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Levenger- time for alternatives?

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  • Levenger- time for alternatives?

    As I move myself towards a faster, more effective set of GTD practices, I have noticed that Levenger products seem to be less and less attractive to me. A lot of their newer stuff seems either dysfunctional, over-priced, or both. They've never been cheap, but their quality has always been very good. However, I find myself seeing a lot more stuff in the ugly and useless category, and wondering if anyone actually tested these products in the real world. Does anyone have other suppliers of similar products that they like better?

  • #2
    "Ugly and Useless" categories

    However, I find myself seeing a lot more stuff in the ugly and useless category,
    Please let us know more!

    (discl: I work for Levenger, and speak with members of a few DIY communities to learn what kinds of products we should be making.) Ryan Rasmussen - DiyPc profile

    My intention is not to divert attention from your question. The cross-pollination of products and methods benefits everyone. Nonetheless, I am here to listen to exactly the message your are delivering, to try to make things right.

    Thank you,

    Drop me a PM any time, or contact me at Ryan.Ras mussen(@)Leve (I can also be reached at Twitter: RRasmussen)


    • #3
      For a paper-based solution, I find the vanilla DayTimer/DayRunner binders work great. Just get the calendar inserts you like, add some tabs, label them with your trusty labeler, add the address book (or print in appropriate format and punch), etc. Plus, I have a tab for "Capture" - works great!


      • #4
        Levenger and Franklin

        Hi all, and especially Ryan,
        You all know that I have cast about a lot for my system---and even spent a lot of time in your store at MARSHALL FIELDS in Chicago with you Ryan (it's now Macy's but I refuse to acknowledge that). Anyway I am really under a huge work crunch this year and have found that nothing beats my Franklin Planner with month view, week view, and then lots of room for lists, plans under tabs behind all this. HOWEVER, I do love the Levenger papers. And Ryan, why not kowtow to us somehow and make us some papers in those colors that will fit in our Franklin binders--mine isn't really Franklin but it might as well be? There is nothing more substantial than a ring binder and I don't have to worry about my papers falling out, getting worn from moving them around on those plastic rings when I use my Franklin.

        Now the downside is carrying the thing we all know. It sucks. But after trying everything else, it is what I come back to and, pain that it is, it works. Better than that, it supports my life.

        What I am about ready to do is cut strips off my Levenger stockpile, punch holes in the pages and slap them in my binder. The paper IS gorgeous and fun!! I love it. Franklin pages are so vanilla, but functional and functional has to come first right now.

        xo, Trish:


        • #5
          Since you asked...

          I'm a big fan and a heavy user of many Levenger products. However, I am extremely disappointed with Levenger's 3x5 cards. Great concept, lousy execution.

          The problem is that index cards don't have room for wide margins, but Levenger insists on using them anyway. As a result, the writing area on a Levenger card is only about 2.5 x 3.75, or less than 2/3 of the card's area. Worse, the margin is non-symmetric, forcing the card into a vertical orientation whether that's what the user actually wants or not. That might be desirable for a ruled card, but I like grid and blank cards precisely because they're orientation-neutral.

          The reason for the wide margin is obvious from Levenger's catalog: it leaves room for personalization. While I'm sure personalization is a lucrative revenue stream for Levenger, I'm also sure that it is irrelevant to the vast majority of index cards, which are used for the purchaser's personal notes.

          Might I suggest taking a lesson from Levenger's own Wallet Cards? These are business card sized, with grid on one side, lines on the other, and a narrow margin all the way around. I love them, but they're too small. If they came 3x5 sized, I'd order them by the thousands. (And would be correspondingly more likely to order from Levenger's wide selection of 3x5 card accessories.)



          • #6
            Circa 3x5 "PDA"

            I started using the Circa 3x5" PDA notebook with plastic covers + Tab Dividers.
            I need a pocket sized system for NA lists and quick capture. The PDA offers the excellent Leveneger notecard stock in a easy-reorganziable Circa binder. (I also punch my own cards as needed.)
            Very handy to pull out a card and hand it to someone else at dinner to jot notes for you, and replace in the pocket-sized binder before it gets lost. You can also place a few loose PDA cards in a Pocket Briefcase (same size) and add them back to the PDA. You get the idea

            I agree with Katherine the there is a bit too much "wasted" space at the top margin, but since the Circa holes occupy some real estate, the waste is less of an issue, and not bothersome to me.

            Made a useful discovery: the Micro PDA cards (these are Circa-punched business card sized note cards) are the same size as the Wallet Cards. So, you can use the Micro PDA (Circa punched) cards in the Wallet and other gear that supports the Wallet Card system, and easily add those cards to other notes in the PDA or other Circa binder when necessary.


