Nov 12, 2012

The Secret Language of Planning

Like any other group, the filofax community has their own codes and acronyms which can send anyone scratching their heads trying to find out what they are. It's not hard to figure out once you've been around long enough, but still I have decided to show you a couple of those and maybe explain a little bit of them.

The first three acronyms you'll find in this community are FF, FC and DR. They refer to brands of binder-type planners or agendas - whatever you like to call them. These acronyms stand for filofax (FF), Franklin Covey (FC) and Day Runner (DR). There are other brands of binder-type planners and agendas, which in certain countries (which are not Costa Rica) you can find in different office stores. There's another brand of planners which can be fitted into filofax binders, and which are designed for families. Those are the DodoPads. Those aren't really my style, but still, if you want to check those out then there's the link for you to follow.

The main  brands I told you about are pretty much similar in format, so you can - for instance - get a filofax binder, and put in it Franklin Covey and Day Runner inserts. I think I heard in one of the videos that some of those pages needed trimming, but I can really remember which ones they were meaning. I'm not a big fan of Franklin Covey, since my previous boss made me go to this terribly dull and stupid two day seminar about the "7 Habits of Highly Successful Managers" or something like that. I actually got a package - which I keep in the office and which I only remembered just now, but then checked and noticed that the planner pages won't be good for my filofax, since they are A5, and I've got the Personal size. So yes, if anyone of you want them, e-mail me (if you comment it doesn't get posted right away, so you can actually consider that an e-mail. I won't publish it, I promise and after you sent it and I read it I'll erase it) and I'll post them for you. There's no point in keeping them around if I can't use them, right? No, I'm not selling it, I'm really crappy at selling stuff, so I'm just giving it away for whoever can give a use to it (picture to the right, so you know what would you be getting, minus the planner underneath, of course).

But back on the topic, the differences in the brands are basically a matter of personal style. Where you find the binder and binder size you like, the ring size that suits best your needs, and also the type of page refills. Filofax is the most sober, plainer style, while Franklin Covey usually ads a little bit more of color and an elegant style, and Day Runner is somewhere in between (the picture you see to the left is a sample of Day Runner's week on two pages). If you are a penpal of mine, then you know that I'm the kind of person who would use the paper to it's maximum, and write to as far to the edge as I can. Yes, I do love design and I'm crazy about paper, but I can't - simply can't use stationary because either I write on the design and ruin the stationary, or go carefully around it and ruin the stationary while feeling that I could have written more.  Even when I had to use stationary - back in Hungary, since our scanner wouldn't go to the edge of the page - I had to design my own stationary to make sure I still have as much paper as I could for writing. Thus, filofax it is.

This is where we get to the next set of acronyms. The fillers you can get are in a wide arrange, from the differences in functions, such as finance pages where you can keep track of your personal finances, or even your small business finances - and they have proven to be particularly good for freelancers and independent workers, from what I've heard. There are also ruled, plain and checkered note pages, to-do pages and even meeting organizing pages, project organizing pages, goal pages, and what nots, like the ones Franklin Covey sells and explains through their different seminars. Of course there are also contact pages and then the different calendar and diary pages. The layout of these pages offer different options depending on the space you need and the overview you want. You can get horizontal layouts, vertical layouts, days, weeks and months on one or two pages and so on.  From here are born acronyms such as Do2P (day on two pages), DPP (day per page) or PPD (page per day) and so with weeks (Wo2P, PPW) and months.

Filofaxes normally come with week on two pages calendars, which are dated, unlike Day Runners, which also have the week on two pages, but undated, but from what I gather on the different videos I've seen, the tendency is to use several calendars for different views of your programs and appointments. For instance you can use a yearly to plan your trips, vacations and add birthdays. On a monthly you can plan out your work or school schedule and major activities you want to attend, such as a concert and such, while on your weekly or daily segment you write down the detail of your daily plans, such as meetings, homework or or minor projects done that day (major projects could go on the monthly calendar), and daily errands. 

Initially I was adamant about this until I discovered that I actually use the monthly segment of my planner exactly for that. For instance in the monthly calendar I noted when my brother or my folks went visiting us in Budapest, and also helped me have a better idea about when would we do what with them. That way instead of furiously paging from one day to the next, I could in one glance see the whole time they would be there and decide when we went to Vienna, when we went to Mezőkövesd, how much time they had to just rest, when could we do shopping and so on. I also use this calendar to mark stuff such as when is Mercury Retrograde, when the different moons are, and it's kinda curious to keep track of the weather on those too - though I haven't done that yet.

Yearly planner can also be usefull for some people, for instance to keep track of periods, or medical appointments, school years, financial quarters and so on.

There's still tons and tons of stuff you could write about these binder-type planners, but one of the things I really love the most is their flexibility and how you can adjust them to exactly what you need, and keep them working for you not for a year or two, but for as long as they are functional for you or the binder falls into pieces - whatever happens first. They are not cheap - they certainly aren't - particularly if you were in the habit of using the planners given away by your office or magazines, schools or so on, but for some of us it worths it. Now, it is important to watch your pocket too, so if office planner, or a wall calendar works for you, don't get buying a filofax just because "it's so cool". Use what works for you. In matter of planners, fashion should be your last consideration, and functionality should be the first, otherwise you'll end up with an expensive under used planner, or another dust collector.

