Journalling

Review: Piccadilly Notebook Graph


When I came across the Picadilly Essential Graph Notebook I was looking for an alternative to the Moleskine notebook. I like graph paper in my notebooks, and that is what this one is.

My notebook is the medium size, which is my preferred size. My notebook has a hard cover much like the Moleskine cover. It takes the wear of being in a bag well.

It has the features of a Moleskin notebook; elastic to hold it closed and pocket in the back. The elastic is comparable to the Moleskine. I believe the pocket is well made and will hold up as well as a Moleskine's.

So far I have used Pilot G2 pens with this notebook and Waterman fountain pen ink (Brown), and they take the ink well. I see shadows on the reverse side of the pages when I write on the back, but the ink does not bleed through. Based on the use of the pens I have used I have seen comparable paper to the Moleskine in quality.

I would definitely purchase this again. I have been happy with it, and feel that it is a great value when compared to the Moleskine.

Pros:

  • Slightly less expensive
  • Easier to find, as it is usually available where Moleskine notebooks are.
  • Paper works well with Gel pens and fountain pens.
  • Cover is heavy duty.



I give it a rating of 10 out of 10.  


Review: M by Staples™ Arc Customizable Poly Notebooks


For a long time I have heard about disc bound notebooks. Circa, Rollabind, and Myndology were the brands I have heard about. I was impressed by the number of people who seemed to love disc bound notebooks, planners, and journals. I found these systems to be either expensive or hard to find. I found the M by Staples Arc Customizable Notebook to be both easy to find and in a price range I could afford.
I purchased the 6-3/8”x8-3/4” notebook with a vinyl cover. My cover is plain blue. I also purchased graph paper and a set of 5 dividers. The discs are 3/4” in diameter, and black.
I use this notebook to track my projects and goals as well as recording writing ideas. I enjoy the ability of the notebook to fold around, like a spiral bound notebook. I like the firmness of the notebook. The paper that is provided with the system I feel is good quality. The vinyl the covers are made from is thick. The dividers are holding up well, and the discs are doing well. Accessories for the system are priced reasonably.
I have been using Pilot G2 pens, and some ballpoint pens with this notebook. The pens I have used have not bled through. I do not see shadows on the back of the pages. I am impressed with the quality of the paper Staples created for these notebooks.
I have four notebooks from various manufactures they are all Moleskin style. Notebooks, except for this one. It has become my favorite notebook.
Pros:

  • Affordable
  • Good quality
  • Punch for the system is affordable
  • Easy to find
  • Lots of accessories

Cons:

  • Bound to buying paper from Staples, or punching your own.

I rate this a 10 out of 10.

Review: Markings by C.R. Gibson - Large Journal with Graph Paper


When I came across Markings by C.R. Gibson I was looking for an alternative to the Moleskine notebook. I like graph paper in my notebooks, and that is what this one is. I believe the graph paper to be rare, or no longer produced as I have not been able to find reference to it on the C.R. Gibson website.

My notebook has a black bonded leather cover in the large size. The bonded leather cover has some overhang, which may protect the pages, but it is defiantly not as nice looking as a Moleskine of the same size. There is also a stitch going around the edge of the notebook. The cover takes the wear of being in a backpack with cords, iPad, pocket knives, and stuff well.

It has the features of a Moleskin notebook; elastic to hold it closed and pocket in the back. The elastic is looser than I would like, but it still holds the book together. I believe the pocket is well made, if more utilitarian looking than most rear Moleskin pockets.

So far I have used Pilot G2 pens with this notebook, and they take the ink well. I see shadows on the reverse side of the pages when I write on the back, but the ink does not bleed through. Based on the use of the pens I have used I have seen comparable paper to the Moleskine in quality.

I do not believe I would purchase another one of these, but I am not disappointed in its quality to much. If the elastic were just a little tighter I think this could be a serious contender for future purchases.

Pros:

  • Slightly less expensive
  • Easier to find, as it is available in more locations (Target, Staples, etc.).
  • Paper works well with Gel pens.
  • Cover is heavy duty.

Cons:

  • Lacks a certain amount of style when put next to a Moleskine.
  • Elastic is looser than what I would expect.



I give it a rating of 6 out of 10.  


Weekly Planner Bookmark

This is a weekly planner that doubles as a bookmark for a journal or notebook. I carry a notebook around to keep track of ideas, thought processes, and other things I do at work. This bookmark planner allows me to keep track of my current page and provides a place to jot down To Do items or meeting reminders. The included PDF is much higher quality than the thumbnail.

