Forum Question: Planner variety

I would like to see how many planners you have tried and used through the years, even if you didn't stick with one for very long. Please include the sizes also. I have had a Daytimer, Planner Pad, FC classic and compact. I did not stay with compact even through the trying stage because it was just too small. FC took it back and let me have the classic with a smile. Customer service was great for that. Years ago I just had a loose leaf very small black notebook.

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LONG List!

This could be a really LONG list! I think the very first REAL planner I had was a Classic Leather FC with the works! (HS Grad Gift). From there, let's see.

Various school provided planners.
Regular weekly/monthly bound planners from local office supply store (usually classic size)
Classic 3 ring - didn't like all the rings on the FC
classic circa
compact circa
circa pda
circa 3X5
Monthly pocket planner
mead 3X5 reporter notebook
Moleskine weekly book, reporter, address book, info book & cahiers (all pocket size)
There are many more, but these stand out in my mind! :)

Planner Variety

>>History of My Planners and Time-Management methodologies<<
It appears that my need for a particular planner changed depending on what was happening in my life at that time. Sometimes I was really booked, other times it was just getting through the day.

High School Spiral bound Agenda required by my High School. Fit in my backpack fine.
--Methodology: show up at the right class and remember homework assignments

College - calendars drawn in my favorite cheap spiral notebook
--Methodology: show up and remember homework assignments. Kept contacts in cute phonebook log.

First few jobs – Used free annual/monthly planners from my bank that fit in my checkbook.
--Methodology: Used mostly for tracking paydays vs. when bills were due and any overtime pay.

-- New Methodology - Friend loaned me a copy of Anthony Robbins tapes and book. Wrote everything down in a simple spiral notebook left over from college. Gave it a try, since I was pregnant and unemployed at that time. Helped me focus and get a great job. Still use some of his techniques when considering or facing a possible big change in my life.

Spiral Day-Timer. New job required many meetings and independent projects, so I needed a way to track those things. CONS- Daytimer was too small to write in for daily lists and too fat to keep daily tracking in my pockets.
--Methodology: Had a job that required meetings and deadlines. Track meetings, short-term work projects and two personal goals.

All Time favorite: Day Planner with loose pages - tried various sizes but preferred size is Junior. Used on and off for around 20 years. Still have good reference information in old binders. Still have some AVERY blank pages that I can run thru a printer and then punch out. Enjoyed making my own custom pages. But still too fat to carry with me all the time. Resigned myself to using bigger purses.
-- Methodology: track meetings, short-term work projects and a few personal goals.

--New Methodology: using Franklin Covey Pages in Day Planner covers. Works ok. Goal setting ideas and "Sharpen the Saw" were useful.

Palm Pilot with Windows Desktop.
Used two different ones for about 5 years. Then IT security rules changed at work and could not sync with Meeting maker any more.
-- Methodology: track meetings, short-term work projects and a few personal goals. Tracking contacts and saving passwords

Went back to paper. Liked Pocket-Mod. Used for 2 years.
Kept contacts and password lists elsewhere.

This year I wanted to try something different (again)
Currently using Moleskine monthly journal along with printed blank weekly pages that I update manually from email and meeting maker. Some duplication in this method - writing the same appointment in two documents. Not the most efficient process, but it works. Use the blank pages in the back of the journal for journaling, sketches and tracking various topics - Health, Books, Crafts, Friends, Passwords, Daily-use Phone Numbers, interesting new WWW pages, favorite doodles . . .

-- Methodology: track meetings, short-term work projects and a few personal goals. Tracking contacts and saving passwords. More space for journaling about progress towards personal goals and notes page for each month. This size fits in most of my purses. Will re-evaluate at the end of the year for usefulness and durability.


all the planners I've loved (and hated) before

Mead notebook
mead notebook school planners
checkbook planner sent to me by my grandmother for years. don't know where she got them!
Daytimers -junior
DayRunner - junior, compact, and some tiny thing
Franklin Covey - original Monarch size
Franklin Covey - classic size Monticello
Franklin Covey - classic size Her Point of View
Outlook printouts
Palm desktop
FC planning for windows and palm os
Life Balance for the palm os
Circa Agenda
Various DIYPlanner hacks

The ultimate was years ago:
FC inspired Monarch size Word Perfect hack -- this was done when Novell owned word perfect and you could do _anything_ with it's macro language. It was beautiful, I could set the date range - I had it set for duplexing, had the itty bitty lastmonth-thismonth-nextmonth calendar thumbnails, - printed the day and the date on each page, gave the week number, the number of days left in the year, todays date and holidays were bolded in the itty bitty calendar thumbnails, had exactly the right amount of slots for appointments, reflected my sun-thurs 2-11pm workschedule, checkboxes for my routinized chores, right amount of daily note space and weekly review area to encourage reviewing weekly, teaching schedule with the topics and assignment dates ... In short, it was my very own planner nirvana, but I didn't realize it. When I left that job, and wasnt' teaching, I figured I would switch to junior size and if I needed a customization I could always write up another macro. Didn't even keep a copy of my macro. Never could accomplish all that with the macro languages in ms office products, and when Novell sold Word Perfect, they seemed to have kept all their macro language enhancements. Boy do I miss that planner.

