Back to Basics

After much introspection, I am going back to my classic FC planner on June 1. To some it may seem like a return to the dark side, but for me it is just back to basics. I printed out pages for June, but then will start using FC pages again in July.

I'm not planning to set up a fancy tabbing system. Rather, I'm merely going to use it as a daily planner & record.

Every piece of paper I want to keep will be 7-hole punched, dated, and kept in chronological order. The index page at the front of each month will be used extensively for easy information retrieval. The storage binder is perched atop a shelf above my desk within arm's reach, so my recorded history will be easily accessible.

To scratch my Circa itch, I have a reporter style circa notebook tucked in the back sleeve of the binder. This will be used as a scratch pad. I have also 7-hole punched these pages in case I want to keep them.

I also have my Levenger notecard panorama (a discontinued item that holds two rows of notecards upright) placed in front of my computer screen for those visual "in my face" reminders that I need.

Years of experimentation have led me back to this point. I hope it works...


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I periodically consider going back... a F-C 7 ring classic binder from my current circa system, mainly because Levenger is so expensive. I am also frustrated with the lack of stability of the circa notebook in the zipper folio.

Keep us informed of how the transition goes, please.

Classic Update

It has been three weeks since I've switched back to a Classic size planner, and I must say it is going quite well. As I suspected at the outset, it is being used primarily as an ongoing work record rather than a book of "to do" lists.

My Circa ways have followed me into my Classic. Most papers that I FC punch, also get snipped with a scissors so they are easily removed and moved around the planner without opening / closing the rings constantly. Having a punch is key.

I still carry my Levenger Shirt Pocket Briefcase (SPB), but now I pre-punch the cards with my FC punch (bottom 3 holes) and snip them before loading them into the SPB. I can jot down an idea, then place the card in my planner without opening the rings. Very nice!

Lastly, I enjoy having a year's worth of planner pages ready to go. I use my planner and storage binder as a mailbox to myself. Or a "tickler", if you prefer. Need to take action on something down the road? "Mail" myself a reminder. Also very nice!


Great Ideas

You've given me some great ideas - thanks. I must admit, I miss having the F-C style storage binder, and the idea of using future pages as a tickler system is great. Hmmmm....even if I stay w/circa, I can punch the circa pages for F-C and use the storage binder....I like it.

I believe the reporter style Circa notebook is discontinued.

Am I right?

You can always...

make your own.
That's what DIY-Planner is all about, right ?
"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)

DIY Reporter Circa

I made the reporter style circa notebook myself by cutting an old letter sized plastic cover to size. At one time I thought it would make a decent day planner, but the pages kept popping out when I'd fold it back on itself. After about a month of frustration, I abandoned this idea. I kept the notebook, though, because I thought it might come in handy at a later date. And I was right. It works great as as scratch pad!


What kind of plastic did you use?

Would a report cover or a plastic transparency sheet be thick enough?

Since it doesn't work as a reporter notepad, it would only be used for archiving so the thinnest of the cover doesn't matter.

It is better for it to be thin so as to be easily punched.

Translucent Cover

I used a translucent cover from Levenger. I merely cut it to size with a scissors. It was already smurfed, so I didn't have to wrestle with my pocket punch. I have punched this cover material before when making a circa pda, though. It's not easy, but possible with a pocket punch.


keep it simple...

Interesting how the more you get all this crazy complicated organizational stuff, the more the simple tools seem appealing.

On the flipside, I've found out that you can end up going TOO simple. I tried having a 2 section notebook: calendar and notes, but I found I was never sure where to put notes about things I had to get done.

Things that had to get done on certain dates, sure put on the calendar. Things that didn't I put in the Notes section, but then I tended to lose track of them if I didn't complete them before I filled up a page and had to move on to the next page.

I've added a couple sections back in: todo list, goal tracking, and also an Info section with things I use often like my library card number (my local library lets you reserve books online so I tend to put a reserve on books that sound interesting when I hear about them).

Now I just have to remember to look at my Todo and Goals sections on a regular basis :-)


Focus Book

To use a GTD analogy, my day planner is being used for work "on the runway". Our office environment is so dysfunctional (scatterbrain supervisor), that I need to just keep track of everything that happens on a daily basis. I'm already finding that the "daily record of events" pages are golden for capturing all of the "pop-up projects" that my supervisor throws my way all day long. Things that are always urgent, and sometimes important.

