20 July 2016

Guest post - One Book July – the second week

As you probably know by now, I’m doing One Book July, and these short posts are offered up as a chronicle of my progress (or maybe lack of) through the month. If you aren’t up with the plot and want to find out what One Book July is all about (now that it’s half over!), there is an excellent video by Carrie Harling, which will update you.

In my post last week I talked about my choice of binder – the chocolate Finsbury A5. I’m pleased to report that I’m still in A5, and still in the Finsbury! Those of you who know me will realise that this is something remarkable! But there it is – One Book July is definitely having an effect.

Having sorted out my choice and format of binder, my next job was to sort out what diary format I’m going to go forward with. Now this is where I have real problems…..not only do I normally see-saw between A5 and Personal (now settled by my choice of binder), but I have real issues between DPP and Wo2P…..and occasionally Do2P. OK, I admit it – I’m generally a complete mess in this department. However, there are reasons (there are always reasons, right?)……

Some of my weeks get very busy, so I like to have a week-per-view diary as my ‘default setting’. This helps me to see at a glance just how insane life is likely to get in any given week, while giving me enough latitude to make some adjustments before things really fall apart. Also, I like to plan far ahead. I mean far ahead. I already have stuff in my diary for July 2017. No - really, I do. So carrying eighteen months’ DPP diary is just a tad awkward…….

However, I also like to have the ability to add tasks and follow-ups to specific days in the future. Again, sometimes far in the future. This is also one way in which I deal with recurring tasks. So I like a DPP, or a Do2P diary, which allows me space to do that.

So as well as liking a Wo2P diary, I also like a DPP diary. Or on occasions (when it gets really busy) a Do2P diary. And I like to carry eighteen months’ worth of diary at once. No problem………

So now you know what my ‘issues’ are, and I have to tell you, this has been a really tough choice! I have experimented with TimeSystem Do2P, PoD DPP inserts, a nifty Wo2P layout which David Parker kindly produces and which allows for at least some forward task allocation, and I even tried a Daytimer Do2P before I ‘graduated’ to A5.

OK, so now you know……I’m a mess in this area. This is the beauty of One Book July…..if you hold yourself to your commitment – and I made my commitment public enough to need to make sure I hold myself to it – you have to deal with this sort of issue.

So the bottom line…the Big Reveal…the denouement is that I am using a very simple ‘minimalist’ DPP diary printed on Conqueror high white wove A5 which I bought from a local stationery store (local businesses rule, right?) and sourced from a file on the Philofaxy website.

There is an unexpected side benefit so far – until now and for many years I’ve used pencil, and only pencil, in my diary. This has been for two reasons, the first being that Things Change. Everything. All the time. I use more pencil eraser than I drink water. The second reason is that I loathe see-through and bleed-through. As soon as I can see anything on the other side of the page, that page is useless to me. Also, my writing is bad enough not to need the added problem of feathering. Sometimes even I can’t read what I’ve written.



So with my new-found Conqueror diary I’m at last able to use the lovely Sheaffer 300 fountain pen which my even more lovely wife bought me last Christmas:-


This is absolutely my Most Favourite Fountain Pen Ever, and I have been waiting to use it properly since I was given it. Of course, Things still Change, but I’m learning to tackle my planner neatness obsession at the same time, which I figure is a win-win.

For the real stationery and pen nerds out there, I’m using Noodlers Prime of the Commons blue-black ink. The drying time on the Conqueror is almost zero, which is useful when I’m making quick notes in my system. And my writing is still awful……but that’s another story.

So now I have binder size and diary format sorted. Next up is the task management part of the system…….but that’s for week 3……..

Happy planning!

Thank you David for the update

20 comments:

  1. I don't understand where your problem is, to be honest. The beauty of a ring system is that you can include different insert for different needs, so you don't have to limit yourself to one diary format. I use a year at a glance 2017 for forward planning, a month at a glance plus a week at a glance as normal defaults and a DPP inserts just for the days that become very busy and require detailed scheduling. The DPP inserts I only put in a few at a time when when am in such a busy phase, and I remove them once the day is over, since I have the important appointments on the weekly inserts already and don't need to archive the details of that day.

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    1. Hi TinaKaren. Thanks for your thoughts....I'm sorry you feel a a tad dismissive towards the post, but I actually prefer *not* to have multiple diaries, because that way chaos lies (for me). If you can manage it, that's great!

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    2. I didn't read TinaKaren's reply as dismissive. Just not aware that you didn't like multiple formats, especially as you mention using several of them in the same paragraph. I was about to suggest something similar until I read her reply and your reaction.
      In the system I use, I have WO2P for the overview and DPP for detail. Appointments from the WO2P get transferred to the DPP on a Sunday, along with day-specific tasks. Any new appointments that arise during the week go straight into that week's DPP sheets. I don't find any confusion because of that separation. If I ever had things coming in after 31st Dec 2016, I would add in a year planner at the back for 2017 (and beyond). Where things go is determined by when they occur: anything up to Sunday goes in the DPP; anything after Sunday but still in 2016 goes into WO2P; anything later than that goes into the year planner. In the weekly planning session, appointments get transferred across; at the end of year planning, things from the year planner go onto the WO2P.
      I suppose the trick is to find what definitely works for you. My system works for me and may well suck for you. I offer it only as a thought - for you and others who may find it helpful. Please feel free to ignore it if it isn't helpful.

