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Monday, March 31, 2014

Collins UK's new website

Collins Debden UK has a new website! It is fast and slick, and looks great on my laptop and on my Kindle.

The new website is arranged very clearly and it's really easy to find everything, whether by the top tabs categories, the search bar at the top of the page, or the pull-down Quick Search.

I've said before that when it comes to planner websites, if I don't find what I'm looking for in about 20 seconds or less, I move on to a different website. The Collins website performs beautifully and it's easy to find what I'm looking for quickly.

Another feature I really appreciate is that they show the inside formats of the planners. It's shocking to me how many planner websites show the closed cover of the book and don't show the interior format, which is the most important part! Other features are listed too, and the size measurements are clearly shown so you know exactly what size the planner is.

Later in the year, the 2015 Plannerisms planners will be available on the Collins UK website! I don't know yet when they will be ready to order, but when they are I'll make a big announcement here on Plannerisms with links.

Meanwhile the 2014-2015 Academic year planners, 2015 Business diaries and organiser refills, and the 2016 Early Edition diary are already available to order.

You can see the entire Collins UK collection at http://www.collinsdebden.co.uk/

Friday, March 28, 2014

Free For All Friday No. 29: Your Planner Page Preference: Structured, or Open-plan?

Some people like their planner pages to be very structured with designated spaces to write their appointments, tasks, tracking things like expenses or exercise, and sometimes even with boxes to check off to indicate when you have completed something. Some examples of very structured planner pages are Franklin Covey and the Women's Success Planner.

Other people prefer non-formatted pages, like most Moleskine planners have, without designated spaces to write specific things. Sometimes this is so people can format the page themselves and customize it to their own needs. Other folks just like a free-form, open page.

I like a medium amount of formatting in my planner. If it's too free-form, I don't have the structure I need to show me what needs to be done. If it's too formatted with too many spaces to fill and boxes to check, I feel like it's too much to keep up on and I rebel.

What about you? Do you function best with a structured planner so you can fill in each space as appropriate? Or do you prefer the freedom of mainly unformatted pages?

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

Monday, March 24, 2014

Christine's guest post: Fabric planner and notebook covers: A stylish way to avoid PVC and other plastics

Many thanks to Christine of Cookie Cutter Design for this excellent guest post on an easy way to make your own cloth cover for your planner or notebook!

If you’ve used any number of planners, odds are that you are familiar with that leather-like cover they usually come in. It is very difficult to find a planner without a PVC (poly-vinyl-chloride) cover, especially if you seek some variety, and I’m sure that many Plannerisms readers are quite picky about their planners! Some of the problems with PVC are that: - it outgases indefinitely, even in landfills - it releases dioxins when incinerated (carcinogenic and contributing to climate change) - it is a group A human carcinogen, linked to liver cancer - it is a known hormone disruptor - like any petroleum product, its source, production and disposal are associated with environmental harm. Some people actually seek out PVC for its visual characteristics, and many people enjoy plastic products for their obvious practical appeal. I am one of the (probably) few people who avoid PVC like the plague, and I try to avoid new plastic products in general.

For the last few years I have used Quo Vadis planner refills and ‘dressed’ them in simple fabric covers that I sewed. Here you see them stacked up; I have used the Quo Vadis President, Trinote, Minister, Journal 21, and for 2014 I’m using their APB1. On top you see a little Clairfontaine Notebook. I promise that I have not been paid a cent or received merchandise to write this (although that would be nice)! I like Quo Vadis planners for their variety in formats as well as the craftmanship. I have always preferred their Equology line (100% post-consumer paper) over their regular products, but I don’t have access to their recycled planner refills. (Note from Laurie: According to QuoVadisPlanners.com, the Quo Vadis Club, Soho and Texas covers are PVC-free.)

