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Paper Planner Size: Stuck between conflicting requirements

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  • Paper Planner Size: Stuck between conflicting requirements


    I have the following problem:

    Right now, I try to get away from electronic PIMs/PDAs and convert back to paper.

    For my professional life, I need a full-size planner (read: A5 size, which in the US roughly translates to FC "Classic" size) due to the number of tasks, projects, work appointments throughout the day, meeting notes etc. I'd love to use something like Time/Design or Planner Pads for that, something that gives you enough space and helps you structure your work stuff. I could easily take it with me to meetings, but I'd not want to lug it around all day.

    For my personal use, I'd like to have my planner with me all the time and want it to be pocketable (think: Moleskine Pocket size, something that fits into a shirt/pants pocket). I don't need all my list with me all the time, but I need my calendar (and errands list).

    Where both systems overlap is the calendar. That would mean two calendars, something that is unanimously not recommended. So I'm stuck somehow.

    (Please note that the address book is not an issue at all here, as that lives electronically anyway. But that's the only digital component left.)

    Any experiences or opinions about this dilemma?


  • #2
    It may not be what you want to hear, but that's the very reason why I went digital in the first place. I had my diary in a Filofax, and my secretary had a separate copy of my diary on her desk. It needs frequent updating, which often had to be done after I'd got back form a meeting with a new set of dates, and then I'd discover one of them clashed with something she'd booked while I was out! And if we didn't update for a couple of weeks it was disastrous.

    If you really want a paper copy, then quite a few of my colleagues maintain one electronic calendar on Outlook, and then print that out onto monthly sheets which they carry with them (not being into PDAs).



    • #3
      Can you keep your calendar in the smaller format that you will always have with you? Then even though you have your larger planner with you, you will always have the calendar in your pocket that you can use and update. Don't have a separate bigger one in the larger planner at all.

      (If you prefer, you could insert the pocket planner into the larger planner for meetings. However, for me, I'd be sure to leave it there and go home without it so I'd recommend keeping it in your pocket.)


      • #4
        @ RuthMcT:
        Yes, that's clearly a disadvantage of a paper system.
        But OTOH, if I pollute my calendar with all the micro-appointments my job (that's largely 9-to-5 and location-bound) gives me, it becomes almost unreadable on the low resolution of a PDA (although one might be able to fight that problem by filtering). Plus, I don't have a multi-user scenario (another use case where a digital solution excels).

        @ WebR0ver:
        That's basically what I do now. But the micro-appointment problem applies here, too, as the pocketable calendar is too small. And I lose the overview that a larger all-in-one paper system can give me, including "funneling" your projects/tasks into your calendar (term borrowed from, reserving some time blocks for certain tasks etc.

        So I'm thinking about using the larger planner's calendar for the usual work hours and the mobile calendar for private appointments (including very early and late appointments of any kind, lunch time, free time events like holidays etc.). This might require some "double bookkeeping" and could be a recipe for desaster, though.


        • #5
          Have you thought about a Hipster PDA solution? Yes, it was partly tongue in cheek, but a lot of geeks have taken to it likes ducks to water.

          It would be scalable, in that you could have the basic PDA for carrying about, and have the additional mega-bundle you could add when you need something meatier. It's infinitely extensible, adaptable, and customisable.

          Plus it's sort of a secret badge of membership: when you meet someone else with a Hipster PDA, it's like belonging to a cool club.


          • #6
            Hi Alex. Hmm. Sounds like one or the other, if you can't separate out the calendar. I carry the classic size - which as you point out is rather large - in a Man Bag, just so I can have it always available. Note: I keep *no* project support material/plans in my planner per se - that kind of paper is in folders. This keeps the planner from being one of those giant bloated things that won't shut.

            I'm familiar with the Time/Design system, but again, your need for a large calendar will dictate the overall planner size. However, one thing I liked about their system is their folding action sheets. Maybe you could do a DIY version of a fold-out calendar that fits into a pocket size planner...

            (FYI there's more at my article Some thoughts from attending Time/Design's trainer certification.)


            • #7
              Thanks for everyone's suggestions, but I'm afraid I'm going to throw caution to the wind and go with separate calendars for personal planning and work hours.
              One major reason being that a larger planner would require carrying an additional bag. If I do that, I'll lose it (i.e.: forget it somewhere). I know I will.


              • #8
                I had tried the Moleskin route - but found it didn't provide enough structure for me. Of course DayPlanner / Franklin Covey type planners are to strict. So - I opted to try out the Uncalendar. Now I couldn't live without it. I'm cuirrently using the half-size, but as my year progresses and I add more 'hats' to my life I may have to increase the size.


                • #9

                  I had a similar dilemma to you.

                  I struggled with using A5 Filofax format because it was the best size /capacity for work, but wanted something smaller to carry around. There is more relevant stationery available at Personal size, but then there isn't enough room to manage everything for work. I solved the problem by splitting into 3 Personal size organisers. This gives me more room for the calendar and project planning sheets.

                  Here is my system.


                  1 x Compact Guildford
                  1 x Personal Guildford
                  1 x Personal Zipped Guildford

                  1 set of Filofax Month dividers
                  1 set of Daytimer tickler dividers
                  1 set of Filofax A - Z Dividers
                  Next Action Sheets from DIYPlanner
                  Waiting on Sheets from DIYPlanner
                  Project List Sheets from DIYPlanner
                  Project Detail Sheets from DIYPlanner
                  1 x transparent top opening envelop
                  Custom project plan sheets based on the Filofax Professional TM stationery but for personal format size.


                  I use the Compact size Guildford for this, which is filled with note paper and the transparent envelop. The compact is a good size for use as the inbox, more capacity than a slimline, but still slim enough to be carried in a pocket. This means I can carrry it wherever I go. You could use a pocket size organiser instead.

                  GTD Organiser

                  The Personal size Guildford has sturdy 23mm rings, and so is tough enough for everyday use as my GTD organiser.

                  In the Personal Guildford:

                  The blank dividers are labelled as follows:
                  Next Actions
                  Waiting on
                  Areas of Focus
                  Tickler (Someday / Scheduled)

                  The Next Actions section is filled with Next Action Sheets from DIY Planner, the Projects section with Project List Sheets, the plans section with Project Detail sheets, and the Waiting on Section with Waiting on Sheets, all from DIYPlanner.

                  In the Tickler section I have the Month dividers and the Daytimer Tickler dividers to set up a tickler file.


                  In the Zipped Guildford, I have the A - Z dividers and the diary for recording what has happend, so that I can refer back to it.The Guildford Zipped has a larger ring size (30mm), so perfect for filing. The zip also means that I can drop items in loose without punching holes in them.

                  The Inbox is carried everywhere. Notes from meetings, sudden thoughts, anything that occurs to me to do, actions in meetings are all written in it. I use the transparent envelop to store small items, receipts that need to be checked or recorded, tickets to file, business cards etc.

                  But nothing stays in the Inbox for long because when I am back at my desk or in a position to work through the Inbox and either file notes into the Reference folder, or process them as actions through the GTD Organiser. I work on everything out of the GTD Organiser. All NAs, projects etc are there. And I always remove the pages from the Inbox when the notes / actions are transfered. It's really satisfying.

                  If I need to take certain items with me when I am out I just transfer them back to the Inbox temporarily to work on them (OK, then it isn't an inbox at that point...) but this is just temporary.

                  I find I have more capacity now than the A5 organiser, access to better stationery, more portability, and it is all much more flexible.
                  Last edited by Kit; 11-21-2008, 11:56 AM.