Monday, January 30, 2012

Moleskine :: Planner Wallet Journal Version 2.0

I am now on my second Moleskine since I developed my planner/wallet/journal system. You can find previous write-ups here:

My Moleskine Planner/Journal/Wallet Setup and Hacks
Book Darts! A Follow-up from the cpo Moleskine Customization Method -- And a Review

I made a few small revisions since my original setup, and I thought I would share the evolution with you.  I simplified the system a bit, mostly by consolidation.

First off...I still really like the setup.  I have carried it daily as a wallet, and really like it. I like having my journal and notes with me at all times. Of course, because I have it handy, I tend to use it...often. This first Moleskine lasted me a little over 3 weeks. I do have a lot going on in my life at the moment, so I may be using it more than I may once things settle down. I'll be satisfied if it gets to about one book per month. The good thing about refreshing books often, is that it forces me to "clean out my wallet". I end up with random stuff like receipts, business cards, and other papers that collect in the back pocket.  These things begin to take up more and more space...and its good to thin it out when I change books.

I found that my system provides for very little wasted space.  I did have a few blank pages, but not because of my method.  Rather, I am very close to filling it up (just a few empty pages left) and I would rather swap now when it is convenient. If I held out, I could maybe get a couple more days, but then I'd have to transition in the middle of a very busy week.  Moving to the blank journal was better for me now, even if it costs me a few blank pages.

I jotted some notes on things that I wanted to modify for the next go round.  You can see them here:

As you can see, some things are obvious, and others require some explanation.

The first thing I want to mention is that I considered trying another book besides Moleskine.  I am a fountain pen user, and there is a little show through...not much...but it's there.  You can see a little in the photo above...from the page behind it.  I was looking at other books that are known to be more fountain pen friendly, but I ended up back with Moleskine.  The Rhodia books have covers that are too thick.  The Ecosytem looked good, but I like the grid style, and the grids on the ecosystem were very prominent...dark ink.  I liked the more subtle grid of the Moleskine, especially for writing.

I did swap to a soft cover Moleskine, and I think I will like it better.  It is the same as the hard cover, only just slightly thinner without the hard cover.

Back to my list...I ditched the pen loop. I didn't need it, and it was just something else hanging off the journal. It was a cool idea, but I found that I rarely stored the pen with the book - likely because I carry it as a wallet.

I originally had a section for work, home, and church.  What I found in practical use was that it was sometimes challenging to figure out what sections were best to put what in.  My home and church life are it made sense to just make it one section. The other thing was that even sometimes work stuff is "journal-able" but doesn't belong in the "work" section with my other notes. So really, it now has two sections.  A personal section for all journaling, and a work section for notes (reference) related to work.  I also, of course, have the calendary (daily) and random sections.  Here is a photo of the new book, and the old book.  You can see how the indexing worked in the old book as I filled it up.

With this new book, I decided to move the to-do sections to the front of each major section.  Personal to-do items are in the beginning of the personal section, and work to-do items are in the beginning of the work section.

I put random at the end again, but this time decided to run it backwards...It's just random notes and lists.  The moleskine 2.0 list I showed you above is an example of something I put in random.

I also changed my identifiers.  Previously, for each page, I put the label at the top, but I found it took up valuable space.  I still like looking at the page and being able to tell immediately what section it is, so I switched to using a simple letter identifier at the bottom left corner, on the opposite page of the page numbers.  I am using "m" for personal (me) and "w" for business (work).  It's essentially a quick squiggle one way or another, which is why I used m and w.  It's quick, and takes up little space:

Of course, I am going to use "r" for random, and the daily section is a calendar, so it needs no label...but I put "d" in the index anyway.

I still totally love the Book Darts.  The change I made here was just in my implementation.  Instead of putting the dart on the next available page, its 2 pages ahead.  That way when I get to writing, I don't find myself writing on the page with the dart...requiring a move in the middle.   It was just better for me.

The last thing I did was implement consistency in dating.  I still documented the date for each day's entries, but it was random. I decided on a consistent dating delimiter.  It just looks like this:

------------------ 1-30 ----------------------

That way when I am looking for something from a specific date, I can look for lines across the page, and identify the date associated with those entries.

So far...I am much happier with this system than I ever was with any pre-printed organizing system. This is 90% journal, 5% task list, and 5% calendar. 

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