Making your own cover is easy:

1. Get yourself some fabric you love, ideally of medium weight. In the past, my fabrics included old (‘vintage’) pillowcases; now I use fabric I designed myself.
2. If using new fabric, prewash or simply dunk it into hot water for a minute and let it dry - then your cover won’t shrink later on. NOTE: “oilcloth” fabric is coated with plastic (by far most commonly PVC)
3. Using a tape measure, measure the length of your planner or notebook: measure the closed book from edge to edge around the spine. Then measure the height. Add 1/2 inch (1 cm) to the height and about 4 inches (10 cm) to the length measurement - less, if your planner is very small. Mark the fabric on the wrong side with a pencil or pins. Cut out the piece.
4. Hem the short edges of the fabric, either by using an over-edge function of your sewing machine or by using needle and thread to prevent fraying.
5. Fold over the short edges of the fabric by about 2 inches - it helps to wrap the planner in the fabric and pin the top and bottom fabric edges together. Remove planner and machine-stitch along the top and bottom. Use the over-edge function of your sewing machine OR straight-stitch by hand first and follow up with a simple manual over-edging as you did in step 3.
6. Your cover is finished! When it gets dirty, just wash in the machine or quickly by hand. I recommend air-drying.

I hope that some of you now feel inspired to make your own fabric cover for your planner refill, perhaps at the end of this year. If you have any questions, please don’t hesitate to leave me a comment!


Friday, March 21, 2014

Free For All Friday No. 28: Extra pages in your planner?

I like lots of extra pages and content in my planner: conversions, international phone codes, maps (lots of maps!).  I especially like local- and country-specific content in my planners, like in my UK Quo Vadis diary, my Russian diary and my Diary 2000. But I realize not everyone likes these pages taking up planner space.

Do you like extra pages and content in your planner? If so, what?

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

Wednesday, March 19, 2014

2015 planners available now, and soon

Yes I know it's only March, but I'm already excited about next year's planners! I'm very happy to see some of them are already available, and others are coming out soon.

2015 Planners already available:

Collins UK's 2015 business diaries are already available to order. They even have a 2016 Early Edition for people who really need to plan ahead.They also have 2015 diary inserts for Filofax and similar binders. Their 2014-2015 academic-year diaries are also available now.

Moleskine's 18 month diaries are available now from Amazon UK, and Amazon.com says they'll be released on the 26th. These diaries go from July through to December of the following year, so the 2014-2015 version will get you all the way through the end of December 2015.

Filofax UK already has many of their diary inserts available for 2015.

Qimmis.com has diary inserts for Filofax, Franklin Covey and other ring binder systems. You can choose which month you want your inserts to start, and can choose 3, 6 or 12 months' worth. They have inserts available now that can start in June 2014, so if you choose 12 months of those they'll get you halfway through 2015.

2015 Planners available soon:

Moleskine's 2015 planners are due for release in May (US) and June (UK). I have already pre-ordered some from Amazon. You can see Moleskine's entire 2015 planner lineup in their catalog here.

Quo Vadis UK says their 2014-2015 academic-year diaries will be available at the beginning of May, and their 2015 diaries at the end of May.

Brush Dance datebooks and Organised Mum diaries are usually available in June. I can't wait to see their selections this year!

Are there any 2015 planners you are eagerly anticipating?

Monday, March 17, 2014

Hobonichi survey--tell them what you want!

I received this link (below) to the Hobonichi survey from Lindsay, their wonderful translator and overall Hobonichi wizard. She would love to hear everyone's opinion of their Hobonichi planner, whether you have the English version or the Cousin version (or any other version too). She said there currently are no plans to make an English version of the A5 size Cousin, but if there is enough interest they will consider it in the future.

Here is the survey: https://jp.surveymonkey.com/s/N33Y5WH

You can see my reviews of the A6 size English Hobonichi Planner here and the A5 size Japanese Hobonichi Cousin planner here.

Friday, March 14, 2014

Free For All Friday No. 27: Planner page size/ writing space: How big is too big?

