The State of Grace

After reading about Laurie’s logbook on, I decided to make one of my own.  Since the year had already started, I decided just to use a ruled moleskine that I already had onhand.  Well, it started getting very boring and repetitive….grocery shopping, practiced on my court reporting machine, took kids to pool, rinse and repeat.  My pages were looking very sparse.

I could barely draw a stick figure and so my doodling basically was lettering and coloring, but I discovered art journals and decided to give it a try.  I purchased some drawing books at the art store and some watercolors and felt-tip pens and started trying to make this logbook more visual.  I thought it would be more interesting for the kids in the future than the above. 

This has become so addicting.  Here are a few of my pages:


I’ve always used an A5-sized planner.  Even when I used Franklin Covey, I used the Classic size instead of the Compact size.  I’m not sure if it really worked for me.  I think, again, I was trying to fit a square peg in a round hole.  There were still times of disorganization, but I just attributed it to the stressfullness of my life and job.

I had to really sit down and figure out what I needed in a planner.  I need something that I can put everything in and keep with me at all times.  I know some people separate work and personal binders, but I think it would make me very anxious when planning something to not be able to see what was going on in the other binder.

My biggest problem is having a million thoughts running through my head and needing a proper place to organize them — a “brain dump.”  And if I don’t catch (dump) these thoughts as I have them, then they either are lost forever or, if I try to keep them in my head, creates a very chaotic place causing much stress and anxiety.

The only solution is a portable-sized Filofax.  So I’ve chosen a Personal Malden.

How do I make it work?

I hated that there was no room to write so I added a blank page between my week on two pages and I started writing smaller.  What makes it okay visually is highlighting my appointments and making checkboxes for to do items.  I started highlighting my checkboxes as well so I can scan through the week and see what has to be done.

I hated writing on the left side because of the rings.  My solution for this was to place my agenda/diary in the middle so that it would be even on both sides and even taking the page out of the binder if I needed to.  Now I know that may seem like a really big hassle to have to pull the page out, but I had to weigh my options.  It’s a small price to pay for the sanity I get from portability.

The one thing I haven’t found a solution for is the monthly calendar.  I have to see my whole month and I think that is a big reason why I chose the A5.  But really I only look at my monthly calendar once a day.  Again, weighing my options, I chose my brain dump over a nice-sized monthly calendar.  What I may do is have a huge one on my desk at home to look at once a day.  I’m not sure if that’s the solution though.  That’s still having to sync two diaries, and I’m not comfortable with that.  For now, I’m just writing smaller and highlighting.

Lastly, I had the problem of archiving personal pages (even A5 pages since I live in the U.S.), but I just purchased a 5.5 x 8.5 binder from Staples for $6 and re-punched the pages to fit.  That is a huge binder for such small pages, but I don’t want to be hunting down binders that fit and I’d like to have the same binder for years to come on the shelves.  Plus, I can put A5 pages in them as well.

Basically, I divide my sections into:

  • Lists — Quotes, Shopping, Prayer, Music, etc.
  • Recipes/Menus (this will be the first to go as my planner gets full)
  • Info — Any info I need to keep with me at all times
  • To Do (long-term things that don’t go into any specific week)
  • Brain Dump (a section of just blank paper to jot down thoughts that need to be organized later)  I used to use a small Moleskine for this but now I just created a section for it.  And I keep a page marker to flip to it quickly.

I’m sure this will change a bit, but that’s what I love about my Filofax — it’s flexible and when I change, so will it.

[I’ll post pictures later]

I’ve always loved using Moleskine as journals.  I’ve kept a journal for my children for years and love the silkiness of the Moleskine paper.  It just makes the thoughts flow.  When they came out with planners, I was so excited.  I set aside my Filofax and moved right into a Moleskine.  But as much as I loved the paper, the planner just didn’t work for me.  I would use one for about 3 months and then it would be left aside.  It was a very disorganized time in my life.  I was trying to fit a square peg into a round hole.  It didn’t work.

I really wanted to make the Moleskine work because I use my planners as a logbook as well as an organizer.  My planners make up for my lag in journaling.  But another reason I kept trying to make it work is because I wanted my journals to look like these:


These were posted by @Miranda in the Livejournal group “Organizers.”  She has the most creative pages as well as others in the group — most of them using Moleskine.

