New here and hopeful

I just had to join, as I'm daily in search of that 'perfect' planner system. I've been making planner pages from Excel for years, and have downloaded some templates off this site for awhile now,

questions: why when I know Excel fairly good, would I need to download openoffice? (I have it downloading right now) and I'm willing to learn, but it might not be possible.

I am looking for the illusive system, the one where I can access all needed info at any given moment. too high of expectations?

right now I'm in search of a bag/tote/something to carry. I love a messenger type bag, but need to have my papers etc. portrait, so it limits my options considerably.

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Why Open Office ?

'cause Excel cannot draw pictures. :)

There is no Single Universal Tool.
A good "toolbox" has a variety of tools.
"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)


so I'm going to have to check out the drawing tool, yes? don't have a clue!

but if it's more versital than 'windings' (sp?) in Excel I'm all for it.

see, Lists don't make alot of sense to me, or let's just say it doesn't tell me what I ought to be doing right now. Lately I've drawn a big clock and am using the face of the clock as my day planner page. weird but it helps me put time in context.

guess I ought to have said looking for the one perfect 'system' rather than tool, yes?

Do you mean "WingDings" ?

That is just a font.
I am talking about drawing.
"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)

I know you are

I know you are *smile*...sometimes a font is as close as I can get before getting distracted onto another unsurmountable project.

Planning on a clock

I knew I'd seen something like a clock planner somewhere.

Google is my friend and I found this

Link to Cool Planning Idea

The one I remember seeing was 24 hr, but this one is still cool.


that's exactly the one I saw too, then I went to Excel and made one that was a fairly large 12 hr clock face, and just a few lines at the bottom.

I love Google Images, I have to 'see' something to make much sense of it.

will keep looking for the 24 hr one, unless I use two facing pages. I schedule stuff starting early, such as when my kids have to get to their before school stuff, and late such as picking up my working teen.

so it's okay to post links and such here. nice.

Hi Pjang

I'm new too but thought I would welcome you!

I think I might be addicted....seem to have been here for days just wandering through all the information!

I have downloaded the openoffice but can't figure out how to use it but I've successfully downloaded loads of templates for my new A5 filofax and haven't even had to touch openoffice so that's a relief!

I have been in search of the right bag forever...and I've come to the conclusion that it just doesn't exist. So I have been collecting leather from everywhere and am going to make my own - one that will fit in my filofax and all the other junk that I carry around! Just need to get some cream leather now and I'll have everything - I've decided to make it patchwork with all colours so I don't have to keep changing my bag for the outfit!

Sorry, waffling on again, I do that alot!

So.....welcome to this fab site!!

Sam xx

'wandering' yes, that's a

'wandering' yes, that's a good description for me as well. I've been all around the template tab area, but didn't realize the extent of the forums.

I'm addicted to the search I guess, improving what I have...that, and office supplies. When my three teens begin buying school supplies this August, my heartrate sped up. I buy binders sometimes just to get the innerds.

I've just also been printing on file folders also, tho I have to cut off the flap to stick in my printer! But I can print out my project page on the folder voila, love it. so it's kindof feeding on itself this quest of mine.

leather, that's nice. wonder if that would work with my Kenmore sewing machine? seriously I might pull apart several totes I have to mix which parts I like from which.

welcome to you too.



OpenOffice is a suite of products, including a draw program (what we use around here for most templates), a spreadsheet, a presentation, and a word processing program. The latest version has a rudimentary database front-end as well. Therefore it's a complete suite of products, not just one item. If you are happy with your excel templates, then by all means stay with them. But a drawing program IS more flexible in how you arrange things, how you space them, formatting, etc. You can make excel do a lot of fancy stuff with a greater degree of pain and suffering, but the drawing program makes a lot of things really easy.

Accessing all needed info at any given moment requires the following prep:
* Define 'all needed info' in specific
* Identify the size and format that will facilitate 'any given moment' meaning that it's always with you
* Make 'all needed info' fit into the size and format required.

I don't think your expectations are too high, but in the process of making these three elements fit together (it's a continuum for most people), you may change points one and two quite a bit until you settle on what you want.

I have flipflopped personally on points 1 and 2 quite a lot, and I have done item 3 over and over and over again as I changed 1 and 2. It was all very interesting and amusing, and I do find that different situations in life require different answers for 1 and 2.

I started with very inflated ideas of what point 1 should include. I had all kinds of stuff I wanted to carry with me. But in order to achieve point 3, the items for point 2 had to be unacceptably large (classic planner with huge rings), or unacceptably small (PDA with a too-small screen and too-slow data input). Originally I thought classic size would work, but in reality it was just too big, no matter what I did. Then I went down to quarter-letter, which worked very well for some stuff, but wasn't really big enough to be good for planning and daily records. Also not good for reference materials, which were often letter-sized..

