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Friday, November 29, 2013

My 3-part indexing system in my notebook

This originally was part of my post on the 2014 Star Wars notebooks, but the indexing part got so big I decided to take it out into a separate post so it was more easily referenced.

This is the notebook I will use first in 2014 as my daily records, lists and notes. It is the Moleskine 2014 Star Wars notebook, large unlined with Yoda's quote. You can see more details of this specific notebook in my review post. But my indexing systems can be used in any notebook or Filofax.


I'm planning to use it as a sort of Bullet Journal. First I numbered all the pages:

Monthly Index:

At the beginning of the book I labeled pages for January through June, with a two-page spread for each month. (I figure it will take me six months or less to fill this notebook.)
This will be my monthly index where I will index events from my daily pages, which I will start right after the months and work from the front. So for example on my daily page I would write that my son's tooth fell out, and on that month's page at the front of the book I would write the date and that his tooth fell out that day. That way I'll be able to reference events easily.

Index pages at the back of the book:

At the back of the book I labeled several pages for my Index, where I will reference information like lists and non-day-specific notes (which I will write in the back of the book). For example I will write which page my household maintenance list is on. That way I can find information easily.
So my daily pages will start from the front of the book, and my lists and non-day-specific notes will start from the back. When they meet in the middle, the notebook is full!

At first I was disappointed that Yoda was only available unlined, but now that I have it I think I will enjoy the freedom of open, unlined pages.

Color-coded index:

I used an undated notebook for about a month in October and while I liked the freedom, by the end of the month it was starting to turn into a jumbled mess despite my index system. Looking through the notes and lists pages I discovered I had a limited number of specific topics: home, blogs, Plannerisms planners work, kids, personal, job search etc.  I am tempted to switch to a Filofax with tabbed pages, but I do want the permanence of bound pages especially for my daily record. So I will incorporate a version of DIY Fish's genius color-coded index for my topics so I can easily find related pages in my book. You can see the details of DIY Fish's color index system in her guest post she did awhile ago here on Plannerisms, click here to see.

Once I had this idea, I couldn't wait to set up the color-coding index! Here are some quick photos (sorry for the poor image quality taken hastily in my sunny windowsill):

On the back and front endpapers I wrote my index code: purple for me, pink for my daughter, orange for my son, light blue for my husband, green for financial/ home/ car, dark blue for my blogs and planner/ notebook stuff, black for the publisher of my Plannerisms planners.
So for example, when I make lists of weights of notebooks and planners, those pages will be tagged with a dark blue square at the edge of the page. When I write my notes on updates for the 2015 Plannerisms planners, those pages will be tagged with a black square.
 You can see the colors at the edges of the pages.
I'll match the location of the colored squares on my written pages too, for easy indexing. Within my written pages, I'll use that corresponding color to circle or underline the referenced information. That way if I have a lot of different topics (on my daily page for example) I can find each referenced bit of information easily. This also allows me to write in whatever color pen I have with me, and use my color references later when I index my pages.

I have specifically not used red yet, and am saving it for something important. I might decide to use it for very important things in general, or if a topic comes up that specifically needs red I'll use it for that.

Running 3 types of index systems simultaneously (dates, page numbers and colors) will be an interesting experiment to see which is most useful to me.

***Update January 27, 2014: I've been using this notebook for almost 2 solid months now, and it's 3/4 full. Here's how I'm using each individual indexing type:

Colors: I stopped doing the color-coding at the page edges after just a few days, it was too much to keep up on. However I do use colors on the pages by circling things relevant to my kids in "their" colors. That way I can find things relevant to them easily.

Page numbers and Index pages: I haven't been using the Index pages in the back of the book at all, and stopped writing in them after about 3 weeks. I have my daily record starting from the front of the book and my lists from the back, so it's easier to just page through and find what I'm looking for than it is to look it up in the index. I do like the numbered pages though, because I reference them within the book. For example "see list pg 38" or "see phone number pg 82" so I don't have to rewrite info within the book. I'll continue to number the pages in my future notebooks.

Monthly dated index at front of book: This is the only index I actually use. I will continue to do this, but in future notebooks I think I will draw grid calendars for the monthly index because it's easier for me to remember events spatially on the page with the month grid calendar.

**Updated again:  I made a monthly booklet that I put in the back pocket of my notebook for my monthly dated index. It has 12 months of month-on-two-pages grid calendars where I write my daily index. I can move it from notebook to notebook as I fill each book, and still have the full year indexed in one booklet without having to re-draw grids every few months. You can see how I made this monthly booklet in this post.

