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Saturday, May 30, 2015

How to choose a planner for a new upcoming situation

I've been seeing online a lot of people who are about to go through a transition and are looking for advice on which planner to choose. This is actually a big challenge: finding a planner that will work for you in a situation you haven't experienced yet. It's hard to know what you will need before you're there. But those of us who like planners and planning want to have a system set up before we start, so we don't have to spend the first week(s) in our new situation with the added stress of having to figure out our planner setup.

Maybe you are starting grad school or a new job. Maybe you are having a baby, or going from kids at home to kids at school. Maybe (like me) your kids are getting older are starting new activities along with ramped up homework and school trips. Maybe you are moving internationally. (If you are, feel free to contact me, I've moved internationally a bajillion times and know the drill.)

Whatever your new upcoming situation, here's how to figure out a planner that will work for you.

Option 1: Choose a planner that has worked for you in the past:

Even if you haven't been in the same situation before, you might try a planner that worked well for you in similar circumstances. For example, if you had a really busy time in the past and are about to be really busy again, use the same planner you used then.

The year I was really busy working full time, taking graduate classes, applying to graduate schools and getting ready to move, I used a Septanote academic year planner. Years later when I moved internationally with my family, I used a Trinote (which has the same format January-December). That format (vertical days with space for lists) worked well for me during busy, transitional times.

Option 2: Use a planner that works for other people in the same situation:

In my online research on Uncalendar planners I discovered several nursing student message boards asking which planner works well during busy, pulled-in-all-directions nursing school. Over and over again people recommended the full size Uncalendar. Search online and ask people who do what you are about to do what works for them.You might even find planners designed specifically for that situation or profession.

Option 3: Experiment:

Experimentation doesn't have to mean the expense of buying and trying lots of different planners. The only thing that matters right now is page layout and size. Focus on those. Covers, accessories, everything else can wait.

Start with the page size you will need (or think you will need) and draw up or print a page layout in that size. Do you like the look of a particular planner's page layout? Draw up a few weeks' worth to try out and see if it will work for you. You can do this with a few different types and use them sequentially (or even simultaneously if you can keep them synched) to figure out what might work well for you.

Once you have figured out the format of pages you need, then you can figure out what type of book will hold them. Below is a summary of your dilemma. You need a balance of flexibility and portability. 

Bulky and heavy--------------------------------------------------------------------Lighter/ more portable
Ring binder (Filofax etc.)       Travelers' Notebook (booklets in cover)          Bound book

Flexible use-----------------------------------------------------------------------------More rigid use
Ring binder (Filofax etc.)       Travelers' Notebook (booklets in cover)          Bound book

Be open minded. You might need to try something you've never considered before.  And in the end, you won't really know what will work until you are in the situation and living your new life. If you get rolling and discover the planner you're using isn't working, give yourself permission to try something else.

Have you been in this situation before? How did you figure out your planner setup?

Wednesday, May 27, 2015

A5 and Half size Academic year planners

Letts academic year planner

A friend of mine in the US contacted me yesterday to ask for recommendations for A5/ Half size academic year planners. Even though there is generally a smaller selection of planners mid year than for the calendar year, there are definitely options in this size.

I'm located in the UK so I don't know what's available in US stores, but I see folks posting online about planners they buy at Target, WalMart, and Barnes and Noble. They seem to have a decent selection, so it's worth looking there.

WeekDate's Academic year planner is A5 size. They are great if you have weekly recurring events. You can see my full review here with lots of photos and links to their product pages.

The Passion Planner has a Kickstarter campaign for their new academic year planner, you can see it here. They also have an undated version of their planner, it's here.

Moleskine's large size is nearly the same size as A5, just a little narrower. Their 18 month weekly notebook is always popular. They are easy to find on Amazon or at retailers.

Quo Vadis has a great range of academic year planners. Their Academic Minister (vertical days) or Scholar (horizontal days) weekly planners are just slightly larger than A5 but still slim and light.

There's also the Half size Uncalendar, it's undated so you can start it any time. Here is their product page and here is my review of it (from a few years ago). 

Here in the UK, A5 is the most popular planner size so there are tons of planners available, although they tend to all have the same daily or week on two pages format. I bought a Letts academic planner to check it out, and I am impressed with it. It has a week on two pages layout with space above the Monday for lists and notes. All US and UK holidays are printed in the day spaces, which is nice to not have to write those in. There are also lots of notes pages in the back: lined, grid and blank. This is the planner I bought: Letts Dazzle Academic year planner. I bought the pink one and there's no losing that thing! It's nice and bright, brighter than it shows in the photo (at the top of this post). Here is Letts full selection of academic year planners. I've ordered internationally from them before and their international shipping is pretty good.

What are your recommendations for A5 or Half size academic year planners? My friend is located in the US and would prefer not to pay international shipping. Thanks for any suggestions!

Monday, May 25, 2015

Summertime planning tips

Hi everyone! I don't have a lot of time for my Plannerisms blog these days. I put most of my planner-izing mojo into my day job as blogger on the Quo Vadis blog. But I don't want Plannerisms readers to be left out! Go check out the Quo Vadis blog and sign up for notifications so you can get all the planning goodness there too.

Today's post on Quo Vadis blog is all about how to plan ahead for a fun and relaxing summer! Check it out here: http://quovadisblog.com/2015/05/time-management-monday-planning-for-summer/

Friday, May 22, 2015

How people use their Quo Vadis planners and notebooks

Over on Quo Vadis blog we've been doing a Featured Reader series where people do guest posts showing how they use their Quo Vadis planners and notebooks. It's been really fun to see the details and photos of how people use their books!

Head on over to today's post on Quo Vadis blog for links to all of the Featured Reader posts so far.

If you use a Quo Vadis planner or notebook and would like to be a Featured Reader, email me at laurie (at) quovadisplanners (dot) com!

Tuesday, May 19, 2015

Ginko Papers is closing down!

I was sad today to receive an email notice that Ginko Papers is closing down. It's a shame, because they are a great source for cute and unique stationery. I think they will shut completely at the end of this month.

Go grab some stuff while you still can! www.ginkopapers.com