But by changing my definition of 'all needed info' I have come to at least one stable element that seems to be working--a little 3x5 reference book of contact info and password hints. The rest is still in flux. Right now I'm experimenting with a 'daily plan' sheet that's letter sized--but I don't carry it with me anywhere, it stays on my desk. My work is completely sedentary these days, totally computer bound, so it helps my work life balance to leave my day plans and notes right there at my desk. :) YMMV.

At different times of the year I change my definition of 'all needed info' and sometimes I end up carrying 3x5s in my back pocket, or a little book of something or other in addition to the usual one. Today I actually found myself telling a dental appointment-setter that I'd call her later after I'd consulted my calendar, because I wasn't sure whether the seminar was the first or second week of october. Later in the afternoon, the seminar was canceled completely. :) Whatever. I'll call her on Monday and set an appt.

My little books are Rolla/Circa so I can make them exactly the size I require and no bigger. I use mostly plastic covers for the same reason. But I have a couple of extra books here and there to stow different bits and bobs--they tend to wander around the house, but not really anywhere else. Some info is only needed in certain situations, so my 'format' tends to be modular. Grab the coupon module when I'm going shopping, otherwise leave it on the desk. Grab the password/contact module when I'm going somewhere I'm going to need contacts or passwords, otherwise leave it home. Bring the xmas list if I need to shop or brainstorm ideas, otherwise leave it home. ...etc.


Accessing all needed info at

Accessing all needed info at any given moment requires the following prep:
* Define 'all needed info' in specific
* Identify the size and format that will facilitate 'any given moment' meaning that it's always with you
* Make 'all needed info' fit into the size and format required.

I'm not sure how to include a quote here, but I read your post last night and woke up thinking about it. I love your modular approach, and I guess that's what I've tried to do also...take for example, my wallet. I have a very small (lacking noun here) that fits my drivers license and one credit card. When I know I'm on a very quick trip, taking my kids to their music lessons is a good example, I just pull out that slim leather holder.

My greatest frustration at present is being away from home and missing key documentation or information.

That's why I'm trying to come up with a system/toolbox with modules for each role of my life. Transport to/from music lessons I find I need:

drivers license
book to read

but recently the music studio moved, which is now across from the library, so yeiks, now it'd be nice to have

library card
book lists (which I'm compiling favorite authors booklists via notes in my blackjack.
return books in tote to drop off while I'm at it.

so now for the library card:

I can't keep track of all the cards I have, so awhile ago, I took a single hole punch and now keep library card and all those store cards, etc. on a keyring. it's just the slickest thing, I can even keep cards that are gift certificates on there, and my coffee card too (that tears more easily though.

I keyed in the two libraries I frequent and using Word, keyed in the library hours and tele and 'laminated' via packing tape on the card, so easy peasy to see if the library is open.

totally went off on a bunny trail, see?

Back to your 'all needed info', my greatest hurtle, is

shopping. I'm lost actually if I'm somewhere for whatever reason and I think 'oh, I shoudl look for such and such' but I don't know what the window dimensions are for those curtains we need....that type of thing.

all reference material stays at home.



On the reference materials, like window measurements, I don't do that kind of stuff 'while I'm out'. I might go somewhere to look at curtains and prices and write down while I'm there the dimensions of the curtains--then come back home and do all the math to figure out what I want. But shopping trips are mostly planned outings (I have twins who will be 4 in January and I work from home). So mostly I don't have issues with 'while I'm at it'-itis. :)

Personally, even in my wildest dreams I would never carry my window dimensions with me *all* the time just in case I found myself shopping in a store that carries curtains. :) However, grocery lists are another story entirely. Occasionally we go out to dinner and think, 'do we need anything from the store?' and that's where the back-pocket-jotter concept comes into play.

I haven't been good about this lately because a lot of my summer shorts don't have pockets big enough for 3x5 cards or the jotter. But the idea is this: keep a jotter in your back pocket and a pen in your front pocket at all times. When you're in the kitchen and you think of something you want to shop for, write it on a card in your back pocket. Do this *every* time you think of something, and keep them all on the same card if they come from the same store. Then, even if you're out, you still have your list in your back pocket.

This works well for christmas lists too--your own or anyone else's. You spot something you might like one day, jot it down. You see something someone else might like, jot it down. When you're out and about, you can check the list because you have it with you.

