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Friday, August 30, 2013

2014 Quo Vadis Journal 21 day per page planner WORLDWIDE GIVEAWAY!!

This giveaway is now closed. Please check tomorrow's post to see who won!

Here is your chance to win a 2014 Quo Vadis Journal 21 day per page planner! Steve has very generously offered to give away his (unused) 2014 Journal 21 which he reviewed in a guest post here on Plannerisms (click here to see).

The Journal 21 is 5 1/4 by 8 1/4 inches (14 by 21 cm), has a blue refillable cover, day per page format with monthly calendars, and super-smooth 72 gsm paper. I did a review of the Journal 21 with loads of photos of the pages and features, click here to see more details of this excellent day per page planner.


Steve will ship to the winner anywhere in the world! Thank you Steve!!!

1. To enter, submit a comment here on this post. Your comment is your entry. Only one entry per person please.

2. Entries will close at 6 pm London time on Monday September 9. Any entries posted after that time will not be counted.

3. The winner will be determined via Random.org.

4. The winner will be announced here on Plannerisms on Tuesday September 10.

5. The winner will email me your shipping address to Laurie at Plannerisms dot com. If I do not receive an email from the winner by Friday September 14, a new winner will be determined.

6. I will forward your shipping address to Steve, who will send you your prize!

Spread the word! Good luck everyone!

Wednesday, August 28, 2013

reecovid kickstarter and DIY custom inserts

reecovid is relaunching their product range, with exciting new products in the works including DIY custom inserts! Read on!

You might remember my review of the reecovid notebook from a few years back (and if you don't, you can click here to read it).  reecovid products are free from animal products, including animal glue, and are made from recycled materials. 

In addition to their current range of notebooks, there are also plans for faux-suede microfiber covers in a variety of colors, and DIY printable inserts!

Click here to read the reecovid kickstarter page.

Here's how the reecovid DIY inserts will be different from other currently available downloads:

Ours will be on more of a commercial / professional level, but with less manual labour involved for the people (let’s call them users) creating them.
  • Firstly we're planning on providing cloud based editable (personalised) templates only, so there's no need to download and save files to your desktop. We’ll offer these at a small fee and offer some static ones for free.
  • Because it's cloud based, it means it can be accessed from anywhere online.
  • The software (or application) will be user friendly / intuitive and by creating an account on the website, users will be able to log in and see their existing files, so all that's required is to either tweak their previous design, or generate a new one.
  • Users will be able to design the front pages and the software will automatically duplicate the following pages.
  • They’ll be able to easily drag and drop boxes around on the screen to where they want certain items to be, or edit or delete items instead.
  • Once finished, the software will create a .pdf file for printing.
  • We'll then provide a range of recycled paper (already pre-cut and hole punched) for reecovid binders and eventually other brands like Filofax and Franklin Covey etc.
  • Ideally we'd like to tailor the templates to certain sectors and customise designs accordingly.
  • Users will be able to suggest designs and the more popular ones can be voted on via the forum for future consideration.
If the software is successful, we'll look to partner with retailers who offer an onsite plan and print service and they could stock the 'blank' pre-cut paper and then fulfill the print as well (if required).

I think the DIY inserts sound really cool and I'm excited about this relaunch! Please check out the website here and if you have any questions please direct them to the Ask A Question button at the bottom of the reecovid website.

Monday, August 26, 2013

Daycraft Signature Inspiro Notebook

Here is an excellent new notebook from Daycraft, the new Signature Inspiro Notebook. I love the Signature notebooks for their fantastic paper and their soft-touch covers. I used one as a self-drawn planner a couple of years ago and it was such a pleasure to use. So when Daycraft offered to send me one of these new notebooks to review I replied with an enthusiastic yes!

The Signature Inspiro Notebook line has inspiring quotes on the cover. This one is my favorite:

The caramel-colored soft Italian PU cover has coordinating duo-tone print. I love the contrasting purple page edges!

The end papers match the page edge color.

There's a color-matched ribbon bookmark too. The cream colored pages have amazing 100 gsm paper and 6.5 mm ruling. I don't have fountain pens so I can't do a FP test, but with my Uni-Ball Signo pens that often bleed through, there is absolutely no bleed through and you can hardly even tell there is any writing on the opposite page. There are 176 pages.

The notebook is A5 size (151 x 212 mm), here it is next to a Bic 4 color pen for size reference:
You can find the entire selection of Daycraft products at Daycraft.com.hk and they ship internationally. Don't be scared by the Hong Kong Dollars, if you check the exchange rate (I use XE.com) you'll see they are normal prices. For example this notebook is HK $136, which converts to approximately $17.55 USD, 11.25 GBP and 13 Euro.

