Gillio Medium Compagna Planner/Wallet Combo Set-up Video

Guess what…I made a video!

Check out the set-up of my Gillio Medium Compagna in luscious, pebbly black epoca leather!! Yum!!

I’m pretty amped about it because after years of trying (and failing), I have FINALLY managed to find a workable solution to having my wallet and planner combined, in a binder that makes it all look easy : )

Head over to YouTube and take a look!


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!!


The “Calipso Twins” Have Arrived

Kanalt and I were graciously given Filofax Calipso Compacts to review…be sure to check out our  posts on Philofaxy today : )

Gypsy…the “good twin”

Trixie…the troublemaker

I’ll leave it to you to guess which planner goes with which owner, lol!

Coming Soon to Two Blogs Near You…

got twins


It Ain’t Heavy…It’s My Planner

Okay, substitute the word “pretty” for the word “heavy” and that’ll be more like it. But hey, looks aren’t everything! And I happened upon this binder the one day it was on wicked sale, so I almost don’t care what it looks like.

As seems to be typical of Franklin Covey, it is back to regular price now, so I will spare you the particulars of the insane deal I got on it.

Anyway…here it is:

friday closed

This new planner is definitely NOT heavy! It is the Franklin Covey “Friday” binder in Compact size. It is constructed of lightweight black ballistic nylon and it is “designed for users who combine paper and electronic planning”.

Sound like anyone you know? **wink**

The exterior front features a gusseted pocket for your cell phone. It comfortably fits my iPhone 5 with room to spare.

(this is an iPod Touch...I was using the iPhone to take the picture...but you get the idea)

(This is an iPod Touch…I was using the iPhone to take the picture…but you get the idea)

And since my objective is to use this as both a planner and wallet, I am very psyched that the rear has large zipped pocket (which I intend to use for coins).

ext zip

Having***one thing*** to grab out of my humongous handbag when I run into a store that will hold my phone, wallet and has the added benefit of my lists and planner stuff, all while remaining light, durable and weather-proof, is just about enough to make me do the Snoopy Dance.

The outside may be Meh in the looks department, but functionality (inside and out) is really great.

On the inside of the front, there is an elastic pen loop, a full length slip pocket (from which you can see my checkbook peeking out – and also obscuring the pen loop, but trust me, it’s there) and four card pockets. Since this is going to be my wallet, I have some of my most-grabbed cards here, as well as a pad of sticky notes for quick access.

left inside

You can see that I also have a FC plastic card holder in the front with the rest of my cards/ID’s. This insert is also a plastic sleeve, so I have cash and coupons behind the cards. Coins are in the aforementioned exterior zipped pocket.


Those are the wallet bits. Behind this I have my planner. More on that in  minute.

The back has a full length slip pocket, a note pad pocket and a 2nd elastic pen loop. I have no idea what I’m going to use these pockets for at this point, but I like that they are there. I’m thinking the note pad pocket would make a great stash for receipts.

back pockets
Yes, that is a Pilot Coleto in the pen loop. The color is “soft green” and you can get your very own at JetPens.

I’m not using the note pad pocket for it’s obvious purpose because this binder’s 1″ rings gives me room for a Swing Pad.

open back

(I’ve got a plastic envelope on the left with my stickers & Hot Sheets, and the Swing Pad on the right, which currently holds a grocery list in progress)

Swing Pad’s are awesome, but I don’t always have room for them.  Being able to easily use the pad to make note of items I need on the fly and have the list handy like this when I’m in a store means the Friday gets an A+ as a wallet.

Traditionally, I have not much cared for zipped binders, but using the Giada as a planner/wallet for the last week made me long for the added security a zip-around would provide.

So, even though the wallet part is covered  extremely well, how will it do as a planner? Right out of the gate it gets points for laying flat!

lays flat

(The iPod Touch was still in the front pocket when this was taken, which is why the front tilts up a bit)

As you know, I am trying to simplify my planner, so I am currently using FC Her Point of View Two Page Monthly Calendar Tabs, with Her Point of View Ringbound Weekly refills and THAT’S IT. Happily, as a result, I can fit the entire year in this binder.


I am solely using my planner for personal items now – all work stuff stays at work. Appointments go on my 2013 desk blotter/calendar, and all work tasks go on a Steno pad that also gets left at work. If I think of a work task I need to do while I’m at home, I just write it on a sticky note and then add it to my work Task List the following day, but it does not stay in my planner.