I have really enjoyed having unlimited space to write each day. I usually use two pages for each weekday, with my schedule on the left page and the right page for notes and journaling. Saturday and Sunday usually only need one page each. I'm working on ways to add more structure to my pages. I'll keep you updated on my use as it evolves!

Free For All Friday No. 12: The Endless Dilemma, Ring Binder or Bound Book?

I know this is an issue many of us deal with, and after all these years I'm still torn between a ring binder or bound book. Not for my actual planner, which of course is my Plannerisms planner, but for my daily records and lists.

This year I'm using a dated day per page diary, and have decided to switch to something else next year for more freedom to write more than a page each day and to have space for my lists. I really like the permanence of a bound book, but I also like the flexibility of a ring binder!

Yesterday I posted about my new Star Wars Moleskine notebook I plan to use as my daily records and lists book. As much as I will enjoy the large pages and the permanence, I wonder if it will turn into a big jumble.

Add the fact that in the last couple of weeks I have bought two new Filofax binders: a personal Cuban Chili that I've had my eye on for ages, and an awesome personal Kendal from Kate (TPS)! Which of course gives me the urge to use one of my gorgeous new leather Filofaxes!

The bottom line is, which will work better for me: permanence in a bound book or the ability to have tabbed sections and remove irrelevant pages in a ring binder?  Keep in mind I'm juggling home, blogs, online work, kids, personal, bills/ financial, and possibly starting a new job in a couple of weeks!

So let's hear it from you: what system helps you keep it all straight when you have a lot of different roles to manage?

And as always on Fridays, feel free to discuss and/ or ask anything planner-related!

Thursday, November 28, 2013

Moleskine 2014 Star Wars notebooks!

I'm so excited about these!

I got the large Yoda notebook (blank pages) and the pocket size Han Solo notebook (lined pages).

Inside the front covers are character quotes and planet views:

Inside the back is another planet view, and in the pocket is an original movie poster!
More on these notebooks in a minute, first where did I get them? I ordered them directly from the Moleskine website. To get there I clicked through the ad in the sidebar on Philofaxy.com, which gave me a code for free shipping! Bonus!

Also Moleskine threw in a free Cahier pocket week per page planner. As far as I know these are not available for separate purchase this year, so it was a nice surprise.
 (Sorry for the rumpled overpage!)
 The week per page and pocket size make this very handy to go everywhere.

Now more about the notebooks! You might notice the 2014 Star Wars notebooks have the same covers as the 2013 Star Wars planners, which I reviewed here. I didn't buy the Darth Vader or Luke Skywalker notebooks, but those have the same covers as their 2013 planners too.
2013 planners on the left, 2014 notebooks on the right. Embellishment of the 2013 pocket diary courtesy of my daughter!

After much hemming and hawing over which notebook to use first in 2014, it became a non-issue when this notebook became available! I liked the 2013 Yoda weekly planner so much, but didn't use it because of course I used my Plannerisms planner this year. So when I saw there was a notebook, I grabbed it!
You can see details on how I will use this notebook as my daily record, lists and notes and my 3-part indexing system in it here.

Tuesday, November 26, 2013

2014 Plannerisms planners now shipping from Collins UK!!!

Great news!! The 2014 Plannerisms planners are now shipping worldwide from Collins UK!

Everyone who pre-ordered will be contacted soon (if you haven't been already) to process your payment. Your planners were set aside when you pre-ordered to make sure you get the color you want. And good thing too, because Black is already out of stock!!!

(Singapore still has some Black covers, so if you would like to order a black one email me at Laurie at Plannerisms dot com and I will forward you to Singapore for direct ordering.)

So don't wait, hurry to order your 2014 Plannerisms planner for yourself and as gifts, because they are going fast!

Click here for the Collins UK ordering website for worldwide delivery!

Friday, November 22, 2013

Free For All Friday No. 11: New Year Planner Freakout

2014 is rapidly approaching. Ok, hands up: who is freaking out a little bit about which planner/ system you'll use for the new year?

I'm set with my Plannerisms planner again for next year. But I change my mind hourly (or sometimes more frequently) about whether I'll use a day per page diary again as my daily capture device, or switch to an undated notebook.

What about you? Are you set for 2014 or still deciding? Will you use the same system you used this year or something different?

And as always on Fridays, feel free to discuss or ask anything planner related!

Thursday, November 21, 2013

2014 Plannerisms planners available in bookstores across Singapore!

Singapore folks, you can buy 2014 Plannerisms at bookstores islandwide! Here's where to find them:
  • Popular Bookstore
  • Prologue
  • UrbanWrite
  • Times Bookstore
  • Kinokuniya
  • NBC
  • And coming soon in Borders Singapore and in the Changi airport!!
I recommend phoning ahead to your bookstore before you go to make sure they have stock, because they are selling fast!

