I’m a very envious person when it comes to other people’s planners. Anytime I see another planner anywhere I always think it’s better than mine, has a better system, is organized better or gets better use regardless of who it belongs to or what it’s used for. I can be perfectly happy with my planner and the system I’ve got going, but show me someone else’s and I look for ways to improve my own while taking bits and pieces from the other person’s set-up. Borrowing ideas from other people is always great – that’s what often happens when discussing planners and systems on the websites and blogs we all belong to and peruse. And of course we all strive to make a good system better. But why can’t I ever be completely happy with my planner without longing for something new or different?
This past weekend I got together with a friend of mine. She received her first Filofax for Christmas and is very excited to use it. So over coffee we both whipped out our planners and gave the other a tour of how we have it set up, what we use it for and in what sections we put various pieces of information. I would say that we had similar ideas of what types of information to put in the sections. We also made plans for a day trip to New York City together in the spring, choosing a date and making lists of places we want to go and things we want to do (first and foremost on the list is to visit various shops that sell Filofax merchandise!). Unsurprisingly, our show-and-tell got me to change the binder I currently use. While my friend was able to refer to anything in her Filo, I had to say, “Oh I don’t have that with me so I can’t show you…”
Since mid-December I had been using the Guildford Slimline. At first I didn’t think I’d be able to pare down what I carried from a personal size to a slimline. But I loved the binder so much that I just had to try. And I succeeded. I carried only those things I needed on a daily basis – certain lists and information, plus 6 months worth of monthly refills and 3 months worth of week-on-two-pages inserts. This worked well – I had all the information I needed and I could carry it with me very easily. But then I started missing the other items I used to carry with me, and it was a lot of work having some information in one binder that was always with me and everything else in another that stayed at home. It got a bit confusing as to what I had with me and what I didn’t. So now I’ve gone back to the personal size, once again having everything in one place. My slimline is now holding my maps and will be used when I go on trips and vacations. I really don’t need to carry everything with me during those times.
The things I have in my Filo are very well organized, from where things are kept to my handwriting. I’m very particular about keeping everything neat, mainly because that’s just my nature. Yet, when I see someone’s planner who isn’t as neat with their handwriting, I’m envious of that as well – messiness and stuffed papers and all kinds of things popping out signals a well-used and much-loved planner. Mine is well-used and much-loved but I don’t think it shows because things are very crisp and tidy – a place for everything, and everything in its place. There’s nothing wrong with that, I suppose. Even when I try to be messy to show an “I don’t care, I’m not anal about my planner” attitude, it somehow looks like an organized mess, and I can tell that I’m just trying to be someone I’m not planner-wise.
When I see the diary pictures on the Philofaxy Flickr group I get envious of how little or how much people have going on depending on my mood (do I wish I more busy or less?). When I see an A5, I want one too even though I’m never that busy and would never be able to fill it. When I see a pocket size, I want one of them even though I know it’s too small for me. I did buy one once and the second I took it out of the box I knew it would never work (I still have it though, just in case).
When I see other planners (Moleskines, Franklin Covey, At-a-Glance, Russell + Hazel, Quo Vadis, Kate Spade, etc.), I want them too (well, maybe one day I will own a Kate Spade…).
I just can’t help myself!
I am happy with the planners I have and they all get used in some form or another. I’m also usually happy with my system, but every once in a while I feel the need to revamp it. Who knows how long I’ll stay with using my personal size binder as opposed to the slimline? I may change a few times before deciding on one (semi-) permanently. One thing I can tell you is that if I do stay with the personal size, I’ll be switching binders come spring. (One of the drawbacks of the slimline is that there isn’t much to choose from in terms of colors and styles.) My green Finchley is very spring-y and is a breath of fresh air after a winter with my black Domino.
Spring can’t come quickly enough for me (I’ve had enough of the cold and snow and darkness) – it’s an inspiration to me – it helps me start anew and brings me the fresh air I need to feel alive and happy again, just like a new planner does. While I’m sometimes envious of other planners and other people’s systems, they too are an inspiration to me, helping me to better my own planner and get it to as close to “perfect” as it can possibly be. I’d like to think that my system and planner is an inspiration to some as well, that I too can offer some ideas to the planner world and not just copy what I see from other people. Not being envious for a change would also be a breath of fresh air.