planner status, September 2016 edition

Today is officially autumn, so it’s time for another review of my planner system. Summer and July are now a distant memory. As the leaves begin to turn, am I still experiencing planner love this September? Yes!

Have I made any small adjustments over the past few weeks? Of course! I’d love to think I’m a most productive person and that’s why I’m always refining my methods, but I think it’s more because when something becomes too habitual I just do it without thinking. It’s important for me to be mindful about my planning and by making small (and often large) changes to how I do things, it helps keep me focused.

September 2016 Planner status

Current, September 2016 planner system setup:

Occasional Players:

  • Hobonichi Avec July-December volume
  • Jr Sized Circa/Arc hybrid


I made the log book switch after I realized how much I loved the tiny and subtle 3.7mm grid of the Hobonichi. That size is hard to find here so I am using 4mm grid instead. I love having one book to grab, even if it’s a bit big and heavy.

The format of the Quo Vadis Principal® is working well for me. In time I will find a better way to utilize the timed sections of each day, every week I make small adjustments. This week I used colour to shade in my time blocks. It’s not been as effective as I’d hoped. I don’t know what I’ll try next week. Some days the sections I’ve allocated to planning for work feel limiting (personal stuff gets the big roomy middle). However, I am more realistic in my planning and a bit deeper in my focus. If it doesn’t fit in the box, it must find a new day! I don’t know why I didn’t get friendly with correction tape before and just switch Saturday & Sunday. It didn’t take me very long to get used to the new layout of the week.

Yes, the Hobonichi is an Occasional Player. I love it, but I haven’t figured out how to fit the A6 into my workflow. I’ve thought about getting the cousin for 2017, but I’m also intrigued by the Stalogy Editor’s Series 365Days Notebook, but am quite happy with my current system. I may acquire a separate notebook for daily drawing and doodling practice, but as of right now my occasional doodling suits me fine.

Itching to change:

It’s been both wonderful and frustrating to return to one master logbook. I miss being able to spread out my week views across all the notebooks and the planner at once. Photos help, but they’re not the same. Yes, of course I wish all the notebooks were the same size, but I gave up on that. I need my main future planning book to be different. I guess bigger is better in this case!


Most surprised by:

The community that has grown up around the bullet journal! I was ignorant! A friend of penguingirl, shared with me many links to the talented people influencing the direction of planners and journals. While I still don’t decorate my planner, I do like it to be laid out cleanly and in an aesthetically pleasing manner. So I guess it’s no surprise that I’ve gone a monochrome grey-black. I’m still using my highlighter rainbow in the planner book, but I leave it on my desk. If I finish a task while I’m out, it gets a standard ✗. It’s taken me some time to be comfortable with both the grey mildliner and the brush pen on the same page as they are different greys, but the highlighter travels easier as it’s smaller and fits in my pen pouch.



I still have one or two things I would love to change (and would likely require magic), but this is finally the system I feel I can trust.

planner status, July edition

Mid-July is a good time to check in with my 2016 system. Overall it looks similar to earlier in the year, though there have been a few modifications.


Existing notebooks
New additions

I’m settling into the new setup with Shadow’s assistance.


After many years, there is finally a consistent weekly layout and notes system that is working well for the business logbooks. I am more organized and my notes aren’t as scattered as they used to be. In addition they’re now faster to draw out as I don’t need to think about changes each week!

I am struggling with the personal logbook. For a few weeks, I tried a small Moleskine which was a complete disaster. The paper was horrid with any pen I took to it and I found the page size just wrong enough that it constantly made me cranky. I’m still quite fond of the A6 size, to my surprise, but I definitely prefer a true A6 size. I picked up two of these A6 grid notebooks when we were in Budapest last month.

The Hobonichi is to see what all the fuss is about. It is intimidating as I’ve been looking into the notebook and seeing pictures of other’s use of it for years. I do like the portability of the A6 size and love the 4mm grid and the Tomoe paper, but I’m struggling to use it as a daily logbook. Well, during the day. Right now it’s becoming more of a review diary that is finalized after the day is done. I wish it had more blank grid pages I could use for general notes. A cover that allows me to easily carry it and my A6 logbook, will likely improve things. As of today it’s still new and cute, but I find it more of a burden than a useful addition.

The Principal® arrived from Karen of Exaclair for review after a discussion about formats and I lamented how I wished the notes sections were tied to each day, not just the week as in the Trinote. I am only two weeks in (I made a photocopy of the spread and began last week thanks to some correction tape to revise the dates) and really like it. One big change is I’ve continued to use correction tape to switching Saturday and Sunday as it reflects my week’s needs better.

How is your 2016 planner system treating you? We’re over halfway through the year and most mid-year academic books have started. Have you made changes?

current state of the Planner

On Instagram the other day, a follower commented on one of my morning coffee & planner posts that they wished they were as organized as I am. A picture doesn’t tell the full story; I rarely feel as organized as I look. Right now I’m in a transitional phase revising, refining, and refocusing some of my work and I also made a planner change two weeks ago.

planning system March 2015 edition

Overall my 2015 systems have remained the same, the method of tracking my planning has a minor modification that is mostly just a return to my 2014 method.

