18 February 2016

The Hitch Hikers Guide to the Plannerverse - Episode 1

What size and why....

So what is this you might ask.... something new for me as well.


Karine (Tovmassian) and I have been planning this for some time and finally we got to record a proper episode after we had done a couple of test discussions we recorded and had technical problems with.

I hope you will listen to the first episode, we know it is not 100% perfect, we still have our 'L' plates on! We have already been discussing how we can improve our techniques for Episode 2 and beyond. Given that we live over 3800 miles apart on either side of the Atlantic, it took a little bit of working out on how to get the recording to the point of being acceptable.

There are some technicalities that we are still playing around with, I'm still learning how to use the software fully, but hopefully with more practice things will get better.

So in future episodes we hope to discuss and chat about a lot of planner related topics both ring bound and conventional bound planners. In the future we will have a spot for listeners questions, interviews with people in the planner community and a lot of things that we hope that will be popular.

We have aimed to keep each episode to around the 30 minute mark, so we don't take too much of a chunk out of your day.

So on to our maiden voyage with the 'show notes' below....roll the tape... action:

Episode 1 - What size and why....

A direct download is also available here: Episode1.mp3

Show Notes (timings approximate)

01:20 - Filofax Sizes
02:00 - Travellers Notebook sizes
05:30 - A6 in summary
06:45 - Horizontal diary format
09:50 - A6 format diary format now used by Steve
14:16 - Deskfax
16:10 - Steve's first Filofax
20:05 - Holborn A5 Zip
20:25 - Clasps
21:10 - Duplex
21:30 - Franklin Covey
22:40 - Gillio Mia Cara with larger rings
26:30 - Hole spacing conspiracy
27:00 - Philofaxer FC comment
27:20 - Testing the size that suits you.

Presenters - Steve Morton and Karine Tovmassian
Our Websites: http://philofaxy.com (of course!) and http://www.thinkerextraordinaire.com

Naturally we would love to hear your feedback on the podcast and our show notes.

If you have ideas for future episodes please send them to steve at philofaxy dot com

Also available on iTunes.


  1. Congrats on your new project, Steve & Karine
    One question Steve--what does "we still have our L plates on" mean?

    1. Thank you Linda

      When you are learning to drive you have an L Plate on the car in UK :


      So we are still learning!

  2. I think this is a great addition to Philofaxy!

  3. After dusting off my old filofaxes for the new year I started a search for different sizes this morning in the hope of finding the elusive magic size that fits all occasions, I realise this could be a never ending journey but glad to say one of my first searches allowed me to stumble across your podcast and it was good to know I am not the only one with multiple organisers. Very much enjoyed the podcast and looking forward to the next one.

  4. This is fantastic! Will it eventually be on iTunes so I can subscribe that way, or should I just keep an eye out here?

    1. Hi Helen
      Yes the intention is to get it on to iTunes although we will always have an embedded version here for those people that don't use iTunes. And the show notes will be here as well.
      Thank you

    2. I thoroughly enjoyed this. It was relaxed, and helpful, and you both have really soothing voices! I am looking forward to new episodes.

  5. You were musing about large format bound planners: Here in North America, there are bound letter sized diary and appointment books.

  6. My hypothesis about Franklin Covey's Compact size: When cutting from Letter-sized paper, 4.25" is exactly half the page width, so you might as well get the extra 1/2" that would have been wasted. Also, when you cut 6.75" off the length of 11", you have 4.25" remaining, so you can get 3 sheets from a letter-sized wasting only a small bit that is 4.25"x1.75".

    1. This seems credible. I know that, when the Franklin planner was developed in the 1980s, that they specifically rejected the offerings from DayTimer as inadequate for various reasons. I suspect that the slightly wider pages were a deliberate choice to try to accommodate the Franklin dual column left hand page design on the smaller size page.

      I'd also comment that the 7 ring configuration is not proprietary to FC, but is widely used in US-made systems and was used by Daytimer way back. 7 hole (in either letter size or half letter size) lines up with standard three-ring binders and the additional holes/rings help prevent paper from being torn out of the rings. I don't think it was a conspiracy, just two different ring systems which developed in different markets. From my recollection, when I lived in Italy, A4 and A5 binders tended to have two or four rings, not six. I am not sure what the origination of the 6 ring planner configuration is.

  7. I enjoyed this! Bravo to both of you!

  8. I love using iCal in conjunction with my planner as well, Steve. I realized recently that my planner has really become a GTD to-do list system. I do have monthly views for important events and deadlines but I track my time and my schedule in iCal! I forward plan in it and then as I go through my workday I track what I have worked on in time chunks. I love iCal for the color coding!

  9. Just remember that the answer is always 42.

  10. Seems that chrome cannot display the mixcloud widget, need to listen via firefox.
    It will be great in next episode if you can post link to the webpage directly.

    But,Awesome show!

  11. Brilliant! I was only thinking the other day that we need a Philofaxy podcast. Haven't had a chance to fully listen to it, so looking forward to finish it off over the weekend. Thank you both :)

  12. The last tip is useful for saving time and paper. I am not interested in another format but in that case I would design it for a couple of weeks.

    Alan's reason is practical. Since I draw my layout on lined paper I must trim the pages. When I need to purchase more paper I prefer sheets of the size and weight for my insert.

  13. I have finally gotten around to listen to Episode 1. This is awesome. Thank you for the discussion of 'what stays at home/what gets carried around'. For me the personal size is the perfect size to carry along, but mine has been filled up with way too much paper and stuff. Time to declutter.

  14. This morning I finally took the time for drink a coffee and listen the podcast. Good job Steve & Karine, I really enjoy it!

  15. I am absolutely loving these podcasts!

    One correction: as Alan mentioned, there are A4/ Letter/ Full size bound planners. In the US, Passion Planner makes an A4 size. Also Franklin makes wirebound planners in their Monarch (Letter) size. In the UK, you can get A4 size weekly or daily planners/ diaries at WH Smith. There are other brands available, but you get the idea. They aren't as prevalent as A5 size planners, but they are out there.

    Steve's idea at the end to experiment on the size of paper you are thinking of converting to before investing in binders and inserts has saved me a lot of money in the past! There have been many times when I've tried a particular diary layout or paper size, only to find it didn't work for me at all.

  16. Ohh, I've just discovered this podcast and am thrilled. Needless to say that I immediately checked deskfax size offers on eBay.

    1. Episode 8 is out tomorrow :) We are both enjoying making each episode.

  17. Franklin Covey does have a 6 ring option.

  18. Mp3 version ends abruptly at 20.36 mark

    1. Just checked and it worked ok here to the end