27 July 2016

Ring bound and bound planners/notebooks?

I see an awful lot of people in our community that have changed from ring bound planners to the travellers notebook style notebooks for planning and note taking.

I use quite a combination myself. Here are my daily planners/organisers On the left is my Quo Vadis Daily 21, which I use as my journal with my Van der Spek pen case, I only write in fountain pen in my journal. Then my Van der Spek A5 Manager custom which is my main stay planner and tool for organising tasks and appointments. And then on the right is my Van der Spek Nomad regular size travellers note book, this is purely used for notes for each episode of the podcast.



As they say... it is pen and paper so does it matter how it is assembled and how it functions? Not really.

For those of you who also have a 'foot in both camps' I also host the 'Travellers Notebook Times' blog which mainly features a once a week 'Web Finds' post just like here on Philofaxy but for Travellers Notebooks. I have done some reviews as well and we feature new product announcements too.

So do you use a combination of paper and pen formats like I do?

21 comments:

  1. I use a personal Original as my main planner which houses my calendar, project/ event planning and bullet journal.

    My A5 Domino is used for house & home maintenance and finances, medical and insurance info. This Filofax lives on top of my desk in our "home office".

    I recently moved all my knitting notes and info from a pocket PAK to a ZYLC Traveler's Notebook.

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  2. I find notebooks too inflexible really for planning as such, but I like them for things I know will not change anymore such as journalling or recipe notes. I do like that they are slimmer though. Travelers notebooks seem like a good compromise, but I insert notebooks are unflexible again and I don't like the messiness of loose pages just held by an elastic...

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  3. I'm using both formats at the moment too. The Midori regular is for notes throughout the day, things like interesting items I've seen on Amazon etc., along with an index book in which I keep login details, encrypted passwords etc. I find the TN easier to write in as there are no rings. The only drawback is that when a notebook is full I have to trawl through items not crossed out so as to carry them forward. I can't see a way round that, and that's where Filofax has an advantage.

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  4. I completely agree with TinaKaren I bought the a TN with the idea of using it for journaling and I thought if I really liked it I could also use it as an organiser. I found it very inflexible and found myself ripping some pages because I made a mistake ... that never happens with the ring bound system because you can just add a new page and all is fine again. Now I have my Filofaxes for organising and planning and my TN for journaling and handwriting practice, it works just fine that way.

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  5. I've used both formats for a long time. As a left-hander, I've always found writing around rings a chore. However, like Steve Y, I dislike trawling through a fixed notebook full of crossings out to find what I'm looking for!

    Personally, I think the Midori paper and thin booklets are fantastic and I use them a lot in my Pocket Flex. However, the Travellers Notebook covers are (I think) over-rated and why so many imitations have appeared as a cottage industry. The Flex by Filofax leather covers are far superior in quality and finish. However, I think Flex failed largely because of the thick notebooks and diaries they produced, as carrying two or three in a cover doesn't work. Also, they got their sizing wrong. If they had made all the insets thin and produced a Personal or Field Notes size rather than Slim, I think they would be dominant in that market now and could have exploited the best of ring and non-ring working together.

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    1. Wouldn't a "leftie" binder be awesome?

      I use my Identity and Clipbook in "landscape" (turned 90 degrees) if I need to avoid the rings for any tables or similar that I might draw / design / need to add.

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    2. I agree about the Travelers' Notebook covers not being all that.

      Leuchterm small jotter notebooks are just 5mm wider than the Flex slim notebooks, have better quality paper and are available in grid, dotted, plain, and ruled styles. I use the Flex slim as my EDC and my Filofax personal stays at home most days.

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    3. I use field note notebooks in my pocket flex. I just need to trim around 2mm from the cover and it slides right on in the slot. Mine is a vinyl one. I wish I had been able to get a leather one before they went under.

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  6. I only use Filofax ring-bound organisers. I can't stand notebooks anymore, i have been spoilt! Ive always hated the fact you can't move pages or remove them completely from a bound notebook if you make a mistake.
    I have tried and failed many times to like notebooks again but we simply do not gel. The only notebook i now own is my travellers style notebook which Ray Blake made me. I simply cannot let it go as it is too beautiful. But i have never used it. But i live in hope hat one day i will!

