Quest for the right Planner

What a great site!!!

Hello here and I'm a avid dayplanner user, but I'm just not really happy with the "set" dayplanner's that are out there...I finally "settle" with a dayrunner, 3 ring that is 8.5 by 5.5 so I can mix and match 7 ring and 3 ring sheets with ...but I need something I can intergrate both my family life and my work with....

Carrying the dayrunner is a pain in the behind sometimes due to the "weight of it" but I love the 8.5 x 5.5 size (I want it all I I'm just wondering...Is there an 8.5 x 5.5 binder or dayplanner that doesn't have a zipper or a "latch" (thinking of exacto the one on my dayplanner off for now) and also is softcover too...

At wallyworld (walmart) they have the hardbound 8.5 x 5.5 binders that would work...but just not to crazy about carrying a hardbound and wanted something "softer"....

I feel like I'm just hoping for the moon when I should settle for the Earth instead....LOL.

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Try an office supply store

I use a plain 3-ring 5.5 x 8.5 inch binder that I bought at my local Office Depot. They also stock a variety of planner binders, so you may find something at whatever office supply store is handy for you.

How do you define "softcover" in a binder? At an office supply place, you may find something inexpensive that you can use as a test.

Someone will probably recommend using index cards for your roaming planner, which is not a bad idea either.

Do you procrastinate?

flexiblefine...thank you for

flexiblefine...thank you for the suggestion..I'll have to go and check it out..Lol..I had thought about index cards, but with what I do 8.5 x 5.5 is more around what I need and with what I have to use for work.

I guess as far as softcover...something in the league of what Franklin Covey carries in the "executive open binder". I was tempted to get that...but figure if I can find something close to that but not costing that much.

If anything I may just stick with the basic 5.5 x 8.5 binder and hope that eventually I can find something that is close to what I'm looking for...

How does the 8.5 x 5.5 binder that you are using work for you?? The dayrunner I have is nice...but the closure is more of a nuisence for me and I dont' even use it...I felt bad about wanting to cut the closure off since then it wouldn't look "professional" but it was a case was annoying

Bought a 3 ring 5.5 x 8.5 binder

Flexible...I went the other day and got the plain 3 ring 5.5 x 8.5 binder and move everything over...It's lighter and seems to hold more than my dayplanner ever did..thank you so much for the suggestion!

AT-A-GLANCE Planner/Organizer

Hi there, maybe this is what you're looking for...

This year AAG introduced a new Classic size (8 1/2 x 5 1/2") planner (#70-300-5). It's a 3-ring binder for your templates plus a replacable book-style calendar that folds out from the front cover (it's not bound in the rings). That way, you can have the calendar book open while you use the templates. A bit hard to explain, but the picture on thier website is pretty clear. It is only about 1" thick, simulated leather bound, 3/4" rings.

I use a preprinted weekly calendar (classic size) since I see no point in printing templates and filling them in by hand. This was just the ticket for me. Check it out!

AT-A-GLANCE Planner Organizer

Oh wow...rlaundry..thank you

Oh wow...rlaundry..thank you for sharing that with me! Definetely looks like what I was looking for...I have to see if the local office supply stores has them so I can check it out...I was surpised when I got the regular 8 1/2 x 5 1/2 binder how lighter everything was to carry, but if the AAG works then woohoo!! That will be awesome too...

I'm surprised they haven't thought about that with regular dayplanners...their so bulky and IMO, the open closures work better than having a closure...

Thank you rlaundry as well...both of your suggestions are so great and a big help....I was looking in the "index size planner" but I have forms and what not that I need on 8 1/2 x 5 1/2 it must be...*BIG HUGS* to both of you in helping me find something!

For a light-weight, flexible planner, try this.

The weight of my planner is a big issue for me, too. I printed out my calendar this year and took it to Staples to have it spiral-bound with light-weight plastic covers like the vinyl sheets used for OHP projections. It's been great--8.5 x 5.5 size, very light-weight. I had some envelopes bound in, too, to hold receipts etc, and a couple of pocket pages.

