaster, as well as the inner pocket and indexed address book.

I do want to add that the Jenni Bick folks are most helpful. They were quite prompt in answering my email queries about the Taskmaster and even with time for embossing it arrived quickly. The embossing they do is beautiful, as you can see:

and they repackage the Moleskines with the original label—and a free gift! I received a leather bookmark with one planner and a key fob with the other. I am anxious to begin using the Taskmaster and will update you on how it has worked out for me after I have used it a bit. Thanks to Laurie for letting me share this review!

Thanks again so much to Mstraat for this excellent and thorough review!!

2013 Moleskine planners, wow!!!!

I just found the new Moleskine catalog with the 2013 planners!  Woo hoo!!


There are some seriously exciting things in there!

I have already pre-ordered from Amazon some of the 2013 Star Wars planners (!!!) and the Passions Family diary.  I'm also very pleased to see there are finally colored planners in the large size!

One thing that did upset me a lot though is I see the 2-year planner with vertical months (with a line per day) is back in the 2013 planners. This means they have done away with my beloved monthly grid calendars. This might be a dealbreaker for me. I absolutely must see my months as grids. I will get the monthly notebook to go along with my planner (maybe this is what they have in mind to sell more planners) but it won't be the same as having the months in my daily book.

Some other things I found in the new catalog that look cool are the postal notebooks and cards!

What looks exciting to you in the upcoming new Moleskine lineup?

Monday, January 9, 2012

Using your planner to set and achieve your goals

Now's the time of year when many of us are thinking about our goals for the upcoming year.

I love goal-setting tips, and I especially love to think of ways to use a planner to set and reach goals. Here are some posts I've written about using your planner to set and achieve your goals:

I wrote this post on Philofaxy a couple of months ago on using a Filofax for goal-setting, but it can be used with just about any planner/ notebook setup.  It has a lot of general tips on how to set goals, track progress, document your efforts and what to do when you've reached your goal:

Setting goals with your Filofax

Below is a post that links to an article I read that explains how to set achievable goals, and the importance of tracking your goals and recognizing your benchmarks along the way. It also finally explains the flaws of many self-help books!

Secrets for Success

Here's a post I wrote awhile back about incorporating daily goals into my planner, with a link to Travis the Trout's excellent series on Goals journals:

Daily Goals

Goal-setting usually makes me think of Uncalendar planners (www.uncalendar.com), because they are designed to help you set your goals and then incorporate them into your daily schedule.  See more about that in these posts:

Do you Uncalendar?  (an explanation of the Uncalendar system featuring the Full Size Uncalendar.)

Uncalendar Half-Size review

Time for new goals!  (How I used my Half-Size Uncalendar as my goals workbook.)

And don't miss the Uncalendar Training Room which is free to all and full of goal-setting and life management advice.

Do you use your planner to set and track your goals? Do you have any new goals for 2012? Please post a comment! :)

Back online!

Hi everyone, I'm back from my wonderful vacation in Scotland!  I'm currently working my way through replies (and struggling with jet lag) so if you are waiting to hear back from me please give me a few days.

There's lots of excitement coming up here on Plannerisms, so stay tuned!

Sunday, January 1, 2012

Happy New Year!

Have you made any resolutions for 2012? Are you using a new planner/ diary this year?

All the best to you in 2012!