Party at the Disc…oh

As you are aware if you read me regularly, I have been here, there and everywhere as to which planner I want to use now that the new year is upon us.

Spoiler: I still am.

However, I do have a couple tricks up my sleeve that I want to try out but alas, some of the components haven’t arrived yet.

(**cough** Franklin Covey inserts)

I swear, they ship via tortoise.

Anyway, it’s a radical experiment I’m going to try that basically involves using ONLY monthlies and some note sheets, and…are you sitting down…not archiving tasks.


That’s right, tasks are jotted down on some disposable medium, such as sticky notes or Hot Lists or such, and then tossed when filled.

Radical.  Yet somehow compelling. At the end of the day, the planner is neater rather than more cluttered.

In the interim, I have thrown together a nifty little experiment in it’s own right…it is a Levenger Circa plastic cover in “Compact” size with Levenger 3/4″ teal aluminum discs.


Here it is closed. The plastic shell I picked up on eBay as a plain old notebook for practically nothing. I actually made that polka dot cover out of a spare 3-ring binder tab I had. Since I own the Arc punch, I just cut it to the right size, punched it and voila, cute colorful cover.

My first issue with the Levenger clear plastic covers is that they are just that…plastic covers. No functionality whatsoever. Not even a pen loop.

My solution:

sticky pen loop
I picked up a Leuchtturm pen loop and stuck that baby right on the inside of the back cover. Levenger sells the black ones, but the Leuchtturm website sells all kinds of neat colors.

Admittedly, it was frustratingly tight at first, but happily it seems to be breaking in, and these days I don’t feel like I’m wrestling a crocodile trying to slip my pen in.

My second issue is that, although very budget friendly, these covers lack any kind of closure.

My solution:

elastic band
I snagged a large purple rubber band from my file drawer and inserted it in between the cover and the disc in a “mushroom” approximately half way up the height of the cover. It may not be glamorous, but it stays in place and it works.

Looking at the back, you can see the stick-on pen loop and the rubber band wrapped around. I suppose I could make a cover for the back too, however since it is merely a temporary solution, I remain unmotivated.

And now for my next trick:

filo zip
Since the plastic covers are also sans pockets, I Arc punched a Filofax Personal size zip envelope. Perfect fit!

Filofax Personal size inserts/refills are the exact same size as Levenger Circa Compact inserts/refills; the only difference is that Filofax is a 6-hole, ring bound system and Levenger Compact is a 7-hole (or smurf, or mushroom…I don’t actually know what they are officially called), disc bound system.

filo vs mushrooms
The mushrooms and the holes don’t quite meet up, but honestly it’s not that bad looking, even to my rampant OCD. The envelope is still held securely and now I can carry my stickers around ; )

What I am really liking is Levenger’s daily planner page layout:

The left page is entirely comprised of appointment slots, from 7am to 7pm. At the bottom there are a few lines for Notes. The right page, on the other hand, is entirely delegated to Tasks. Even having a nice check column. At the bottom you get the same small Note section.

My next favorite layout is Franklin Covey, however even on their 2PPD inserts, the right page is split in two, squeezing in both the Task List and Appointments, and the entire right page is left for notes. All fine and good, however my handwriting is big, loopy and juvenile; Levenger’s layout means I don’t have to write small or abbreviate.

To complete my hack, I threw this together with some Franklin Covey Her Point of View “Compact” monthly tabs (at the time I didn’t know Levenger made monthly tabs for this size) that Staples kindly trimmed for me, and I Arc punched at home.

I think the colorful tabs go nicely with the polka dot cover!

teal discs
The teal 3/4″ discs (which come standard on most Levenger Circa notebooks…these originally came with a Teal Leather cover I had previously ordered but have since decided I don’t like the color of) will hold one quarter of annual inserts in 2 Pages per Day.

In my book, I just have January and February because I wanted room for a Capture tab.

