Mid-Year Tweak (You Knew it Was Coming…)

Well, I made it halfway through the year without changing my planner inserts, but it seems that six months will have to be the standing record, because gone and changed them, I have.

You knew I was going to. Hell, even I knew I was going to! It was just a matter of time.

You may remember that, after an end of the year battle royal between two brands last Fall, I started out 2012 using Franklin Covey 7 Habits 2-Page per Day diary inserts (in a Personal sized Malden…but I never said I would resist changing binders throughout the year, just inserts) and although they were working just find & dandy and there was no real reason for it, I started getting that restless feeling around May and knew change was in the air.

Compelled by the ongoing tab dilemma between my beloved set of 6 DayTimer Shadows and Light tabs (discontinued sadly) and the bafflingly extraneous and tiny set of 12 Franklin Covey tabs, which never did play well with my OCD, I decided I was just going to give in and try plain old Filofax inserts again.

As much as I love the functionality of FC pages themselves, the rest of the system lacks true Filofax compatibility just enough to be bothersome, and as minor as I thought it would be, FC tabs suck and using them really started to get under my skin. So…

I ordered myself up some Filofax Day on Two Pages inserts (I was already used to filling up a two page per day format) and, because Filofax stubbornly refuses to evolve its insert line and get with the tabbed month program, some Day Timer Two Page per Month refills. Fortunately these mesh well together aesthetically and don’t trip any obsessive/compulsive nerve endings in my brain.

The breaking points for the months aren’t perfect, but since the weekends of the FF 2PPD inserts are only one page each for Saturday or Sunday, it is possible to split the month (and therefore tab it) – you just have to do it on a weekend.

For example, June starts with Sunday 6/3 as the first page, so the May monthly tab has a wee bit of the start of June.  July happens to be dead on with Sunday 7/1 coming straight after the monthly tab, but that is the exception not the rule. The August tab starts with 7/29…you get the idea. A small price to pay to have  monthly tabs.

Anyway, my new set up goes as follows:

After the obligatory plastic page (in this case, a Filofax Multi Purpose Holder) with some fun kitschy items and my business cards on the bottom, I have my Personal Info sheet and the usual Filofax pages that come with every binder.

Then we have…

6 Subject tabs which are “Capture” (the ubiquitous capture tool from Getting Things Done), “Lists” (a slew of shopping lists – grocery shop, Target, pet shop, etc), “Action” (just a bunch of FF To Do pages for general action items from the Capture tab or things that don’t belong on daily pages), “Projects” (that one is pretty self explanatory and relates mostly to work stuff), “Positive” (my ongoing gratitude list) and “Quotes” (because I love me some good quotes).

All 6 of my subject tabs. Each tab has a pretty photo with a saying on it. **love them**

Close up of the first 4 tabs. I just used my label maker to print them out.

And the last couple tabs…

A full year of Tabbed months. I don’t put a lot on these, just symbols for paydays, holidays, birthdays and things that generally don’t change. I would use stickers if I could find any small enough and that I liked (the Filofax stickers are just too small for my aging eyes). These mostly serve to divide up the daily sheets into their respective months and provide an overview.

Here’s the Holborn closed. You can see the tabs. From this angle it looks like they stick out, but they really don’t.

Typically, behind the monthly tabs, I carry the  Two Page per Day diary inserts for 1 past month, the present month and then the next 3 months, for a total of five months. Though, right now I just have June through (and including) October in there, as I also keep my calendar and task list in Google Calendar/Tasks and if I need to refer to past months for work I am trying to get into the habit of doing it on my phone as opposed to in my planner.

My two page per day spread. The left page is appointments and the right is to do’s and some tracking stuff on the bottom (vitamin, exercise, etc)

I’ve been using a Personal sized Holborn and LOVING IT! I posted here about Holborn vs Malden and, at the time, my end vote went to Malden. After several months of using the Holborn however, I would have to say it is my new favorite binder. Yes, even more so than Malden.

