Yet Another Dog…

I’ve gotten several comments over the past couple days that my current planner conundrum and how I’m copying everything into 3 binders every day is insane.

I know.

Trust me, I know.

And now, as a result of my pro/con list for the other three, a FOURTH dog has entered the ring. I don’t have a desk anymore, but if I did things would be starting to smack of the infamous “desk of shame”.

Guess what it is?

Did you guess?

It’s a Franklin Covey Classic.

You’re rolling your eyes. I can feel it from here.

But bear with me…here’s why:

1. I want to move to a larger planner but not buy a whole new system or spend a whole lotta money (ideally no money) to do it, and my options for that have thus far been Filofax A5 and Circa Jr.

2. My major beef with the Filofax A5 is that (sorry Filofax) I hate the diary pages. I need lines because I write like a child and the only lined inserts are the vertical weekly. Me no likey. I also need monthly tabs, which…and I feel like a broken record here…Filofax not only doesn’t make, they don’t even allow for, because everything is printed back to back. Not to mention I think the paper quality is poor.

Since, at the end of the day, the real point of having a planner to begin with is using the diary pages and having them work for you, that’s a pretty big beef.

3. The issue I have with the Circa system (which has awesome paper, monthly tabs and a standard horizontal weekly insert option) is the very thing that sets it apart – the discs. While I love that the covers can be flipped over on themselves for easy writing, I just don’t feel like the pages are held securely enough. Sometimes the “smurfs” get stuck or bent and I can’t help thinking that, as much as I use my planner, over time they are going to fray and fail to grip the discs adequately. Rings, I feel, are far more secure in the long haul.

Also, it seems like they are better suited as notebook rather than planners. There really aren’t enough pockets, no zipped compartments, and they always have only one pen loop.

But I like the fact that paper size is essentially cover size; there is very little added bulk. Filofax A5 has a lot more cover than the page size requires in my opinion. But they also have cool pockets (some of them do anyway) and many have two pen loops.

In thinking about the things I liked best about both systems and wondering how I could kluge Franklin Covey diary pages into an A5 (for better paper and monthly tabs) or somehow better secure the smurfs to the discs, I had an a-ha moment.

Why not just use a Franklin Covey Classic size?

The paper size for FC is exactly the same as Circa (5 1/2″ x 8 1/2″) and the particular binder I have is just barely larger than the page size, so no extra bulk. It has awesome interior functionality,  two pen loops, is real leather through & through and of course I can use my beloved Her Point of View inserts in it without trimming and re-punching.

Into the planner bin I went, and I dug it out. I set it up last night and its with me today.

Check it out:

pebbled leather
The binder is a lovely black pebbled leather. And you’re right…it is an open binder, which means it has no closure. Literally the only thing that I don’t like about it.

hpov tabs
Here’s a nice side view. This is an older binder, which they don’t make anymore, so I have no idea the ring size. I believe they are 1″. You can see that they fit a full year of monthly tabs with weekly inserts, as well as some subject tabs I put in to mimic my set up in the Circa. More on that in a minute.

inside front
The inside front cover. Six card slots (with a nice leather snap strap to keep them all secure), and ID window, a pen loop and a secretarial pocket. Note that my fat Coleto multi-pen fits with no problem.

pockets behind
Behind the secretarial pocket is a full length zipped pocket and behind THAT is a full length slip pocket. Storage galore!

life is good sticker
Not to be daunted by all that blackness, I stuck my favorite Life is Good sticker on the front page lifter : ) Yay…some color!

Here it is open (and laying flat). The pages are nice and big, and you can see how fun the Her Point of View design is. Monday through Wednesday are on the left page and Thursday through Sunday are on the right page (with a little section at the bottom of each for notes).

As always, I’m using DayTimer sticky hot sheets tucked inside the Franklin Covey page marker as my task list. Having my tasks right on the day (or in this case, week) keeps them fresh in my mind and I prefer this to keeping them behind their own tab.

In the back there is a notepad pocket and 2nd pen loop. I like to carry my Coleto multi-pen with 4 ink colors (black for most things, green for financial, pink for…you know…romance, orange for Weight Watchers) as well as a mechanical pencil for jotting down tentative appointments.

pockets under pad
Under the note pad, or if you prefer not to use a notepad, there are additional pockets. Two full length horizontal slip pockets (one is for the notepad) and two half length pockets (that perfectly fit a sticky note pad, as it happens).

Now, back to tabs. Franklin Covey sucks at tabs. Their set is a full twelve, and they are tiny. My OCD won’t let me use fewer than all twelve…but I don’t need twelve, so to keep my brain from exploding, I simply avoid FC tabs altogether.

