43 Folders

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Merlin’s weekly podcast with Dan Benjamin. We talk about creativity, independence, and making things you love.

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43Folders.com is Merlin Mann’s website about finding the time and attention to do your best creative work.

The *Perfect* Weekly Planner?


For most of my adult life (well, high school and beyond), I have been on the search for the perfect weekly planner. For a while, I was convinced that I found it in the mid-sized Gallery Leather weekly planner, but as I switched jobs, and realized that I need to keep an active to-do list for myself, I've realized that it doesn't do for me what I want it to.

See, I've tried and tried and TRIED to computerize my planner and to-do list. I have a Mac at home and at work, and I love them! I even love Apple's software (especially the Leopard OS X upgrade) iCal and the Mail app. But I have found that as I start out updating it diligently, I just fall out of the habit of using it if it is on the computer. I also love the Google Calendar interface, but I run into the same thing. I just need paper.

Here's where I need your help -- below is a list of requirements. Do you use a planner fitting these criteria? Are you looking for the same thing I am?

• Needs to be in the 5.5" x 8.5" range -- slightly bigger or smaller is all right.

• The week has to fit onto one page or one spread.

• There cannot be markers on the day for hours. My day doesn't start at 8 and end at 5, so don't fence me in!

• I would really like some extra space on each page or spread to make notes or to-do lists.

• It has to have simple styling -- one simple color or design. None of this "180 Great Views of Ireland's Splendor" kinda stuff.

• I need a bookmarker or tabs to indicate where I am in the book, so I can easily turn to the right page.

• No spiral-binding. Yes, I know that makes it lay flat easier, but I'm left handed. That binding hurts. Plus, I like to feel like what I'm writing in is a book.

Sound picky? Well, it is. You looking for the same thing I am? Or do you have any suggestions? Anything a must in your weekly planner? Please, share!

Margaret M's picture

Love my Moleskine

Last year I tried the Moleskine Pocket Weekly Planner + Notebook red hardcover. It was excellent, except for the fact that the red took up the black dye from the interior of my purse. (I should have known better as this has happened before -- it's not the fault of the Moleskine.)

I'm a compulsive customizer, however, so I thought this year I'd try one of the Circa products. But the high shipping fees and the sad fact that Levenger opened a store in my home state (meaning I must now pay sales tax) drove me away. I hate it when good catalogs think they need retail stores.

So, I'm back to Moleskine, this time in black -- but I'm stuck with softcover. Let's hope it stands up to a full year.

One idea for customizing: try 3M's Post-it Sortable Cards. It's an index card with repositionable adhesive on the back. I use one on the inside back cover, another one on the page opposite the inside back cover, and, if needed, a half-index card on the current week. This gives me a flexible way to add additional notes, a running shopping list, etc, without lots of bulk or fear of losing pages.

The slim pocket on the back cover is sometimes annoying, but it's great at forcing me to stop carrying too much irrelevant junk. I carry two pages of relevant addresses/phone numbers, a few business cards, and two paint swatches.




An Oblique Strategy:
Honor thy error as a hidden intention


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