25 July 2009

It's That Time Of Year Again!!

Oooh, it's a very exciting time of year in the planner world. I get more excited about July/ August than January! By the time January rolls around I have settled on what format I will use for the year (or think I will use, and then usually wind up switching around). But late summer, when all the new planners are in the stores, is open to so many possibilities: should I switch formats? Should I switch to an academic-year planner or wait for the calendar year to start? I know Steve discussed when to buy your new Filofax diary pages and what format to use last month, but in this post I want to talk about planners in general, and trying new formats.

2010 planners are in! Not just the academic year ones (which are beginning now, which is also very exciting), but next year's calendars are on the shelves. The Daily Planner has a huge selection including Filofax, Lett's, Moleskine, Quo Vadis and other great brands. There are some new ones this year, including Rhodia's spanking new weekly planner selection which has an interesting format with a gridded notes page each week. It's a dazzling array of planner possibilities!

In my Scotland post I told about a woman I met who uses a Filofax for her addresses and permanent reference, but a separate diary book with a larger page size for her planner. Confession time: does anyone else do this? I have experimented with this method for awhile this year, using my Filo as my reference book and for my planner an 8"x5" bound week + notes book (of a brand that starts with "M" and end in "-ine"). Yes the larger page size and streamlined book is nice, but carrying two books around seems "silly" as my friend put it, yet I'm lost without my Filo.

My sister has been very patient with me throughout the years listening to my planner angst and generously giving her suggestions to try to help me achieve Planner Nirvana. I told my story to her about the page size/ book size problem this way: When I was a kid, I had a pet hermit crab. For those of you unfamiliar with hermit crabs, they wear a shell on their back like a snail, but they don't grow their own shell. They crawl into discarded snail shells and use their curled tail to hold it on. (I realize by this time you are either intrigued or disgusted.) As the hermit crab grows, they have to find larger shells to live in. My pet hermit crab grew, but the next size shell I had for it was too large. So it went back to its too-small shell for awhile. Then it got uncomfortable and moved back to the big shell, back and forth. I told my sister that's how I feel with my Filofax: all in one book? Or larger page size in a different book? Small shell? Big shell?

Which is why July-August always brims with hope for me. Maybe THIS year I will find the format that works perfectly for me! Maybe THIS year I'll create a system that works flawlessly in all situations. Maybe THIS year I will finally achieve Planner Nirvana!

Oh, what happened to my hermit crab, you ask?

It died.


  1. "...a woman I met who uses a Filofax for her addresses and permanent reference, but a separate diary book with a larger page size for her planner."

    Yes, I do something like that - vintage nylon black Personal Filofax that stays on the shelf for addresses, hard to remember mobile numbers (I don't use a moby myself), account numbers (scrambled/coded, of course!) for utility suppliers, important dates of past work etc for resum├ęs, and so on - every number or factoid that's needed not quite often enough to memorise, in fact.

    And, a Personal navy Finsbury (used to be my main book)to go out and about, trimmed down to appointments, some numbers that aren't too secret, loads of lined notepaper to jot stuff down.

    Then... as of Feb this year, I moved up to an A5 Kendal, which I call (it sounds pretentious I know!) my "lifebook" - that has daily pages I design and print at home where I note goals, thoughts, stuff: plus, a week-to-view diary for appointments, pages to journal/write mad ideas and to-do lists, plans for world domination, etc, just the usual basic brain downloads!

    In the back mesh pocket there's an A5 Rhodia graph-paper pad tucked in for diet & exercise tracking, that book has my personal life in it, also doesn't leave the house.

    Works for me, right now - I work from home, for myself, and so have both a lot of flexibility, and A Lot to stay on top of from day to day.

    But one thing I value is no longer having to have everything from personal client mobile numbers to what I had for lunch, all out and about in one place.

    Possibly a false security, but it also helps me to compartmentalise My Time and Work Time - which if you work from home, I've found, can be tough.

  2. Miss Charlie, thank you for telling us so much about how you use your Filos! I always love hearing how people use their books, to try to get ideas of how to maximize my usage. I agree it is very hard to compartmentalize My Time from Everything Else when there is so much overlap.

    I really like your idea of having your book that contains your ideas, notes, goals, etc, that stays at home. For some reason I feel like I should drag all that around with me everywhere I go, which of course is ridiculous. I do tend to use my Filo as a security blanket, and have everything in it that I might possibly need in any situation. I need to get over that and do some streamlining!

  3. For the longest time I would only ever use spiral-bound planners. I would never have considered a ring-bound. Then I found Filofax, and while I have tried various styles and layouts and sizes, I haven't strayed from the Filo since then (and have started quite a collection in the meantime).
    I started with the Personal size - I could keep a lot in there but it was just a tad too big to carry with me everywhere. I tried a few times to downsize but have come to realize that the Personal is the best size for what I use it for. I have come to not carry it with me everywhere - I use my iTouch for out and about use, unless I'm doing a lot of errands or something that would require me to bring the Filo. In the beginning, I had a hard time leaving it at home. But I quickly adapted when I realized how much lighter my bag is without it, especially when I know I won't need it. If I need to write something down while I'm out, I use my iTouch and then transfer the information to my Filo. It works well for me, at least for now.

    In other news, I just went to the Container Store (I don't know if this store exists outside of the US) - for a long time, they carried various Filofax items. They must no longer be doing this. The selection they had was very little, picked through and very cheap. I was thinking about buying new tabs and other items from Filofax, but instead bought a personal size Domino at the store - it was on sale for $13 and included pages and tabs that I had wanted to buy. With the money I would have spent on the Filo website, plus the shipping costs, I bought an entire planner for less than I would have spent online. Plus, I got a storage binder out of the deal. Since I'm not usually a bargain hunter, I am very proud of my find (I do enjoy sales and bargains, but I don't have the patience to seek them out). I really was hoping to pick up a personal size punch, but they didn't have any. I'll have to suck it up and purchase one at full price through Filofax. I've been wanting one for a long time, and reading the past punch posts, I'm just going to do it.

  4. First of all, love love LOVE your hermit crab story/analogy! I too had a pet hermit crab when I was a kid (named Buster in case you were curious) and can heartily relate to the "shell shuffle" and how it relates to the Filo shuffle.

    I have been carting an A5 Finchley (brown) around with me for the past couple years and it has been working very well. I can keep my 1 day/page diary, a month in view, to do sections and notes/projects going for both work and for home. But since I carry my Filo EVERYWHERE with me (even to my bedside when I retire...I record interesting dreams in the back of it) the large size was becoming cumbersome.

    Now, for the 2nd half of '09 (training for '10) I have "shuffled" down to a Personal Eton. I find the page size a bit small for my handwriting, however the sheer scrumptiousness of the leather keeps me committed to down-sizing to the Personal for good.

    The smaller size does make it easier to take my Filo with me, but I also have an iPhone which houses all my ever-changing client & vendor contact information (got sick of re-copying constantly on paper pages) and I do also keep a digital version of my calendar on the iPhone & iCal...as well as in my Filo. I would do that no matter what size Filo I carried.

    The comfort of the larger pages in my A5 call to me...so I wonder if I will be like your hermit crab and shuffle back and forth several times before I am through.

    At least it's fun to collect all kinds of "shells" from the new 2010 collection just in case!!