01 February 2013

Free For All Friday No 220

There's been a lot of talk here on Philofaxy about Franklin Covey planner inserts. For those of you who are not familiar, Franklin Covey is an American brand that specializes in time management. As a result, their planner inserts follow a time management and goal-setting system designed help you prioritize tasks and keep a record of your days.

I love a good time management system, and I do function better when my planner has direction. I'm a big fan of the Franklin Covey system and I think it's very effective. But, I've used systems in the past that were too rigid and didn't allow me to adapt to my specific needs. When I'm in this situation I tend to rebel and go back to basics.

What about you? Do you like a planning and time management system to help guide you? Or do you prefer an open unstructured format?

And as always on Fridays, feel free to discuss any Filofax and binder-related topics.

53 comments:

  1. I prefer something of a balance between good structure (able to keep time planning, task management, and notes clearly defined) and flexibility (since everyone uses planners differently). I find the Franklin Planner really superb but it may be too structured for some people.

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  2. Overall, agree with you, Josh...

    Think the Franklin Covey system is a good one and so is GTD and others like Time Design, etc....

    I've used several systems and have taken some ideas from each and do my own system...probably mostly based upon GTD ideas...but not the full, detailed approach...

    Think main thing is to figure what system works for you and don't let system dictate to you what to do, unless it works for you....

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    1. Yes, I pull elements from several systems and theories which work for me. Certain aspects of GTD work well but the whole system is too complicated for me. I think what I enjoy most about ring binders is that it's so easy to experiment, add and remove what you want to try out.

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  3. Totally agree with Mark on this. If a system works for you it's what you should stick with. If you have to work to make your system work, you are not using the right system.

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  4. I also agree with Josh ( just found your blot posts and have been catching up on past ones as we seem to share similar struggles). My biggest struggle now is trying to find a format that incorporates both work and personal. Not so difficult you say? My dilemma is that week on 2 pages doesn't give me enough room but I cant stand not to have whole year in my binder.
    it seems as though the majority of people don't keep whole year but only 2 to 3 months at a time. I know monthly views can help with forward planner but those boxes are too small to adequately write in. I like what Josh does by inserting interleaving blank pages.
    Just curious how other people handle not having whole year in diary.

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    1. I have a year view on monthly tabbed pages. Then I carry a full year of week on one page with notes. Then about eight weeks day on two pages. If I move from personal to compact ocassionally ( like when travelling) I carry fewer of the weekly pages. That gives me the immediate visual overview, room for very long term forward planning and two months ahead fro the day to day to dos. I do have to transfer some infor from weekly to daily now and again but thats just pleasure playing with filo and pens so no trouble!

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    2. I find that I must have the full year with me. Part of my job i s planning events and major conferences and trade shows. I usually work about ten years ahead with parts of the planning. I've tried everything - daytimers, day runner, franklin covey, filofax. Each has worked for mee at various times at various points in my career.

      What works now is overall planning in a daytimer monthly planner in US letter size (8 1/2 x 11 inches). I chose this brand because the paper is so thick, it's almost like light cardboard. I have two filos with various tabs - one is for personal info, interests and pursuits. The other is work related. In the work filo I keep one month of franklin covey day on two pages, trimmed and repunched to filo personal size. Each morning I copy the days appointments into it from my large monthly planner onto today. I then have a place to see my day's appts. And deadlines - i add my to do list for the day, and I have a place to make notes all day. This keeps me from scribbling notes on whatever paper is on hand at any given moment - and then trying to keep it all straight!

      Also, I color code - green is work, blue is personal. I also have a few ongoing projects occuriing regularly that have their own color. One more thing, I am looking for a new job. So i write everything in advance in pencil. At the beginning of each month I go over that month with my color coding. At some point I can erase my present responsibilities and replace with my new job! Right??

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    3. I find that I must have the full year with me. Part of my job i s planning events and major conferences and trade shows. I usually work about ten years ahead with parts of the planning. I've tried everything - daytimers, day runner, franklin covey, filofax. Each has worked for mee at various times at various points in my career.