Oh, geez. Where to start?

My first storebought planner was a letter-size Dayrunner I got when I was in high school. (I got it in a bargain bin somewhere -- there's no way I could have afforded it otherwise.) I used it all during high school, my first attempt at college, and my first real job.

Eventually I got tired of carrying it around, so I switched to compact size planners. Dayrunners, DayTimers, off brands, you name it.

Then for several years I kept everything on my Palm and used the Palm Windows desktop as my main organizer.

A couple of years ago I got hooked on paper planners again and spent a fortune on Dayrunner stuff (compact size). I always wound up with these big bricks of paper in big cases and got sick of hauling them around.

Then I came here and found out about Circa. I've tried pretty much all the sizes. Right now I waffle between compact and junior sizes, but mostly I stick with junior. (My calendars are compact size, though, so I can switch them between sizes without recopying my appointments. I keep them in the front of my planner so I don't have to dig for them in the junior size.)

The reason that Circa works for me, I think, is because I can keep a reasonably slim planner that tucks easily into bags. The same size planner with a traditional planner binder would be huge. I have a bookcloth cover for my junior size, and even that's too bulky. Just a plain translucent cover works best for me.

Long histories

Great replies. It looks like we all started when we were still kids. I had one bad experience when I was in my early twenties. A friend of mine grabbed my little book out of my purse and started reading my personal notes etc. to a large group of people at a party once. I was humiliated ! Got up and got out.


Some friend!

I must be odd...

Back in college I discovered the DayTimer junior pocket, two-page-per-day, and used that all through my college "career". When I gradidated, I moved up to the junior desktop (classic size), page per week, and later, 2 pages per month with notes between. Then I moved to my Newton, and used that until 2005, when I sat on my last Newton's screen. :-) I used a Palm until I realized that todos on the Palm don't cut it, and I remembered reading DIYPlanner once, came here, and have since moved to a hipster (A7 sized, not 3x5), and some other various things. My calendar is still on my Palm Treo, but other things are an odd hodgepodge of DIYPlanner stuff and David Seah's Printable CEO stuff--ETP, mainly. I haven't tried a lot of different stuff. It seems I always "know" what I want, and use it until it no longer fits the need, due to changing needs. I don't know why or how that is!


The Long and Winding Road...

Planner mania infected me years ago when my employer got Franklin Qwest (back before they were Franklin Covey) mania and sent everyone to the all-day seminar where we got the training and a zip vinyl classic size Franklin planner. I was INSPIRED! I really liked the idea of keeping everything in one place, no loose notes, etc. I used that planner till the binder wore out, then THE MORPHING began. It was more than I could afford to buy a new Franklin classic binder, plus the size/weight was an issue and I had ideas for pages I'd like that just weren't in the Franklin system. Here's an overview of the trail since then:
- FC pocket planner (too small)
- FC compact planner (pages practically the size of the pocket one in a binder about as big as the classic -- okay I exagerate, but that's what it felt like)
- FC classic pages in a regular 3-ring notebook with all the non-calendar pages being pages I designed (cut a lot of the bulk and most of the weight -- I liked this but couldn't find a sturdy enough notebook)
- pocket calendar for dates, plus all the other stuff in a folder or tiny mead binder
- pocket calendar, plus all the other stuff on 4x6 index cards kept in a purse photo album I got for $1 at Wal-Mart. (I keep this one current since I switch frequently and it's the most portable format)
- Circa junior agenda with all my other pages added (paper turns to clumsily on the rings and the notebook just isn't thick enough to add everything I like to have)
- Circa junior notebook with my Outlook calendar printed, plus all the other pages (Ah-ha moment when I realized how much ink I was wasting printing a calendar the same format as could be readily purchased almost anywhere. I decided to save my creativity for all the other pages I like to have with me.)
- FC compact planner with all my pages I like to have and FC cornerstone calendar pages. (Current planner as of 2 weeks ago. It was making me nervous to have things in separate places -- I really like the all in one notebook philosophy).