While I really enjoyed my custom system, I kept refining it every few weeks and printing out new pages. When both the ink jet and laser printers needed to be fed new ink on the same day, I realized enough. I wasn’t printing copious amounts of high colour planning pages, but the printing I did added up.

After purchasing ink that Sunday afternoon, I went across the strip mall to the local art supply store. My primary goal was to research watercolour supplies, however I also hoped that there might still be some 2015 planners on the shelves. I was lucky, there was a sizable selection and they were even half-off. It was a difficult decision to chose one. I cannot overstate how I love the size of my log books. However, I do not like how most planners here in the states make Saturday regular and Sunday tucked into the corner.

That doesn’t work well for me. I don’t need to track much on Shabbat and I often work on Sundays. There is a lovely Time and Life Planner that provides “equal weight” to each day, but it’s a very special order and my planner budget was tight this year. I also would love to try a Hobonichi Cousin, but again, that requires planning ahead!

Back at the store, if a Dashboard Weekly Planner had been in stock, I likely would have purchased it. I know if the Colour a Month planners came in the large size I would likely use them for my log books. As it was I wavered wondering if I should use the 12 Month Weekly Planner/Diary Vertical (large) or even return to the 12 Month Weekly Notebook (large, softcover with notes), a design I used for several years. I almost picked up an Excompta 2015 Visual Planner Refill but wasn’t quite happy with the layout even though the page size is closer to perfect.

In the end, I returned to the format I knew and enjoyed from last year, and picked up a Trinote refill. Beyond staring down my budget, why didn’t I go with something different? I wanted to settle in as quickly as possible and get on with doing.

The rise of bullet journal(er)s has given me some new ideas for my own logbooks. Overall my day-to-day format has remained the same. I now record the week’s tasks on a left-hand page and facing it, the routine tasks and habits with a grid to check. The half-filled boxes just mean I partially did the task. A dot in the box is if I didn’t have my highlighter du jour handy. I apologize for the extensive blurring (you can click to see the images full size) it was taking longer to create a page I felt comfortable sharing in full than to edit it.

In the Trinote I’m writing with whatever pen is handy, and have fallen back in love with Pigma Micron 01s as they don’t smear when I highlight over them. I do wish the 01 size came in hunter green.

I am currently optimistic that this system will work well as we continue through the year. I feel mostly settled in to the new system and while it doesn’t travel with my everywhere (my log book does) it’s working. I still haven’t decided how I’ll use the priority boxes at the top. I’m not the only one with questions about how I’ll use them and expect I’ll just start doodling the day’s weather.

How is your planner system working for you? Have you made changes? Are you starting to look at the academic planners with longing?

#rhodiapaperproject week 4

The wonderful people at Exaclair/Rhodia Drive are doing a paper project, it’s a chance to sample various papers without investing in an entire notebook! I subscribed to week 4 and on Monday received my samples, a sheet of my favourite paper and an index card that is now my absolute favourite (it’s now on my wishlist despite my index card stash). I’ll surprise you, it’s true, I love this paper in all its pastel shades.

So what’s interesting about this test and why I jumped at it is that I’ve been using Clairefontaine paper for a long time. I bought this 120 sheet multi-subject grid notebook in 1996 for $3.36 from Pearl Paint in East Meadow, NY.

My question: had the paper changed? Did I still love it?

No fear! It is definitely the same lovely paper I remember. There are improvements in printing the grid lines over the past 18 years, the line is sharper and I think very slightly finer. The ink is still the same beautiful violet blue line that I find very refreshing on the eye.

I didn’t spend much time testing this paper as I know it and quickly reaffirmed my love of it. Something I had never done before was to test it with various pens. While I haven’t performed an extensive test, I was delighted to find how it behaved with fountain pens and super fine pens, I spent most of my time writing in pencil for my maths class. As I had no fear and wanted to fully test the sheet, I even took a Sharpie to it. I love the smoothness and I love this paper. I think that after I work through my waiting lineup of notebooks I will return to this favourite for my daily work logs.


Now 3×5 index cards are something I have an inexplicable love affair with. Maybe it comes back to my wanting library check out cards in the back of all my books when I was seven, I don’t know. This is the size I like for a wide variety of things and almost always have several near at hand. A few years ago the 99¢ store had a bunch of cards in stock and they were different from what I could normally find at that price. The ruling is portrait, they’re a decent stock, and they were 2 for 99¢ so of course I stocked up. I love grid paper even more, though haven’t found a grid-card I like. The grid ones I have are only printed on one side and the card stock is rough, encourages bleed through, and definitely cannot stand up to a day of abuse. These index cards are now my new favourites. Though it will be quite some time before I can justify buying new cards!

What’s delightful about these? They have the same happy grid on both sides as my favorite notebook and can take any writing instrument I grabbed (including a big ol’ sharpie), without bleeding through. The paper is smooth and can stand up to some time in my back pocket. While they’re a bit fancy for my meal planning and grocery list, I would be delighted to use them for daily planning cards.

Thank you Exaclair for offering this #rhodiapaperproject!

a new innovative notebook

The new Multimedia Enhanced Journal by Quo Vadis is an innovative, simple, and nice blend of analog and digital technologies.
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