Hello - A few newbie questions

I stumbled onto this site via looking for a hardcopy planner. Seems to be a lot of great folks and information here.

Does anyone have a phone log template they use and are happy with?

How do you choose what size planner you want?

When using the 8.5 * 5.5 planner (which seems to be the dominant size) can you purchase paper for it or do you have to cut it all from letter size paper?

Sorry for so many questions in one thread!


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Hi Chaz!

Welcome, from another newbie!

I'm far from an expert around here, and tend to pop in and out, but I can throw my $0.02 at your questions.

Phone log: have you tried searching through the template archives to see what's available? What works for one person doesn't always work as well for someone else (hence the DIY thing :)

Planner size: trial and error. Sorry. Don't print a whole year's worth of pages if you're not positive you're going to stay with that size. I use a combination of 8.5x5.5 and 3x5 cards. For now.

Paper: I bought several reams of wonderful writing paper intended for resumes but on clearance (90% off!!) and paid the dollar per ream to have the copy shop cut them in half. Worth every penny (to me).

Phone Log

I use a 'mental template' for my phone log I'm happy to share. I've found it better than filling in blanks. All it takes is blank notepaper. Date goes far left, and underlined (so other dates in my call notes aren't confused with call dates), Time, Who, # Called (if I made the call), Re:, Call notes. An entry might look like this:
_1/3/08_ 9:08 PM. Tom Smith. 123-456-7890. Re: Book order. Advised the book should arrive in 2 weeks and I'll deliver to him when it's in.

Could you email it to me?

Could you email it to me?

[Edited: We do not post e-mail addresses out in the open. That's what the Contact tab is for. -ygor]

That's all there is to it

My example above is really all there is to it. Blank paper, notes made according to my post above. I just list the items I showed and it's very intuitive to simply start writing as a person is talking to me on the phone. It's become a habit over time that I just note the obvious as the call proceeds, 'Caller, date, number, time, re:, notes,' etc. Sometimes the order changes a little but I usually get most of it down.

mental template - written out

I've written out your mental template. Just lined pages, with the cues at the top, so I don't have to squish or stretch a given log into a set size. Hopefully soon the format will just be a habit for me. But until then, I need the extra cues.
Mental phonelogs - http://www.diyplanner.com/node/5319

- kmorris

Phone Log / Contact Log - a vent and then some musings

-vent on-
I've never in my life needed to use a phone log. Everywhere else I've worked, things that tended to need documentation, tended to be handled in email. I always thought phone logs were most used by sales reps. But where I work now, it seems EVERYBODY has a huge aversion to putting ANYTHING in writing. I know that can be a bit of corporate culture, and around here they always claim it's that they don't understand the technology. But, they understand the technology enough to follow their sports scores and develop all kinds of betting pool forms. It is a place where CYA is the rule of the day, and that is what I suspect the real reason is. It is so frustrating to me when I send asking a direct question, and the recipients CALL me back to say yes or no. Grrrr.

So, to cover my own a** I figure I need to start keeping detailed phone logs, and then emailing back the summary of salient points with the statement that unless I hear otherwise from them that they approve the summary as an accurate statement of the conversation.

I'm frequently away from the desk when I get calls, or I'd just us Outlooks contact journaling feature. (in my more paranoid moments, I swear they do that on purpose too)
-vent off-

looked at the contact log available in the planner pack, and that is a good place to start. But it takes up a LOT of space, and some of these calls are really short. Since I'm so not a phone person, I think I need more cues than just a mental template, but I like it's brevity. I need to find something in-between.

The contact log I think I will use as is for discussions with outside vendors, but I think I need to tweak something for dealing with my co-workers.

Haven't decided yet whether to just keep this log chronologically in it's own section, and then cross-reference to the day. Or, make tear out forms that I then place in with either the project it's related too, or with the contact record for the person the form was with.

I use circa/rolla, so moving things around would be easily done.

I'll probably try a few different methods before I find one I like.

Any more phone log users have a system that works for you?


How about

Contact logs on classic size and phone conversation logs on 3x5, insertable at the appropriate place?

"It's better to be a pirate than to join the Navy." -- Steve Jobs

Phone records


One or two of my templates has a phone log--actually it's a voicemail log, but it's brief. I used to use it, but don't anymore. Didn't like printing out a separate form.

Anyway, here's a couple of thoughts.

1) Documenting phone conversations is not something I worry about much, but I have lots of conference calls where I need to take notes. I use notepad to capture the entire conversation (when I don't have to speak) in paraphrase. I'm a fairly fast typist and I've got a good ear for voices, so my notes end up looking like a rough script of the conversation. I save the file in a folder on my hard drive associated with the project (if there is one) or in a 'meeting notes' folder.

2) After a conference call, if I was the leader, I *always* send out meeting notes in bullet form. Next meeting schedule date comes first, attendees second, actions third, and other items discussed fourth. Strip it down to the essential point: Mary will write the X document. I also bold the name of the person who has to perform the action, and if there's a due date, it's shown.

3) If I'm capturing info from a voicemail, I write it on a 3x5 card (all my to-dos are on 3x5s). When any necessary actions are completed, the card gets filed in the 'done' section. Until then, it may go in the 'do now' pile or in the tickler for a future date.

4) Any given conversation probably includes all the same essential elements. Who, When, What, resulting Actions.. You might write up a bullet list for yourself and keep *that* in your planner, then just use plain paper to record the info while you're chatting. That way you don't have to carry separate forms AND you still have a memory jogger.

5) If you're expecting someone to call you or answer a topic, you might keep an 'agenda' card with that person's name and the essential questions you need answered. Example: Boss card includes 'approved expense report?' and 'when is the X project due?', etc. This gives me a memory jogger if I happen to be away from my email when they call.

Most of the time, people thank me for my script-like notes and for the bullet summaries. The ones who couldn't attend are especially grateful for these.

You don't have to ask for approval when you send one of those, just send it out as "These are the notes I took while we were talking, let me know if I remembered something incorrectly or left anything out."


Welcome Chaz!

I chose to use the 1/2 letter size because of the weight; I've got several letter-size folders & folios, but often they get too heavy to carry casually. The 1/2 size fits nicely in my purse.

I tend to print onto letter-sized paper and then slice it. Our office has an over-abundant amount of letter-sized paper (the name page from the network printer), so I take that as I need it and cut it with a small paper slicer (it takes 5 pages at a time).

inexpensive filler paper

For my Franklin Covey 7-hole ring binder which takes paper 8.5" high by 5.5 wide, I bought the wonderful 7-hole punch from Daytimer, which I use on inexpensive 3-hole filler paper:

college rule "paper refills", brand name Roaring Spring Paper Products, bought at the bookstore of the university in my town, $1.99 per pack of 100` sheets; and

narrow ruled filler, brand name National or Rediform, stock number 13-551, ordered from an office supply source, at an economical price, sorry I don't have the price handy.

I bought some 7-hole filler paper in this size at Office Depot but the holes were not symmetric so I returned it.

My favorite filler paper is Daytimer's green extra-narrow rule, but it is pricey. Stock number 91686.

The "Today" marker I like best for this size binder is offered by PlannerPad.com. Their personal size planner is for paper 8.5" high and the holes in the "Today" placemarker line up perfectly with the FC ring binder.

By the way, the Daytimer punch is a lot nicer than the Franklin Covey punch.

Regarding which size of planner, it's a dilemna. Larger paper allows more writing but then the notebooks aren't as portable. I use 3.75 x 6.75 in my purse, 8.5 x 5.5 for internet browzing in the family room, Planner Pad for meal plans, and 8.5 x 11 for everything at my desk. And I love spiral notebooks too. . . e.g. for special projects where you know right off the bat you want notes in chronilogical order, and you can tuck a pen into the wire coil and grab and go.

Best of luck to you.

Newbie to Newbie!

Hi there!
And while I don't claim to be an expert...
I have a long list of abandoned planning systems that worked only in theory...
I can't help with call logs as I haven't used them...
But what I can say is that this will be an extension of you...
Going where you go...
I checked and you're a guy...
No news for you I'm sure... *giggles*
So you aren't likely to carry a purse...
Do you use a briefcase? backpack?
Can you live with an 8.5 x 5.5 as an extension of you, your hand, so to speak...
Again... this thing will go with you where ever you go...
Test it... You could possibly attempt to carry around a book or notebook that same size...
In all the situations and see if you can live with that...
Hmmmmmmm... maybe that is a stupid suggestion... I dunno... ((shrugs))
Also for me... I couldn't live with 3 ring binders... they annoy me...
Though in theory they worked out beautifully ... ((laughs))
My problem was that i have a hard time writing on the left hand page...
And this was irritating enough to discourage my doing so...
In fact, this is the case with any journal/sketch/planning type book that doesn't fold over...
I prefer a spiral situation that i will actually use...
So now i have finally settled on the type of planner/journal i will and have been using...
For now the Staples Rolla Notebook until i upgrade to the Levenger Circa Notebook...
Because a planning system does me no good unless it actually works for me and i use it...
As for size i ran into a bit of a dilemma, I too am undecided...
For the purposes of carrying i prefer the 8.5 x 5.5...
But i am a female and that will fit nicely into my cute little backpack purse...
I find that size limiting so what i got was a letter size, but i am still unsure...
I also want to consolidate my sketchbook and planner into one book...
Less to carry, ya know...
Anyhoos... what i settled on (future purchases) is the Levenger Circa Notebook...
So here are 3 links that may help you...
Sorry i don't know how to do clickable links here yet...
the link above will show you the rollabind/circa in action...
the next 2 are the 2 items i will be purchasing...
this will allow me to give 3 different sizes a trial run for minimal expense...
well maybe not, given what i have been reading in the forums about Levengers shipping rates...
anyhoos... thought you could perhaps consider this...
what isn't used could make a nice gift for someone...
sorry.. i don't know how to make short links either
Good gravy! i didn't realise i typed so much!!! ooops...

"The early bird may get the worm, but the late rising worm lives."

I just use a notebook - phone log, conversation log, meeting log

A lot of us here enjoy David Allen's Getting things Done concepts (GTD in the Article Topics menu on the left side). One of the concepts I found most helpful is his "inbox" concept -- everything goes into a single "in box" -- in my case I use a notebook (some years a sprial notebook, one year a steno notebook, last year a large Moleskin book, this year I am using the small Moleskin reporter notebook -- but think I may abandon it as being too small). This book is always out on my desk or with me at meetings. I take notes in it, record my VM, record office conference notes... everything goes into the notebook. If there is something that needs to be done, or follow-ed up I put a box beside it -- when I get back to my office, or at the end of the meeting, I transfer that item to my Task List (or Waiting For List -- or project List or wherever is appropriate) and check the box off in my in-box. On my Task list I will put the date beside it -- if I need to refer back to my notes I then know which day to look at....

I have chosen to use the Moleskin week on a page planner. I do not have that many appointments so the space is adequate for my needs. I like the right page blank for my task listings -- I appreciated very much the teaching form Covey about planning weekly / adjusting daily. I used to get frustrated rolling items over from day to day -- now I have all week to get them done before having to roll them forward. I also have a letter size notebook I use for tracking my Task listing, projects, etc. I have used the 5.5x8.5 size for portability -- but live in an 8.5x11 world. So I finally caved into the dominate society on that one. I find I do not usually need my binder outside of my office -- or if I need something from it, I will just take those specific pages with me.

The Passionate Pilgrim
-- Excellence through Simplicity

Thanks for a great idea

Hi Passionate Pilgrim,

I just wanted to thank you for your wonderful idea. I am struggling at the moment to keep my life simple and manage everything that happens to me in a day. I seem to end up with a thousand post it notes and can't make sense of any of them - or find them when I need to refer back to them.

So I'm going to go and find myself a notebook that I can keep with me to utilise your idea. I have a feeling I'm going to like it.


3.25 in. X 6.5 in. pages

I bought a beautiful leather Day-Runner(empty) at a garage sale for $2, but it would cost $24.95 to fill it with Day-Runner brand pages, most of which I wouldn't use anyway. Does DIYplanner have a template for this size planner or do I have to Freecycle my "new" planner?
Tiffany Hayes, Algebra 1 teacher, Leander High School

Look under "other"...

...in the templates directory. Is this the size?

Or use the Dynamics

"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)