Thumbnail: 
thumbnail.png
Usage advice: 

It's made to be printed on a letter sized sheet and folded into three equal sections. It has space to write To Do items or whatever else for each day of the work week (Monday-Friday). It can be re-folded and used 3 or 6 times depending on whether you print it front and back. It fits nicely in a 5 1/2 x 8 notebook.

Paper size: 
Letter
License: 
Creative Commons
Applications required: 
Any PDF Reader
Language: 
English

Prayer Diary

A short and simple yet hopefully effective prayer diary. There is space for the main request and any notes with a box to mark with Yes, No or Wait.
Hopefully suitable for A5

Thumbnail: 
Screenshot.png
Usage advice: 

Two pages for left and right binders (hopefully)

Paper size: 
A5
License: 
Creative Commons
Applications required: 
PDF Reader, OpenOffice Draw
Language: 
English

Implementing the Middle Way Method

my planner systemWow, a new year, a new planning method, and a new planner. We're all set, or are we? As you recall from the introductory article, I created the Middle Way Method to help take advantage of the best aspects of top down, and bottom up planning. Soon after creating the methodology, I realized that in order to put this practice to work, I'd need to hack together a new planner, which I've called the Middle Way notebook. I showed you how to create one of your own last month.

Now I'd like to take some time and look at how the method, system, and journal all work together to create planning nirvana. In this article, I'll guide you through the process of working with the Middle Way Method System and corresponding planner. We'll use the methodology's step by step planning process to guide you through real-life examples (from my life) of how I use the forms and method. The whole weekly planning process usually takes me 15 to 30 minutes, unless I choose to journal for a longer amount of time. To help you understand this process, I'll be using examples from my personal life.

Quick Tip: Loosen Your Grip

Man WritingHand getting cramped when you write more than a few paragraphs? Loosen up! Many people middle-age or younger are used to having to grasp pens and pencils very tightly to make lines. After a page or two of writing like this, the hand and wrist may begin to hurt. However, with gel and fountain pens such a tight grasp is rarely necessary. Train yourself to write looser by consciously slackening your grip, especially when you notice pain or cramps starting. It's not an easy habit to break, but it can be done. Soon writing can be a pleasure.

Weekly Pick: The Art of Letter Writing

In these days of Twitter, texting and five-second Facebook comments, it seems as though there's also a bit of a backlash against "quick and dirty" digital correspondence. Many find that the humanity seems to be missing, and so on the bookstore shelves can now be found scores of books on hand-written notes, love letters, travelogues, greeting cards, and --above all-- honest-to-goodness pen-and-ink letter writing. There's a renaissance afoot.

So for this week's pick (actually our very first weekly pick) we'd like to highlight a thought-provoking article from The Art of Manliless by Brett and Kate McKay entitled The Art of Letter Writing, an overview of tools, expression, style and etiquette:

Man writing[...] But when it comes to sharing one’s true thoughts, sincere sympathies, ardent love, and deepest gratitude, words traveling along an invisible superhighway will never suffice. Why?

Because sending a letter is the next best thing to showing up personally at someone’s door. Ink from your pen touches the stationary, your fingers touch the paper, your saliva seals the envelope. Something tangible from your world travels through machines and hands, and deposits itself in another’s mailbox. Your letter is then carried inside as an invited guest. The paper that was sitting on your desk, now sits on another’s. The recipient handles the paper that you handled. Letters create a connection that modern, impersonal forms of communication will never approach.

Read more: The Art of Letter Writing

Introducing DIYPlanner Quick Tips

ScribeThere's plenty of little things we think of here that aren't meaty enough for a full article, but that might help the odd reader and perhaps instigate a little discussion. To that end, we'd like to introduce a new feature here on DIYPlanner: Quick Tips. These will be posted several times a week, and will run the gamut from pens and notebooks to creative techniques to digital productivity. (Hey, we analog luddites do occasionally use computers, too, or else you wouldn't be reading these words.) So, our first official Quick Tip:

Like the freedom of writing on an unlined page, but your words start tipping to an angle the further down the page you write? Take a tip from old-style blank writing pads. These generally come with a lined page you could slip under your current page, and there would be just enough hint of lines to keep your writing even and on track. If you don’t have such a lined page for your paper or journal, use Ygor’s dynamic templates to generate lined note pages with the line spacing and thickness that works best for you.

Do you have a quick tip? Email it to diyplanner -@AT@- gmail dot com!