Latest Iteration


I've gone through an almost constant morphing of my system from the moment I joined a few months back. Just thought I'd post about the latest iteration, for the amusement of folks with more stable systems. :)

I'm using quarter-letter size now, which is very close to Covey's Clutch size, at 4.25x5.5. It fits neatly in my purse and cuts neatly and easily from ordinary paper.

I'm using Rollabind discs as my binding system. I had some really tough plastic leftover from previous projects, so that's my cover set--a transparent rigid vinyl cover (.015" thick) on the front, and a translucent rigid vinyl sheet (.020" thick) on the back. Having the translucent on the back tells me which end is the front. :) The covers are cut a half inch wider than the paper (4.75) but the same length as the paper inside, and I have not rounded the edges...though I'm waffling on that point.

Under the two covers I have a thin sheet of decorative paper. Bengali marble paper, blue with gold, actually. Gorgeous. The random marbling actually created a picture of a snake and fish on the front cover, which I find very visually interesting but not meaningful particularly. The snake is blue, the fish is pink.

On the inside of the front cover page, a color print from our latest family pictures. :)

The first section is the daily calendar, one-page-per-day. It looks a lot like the Hipster Portrait forms I posted, but there's a line down the middle to separate the schedule into two halves. I use the numbered side for appointments and the unnumbered side for to-dos. The reverse of the page is set up as a task list, but right now it's just overflow or random thoughts or whatever. I keep the current month right up front, and peel away each day at the start of the next, moving the page to the 'done' book (more rolla rings and a translucent back cover to give structure.

Shuffled in and amongst the daily pages are 'laminated' cards containing recurring tasks. In particular, household chores that I want to have on a schedule, like the cat box, the vacuuming, etc. I laminated these with clear packing tape--two strips on each side slightly overlapping and trimmed close to the card. The cards themselves are punched also and I'm hoping this laminating will give them longer life. Anyway, a side effect of the laminating is that I can use a wet-erase marker to check off items as they're done, then erase it for the next time the same card comes up. I have weekly cards (one for each day, repeating weekly) and monthly cards (one for each week, repeating monthly). These cards are 3x5, which makes them smaller than my regular pages, and they're also purple. Purple for "personal". At the end of the day, the daily card gets refiled one week out, and at the end of the week the monthly card gets refiled one month out. Example: Today is Monday, so the Monday card is up and I've finished 7 of the 10 items on it. It's the 19th, so the Week 3 card is up (15th-21st of each month) and I haven't done any of those yet.

On the current day (at the front of the first section) I also have a 'next action' card in white, not laminated, for handling the ordinary to-dos. I don't keep very many on here, these are rather like short term goals and reminders--like "return the clothes that don't fit", and "clean my desk." A few standard repeating items sit here too--things that happen daily at work, like administrative tasks.

The remaining sections are divided by more fancy papers--different colors than the covers, but cut the same size. There are no names on the dividers and no tabs--they're just bigger than the pages inside the sections.

In the second section is next month's daily pages, preceded by the calendar for that month. This is similar to the standard blank monthly calendar in the widget kit, but no squares around the day numbers, and dotted lines to guide my writing. :)

The third section is future months of the year.

The fourth section is a calendar for 2007 and 2008, a list of annual repeating events like birthdays, and a couple of lists that get used regularly, but not on a scheduled basis--like what I have to do on the last day before I go on vacation from work.

The last section is contacts--a full list of all the contacts I need, subdivided. One page for medical, one page for household (like exterminators, hair stylist, insurance, etc.), one page for work contacts, and several pages for personal and family contacts.

Stuck to the back cover is a 2" plastic self-adhesive index tab. I use it as my pen clip. There is no paper label in it.

I have several extra books also, for special purpose items.

  • the 'done' book I mentioned before, that gets the done pages from the current month. At the end of the month I take them off the rings and rubber band them after I've made my monthly report for the boss.
  • a book of web password hints--just hints, no passwords. This is a set of smaller rings with plastic covers surrounding the pages. I doodled a spiderweb on the cover page as a temporary indicator of what's inside. I'll change it later to something nicer.
  • A book of inbox blanks and 'someday maybe' and 'projects' These are on a small set of rings too with plastic covers and dividers made from fancy paper.
  • a special book for planning a large personal project. One task per index card, sorted into a rough chronological order and bound on a set of rings. One down, about fifty more to go. :)
  • a letter-size book (small rolla rings) with heavy plastic covers and decorative paper dividers--but the pages are all scraps and misprints. This is my temporary book, for writing down fleeting information I need for just a minute and then throw out. Example: I have an administrative task to do, and I need to write down six things from one screen of data, then go to another screen of data and replicate the six things exactly. Yeah, copy/paste would work, but it's very monotonous and hard on the left hand to be forever alt-tabbing to look/copy/move/paste. So a scratch pad made pretty and using up my otherwise-trash.
  • a book of index cards, stock ruled index cards, with heavy covers and rolla rings, for my back pocket. It's insane the number of times I think of something I want to remember when I'm standing in the laundry room, where there's no pen or paper. Generally speaking the thought is gone by the time I get somewhere there *is* a pen and paper, even though that's maybe 10 paces away. Unbelievable. So I made this one today and I will keep a pen in my front pocket for those stupid times I need to capture something in another room. The rings stick out the top of my back pocket, so I'm never sitting on them. :) They're the tiny ones anyway.

