The State of Grace

Archive for July 2011

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.


    • 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