Too-big pages lead me to write more than I can accomplish in a day, which makes me feel overwhelmed and behind.

How big is too big for you?

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

Thursday, March 13, 2014

How I use my planner + Bullet Journal notebook

Tina commented on yesterday's post on my Bullet Journal notebook changeover asking how I use my planner along with my Bullet Journal notebook system that I described in that post. I started to write a "short" reply but it got really long so I decided to just do a separate post about it!

It's all very personal so I won't be able to show you any photos of my pages, not that you would be able to read my writing. (I keep telling myself, if it's worth writing, it's worth writing legibly! Anyway...)

But I can tell you lots of specifics and examples of how I use my Bullet Journal system along with my planner.

I call it a Bullet Journal, but it's really not. That's a common buzzword these days, so when I say that people automatically have a pretty good idea of what I'm talking about, but I have modified the BuJo system to my own needs.

First of all, NO forward planning goes in my Bullet Journal. None at all. All forward planning goes in my planner. I wrote a post last year on how I used my planner along with my day per page diary, and all of the part about how I use my planner still applies so you can see that in this post here. In today's post I will focus on how I use my Pseudo BuJo system.

Some people might not like to use two separate books. But after years of trying hundreds of different planners trying to find a system that works for me, using two separate books is a small price to pay for a system that works so well for me. Using a separate planner allows me to plan the entire year in one book without rewriting. I use up a notebook in 3-4 months, and I would not want to have to rewrite all my forward plans several times per year. Also the two separate books help me keep their purposes separate: forward planning only in my planner, day to day recording only in my notebook. Another advantage of separate books is I can have them both open side by side so I can see today's details in relation to the rest of the week and my weekly task lists.

As you saw in yesterday's post, I'm using a large unlined Moleskine notebook for my journal. I wrote some details of how I use it in my Journaling Lessons Learned post. But today I will give you some day-by-day detailed examples of how I use this notebook.

The evening before, I start a fresh page and write the day and date at the top. Then I leave some space so I can write significant events right at the top of the page where I can see them easily. Then I write if my husband is traveling, and any scheduled events or appointments I have that day. Then I slot in MUST DO tasks for that day. I only write tasks I MUST DO THAT DAY, nothing that is optional because these would mix in with the Must-Do tasks, and I need to be able to see easily what I absolutely must do that day. Then if I get those done, I look at my weekly task list (in my planner) to see what else I can fit in today.

Therefore my day is planned the evening before, and I wake up knowing exactly what I have to do today. As the day rolls on, I record things right in the notebook. Sometimes I use one page for a day, sometimes less, often two pages.

Bullet Journal symbols: I don't really use them. I have my own very simplified system using only asterisk *  box []  dot . and arrow -->  Here is what they mean:

       [] Task. When the task is finished, I check it off.

      *[] Very important task. Do these first.
  • Information/ notes. For example if I phoned someone, I tick off the To Call box and write a dot under with notes on the phone call, who I spoke to and what they said, and the number I called so I can call them again if I need to follow up. Which brings me to...
      ---> Follow-up action or ongoing. To continue the phone call example, under the dot information I'll write --> Sue will call me back next week when the new stock is in. That way I know the result is not complete yet.

This is why I love using unlined pages: I can write between lines easily. If I'm writing on lined pages, I don't have as much space between my writing to make notes like this unless I skip lines, which feels wasteful to me. Without lines, I can always cram more writing in between.

If I've written something that becomes irrelevant I line it out. For example this morning I had written Call G's friend's mom to arrange playdate tomorrow, but I had to line it out this morning because G is sick so I can't make play plans for her for tomorrow.

I record emergent tasks (those things that come up during the day that you hadn't planned but get done anyway), so I have a record of when I did them.

