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Friday, February 28, 2014

Free For All Friday No. 25: Are you Team Bound or Team Rings? Why?

It's the age-old planner dilemma: bound book or ring binder?

I've been debating this for years. I wrote a post detailing some of the pros and cons of each years ago, yet still flit back and forth (in my mind, at least) of which is best. As much as I would love (and have loved in the past) the flexibility of a ring binder, I use bound-book planners for their archival permanence and large page size in the slimmest and most portable book because I have to carry my planner with me all the time and I need the writing space of big pages.  I do use a Filofax as my home binder, another for my permanent addresses and contacts, and others for various purposes, but these stay at home.

I know I get a lot of readers over from Philofaxy, so I know a lot of you are ring-binder planner users. I would love to know how you get past the small page size/ heavy ring binder issue.

Are you Team Bound or Team Rings? Why?

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


  1. Totally team rings here. I just don't get bound planners. I always get frustrated with them, and bound notebooks are a total disaster for me, I can't find anything in them so stop looking in them, defeating the purpose of keeping notes. Bound planners are simply too restrictive. I currently am using several different diary products from various manufacturers together in my filofax. I like this weekly view, that daily view, this monthly... and I want to use them together.

    I also have this huge obsession (mental disorder?) about keeping things in chronological order. I like to keep all notes with the day/week/month when I was dealing with them. I like my pages to flow in a linear fashion (month, week, day) and not flip to different sections to see each of these views.

    I know people struggle with archiving and culling, but I find that a storage binder plus regular reviews solves these concerns in my system. Bound books are certainly less bulky and some are quite handsome, but the lack of flexibility makes them very challenging for me to use!

    1. I'm with Josh, I love being able to stick a paper where I want and I love seeing my three shelves of archived pages above my desk in chronological order. I love the monthly tabs and indexes, there is peace and security in knowing you can find what you need in just a few minutes. My kids know how to look stuff up because its not complicated. Pick a year, open, pick a month, then flip to the page-voila!
      I would love to have a bound planner, but pretty soon there are notes everywhere and I can't find what I need or recopying everything every year or carrying two planners so you can make appointments for the next year. I buy them, I try, but frustration takes over.
      It amazes me though that rings are getting smaller and lives are busier now than before. I guess they assume people need less paper because they are using electronics.

  2. At heart I'm still really a bound planner user, which is why I'm struggling with the ring planner I need right now.

    In a perfect world, I think I'd use
    1. weekly view bound planner
    2. a spiral notebook for meeting notes at work
    3. slim ring bound for task, project lists and home notes (I did use a Levenger Circa for this for many years).

    When I'm not doing 2 ½ jobs and supervising someone else's staff, I don't think I'll need DO2P. So I think I'm going to try that.

    I'll just have to figure out how to get the home commitments back into a planner. Previously, my bound planner was work only. Family stuff has lived in iCloud for years, but there is a lot more family stuff now that the kids are both school age.

  3. For a number of years I used a full-size planner pad and love how nicely archived those years are on my shelf. Those were the years when I had a very busy job with relatively few projects that I tracked in a separate folder. Now that I have a gazillion projects with a quadrillion details, I could not manage without a ring binder (and a classic/A5 size, at that). My Team Membership therefore seems to depend on my life circumstances. But for me, archival is always best in a bound book.I just had to look up details from spring 2013 for our tax person and it was heart-thumping crazy as I had switched personal size formats so frequently then. That's when I swore to go back to a bound book as soon as I can.

  4. Well me as you know I use both... I could end there. But let me explain why I have settled in to both camps.

    I use a bound planner a Quo Vadis Daily 21 Day per Page bound planner as my journal, I used one last year as well. Doing the same this year. Lovely paper, takes fountain pen perfectly. I just have to improve my journalling techniques which are far from perfect really. This set up works for this task because it's dedicated to just this task, it is easy to archive at the end of the year, I just order a new one from Amazon France and it arrives shrink wrapped and I'm ready for the next year.

    But I couldn't use a planner as my daily planner... I've tried just didn't work for me..