I have a stack of blank cards, a stack of blank pages, extra dividers and extra rings. The books and spare papers are standing up in a small file sorter sort of doohickey. It holds them in a diagonal arrangement, which allows a small part of the covers to show as well as just the rings.

Standing in the hutch next to the inbox I have a 'project folder' that holds papers I need for upcoming events--forms I have to take to the periodontist, that kind of thing. It's a plastic folder with elastic bands and six dividers.

My inbox is slightly dysfunctional, since I'm not keeping up with my to-do of entering receipts into my financial software. But I have separate folders for separate tasks, and at least I know where the bills to pay are.

For that matter, my desk is fairly dysfunctional too, since I have far too much stuff on it--books I haven't finished reading, supplies I bought and haven't found a home for yet.. Gadgets and gizmos.. *sigh*

Oh yeah, in my purse I have one more book--sudoku puzzles for 'waiting' times. I cut them from a 'page a day' calendar, trimmed them down and punched them. They're stuck together with rolla rings and a plastic back cover. Also a pen clip made from another 2" self adhesive tab. Pens of choice for all the books - G2 mini because they're short and they write decently. A teal one for the sudoku, a blue one for my calendar, and a purple one for the back-pocket notepad.

Anyway, if you have made it all the way to the bottom, you're:
a) a die hard planoholic.
b) searching for the solution to your own planning problem.
c) trying to re-confirm that your own solution is the best one for you.
d) a glutton for punishment.
e) all of the above.

We who are about to plan salute you.

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Multiple choice

My option:

f) you're a geek who likes reading about other people's systems.



I'm curious, how much of the month do you carry in your one-page-per-day section?

About how thick is your cPDA (clutch PDA)?
my artwork



Section 1 has whatever remains of the current month. Section 2 has the entire next month, but I only put it in there when the current month is half over (or thereabouts). So consider about 45 days at max, 29-32 days at about min. Usually I put in the next month's pages when I start having more than just a couple of scheduled appointments that month.

Right now the whole book is overstuffing a set of medium Rolla rings. Total thickness is about a half inch. I use 24lb paper for everything except the dividers (thinner), the covers and cards (thicker). There are 11 laminated cards and a couple of unlaminated cards shuffled in the daily sections.

My contacts section is another 15 pages or so, because I put personal contacts one-to-a-page. They get stuff like directions to their house, measurements, interests, pets' names, children's birthdays, etc. So a lot of space is needed.

You could easily reduce the thickness by going one-page-per-day in the front sections, and more contacts per page in the back. I don't mind this thickness, it weighs just less than 6 ounces. Not too bad.




Here's a link to some photos of my notebooks.

Linkety Link

I'm still working out the disc/cover color combinations, since I'm somewhat limited in size and color combinations at the moment. But this is what I mean by decorative paper, anyway. My photography is not great, but you should be able to see the luscious gold and silver metallics, anyway.

Personally, I think my notebooks are beautiful. I love these papers and to have them at hand all day is a luxury. They also take up less space than a leather cover. :) That new leather PDA from Levenger does beckon, though. :)


Notebooks on Flickr


Your notebooks are beautiful. I'm really impressed. Thank you for sharing these!


I second that

I agree with Ryan, they are beautiful, and I love your setup. And I am a) and b) and f)


shris, your notebooks are gorgeous.

One question: How sturdy are the paper covers? Do you use clear/translucent plastic covers over them to protect them? They're so pretty, I'd be afraid to use them, for fear I'd mess them up!


The pretty papers


The marble papers are rather delicate, not sturdy at all. I use the plastic covers to protect them, yes, and also to protect the corners and edges of the rest of the papers inside as well. I use the marble papers also as dividers, but I don't cut them into tabs precisely because they're thin. They don't tear from just pulling (like a mulberry tissue might) but they bend and crease and dogear easily, and if they were cut into tabs I might expect the tabs to tear more easily.

You could laminate the papers if you wished, either with true lamination or with packing tape to give them more body and protection. I find that they stick to the plastic covers very well with just static electricity, so when I grab the cover, the decorative paper inside comes with it automatically. That makes them very easy to use for covers.