Here's a real-life example: I record online orders with the amount, which card I paid with, confirmation numbers, etc. I keep a list of these in the back and track when I ordered, when it shipped and when I received it so I make sure I'm getting everything I ordered. For example I ordered something back in October, they shipped it to me but the contents were wrong with an invoice to someone else, so they said they sent it again but I never received the replacement. I called two weeks ago (noted in my BuJo and on the monthly reference book) and they said it had been shipped, but if it does not arrive today I will be emailing them again, armed with ordering dates, confirmation numbers, phone conversation details and the entire timeline history, all thanks to details written in my BuJo and easily referenced in my monthly reference booklet.

Here's another actual example from today: my daughter has been ill for a couple of days, and when my kids are ill I write their symptoms and note when they stay home from school. Thanks to my BuJo and handy-dandy monthly reference calendar, I noticed she had a similar thing back in January where she was off school the same number of days, and that she often gets a tummy ache when she has a cold. In my monthly reference booklet on the day I write "G home from school, ill" then on the day's page I write her symptoms. That way I have a quick reference of sick days, and can look up what was wrong.

What else? I pretty much write everything in there. For example, yesterday my daughter was looking at a book of British birds and asked what the genus and species names meant. So in my notebook I wrote Kingdom, Phylum, Class, Order, Family, Genus, Species (remembered from "King Philip Came Over For Good Steak") and explained classifications. Years from now it will be fun to look back through my notebook and see that she was interested in taxonomy that day.

Also every day I write the weather and temperature, and anything else significant. When I walk in the forest I write in my book which birds and wildlife I saw, and what flowers are blooming. Yesterday the daffodils in front of our house started blooming so I wrote that too. As I continue to do this, it will be fun to compare year to year. For example last year was a very snowy winter and spring came late. This year the winter was very mild (although rainy) and things are blooming already.

This gives you a good idea of how I use my BuJo. I don't write my feelings. I did that in journals years ago and found the emotional dumping was not helpful and not anything I wanted to read again. This is just a record. I do write when I'm happy or excited about something, but again it's factual. There's no pontificating here, which I did endlessly in previous journals and did not like.

I also don't decorate my BuJo. You'll find no washi tape here. I'm not artistic, and I find decorations distracting (and time consuming) so I don't do them. But, when we are waiting somewhere (like at a restaurant) and my kids are bored, I hand them my book and colored pens and let them draw. It's fun to have my kids' art in my book, and years from now I know it will be great to see their little-kid drawings in my book and see what they were thinking alongside what we were doing that exact day.

All of this goes from the front of the book. Anything that happened today goes right on the page. Anything non-day-specific like my online orders tracking or list of stuff I need next time I go to Ikea goes in the back of the book. I don't index these, because it's easy to flip through the back pages to find what I'm looking for. When I first started Bullet Journaling, I mixed lists between daily pages and it was a nightmare to find anything, even with page indexing. This way is much easier for me: daily record from the front, lists from the back.

I carry my journal with me absolutely everywhere, so it's important that the book is light enough or else I tend to leave it at home. That was my downfall with a dated day per page diary last year, because I need the big A5 size page but the thickness of the daily book meant it was too heavy. I'm really enjoying the large Moleskine blank notebooks because the narrow book is lighter than other comparably-sized books and is relatively thin, and very streamlined.

This post turned out to be very long! And it might sound complicated, but it's actually very simple. I just write everything in my notebook, and take it with me everywhere.

If you have any other questions let me know in the comments and I'll be happy to answer!

Wednesday, March 12, 2014

Bullet Journal notebook changeover

I am very pleased to report that I have been so happy with my modified Bullet Journal system, I have filled my first notebook and am continuing on to a new one!

First, some background if you haven't been following along: Back in December when things got really busy I started using my large plain-page Moleskine notebook as a modified Bullet Journal and experimented with three different types of indexing to see what I would actually use. You can see that experiment and its results in this post here.