The "prioritized daily task list" section, also known as my "optimism list" is where I jot down a few things that should get done if I were ever left alone to do them. Portions of this list get re-written the next day.

For my dozens of projects, I keep a separate Circa book that is tabbed by general job segments. Behind each tab I keep separate project outlines & next action lists. A descriptive name for this book would be my "focus book", as all of my best focused plans are stored here. The next actions from each project get transferred to my "runway book" (day planner) at the appropriate time.

The information contained in the Runway Book needs to be easily retrievable, as I am always asked to find something later.

Its working so far...


A Term of Art, Roberto?

Focus Book - Submitted by Roberto_Notecardo on Thu, 2010-06-03 09:41.
To use a GTD analogy, my day planner is being used for work "on the runway". Our office environment is so dysfunctional (scatterbrain supervisor), that I need to just keep track of everything that happens on a daily basis....

Say, Roberto, is that term, "scatterbrain supervisor" from official GTD terminology? I looked through the indexes of all three David Allen books, and I can't seem to find it anywhere!!?!

"When you come to a fork in the road, take it."
- Yogi Berra

It should be ...

...just after Pointy-Haired Boss in the glossary

"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)

Runway Reference

Forgive me for not stating this clearly enough. The "runway" was the only GTD reference.


Pictures please?

I'd love to see your new/old set-up and hear how it is working out for you.

Sorry, No Pics

Unfortunately, I do not own a digital camera. So, no pics will be forthcoming.

I will say that the new set-up is working very nicely, however, we're only one week in. The discipline to stick with one system has been my downfall in the past. We'll see if this one sticks.


Crossover paper.

Did I read this correctly?
Is it possible to have a page that is punched for both disk and ring binders?


Possible, yes.
Practical, possibly. Depends on the position of the punches
"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 set up these pages to be half-sheet sized (5.5 x 8.5), portrait orientation, circa punched across the short top section with five disks. Then I used my FC Classic 7 hole punch down the left side of the page.

I use the pad primarily as scratch paper, but sometimes I want to keep these scribbled notes. 7 hole punching them makes it possible to archive them in my FC binder.

Furthermore, I sometimes snip the paper from its left edge to the 7 holes (7 separate snips) which makes them easily removable / moveable without opening and closing the rings each time. Kind of like a hybrid FC / Circa page. It works great!


The Classic

Hi I seem to always come back to the good old Classic size planner. That midsize seems to fill the bill. Sometimes I wish I could look at other planners to see what other folks have done with theirs.

Full Circle

Well, today I completed my planner circle. I started out 17 years ago using a classic FranklinQuest binder, and used it for everything. Then over the years, I tinkered....and tinkered.....and tinkered.

About three months ago I returned to my classic, but did not intend on using it for everything. Rather, I kept a separate "focus book" for project work. The tabs in that book underwent a couple of tweaks, including GTD tabs.

Approximately a month or so ago, I purchased a used leather (real leather) FC binder that has rings large enough to accomodate everything I need.

So, today I did it. I cleared out my circa "focus book", seven-hole punched the pages I want to keep, and put them all in the classic binder. The circa book went back into storage (for later use, I'm sure), and now I'm down to one binder.

It contains monthly calendar tabs for the rest of the year, with daily pages behind the current month. Tabbing system includes: "Proj" (master list of projects), "BS" (for brain-storming), "Next" (next actions for each project. Each project has its own form), "Agenda" (reminders of what I need to discuss with various people), "Finances" (for tracking personal bills), "Forms" (where I keep blank paper and various forms I use), and an A-Z address section. I use this as an alphabetized filing cabinet for "information records". In the very back I have a clear ziplock pouch and business card holder.

It has two pen loops. On the left side I keep a mechanical pencil for calendar items, because a pen and calendar must never meet. On the right side is my Waterman Hemisphere fountain pen, currently filled with "Lake Placid Blue" Private Reserve ink. The FC paper is fountain pen friendly with no feathering nor bleed-thru.

So, here I am, back to square one...sort of.


i am definitely going to

i am definitely going to start a "BS" (brain-storming) tab~! It made me giggle =)

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