The day-timer companies make nice binders, made to last forever with nice leather or heavy vinyl. But I want to be able to carry my planner in my purse, so the heavy binders don't work for me. Spiral bindings stay flat and make for a very light-weight planner. The drawback is that it's not so adaptable if your needs change. But you can also print off forms on 8.5 x 11 inch paper and fold and staple them into a booklet, and carry those in addition to your calendar book.

Or, you could get a binder for your forms that you don't need with you all the time, and keep the spiral-bound calendar in your purse. I carry business forms in a three-ring binder that I keep in the car, and I have my spiral-bound day-timer in my purse. Part of the problem seems to be that I should really carry a brief-case or tote for all of these things, but when I go to McDonald's or some other place like that, don't want to carry all of that inside. So I'm always conflicted about what to have with me all the time (would like to have everything but settle for calendar pages) vs. what needs to be accessible almost all the time (invoices, deposit slips, computer, extra pencils and pens and paperclips, etc). Having some of that in a binder that I can pick up and carry with me helps.

Light weight spiral bound

I also get mine spiral bound but use the small round style from OD rather than wider flat spiral. I buy compact filler sheets from FC and add some homebrewed and blank ones as well. I made heavy weight laminated art covers (10mil) and take the whole thing in to punch. I undo the spiral about every 2-3 weeks and add another 2-3 weeks worth of pre-punched calendar pages by re-using the spiral. This keeps it thin and able to update it as needed without another trip to OD each time. I've bounced around to various styles, sizes, and formats, but this is my mainstay for a couple years now.

I do whatever my rice krispies tell me to do.

Different "spiral" bindings?

Which kind of spiral binding do you get that can be undone for adding pages? Do you mean the plastic comb binding that spreads apart? I don't think the actual spiral shaped (or coil) wire bindings can be undone.

I've been reading everyone's ideas and am close to getting my first diy planner together for the new year. Thanks for all the great ideas!

Spiral binding--Has anyone tried GBC Pro-Click?

Hi, Doug--

The one I got at Staples is not the comb binding--it's a spiral coil.

I think you could actually un-do it, change the pages around and re-do the spiral. I think this is what Carla does, but it would be hard to do it several times per year. And I'd think the spiral would deteriorate. But I was also wondering exactly what she was using. Maybe by the flat plastic spiral she means the comb bindings, which don't seem to stand up too well to heavy usage. Carla may be very patient and willing to twist that spiral around and around--I used to be that patient and determined!

For 2006 I used two pages per week so the planner wasn't too heavy or unwieldy, but I want to change to one day per page for 2007, so I'm thinking about having two planners spiral-bound, six months per book.
Maybe doing the first book in December, and waiting til June to do the second one in case I change my mind.

There is a binding that can be opened to rearrange the papers. I thought a couple of years ago that you had to use their paper but I just went to the OD site and apparently that's not the case. I'd think it would be worth trying, for $12. Here's the description (from the Office Depot site):

GBC® ProClick® Binding Spines--5/16", 50-Sheet Capacity, Black, Pack Of 25 for $11.99
ProClick spines simply snap together. After you have punched your documents with the GBC ProClick (or any 32-hole wire punch machine), simply insert your documents and snap the "clicks" together. A zip tool is included to help you open and close the spines. The pages turn easily and lie flat. It's fun, easy to use and doesn't require a machine to bind — so you can add and remove sheets anytime. The assorted 9-pack of zip tools includes 3 of each size: 5/16", 1/2", 5/8".

Now I'm thinking I should check this out again. And it sounds like maybe this is what Carla uses.

The spines look like they're bulkier than regular spirals, but maybe that would be a reasonable trade-off for the convenience.

And could they be cut in half to be used for Classic size?

Anyone using them?


I recently bought the Pro-Click system as I thought it would be the greatest thing ever. I dislike carrying a 3 ring (any size) as I think they are bulky. I tried to do the spiral notebook and add pages when I needed to, but like you stated, it became annoying to wind the spiral around and around multiple times during the month. So, I found the Pro-Click and bought the system right away. I brough it over to the service counter to have my pages punched and luckily thought to have them test a page first to make sure the holes matched up and the didn't! My OD does not have a puncher that matches the Pro-Click system, so if I want to use it, I have to punch all of those holes by hand!