Huge thanks to Daycraft for sending me this notebook to review!

Friday, August 23, 2013

Bullet Journal

Huge thanks to my friend Rori @rorirants for showing me the Bullet Journal! Apparently I live under a rock (and am obviously behind on my Life Hacker reading) because I hadn't heard of it yet. I love it! Thanks Rori!

If, like me, you hadn't heard of this before, go watch the short video here and check out the website bulletjournal.com. There's nothing for sale, it just shows you how you can turn any notebook into a planner/ journal/ listkeeper all in one. I'm a big fan of all-in-ones! Anyway, go check them out then come back so we can discuss.

The Bullet Journal system is elegantly simple yet allows you to capture, and access, an enormous amount of information.

Things I love about it:
  • How it grows organically. You use it as you need it, you can start it any time and there are no wasted pages. Whenever you need to write a list, you plop your list right down on the page. And there's unlimited space for lists!
  • When you need to sketch out your week, you make whatever weekly format works best for you (horizontal, week + notes, vertical columns, family grid etc.). In fact, you can use a different format each week if you want to, whatever works best for you that week.
  • As I mentioned before, I love that everything is in one book. Monthly planners, weekly breakdowns, daily records, journaling, lists, forward plans. There's only one book to grab when you need to look something up or write something down.
  • Because the pages are numbered and indexed, you can find information easily. Because you index events into the monthly calendar, those are easily referenced too. And because it's in a bound book, archiving is a breeze.
  • You can use an A5/ 5 1/2 by 8 1/2 inch notebook, which is slimmer than a day per page or ring binder version, write as much as you want every day, and still avoid that huge planner craziness I talked about yesterday.

Tweaks I would make, your mileage may vary:
  • This works well as a catch-all capture device, but not so well for planning beyond the current month. To do that you'd have to have a master calendar either electronically or on paper to transfer things into your notebook each month for monthly planning. Something you could do though is just write your whole year's worth of monthly pages (or more, if you like further planning) into the front of your notebook and use that as your master calendar rather than just going month by month.
  • Transferring undone tasks month by month wouldn't work for me, I have to do that week by week. Small tweak though.
  • Personally I would start the Index page in the very back of the notebook, that way if the Index takes up more than one page you don't have to worry about it. When the content meets the Index back pages,  the notebook is full and it's time to start a new one!
***Edited because I meant to add: in the video he uses a squared Moleskine, but Leuchtturm notebooks have better paper and the pages are already numbered with Index pages already at the front of the book so that eliminates those steps for you. 
What about you? Have you tried the Bullet Journal or similar system? How did/ does it work for you?

Thursday, August 22, 2013

Large planner = crazy?

In the past when I've used a very large planner, I felt crazy pulling it out in front of people. This was one of the reasons why I stopped using my Extra Large Moleskine planner a couple of years ago, and same with my A5 Filofax binder too.

Interestingly, it's less about feeling like people are judging me for having such a big planner. It's more about feeling self-conscious about it. My life is really not that complicated. What's wrong with me that I feel like I need such a huge planner?

And to be honest, flipping expansive pages in a gigantic book in public to write in an appointment just made me feel nuts.

Now I don't carry a huge planner. My day per page A5 is pretty big, but it's well within the limits of sane-sized planners. And my weekly Plannerisms planner is very normal-sized and slim, no craziness there.

In recent conversations I've heard from other people who feel crazy using a too-big planner in public. Do you feel slightly nuts when you whip out your massive planner in front of other people? Or do you figure, hey, whatever works?

Tuesday, August 20, 2013

Poll results: Do you carry your planner with you everywhere?

I was really surprised by some of these results!

Yes, I always carry my planner with me. (Please comment on the corresponding post to tell us what planner you use!)
  98 (45%)
I carry my planner with me most of the time, but not always.
  69 (32%)
I only carry my planner with me when I know I'll need to use it when I'm out.
  32 (14%)
I never carry my planner.
  9 (4%)
I capture things on my phone while I'm out and transfer it to my planner later.
  21 (9%)

Total votes: 215 

In my associated post I had a lot of people comment that they carry their Filofax with them everywhere they go.  To me this is an ideal situation: one book that has everything you need that you can take with you everywhere.

I was most surprised that only 9 % of voters said they capture things on their phone and transfer it to their planner later. I thought this figure would be much higher!

This poll shows just how important a portable planner is. Many thanks to everyone who participated!

Monday, August 19, 2013

Plannerisms backlog

Hi everybody! I've been on a bit of a hiatus as the summer break winds down. School is starting now and I have a backlog of posts lined up. Coming up are:

Guest posts! See how Tahlia turned her softcover planner into a hardcover one! Plus how to effectively use an Uncalendar planner.

