Monday, 14 December 2015

My SNC Traveller's Journal: aka The Workhorse

SNC Traveller's Journal ("The Workhorse")

I've been using my Traveller's Journal from the Stamford Notebook Company since July. I've made a couple of modifications along the way, but I'm still using it every day, which for me is a major change! Normally I'm chopping and changing Filofax binder/size/style more frequently than I can keep track of! To still be in the TJ after almost 6 months and with every intention of staying in it, is amazing.

So, what's in there? How have I got it set up? And why is it working so well?

The Cover:
The original cover had a leather thong closure which wound around a button on the front, but the leather was a bit too thick and it didn't feel as if it was closed tight. I fairly quickly changed it so that there is a loop of elastic secured with two buttons to the back of the cover. It's still a bit bulky but it's not annoying me enough to change it! I still love the button on the front and the leather loop just hooks over it and holds everything closed.

My button/elastic loop modification
Back cover - beginning to get a few scars...
but still gorgeous

Originally, the booklets were held in by leather thongs too, but again, they were too thick and bulky so I replaced them with elastics threaded through the holes for the thongs. I currently have four elastics in, though am contemplating putting another two in.

What's in there? How have I got it set up?
Around the first elastic are the zipped pocket (Midori 008) and the card holder (Midori 007). I blogged about both of them here. The zipped pocket holds coins, the card holder unsurprisingly holds cards and the other half of the zipped pocket insert holds paper money and receipts. I originally had these on two separate elastics (as shown in the picture) but now they are both slung around the first one.

The paper is hiding my cards! The planets washi is the edge of the diary.

The zipped pocket insert is great; the card holder holds cards quite loosely to be honest. If the slots faced outwards rather than inwards, I may well have lost cards. They seem to stay in solely because the openings are next to the elastic so there's a limit to how far out the cards can come. Some of this slackness is ameliorated by having more than one card in the slot, but even then, some of them are a little loose.

Next up is a home-made monthly insert for the last few months of 2015. Entirely as expected, I'm not looking at it and it isn't actually helping me to schedule tasks any better than just leafing through the weekly diary and seeing how much is already going on in a week. I'm probably going to take it out because it's taking up an elastic that I want to use for something else!

After that is the week plus notes diary that I made myself from the Moleskine squared cahier. You can see the layout here. (Interestingly, right at the start of that post, I said I would be staying in the Adelphi for the rest of 2015. Uh huh?)
Clipped to the back cover of the diary is a Stamford Notebook Company week + notes insert that they sent me for feedback. They sent me both a week to view (all of 2016 in one booklet) and the week + notes format (2016 split over two booklets). It's not quite the layout that I want as I've got used to the 8 boxes on the left and squares on the right, but it's not bad. I've divided each of the left-hand pages with a vertical line so that I can put appointments on the left and tasks for the day on the right. The right-hand page is a bit free-form as a single lined page but I'll see how I get on with it. I may divide that vertically too. This will move on to an elastic of its own when I ditch the monthly insert, but at the moment, it's held in place by the sweetest clips from OHTO. Who doesn't need a smile?

OHTO smiley slide-clip
OHTO smiley slide-clip
SNC 2016 week + notes diary (cover)
SNC 2016 diary - first page (year diary)
SNC 2016 week + notes diary - interior.
I added the vertical line on the left

Right at the back is another horrible Moleskine cahier which I'm using as a notebook - general jottings, things to look out for, reminders etc.

Why is it working so well?
I've always used a ring-bound planner before and frequently struggled with the size of one - how to be big enough to hold what I wanted but not so heavy it was a pain in the neck to take everywhere with me. The TJ is pretty much the perfect size. I can easily trim A5 inserts if I needed (and have done so with Rhodia cahiers which are ready and waiting in the cupboard for when the horrible Moleskines have been used up). It is also pretty minimalist - the covers are sturdy without being bulky and although I have several booklets and inserts in there, it doesn't feel like a giant lump when I'm out and about. The diary size is large enough that I can probably work just from the week + notes and not need the day-planning that I do in a reporter's notebook (but the extra space in a day in that allows me to time-box).

What will I be using in 2016?
Well, as you'll have seen from my last post, 2016 should be an exciting year. I will also be spending the whole year 'working for myself' rather than working at the university and so (as I am now) in charge of my time to a much greater extent than ever before. Whilst this has many benefits, it's also a responsibility and my planning system will need to work as well as it ever has.
I'm anticipating using the TJ with the week + notes, with longer term plans held in another notebook that can live at home. In conjunction with the TJ, I'll be using the day per page Quo Vadis APB2 (which I reviewed here; then I broke its spine a lot so that it would lie flat and posted pictures here).

I'm honestly quite impressed that this system has been working out so well for me. I genuinely wasn't sure if I would transition to a multiple-booklets system from a ring-bound one very easily. So far, so good though!

1 comment:

  1. I'm so glad this is still working for you! It's such a good feeling when something works well, and sometimes I find it's exactly the thing we never thought would! I definitely need my binders for planning, but I recently started journaling, something I know I need to do but have tried and failed at probably literally a hundred times, and decided to finally give a TN a go, never expecting it to work for a minute, and it works brilliantly!

    Anyway, I just finished writing you a belated and remarkably poor letter and discovered this post, so thank you so much - for so much!