Monday, 3 September 2012

Setting up the Mulberry Agenda

Hmm. I’m supposed to be writing some notes for scenes but I can’t seem to get my brain to focus. It seems keener on writing about how I have moved lock, stock and two smoking barrels into the Mulberry.

Yes… already!

I know… I’ve only had it about three days. But I love it and once Steve had told me how to easily set my hole-punch up to the correct spacing, well, there seemed to be no stopping me.

Yesterday I made new dividers and most of the other sheets I need (A4 Clairefontaine paper; print 4 pages to the page. Two guillotine slices, punch the holes and in they go. Could not be easier!).

So, here we go with the walk-through. Click on any picture to enlarge. Apologies to everyone whose pictures I have snagged from the web for the dividers.

I have kept the same sections as I have for the personal size as the set-up is working pretty well for me.

Making the dividers:
From past experience of not being able to line up the tabs, this time I made a single page template for all the dividers. On it, I made text-boxes with the tab labels down the right-hand side. In order to make the tabs line up once the dividers were made, I put all the tabs down the right-hand side.
I had a page size set to A6 plus the size of the tab plus another 0.7cm which is the smallest margin my printer seems to like. I pre-cut the card to A6 + tab + 0.7cm. Once I’d printed both sides (see below), this extra 0.7cm was sliced off (to bring the edge of the tab close to the edge of the card).

So, for making the divider, I had all the tabs set up in text-boxes, then I put the picture for the divider in, removed the border from the tab this was for but left the others in. I didn’t do this for the Notes tab, but for all the others, I then also moved the tabs to the left-hand side, flipped them and re-printed all the dividers so that the reverse was the same as the front (see the photos in the sections for images).

The lines around the other tabs acted as guidelines for what I needed to cut away after printing and trimming. I used scissors to cut away these other tabs.
I’ve tried to explain it with the following diagram:

Once the dividers were trimmed etc., I used some clear, sticky-backed plastic to cover the tabs to strengthen them, then hand trimmed the curves on them. The font used was Shaker 2 regular size 18.

The sections:
First up is Notes where things are captured – basically the in-box of my binder. The image is one I have used before and sums up the section well!

Next up is Goals. Here I have a summary sheet of the key areas of my life – in a 3x3 grid, with me occupying the central square. The different key areas are colour-coded (e.g. family and friends are in blue). This colour-coding will then run through the rest of the binder.
Behind the grid of the key areas are a series of summary sheets of the goals and projects in each of those key areas. Each key area is broken down into goals, and each goal has one or more projects that will work towards that goal. For example, for Chimwemwe, I have two main goals in that key area: raising money and raising awareness. The top of the summary sheet looks like this:

Key area: Chimwemwe
Raising money
“Good gifts”

Then, for each project, I then have a “Project to next action” sheet – the key area, goal and project are listed on the front and then the next actions needed to complete the project are on the reverse. These next actions are used to generate my monthly lists and then my weekly lists.

Project summary sheet (next actions list shown on left)
Key area summary shown on left

The next section is Months. These are the monthly lists – all the next actions to be completed by the end of the month, colour-coded to match the colours of the key-areas. I use colour-coding to check that I have a balance across the weeks/months (“What, no purple this month??”).
On the reverse of these lists I also keep a note of blog posts written and books read, just for interest. There are currently month-sheets for every month up to December 2013.

As well as the next actions, important things (like car MOT etc.) are also put on these sheets as and when needed, as a forward planner.
After the current month is my monthly review check sheet.

Blog posts and books read summary to left; diary tab to right

The next section is Diary. I have a list of general to-do at the start of this section, with a removable tab on it. The general list contains everything I have to do that isn’t a next action (i.e. collect dry cleaning; return library books). After this comes a week plus notes format. I had been using an amended version of Steve and Ray’s one, but now that I have moved into the Mulberry, I used the A4 week on one page version, then printed them 4 pages to a page. I re-fed the paper into the printer and on the reverse of the diary pages printed a task-list sheet. When sliced and punched, they make a week plus notes format. In the task-list I have the month’s next-actions distributed through the month (done at my monthly review session). Again, these are colour-coded to help me ensure all areas of my life get attention.
I have all the weeks up to the end of December 2012 in this section.

Week to page on left; task-list to right (empty as yet to be filled in!)

I usually also have a week of DPP sheets in (but haven’t printed any yet as I don’t want to use the Steve and Ray version) where I plan my day. In my weekly review, I allocate tasks to days wherever I can, then things from the general to-do list too.

The next section is Lists which is where I have lists of books to look out for, things I am waiting to have delivered, websites to check out, etc. etc.

The final section is Info. Here I have all sorts of bits and pieces – a list of log suppliers in the area, meter readings, details of the OS maps I have, the dialling codes info sheets, a map of the world, a (very old) tube map, and then, right at the back, address sheets (home-made).

I forgot to remove the text-box boundary before printing

The ring spacing in the Mulberry is such that you can put pocket-size pages in it. Because of that, I have a top-opening pocket-sized pocket on the rings to hold vouchers. I also wanted to be able to use the agenda as a wallet and binder combined but there is a paucity of card slots (just 3 at the front) and Mulberry don’t seem to sell card-holders. It’s not particularly elegant, but I have used a personal-size card-holder and punched holes in it to fit the agenda. It’s exactly the same height as the binder (hence a lack of elegance) and the middle slot doesn’t hold a card because of the fused area where the filofax label is (I punched holes in the opposite side), though books of stamps fit. A pocket-sized card holder would work and I have two on order to use instead of this (though it might make it all a bit fat!).

Coins are in the zipped pocket at the back; paper money in the full-height pocket at the front; receipts in the half-pocket at the front.

It’s still fairly slim so maybe the pocket card holders will work okay when they arrive.

I must say that the ease of producing inserts, along with the size of the paper has me completely sold at the moment. I will never part with the Baroques, but I am beginning to wonder whether to let some of the others go. I won’t be making any decisions over that until at least January 2013 though!


  1. Fabulous pictures on those dividers - they are beautiful :o)

  2. What an absolutely stunning set-up! Those dividers are GORGEOUS!