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.


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……………….

10 Comments (+add yours?)

  1. Erin Dale
    Aug 11, 2011 @ 22:37:01

    LOVE the cranial inversion comment by the way. Okay, here’s what I think you should do. And, mind you, please take with a grain of salt as I am the one who was fighting with my older brother about a ceramic pig. A CERAMIC PIG! Okay,,,,,so I think you should make your own damn inserts! Go to your office supply store and get the think kind of paper that you love and make your own. Someone on Philofaxy did that (I think)and that way you can make whatever your little heart desires. I know it’s labor intensive, but it might just solve the problem. Let me know!!!

  2. Jotje
    Aug 12, 2011 @ 10:04:46

    As somebody who uses weekly AND daily pages, I’d go for the Daytimer option. My weekly pages are my master planner pages. All appointments will first go here. Then, each Sunday I transfer the appts for the upcoming week to the daily pages. Plus day-specific todos. Works like charm! At least, for me ….;-)

  3. thezeitgeistofzoe
    Aug 12, 2011 @ 16:35:57

    @erin: i have thought of that but alas, i am a lazy, lazy girl. but there may come a day when i get to the end of my refill rope and do just that. then i can retire from corporate america and sell planner inserts ; )

    @jotje: do you use weekly and 1 page per day or 2 ppd for your dailies? and how many of the daily pages do you keep in your book at a time? i may need your help with this as i transition….

  4. Jotje
    Aug 12, 2011 @ 18:21:35

    Currently about 7-8 months of weekly pages and 1 month of Day per page. Pocket size, that is … So you should be able to squeeze in a bit more 😉

  5. kanalt
    Aug 13, 2011 @ 14:41:56

    Ah, how I feel your pain. I thought I had my system down pat, come to find that I didn’t, come to find out that I may not still. But that’s another story…

    I have used the two (well, three) format option. I always use the monthly layout, and for a while I would do one week of dailies and the rest in weekly inserts. This worked okay, but I did find that I was unnecessarily copying information. Maybe if you keep a month’s worth of dailies instead of only a week, you might not find that.

    You seem to like the FC best out of all the options you’ve used, dark blue or no. I understand you don’t like the blue, and I can understand the frustration in that. BUT, if the layout is good for you, I say stick with it because ultimately, it’s the functionality that’s most important – if it doesn’t work for you, you won’t use it, regardless of color. I do have a set of FC blank tabs I can send you – I bought them when I did my FC trial and never used them because of moving away from FC. They’re just sitting in my bin, so you’re more than welcome to have them. You can work on them and decide if you like them before spending money. It could be a decision maker for you too. 😉

  6. thezeitgeistofzoe
    Aug 15, 2011 @ 18:29:08

    @jotje: i have purchased and set up (in a spare filofax…just to see what would fit & how it would look/feel, etc) all my tabs, the tabbed monthlies and the entire 2012 pack of weeklies. my retailer did not have the daytimer daily or 2dpp inserts so i ordered them (the 2ppd). doing this ‘dry run’ allowed me to see that, apparently, i can fit everything i need, a whole year of weekly pages and ONE MONTH of 2ppd just fine. so that is the plan at this point. no pun intended ; )

    one more question…WHERE do you keep the diary inserts? all together? do you intersperse the dailies in with the weeklies as you go or what? sorry if that sounds obtuse.

    @kanalt: after setting up the test binder w/the daytimer option, i was surprised at how nice it was to have inserts that actually, you know, FIT the binder without sticking out. also, one thing i had forgotten about was that if i went to the daytimer option, i could use the back pocket for a note pad again (something i sorely miss). obviously, the rub is that i won’t know if i can function with this setup until 2012 starts…but today anyway, i think i am going to give it a try.

    i will probably do a preemptive post once the 2ppd inserts arrive and i can demo the entire set up : )

  7. Rori Lieurance (@RoriRants)
    Aug 20, 2011 @ 01:24:51

    I use 3 formats. Monthlies–for work pay out dates, birthdays, etc. Weeklies for where I work and any appointments or to do’s. Dailies as a “log book” w. Gratitude List, weather, etc.

  8. thezeitgeistofzoe
    Aug 20, 2011 @ 03:01:04

    how funny, this is precisely the setup i want to try for 2012!! monthly is the easiest way to track the stuff you mentioned…pay days, birthdays, recurring meetings, etc. i’ve found i can fit a full year of the month on 2 pages tabs, a full year of week on 2 pages and one month of day on 2 pages (along with my other tab sections) in a personal malden & still get it to snap shut comfortably.

    how many of the dailies do you keep in your planner at a time?

  9. J
    Aug 22, 2011 @ 17:28:53

    I totally get you with the crappy sized spaces for the DayTimers! I’m between DT DPP and FF DPP, and the only thing leaning me toward FF is that there is a that I can do anything I want on!!!

    Can’t wait to see what you pick for all (or part) of 2012!!!

  10. thezeitgeistofzoe
    Aug 22, 2011 @ 18:40:22

    yeah, what’s with the skimpy line spacing anyway??!! i did purchase 2012 inserts from day timer…a blog post is to come…but to be honest, the more i use these fc pages, the more i’m wondering why i don’t just buy these for next year?

    i guess we all have 4 months to figure it out : )

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