11 August 2017

Free For All Friday No. 456 by Laurie

For more than a decade I have struggled with the portability vs page size dilemma: in order to have enough writing space each day/ week, I need to use a large planner which is big and heavy to carry around. Repeatedly I tried to use a smaller, more portable planner, without success.

Recently I decided to just embrace my big planner, and carry it around no matter what. I belong to several planner groups on Facebook, and was curious to know how many people who use a very large planner carry it around, or leave it on their desk.

I was very pleasantly surprised to discover that lots of large-planner users carry it with them! Most use a tote bag, some use a backpack or cross-body bag.

I normally use a leather cross-body bag, which itself is fairly heavy and has a smallish opening, which makes it difficult to get my planner in and out of. So very recently I bought a cloth tote bag that weighs next to nothing and has a large open top with an easy magnet closure, so it's easy to carry my planner everywhere and get it in and out of my bag quickly.

Do you carry your large (A5 Filofax/ Classic size Franklin Covey, or possibly even larger!) planner with you? What type of bag do you use?

And as always on Friday, feel free to ask and/ or discuss anything ring-binder related!

17 comments:

  1. I carry a daytimer desk size planner to and from work. This planner is similarly sized as an A5. I use a Timbuktu medium size messenger bag size, which is plenty roomy for my planner and other items.

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  2. Does anyone know what happened to Cathryn Cook? I used to enjoy reading her Filofax blog (Cat's Corner) but she seems to have disappeared and the link to her site is broken now. Such a shame. Hope she is ok, and will want to blog again.

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    1. I think she had a baby?

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    2. Steve, I think she had a baby?

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  3. This is really timely for me.

    Like you I have struggled with the portability vs page space issue for well over a decade, and have mostly accepted the fact that I would have to confine myself to Personal sized pages in exchange for the portability to be easier. However, just lately I've changed my thinking.Like you, The page space available in Personal has become a growing frustration, and I really need that larger page space to be able to feel in control of all the various things I have to do.

    Additionally, I've come to realise that the key to my productivity is avtually to have a one-page daily plan with *everything* on it - meetings, tasks, carry-forwards for follow-up, the whole lot.

    Finally, I've become somewhat disillusioned with GTD as my core system, and for a while I have wanted to move back to a Franklin Covey based setup - and to do that I really feel that I need the half-letter Classic size to be able to fully get what I want.

    The bulk still is a real issue, but I'm very encouraged by your comments about 'just getting on with it' in the larger format. I have been feeling for some time that that's what I really need to do, so I'm going to join you in taking this on. I can carry a cross-body bag at weekends, and I nearly always have a briefcase or work rucksack with me when I'm at work, so I'm already kitted up for this......

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    1. Hello, I am interested in what issues you have with GTD? I find it is a little complicated to do all the steps. In general, pen to paper works for me.


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    2. David,

      I'm guessing that a lot of us that hang out here struggle with the portability vs page size issue....and I'm not sure I'll ever full resolve it. But like you and Laurie, I've decided that I need larger pages. So, this year I went back to A5 size. Just works well for my work situation.

      As for GTD, I still like it in principle, but find I just don't have the discipline for it. Therefore, I use the Bullet Journal approach. It's much simpler. Although I find you can take aspects of GTD and incorporate it into it if you like.

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    3. Hi Campbell, Archimark

      My difficulty with GTD is that it isn't really a *planning* system so much as means to control incoming tasks and demands, for which I find it works very well. However, since an integral part of the system is to cherry-pick tasks from a master list at any given moment, I find that 'difficult' tasks and tasks without imminent deadlines tend to get left, leading to deadline-driven work at a later time. What I need is a system to keep all the various roles I have to inhabit and future deadlines I have to be aware of and plan for in balance, and for me a Franklin Covey based system works much better in that respect.

      For me, planning, loosely defined, is the act of setting aside future time for personally-set goals and tasks - not a way of merely managing incoming demands. GTD isn't helping me with that. Plus, as has already been said, it is a task in itself to keep all those interlocking lists cross-referenced and in sync!

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    4. David, that's it in a nutshell - great for collecting, but you need a further planning step

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    5. Hi All,

      I also seem to lack the discipline to maintain a full-fledged GTD system. And I also feel that longer-term important, but non-urgent things, get sidelined too much. The textbook GTD answer to that is the Weekly Review, during which all projects should get attention. But the link to daily/weekly real life isn't as obvious as it should be. Beyond that, I also struggle with the Horizons of Focus. Somehow I cannot get my head around Horizon 2 Areas of Focus and how it fits in. GTD is a great way to organise everything and that's helpful. It isn't a real planning system though. I am not familiar with the FC system and how that's different, but would love to learn more about that. I have read somewhere that FC doesn't come in A5 size though and the design of the inserts are also a matter of taste...