It works for home improvements, if you're in that kind of phase. So if you're redecorating or remodeling, you can accumulate a list (assuming you're not at a standstill without the needed item) and then go whenever you have an opportunity.

This is the GTD concept of 'ubiquitous capture' and the key point is that it always has to be on your person or within arm's reach. My memory is horrible, so even having it across the room is a bad idea. If I have to move to write something down, I forget what I was going to write and often forget that I was headed for the list. Very sad.

I do the keyring-card thing too. Works good. But this doohickey, the back pocket jotter, does not include that--it's for everything else.


Shris, regarding the

regarding the horrible memory thing? I heard it's our kids that just suck our brains out. Sad but true!

I have to tell you from experience, I can't do many things by 'intentional' action, using that window meauring thing. I'm very very visual, and just going to look at the store for ideas is one thing, but it wouldn't be in any usable context if I couldn't also 'see' what my mearuements were. maybe I ought to put together a photo album --- say, is this another idea to add to my task list that I won't follow up on?

I'm very very inattentive, and never had a proper ADD diagnosis until about a year ago, it's changed my life tremendously, for the better. I've stopped expecting the unrealistic.

before I forget, congrats on the twins, the two for one, I always thought it'd be cool, but had my three one-at-a-time. Mine are really close together, so when they were little, I had to strap two in and wear the other at all times.

My kids are at present 12.5, 15 and 16. What a kick this time of life is. And I think it's some of my neurological difficulties that prevent me from actually seeing a project through. I get bogged down in all the parts, and don't really know at any given time what I ought to be doing.

thank goodness for my new Blackjack! I keep so much data in there now, just this morning the handiman came to scope out the redo of our basement bathroom, he was going on and on about the cabinet specifications and so all I did was wip out my phone and take a photo of it - that'll help me at the store I think.

only about half my pants have back pockets! but I love the concept. and I can't see myself keeping a pen in my front pocket either.

are there thickish cards that I can hole punch and dangle from caribuger? sp? or pen that can hang from -- okay I cannot stand anything around my neck. okay I can see myself wearing a tooolbelt around the house, but no, my husband is hovering to get me going to the grocery store. he's a dear, he planned all the meals for the week and did the list, so I can't begrudge a bit of hovering.

Carribeeners and index cards


What you are looking for is a carribeener, I think (I dunno the spelling either). It's the clipy thing they use in mountain climbing, yah? That would clip onto a belt loop or belt, and some pens come with a little loop or ring on the cap so it could dangle too.

Or you could get a plain old notebook ring from the office supply store--they come loose in a bubble pack of 20 or so, in different sizes. That wouldn't be as hot for strapping to your bad self, but it would hold the stuff together.

Anyway, ring or clip in hand, you'd hole-punch some index cards (they're thicker than paper and a little tougher) to go on the ring.

But honestly, if you go to a big office supply, they have them already made--usually with two holes and two rings so it's more like a book. A little memo book would work too, the spiral kind. A clip pen sits in those pretty nice.

I'm a jeans girl all the way, I have few outfits that don't have a pocket, 'cept those pesky half-size shorts pockets. I'm with you on the neck thing, don't want it. The pens I keep in my front pocket are the G2 minis with retractable points--they fit in a jeans front pocket just fine, sideways so they don't poke when I sit down.

I'm not ADD, or at least I wasn't 'til sleep deprivation ruined my concentration. But I was thinking that for keeping your modules, you could get a wall-mount pocket (like they use for office papers like file folders or magazines) and stick it on the wall next to the door you usually use. If you had more than one, you could organize which module goes in which pocket and just keep them there all the time, until you leave the house. Then, being there near the door, they would be a visual reminder to think about where you're going and what you'll do while you're out. My desk is five feet from the door we use most often (the office door), so my coupon book goes there, my purse is there, cell phone charger there, etc. If you don't like wall-mount pockets, you could also try a peg rack (like for coats or keys) and stick a good ring on each of your modules. Just hang them there, one to a peg.

When I was in college I used a wallet instead of a purse. Since then I have to have a purse, so most of the stuff goes in there. I have a voluminous model about the size of a big loaf of bread into which the modules go. The money and plastic always stay in there, keys in one pocket, cell phone in another, pain relievers, glasses repair kit, dental floss, etc. in another, and one vacant waiting for the inevitable stuff I acquire while we're out. I think there's a toy car in there now. I think it's nearly time for a new purse though. This one is looking beat-up.