Have I "settled" on a final planner? Probably changes/needs change/new ideas present themselves. And so, the search continues...

Keeping it simple

Except for a few years using Geodex (remember those?) that I really liked, I've mostly just made notes to myself, ala PocketMod. At home I have various notebooks scattered about where I need them, i.e. workbench notebook, hobby notebooks, etc. It's worked, but isn't terribly organized and stuff does get lost/fall through the cracks.

Due to some recent changes in our lives, my wife and I have started trying to be more consistent with how and why we track things. We tried DIY forms in a small 3-ring binder, and have now moved on to Circa. We're both still tinkering. I believe she's split her planners off into two, one for her desk and another for her purse. I still carry a PocketMod and Space Pen, and still have several notebooks, but I'm gradually collecting everything up and getting it put where I can find it.

Tried pretty much everything

I started out with diaries. You know those little pocket book things that one could hardly write anything in because they crammed a whole week on a microscope page. Then on a business trip to Sweden I saw an advert for Essellette's TimeManager system; it was in Swedish but at the time I didn't speak the language (I do now) so made no progress with it.

Work had me struggle with larger diaries; still a week to a view but on larger sheets of paper (A4 view). Though day to a page was better by giving me space to write timed appointments in sequence with sufficient gaps between them I could "plan" meetings. Wasn't really helpful though.

Then I went to work for myself and consulted to a couple of corporations. Provided I could remember the day of the week I was in the right place at the right time. But I did buy a Psion series 3 PDA. Worked quite well even writing chapters for my book on XML on it. Sadly a design flaw hit it. The cables go through the hinge and the torsion on them breaks them after a few years.

Liked the Palm PDAs so bought a 505c. But with my handwriting it's Graffiti writing system didn't work well enough. So more of an expensive toy.

Went to work for a major international computer manufacturer. The entire team used Microsoft Exchange (as both mail system and calendar manager); it doesn't realy work as either but at least everyone's diary was accessible for booking team meetings and customer appointments. [After I left many of the consultants were switched to using the manufacturers own PDA.] However, because we were expected to be off-site so much consultants had the choice of using pocket-book diaries or a rebadged time management system. I chose the latter. Didn't use all the system but it did feel as if I were using that Essellte system I'd seen in Sweden decades before.

Leaving the manufacturer to go back to free-lancing again I continued with time management systems. Using the high-street version from filoFax but it wasn't flexible enough. Only day to a day and no other pages. So sort of a diary on steriods.

After searching around for something better I found ... filoFax! Their professional time management system. Now we're getting somewhere. Day to a view (effectively A4 size). Plenty of space for timed appointments and also day notes. A few things I wanted to change on those pages; stuff I'd never use like delegation --- as the only one in my company there was no one to delegate to.

After a while found D*I*Y Planner and kindred spirits. I'm not much gone of GTD as a method. I'd tried Covey's 7 Habits back in the 1980s without much success. And GTD looks like a rehash of that. Too much time on planning leaving not enough for real work. But participation here has given inspiration to consider doing my own thing. As I've mentioned in previous posts I find the black thick rules on D*I*Y intrusive because of my dyslexia. I really perfer the muted grey lines on a filoFax page so I'm sticking with them for now. Albeit that I increasingly use iCal on my MacBook because I'm back into "day of the week be *there*" mode again and for what little future planning needs to be done I can switch between week and month views easily without double entries.

Come the new (academic) year I'll probably return to my filoFax grey-lined system again because things are likely to change here from September. There will be some home-designed supplementary pages to support features of my formal professional development requirements. One such page being an insert for day notes modelled after the FranklinCovey day note page; stunned at the top so the date and month calendar still show through from the diary page beneath. Also a fitness/workout record page geared to my health centre's gym equipment. Maybe in 2009 I'll work on a 2010 day page hack inspired by the filoFax style but without the extraneous stuff I leave unused instead replacing them with areas for what I do need.

Lets see.... every size

Lets see....

every size Franklin ever made
Most Palms and a couple windows mobile platforms
two different sized circas

I'm currently struggling again - work gave me the blackberry and I can't seem to decide what to use it for and what NOT to use it for. It thinks it can do everything, but I've had enough palm's to know better....

Most documented here..


Most of my stranger ones are documented here or on Flickr.

My first was a Franklin Quest, one of the cheapies in classic size just to start. I flirted with that one for years and eventually traded up to one of the recycled binders in Compact size, then traded that one for a Classic size of the same binder.

