A Tale of Two Inserts

Here it is the end of October. The leaves are falling, temperatures are dropping and we’re all starting to shift our attention to hot alcoholic bevvies from iced ones.

Or, is that just me?

At any rate, it is also that time of year when I get antsy to settle on planner inserts for the new year. Meaning, I’ve purchased more insert brands than one girl could ever possibly need and now that the year is drawing to a close, it’s about bloody time to quit being a psycho procrastinating and choose one already.

This year I actually did pretty well.  I only bought two sets of inserts for 2012:

DayTimer Original, 2 Page per Day $31.95 (“Portable” size – same page size & hole configuration as Filofax Personal inserts)


Franklin Covey 7 Habits of Highly Effective People, 2 Page per Day $39.95 (“Compact” size -same hole configuration as Filofax Personal, but 1/2″ wider page size)

Long story not quite as long, when it came right down to it, I decided on 2PPD because I really do want to keep my Gratitude List on each day’s planner page going forward. Partly for ease of archival reference, but mostly because I just plain like having it there.

Throughout 2011 it seems I’ve kept it just about everywhere; I started out in a separate book (Moleskine, a small one) then decided that was too abstract & put it on my planner day’s page, then got frustrated with not being able to carry enough of the 2PPD inserts with me so I tried it in my journal…where it remains to finish out the year. However I use a daily Moleskine for my journal as well (a bound, dated book keeps me motivated to write every day and not get lazy & lapse for weeks – or months – at a time) and I’m finding my Gratitude List cuts into my journaling space on the page, so out it goes for next year.

As you know from my frequent bitching, I don’t like Filofax inserts due to several factors….paper quality notwithstanding, the foremost of which is how mind-numbingly vexing it is to try and tab the damn things the lack of suitable formatting for monthly tabs.

Both DayTimer and Franklin Covey have similar insert packs for their 2PPD layouts, and each have their strong & weak points.

Of course they do…if there was a clear winner, this would all be easy and I wouldn’t have to drink as much as I do.

But who am I kidding.  I would anyway.

I’ve done “mock ups” of each 2012 set up using the black & grey Maldens, and putting the same amount of refills in approximately the same configuration (as far as each brand’s products allow) in each binder, for your viewing pleasure.

The Black Malden will be the Franklin Covey mock up with the following inserts:

*1 plastic credit card holder

*Personal Info sheet

(Sadly, the FC Blank Tabs are cut so that there are a whopping 12 of them in a set, but the tabs themselves are so tiny my label maker won’t print that small and frankly, neither can I, so I kluged my tabs for comparison purposes, using what came with the 7 Habits pack until I can make my own out of card stock…)

*6 Kluged Tabs:

Eventually I'm going to decorate the tabs like so, but for now this one isn't glued down

Key Information
Tab 1 – Lists
Tab 2 – Quotes
Tab 3 – Blog
Tab 4 – Notes

*6 Months (January through June) of 2PPD diary pages in the “7 Habits” design.








The Grey Malden will be the DayTimer mock up with the following inserts:

*1 plastic credit card holder

*Personal Info Sheet

*6 Blank Tabs (personalized using a label maker):

Love the artwork on these old DT Shadows & Light tabs. Sadly they no longer make them










Phew, that was exhausting! Now for some photos comparing the two mock up binders…

DT on top, FC on bottom

FC on left (see the colors at the top of the pages?) DT on right

FC on top, DT on bottom

FC inserts (especially tabs) stick out to the edge of the binder

DT tabs are standard (same as Filofax) size & leave room for using the pen loop

Open: FC on top, DT on bottom

Open, this time with DT on the top, FC on the bottom

Ok, I’m bored with the comparison photos now. You can head over to Flickr to see the exhaustive full set of them after you finish reading.

I’m kind of torn between the two packs of inserts at this point. What the DayTimer ones have going for them is primarily that I really like the tabs. They were from the old “Shadows & Light” collection, which they no longer make. I really like the artwork, and the fact that the tabs could accommodate labels from my label maker. The other factor is of course that the page width is the same as Filofax so they don’t stick out and allow the binder to close properly.

The Franklin Covey set, however, wins by far with the three section To Do list and the overall feel of quality.While that additional 1/2″ of page width isn’t ideal, I am used to it, and I use a fat pen that won’t fit in the pen loop anyway, so I don’t miss not being able to use it (using the pen loop with the FC pages sticking out bends the tabs).

DayTimer’s scant To Do section relegated to the bottom of the page probably won’t be enough for me on most days and I admit that having room for separate lists ON THE DAY’S PAGE for work, home, personal To Do’s is downright exciting.