Note to self: Make sure to line up the punches before you punch all of your paper!

nay nay

Levenger Circa System?

Might want to consider the Levenger Circa system. I've been using one for almost a year now, and it's been great. Pages can be added and removed, it's available in multiple sizes, etc. Like a lot of things organizational, it's a personal choice, but for me it's great. I print out my iCal calendars, and otherwise use the D*I*Y 2.5 package [I use letter size]. All the usual disclaimers; I'm just an end user.


Skinny classic size 3-ring?

Great ideas all. I'm also planning to put my calendar pages in a spiral binding. Don't need to add pages to a calendar, and those binding are slim and fold all the way back.

That OD ProClick is new to me and sounds cool. But... it'd be hard to punch holes unless you bought their expensive hole punch. And it'd still have less ease of use than a 3-hole loose leaf binder.

So, has anyone seen a 5.5x8.5 binder with a small ring size, say 5/8" or 3/4"? That'd be perfect for my NA's, project lists, etc. I've got one with rings that size from FC but it only comes in Pocket size, not Classic. Thanks.

Skinny Classic size binders..

Nay Nay posted about address books a few days ago. They tend to be thinner than planners--the one she posted about was 3/4". See comment here:

Good luck.


Found slim classic binder!

Thanks for the ideas. I went to Staples and found a Day Runner address book, took out the included pages and, voila, have a 3 ring binder that's only 1 1/8" thick, has 7/8" rings, lays open flat... just what I wanted. I got the cheapest of three models because it had a thinner cover—no padding.

Now on to finishing my first GTD lists and putting them in it. What fun!

Btw, I saw the ProClick bindings in OD and they looked fragile. Not something to open and change pages in very often.

Thanks for all the help.


slim classic

Dougc - glad you found the slim classic binder!

Happy Planning,
nay nay :)

Questions about Circa

Hi, Pale--
The rings look bulky--are they actually? The pictures that show the rings looking almost as wide as the paper (exaggerating, I know) have always put me off.

It looks like the stiffness of the paper helps keep the pages on the rings. But if I used regular 20-lb or 24-lb paper, would it tend not to stay on the rings? Would I always be fiddling with it to keep all the pages on the rings? I think I read one comment that there are enough rings that the paper might get loose from one or two rings but the others would keep it still together.

And how about the weight vs number of pages you can carry around comfortably--I need to be able to refer back to the previous one or two months, and it looks like that would get heavy. If I used the Levenger paper I'd only be carrying one-third as many pages (due to the weight) as if I were using regular office paper. And I don't want to use the reinforcement strips--no manual dexterity.

It is obviously very flexible, and I'm tempted to order a set of rings and the plastic covers just to try it out, but am tired of collecting stuff I wind up not using very long, so it would be great if you could share how many pages you usually carry, whether you use their paper or your own, etc. Since you print out your schedule it appears you might not be carrying a lot of pages for previous weeks or months, so the weight might not be an issue for you.

Do you have any need to maintain a record of your activity, for professional or tax purposes? And are you concerned that unbound pages would be a problem? Apparently engineers and some others need to keep their agendas and they need to be bound to show that there hasn't been any tampering with the records--I would like to maintain that standard, too. You have your iCal records, but I just keep everything on paper, voice mails, mileage, etc, that could someday be needed. That would be a factor for me.

Thanks for sharing your experience--it really is helpful. If you have thoughts about any of these issues, or if they seem like non-issues to you, I'd like to know.


You're Welcome!

No problem at all - I hope you can find one without too much hassle. If nothing else, Google the part number and your shuould find an online store that carries it. FYI, it is a bit on the heavy size since due to the padding, but compared to a full letter size binder it's not bad. The convenience of the size is the main benefit. And the fact that there is no silly little clasp or anything it a bonus. I want to be able to flip it open easily.