      What works now is overall planning in a daytimer monthly planner in US letter size (8 1/2 x 11 inches). I chose this brand because the paper is so thick, it's almost like light cardboard. I have two filos with various tabs - one is for personal info, interests and pursuits. The other is work related. In the work filo I keep one month of franklin covey day on two pages, trimmed and repunched to filo personal size. Each morning I copy the days appointments into it from my large monthly planner onto today. I then have a place to see my day's appts. And deadlines - i add my to do list for the day, and I have a place to make notes all day. This keeps me from scribbling notes on whatever paper is on hand at any given moment - and then trying to keep it all straight!

      Also, I color code - green is work, blue is personal. I also have a few ongoing projects occuriing regularly that have their own color. One more thing, I am looking for a new job. So i write everything in advance in pencil. At the beginning of each month I go over that month with my color coding. At some point I can erase my present responsibilities and replace with my new job! Right??

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    4. @Erin,
      I have one year of Tabbed monthlies in my FC, then another year of untabbed monthlies. For me that is sufficient space for forward planning. If the boxes are too small, I use a sticky note, and place it in the appropriate month. I only carry the current and the next month of 2PPD. When I remove a month, I keep the tabbed month in my FC binder. I find the Index pages invaluable. Should I need to look something up, I can find the date when it happened cq when it was recorded. Simple and priceless!

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  5. P.S. I love the Franklin Covey system and paper but even a day per page is a tad too much paper to fit. ARGH!!!

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  6. Hi all
    I'm new to the Filofax and Philofaxy community having just received my first binder, a personal ocre Malden, in the mail a week ago. Today was it's first outing with me as I ran errands around town, travelling in my handbag (which only contained the binder and my soft wallet). When I pulled it out at home, though, I noticed a number of marks/scratches covering the leather on the front, spine and back! I was devastated and I don't know how this was caused :(
    My question: Is it common for the Maldens to become severely scratched with little to no contact with other items? Or have I just received a kamikaze binder?

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    1. Hi Ashleigh
      Welcome to the world of Philofaxy

      Yes the Ochre Maldens are prone to that sort of marking.

      But don't panic, the remedy is very simple, lick the pad of your finger and rub the scratch marks on the Malden with your damp finger, you will find that the marks vanish before your eyes.

      I had the same with mine, but they all heal with the damp finger!

      Steve

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    2. Lol either that or you must have some sort of magical saliva! Jk

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    3. Steve's magical properties are truly mysterious.

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  7. I used Franklin Covey since like the early 90's or whenever they first came out (before they were called Franklin Covey or Franklin Quest). I found the paper, if not luxurious, easy to write on. I never cared for the weekly format so always used 2 pages per day. There were some days where my pages weren't completely filled up but since I used the compact size mostly that wasn't a problem most of the time. I agree, their time management system is a good one; I attended a few of their workshops to learn the system. I did find the compact binders a bit boxy and bulky. Last year I decided to get a Filofax because I always wanted one and wanted to try the slimmer profile. Now I have 10 Filofaxes but still own a few FC binders. Right now I'm happy with the Filofax week on 2 pages but at times wish I had a daily page. I'm still playing around with my inserts for 2013 and will stick with Filofax for this year at least. But I don't rule out the possibility/probability of using Franklin Covey in the future. They served me well for most of my working career and I can't tell you the number of hours I spent in their stores when there were 3 of them (!) within 2-12 miles from me. (Now there's only one store and that is 20+ miles away but I do visit a couple times a year).

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  8. My problem is not so much how to manage my schedule (as my schedule is largely set on the fly by my clients) but how to effectively display it. And Filofax falls down on that in a major way. I use A5 and the selection of inserts is dire. My solution is to use a combination of vertical and horizontal WOTP and a to do list. I then have to rewrite things about twice a week because my schedule is illegible because of all the changes, notes and requests that come in all the time.

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  9. @Erin Dale
    I too can't manage without the majority of the year in my planner but for detailed planning, the WO2P is too small, so I use a year of WO2P and then a week of day per page. Yes, there is some copying of appointments during the weekly review when I put the new DPP sheets in, but it's only a week at a time and the extra space for planning makes it worthwhile. Dunno if that helps?

