planner status, summer heat wave edition

We are now in the third quarter so I think it’s time to look into my current planner arrangement. I’ll pause to let you see where I was at the end of January. Yes, it changed again. Does that surprise anyone?

Progress, it's sluggish progress, but still progress!I partially blame that bizarre need to photograph my lists. (Yes, even after reading this.)

Each morning as I sit down with my first cup of coffee, I photograph my todo list. It initially fit on my favourite 3×5 index cards, but then, as lists tend to do, it expanded and needed more space. So I began to fill a composition book page each day.

Why was I not writing in my cica-arc hybrid notebook? Even with the arc paper, I find it expensive for something that is intended to be recycled very soon. Also, all my rings are 1″ and while that is nice to hold a year’s worth of paper at once, the resulting notebook (even with a change of front cover) is still bulky and heavy. I have my eye on a set of smaller rings but haven’t yet been able to commit to the purchase.

Tuesday please just hand over #morecoffeeSo welcome, the humble, cheap wide ruled composition book, comfort food of my childhood, teen years, college days, and beyond. How I love you. But you do have one serious character flaw, the spacing between each line is vast. As you can see (click to make bigger), my handwriting is … atrocious. I yearn for a grid or dot system. And the paper is so thin… it disintegrates before I finish the volume, so am I really saving any money?

I held the demise of the last composition book at bay for an extra week by quickly sewing a simple cover out of scrap fabric. The only thing I forgot to add was an elastic closure. Oops. It holds a pen (or two), a highlighter, and in the bigger pocket is an eraser and some post-it flags.


This helped, but last week saw the end.

I then pulled a slightly more expensive book off the shelf, a grid composition book and set to work setting it up. only four days in I’m happier to have paid just a little more for this book. My handwriting has improved and due to the smaller grid size, even when the list is impossible, it isn’t frightening because it doesn’t take up the whole page.


So why do I like this set up over all the other planners I keep purchasing and abandoning?

It’s customized to me and my needs. I first set up a 3 week rolling view, then follow with three weeks of relevant daily pages. Why 3 weeks? I find it’s helpful to see more than one week at a time, and when I do two or four weeks, they just aren’t right. Plus with the rolling, I am no longer caught with surprise at the start of a new month.


While I love the flexibility of a traditional filofax or circa/arc system, I need everything to be attached in one book so I can find it later if I need to. Yes, these books are meant to be temporary records, but I still need all their pages attached while I’m working with them.

I do wish my calendar could auto populate at least some events on the pages without my needing to write them out and transcribe them (or affix labels). I’m sure if I looked into inDesign programming I could probably make it happen, but then I’d be back into the issue of needing to print a custom notebook or going the circa/filofax route again.

I bet if a planner company (or individual) set out to offer planners in 3 month (aka a quarter) chunks with various layouts… I’d probably be one of the first in line to purchase.

The other complaint right now is very silly. It bothers me that I have a discord in paper sizes, though that does allow for me to very quickly pick up the one I need. I confess I’ve been eying this system once again. (A5 smooth grey cover, then either slim moleskines or other A5 notebooks. I think.)

Yes, I’m still using the green moleskine planner for weekly review and recording dinners and I very much like that arrangement as a diary record of 2013.


Least you wish to join the chorus in complaining that while I work in technology, I rely too heavily on paper, please remember that paper is technology and so are books.