Later, I tried these, which you can probably read about on this site..
Sidetracked Home Executives (wooden 3x5 card box)
FC Classic binder with page protectors, SHE-style
Quarter-letter size rolla
3x5 rolla
Mixed sizes rolla

Now I'm using a classic sized circa foldover, but I wouldn't call it a planner, really. It's more of an inbox that never gets transferred to anything else. I also use a shirt pocket briefcase in my back pocket for stuff I'm thinking of elsewhere, like grocery lists. I still use a 3x5 rolla for info I take with me, like contacts.

Mostly I have discovered that I don't like the overhead of a very formal system, and mostly the inputs into my work life don't outstrip my ability to complete them (much). So a scratch pad (DIY printed with a very faint grid) is all I really need at this point. I might not be the most efficient person in the world, but my stuff gets done with very few exceptions.


I started off in junior high

I started off in junior high with the Mead weekly/monthly 8.5x11 sized spiral bound planners.

In college, I fluctuated between Day-Timer, Day-Runner and whatever I could find at the office supply store. I worked full-time and went to school full-time, so managing schedules was vital to me.

I started working at a bank, and the first year I really didn't use anything. It felt good to be "free" from having to plan in such detail for a bit. Once I started taking on more responsibility, the need for planning became apparent.

We used the Franklin Planners for our trainers, and I got hooked on them at that point. I've carried a Franklin Planner almost exclusively ever since, with a brief foray into the Planner Pad.

I stopped using the Planner Pad for a couple of reasons. First, the spiral binding kept coming undone, and I got tired of putting it back all the time. Second, although I liked the weekly format, it didn't give me enough space to get my listing done in a way that makes sense for me, and there is not a lot of room for appointments at the bottom of the page.

I'm back to the daily FC pages now, and it's working out just fine. I'm in the process of becoming an entrepreneur, and I know the daily pages will become invaluable in that endeavor.

oh my!

Scary question!

Franklin planner in smallest and largest sizes, several times

Anthony Robbins RPM System

Various DIY forms

Palms (3 kinds)

Planner Pad

Bubble Planner

Sure there are more! Thankfully, I am now done! (Have my own system that works for me- see my other posts if curious)

We were started in 1st grade.

A4/letter size 100 pages notebook with a number of blank pages for each day of the week, pages were tabbed and of different colors.

Most "assignments" were usually due the next day.

I kept this set up during elementary school.

In junior high, I added a pocket size planner that was given to me every year.
It had 2 mini yearly calendars and a couple of page into the next year.
A small space for each day as a two page per week set up.

It was helpful to plan big school assignments due in a week or month time and hobby related activities.

That set up followed me all through high school, college and trade school where I spent a month in London and bought my personal Filofax in Harrods.
A black leather beauty with British English tabs, I have to this day.

I used it until I found an Itoya PVC personal size planned which I stopped using when I got a smart phone.

The smart phone crashed multiple time and is not a reliable data gathering tool.

I am waiting for a professional looking, non leather, planner with minimal pages add-ons.
Notes are taken on Notepads.


Since discovering this site, I have switched planning systems more times than I can remember. Prior to finding this site, I experimented a bit, but not nearly as much.

My first planner was a classic size Franklin Quest. I read Hyrum Smith's book (the title now escapes me), and became a huge fan of Franklin day planners. I used the classic for a couple years until I switched jobs and it no longer fit on my desk. I then switched to the pocket size Franklin. I used it for about three years.

Then I became obsessed with the idea that a planner should fit in my pocket. I switched to the Daytimer Pocket. Shortly thereafter I got a Palm V, and that was the beginning of the end. Since then I've used everything except FC's compact sized planner. Notecards, circa, Moleskine, etc. It's all a blur now.

I find myself longing for the simpler days of having one planner, and never wavering from it. However, for some reason I think those days are gone forever. (sigh)


I did not start early

My first planner was a Daytimer Junior, after I was 8 years in the military. I used that size for years, while switching between Dayrunner, Daytimer, and Franklin Covey notebooks and refills. For a while I moved to the small Daytimers you can slip in a cargo pocket, that had the small spiral bound calendars.

I then moved to the letter size, and have floated between Franklin Covey and Daytimers for refills until I found this site. I tweak my pages ALL the time since I started using Open Office. At one point I used a compact Franklin, but it was too small for all I needed.

I also messed with the Circa for a while, then went back to what I am using now.

So, right now I use a Daytimer letter size notebook, with 7 hole paper DYI refills, customized. I must have at least 6 Daytimer or Franklin Covey planners either junior or letter stuffed in various places around the house.

For a short while I did use a PDA, a Palm, but it really didn't get alot of use. When it became obsolete, I never went back to a digital. My work issued me a Blackberry, which gets the email and contacts covered, and the planner does the rest.