New product reviews! Really cool products out now.

A Quo Vadis giveaway! Don't miss this one!

And of course the launch of the 2014 Plannerisms planners, coming very soon!

So stay tuned here to Plannerisms! Lots of good stuff coming soon. :)

Friday, August 9, 2013

Keeping Kids Organized

Someone asked me to write this post a few months ago but I decided to save it until back-to-school time to give parents some ideas on how to keep kids organized during the school year.

My kids are in early elementary school and these methods allow them to do things for themselves so I don't have to do it all for them. It takes a load off me, and teaches them independence and personal responsibility. Mainly it takes a load off me!

Checklists. I'm a big fan of checklists, not only for my kids but also (and especially) for myself. I can't follow routines, they feel restrictive to me so I use checklists instead. My kids have responded really well to checklists. Instead of nagging them constantly about what needs to be done, I just remind them to check their lists and "do it 'till it's done!"

My kids have several checklists, which I print out and post in prominent places.  Inside the back door where we go to and from the car are their Before School and After School checklists.

The Before School checklist has all the stuff they need to bring with them to school:
  • backpack
  • lunchbox or lunch ticket
  • snack
  • water bottle
  • homework folder with homework in it
  • school sweatshirt

The After School checklist is what they need to do when they get home from school:
  • Change clothes
  • Empty lunchbox
  • Homework folder to Mama for papers
  • Do homework
  • Pack finished homework into homework folder and into backpack
A funny story about Empty Lunchbox on the list above: when someone doesn't empty their lunchbox and the plasticware is left in it overnight, we call that "Lunchbox Fail." When someone experiences Lunchbox Fail, they have to take the Lunchbox Of Shame (which is a little-girl fairy lunchbox my daughter used when she was 5 but is way too cool for now!). I've never actually made them take the Lunchbox Of Shame, but it makes it fun to crow, "Lunchbox Fail! You have to take the Lunchbox Of Shame!" Just the idea of showing up at lunch with a fairy lunchbox is incentive to empty their lunchbox when they're supposed to!

My kids wear uniforms to school, which makes it easier for everyone in my opinion. There's never any question of what's okay to wear to school, no decisions over what to wear. Just put it on and go. But, it has to be clean. Since we don't have a dryer, anything dirty has to be washed the night before so it has time to dry on the radiators before school in the morning.

So, I have a Clothes Checklist that goes on their bedroom door, and they have to lay out ALL their clothes the night before so if they need anything washed there's time for it to be washed and dry by morning.

Here is the Clothes Checklist:
  • Shirt
  • Trousers or Skirt
  • Socks or Tights
  • Underwear
  • Sweatshirt

The sweatshirt is usually the problematic item. It's a school logo item and we only have a few. They usually end up at the bottom of the backpack by the end of the day so it's often forgotten about. If it got gunged with yogurt or streaked with paint it's a nasty surprise in the morning. So I have them lay it out the night before with the rest of their clothes so it can get washed if needed.

White board. Something I started using this summer that we all really like is a white board in the kitchen showing what today's schedule is. At the top I write "Today is" and the day and date. Especially during the summer when it's easy to lose track of what day it is, this has been extremely helpful. Knowing the day's schedule at the beginning of the day helps my kiddos know what to expect. If there are after-school activities or specific things going on that day they are ready for them.

Tote bags. Something else that has helped us all enormously are designated tote bags.  My daughter's dance gear stays in her dance tote bag, so when it's dance day I just grab the bag and go. When her uniform gets washed, it goes straight back in the bag. Hairbands and pins, extra tights, and whatever else she needs stays in there all the time. When it's time to pay for class, I write the check and put it and the payment form into the dance bag, so next time we go it's already with us. We have equivalent tote bags for music and sports. They never get unloaded, everything we need stays in those bags so we can just grab them and go!

What else has helped you keep your kids organized? Please share!

Wednesday, August 7, 2013

Planners for ADD/ ADHD

I don't have ADD/ ADHD (or if I do, I've never been diagnosed) but I do often have trouble working on multiple projects at once. I prefer to focus on one thing at a time, which isn't easy in our fast-paced multi-media world. So anything that helps me keep track of everything at once is a very good thing.

I do have several friends with ADHD and I know they have a hard time finding planners that help them focus on their priorities. It seems to me the key is finding the right balance of structure without being overwhelming. So I thought I'd make a list of planners that I have used and/ or reviewed that I think might be helpful for ADD/ ADHD. I'd also love your feedback on what planners you think are helpful.

There are many Customer Comments on Uncalendar.com from people who have ADHD who have found the Uncalendar planners to be very helpful. You can see my reviews of the Full-Size Uncalendar planner here and the Half-Size Uncalendar planner here.