Wednesday, November 20, 2013

Ask Plannerisms: planners with menstrual calendars?

A reader emailed me yesterday to ask if I know of any planners that have a menstrual calendar. She mentioned the only one she knows of, the Slingshot Organizer, but it's not her style and she's on the search.

I personally don't know of any, which is strange when you think of how many planners are geared toward women either indirectly via color and/ or design, or specifically as mom planners etc.

In absence of designated menstrual calendars, I have found the following two types of calendars in planners to be useful:

The year-overview reference calendar with the days just as numbers:

And the year at a glance planner with the months as vertical columns.
These photos are both from my Plannerisms planner, but lots of other planners/ diaries have these types of calendars in them too.

I know Filofax used to make menstrual calendar inserts, but those went extinct along with lots of other inserts and forms they no longer make.

Does anyone know of a planner/ diary with a menstrual calendar?  Thanks for any info!

Monday, November 18, 2013

Plannerisms orders from Collins UK shipping next week!

Great news! The Plannerisms planner orders from Collins UK will begin shipping next week! You can pre-order now and your order will ship to you next week after their stocks arrive later this week.

UK and Europe folks will save money on shipping by ordering from the Collins UK website. Also, customers in the US and rest of the world can order from the Collins UK site too, if you would prefer to use a card for payment (as opposed to PayPal). Ordering from the Collins UK site is an equivalent total cost for the planners and shipping as is ordering directly from Singapore.

If you know what color cover you want, I highly recommend pre-ordering to make sure you get your preferred color quickly. Last year Collins sold out of the most popular colors very fast. This year they are carrying more stock, and you could always order from the publisher in Singapore if they do run out of the color you want, but it will be faster to pre-order and get your name on the color you want now!

***Update: Singapore is temporarily out of stock of the dark blue cover. More are on the way, but if you want the dark blue cover I recommend pre-ordering it from Collins UK to make sure you get one!

Click here for the Collins UK ordering site.

Click here for more information on the Plannerisms planner features and uses.

Friday, November 15, 2013

Free For All Friday No. 10: Planner Temptation Triggers

Planner Temptation is something that strikes us all. Whether we are perfectly happy with our setup or searching for something different, Planner Temptation can strike at any time. Anyone who has been reading my blog for awhile knows I frequently succumb to Planner Temptation!

Something that has helped me resist Planner Temptation is recognizing my triggers. For example, last Monday I went to the Philofaxy meetup at Filofax/ Letts and met Gordon Presly and Charles Letts. Learning more about their company and products definitely tempted me to try a Filofax again. And handling Nan's gorgeous Cuban Filofax and seeing how she uses it made me miss using my Buckingham (and made me want a Cuban too!).

For those of you who haven't followed my multiple-decade long saga with Filofax, I used a personal size Filofax successfully for many years until I decided I needed a larger page size. I tried the A5 Filofax multiple times but at nearly 2 1/2 pounds/ more than a kg it's too big and heavy to carry everywhere, so I switched to bound books to have the same page size in smaller, lighter books.

But often I get tempted back. This time I realized I went through this exact same temptation last year, on the Philofaxy Edinburgh meetup where I bought my Malden Filofax! I used it for awhile but it was too big and heavy to carry along with my Plannerisms weekly planner (which I absolutely must carry everywhere) so I switched back to a bound daily book instead.

Another Planner Temptation that happens every year is the desire for a Moleskine 18 month weekly notebook when they start in July. I bought one every year for several years in a row, despite knowing the day spaces are too small for my needs and my pens bleed through the paper. This year I finally managed to resist, because I knew my 2014 Plannerisms planners were coming out and I wouldn't use the weekly notebook at all. Planner Temptation successfully resisted!

I see a lot of people on Facebook saying they were happy with their system until they saw someone's post/ video about their Filofax/ Midori/ Arc/ etc. planner and now they are tempted to try it! Seeing someone else's success can be a big trigger, even when your current system is working just fine.

Can you identify your Planner Temptation triggers?

And as always on Fridays, feel free to discuss or ask about anything planner related!

Wednesday, November 13, 2013

November 4th Philofaxy meetup at Letts/ Filofax!!!

I was absolutely thrilled to visit the Filofax/ Letts office and factory in Dalkeith, Scotland last Monday, November 4th!! Steve did an excellent post on the visit on Philofaxy, so I’ll try not to duplicate what he has already written and add my own perspective.

