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.
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!
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?
As I mentioned in yesterday’s post, I’ve made a few changes for my 2014 planning needs. There are still a few issues I need to work out, but so far this system has been working for me over the past few weeks.
Yes, I am still using a hybrid digital/paper system. It works for me and I recognize it may not work for everyone. I do not like using an app(lication) just because it exists or others use it. I’ve tried quite a few over the years and have written about my love of some of them. I do use some with the caveat that I recognize their imperfections and don’t allow their faults to cause my systems to fail. (Trust me, it’s happened.)
I like the ARC/Circa system for its flexibility and the junior size is right in my paper comfort zone. I love my filofaxes for the same reason. What I don’t like about these binder or disc systems, is that if I want to take just a section out to work with elsewhere … then the pages are either reliant on a binder clip or I need to transfer them to another notebook. That is frustrating and an extra step. Or I need to take everything with me. I tend to over-bring even for a trip to the grocery store, but I’m trying to stop bringing the kitchen sink everywhere.
I first learned of the filofax flex at Philofaxy back when the line first launched. I was interested in it, but not sure I wanted to plunk down money for yet another system I’d abandon a few weeks later. As it is I could give an office supply store a run for its money, I didn’t need more.
Yet, I kept returning to a collection of small light weight bound notebooks for knitting notes and common everyday notebooks. I like that if I just need my notes to knit, I can tuck just that book into my bag and leave the rest on my desk or if I’m meeting with a client, a planning calendar and my work notebook can come with me.
But how to keep it all together? In the back of my head, I kept thinking about the filofax flex. I first used a filofax in high school, and while I try to be brand neutral, there is something about that brand that has stuck with me over the years. I read many reviews that said large moleskines fit into the A5 size. I was tired of not having a way to keep them all together if I wanted. I contemplated purchasing a choral folder but I knew that wasn’t my solution either.
Upon opening the package, I was instantly in love. First and foremost, it is GREY! Secondly, I was able to put my handmade temporary planner into it, a knitting notebook, and the current work notebook. What really won me over was i could lay out the calendar and have a notebook open as well. I found that the pen holder was nice and the elastic could hold most of my pen choices.
I finally decided on Filofax’s own Week On Two Pages Diary. Even though the week breaks over Wednesday, each day has a very large size box and there’s a planning section. I was delighted to discover that it began on Monday 25 November, as it is a December-December planner. When I begin my weekly planning, I put items that are general to the week in the this week notes field. Anything that has a deadline, gets its own day. I then highlight the day-of-week and whatever items are completed that day. Most of the time I follow a rainbow highlighter progression throughout the week, but sometimes I grab the wrong one. It is what it is.
The work journals are filled with tasks and notes that are organized in the system I’ve been using for years. One that is similar in many ways to the bullet journal that made the rounds of the internet earlier this year. I’ve just never formally written up a style guide for my own work logs. I create style guides for many of my clients (both businesses), I have no answer why I haven’t created one for these notebooks yet.
To supplement this and help me with time management throughout the day (something I’ve been struggling with balancing), over the summer I entered a contest at the Quo Vadis Planner Blog that offered to send a planner to someone willing to test drive one of their planners and to my surprise they sent me a Trinote! A few years ago I had purchased one, but couldn’t figure out at all how to make it work for me. I think I filled out perhaps 3 days out of the entire notebook. As I’ve been working more with time blocking, I thought the format would be a good one to try. I needed to wait until the first full week of December to start putting this planner through its paces, but I am really liking the format. I don’t know why this is working for me but it is. My process is that in the morning I pencil in a rough schedule, then as I go through tasks, I ink over how the time blocks really went. It’s really working for me, much to my surprise and delight.
However, these systems aren’t perfect. I’m sad the Trinote doesn’t fit into the filo and I’ve not yet found a similar planner that has the layout I like (and I do like the Trinote tremendously) and will fit. It’s ok, the Trinote doubles as a layer of protection for those sheets of paper that I can’t fold in half, and helps pad a file folder. For the most part, the Trinote lives in my office, so it isn’t as frustrating that it’s not combined. I am on the lookout already for a planner that merges the good things of both planners. I’m also sharpening my indesign skills, though don’t hold your breath for that. I am sad at the large size of the Filofax Diary. I wish it was in two halves, Perhaps December – June and June – January. But it’s ok. It’s not excessively large, I just would like to get rid of parts that aren’t needed (as I rarely back-reference this planner). I may resort to tearing out. I need to look closely at how it’s bound together before I do that.
What makes them work for me? I confess that I love that the covers for both planners are grey. I like the professional yet slightly quirky feel bringing a grey planner to the meeting table provides. I am happy to report that the filofax flex is just that.. flexible. I can easily replace the work notebook, without impacting any other part of the system. If I want just the knitting notebook to come along on a short road trip, I can take that out and leave the rest at home. While my day revolves a good deal about technology, I like that I can take a complete break from the computer or tablet or my phone and focus on figuring out what needs to be done.
And yes, the cats like them too. Shadow likes the Trinote (especially when I time block kitten snuggles), and Buddy likes everything.
I’m really curious how this system holds up over the coming months.