One Singular Sensation

It has been said I am a woman of extremes; the lean heart of a minimalist embodied in the succulent flesh of a hoarder.

Example: I have a large bin of Filofax (and I do mean large) however my true desire is to only actually use one.

At a time, that is.

I like the collection for it’s ability to indulge my ever-changing whims of style or mood (or season for that matter), allowing me to choose the professional lines of  Guildford, the elegant sophistication of the Amazona, the urban chic of the Adelphi, the breeziness of the Piazza or the laid back vintage cool of the Malden, as I please.

But while I enjoy changing the outside of my planner at will (fashion), I prefer to have the system inside remain concise, dependable and unchanged (function).

Lately I’ve been doing a lot of dog calling. At one point I actually had three different sizes, as well as three different diary layouts going concurrently, making for a tiring amount of copy redundancy and an annoying amount of planner clutter on my coffee table.

I thought that settling on the personal size Filofax as my planner while using a pocket size Filo as a wallet would do the trick, however I found a restlessness for singularity whispering in my ear and tugging at my sleeve more than I cared to admit.

Then, while checking out of a doctor’s appointment the other day, I pulled out my wallet – a pocket ochre Malden – to produce my insurance card and cash for the co-pay and then my planner – a personal ochre Malden – to schedule my next appointment.

The look on the receptionist’s face as her eyes left my gaze and flicked down to take in the sight of twin Malden’s laying on the counter was uncomfortably similar to a look I have seen on my dog when she is contemplating an insect.

(somewhere between puzzled curiosity and pity, for those of you who don’t have crazy, bug-eating canines in your home)

Oh yeah, me thinks some consolidation is in order.

I went home, laid the two next to one another and set about determined to cull the fluff out of both.

While having all the accessory goodies in the wallet was kitschy and fun, the only items I actually used were the debit card, a couple membership/ID/discount cards, cash and coin.

And, although I started out dutifully jotting down all my shopping lists on the little note sheets in the back, the reality is that I quite often think of things I need either on the fly, as I am in the middle of experiencing their lack, or whilst bored in a meeting. Thus I still ended up with various and sundry sticky notes, bits of paper or cocktail napkins with lists on them tucked into my wallet anyway.

As for my planner, some pragmatic culling of tabs revealed that all I really need with me wherever I go (aside from my diary pages of course) is some contact information I refer to frequently and a few lined sheets for notes and any good quotes I come across as I am out and about.

The rest…journal, gratitude list, blog ideas, lists of books/movies I am interested in, tarot card spreads and the like…can all stay at home. I may like having tabs for all of those things with me, but truth be told most go without being touched until I’m home at the end of the day anyway.

I have an aqua personal Chameleon coming to me as a gift one of these days, so that will become a “Me Book” – an idea I have been wanting to implement since I first read about it on a friend’s wonderful blog.

But that, my dears, is a blog post for another day.

The happy ending for today’s post is that I am left with one book – the personal sized ochre Malden – which I can comfortably carry with me to adequately record/reference what I need and now use to buy things with as well.

Head on over to Flickr and check out all the details of this new setup…

Disclaimer: I mean it, go look at the pictures on Flickr like NOW, before I change my mind and tweak my system again!

Disclaimer #2: While I am going to finish out 2011 using the Franklin Covey “Monticello” 1dpp inserts you will see in the photos, my brand of choice for 2012 will be DayTimer incorporating a slightly different system & layout. Stay tuned for more on that as the new year approaches.

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The Great Mid-Year Conundrum

Here it is mid-year and, like a bad habit I cannot seem to break, I find myself standing slack jawed in the thinly populated planner aisle of my one local office supply store,  my eyes glazing over as I wonder what in the hell insert  I should buy for the upcoming year.

Okay, it’s not really mid-year…technically we’re a wee bit past it…but it is planner mid-year. Otherwise known as ‘the time of year I begin the slow descent into insanity when the 2012 refills are readily available’.

And therein lies my conundrum.

You see, I have tried them all.  All of ’em. Name a brand, size or format and I would be willing to lay down some cold hard cash that I’ve been there, done that and have the pathetically discarded remnants in a storage bin up in my attic.

One thing I do seem to have been able to settle upon is that the Personal/Compact/Portable binder (the 6 3/4″ x 3 3/4″ planner, in layman’s terms) is the “just right” size for me. So at least THAT is not at issue.

Until the next time it is.

Worst of all, I am actually happy with what I am using right now! So why oh why on earth would I engage in this madness and not simply order up the 2012 version of what I’ve got?!

To that my friends, I have no good answer.