It was wonderful to see Steve, Margaret Rennie (of WriteAtHome.co.uk) and Natalie (of TheYarnYard.co.uk) again, I met Margaret and Natalie last year at the Edinburgh meetup and have met with Steve several times now. I also got to meet Margaret-Ann for the first time, which was very nice. And, I was especially thrilled to finally get to meet Nan of Philofaxy, who had flown all the way over from the US!! I got to thank her in person for inviting me to be a contributing writer on Philofaxy after I had been a longtime fan and commenter!

I had no idea what to expect at the Letts office so imagine my thrilled surprise when we got to meet the Group Chief Executive himself, Gordon Presly! He spent a lot of time with us telling us about the company and its history, which was great to learn about. Steve covered this meeting in detail in his post so I won't duplicate it here.

After our meeting with Gordon Presly we had an excellent factory tour, guided by Scott the production manager. First he took us to the room where it all begins: gathering the data for holidays and special dates all over the world. It's a high-pressure job because you don't want to get any information wrong in the dated products! We also got to see the aluminum plates the diary pages are printed from.

When Scott led us into the production area and I saw all the pallets stacked with planners, I wanted to go skipping through the place! It was a diary dream come true!

Steve took more photos than I did, but here are the ones I managed to snap when I wasn’t busy asking questions and yapping about planners:

Planners as far as the eye can see!!!!

Machine that prints diary pages

Bound diary pages are printed on size A0 paper and cut

Uncut diary pages

Filofax pages are printed on rolls of paper

Rolls of printed paper, heat-fixing the ink

Filofax diary pages

Filofax diary pages

The machine that punches the holes in personal size Filofax pages!

Our tour guide and production manager, Scott
I was too busy gawking and asking questions but now I wish I'd taken photos of the page guilding process. Rolls of actual silver and gold leaf are heat-fixed to the page edges and the result is beautiful!

Also, Steve got a photo of the stacks of leather for covers. The leather is cut, prepared and stitched right there, and fixed to the bound diary pages. I really wanted one of those leather-cover diaries!

I didn't get any photos of Alan, the quality control guy but we had an excellent conversation with him about Filofax standards. He was very nice and answered all of our questions. Filofax has very strict quality control standards and random samples are checked, and if they are outside of specifications for any reason they are rejected!

The tour moved onward where we got to see finished diaries being readied for shipping:
A diary in English and Arabic!

Something else I wish I'd taken a photo of is the name-embossing of custom diaries. Letts makes custom diaries for loads of companies, with personal touches like custom maps, names embossed on the covers, and specialty pages. They were beautiful!

This is the photo I was taking when Steve took his photo of me taking a photo of diaries! I really liked the colors and smooth covers of these diaries.
These diaries really caught my eye!
I took a photo of the product code on the back hoping I could find these on the Letts website and order one, but I can't find it anywhere. :(

Our tour ended at the warehouse, where orders are held briefly before being shipped all over the world!
The warehouse!

An order being prepared for shipment

After our excellent tour we went back into the conference room where Gordon Presly met us again, along with Charles Letts, sales and marketing director of Letts diaries and 7th generation in the Letts family business! It was great to meet with him as well, and I’m afraid I interrogated them a little bit about their marketing strategies and products. I didn’t know before that Letts makes Paperchase and WH Smith brand diary products, which I found very interesting. I enjoyed hearing about emerging markets like Russia and the Middle East. (See photo above of the diary in Arabic, very exciting!) I want to apologize to my fellow Philofaxy folks for dominating the conversation at that point!

Natalie asked the questions everyone wanted to know: what do these two diary VIPs use themselves? Gordon Presley told us he has used an A5 Filofax (a Regency right now) for years. He described his planning system: monthly pages for the overview, each week he schedules his week, then he uses daily pages to focus on each day. He saves all his diary pages and has archives back for years and years! Charles Letts keeps things simple and portable with a mini week diary, changing the cover color every year.

Huge enormous thanks to Gordon Presley, Charles Letts, Scott, Alan and the entire staff at Letts/ Filofax for being so accommodating! We all had a wonderful time and learned a lot!

I really enjoyed seeing my Philofaxy friends and I wish we'd had more time together to chat and share. Next time!

Here is a parting shot for you:

Nan and Steve in front of the Welcome Philofaxy sign!

Friday, November 8, 2013

Free For All Friday No. 9: Point of Origin?

We all want to buy local, but is that even possible with planners?

I try to buy planners and notebooks that are made in the UK and USA whenever possible. But it's rare to find products that are made exclusively from materials in these countries.

