Go Big or Go Home

Alright, I know I said I hoped to go smaller rather than larger with my 2013 planner, but then one night last week, something happened.

Something wonderful.

The iPad Mini I got up at 3:00 in the morning to pre-order back in…whenever that was… arrived in all it’s feather light, distractingly beautiful glory.

I was lounging on my sofa, playing with it (blog review to come on that soon, promise!) and wondering if Filofax would come up with a planner/holder for it, like they recently have for the, ahem, “MaxiPads”.

The Mini is roughly the same size as a Filofax Personal and only slightly smaller than an A5 page, and so I was pondering which size planner they would use for it, A5 like with the “Maxi” or Personal just to be different?  And more importantly, if they did create a planner & case for the Mini, would I actually buy one?

ipad mini with smart cover in comparison to the note pad on a filofax a5

Then I had an “aha moment” and went into the Filo bin for the glorious Ochre Malden so kindly and awesomely gifted me by Erin. Would, I wondered, the Mini fit in the pocket intended for a note pad inside the back?


And it even accommodated the Smart Cover.

This, as the saying goes, was about to change everything.

I had dubbed around with the A5 a few weeks prior, but ended up back in my trusty Personal  with FC inserts after one measly day because I couldn’t figure out workable diary pages for it.

But this was different. My A5 2013 refills had yet to arrive at that point, so I was kluging together reject inserts from the storage bin rather than setting up a new planner. Big difference.

And now I had the Mini to factor in as well. I was pretty excited to get my planner mojo on.

My only beef was that, although I love the Ochre Malden – it is one of my fave Filo’s of all time  (the OLD ones…before they went all crinkly and stiff) – I am very much into color right now.

Ochre is, of course, very subtle and neutral. I thought I could maybe jazz it up on the inside, and that would be enough for whatever is going on with me that is making me crave hot pink like a pregnant woman craves pickles and ice cream.

Once I got all moved in, however, a couple things became apparent. One was that the color (or, in this case, the lack thereof) wasn’t gonna cut it for me. Is it a beautiful planner? Hells yes. But I’m not in the mood for beautiful & vintage lately…I’m in the mood for BRIGHT.

The second was that a fully loaded leather A5 planner with an iPad Mini in the back pocket was simply going to be too heavy and cumbersome for me to want to carry around. So while I could carry the Mini around in it, in real world use I probably never would.

Right. Back to the Hot Pink Domino I went. And all felt right with the world once again.

You may remember this planner as my former Fit-o-Fax. So yeah, I gave up any attempts at fitness (for now) and decided to hell with trying to play Dr. FrankenFilo and create a Mini holder when I already have both an Otter Box Defender case and a  Smart Cover for the thing.

Anyway…less talk, more pictures! Here’s what I came up with for the Hot Pink Domino:

same binder…new sticker : )

isn’t it pretty?! ***love***

Here’s the inside front. A card my Mum gave me in the ID pocket, some business cards, a few stickers. The usual.  See the orange, pink and green sticky flags tucked into that bottom pocket?  More on those later.

My start page is a transparent flyleaf with the old Goddess sticker from the Fit-o-Fax. I liked it and didn’t want to waste it when I peeled it off the front, so I just stuck it here. Still seems fitting ; )

The green & orange jot notes are a couple of my favorite quotes right now. I like seeing them when I first open my binder.

Now comes my monthly overview.

I have to highlight the actual month so I don’t get confused (I’m blonde you know) and I don’t care for the week starting on Monday, but hey, I can deal. And although I really, seriously prefer to have tabbed months,  Filofax seems to insist that our repeated cries for them in fact mean “Please release more crappily put together and/or hideous, useless designer binders and leave us in the dark ages with inserts that are never updated”.

So, no tabbed months, but I am going to try using a 2nd Page Marker so that I can at least easily flip to the current month and see if that does the trick. Right now I have all of 2012 and 2013 included, but once January comes, 2012 will exit stage left.

Next I have my first three tabs:

Capture – the GTD universal capture tool. Just some graph paper for jotting down stuff, sketching, whatever is needed to capture anything and everything. Items in the capture section are temporary. They either get done & crossed off quickstyle or moved somewhere else.

To Do – since I’m using weekly inserts, I figured a section of To Do pages might come in handy. Generally I like my tasks on my daily view, but there isn’t much room on a weekly sheet. Overflow can go here if the new strategy for tasks (which I really am going to get to in a minute) ends up a massive fail.

Quotes – I am a self-confessed quote junkie. By far the most blank note sheets go here. When this section is filled up, the sheets get removed and put into my Commonplace Book ( a plain ol’ Moleskine notebook).

Now, smack dab in the middle of the book, come my diary pages. Having them in the middle (theoretically – I need to fill up the sections with more blank sheets first) makes them easier to write on.

I’ve started the diary section with a Transparent Flyleaf. This serves both as a divider of the calendar from the last note sheet in the Quote section, and as a dashboard for sticky  notes and flags. Remember those flags from the inside front cover? Bazinga!

the dashboard gets its own colored flag…so it sticks out beyond the subject tabs and i can see the damn thing

In reviewing how I most use my planner in preparation for deciding what I was going to change for 2013, I noticed that I have a lot of recurring items. Most of my meetings are the same every month and aside from the day to day minutia, a lot of what I have to do in a given week repeats as well.

This was why the weekly pages weren’t working before; I wasted too much of the scant writing space on repetitive items (mostly tasks) and ended up with no room to write in anything else that I needed to.

Hence my new and, I think, pretty exciting STICKY FLAG SOLUTION !!!

Recurring tasks and meetings will now go on colored sticky flags.

Green for bills (money), bright pink for meetings (hot) and orange for tasks/reminders (danger…of forgetting, lol).

here you can see this week. errands i want to run but realistically may or may not get to on that day, go on the sticky flags

When the item is completed, it can either get moved forward to the next time it will be due or, if that is TBD, it can go back to the dashboard staging area.

Since my meetings repeat but can often get moved around due to holidays or someone or other being out sick, using the sticky flag to “hold the spot” is perfect – if the meeting moves, it’s simple to just relocate the flag to the new date/time (with the added bonus that my page stays neat).

a couple of upcoming meetings in december. will they happen when they’re supposed to? probably. but if they don’t…no scribbling or white out needed

Once the meeting happens, I can write it in, as a record that it happened (in case I have to refer back).

I’m especially stoked about using this new strategy for bills. I have a slew of them and since I exclusively do online banking, I don’t get any paper statements in the mail.

Every month I get bill notifications via email and, up till now, have been writing in my planner when they are due. Then I write in “pay such and such” on the day I need to make the online payment in order for it to post to the account in time.

Now I can just use sticky flags : )

When the bill is paid, the flag can go back to the dashboard or, if its one of those bills that recur on the exact same day each month, it can just get carried forward to the following month.

For those “throw away” tasks that are sort of one-off’s,  I just use a standard, run of the mill sticky note.

ye olde tyme thanksgiving sticky list in progress

Then, at the end of the day when I review to make sure everything I needed to accomplish got done, I can write in the key items so that I have a record of them, and toss the sticky note.

It sounds rather psychotic, I know, but believe it or not it actually WORKS.

Not everything I set out to do in a given day actually needs to be logged in my planner; I just have to remember to do them. So the stuff that I do want to log gets logged, the rest gets tossed and my pages stay uncluttered.

Because I’m using weekly pages, I can fit an entire year in my book (which I really like) and it’s a hell of a lot easier to move flags around than it is to scratch stuff out and re-copy it several times, lemme tell ya!

Okay, back to my set up.  After my diary pages, come three more tabs. These are for my writing.

I have one for each blog I run and the last is for general writing gigs I’ve got lined up, or am trying to line up. If I have my way, eventually my writing will be in such demand that it will require it’s own Filofax ; )

Next just comes the note pad. Stuff that isn’t really worthy of  sticky flag or list of its own go here. Generally they are things that don’t have a due date, but that I want to remember to do or look up or whatever.

The best part about giving up on the Malden and using the Domino is the stretchy pen loop (actually, it’s “loops”, as in there are two; however I only use the one in the back) that will accommodate my beloved new Coleto 4-banger.

I have a smokey grey one (but I don’t do grey anymore it seems) and a pink one, but the pink  was “wrong” for the hue of the Domino and drove my OCD batshit crazy.

Yeah, I know.

JetPens called this baby “soft green”. But don’t kid yourself…it’s damn near yellow. I am, however, unfazed. It’s bright and spring-y and sufficiently compliments my favorite Life is Good sticker of all time…so, well, life is…you know, good and stuff : )

That’s the new A5 set up my peeps. What do you think? Do you have any predictions for the new sticky note/flag concept? Got feedback or tips to make a good planner even better?