Hope I didn't bore you too much - fascination, you know how it works - and if I was lucky, maybe, just MAYBE!, I managed to give you a couple of ideas or maybe a hint to consider carefully your planner and whether it's just perfect for you as it is or if it could do more for you.

13 comments:

Steve Morton said...

And add to your list of things that to some are a mystery.... Philofaxy the site for the love of Filofax ;-)

Storm Bunny said...

Oh I know! And may I say that I love that blog! Also there's a group in Facebook... but don't get me started just now! ^_^ That's for another post!

And thank you for your comment!

Bebe Taian said...

There are so many brands you can get in the States- even a Martha Stewart brand planner system!

I usually just use small spiral notebooks (the 4x5" size) or the $1 school-oriented agendas from the Dollar Store, which they have once a year around August. For such a small, cheap thing, they usually have a couple of styles and layouts, so I can pick one that isn't overtly school-related. The only "school stuff" in my current one is a US map, hols, some equations, and a single page in the back for grade logs. The rest is Wo2P with a section for weekly notes, a section for birthdates, and a 2 page section for notes. While I love DayRunner and Filofax stuff, I don't like the prices here. Mine could definitely look better, and maybe allow me to do more with it, but it works well enough for now!

Since mine runs for 18 months at a time, I've already got plenty of blog entries planned for the year coming. :P Japanese hols, festivals, seasonal motifs and colours, and all sorts of things are on the list! Looking ahead that far, I can't wait. <3

I'm glad you're having such a great time getting organized. It feels much better to have a functional agenda, doesn't it?

Storm Bunny said...

Oh I've seen the Martha Stewart planners and tabs and they are beautiful! Though I prefer the ring to be ON the spine, so that the indentation between the spine and the front cover don't get on the way of comfortable writing. Then there's the fact that I prefer my binder to be symetric, but that's just the crazy in me speaking. :-D

We don't really have school planners in here - maybe because our school year goes from February to November (adjusted to the coffee harvest season, so back in the day children wouldn't be pulled out of school to join their family at the harvest), so maybe a special planner makes no sense.

I agree with you on the pricey stuff, but so far for me it worths it as I basically have no other way to get the type of pages I want.

Smart Sparkles said...

Thanks alot for your introduction! I have just come to know the world of binder-type planners, and your article is great help for me!

Storm Bunny said...

Much welcome, Smart Sparkles! There are two other blogs you might enjoy, one if from Dr. Frank Buck and the other is Philofaxy. I'll be providing the links in a future post.

Tina said...

This was fantastic!! Thanks for the acronyms! I'm newish at FF and FC and the other one were a HUGE mystery to me ^^
Fantastic blog! :)

Storm Bunny said...

Thank you Tina! I guess you mean Day Runner, right? It worths checking it out. I don't remember prices all that much, but I think they were similar to filofaxusa prices. I picked filofax because I always wanted a filofax - I'm just biased, I guess ^_^ but in a goodway, but also because though I get the economy in undated pages, I rather don't hassle with that. Just number my days, name my months and let me add the details.

However I must admit that both the Franklin Covey and the Day Runner inserts are more aesthetically pleasing.

Homemakersdaily.com said...

I forget that not everyone understands "planner" language. Great post.

Tina said...

That one! Hahaha I'm terrible with names! ^^ 'll check them out cause I'm looking for another planner and gotta admit I'd like a few other options! Also it seems FC and DR have more inserts, so that's always tempting :P tho for next year I'm all set with my Dodo Pad, the finance sheets and my own inserts :)

Storm Bunny said...

I reply to a comment that I'm not sure I can post - who asked about the binder under the inserts - actually that's not a binder but a bound PPD planner I've got from a bank. (A friend works there and she got me a corporative planner.) It's indeed beautiful, very soft to the touch, but sturdy.

Maybe I'll make a post about it, so you can see it. :-)

Storm Bunny said...

To Tina and Homemakersdaily: Yes, once you are into the Plannerverse, you tend to forget that other don't get what the acronyms are, after all, if you have spent a day browsing for planners, the acronyms become really transparent. ^_^

I'm very happy you both liked the post. Thank you for the kind compliments! ^/////^

FC and DR have indeed more types of inserts and truth must be told, their inserts are far prettier than FF's. Maybe I'll try them out later on, specially after I had my first major "Ow! You can't do this to me, Filofax!" moment. :-( However, if I must trim pages or write down the dates and months by myself, it will be either FF (most likely) or me going all crafty and doing them myself (yeah, well, I wouldn't out my money on that one...)

Thank you so much for your comments!

Morag said...

Hi

I loved your blog post explaining all the variations on inserts.
I currently use an A5 Filofax and wondered if the Franklin Covey sheets you mentioned were still available?
Thank you