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,Β  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.Β  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?

15 Comments (+add yours?)

  1. Ling
    Jul 10, 2013 @ 16:26:27

    I get nervous reading your post. I deal with the same issues you have. Every single one. And you do have a few if I say so myself. ;-P The only difference is; I order everything in the US and usually pay the worth of the items in shipping and then in customs too. I know.. crazy..
    I voted for the FC, because it just makes sense to stick with a paper size which is easily available. And you love the FC HPOV inserts. (Doesn’t Martha sell 3 hole plastic tabs at Staples btw? You could punch those and won’t have to deal with the smurfs). Maybe in time you could buy the Aurora classic in red or tan. O no.. I forgot.. gold rings. LOL

  2. Josh LaPorte
    Jul 10, 2013 @ 22:58:53

    I NEED to write about my current insanity of a setup; you’ll totally relate. I spent AGES considering an FC classic before deciding to stick to the compact FC. I love, love love the DT 7 ring 2PPD pages in spite of their crummy paper… but the binder is too big. Blah.

  3. Claudia
    Jul 11, 2013 @ 10:32:38

    I can’t even vote! I’d have to vote for all four! I started with a classic Franklin, and while I like the compact, it’s such a brick compared to the definitely classier Filofaxes… I actually ordered that same classic pebbly binder, and when it came I was a little iffy about it and my son loved it so now he has it. Although I don’t think he’s actually using it… hmmm… Oh well, I’m right there with you in the ongoing insanity πŸ™‚

  4. kanalt17
    Jul 11, 2013 @ 11:56:10

    I say with love: a poll won’t make a difference. ;-). You might consider using whatever comes out ahead, and it might work for a while. But in the e d, you’ll continue to planner dub, because as you said to me yourself, you just like to planner dub. And that’s fine! But based on what your needs are versus what you have in front of you, I say go with the FC pebbled leather. Aside from it being black and lacking a snap closure, it sounds like its everything you’re looking for. πŸ™‚

  5. Ling
    Jul 11, 2013 @ 19:33:12

  6. Donna
    Jul 13, 2013 @ 12:23:51

    I love my FC classic size planner. I love the idea of Filofax and am obsessed with Philofaxy and all of the great ideas shared there, but the FC classic is the size for me. I also have gone through a variety of brands/styles/sizes of planners trying to find the “perfect” one. I have settled in with the FC 5 choices planner that have been removed from the spiral and placed (with minor modifications) in my Giada binder. The whole year of weekly pages are not able to be kept in the binder, but that is minor since I now have the flexibility to add sections/pages where I need them. Sorry, I got a little long winded there…..bottom line is thanks for sharing your planner journey and I hope you find the perfect one for you, no matter what the poll results are.

  7. Cassandra
    Jul 13, 2013 @ 14:14:35

    Staples carry 5 tabs divider pages they come in a variety of designs. They are 3 hole punched, so you have to fix that, but they are plastic and very durable.
    I agree that the arc notebook is not for keeping permanent pages, they just don’t stay put after a while.

  8. Patty@homemakersdaily
    Jul 13, 2013 @ 14:21:23

    I can certainly relate! I can’t decide between 3: Personal Filofax, FC Compact (which I’ve used forever) and FC Classic. I want the portability of the personal but the space of the classic. Typical, huh?!

    I like the open binder you have. FC makes so many gigantic flaps on the planners and I hate them. I love an open binder but they don’t have many of those. Most people want a flap of some kind. And I’m with you on the color – I used black for many years and now I want color. But like you said, if it works, you can invest in a binder that you really love. But for now, don’t waste your money.

    Good luck on choosing!

  9. Carol Smith
    Jul 13, 2013 @ 15:31:54

    I have the bandolier on this page – a wide elastic band that goes around your planner with slots for a couple of pens and you mobile. They come in different sizes and the quality is good. It might help to alleviate the lack of closure for you. πŸ™‚

  10. thezeitgeistofzoe
    Aug 08, 2013 @ 12:47:41

    hey….that’s really COOL! thanks for posting the link!!

  11. Cruz
    Nov 17, 2013 @ 07:24:51

    I love your FC Classic, Zoe! It looks awesome!

  12. Nancy Allen
    Nov 18, 2013 @ 02:38:49

    Just now finding your fun blog–so are you using the black Classic FC???

  13. Claudia
    Nov 24, 2013 @ 11:17:52

    I’m thinking of how I want to set things up for 2014… I’m going to use the Her POV 2PPD / MO2PP in my DayTimer Malibu Desk binder (LOVE THIS BINDER) and then carry as a wallet either my personal Malden or pocket Chameleon. I’d love to see an update from you – what have you landed on since July?

  14. thezeitgeistofzoe
    Dec 05, 2013 @ 14:12:16

    Nancy: No, sadly the black Classic FC didn’t last too long. I love the functionality but can’t seem to haul a planner that large around with me every day for any length of time. Sigh. I haven’t been posting much, but hope to change that with the new year, so thanks for reading and stay tuned : )

    Claudia: I will be updating soon…I need to finalize what I’m going to use for 2014 ; ) Seems every year I go through this same conundrum, lol! Right now I’m in a Gillio Medium Compagna (also in pebbly black leather, ironically) and using that as a planner AND a wallet. I just posted a video of the setup, so check it out : )

  15. Sue
    Jun 04, 2016 @ 17:08:29

    Did you find a new home for your black pebbled planner? I have the same one, and like it so much I would buy a backup for the day when it falls apart, lol!

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