Basically, my new minimal set up goes a little something like this:

Appointments only in the daily blocks. Maybe a critical reminder or two that I would need to refer back to, but not as a rule. Tasks will go on a DayTimer Hot List placed inside my Page Marker. The Hot Lists are sticky pads, but rather than gunk up my ruler with day after day of sticky residue, I just adhere two back to back and slip them inside it, thus giving me one for each half of the week’s view. Works great so far.

What about tabs you ask? Believe it or not I only have one these days…

ww tab
The ol’ dub-ya, dub-ya (that’s “WW” for those of you not up on Southern US vernacular). Weight Watchers. This has a few note pages behind it on which I’ve created cheat sheets for Points Plus values of meals I can have at my favorite restaurants, so I don’t have to look them up every time, or be totally rude and search for them in the iPhone app at the table.

Other than that, it’s just Monthlies.

month tabs
I love these Her Point of View tabs…they are both easy to read and colorful.

Quotes, notes, capture items, whatever can be jotted down on the Swing Pad and then removed/transferred to where they need to go once I get home. Easy peasy, bacon cheesy!


Four points per slice in case you were wondering.

But I digress.

I love the function of this planner, and the inside is sufficiently cute thanks to the Her Point of View inserts, but the outside is rather blah. Black nylon. Yawn.

Because I’m an uber-dork and I am still in my “fuchsia phase”, I ordered a cool, hot pink Lotus patch from Amazon to jazz it up.

lotus patch

The item description didn’t mention dimensions, so placement will be dependent on its size. What do you think…fun idea? Lame idea? “Oh my god cancel the order now it’s the stupidest thing I’ve ever heard you crazy broad you”?

Stay tuned for an update as to whether or not this potential planner solution is still going strong after a week, or if it joins the Fail pile. And you know you wanna see what happens with the patch ; )

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!

the Sweetest Thing

Disclaimer: This post isn’t about planners.

I just lost most of you didn’t I? ***wink***

For those of you who stayed…

I’m sitting here listening to my magical, psychic iPod that always seems to know just what I need to hear.  I had made a Smart Playlist a while back of the Top 50 songs that I play the most & that have the highest rating.

I’m at work, I’m busy, I’ve had to interrupt my day for an impromptu doctor’s visit and am, as a result, on medication that makes me want to vomit. Like, now.

And “The Sweetest Thing” by JJ Grey and Mofro comes on.

I love JJ Grey and have a few of his albums. Yes, I said albums. Even though they are digital downloads, they will always be albums to me.

I think technically the music is classified as Blues, and as you know I’m in more of a Fuschia phase right now, but I would say it’s more R&B/funk/bluesy/soul with maybe a touch of southern rock thrown in for good measure (but not in a tacky, redneck kinda way). Far from traditional Blues that always sorta make me feel like going off a bridge, JJ Grey & Mofro make me wanna dance. And dance sexy at that.

They’ve got some kickass songs. My faves are the aforementioned “the Sweetest Thing”, “Brighter Days”, “Orange Blossoms”  and “Slow, Hot and Sweaty”. If you can listen to that last song and not want to grind against something, you deserve some sort of trophy.

Anyway, why am I telling you this?

Because it struck me as I was jamming in my office chair, instantly put into a better mood by a song I adore, that I was introduced to this band by an asshat douchebag that I dated (not for long, thankfully) earlier this year.

A man I had previously thought of purely in terms of ‘two months of my life I’ll never get back‘.

But the truth of the matter is, I did take away something – other than the usual array of life lessons like, “never become involved with a man who hasn’t been divorced at least a year”, “don’t accept a Facebook friend request from anyone you’re dating”  and “mouth breathers always snore” –  from my time with Mr. Wrong.

At least he had good taste in music, and I am indeed grateful that he saw fit to broaden my horizons, even if only by proximity.

So rememberkids: There’s always a silver lining…no matter how much of a fucktard the cloud is!


Planner Pergatory – What Do I Really NEED In My Planner

Well folks, I’m about to change the name of this blog to “the Zeitgeist of Neurosis”, because I am still all over the place with my planner choice for 2013.

The problem is not my planner…it is my life. It keeps changing.

I know, I know…life is change, adapt or die, blah, blah, blah. I get it.

I’m not complaining about the ebb and flow of my life; in fact I quite enjoy the spontaneous challenging nature of it. Every day is an adventure…I actually love that about my life; it’s never boring!

Trouble is, I need to write more and more stuff down these days because I simply can’t remember all of it anymore, and finding the ideal medium for managing the adventure is what is causing me fits.

I was sick this past weekend. Trapped in my house. Forty-eight hours of jammies and one helluva Nyquil buzz. And so, predictably, I dubbed around with planners. Like, I mean a LOT. As in, I was in and out of three different ones before my right hand became exhausted and gnarled from re-copying and I gave up.

