Sunday, 20 September 2015

Circling back almost to where I started...

Life is about to change enormously for me as I leave work purgatory in a week. I'm wondering what system will work well for me once I am pretty much in charge of my time. In trying to help me to decide, I thought I would run through what I've used over the years and what has or hasn't worked for me.
Basically, I have chopped and changed almost as many times as I've had hot dinners, and wasted huge amounts of money on trying to find the 'right binder' (when I was probably hunting for the right system), but a few things have become apparent: I like week+notes and a DPP. Pocket doesn't work for me, however cute the binders are. And I'm rubbish at turning the page so in fact, I don't need to carry both W+notes and DPP around with me; just the W+notes will do!

How did I get to this point of realisation? Read on (if you're suffering from insomnia) and I'll take you through the disasters of the years!

In the beginning (a.k.a. 2011)
January: I used an A5 at work and an A5 at home and was struggling to get my head around using a personal for my day to day carry around. I was also debating whether or not to buy a personal size filofax! Scoot forward to April 2011 and I was faffing over A5 or Personal and wrote this post about what I needed in a carry-around. It's really interesting (at least to me) that what I needed then is exactly what I need now! Even then I found it nigh on impossible to turn a page to see what I was supposed to be doing and liked the thought of a week plus notes. Plus ├ža change and all that.

By the end of April 2011, I had moved wholeheartedly into the pink Baroque and was loving it. It functioned as my wallet as well as a planner and I loved it. I then bought a turquoise Baroque. And then a green Portland.

It's now beginning to get embarrassing reading over these old posts as, in August 2011 I was pondering personal or pocket and deciding to stick with personal (see the post here) but by the end of August 2011 I had bought my first (of many!) pocket filofaxes - a pocket Cavendish (see here for the post saying I'd bought it and here for more details on the binder). However, I stayed in the personal size (and the pocket went into the drawer of my desk and tried to have a party on its own) and even bought a Cavendish (see here and here for details).

2012 was a year of faffing about, BIG TIME! Though I do note that I realised even then, that a month to view did not work for me!
February: I was wondering about moving into pocket size (see here); I bought the pocket Aston (see here) and moved in (see here).
April: I'd bought a personal Holborn (see here) and was wondering if I had planner fail (see here).
May: I was still in the pocket Aston and had shifted to week + notes for the diary (see here)
By June, I was in the personal Holborn; by July I had bought two A5 Mulberry binders (admittedly not as carry-arounds!); by August I'm on about the current carry about being the pink Baroque again, but had bought a Mulberry A6 and a pocket Baroque... In September, I moved into the A6 Mulberry (Indie). My old foe, the desire for colour had struck again by December and I was out of Indie and had bought a scarlet Mulberry AND a wine Holborn.
So, in 2012 I had used: personal, pocket, personal, A6. Would 2013 be any more stable?


I bought:
January - Green pocket Mulberry (Loki)
April - pocket Classic in red (see here)
August - pocket Portland in red (see here)
September - personal Portland in blue (see here)
December - another A5 Mulberry (see here)

System-wise, I was all over the place!
January - A6 Mulberry (Red)
April - pocket Baroque
May - personal Holborn (wine); August - personal Baroque
Most of the rest of the year I was havering over personal or A6.

I think my favourite post of all time summed it up>>>> Siren songs
Despite those siren songs, I spent the whole year using personal size paper. Admittedly there was still some binder chopping and changing: turquoise Baroque to wine Holborn to navy Portland and then to slimlines - the red de Villiers (my most successful binder ever!) and then compact Cavendish.

Well, we're not done with it yet, but I've changed system dramatically once already!
I started the year still in a compact. My beloved red de Villiers was beginning to get worn, so I moved into the wine Holborn (briefly), tried the compact Cavendish and then I tried a compact Belgravia (see here for a compare/contrast between Cavendish and Belgravia). Mid April saw a red Traveller's Journal by The Stamford Notebook Company arrive but although I loved it, I didn't move in. Instead I bought a compact Holborn (see here) and then a slimline Adelphi (see here). Despite that ticking ALL the boxes, I still shifted into the TJ, partly because it was new and partly because I needed the page size.

So here we are, several years down the line and more binders than I want to think about, and I find I am back with a week+notes in almost A5 size and a DPP in my reporter's notebook. I realise that I need a colour pop (so no more black binders!) and I need cards and money to be catered for. Whether that's in the scarlet Adelphi or the Stamford Traveller's Journal in 2016 is yet to be decided. Let's see how the last quarter of 2015 goes, once I have left hell.

Thank you, everyone who has been on this journey with me!


  1. Whilst reading this excellent post, I was pretty much nodding my head as I feel that I've chopped & changed too much over the years. I go through stages of saying, "Right, that's it, I'm done" & sadly that doesn't seem to be the case! At the moment, I'm undecided as to whether I will keep a small number of binders in different sizes (for changing needs or variety), or to be just done with it & sell everything except for the one that I want to use right now. I think the most important thing for me currently is that maybe it doesn't matter what I use, as long as I actually use it :)

    1. I know what you mean! I have a stack of binders that I am almost 100% sure I won't ever use, and the fact they are there dismays me as it reminds me how much I've wasted (time, money etc). But, with life about to do a MAJOR change, I can't quite be sure I won't use them. I think in January I'll have a huge clear out!

  2. And I will strike a note of caution having been through a similar transition that you are about to go through... Working to Retired... you will find your planner needs might change. In my case I needed to use my planner more intensely than I had before I stopped working in 2010. Things have now settled down once I found a format/layout that worked for me.

  3. Following your journey has been an adventure, and provided a great deal of help for people like me - you may have switched a lot of planners but the planning principles you use are so useful! If nothing else, take satisfaction in that gift you've given your readers :D And I have you to thank for my really making the jump to A6 too (although I drool over your baroque pics). Anyway, all a long-winded way of saying thank you!

  4. I cycle through planner requirements, too, but it really depends on external factors more than me.