I got a little memo notebook

I got a little memo notebook today at a drugstore. it's 3 wide by 5 tall, and the thing I like about it, it has that vinyl, smoothish, like-to-pet cover that's sturdy and pleasing to my tactilly sensitive fingers.

but it's so big! I paid all of 99 cents, so I think I'll try to run it through a paper cutter and lop off the bottom half.

also got tiny sharpies with a ring on the end, for pen.

now if I only remember they are there! but every time I bend over it'll get me in the pocket LOL

Business card blanks


If 3x5 is too big for you, then you could try business card blanks instead. They're 2.5 x 3, which is still a useful size to jot things down on. Of course Levenger has doohickeys made for this size (wallet writer is one, I think), and I think if you go to an office supply place they'll have business-card wallet things if you decide you want your cards protected/gathered in a case.

The nice thing about cards and paper is you can buy stock in a color/weight you like and chop it up into whatever size you want. If you're color-sensitive or texture-sensitive you can get exactly what you want that way. Depending on the stock, you may be able to chop them yourself cheaper than you can buy cruddy index cards or memo pads. But really, it's about finding something you like so you want to use it.


shris, I've been pondering

I've been pondering your 'wall mounted pocket' idea for my modular system which I'm sure is the right direction,

but I'm hoping you'd be willing to give me more of a picture of what you mean? I really have to 'see' it to 'get' it.

are you thinking/suggesting maybe like a canvas shoe bag, with all those clear pockets to keep stuff in, like little labled packages?

at ikea I saw some metal mail slot things, I bought them and gosh my husband had it hung within 24 hrs (dang, I wasn't sure it would work and usually he is NOT that johnny-on-the-spot. NO complaints, but it is metal, but has more like a flap thing to hold a folder, but wouldn't do too much for loose stuff.

nice as it's metal and now I can clip phone messages for kids on the front of each flap... are color coded and have been since babyhood. they haven't rebelled (too much), I still buy them toothbrushes in their color, pillow cases, sleeping bags, etc. stuff that is hard hard hard to keep track of whose is whose.

I have a - well it's like a pencil holder but flat with 2 grommet holes so it can go in a binder, if I had a classic size one of those I could just hang it on a hook. the stuff that would be m,ore bulky is home demensions.

again, for me I do most of my stuff 'while I'm out' because if I wait a nano second, I will for sure get distracted.

Wall-mount pocket


Well, the over-door shoe holder isn't a bad idea, but it's got more pockets than I was thinking you'd need. :)

I was thinking more in terms of the acrylic file-folder pockets that you see in offices, on cube walls. Here's a link to one version of it: Linkety

Honestly though, you could use a plate rack. They have a groove for keeping plates standing up, which you'd use to stand up your notebooks. Here's one with dividers: Linky
And here's one that's more traditional: Linky
(pay no attention to the prices, I'm sure you can find them cheaper elsewhere)

Or you could use the shoe pocket thing. Or you could use a peg rack and attach rings to your modules that would hang on the pegs. Then there are mail organizers, like this one: Linky Dinky Doo

Anyway, there are oodles of ways to store stuff on the wall near the door--I am sure you could find something in a style that you like, no matter what your style is. The idea would be to have a 'spot' for each of your modules so they have a home to go to when you don't need them.


you're going to have Wee

you're going to have Wee Sing going through my mind all day now you know [linky dinky doo] just set me off down memory lane! don't know what video and I'm sure it's not raffie, but still.

I like the staples thing, it seems to want to contain anything, but that can be our downfall too, just to make little bits disappear.

no set style. but, more in tune to contrast In the family room just off garage, there is the [dreadfully] dark paneling on the most of the stuff to go up is on the darker side, esp. the organizational stuff (black metal hat hangy thing, another one to get the slippers up high and out of reach of the puppy), the door is even metal! so I've discovered these really strong hook magnets that can - hey, let me think about that. and the [nailer board] with hooks is dark oakish finish.

At the front of the house, it's light-light-light...inside of front door is white, walls are light, so my [nailer board] with coat hooks is white...less contrast.

Linky Pinky Dinky Doo

It's a pre-schooler's show on Nick Jr / Noggin

"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)

fun. I like the rapping

fun. I like the rapping type of tune/lyrics....could'v used this when my now teens were learning their math facts! I had to put one on a tramp while I held up flash cards, and provide another one with a big squishy sit-upon bouncy ball thing, and let her hum all she wanted. We rapped our way through early elementary years.

think I'm really missing out on all the new cool kids, not gonna have another. [my husband brought home a PUPPY about a year ago. oh boy, I made it very clear that he got ONE AND ONLY mid-life crisis....keep the puppy means NO Audi TT, no new airplane/club and definately NO new wife *smile*.

wow, you guys keep dredging up all these distractable thoughts, as my brain is like one big container or unrelated separated word poetry word magnet things...scary place, my mind!