One example: Monday I was extremely thrilled to go to a Philofaxy meetup at the Letts factory in Dalkeith, Scotland. I'll have a detailed post about it next week, it was fantastic!  I was very interested to see their on-site printing facility. I love that many (about 60% if I remember that detail correctly) of their diary products are printed and bound right here in Scotland. But their paper comes from elsewhere in Europe, and they ship diary products all over the world. So they aren't completely local.

Another example: Quo Vadis planners are printed in the US. But their paper comes from France and the covers are made in Canada. They use very strict environmental policies, which is excellent, but there is still international shipping involved.

Another example: my own planner is printed and bound in Singapore using paper from Japan, and shipped all over the world.

As wonderful as it would be to buy a planner/ diary that was made entirely from (relatively)  local materials, I wonder if it exists anywhere? Does anyone know of a planner or notebook brand where all the materials are from one country?

One thing that I do appreciate no matter where the raw materials come from is that these companies are keeping jobs in Scotland/ UK/ USA when it would probably be cheaper to outsource them somewhere else. Many of the employees at Letts have worked there for decades, and I really appreciate that they are still able to keep their jobs.

Does it matter to you where your planner/ diary and notebooks are made?

And as always on Fridays, feel free to discuss, ask questions about, or generally chat about anything planner-related!

Wednesday, November 6, 2013

Ask Plannerisms

As we all know, I have a lot of experience with planners. I've tried loads of different brands, formats and sizes of planners. I haven't tried all the planners in the world, but I have tried a lot!

So if you have any planner questions, please feel free to contact me either as a comment on this blog, on Twitter, Facebook or directly in an email. You can find all my contact info here.

If I don't know the answer (which is rare but does happen) I'll post your question here on Plannerisms so readers can chime in with their advice or direct us to a particular product you are looking for.

So whether you are looking for a specific planner, want advice on which type of planner would work best for you, or are looking for planner-use suggestions, you're in the right place! Just Ask Plannerisms! :)

Monday, November 4, 2013

Weighty matters

I finally bought a scale to weigh my planners! This is going to revolutionize my life.

If you haven't already seen it, I updated My Epic Search For The Perfect Notebook post with the weights of all the notebooks, and added my weight threshold (376g) as part of my criteria.

After some experimentation, I discovered that my threshold of what I'm willing to carry everywhere, planner + notebook totals 700g. My weekly Plannerisms planner weighs 324g, which means I'll want a notebook that weighs 376g or less. Now this I can work with! Weighing my notebooks before use will help me narrow my search.

Interestingly, my overall weight threshold has gone up. It used to be that I would balk at carrying an A5 size day per page diary with me everywhere. My Time Traveler day per page diary weighs in at 503g, and now carrying that amount of weight doesn't bother me.

But carrying it, and my Plannerisms planner together puts me over the edge. At 827g it just feels like I'm hauling around luggage. This is why I have decided to switch to a nondated, lighter notebook to use for daily records and journaling in 2014.

Incidentally, I weighed my A5 Filofax in its current state, with fewer pages on the rings than if I had a full year of monthly, weekly and daily pages like I have in my Plannerisms planner and day per page diary. The A5 Filofax weighed in at a hefty 1039g. No wonder I can't stand to carry it anywhere! My Plannerisms planner and daily diary book together total 827g, much lighter for the same page size. So to answer everyone's question, that's why I don't use an A5 Filofax.

So from now on, weights will be included in all my reviews!

Do you know what your weight threshold is of what you are willing to carry everywhere?

Friday, November 1, 2013

Free For All Friday No. 8: pre-printed holidays?

I like holidays pre-printed in the day spaces of my planners, but not everyone does. I need the US and UK holidays at minimum. I prefer having as many holidays as possible, even when I'm not associated with the country they are for, just out of interest. But I can see why some people wouldn't want their day spaces cluttered up with holidays that don't pertain to them.

The 2014 Moleskine planners don't have any holidays printed in the day spaces. In past-year's planners they had the abbreviations of countries having a holiday that day without actually printing the name of the holiday, to save space. But now they don't even have the country abbreviations. Seeing all those empty, holiday-less days makes me sad.

Moleskine does have a website where you can go to find all the holidays for all the countries of the world, to write in yourself. As much as I like having that information available, I resent having to sign in with my email address. I don't want Moleskine knowing my personal information every time I want to look up a holiday.

My favorite planner brands for having lots of holidays printed in the day spaces are Brush Dance, Quo Vadis and Filofax. They have national holidays and other special days like Mother's Day.

What about you? Do you like lots of holidays in your day spaces, only the ones immediately relevant to you, or none because they clutter the space up too much?

And as always on Fridays, feel free to discuss anything planner-related!