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    1. I am that way with Travelers Notebooks as well. Tried and tried and could never get through a single day with them. However, I moved into a Hobonichi in May and have not been back to my ring bound planners since. I think it has to do with the fact that it lays flat unlike the TN. I am not saying I'll stay in it forever but I am enjoying it for now. :)

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  7. I am going to buy a Hobonichi for next year, because the layout and the different scheduling options are so amazing, and I have heard so much now about this Tomoe River Paper, that I want to see for myself now. But I have already decided that I am going to remove the spine and punch it.

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  8. I'm another vote for multiple formats. My main calendar/planner is a Hobonichi cousin. I just found the ring formats were either too big to carry while commuting (A5s) or too small to do any good (personal). I tried a TN for planning, but it wasn't stiff or big enough. Now the TN is used as the name implies - traveling. My Filofaxes have't disappeared, however. They live at home and work storing projects and quick access reference information. They're still important in the mix!

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  9. I was in a Filofax all the time but switched to a TN style notebook last year and haven't moved out of it since! I have an insert that is week to view diary and a notebook for notes and (other than the wallet functions of cards and money) that's it. The bound aspect of either of the books bothers me far less than the increased page size for decreased weight aspect. I have no problem with tearing the pages out of the notes booklet once everything in it is done/processed - I just stick a ruler down the edge (about 0.5cm in from the spine so that the pages on the other side of the fold aren't loose)and rip! I'm not needing to flip through the notes page because stuff gets processed to a more permanent home or is a to-do that's been done.
    I always thought I would be Filofax forever, but the TN is working SO much better for me. I do still come here and read the posts though (as well as the TN ones). I do find the original TN a lot of money for what they are (both the cover and the inserts) but have bought things from Etsy/made my own instead.

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  10. All my planning and filing infos happens with a Filofax personal. But for journalling I use a notebook (moleskin). I would never want a ring-bound diary for journalling - too flexible - as I most likely won't use a pure notebook for planning again - not flexible enough.

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  11. Since the beginning of the year, I've been using a combination pocket planner and commonplace/bullet journal notebook. However, I was greatly inspired by a video who quoted Hiram Smith from Franklin Covey Institute where he stressed to have one central calendar and to blend your life into 'one focused tool'. I've been on a mission to re-work my pocket planner setup so it can encompass not just my calendar and wallet, but also a place for my daily pages, notes and files. I can't believe how much I don't miss jockeying between the two!

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  12. I also like the Flex leather cover and the pockets but I have only seen photographs. I want to use a cover without rings or strings instead of my Franklin pocket binder because of the smaller size and benefits of not writing around rings. I removed the monthly dividers with tabs from the binder because I need more space for other sheets. Sometimes I do not prefer to view those tabs on the side. I indicate the months in another way to locate the pages. I have been considering a different product for awhile but my binder is more streamlined without the monthly dividers.

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    1. Me too. I use a piece of slim washi on the side of the first page of each month to be able to easily find the months. The dividers are nice to look at but adds to much bulk.

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    2. Hi Maria. I like your clever way of using the tape. I draw and shade tabs on the pages to indicate the months. The tab on the monthly divider is a template. Now in opening and closing the rings I no longer press the sheets because of the ample space.

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    3. Thank you for explaining how you indicate the months, I was quite curious. I find it interesting to read about your system.

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  13. A way to avoid getting bothered by te rings is that I often use the pages in a Landscape format, especially for unstructured notetaking.

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  14. I gave up on using the Filofax for daily planning, although I still use my Malden Personal to manage my blog. I moved into a Bullet Journal three years ago and found planner bliss. I love that I can manage my daily tasks, put in lists, and I find that I do lots of sketching in mine with a combination of fountain pens and artist PITT pens. I still use a small pocket Filofax Flex for notetaking purposes. Love the Flex and always wished that I bought one of the purple leather ones before they disappeared. Mine is vinyl. It holds up well though and I love the pockets.

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