    I use a Filofax or similar as my main planner and centre for information and for reminding me of various tasks. I love the flexibility that a ring bound set up gives me. Get a page wrong or it has changed so much I can just reprint it and change it over without too much work.

    Yes there is extra bulk with a ring bound solution, but I'm prepared to allow for that. Likewise the writing either side of the rings can be a chore at times compared to a bound book.

    I suppose a half way house might be the Midori Travellers Notebook concept where you have a number of notebooks held together in a leather cover, this might work but I think I would still miss the total flexibility that a ring system gives me. For instance I tend to add pages in when I'm travelling to add details, packing lists, people lists if it's a meet up, travel details etc.

    These details will be filed and removed after the event, slimming things back down again.

    I also use multiple calendars, Monthly for blog planning. Week to a View for everything else.

    So there are many ways of approaching this common issue, we all find our own preferred ways.

    No way is correct, or the wrong way... each to their own... at least it's paper which ever way you use


  5. I use both. For keeping track of my team's stats on work performed, attendance, things to order for the team, etc., I use an 8X11 Martha Stewart vertical display bound desk calendar. This works perfectly for this particular kind of tracking. For all my notes, meetings, etc. outside our team I use a ring bound Personal Malden. Sometimes you need both.

  6. I'm like Steve - I use a filofax (rings) as my planner because I need to move things around/re-file things etc. but I also keep a daily diary (bound), for which I use an A5 page per day version from Ciak. Sensitive souls should close their ears at this point, but at the end of the year, I throw the filofax pages away. They are there for organising me, not to remember things after the event - that's what my diary is for. I doubt very much that in ten years' time I will want to know that "on 28/2/2014 at 3pm I gave a lecture on ..." I'm much more likely to want to know that on 28/2/2014 I had a great teaching day and that a friend called and we had a great chat and that book-planning was going well - none of which I record in filofax pages; it would all go in my diary.
    So, team rings for planning but team bound for journalling/diary.

  7. I´m a team rings gal - although my setup is so basic I could probably pretty much use a standard notebook with some dates scribbled at the top of the pages :-) I just love my binders too much to part with them - although I love my Plannerisms planner for logging tings - currently mainly exercise, water, and food (when I remember to write it down...) :-)

  8. I am all about punching holes and adding to my planner. I still use a Moleskine for certain projects, but I can't get over using rings for my notes & lists :)

  9. I really thought I was a ring bound person, but since discovering bullet journal I love how compact yet freeing a bound book is

  10. It's March and I still haven't decided on what planner setup to use. I have been using a Moleskine Weekly +Notes for two years and I like it, but I want something new! Also, sometimes I run out of room with the notes and I already keep a separate notebook for work.

    I have considered continuing with the Moleskine for planning and adding a blank notebook for day-to-day personal notes. I can do it. I certainly have more notebooks than I'll ever use laying around, but again, they're NOT NEW!

    So it's March and I still don't have a plan.

    1. Oh, I do at least know it will have to be bound. I used a DayTimer for years, but I don't think I can tolerate the bulk of a ring notebook anymore.

    2. Elaine I'm right there with you on the bulk. My ring bound planner with the same page size as my bound book planner is massively larger and weighs 3 times as much! And, I'm terrible about moving pages around and forgetting where I put them. When I write something in a bound book, I know I can always find it there again later.

  11. Ring binder for me! Classic sized "Gianda" leather Franklin Covey day planner. I keep a selection of sheet music at the front for practicing piano, saxophone & harmonica; day planner pages in the middle, lined sheets for note-taking at the back. Front zippered pocket keeps extra ink cartridge for the pen that is clipped on it. I scan my notes to PDF files using a document scanner and then recycle the paper. The scanned pages are accessible from my cellphone using Microsoft One Drive or Drop Box. It's the perfect system: all my notes from the last few years available on the cellphone, with fresh paper and a good pen ready to take new notes in the day planner.
    The ringed binder allows me to add things like pictures, crosswords, pretty much anything I want to keep handy.


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