Obviously, my planner is supposed to work for me; and my Filofax is what works best for me.

I won’t be saying goodbye to my Moleskine though.  As per Laurie on Plannerisms, I’m using it as a log book.  If only I could make them as awesome as Miranda’s.

My last post was on my 20th Anniversary.  It turned out to be a terrible day.  My mother-in-law passed away that day.  Most people cringe at the thought of a mother-in-law, but I have to say I had the best.  She was the kindest, most loving woman.  She had 3 daughters and 7 sons, which made her a pro at being a mother-in-law by the time I came in the family.  She stayed out of our business and only said encouraging words.  I can almost say I got along better with her than I did my own mother; but, of course, who doesn’t argue with their mother every now and then.  She will be greatly missed.

So, our lives were clearly disrupted and I abandoned any planner/organizer this month.  I tried to keep up with my “logbook” so that I didn’t miss out on anything we did, but the entries were sparse.

My Filofax situation has changed a bit.  I was getting used to size of my personal size Filofax, but it was getting fairly heavy with all they pages you have to fill it with because the page sizes are so small.   And I decided I definitely need a bigger size, but not as big as the A5.  As much as I love the fine leather provided by the Filofax, I am back in my Dayrunner.  It’s a slimline version so very easy to slip in my bag when needed.  I realize I don’t have to carry it everywhere.  I can settle for a notepad to jot things down on and transfer them into my planner when I get home.  

I also found a Blue Sky binder I had that would make a perfect binder for the Moleskine weekly.  I’m tempted to try that first just to see how I do with a bound book.  (I’ve always failed with bound books).

Here are some pics:



I’ve hole-punched the Filofax pages to fit



Dayrunner (slimline zip)

You can barely tell by the ring size that there is a difference, but there is a huge difference in the weight (of course, Dayrunner uses simulated leather).

Blue Sky binder

Blue Sky binder

You can use a monthly on the left

 Weekly on right

Tomorrow is my 20th wedding anniversary and I have no idea what to get my husband.  He’s been wanting a new BBQ pitt but I’m saving that for Father’s Day.  He’s getting a new Swiss watch for being at his job for 15 years, so that’s out.  

What do you get a man that asks for nothing?  He is very conservative and usually returns anything I buy him because he feels it was too expensive or he could do something else with the money but then never gets himself anything.  It’s gotten to be really discouraging.  I know anything I buy will just be returned, unless it’s a bag of candy.  

I’m off to Walmart I guess.

Well, the Moleskine trial didn’t last long.  It was great having all that space in a bound book, but it was just not a good fit.  I should have given it some more time, but I was missing the flexibility I have in a Filofax.  I like being able to change pages around and tear them out when I need to.  So, I came up with a new solution. 

I decided I was going to stick with my A5 and just carry it around with me everywhere.  So, I invested in a bigger bag (shown here with a personal size Classic Filofax):



But before I moved back into the A5, I decided to try the personal size again.  I was feeling very cramped before so I thought about using that blank page in between the week on 2 pages.  As I was inserting the blank page, I realized I could just extend the day space across the page and it may be comparable to the size of the A5 day spaces. 



To be continued….


After trying out a personal-sized Filofax, I realized that I just felt cramped. 

Another issue I have with the Filofax is archiving.  I use my planner as a logbook to look back on later on in life, and I can never quite keep the Filofax pages together to archive properly.  It’s probably because part of the pages are personal size and some are A5. 

That is the benefit of having your journal/diary in a bound book such as Moleskine.  I have used Moleskine for this before, but I could never quite stick to it for a full year.  I decided that I would make my own and try it out in an Extra-Large Plain Moleskine.  Unfortunately, after spending hours drawing it out, I found it huge and hard to maneuver when writing on my lap.  But since I spent hours drawing it out, I’m going to try to stick with it for awhile.  The following are pics of my work of art.

There is plenty of extra pages left at the end of the notebook to add lists and extras.


  • None
  • Grace: I use a handheld punch (with one punch). It's tedious but worth it. It does overlap at the bottom but does not interfere with anything. In fact, I
  • Kristy: I just bought the A5 filofax. It was driving me crazy that I could not fund anything to fit at office depot. What did you use to hole punch? When you
  • ~AspireToBe: Absolutely inspired! I cannot believe you are a beginner in this art form - to me, your capture of your day is brilliant! An amazing way to record t