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  10. New topic: Journalling. For years ( like aout 15!) I have used the same brand of journal, bound with narrow cream ruled lines and a cover you can customise by sliding a postcard of your choice ino the stiff cover. However, they no longer make them and I have bought every one I could find anywhere in the world online already! So now I am running out, plus actually I want to move to a more visual journal with sketches as well as words and the lines and paper actually constrict that. So this week I went journal shopping and of course there is now no perfect journal( covers boring and paper never quite right for all purposes) So I did the obvious and started to use an A5 Osterley ( check for beauty and check for whatever paper I want next). But I am uncomfortable about the permanance of it. Loose leaf pages seem wrong given that I keep all my journals. So I was wondering if anyone had ever used a bookbinding service or had bound filo pages themselves for archiving. I mean a proper cover not just a treasury tag! Or even had scanned them and done a blurb book or similar?

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    1. Hello Helen
      Try thermal binding. It is very adaptable. I've used one for years cutting the binder down to fit A5 etc.
      Jim

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    2. I have my journals handmade on Etsy. There are bookbinders there who can bind almost anything. I also write small textbooks and those are pretty easy and cheap to bind at the local printers, though they are glued rather than sewn and not on archival quality paper. The more you order the less you pay but they do one-offs as well for a slightly higher price.

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    3. Helen - perhaps you could find bound notebooks with lined on one side and plain on the other? I have seen some and can't remember where - probably Moleskin or similar.

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    4. If you're in the UK, Jottrr notebooks have lined on one side and plain on the other. Excellent, 120 gsm paper too. www.jottrr.com

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  11. I have my DPP in a separate book - a Paperblanks Midi Day Per Page, which will enable me to have a permanent record of the year.

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  12. Can I get an idea of the type and quality of leather on Guildford Filofax binders?

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  13. I too have been a Franklin Covey user since pretty much the beginning - late 80s. I still have my original classic-size binder, which I'll post pictures of soon because it's still amazing (just big) - they haven't made that quality leather in many years (in fact I just returned an Ava binder to them because it was totally poor quality and the ring mechanism was not attached correctly to the spine) - but I digress... I love Filofax but I also love FC's tabbed monthly pages and D2PP - it works the best for me: a daily task list, the ability to time-block, and a record of daily events. I keep a master projects list and a master task list (GTD-style). Very little slips through the cracks, and I like having my "book" with me everywhere!

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    1. I wish I had my original FC binder! I did just get a big old fat classic size purse style binder off ebay. My daughter (age 29) was laughing and laughing. She called me a nerd (fondly!). It says Franklin Quest in the binder, aniline leather and made in Korea. I know some were made in the USA but this one wasn't. It has a detachable shoulder strap and a big gusseted pocket on the front. I'm never leaving the house with it; I mainly got it for my crafts/project life photo stuff. I was going to use one of my beloved A5's but found that a) the ring size was too small and b) the options for inserts is limited for A5's. There are so many plastic and other inserts available for the 7 ring binders especially the Martha Stewart page protectors with 1, 2, and 4 pockets, that don't fit my A5's. I sure miss my local FC store!

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    2. You might want to take a look at the oiled croc compact. It is on sale now and appears to be top quality.

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  14. I've tried various binders and inserts. I find Franklin Covey binders too bulky and the D2P columns too small. I have used an Atoma discbound binder with printed inserts (Philofaxy WPP + Productive Flourishing monthly, weekly and daily productivity sheets) lately, but I find printing my own inserts from Productive Flourishing too fiddly and the text too small. I found out I need hour slots and was missing them in de Productive Flourishing weekly and daily pages. I do like the task oriented way they work, because I have little appointments, but need to plan my tasks to get anything done. So I bought a personal filofax and have some inserts on my way: Tabbed months for birthdays, school holidays and improtant events, a dodo-pad for appointments+ focus + goal planning and 2PPD ff inserts to fill in each evening so I can plan my tasks around my appointments for the next day on the left page. The task slots on the right I'll use for emerging tasks that day.

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  15. I need both structured and unstructured planning. And it seems they only work together for me. I think that is why I failed for some many years with planners in general. I need designated space to write appointments but without a place to write whatever occurs to me it fails totally. And the reverse is true - I can't just write everything on blank paper.

    Tracy

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  16. Like Tracy, I also find that a mixture of structured & unstructured works for me. I write projects notes (based on Getting Things Done) & have action lists by context, but I always need to scribble random stuff so have lots of lined paper in my In/notes section.

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  17. Sorry for the forthcoming rant!!

    I am sick of Filofax ring problems. I have a few with misalignments and mild paper snagging, in particular my personal Holborn in Wine, A5 Malden in purple, personal Amazona red, and latest my personal Osterley in plum. The rings on my Osterley weren't bad, until one day I opened and closed them to put some paper in, and I noticed 0.5mm gaps in some of the rings! It wasn't like this the night before!

    Every time I see my misaligned rings, or hear other people talking about them, it completely knocks my confidence about my Filofaxes, and kills my trust in Filofax as a brand and the quality of their products. I take good care of my binders, but I am scared to use them. I think the problem with my plum Osterley happened because I dropped it (a couple of feet and on carpet), and the next time I opened the rings, they started gapping. I am also worried that if I buy one online (after they have supposedly gone through Filofax's 'Quality Control'(!), they are going to get damaged in the post, which is what has happened to at least 2 of mine, and countless belonging to other people.

    All in all, I am scared to use and rely on my Filofaxes, at least away from my desk or coffee table. I know they are 'luxury' goods, but I don't think I should have to be scared to carry it around with me for fear of doing something which accidentally causes the rings to misalign further! I have returned faulty filos to Filofax UK in the past, but have just received faulty ones in return! (Or, at least, they were damaged in the post!)
    We pay a LOT of money for these items, and should get QUALITY in return!! Is that too much to ask, Filofax?
    I am seriously considering just using a bound planner instead- in fact, I would happily buy one today, if the concept of a Filofax wasn't brilliant! If I could make my own customisable planner using treasury tags or something, I would! Actually, I have an A5 Staples ring binder- I might start using that, with Philofaxy diary and files printed and punched!!

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    1. "Sorry for the forthcoming rant!!"

      No you're not. But at least you're ranting to a receptive audience that shares your pain. Vent and ranting can be cathartic.

      There are MANY other companies that make Filofax-style binders. Many are even worse in quality, but some are better, and pricier. Based on the many discussions we've seen on philofaxy, I am confident that if fILOFAX could reduce their leather, stitching and mechanism problems of the leather-goods line for $5 (or GBP3) we would prefer to pay that small amount extra.

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    2. Hmmm...if it gets so at you - why don`t you try a Success Planner?When the rings have a problem - you can take out the ring-mechanic and jut get a new mechanic :o) I have seen them in a shop in Hamburg - and the rings look much more stabil,just perfect!One day I will try them ;o)

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    3. @TPS - I've been lucky and avoided ring problems (mainly by only buying and using vintage!) but I actually don't agree with you about the luxury good theory. A Filofax is not, at base, a luxury good. It is a tool. A tool needs to be fit for purpose, and in the case of the intended use of a Filofax, that purpose involves adding and removing pages on a frequent basis, carrying the binder around more or less everywhere and using it to organise work, home, life. If you can't use a Filofax in that way then it is not fit for purpose in my view. By all means look after it, don't drop it in puddles, don't hit it with a hammer etc - but 'normal wear and tear' should not, at least in the short term, result in significant damage to the tool ultimately causing it to become unusable. A leather or other 'upmarket' Filofax, to me, is no different from a high end power tool. People whose working lives depend on having a working drill buy drills which cost 3-4 times as much as a bog-standard Black&Decker, on the grounds that they are more robustly constructed to a better standard, will last longer and will be more reliable thus saving money in the long term. Upgrading from an Apex to a Finchley should work in the same way, but for some reason doesn't seem to!

      I think what I'm saying here is that Filofax, by allowing these apparent quality control issues to creep in (they weren't an issue historically!) and not addressing them, is basically failing to provide a tool of merchantable quality. There are other ways of describing the apparent attitude, but this is a family forum and [expletive deleted] isn't the sort of thing one should say in polite company.

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    4. I here you. I've been afraid to buy anything from Filofax lately even though there are things I love about them. I've switched to Franklin Planner for now. It's something I just need to go through. I enjoy writing on their paper (imagine that) and the compact is wider and therefore easier to write in. I also own a pocket size FC which I hope to downsize into in the future. I would say the size is between the personal FF and the pocket FF.