Part of what I want a larger binder for, however, is to carry around other stuff besides diary pages, so for now I have some tabs I had laying around that were for a smaller 3-ring notebook inserted.

first 2 tabs
The first 2 tabs I’m using are Capture and Lists. Capture…you guys already know what that is. Lists is self explanatory. Shopping lists, errand lists, photo a day challenge lists – if it’s on a list, it’s behind that tab.

last 3 tabs
Then I’ve got Notes, Quotes and Fitness. Also pretty self-explanatory.

Cute, colorful and fun aren’t they? I like them way better than the plain Filofax tabs in the A5.

I would like to note that, to this point, I have thrown this thing together without spending a cent.

Since I really liked the Circa colorful plastic tabs, tonight I am going to go to Staples and pick up another set of Arc ones to punch for this binder. I think the punch will go through them, but I’m not 100% sure since they are plastic, but I’m betting they will…back in the day I sprung for the good, metal FC hole punch ; )

Because the page size is the same as Circa, I also punched some of the awesome Levenger graph and note paper to use in this planner (FC does not make graph paper and I find their note paper to be too widely ruled for my tastes). Levenger paper quality is AWESOME, so I was psyched that the paper was the same size.

graph paper

See the smurfs alongside the ring holes?

note paper
Here’s the note paper. These pages are right over one of the tabs, so you can see the smurfs a bit better as the color shows through.

Fraying smurfs are a concern…although since they aren’t being used to hold the paper in place they would only be an aesthetic issue. I could washi tape over them if I had to. Or perhaps since they are not being used to turn the page they won’t fray at all.  I’ll keep you posted.

See what I mean? This is a strong contender for Top Dog.

True, the binder has no closure and I don’t particularly care for that…and it’s black – in direct opposition to my craving for all things luscious and colorful. But the insides are fun and at least I have color there. And I suppose if the system itself ended up working well enough to stick with, I could hunt for a colorful Classic binder on eBay or something. They’re out there…I’ve seen some of you with them, lol!

So now it’s a four dog fight. Two Filofax contenders, two other brands. Oh, the drama!

Keep in mind that I couldn’t simply put the tabs, the Levenger paper or the FC Her Point of View diary pages into the A5 because Filofax paper is a different size; it’s actually slightly larger at 5 3/4″ x 8 1/4″. So to get what I want inside the A5, I would have to use all off-brand inserts or the size difference would drive me even more insane than most of you think I already am.

Maybe I’ll stick a poll in and let you guys vote…what do you think of that?

Here Doggie, Doggie, Doggie…

calling the dog

I’m doing it again.


As you know, I’ve been using a lovely new Filofax “Original” in drool-worthy fuchsia patent leather. My black little heart goes pitter-patt even just saying the words, “fuchsia patent leather”. Heaven.


(And you know there is always a but with me)

As we have discussed in the comments to my last post, the inside of my beloved little patent fuchsia dream is proving to be somewhat disastrous the more I use her.

The elastic thingie is driving me bat shit crazy. Yeah, okay, I can use it to carry my Coleto multi-pen, but why oh why couldn’t they have put that first loop a wee bit further out? Even a skinny pen will bend my tabs. The fat Coleto is wreaking havoc with them.

Then there is the utter and complete nonsense that is the other part of the band. You can’t really PUT anything in those bits unless it is something flat (like papers…but you’d better hope they don’t slip out). More pens or do-dads or whatever will only make your left hand page lumpy to write on.

And putting a 2nd pen or mechanical pencil in the right-most “loop” does the same thing.

Bulge city.

And not the fun kind.

Add to that my desire to do more than just track my Weight Watchers points on the end page of every month’s tab and yet more changes to my life over the last week, and this weekend found me experimenting with alternative planners.

Big ones.

Thing is, there are TWO bigger planning systems that I like. And now I find myself lugging three planners around, doing some hardcore dog calling. Again. Still. Whatever.

1. The lovely yet vapid Original patent fuchsia in Personal size (even despite her flaws, I can’t quite let her go…)

2. A Filofax A5 Chameleon in Spring Green

3. A Levenger Circa in Junior size

I know, “one of these things is not like the others…” but I have to admit that, in my time playing with Circa (or Arc, or whatever) I have really liked the system and found some things I even like better than Filofax.

For today’s purposes, let me illustrate my Fitness section in both and maybe you can see my dilemma.

This is actually Part 1 of a two part post. Both systems obviously have plusses and minuses. I’m just showing you one section of what I use my planner for; sort of a microcosmic view into a macrocosmic problem.

The rest of which will come later on this week.

First the A5 Chameleon:

FF A5 fitness tab
Here is the Fitness tab in my Filofax A5. Your average, every day Filofax tab. I’ve jazzed it up with an inspirational Life is Good sticker, but it’s still pretty…blah. I’m not clever enough to make my own tabs, so this is pretty much the best that I can do.

And below is my Weight Watchers point tracking page. It’s just Filofax graph paper and it’s not meant to be frilly – just serve the purpose. Which it does.

