A Clean Slate

Yay, it’s 2012!

In case you don’t have all of my past blog posts memorized, back in December  I had re-jiggered my tabs and been really excited to start out the new year with my inserts of choice: Franklin Covey 7 Habits 2 pages per day.

Happily, here it is nearly the end of January and I am LOVING THEM! I probably just jinxed it by saying that out loud, but dare I say I feel I could stay with these for the whole year.

(Collective gasp)

Those of you who use or have tried Franklin Covey inserts in a Filofax binder know that they stick out 1/2″ more than standard Filofax inserts do. And while that is okay for the pages themselves, it tends to put the tabs in harm’s way; either from the pen loop or the snap closure. That is, if you can even get the thing to snap closed.

And if you’re me, you generally can’t.

I started out the year in a personal sized black Malden Filofax – and don’t get me wrong, the Malden line is still one of my all time favorites – but within a matter of days I was frustrated with the bent tabs, constantly struggling to snap it closed and the fact that if I so much as touched the closure digging around in my purse the binder would burst open, so I decided to give my Domino snake a try with these inserts, due to the flexibility (literally, lol!) of the elastic band closure.

Predictably, it worked great.  The neutral color scheme of the pages looked great with the black/brown of the snake print, the ability to cram the hell out of the binder and still close it with the elastic worked great, everything worked great. I loved it. I was thrilled.


The Domino snake is my all time favorite Domino. And you can’t find it anywhere anymore. Trust me, I check on eBay all the time for them. So I became terrified that, since it’s not leather, every day use would ruin it and I would rue the day I had decided using it as my 24/7 planner was a good idea.

After about a week, I did in fact notice some of the stitching on the pen loop (before the days of the elasticized material pen loop in the Domino line) was starting to come undone.


Browsing as I do in the vain hope of stumbling across another Snake residing in the US and at a reasonable price, I found a Slate Domino on eBay marked way down, and decided to give that a go. Only thing is…I hate the beige elastic they use on most of the Domino’s because they tend to become grubby. I much prefer the black elastic on the Snake.

Since the Domino’s aren’t that expensive, I decided to try an experiment. I decided to – are you sitting down – use a Sharpie marker to make the beige elastic black.

Oh yes I did.

Here’s what I learned:

1. Sharpie markers SMELL. Hence, the elastic band on your Domino will smell like a Sharpie when you are done dousing it in stinky Sharpie ink. So don’t leave it sitting on your coffee table or it’ll give you a headache.

2. Happily, once the elastic band is fully dry, the smell will diminish to a tolerable level. This takes between a day and a day and a half, depending on ambient humidity levels in your home.

3. As soon as you go to actually use the band, therefore stretching it, you will discover that it needs a second application of the aforementioned foul-smelling Sharpie.

(Unless, I suppose, you have someone to assist you who will hold the elastic taut while you color. Which I did not, hence the need for two coats)

4. Put something down under the Domino when you are doing this, so that you don’t end up with a series of black marks on, say, your brand new apartment’s kitchen counter-top. Sharpies, as you know, are permanent. Security Deposits are not.

I’m happy to report that, once you jump through the flaming hoops of patiently coloring the elastic with the pungent Sharpie and then waiting a couple of days for the stench to die down, this technique does, at first blush, seem to work.

I was too stupid to take a “before” picture because I figured we all know what the beige elastic on a Domino looks like on a standard, out of the box Slate Domino…but here is a shot of my real-life Slate Domino, after the Sharpie Hack:

The difference is subtle, I’ll admit, but I really hated that beige band.  And now rather than obsessing thinking about the rate that the light band would’ve gotten dirty, I get to discover whether or not the black ink transfers onto my hands, how it endures the multiple stretches of daily use, or whether or not Sharpie’s really are permanent after all.

On things other than my kitchen counter top.

And since I’m so content with my inserts, all of that is okay with me because it gives me something planner-related to do and, if it winds up being a massive fail, I’m only out $26, a few hours of my time, and the nose hairs I singed sniffing all that rancid Sharpie-ness.

In case you were curious, here is my line-up INSIDE the new Slate:

* The 4 tabs I disused in my previous post – “UCT” (ubiquitous capture tool – the place I write down literally everything – like a brain dump), “ACT” (action items), “INFO” (stuff I’ve captured that doesn’t require any action, like items that need research, or new wine to try) and “QUO” (quotes – mine, ones I find…doesn’t matter, gotta have ’em in my book).

* Six months (January through June) of 2 page per day Franklin Covey 7 Habits inserts

* The remaining 6 months of the year, but only the monthly tabs so I can note any upcoming important dates

* A plastic envelope for…whatever. Receipts, coupons, miscellany I deem important but have no other place to put

What I love about the 2 page per day inserts is that, on each day I have room for all my action items, my schedule AND my gratitude list & random silly notes I make about food, the weather, my mood and whether I’ve remembered to floss.

Between the daily sheets and my 4 tabs, everything gets covered and my planner remains relatively straight-forward.

Complicated girl…simple planner. Who could’ve seen that one coming? ; )

Update:  After a solid day of pretty heavy use, I have no black smudges all over my hands. Those nose hairs may not have died in vain after all!