      As far as the structure vs. unstructured debate. I can strip a structured system down to suit my needs without to much difficulty and keep the components that assist me in staying more organized. As far as FC is concerned that could be go as far as only using lined pages, subject tabs and the monthly calendar. Things like the paper quality, lined and tabbed months,uniformity and attractive design can't be integrated in some really basic ring binder paper system without quite a bit of effort. I quess what I'm saying is it depends what you value more and how you adapt. I used to feel I had to use things exactly as they were designed but I don't anymore.

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    5. I have been completely won over by Mulberry. Fabulous quality and if you buy from somewhere like eBay you can get one for a similar cost to a new Filofax. None of mine have had any issues and each time I have contemplated moving out of them and into a filofax, I have moved straight back to Mulberry!

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  18. I keep a list of websites and sign in info in my A-Z at the back of my personal binder - I have a number and just can't remember them all. However this takes up a lot of room which means I can't keep as much of my diary to hand as I would wish. Can anyone suggest another method of doing this? (I often need to access it from home but also when out and about or at a customer premises). Or has anyone come across a nice notebook (perhaps like field notes) that has an A-Z index that I could just slip in the back of my binder?

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  19. I need structure, but I have to create my own set of rules. I love Filofax' simplicity...

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  20. Completely different subject. Has anyone ever seen or handled (or owned!) an example of the 1996 'Grace Scurr 75th Anniversary Limited Edition' filofax? I came across a link to a piece in the Independent online, which led me to some image links (pages in Japanese!). It looks lovely in pictures - a duplex model, in tan leather with gilded rings, and loosely based on Grace Scurr's own filofax (yes, *that* one). At £500 a go in a limited edition of 1921 it probably qualifies as one of the rarest... if they sold any! I'd love to know more if anyone has info.

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    1. Must have been designed by Alice Temperley at that price....

      No, I've just checked my Filofax cabinet... and there isn't one in there. But will check the strong room in the basement later!

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    2. They are talked about quite a bit on the Vintage Filofax Users Facebook Group - apparently there are loads of buyers in the Far East.

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    3. There were 1921 of them made and each was numbered

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    4. There were 1921 of them made and each was numbered. That makes them about 4x more common than the limited edition Reindeer hide Filofax.

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    5. I now own one of these - got it for £130 on ebay. It is number 209 of 1921.

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  21. If you do a google image search for Grace Scurr it throws up some pics of interest. Apparently the 75th anniversary filofax came in a nice wooden case with all sorts of goodies...

    Btw was Alice Temperley old enough to be at work in 1996?

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    1. Paul
      I've seen a picture of the 75th Anniversary Limited Edition

      I'm sure someone has posted a link to it on here some time in the last year or so.

      Steve

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  22. Thanks for the advice a few weeks ago about A5 inserts. I tried a 2013/13 Dodo diary, and love it. I'll be getting the next 12 months worth in the summer.

    I like having a whole page to write notes on next to the diary bit. It seems to suit the way I work.

    Susan

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  23. I loved the FC brand and was a big user for many years. I used their Simplicity inserts which is one of their more unstructured systems (month on two pages and week on two pages). Although I'm currently obsessed with Filofax, FC will always have a place in my heart.

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  24. For those using FC compact size daily page inserts in a Personal size FF....

    Do you trim width of page to fit FF?

    If so, does it work to trim off one edge or do you need to trim off a bit off of both edges to look right?

    FWIW, just tried using some Day-Timer inserts in my personal and while it's same size as FF personal pages, it does not work well with fountain pen, which is my writing device of choice....

    In meantime, I bought FF Print to File software, so, will be experimenting with it over the next week or so....but think will mostly concentrate on printing my own note pages, not calendar related pages. Although might try them too....

    Also, is it worth getting FF Addressbook program too?

    Thanks,

    Mark

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    1. I did not get the addressbook program to work well. I ended up setting up something in Excel and using the Print to File software.

      I saw a picture recently of one of this community's Filofax without the FC pages trimmed. The pages were nearly flush with the edge of the binder.

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    2. Thanks for the input and suggestion, Alan....

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  25. For anyone that is interested, I have just listed a Circa Levenger planner on my ebay store. I had originally wanted to use the pages in my filofax, but I simply can't make myself take such a beautiful planner apart and I thought one of you lovely people might be interested :)

    http://www.ebay.com/itm/271149205479?ssPageName=STRK:MESELX:IT&_trksid=p3984.m1555.l2649

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