Anyone care to place bets on how soon I go back to Personal? Bahahahaha!

Let ‘er rip in the comments…………………….

13 Comments (+add yours?)

  1. Laurie
    Nov 20, 2012 @ 17:42:09

    I love your setup!! And, would you consider selling me that A5 Ochre Malden? (If not I totally understand, just thought I’d try.) 😉

  2. thezeitgeistofzoe
    Nov 20, 2012 @ 18:51:12

    thank you! i am super psyched about it too. but you know me…i’m easily distracted and may be in an entirely different set up by tomorrow ; )

    the a5 ochre malden was a gift, so i could never sell it due to the sentimental value….sorry…i know you need an old school malden badly too : (

  3. Marcia Straatmeyer
    Nov 20, 2012 @ 19:24:23

    I will be watching avidly to see how carrying this works for you. I asked on Plannerisms for help deciding about an A5-sized Personal Planner. I did go ahead and order it to see what happens. Commenters assured me it was “as light” as an A5 Filofax. I have both a Finsbury and a Domino and they are sorta like carrying around an old-school dictionary. But personal FF size pages are so small. . .

  4. thezeitgeistofzoe
    Nov 20, 2012 @ 19:32:16

    I actually find the domino to be among the lighter of the a5 models because it isn’t leather. although I love the colors that the finsbury comes in, they are like slogging around a brick! the domino still comes in many nice color options, but is far lighter.

  5. Laurie
    Nov 23, 2012 @ 04:34:11

    Zoe, no worries, I completely understand!

    Marcia I’m guessing your A5 Personal Planner will be much lighter than an A5 Filofax, thinner and with a smaller footprint. The A5 pages are the same size, but the binder itself adds a lot of bulk. Your PP should be much more streamlined. I can’t wait to hear about it when you get it!!

  6. Erin Dale
    Nov 24, 2012 @ 06:02:11

    Love the setup my friend! Wonderful post and so glad that Mr Malden is working for you.

  7. plancrea
    Nov 24, 2012 @ 10:03:14

    I can see that the sticky flags for repeatable events is a great help. But why not just put your repeating bills on a direct debit? That would ensure you never forgot and free up time for other things.. Like playing with your filofax!!

  8. Lily
    Nov 24, 2012 @ 11:24:32

    I love it! Seriously tempted now, if only FF would release a nice bright blue domino a5

  9. Romina
    Nov 24, 2012 @ 14:18:58

    I am also reviewing my current setup and deciding on my setup for 2013 so this post was awesome inspiration for me.
    I love the sticky note idea, i actually do this too!
    Zoe, you are making me want a bright pink Domino so bad!!

  10. Savannah
    Nov 24, 2012 @ 17:37:15

    The color looks like so much fun and the size seems most practical for a busy work and home life. it seems much easier to really plan, write and think with so much space. I do understand the appeal of a small size and tactile feel of a personal leather organizer so only time will tell if this size is a keeper. When I used a similar size I got way more function out of it than a smaller planner and had no trouble toting it back and forth to work and from meeting to meeting. At home I left it on the dining table for taking notes while on the phone and planning moving, horse training schedules, shopping lists, home projects etc. I rarely needed to carry it about on my off time and if I did it usually stayed in the front seat of my car. If i needed to jot things down I usually just carried relevant pages form my planner and perhaps a memo book for future transcribing. Good luck with whatever you end up using.

  11. jotje
    Nov 28, 2012 @ 12:34:12

    Hi Zoe! I’m also using the sticky solution for recurrent stuff in my FC planner. However he paper flags bothered me a lot because they would block the lines etc underneath. That’s why I started to use those transparant colored plastic flags. Another advantage: they don’t curl and stay on the paper very flat. I write on them with a Staedler fine liner, but any pen will work.
    I’ll be curious to see how long you’ll be using an A5….! 😉

  12. The Wannabe Mummy
    Dec 05, 2012 @ 00:15:57

    Timely post for me! Im planning on using the sticky note system I’m umming and aahing about what to do for 2013 binder wise. I picked up a black Chameleon in TK Maxx the other day but wondering if I’ll really lug it everywhere…I currently use a compact Chameleon – not sure if upgrading to personal size will be enough…

  13. Cruz
    Aug 19, 2013 @ 09:37:18

    I feel your pain about the Mo2P! I want that grid layout, but TABBED. Unfortunately, FF don’t make it. 😦

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