It does lack the mystique of the Malden, true, but the interior pockets give it undeniable functionality that wins the day for me. As has been said before, it has a lot of the same interior features of the premium Regency, but at a more modest price point (especially if purchased from Pens & Leather. Just sayin’).

Now I’ve gotten my grubby little mits on the black one as well, and I am in absolute Filo heaven! Somehow the leather is softer than the brown, and the stitching is NOT contrast stitching, so it also looks more professional. Check it out below…

In case you were curious here it is next to the brown one for comparison…

As you can see, the brown Holborn has contrast stitching, while the black has tone on tone stitching.

Brown on the left, black on the right. The grain of the leather is very different on the black one.

Contrary to how this photo looks, both are Personal size and the black one (on top) is NOT larger than the brown one. I just wanted to show the design detail of each.

Brown on top. Both are quite spiffy…I just happen to personally be in love with the black one right now!

Currently I am not using my planner as a purse too, so inside the front cover I have various business cards & misc papers in the cool left and right facing slip pockets. The outside one generally gets receipts or quick-grab items because it’s so darn convenient.

I absolutely love the bottom curved pocket. Most of the time I carry around a pad of sticky notes in it (as in the photo above), but it will also fit my mp3 player or my phone, which is no slouch because a Samsung Galaxy Nexus is not a small phone (and it will still snap closed) so sometimes that comes in handy if I only want to carry one thing around.

Here is the curved pocket holding my mp3 player (I needed the phone to take the picture). I don’t often carry it in my Filo, but it does fit nicely. Unfortunately, the headphone jack is on the bottom of the device, so I couldn’t just leave it in the pocket and use it. Oh well.

Yup, it easily snaps shut with all my inserts AND a gadget in the front curved pocket.

When not using my planner as a wallet too, the back left & right facing pockets just hold miscellaneous papers and such. As a wallet, cash would go in the out-facing pocket and coin inside the hidden zipped pocket. currently, I have some band aids and a cloth to clean my glasses in there. Nothing to write home about, but I do like that, should I want to go back to having a planner/purse, I can easily do so with the Holborn.

Unlike the design faux pas on the Regency, the pen loop is attached at the outside edge so that you can actually use it, while still retaining access to the outward facing pocket and snapping the binder closed.

Oddly enough, I’m disproportionately satisfied with this mid-year change. As if tweaking the inserts weren’t enough, I also changed from using an erasable medium (either Frixions or a mechanical pencil) to just using my favorite pen, a Pilot Hi-Tec C. I craved the true black of “real ink” as well as archival quality over the ability to erase I guess.

I know what you’re thinking…how, oh how does your rampant OCD hell-beast do you handle it when appointments change? Are you sitting down, because you’re not going to believe this:

I don’t scribble through them or use white out. I simply leave them be and put an “x” next to the item and, if feeling particularly inspired, a brief note as to what happened in parenthesis (“moved to such and such date”, “cancelled”, “decided against”, etc) like so:

So far this is working splendidly and has the added benefit of leaving a history of the event of sorts. Sometimes it’s interesting to see how many times a particular appointment gets moved around & why.

And there you have it.  I confess it’s nice to be using Filofax stuff in my Filofax binder, not to mention have the potential to use the plethora of FF accessories I’ve accumulated over the years. The sticky note insert might even make an appearance one of these days, who knows.

At any rate, I’m very pleased with this new set up and am excited to finish out the year with it.

Hey, stop laughing….

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10 Comments (+add yours?)

  1. J
    Jun 20, 2012 @ 15:41:38

    Why must you go and taunt me with the Holborn like that? Not very nice!

    But seriously, I love your set up, and now I’m picturing how perfect that binder would be as a planner/purse. But I’m content with my Malden (still, I know!) so I’m not going to cave!

    Oh, and I’m totally stealing your method of canceling/changing appointments- genius! I’ve loved looking back to see how many times a to-do was forwarded before finally getting done- I don’t know why I’ve never thought about doing the same for appointments!