FF tracking pg
Now for the Circa:

circa fitness tab
Here’s the tab. Lime green baby! I actually think the tabs are from an Arc set from Staples, but Levenger has colorful tabs too (they’re just more expensive). Fun, right?

circa tracking pg
Here’s the tracking page.  Pretty much the same deal as the Filofax page…just graph paper.

And here, just because I haven’t copied it yet (yes, I am copying everything so that I have 2 identical binders going…one Filofax A5 and the other Levenger Circa. And yes, I realize that is insane) is my workout page.

Just another graph paper sheet. But what I like is that Circa’s fold over on themselves, so writing on the back of the sheet is super easy. No rings to get in the way. I went straight for the Circa to log my workout because I knew it would be easier to write on both front & back of the page.

Just sayin’.

circa workout

Please don’t guffaw at my light weights…it was my first workout in ages.

And here is kind of the kicker…

ww pages circa

Weight Watchers Cheat Sheets fit!

Because Circa Junior pages are 5 1/2″ x 8 1/2″ (a letter sized piece of paper folded exactly in half), my little Weight Watchers handouts can easily be punched and put right into it.

And the page size matches the refill page size too, so that pleases the OCD.

Check out the same WW page in my A5.

FF ww page in holder
The WW pages are smaller than Filofax pages (which are 5 1/4″ x 8 1/4″), so I have to put them in clear plastic envelopes. This has the advantage of protecting them from my grimy fingers if I want to reference them while cooking.

Stop laughing…I cook occasionally.

Okay, I have cooked. In my life. Before. And I may again someday.

Anyway, the envelope has the disadvantage of sticking out just over 1/2″ beyond the rest of the pages, which means it will block my other tabs and would have to go in the way-back of my binder in order to not tweak the OCD into homicidal rage.

WW in original
As you know if you follow me on Flickr, I also track my WW points in my Original, but there is no way I’d ever go to the trouble of trying to make inserts or cut down existing articles, etc for a Personal size.

Ain’t nobody got time for dat.

Plus, as I was starting to say, life is changing yet again and I’m feeling the need for additional room in my planner. As in, page size, not ring girth.

: ) I said girth

Stay tuned for Part 2 where I talk more about said life changes and why I’m toying with bigger planners, also I’ll include an in-depth pro/con list for the Circa and the A5.

For now I am, once again, torn between systems. I can count carrying three planners around as a workout…right?!

Unapologetically Iconic

One of the most buzz-worthy new Filofax models for 2013 is “the Original”.


I was lucky enough to get my grubby little paws on one recently and I have to say, it was love at first sight.

teh shiny
I mean, how could it not be with shiny goodness like that?!

As you know, I am having an ongoing obsession with pink these days, so I was torn between the fluoro pink and patent fuchsia when it came to the Original.

Afraid the fluoro pink might be too…fluoro for my corporate alter-ego, I played it safe and went for patent fuchsia.

I was NOT disappointed.

There are several great reviews of the Original out there already, so I won’t waste your time with an unboxing or what refills came with it. If you know me at all you know I’ve already tossed them. If you want comprehensive reviews, definitely check out Plannerism’s awesome video review, or the press write-up on Philofaxy or Steve’s stellar review of the A5 size in comparison to his Malden.

There are more…these are just a few that contributed pretty heavily to my desire for one, lol!

This review is no match for those that came before…I’m just here to  show you my own personal spin on this juicy, luscious, fingerprint magnet in use.

Which is no small feat, given what awaits a potential Original owner on the inside!

inside front
As most of you know by now, the inside functionality of the Original is, um, original to say the least.

Not judgin’…just sayin’.

Along with 2 card slots (they aren’t pockets…just slits in the thick leather that you can stick business cards into) and a full length slip pocket behind those, the Original has what Filofax calls a “multifunctional elastic holder”.



I call it “the elastic weirdness”.

It is basically one small elastic section (which makes for the only reasonable pen loop location) then a larger elastic section in the middle, and another small (but awkwardly placed) section to the right that would fit a pen, but putting one there made a poorly placed bump underneath when writing on the left-hand pages.

I do use the outermost section as my pen loop, and as you can see above, it does accommodate even larger pens like my Pilot Coleto multi-pen.

But what the heck are you supposed to do with the middle section?!

or an android
Experimentation proved that it will hold an iPhone (however, I don’t have one anymore – I have a Samsung Galaxy Note 2 that is practically the size of the planner itself –  and to be honest, I’d be afraid it would stretch the elastic out to the point where, if you ever decided against carrying your iPhone there, it would be too stretched out to hold anything else) and of course you can stick small papers, receipts and other planner detritus in there…but again, unless it was something that clipped to the elastic, I’d be concerned about how secure it would be after the initial elastic-y newness wore off.