Another kluge, it is just a sticky tab with a custom label on it, attached to the top of a blank sheet of paper. Again, not pretty, but functional.  Behind it I just have some note paper.

“This thing is so bitchin’, why is it only temporary solution”, you ask?

It started because there was such a lack of any sort of accessories for Levenger’s Compact and because I didn’t (and frankly still don’t) want to spring for the single Compact binder available…which is black leather and $69…in order to get pockets and a pen loop.  I seem to be overcoming that obstacle, albeit not terribly attractively.

I feel like a Tween carrying this thing into meetings and, as much fun as I’ve had hacking this thing together, I really do want whatever planner I decide upon to be something nicer and a lot more professional.

The other factor that holds me back from just giving in and using this is the fact that I can only fit 2 months of dailies. Yes, I could put bigger discs on it, but I tried that. With 1″ discs it looked somewhat clunky and would only accommodate one more month anyway. With discs any bigger than that, it just plain looked silly. Like a planner version of a monster truck.

And since I’m trying to put together an organizer that works and not trying to compensate for a micro-penis, the oversized discs didn’t cut it.

When my Monthly Only Experiment materials come in (which I will carry out in my Franklin Covey Compact Giada) this is going to become my Weight Watchers notebook, so it will still be used and well loved…just not as my planner.

But in the mean time, I just wanted to show you this planner hack…and I needed an excuse to write a blog post while I wait for stupid FC’s shipping department to get me my damn refills!

9 Comments (+add yours?)

  1. Ray Blake
    Jan 23, 2013 @ 13:21:09

    Your posts are always a hoot. I could read your writing all day.

  2. thezeitgeistofzoe
    Jan 23, 2013 @ 14:16:41

    thanks @rayblake, you just made my day! if i have my way, some day you will be able to ; )

  3. Romina
    Jan 26, 2013 @ 13:15:59

    So the Teal Levenger cover was a bust?! So sad 😦
    This set up looks great Zoe. I’ve moved out of both ARC and Filofax (for now) and am using a 4×6 bound planner + a traveler’s notebook type book. Craaazy! I might do a video later today.

  4. Jes
    Jan 27, 2013 @ 00:55:40

    i really like how you’ve set up your circa. i have a graph notebook that’s fantastic. how is the arc punch at cutting through things thicker than paper? ive considered using a circa/arc as a planner but don’t know how difficult punch my own accessories would be…any tips would be much appreciated!

  5. thezeitgeistofzoe
    Jan 27, 2013 @ 01:44:10

    @romina: yeah, i’m too terrified of getting pen or something on that light “dune” interior, lol! i might either use it for some non-planner purpose or just try to sell it.

    @jes: the arc punch is fantastic! it has punched through card stock, plastic (to do the ziplock pouch and basically anything i’ve thrown at it thus far. for the price, i think it’s a great investment. one of the things i like most about the disc system as a planner IS the fact that it’s so easy to punch your own stuff. of course, you can invest in the FF or FC punches too, but if you change size planners, you need a new punch…with the disc systems, one punch works for all sizes. i love that!

  6. Zoe
    Jun 19, 2013 @ 12:59:59

    I love DIY planners! I really like how you put it all together. I’ve made my own planner before and it’s so nice to have something really personal. Nice!

  7. thezeitgeistofzoe
    Jun 25, 2013 @ 19:40:15

    thanks other zoe : ) you know…i toy with going back to these kinds of planners now and then (today being one of those “now” moments, lol!). it’s june and i seriously don’t want to re-copy half a year, but don’t be surprised if i start 2014 back in an arc or circa system ; )

  8. Sydnee
    Oct 04, 2014 @ 20:39:16

    Where did you get your tabs that fit in this little discbound notebook?

  9. thezeitgeistofzoe
    Oct 04, 2014 @ 21:44:49

    They are Franklin Covey “her Point of View” month on 2 pages inserts that I have trimmed and then punched with the Arc punch. They are available on the Franklin Covey website.

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