As you know if you read me regularly, I am currently using a personal size Filofax Malden (ochre) with Franklin Covey compact size “Monticello” one day per page inserts for my diary. The paper quality is fantastic, I can fit 6 months worth of them in my book and the page layout is just perfect for my needs, so I have no complaints.

Well………..

Except that I’m not wild about the dark blue color scheme (although I will grudgingly admit it doesn’t look half bad with the ochre Malden – browns & blues being complimentary colors and all) and of course there is that vexing business of the  Franklin Covey compact size refills being 1/2″ wider than any of the other brand’s equivalents (Day Runner’s “running mate”, Day Timer’s “portable” or Filofax’s “personal”), thus preventing someone as OCD as myself from making use of accessories from any brand other than Franklin Covey. Which as it turns out are rather limited in my opinion.

Every year I wait with baited breath for back to school time and the release of the new model year of planners and refills, hoping that something new will appear.  Something I haven’t tried and had fail on me.  Something that doesn’t leave me feeling like I’ve settled.

Would Filofax finally listen to the growing pleas of its obsessed throngs devoted community and update their refill line?  Will Franklin Covey release their one day per page format in more than just a single design option? Or come up with a fuller line-up of accessories?  Could any new contenders enter the market with cool inserts?

No, no, a thousand times no.

On top of that disappointment, I’ve noticed Franklin Covey seems to be moving away from day planner products altogether and focusing on training/consulting. They have closed a number of their stores and now, when you go to their website, you actually have to hunt around for a link to access the (also dwindling) selection of  inserts. So I find myself almost afraid to give myself over to them for the upcoming year, lest they lead me into a false sense of organizer security and then yank the rug out from under me by discontinuing whatever I choose.

Filofax is out because I don’t care for their paper and they print their diary pages in back-to-back fashion, thus preventing use of my one deal breaker – two page per day tabbed months integrated with my daily pages.  Learn it, know it, live it Filofax. I spend a gazillion dollars every year on refills.  That money could be yours.

Day Runner doesn’t really roll my socks up and down. Their “Pro” line is alright, however they really don’t offer a page format I can get behind.

DayTimer is my top contender for refill alternatives. I have had excellent experiences with their customer service, they are a US based company and they have a wide selection of layouts, designs and accessories.

But…and there always seems to be a but…their one day per page layout is less than optimal for my needs. The page is broken up in such a way that no particular writing space is very large. And I am a big, loopy, messy handwriting kind of girl.

The week on two pages layout is great…except for the fact that the weekends are miniscule and the day blocks simply are not large enough for my schedule & to do’s.  Since I am very ‘out of sight out of mind’ where my to do list is concerned, it’s very important to me that I have what Franklin Covey seems to have perfected – a task list right on the daily page.

DayTimer’s two pages per day inserts are ideally laid out with plenty of room….unless of course you need to have more than three months in your book at a time. Which I do.

Eeyore sigh.

Before the best selections of 2012 refills disappear entirely from the shelves, I need to find a cure for my cranial-rectal inversion and pick something.

Here are the ideas I’m currently kicking around:

Option #1. Just shut up already and order a set of Franklin Covey Monticello one day per page inserts, learn to love dark blue, make my own damn tabs, become a planner accessory minimalist and deal with what the heck I will do if they quit selling organizers if and when it happens.

Easily the most obvious, not to mention simplest, solution. However those of you who know me, are well aware that I am neither logical nor oriented toward the easy path.  In fact, quite the contrary.

Option #2. Migrate to DayTimer and attempt using a full year of week on two pages for an overview (which will stay in my book permanently for the year – stop laughing, you know what I mean) AND one month at a time of the day on two pages to capture the details.  All the while gleefully using my plethora of accessory goodies which will also work with that size insert.

A viable option, but I wonder if the redundancy of trying to use a weekly and daily format (and the inevitable re-copying of things that will need to go on both) will drive me bat sh*t crazy before Q1 2012 is over.

Does anyone do this (use two time formats in one planner…not go bat sh*t crazy…)? If so, what formats (daily/monthly/weekly) and do you get irritated with duplicating entries?

Worse yet, do you enter something in one time format but forget to enter it in the other and then wonder if the appointment actually exists?

Or would it just be me who would do something like that?

Disappointingly, there aren’t any pictures or a Flickr set to go with this post because I have yet to buy anything for 2012. I’m afraid you will just have to make due with my written ramblings for now, while you kindly offer advice on which side of the refill fence (option #1 whistle in the dark with Franklin Covey, or option #2 migrate to DayTimer & attempt multiple formats) you think I should occupy.

Ready, set, discuss……………….