I have been using a compact binder since 2011. True, not necessarily the same binder for all of that time, but the compact style, yes. I did dabble back in the personal when I got Lady Godiva last summer. And while I was able to use the personal again for that time, I did find that I was putting extra inserts in to fill out those big rings. And that was the entire point of trimming down to the compact, so that I wouldn’t have to carry things I didn’t need just to fill out the binder.
The secret to my compact success is relying on other stay-at-home binders, as they house the information I need at hand for various things, but they aren’t binders that I ever take with me anywhere. I have my Household Binder, my Happiness Binder (which is in the process of being updated), my Health Notebook, my Spirituality Book, my Knitting Binder, and my Gardening Binder (oh, how I miss flowers!). All of these separate binders/books allow me to really pare down what I keep in my daily planner. They each have their own specific purpose, which I try very hard to make sure doesn’t overlap with another binder’s. When they overlap I get confused about what book contains what information; then, it does me no good to have so many. I don’t use each one every day, which keeps me from going mad over the number of books I use.
My daily planner, however, does corral each use for any given day (or not if it isn’t needed). For example, Mondays are when I add information to my Health Notebook. So on a Monday I will have “Health Journal” written down as a task. Once I’ve done what I need to do with it, I cross it off my list and move it to the following Monday. Another example is writing down what exercise activity I need to do on a particular day. If it is “Resistance,” I’ll pull out my Happiness Binder (since that’s where the information lives), and refer to the next resistance cycle in line. (I am thinking of changing the name of my Happiness Binder to something more all-inclusive, like Wellness Binder or something—we shall see.) In essence, my daily planner points me to the other books if/when I need them.
Lately, though, I’ve been wondering if I should move back into the personal binder. Given my many activities lately and the craziness of both my weekdays and weekends, I can’t help but wonder if a personal, with its additional room, would allow for more flexibility. In my compact, I have a section for projects; each project gets its own colored note sheet. You can see from the photo below, I’ve got a lot of projects going on as well.
I’ve been thinking that a personal binder would allow me more space for these and other projects should they come up, plus any other inserts I may need, like additional diary sheets. (The compact, with everything I carry in it, only allows for two months of daily pages, though I am able to get an entire year’s worth of monthly sheets in there which I use for forward planning, adding a notation of the event and putting the details in on the daily pages later.) I don’t need more diary pages for my personal life—two months ahead is plenty—but for dates of future/in-progress projects and events, this might be helpful.
But is it helpful if that means carrying around more pages on the off-chance that I need them for one event?
My wheels have been turning, especially because I want to make a new planner purchase (to be revealed soon) and I don’t want to buy a size based on what-ifs. I want to buy the size I will stick with.
After really thinking about it for a while, I’ve come to the conclusion that I will stay with the compact size. The fact that I’ve only reverted to the personal once since obtaining a compact is very telling. And during the last few months (or maybe even a year) of using a personal exclusively, I wished for something smaller (the slimline is way too small for everyday use, though it does come in handy for travel).
Plus—and this is a really big plus for me—having limited space means that I am limited to the number of projects I have going at any one time. It keeps me in check, keeps me from taking on too much at once. And if I need to add an event to a date that is further than what I’ve got in my planner, I can make a note of it on my monthly pages and add the details to the corresponding inserts when I get home or have time, as all future inserts are kept in a separate binder.
So, with the compact size, I will stay. I do love it. It’s worked well for me for many years. And, I’ve already got a little compact collection going.
And, if in the future my life truly calls for a bigger binder, well I have plenty of those to choose from, too.