Typically, I have used my paper planner (I use digital planning tools as well, though only as a backup and for the handy dandy audible reminders) as both a tool for planning the future and as a snapshot of the days/weeks/months.  An ongoing archive if you will.

So I write down a shit ton of stuff. I track minutia like the weather, my mood, how I felt physically, whether or not I flossed or remembered to take my multi vitamin.

I write down stuff after it happens even. If I spend the day out and about with a friend, it’s not enough that I allocate the chunk of time I’m going to need, I have to go back that night and detail everything we did. Lunch at 1pm here, shopping from 3-5 here, here and here, movies from 7-9, this movie, that theater.

Smacks of the crazies now that I see it in undeniable type in front of my eyes.

Thing is, do I NEED all this information in what is supposed to be my planner?  In fact, do I need to know that stuff AT ALL? One could argue that no, I don’t. One could argue that whatever says I do need it is actually my OCD talking.

Do I need that stuff in my planner or am I drifting into the realm of the unhealthy and trying (in vain I might add) to exert control over my day/life by writing every last detail about every little thing down?

That’s what I thought.

So what, exactly, must I have in my planner in order to accomplish it’s one true job…PLANNING?

Two things really…where I need to be and what I need to do. Period.

Where I need to be:

1. I need dates & times for appointments/meetings. Both personal & professional.

2. My work schedule is the same every day, but I like jotting my boyfriend’s schedule down because that does change every week.

What I need to do:

1. I need to know when my bills are due.

2. I need other important dates such as birthdays or anniversaries (and ideally I need these ON the day or I won’t remember them) so I can send cards, buy presents, attend parties, etc.

3. I need to know about the day’s tasks.

The majority of my day, both for work and personally, is task-related. I have already taken my work tasks out of the picture and relegated them to their own (messy) Steno pad at work, that stays at work and gets archived at work.

So it is now only my personal tasks that I have to figure out what to do with. And I think I might be doing a bit of overkill in that regard.

In reviewing my daily schedule for today, for example, I see that I have “Shaw’s” (my local grocery store) scheduled at 5:00 pm in my appointments and also “grocery shopping” listed in my task section.  Wasteful. I don’t need it both places…I know very well I have to get this done today or eat crackers for supper tonight. Again.

And that is not a chore I need any sort of record of, so it seems better suited left as a task.

Other than noting what days I pay a given bill, or meet a deadline (which are few and manageable), who really cares whether or not I have an archive of when I took out the recycling, emptied the litter box or cleaned the house?!

Couldn’t those things be kept, not on a daily planner page that is pricey and may or may not be enough (or too little) space for any given day, thus causing me to purchase several incarnations of them each year in the hopes one will work, but rather on a disposable sheet of note paper?  As long as I have the satisfaction of checking stuff off when I complete it (because you know me…I love to check shit off!), I seriously don’t need to keep my task lists for posterity.

This leaves me with NEEDING only monthly tabs that have nice sized blocks to write appointments in (lined please) and some note sheets…or even better…To Do sheets to make up my planner.

Sounds easy enough.

Where I get stuck is that I also like to be able to jot down cool quotes I come across, or work on projects throughout my day.

I will typically have a few personal projects going at any given time; writing stuff, fitness goals, the upcoming move in March, etc. so my tendency is to want a large book that can accommodate these items as subject tabs.

But those things have nothing to do with planning.

I think what has been causing me to chase my tail  lately has been trying to do, essentially, three things in one book; plan, record personal details and manage projects.

Hence the fail.

I have a journal…I don’t need journaly stuff in my planner; personal stuff is best kept to a personal book. In 5 years I won’t care to look back and discover that I took my vitamin & flossed like a good girl on the same day that there was a Board Meeting! So that’s solved. Personal details  will henceforth go in the journal.

Now, what if I separate out my subject tabs into their own book.

Say, oh I dunno…a nice disc bound notebook, with which I find myself well stocked these days?

The paper is stellar, the sheets nice and large, I can still carry it with me and dig into projects on my lunch break or whatever; but it’s not something I would need with me 24/7 like, you know…a planner.

That way I can get away with what I crave – a small, portable system that would fit in any handbag I elected to use, and go with me always and everywhere without being cumbersome.

Yeah? Huh? Ya feelin’ it?

I think I am.

Whaddya think? Just monthly tabs and To Do sheets that get tossed when they are filled up. Planning only. Sleek & portable.

Can she do it? SHOULD she do it?

Chime in below…

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