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    3. Hi Amanda! As I said before, if it works for the individual, I'm all for it. And this 'endless flexibility' gives us all the possibility of having a system absolutely tailored to our individual needs!

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    4. Sorry David, I didn't intend to sound dismissive, I just wanted to offer a possible solution to your dilemma.

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    5. TinaKaren that's absolutely OK! Thank you for the suggestion. I have used planners with multiple calendars over the years (TMI in particular), but things always 'fall through the cracks', and I don't seem to have the knack of keeping them in sync :)

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  2. David, it is only a suggestion but.....could you manage with a printed DPP diary, and use "undated" pages for those occasions where your day becomes fuller / busier, and just add the date you need to the top of the page? You could use the reverse side of this "undated" page for any brain-dump items you think of.

    Also, you could use these "undated" pages for your advance bookings / days where you have something scheduled for 2017, just adding the page for the day you require, and then inserting it into the year's worth of diary pages when you print off 2017's diary pages. Until that printing happens, they would sit neatly at the back of your current year with (maybe a dozen) other blank pages ready to use? That way, you'd always know that you had them in hand, so to speak.

    Just some thoughts....that may work for you.

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    1. Hi Mac! I don't think I would ever need more than a DPP.....I've tried Do2P and it really is overkill for me! The idea of some MPP pages at the back of a few months' DPP is a good one, and that's how Day-Timer do their diaries.....worth a shot, I think!

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    2. Another "undated" idea. Would it be possible to use the wo2p and simply add undated dailies within the week when needed? That way you're not adding tons of extra bulk, but you have your space when needed.
      I use a printed mo2p for long term planning, and a wo1p with a notes page currently. But I am planning to switch out the weekly printed sheets with grid paper for a bullet journal section when I go back to school next month for the flexibility! That's the best part about filofax- endless flexibility!

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    3. Another "undated" idea. Would it be possible to use the wo2p and simply add undated dailies within the week when needed? That way you're not adding tons of extra bulk, but you have your space when needed.
      I use a printed mo2p for long term planning, and a wo1p with a notes page currently. But I am planning to switch out the weekly printed sheets with grid paper for a bullet journal section when I go back to school next month for the flexibility! That's the best part about filofax- endless flexibility!

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    4. I'm definitely thinking about that! You're right.....endless flexibility is a great thing.

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  3. Thoroughly enjoyable post and I'm looking forward to next week. I can say the same on almost everything except the pen dilemma. I can't use pencil (can't stand the feel of it) and I'm afraid of permanent ink. I use Frixion pens but the quality is inconsistent; sometimes they flow freely but leave marks on the other pages, sometimes they are scratchy. Thank you for sharing your experience and I'm very glad you're enjoying your pen.

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    1. Hi Lisa
      What size Frixion pens do you use? I found the same problem with the 0.5mm ones, I prefer the 0.7mm refills, they write much better. But the 0.7mm ones don't fit many pen loops... but the 0.7mm refills will fit inside the 0.5mm pens, which are thinner and will fit most pen loops...
      See this video if that doesn't make sense!

      https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=w8X7y3cYG9Y

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    2. Hi Lisa. I am insanely enthusiastic about the pen at the moment! I just love it. I hope I can get a pencil (with eraser) which somehow matches the look of the fountain pen and ballpoint. Work in progress!

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    3. Steve: Yes, 0.7mm. Thank you I will give this a try.

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    4. Thanks Steve for the idea. Never thought about just changing the refill. I'm using a A5 Saffiano Compact Zip as a wallet and always had trouble getting out the 0,7mm pen and the ink flow of the 0,5mm pen.

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  4. David, this is interesting to follow as I find sometimes I am in the same predicament - needing more or less detail as my life becomes more or less busy. What I ended up doing was moving to a bullet journal-style of planning (mine is nowhere near the original Ryder Carroll invented, but it works for me) and I have found that this works well. I can use as many pages (or parts of pages) as I need and create my own weekly/daily format to suit. I used it for all of April/May with great success, fell off the bandwagon in June (only to find myself thrashing about for the right solution) and am back in it for July. Quite happily. You are almost doing a bullet journal style of planning with your minimalist pages -- will be interesting to see how the balance of July works out for you. :)

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    1. Thanks Lois........I have played around with Bullet Journal but I find it too free-form. I need structure, and what I'm doing now is right at the edge of my comfort zone. However, you've hit the nail right on the head - it works for you, which is what we're all looking for!

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  5. I remember decades ago when I saved for several months to afford to purchase a leather personal sized planner. At that time I was so proud of my one and only planner, which was my lifeline for several years. It never crossed my mind that my “life” could not be contained in one binder. Who knew that in the 21st Century instead of having sections in one planner, multiple planners would be required! Hey, I own a mini, pocket, personal and A5 planners, but have to admit I don’t really need four planners. I just fell prey to excessive consumerism. Bravo to the one planner movement. And BTW, that is an absolutely beautiful fountain pen.

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  6. Dear David,

    Always a pleasure to read your posts and this one is no different. And I can fully relate on your *struggle*; if things would be easy we would not have had the One Book challenge! Choosing inserts is like Frodo on his way to Mount Doom!

    I am curious to know the tabs / tab names you use. Pictures give a hint, but perhaps you cam share that in your next struggle: what system to use!

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