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  4. Hi Laurie,
    If I remember correctly you were last time using an a5 Filofax compact heritage as your planner. Have you changed the binder so it's more "big and heavy"?

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  5. For me it's all about color. I carry my A5 to and from work as I work. I used a pillar box red Leather Satchel Company Classic until this spring when I switched to a large Coach tote bag in sunny yellow. I also use a Reisenthel Carry Cruiser in Polka Dot for the days that require taking home work texts.

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  6. My main bag for when I need to carry a bit more is my Gootium messenger bag, which I managed to pick up very cheaply on eBay. I didn't own it when I used an A5 as my sole binder, but it would've been perfect as it's a very light bag due to being made of canvas with a leather trim. I haven't owned an A5 for a while, but may return to one in the future.

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  7. Per my reply to David up above, have realized larger page size is a more realistic solution to what I need for my work life. So, back to A5.

    My other ongoing dilemma is whether to use ring binders or bound journals....but guess that's another story.... ;-)

    I have a nice leather briefbag ('Warren' at SOLO.net). Works very well for my work needs.

    Mark

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    1. Nice bag!

      I tend to use whatever is most suited to my activity. Some days a (quite) slim leather briefcase is enough, other days (if I have lots of files to carry) a Troop London rucksack is better. If things get really bad I resort to the pull-along wheeled rucksack!

      For weekends I have a Troop London shoulder bag (amazingly, big enough to carry an A5 or FC Classic with room to spare, or a john Rocha leather shoulder bag, which looks great but is generally completely impractical due to the fold-over top flap!

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  8. Funny that this should come up, I was just thinking about it the other day.
    My current system runs out of a red DX1CLF7/8 Deskfax. I moved into it a few months ago, after an extended dalliance with the online tool Trello which ultimately ran into the buffers one day and never recovered. I almost seem to need a complete reboot every so often.
    The longest period of stability in recent years has been in A5s - a black Ascot (30mm rings), a red Portobello (19mm rings) and another red one the name of which escapes me. I'm coming to the conclusion that I need 'big' paper to spread my brain out on... The Ascot, in particular, got me through a slightly insane period around 2012 which involved refurbishing my late in-laws' house - which was 170 miles from home; it helped hold everything together for about 6 months spent splitting our time between the two houses and managing the refurbishment while holding down full time (remote working) jobs...
    As far as carrying a deskfax is concerned, mine has a footprint slightly larger than a 12" macbook and is just under an inch thick. It's not that much bigger than an A5, but the B5 paper size feels closer to A4 than A5. One advantage of a deskfax is that you don't need to stuff it full to hold everything, and I use Kukoyo paper which is almost as thin as Tomoe River. Most of the time I'm working from home these days, but I do visit the office in London every couple of weeks - on those occasions it sits atop my laptop in the centre section of my Tom Bihn 'Aeronaut 30' overnight bag. If I'm carrying it EDC style, it will fit next to my laptop in a TB 'Co-pilot', the slightly larger 'Pilot', a 'Synapse 19' backpack or one of their 'Cafe Bag' vertical messenger bags - depending on what else I'm carrying that day. (Yes, I have a bit of an addiction to Tom Bihn luggage, why do you ask?)
    As far as the contents of the red book are concerned, it's a bit of a mishmash. I still have a digital calendar in my work Outlook system, but projects, planning and action items all live in the deskfax. Everything is on plain paper; I hand write whatever layout I want, but mostly it converges on a sort of day per page stream of consciousness which has elements of everything from GTD through Mark Forster's systems and all lives in a format similar to a bullet journal. Like David Popely, I find I need to see the day's commitments all together, but with additional context available if I need it. The fact that pages can be moved around makes it less dependent on an index and simplifies future planning - I can turn to a blank page and start braindumping without having to worry about needing more space around the content. There's an A-Z section which can be used as a sort of project plans annex, to hold agenda pages for specific individuals or for reference material.
    Also like David P, I find GTD's lack of (explicit) forward planning leads to things languishing, and I often find myself flipping forward a couple of pages and initiating a new page for e.g. Saturday, to add Saturday-specific tasks to it. I've also tried applying something like the 'A' Time principles, but with less success - I need to nail down the priority tasks rather than slot them into predefined blocks of time on an ad-hoc basis. It's all about having a clear definition of what's on my plate today, when I get to it.
    Incidentally, I appreciate that this may sound a bit strange (I do work in IT...) but I visualise the Bullet Journal method as a sort of generic paper-based implementation of a log-structured filesystem tuned for ad-hoc personal organisation use cases involving arbitrary-sized information objects...

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  9. I've always packed a classic or monarch sized Franklin Covey (almost 23 years now), and I use 1.5" rings or bigger. Never had a problem, but for 10 years I used a kids' backpack that fit my classic perfectly. I've tried lots of systems, but Franklin Covey system works best for my personal life. I use a Bullet Journal for work.

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