I learned that I work best recording my daily stuff from the front of the book and putting lists and non-day-specific notes in the back of the book, not mixing lists and notes into my daily records. When the daily stuff from the front meets the lists and notes from the back, it's time for a new notebook!  You can see other journaling lessons I've learned in this post here.

So now it's time for the changeover to a new notebook!  I've enjoyed the freedom of blank pages so much I went for another blank-page notebook. And even though Moleskine paper isn't my favorite paper in the world, I went for another Moleskine because the narrow book is lighter than a Leuchtturm or other similar-size books, and I liked this green cover for spring!

December 2013-February 2014 in Yoda notebook, March onward in green!
 I love how the ivory paper looks with the green cover.

The only indexing system I'm using is creating a quick overview of chronological events in the monthly booklet I wrote about in this post here. The monthly booklet holds January - December 2014.

On the front of the booklet I write when each notebook starts and stops so I know which book to look in for the details of any particular day or event.

I'm so happy with my planner for planning and my notebook for recording, I plan to use this method indefinitely. I love the freedom of being able to jot whatever into my notebook without worrying about filling up the day's page.

Yesterday this arrived in the mail: the new Moleskine softcover notebook in Orchid Purple.
This notebook has plain pages, but it also comes with dotted pages which is new for Moleskine. I pre-ordered this notebook from Amazon UK and it shipped when it became available. This notebook has 196 pages, so in page number and overall book weight it is between the normal hardcover notebook (240 pages) and the Volant notebook (96 pages). It has a placemarker, an elastic closure strap and back pocket, which the Volant notebooks do not have. Because it is lighter than the notebook I'm using now, I plan to use this one in the summer when I'm on the go a lot. The green one should get me through June, so that will be perfect timing.

It feels great to be happy with my system!

Monday, March 10, 2014

Qimmis Filofax-compatible inserts

I first heard of Qimmis from Steve's review on Philofaxy and Janet's review on This Bug's Life. I decided to head over to Qimmis.com and take a look. Wow!

The first thing that struck me was the amount of choice offered. Not only can you choose which diary format you want, you can choose which month it starts in, and if you want 3, 6 or 12 months. You can choose Filofax-compatible sizes and hole configurations, US 7-ring configuration, or Swedish 4-ring. And there are several decorated styles to choose from, or plain. You can also choose your language and country holidays.

I bought these inserts from the Qimmis website, Qimmis.com. I don't know if these are available anywhere else. Qimmis is located in Sweden, and all prices are in Swedish Kronor which you can convert to your currency via XE.com or similar conversion site. These inserts took about 10 days to reach me here in the UK.

I noticed their WeekVertical inserts and thought that would be a good Filofax version of my Plannerisms planner weekly layout, vertical days with space below for lists and notes. So I got some in Personal size, English with UK holidays. (Click on any of the photos for a larger view.)
You'll notice the times in the daily columns only go to 4pm, which is not late enough for US and UK work hours. I don't know if they can customize the pages and change the times for you, but it's worth contacting them to ask.

Then I thought I'd like to have some WeekAndNote inserts, for those weeks when I have lots of tasks and not many appointments.

Then I thought I'd get some monthly pages too (which are located under Extra), with US holidays this time so I can know the UK and US holidays. Interestingly, the months do not have lines to create day boxes! It is completely open with just the date numbers and holidays.
The paper is very smooth, and very white, just the way I like it! I really like the clean, uncluttered design of these pages.

I chose all of these inserts to last 12 months, and all in the Vanilla style for maximum writing space on the page. Below is the Year Overview Foldout (which is under Extra) in the Peony style. I realize now it would be easy to see writing over the decorations, and I wish I'd gotten the Peony style in my diary pages. Oh well, next year!
I saw another review online, unfortunately I can't remember where, and the person said you could order 3 months worth of different decorations so the images change every three months! I think that's a great idea, and I may try that next time.

There are also lots of other Extra pages to choose from, and other diary formats too.