This is an iPod Touch standing in for an iPhone...but you get the idea

This is an iPod Touch standing in for an iPhone…but you get the idea

Suffice to say, I have yet to find any real, practical use for my very own multifunctional elastic holder.

But you know me, I am attracted to challenging, quirky things…so neither odd configurations or the constant compulsion to wipe down my planner with the cloth I use to clean my glasses (because the patent leather – any patent leather really – is indeed a fingerprint magnet) is gonna stop me from using and enjoying this stunning, iconic Filofax!

I attempted to take a photo of the ‘f’ on the side but the glare practically blinded me. THAT’S how shiny it is! I’ll leave catching the icon at work to the professional photographers ; )

You know who you are.

Back to…you know…planning and stuff. These days, I use a mish-mash of brands. Did you hear that OCD? A mish-mash I say!

What I see when I open my planner

What I see when I open my planner

To start things off, I have a Filofax transparent Flyleaf, which serves as somewhat of a dashboard. On it at the moment I just have a sticky note pad. I’ve also stuck a small “Life is Good” sticker on it. It says, “What is beautiful is good and who is good will soon be beautiful.”


I try not to look at it until I’ve had my morning caffeine ; )

Then I have my favorite-est inserts in the whole wide world – Franklin Covey “Her Point of View” monthly tabs (I was going to post a link to them but they are sold out!!).

monthly tabs
I love the colors, the easily readable font the tabs are printed in and the functionality. It is a month on two pages layout, with Sunday as the first day of the week (for those of you who care).

On the front of each month, there is an index page to list important dates for quick reference (or to just use for notes, as I do) and on the back of each month you will find a Master Task List with sections for Personal & Business. I use this page to track my Weight Watchers points (Personal = Food, Business = Activity).

I’m relatively confident I’ve blogged about these inserts before, so feel free to peruse the archives.

thick leather_top
Looking down from the top you can see how nice and thick the leather is.

Yes, it lays completely flat, right outa the box

Yes, it lays completely flat, right outa the box

Despite the nice, substantial heft of one piece construction, the Original does indeed lay flat from the get-go. I will be very curious to see how it breaks in over time, because it starts out pretty wonderful.


In between the pretty monthly tabs, I just use your average, run of the mill Filofax Week on Two Pages inserts.

You’ll notice I’ve changed out the Filofax Page Marker Ruler for its Franklin Covey counterpart. I’ll wait while you scroll back up to see it.

The FC one is actually open (to accommodate their Progressive Task Lists, but I don’t really care for those) so I stick two DayTimer Self-stick Hot List sheets back to back and put them in the ruler. I use one sheet per week, toss it, and slip in another one when the new week arrives.

The Original has 9/10″ rings (that’s close enough to 1″ for those of us who just want to know how big the damn rings are without having to do math) so it can fit a full year of monthly tabs and weekly inserts comfortably…along with my fat Coleto pen…and snap shut.

thick leather_side
The inside back, just like the front, is quite sparse.

inside back
It features a Notepad pocket that will fit a  Flex Slim Jotpad. It’s not a true pocket however…it is open at the bottom. So no using it to store tall, skinny things.

Because you know you were going to ; )

As you can see, I’m using this cute little pad for my Filofax Photo-a-Day Challenge list right now, and that’s probably how I’ll continue to use it…for lists. Seems pretty conducive, don’t you think?

inside back pocket
Fortunately, the back also has a full length slip pocket. Now THAT is something I can use! Though, since the cover of the Jotpad is slotted back there, you do have to be careful that papers don’t catch on it when sliding them into the pocket.

Because the interior functionality wasn’t going to meet my needs, I loaded my Original up with plastic inserts.

I’ve got a couple business card sheets, one clear plastic envelope, and a multi-purpose holder in there right now, and a zip envelope on order.

That’s how much I love the Original…I don’t even really care that someone fell asleep when they were conceptualizing the inside of this thing (or was very, very drunk). I’ll deal with having to use plastic inserts…just give me that shiny patent leather fuchsia amazingness!

In all seriousness, I do really like this binder. It reminds me of my first Filofax from the (ahem) late 1980’s; solid construction, just leather/no padding and made in the UK.

Which was, I suppose, the point all along. Otherwise they would have called it “The New”. Amirite?

After seeing the other reviews, I honestly didn’t know what I would think of the slots rather than pockets, and the elastic….thingie. And I suppose how both fare in long term use is yet to be seen because the product is so new.

I will tell you this, though – it will be a pure pleasure to find out! I adore the look at feel of the patent leather, it makes me happy every time I pull it out of my bag, and lemme tell ya, I get a LOT of compliments on it when I’m out and about.

We Filofaxers are never ones to be put off by some of the wonkier aspects of our favorite brand and there is far more to love about the Original than there is to raise an eyebrow in puzzlement over.

Besides, how could anyone resist those colors!!