A Planner Pad (www.plannerpads.com) might be useful to get everything out in front of you, then prioritize daily tasks. Their funnel-down system helps you decide what needs to be done each day. You can see my Planner Pad review here.

I have several friends with ADHD who have had varying levels of success with the Franklin Covey system. I've done a few posts and had some guest posts here on Franklin Covey systems. Patty at HomeMakersDaily.com has used Franklin Covey systems for most of 20 years and has loads of great posts in her Time Management posts.

The Women's Success Planner from TheSuccessChoice.com might be great for women with ADD. It's extremely comprehensive with space for monthly and weekly goals, daily trackers for water and fruit/veg intake, exercise and meds, monthly and weekly lists of what household chores need to be done, and pages for weekly and monthly reviews, notes, and plenty of schedule space. You can see my review of the Women's Success Planner here.

My Plannerisms planner would be great for folks with ADD also. I like that I can see everything on my weekly page: task lists, schedule, and daily goals to check off. The big month calendars give me a great overview of what's coming up, and the annual, quarterly and monthly goal pages keep me on track. Click the links in the sidebar for more information on the features and how customers are using their Plannerisms planners. The 2013 Plannerisms planners are still available, just email me to order. (Laurie at Plannerisms dot com) And the 2014's are due out soon!

Do you have ADD/ ADHD? What are your planner challenges? What planner(s) have you found to be helpful?

Monday, August 5, 2013

Poll: Do you carry your planner with you everywhere?

Ideally, everyone's planner would be small enough to carry everywhere so we're always ready to capture appointments and events no matter where we are.

But in the real world that doesn't always work. Especially those of us who like to use a large planner don't always want to carry it all the time.

I use two planners, a weekly and a daily, and I don't carry them everywhere. Usually I carry my daily to capture details on the go, but it's a large heavy daily book so there are definitely times when I don't carry it. I do take my weekly planner along when I know I'll need to schedule something, but most of the time it stays home. This isn't an ideal situation and sometimes I do get caught out without my planner when I need to check a date or write something down. But I like large pages, which equals a large book which is less portable. I'm still trying to figure out a better situation.

What about you? Do you carry your planner with you absolutely everywhere? (And if so, what planner do you use that you don't mind carrying it?)  Do you carry your planner most of the time but not always? Do you only carry it when you know you'll need it while you're out? Do you never carry your planner? Or, do you capture things on your phone while you're out and transfer it to your planner later?

Please vote in the poll in the sidebar!

Saturday, August 3, 2013

Too much planner-ing? Or not enough?

I go through cycles with my planner system. For awhile, my system gets more and more complicated in an effort to be "organized."  I write down all my tasks, household chores, daily and weekly goals, and everything I think I SHOULD be doing.

Then after awhile I get bogged down in "shoulds." I get to the point where I look at my to-do list and think, I really don't want to do any of that. If I notice something that needs done that isn't on my list, I have a dilemma. Which task has higher priority? Ugh.

So then I rebel and decide I want a simple, streamlined system. I shouldn't need to write EVERYTHING down, right? My husband often encourages me to "think outside the book." He doesn't even use a planner, and probably doesn't quite understand my reliance on them.

I agree I do need to live outside my planner more. Often I spend too much time messing with my planner system and not enough time doing things that I want to do (like read a book). But it's a delicate balance between too much and not enough. If I don't use my planner enough, I get that awful feeling of not knowing what I should be doing. If I use it too much, I get that aforementioned bogging-down.

Planner systems can be streamlined and minimalist, like a basic weekly planner, or very complicated with systems to keep up with. I need something in the middle: structured yet flexible. If my planner is too much work to keep up with, I dump it. If it's too unstructured, it's not functional enough for me.

Do you prefer simple and basic, very structured systems, or something in between? Or, like me, do you cycle through complicated to basic and back?

Friday, August 2, 2013

2014 Plannerisms planners available soon!

Many thanks to everyone who has asked when the 2014 Plannerisms planners will be available, they will be out later this month! I'm so excited for the new ones to come out! 

There will be a couple of small changes to the 2014's based on customer feedback: the booklet in the back pocket will be a Notes booklet instead of addresses, and the monthly goals pages will be before the corresponding month instead of after.

I'll post a huge announcement here on Plannerisms and on Facebook and Twitter when the 2014's are available, with all the ordering details.

Meanwhile the 2013 Plannerisms planners are still available for a short time. They are discounted, with a total cost of $24 which includes worldwide shipping. If you would like to order one, email me at Laurie at Plannerisms dot com and I'll put you in touch with the order processing folks.

Watch this space for more information soon!