Please note I am not affiliated with Qimmis in any way and did not receive any compensation for this post. I'm just a happy customer. :)

Friday, March 7, 2014

Free For All Friday No. 26: What do you take with you, and what stays at home?

I often see online that people have home binders, and they have everything in them from family schedules, household cleaning and maintenance routines, budget and financial information, recipes, crafting and more.

I recently started using my Filofax as my home-only tracker of financial stuff, birthday-party and holidays planning, and annually recurring plans. I used to think I should have this stuff in my main planner, but when I realized I really only use these things at home it freed me to not have to carry it around.

Do you have a separate planner or binder that stays at home? What's in it? And how is it different from the planner you carry with you everywhere?

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

Wednesday, March 5, 2014

Brush Dance Thich Nhat Hanh datebook in Daytimer Malibu binder

I recently bought this 2014 Thich Nhat Hanh Brush Dance datebook on Amazon UK:

I have the wall calendar too, and I love the colors, art and quotes. The quote on the January month tab is my favorite. It says, "The most precious gift we can offer anyone is our attention. When mindfulness embraces those we love, they will bloom like flowers."

But the Brush Dance datebooks, as wonderful and beautiful as they are, are printed with a week per page, which doesn't give me space to write my weekly tasks lists. (Excuse the rain streaks from the window in my photo below, but you can see how each page is one week.) Click on any of the photos for a larger view.

So I decided to cut the pages out and arrange them into a week + notes format in a ring binder like I did with the Perennial Grace datebook and my Success Choice binder last year.

The Daytimer Malibu Desk size binder I got in a swap from Terri is perfect!
The colors go so well together, and the pages look great in it.

But I wondered if I would regret cutting up the beautiful datebook. In the end it came down to practicality: I can't use a planner without space for my weekly lists. So, I took the plunge and did it. The result is gorgeous!

Below you can see the newly-arranged pages with the week on one side and the opposite page for lists and notes each week.
 The print colors look great with the color of the binder!

The month tabs and turquoise border on the notes pages are so pretty.

There weren't enough notes pages in the datebook for every week and month to have its own notes page, so I took some from other Brush Dance datebooks I have. April looks great with this purple-bordered note page (from last year's Perennial Grace datebook):

Here is my favorite quote, visible right when I open the binder.

But as beautiful and functional as this is, the binder with the pages in weighs more than 900 g/ about 2 lbs, which is too big and heavy for my go-everywhere planner, so it will have to stay at home. Now the question is what to use it for! Should I not care about the weight and carry it around with me after all?? I'm sure I'll find a good purpose for it. It's too beautiful not to use!

Meanwhile I'm still anxiously waiting to find out what Brush Dance's new weekly planners for 2015 will be like! Whatever they are, I'm sure they will be just as beautiful and uplifting as the rest of Brush Dance's products.

Here is the beautiful art and quote for March. It says, "The source of love is deep in us and we can help others realize a lot of happiness. One word, one action, one thought can reduce another person's suffering and bring that person joy." I love it!!!

Monday, March 3, 2014

Planner discounts and preparation for the Planner Dry Season

If you are struggling with your planner and thinking of looking for a new one, you've got no time to lose. Many brands of 2014 planners are now on sale/ discount in preparation for their new stock coming in. That means we are about to enter the Planner Dry Season (when the current-year planners are out of stock and the academic-year planners haven't started yet).

Many brands have planners on sale right now including Brush Dance, Moleskine, Organised Mum and Dodo Pad (among others). If you've been thinking of trying a particular planner but didn't want to pay full price, now is a great time to experiment for cheap.

There are also 2014 Plannerisms planners still available in a limited selection of colors. Email me at Laurie at Plannerisms dot com if you would like to order.

A couple of years ago at this time I wrote a post about planner brands that make quarterly-starting planners, printables and undated planners that you can start now, see that post here for ideas.

Are you frustrated with your planner and thinking of trying something else? What do you have in mind?