I like the neutral color scheme of the FC pages more than I like the green & white of the DT original. While I don’t need the black & white photos at the start of each monthly tab and on the bottom corner of every page, they are at least nice photos which are pleasant to look at.

What surprised me about both sets of inserts is that I could get six months in (of the 2 pages per day…obviously the entire year of monthly tabs fit in both) and still have room for my tabs. Granted, I can’t pack in the blank pages behind them, but I can fit 5 pages behind each tab and that is good enough for a week. Cleaning out the tabs once a week is probably a good habit for me to get into anyway to avoid loosing track of what I’ve got in there (something I’m bad at), and it’s more than worth it to have more months of diary pages at my disposal.

Right now, today, my preference is the Franklin Covey set. I can’t get away from being enamored with the three section To Do list. Another nit-picky thing I like about them is that the 2nd page (the Note area) simply has a narrow shaded column on the left. You could leave it alone for notes, or you could use it to tick things off if you needed the extra room for project To Do’s or you could number it if you were listing something.  The Day Timer 2nd page has a numbered column. I get why…and it would come in handy for my Gratitude List…but I prefer the flexibility of leaving it blank and letting ME decide what to do with the space.

Alright, I’m done babbling. Go look at the rest of the photos. You know you want to!

8 Comments (+add yours?)

  1. J
    Oct 25, 2011 @ 15:20:18

    Love it! I agree- I’m digging the FC inserts. I wasn’t sure about the three to-do boxes when you first mentioned them, but now I’m a bit jealous! But all is well, I’m pretty darn happy with my Monticello’s!

    Hopefully you make a choice you can follow through with- since the other set is going to your sister. Did you at all consider what happens to the FC’s if you switch back to the regency???

  2. thezeitgeistofzoe
    Oct 25, 2011 @ 15:47:08

    ah, you just **had** to bring up the regency didn’t you?! (just kidding!) that is a tough one, since we all know the fc pages flat out won’t work in it.

    i still use it as a wallet because it’s so utterly gorgeous & the pockets are so conducive, but all that’s left for planner inserts are some note paper for shopping lists and filofax week on 2 pages (lined of course) for 2011 for a broad schedule overview.

    i’m going to just get the same – no need for tabs or anything fancy – for 2012. not much re-copying involved, as the only thing i track in it are blocks of time i’m busy so i don’t accidentally double book myself.

    my fantasy, ultimately, might be to grab a personal regency (in brown this time, to justify it for the “collection”) and use fc inserts in that. the regency double whammy!

  3. GCM2012
    Oct 26, 2011 @ 02:52:57

    Just when I thought it was safe and I was cured. The FC Stores are all closed around me. I am using my Filo and Filo inserts and am happy. I have sworn off FC and have been to the FC 12-step program and admitted that I had an FC problem and had gotten back on the wagon…well the Filo wagon. And then I see these great FC 7 Habits inserts and I feel the urge to do FC again…this was a great post and great pictures here and at Flickr.

  4. thezeitgeistofzoe
    Oct 26, 2011 @ 15:31:47

    thanks gcm! sorry about pulling you back in…i actually thought about you when i was writing this! i knew you’d get a chuckle about my waffling back to fc myself. i just can’t get past how great they are and how much i enjoy them (despite the pesky extra 1/2″).

    glad you liked the post & the pictures! i will keep you posted on how using them goes!!

  5. J
    Oct 27, 2011 @ 18:07:11

    Ooooh, I am loving the personal regency idea! Regency + FC inserts = nirvana?

    Well, probably not, but it would definitely be beautiful!

  6. kanalt
    Oct 31, 2011 @ 19:29:42

    Love this! I can’t wait to see which wins out. I have to say, I’m liking the 7 habits layout. I like the color scheme and the 3 sections for to-dos. I have never been a fan of the DT green and white pages, so that’s helping me with MY decision (you know, since my thoughts are the whole crux of this operation). 😉

  7. thezeitgeistofzoe
    Oct 31, 2011 @ 19:52:12

    @kanalt: yeah, i have both mock up’s out & visible on one of my end tables and i pick them up & flip through them occasionally. i must say, i gravitate toward the FC one more often, and when i do i find myself really excited to start using them.

    then i pick up the DT one, flip through and think, “i should probably just use these since the inserts fit in it right”…but i have no real enthusiasm for them, other than that they are the correct size.


  8. Steve
    Nov 30, 2011 @ 14:19:41

    What is the overall width of the FC tabs from the ring edge of the page to the outer edge of the tab preferably in mm?


%d bloggers like this: