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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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.


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)


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.

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)

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.


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....

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.

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.

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...