I also have a lot of these papers lying around from previous projects, so if I need a new piece of 4.5 x 5.5 to make a fresh cover, it's not a hardship. These papers come in sheets 22x30 or thereabouts, so you can get quite a few covers out of each sheet. :)

These, by the way, are the papers I was offering to make covers from if anyone wanted to try a circa/rolla notebook. :) I have plenty of gorgeous paper and I know where to get more if it should happen to become a high-demand item. :)


wow wow and WOW

Gorgeous books Shris~! I can imagine all the compliments and inquiries you must get when you pull one out :o) Goodness knows I would be visibly envious (perhaps I am even over the internet lol)

Very inspiring pictures and it concretes my decision that I need the system... beautiful things can lift spirits even on the gloomiest of winter days ♥

Thank you for sharing those~!
my artwork

lamination made easy

I like your idea of laminating cards with content you use regularly so you can recycle them! An idea that you may like... most arts and crafts stores (ragg shop, a.c. moore, etc.) have lamination packets that are precut for 3 x 5 or 4 x 6 or larger. They are intended for photos - you slide the photo (or card!) inside, press together, and trim. I've also occasionally seen these kits in office supply stores, near the photo paper.

My husband was using clear packing tape to self-laminate until I found these kits, and he says these are much easier. Plus there's no 'seam' where the packing tape overlaps - helpful if there's a checkbox underneath!


Laminating pockets

Hi Frano.

Thanks for the suggestion. I had seen the pockets in the 4x6 size, but not the 3x5 size at my local Staples. I was somewhat deterred by the cost. :) I was also not sure if lamination was really going to solve the durability problem with the 'ears' of the punched cards, so it was a test that stuck.

The cards that get the lamination treatment are simple chore lists. I might use the more expensive pockets for my covers, but those are a little bigger than 4 inches wide, so it would need a correspondingly larger pocket.

All of this does, though, make me look a little harder at a Xyron machine, which will apply lamination to smallish items pretty quickly.



Small Laminator and Pocketses

I found pockets for a good price on eBay. I'll look for some links.

Also, I found a small laminator at Target a few years ago. It only does up to 4 by 6, but it is perfect for Hipster lamination.

I recently moved up to a larger laminator that has a 9 inch wide feed -- it can do Classic and Full-page Letter, so I would be willing to part with my little laminator. I paid $20 for it. How about $10 plus cheap shipping ? I can toss in a few Hipster-size pockets.
"I think the surest sign that there is intelligent life out there in the universe is that none of it has tried to contact us." (Calvin and Hobbes/Bill Waterson)

eBay Info

Look at item 330028523094
You can get 100 pouches for a bit over $10 (with shipping)
The good news is that if you buy multiple packs, the shipping per pack goes down.

Good luck.
"I think the surest sign that there is intelligent life out there in the universe is that none of it has tried to contact us." (Calvin and Hobbes/Bill Waterson)

FS: Small Laminator

Hi, ygor.

Thanks for the offer. Right now I think my lamination requirements are taken care of with the lowly packing tape. :)

Perhaps someone else will be interested and take you up on it.

Thanks for the ebay info too--I'd bought some shrink wrap bags and tube that way a few years back and was very pleased with the price, speed, etc. Hm. I suppose I could dig that stuff out and try it on some cards. :) Could be funny, anyway. :)


No prob

The offer remains open to any and all.

I will be scraping a Garage Sale to post on the Bazaar of the Bizarre.
"I think the surest sign that there is intelligent life out there in the universe is that none of it has tried to contact us." (Calvin and Hobbes/Bill Waterson)

Laminated Card

First, my answer is all of the above plus F! :)

I love the idea of a laminated card for those items I do everyday or every week. So, I made one this morning for my daily and weekly office to do's and laminated it using shipping tape. I am using a Zwipes marker to check things off the list (another idea I stole from shris - right shris?). The Swipes marker works PERFECTLY and comes off easily!

Another great idea from shris - THANK YOU!
nay nay :P


Hi nay nay.

No, the Zwipes marker wasn't me. Someone else spotted that item. :) I am only using a wet-erase marker, not a fancy Zwipes. :)



Thought is was you shris. Maybe it was one of the Sara(h)'s.... Oh well, I stole the idea from someone here! Thank you to the Zwipes Finder!!
nay nay

P.S. I think I need to start making a list of who did what so I can give credit where need be!


The Zwipes finder was little ole me... :)

more laminated

Laminated cards would also be great for grocery lists. I buy a lot of the same items each trip and then you could have blanks for those other items... I think I will make one for the office too - I run to Office Depot way too many times because I forget things (not that I am complaining or anything). But, if I had a list of our most used supplies, I could check the stock before I go... This might also cause unhappiness due to the less frequent trips to the Office Supply Store, but my boss would be happier!!

I am also planning on making some of these cards a "bookmark" index card by cutting a "tongue" or "tab" at the top of the card. This way I can move it around in my planner when I need to. A great way to remind yourself of things and keep a placemark of where you are in your planner.

So many ideas... so little time...
nay nay

P.S. THANK YOU SARAH for finding the Zwipes for me - I went out the night of your post and bought some and LOVE THEM! I forgot to post about it though!


Those are cool aren't they?

I've been using a 3 ring binder with my clarinet music at church for about a year and a half.
Always have somewhere to write when somebody changes the song schedule for the service! Or make a list to transpose for the clarinet for later use.