    Now let’s see if you get all the way to December…

  2. thezeitgeistofzoe
    Jun 20, 2012 @ 16:06:13

    ha! i’m definitely going to try, that’s for sure.

    one of my main beefs with the ff inserts (other than the fact that you have to kluge tabbing the months) was that the paper didn’t hold up well to multiple erasing incidents. 2nd was that i hated the way white out looked on the not-quite-white paper. this new x out method has solved both AND proved to be kinda interesting too : )

    where i think holborn beats malden hands down in the purse area is that full zipped pocket for coins. and i prefer the orientation of the credit card pockets too. i totally think you should get one before they are discontinued…

    (hehehehe!)

  3. LucyLastic (All Things Stationery)
    Jun 20, 2012 @ 17:07:31

    Hello! I’ve been looking at Holborns recently and agree they look rather yummy and soft and I think I like them better than the Maldens. The colours are just no good for me though unfortunately. A purple Holborn??? Now there’s something to think about . . .

    I’m intrigued by your method of cancelling appointments – never heard of that one before! I just erase mine (I use a Frixion) but I used to just cross them out. I never thought of using your method! I’d be a bit worried about not seeing the X . . .

  4. thezeitgeistofzoe
    Jun 21, 2012 @ 15:45:25

    omg a purple holborn…be still my beating heart!

    so far so good on seeing the “x” when things get cancelled, but we shall see as time goes on. my plan b if the x fails is to draw one, neat line through…but still write in parenthesis the reason for the change…i am really liking that little addition : )

  5. kanalt17
    Jun 22, 2012 @ 20:23:32

    I too love your method of crossing out appointments and making a notation of why it didn’t happen. I may have to adopt this too. Currently, since I moved away from the Frixion pens, I’m using white-out, which is okay but a little unsightly. I guess the difference between the white-out and to cross out will depend on whether the crossed appointment just got moved or if something else was planned in its place. And if that is the case, how do you handle that seeing as your original appointment is still visible and in the time slot?

  6. DEM
    Jun 23, 2012 @ 03:49:08

    Your Holborn is lovely! I’ve got a personal black Holborn too and absolutely love it. Ive been using”the crossing out method” for appointments for a few months and it is working for me too. Looks much nicer than white out or scratching it out. And when a future appt is cancelled, I can confirm that it was cancelled by looking at the X instead of erasing it…I’ve been known to forget that I erased and start to worry that the appt is still on but that I just forgot to write it in.

  7. Paul
    Jun 23, 2012 @ 06:40:00

    I really like the font you have used for your tabs, it looks clear, spacious and easy on the eye, especially in crisp B&W. May I ask which font it is? I feel a tab overhaul coming on now…….

  8. thezeitgeistofzoe
    Jun 26, 2012 @ 14:47:12

    @kanalt: typically, when something gets cancelled i end up with a gaping hole in my schedule, so the issue of what to do when i have x’d something out but another appointment comes up for that same time slot has only occurred once. what i did was write it above the x’d out event with a little arrow to the time. that seemed to do the trick, but i guess i would have to give some thought to how practical that would be if it happened more often.

    @paul: actually, it is just the one font that comes on my cheap-o p-touch label maker!! it’s the middle size option, not bold. sorry i can’t be more help in your tab overhaul : (

  9. kanalt17
    Jun 28, 2012 @ 11:54:39

    Butting in about the font – it looks to me like Arial. I work with fonts all day long so that’s the first one that comes to mind when I look at it. And it’s a pretty standard font, so I wouldn’t be surprised if that is what it is. It’s not a capitalized font to begin with, so I assumed the caps option was on. If you’re using a label maker (or even the computer), you’d need to type in caps lock. Hope that helps! 🙂

  10. Kristin
    Sep 12, 2012 @ 20:08:07

    I love your blog! Coming over from philofaxy and twitter. I am on my second week with my personal Holborn in wine and I’m totally loving it. I ditched the Malden (which was my absolute favorite) and haven’t looked back. The Holborn leather is so luxurious and it is such a sturdy binder. Love everything about it 🙂

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