            • #7
              I recently switched back from my letter size Circa binder to my 7 ring Day Runner mainly because I am on the road (in the car) everyday in my outside sales job, and I find the 7 ring works better for me than the Levenger/Circa. I'm constantly flipping around, and I'm a bit rough with my binder and I got tired of the Levenger paper coming out or off the rings.

              I love Levenger / Circa products, but the 7 ring works better for me. I will continue using the Levenger paper and I even suggested to them that they come out with a 7 hole paper line.

              I had about 6 Levenger note pads left that I 7 hole punched for my binder.

              They are a great company, customer service is awsome!

              Just my 2 cents!


              • #8
                Originally posted by Rasmussen View Post
                Please let us know more!

                (discl: I work for Levenger, and speak with members of a few DIY communities to learn what kinds of products we should be making.)
                Oops, I forgot somebody from Levenger might be around.

                Let me give one example from a new product line, the Cubi.
                The Cubi triple decker is a set of 3 desk trays that have front faces and behave like drawers: you have to pull them out to access each compartment, taking up extra desk space and slowing you down. The Cubi Adjust-A-File is an upright file holder that is not stepped. This means you either have to stand partially upright to see labels or, more likely, turn your head sideways and stand up to read labels. I think the large leather facings on the line are not very attractive, and would prefer plain wood or more modest trim. I hope there is a market for attractive, sturdy, functional officeware, but there sure isn't a lot out there.

                Let me give another example from a Levenger staple, folios and notebooks. Currently, I am carrying a Softfolio in my briefcase and my wife has the Tyler folio, and we have a few others that we occasionally use for travel, et cetera. I find myself using a less expensive folio from Buxton, also in my briefcase, more often than the Softfolio. I like the Softfolio better, in many ways: it's thinner, folds back on itself in a pinch, wonderful leather. However, the horizontal slit pockets are difficult to get papers in and out of, maybe 5 seconds every time. Although I would like to keep print-outs of my calendar and next-action lists in the Softfolio, I don't because I am looking at them all the time. The Softfolio also has a zipper compartment. It's too big for receipts (and how many people carry their folio around for that?), but it's just a bit too small to easily get letter-size sheets out, so I don't use it. I think the Tyler is better with its vertical slit pockets, but I also know my wife uses it less than a less expensive folio with a different pocket design. From my point of view, a great design would have 2 diagonal slash pockets, and a full-size vertical slit pocket underneath those for hiding papers. An outside stash pocket might be nice. Somebody must want a double folio with 2 pads of paper, but it's not me. I want thin, and that seems to mean no zipper either. And could somebody check to make sure the junior-size folios can accomodate a letter-size paper folded once, rather than being just a wee bit too small? As others have said, the traditional classic size planner is more functional, because it is designed for exactly half an 8.5 x 11 sheet.

                Sorry for being long-winded (long-typed?), but you asked.
                Last edited by mcogilvie; 09-12-2007, 10:36 AM. Reason: typo correction


                • #9

                  I'm sure someone has suggested this.
                  But just in case...
                  First, The pocked sized Moleskine goes for about $9.95, not including shipping. Has 192 pages. A pilot G2 pen works best.
                  Second, here's a modified Moleskine that will work with 3x5 cards easily:
                  For example, here:
                  and here:
                  Now, third, check out this:
                  And this:
                  This according style memo filer Moleskine can hold quite a number of 3x5s and even dividers too.
                  I like the regular Moleskine, portrait (upright) style, with lines. Works great, and I can keep items in the notebook's envelope-type back pocket. I like to keep a record of my days on this notebook in chronological order.
                  You can go thinner and cheaper with the Cahier version, paperback, with 64 pages each. Get 3 for 6.95.
                  And I don't work for Moleskine, just like them!
                  I also suggest going to and look at the many varieties!


                  • #10
                    Alternative to Levenger

                    Get 3 x 5 post-it notes. Get some regular 3 x 5 cards. Get a rubber band.

                    For each context you have, or for each special list, write the name of that list on a 3 x 5 card.

                    Write each item, question, action step, thought, fact, someday/maybe, tickler, whatever, on a 3 x 5 PostIt note. Stick the PostIt note on the appropriate card. So if you have a 3 x 5 card labeled, "Calls", all the postit notes that are about calls you need to make stick to it.

                    Rubber band or clip together the ones you want to carry around, along with some blanks.

                    Keep notes on the PostIts as you do the next actions. When complete, they're either thrown away or put them into the project folders to which they belong, if you want a record.

                    Want to sort the priority of all the desk postits or call postits? Should take about 10 secs.

                    Infinitely flexible. Cheap. Light. Fun.