Friday, January 28, 2011

CRITIQUE : A Revolving Planner of Monthly Books

I used to be at my desk often enough that a flat planning pad was perfect for me. Now I get all my best ideas (ie: things that I need to remember) while I'm out and about, and I needed a place to put everything down with a pen. Rachel was kind enough to show me her new planner, which was great... BUT I hate spirals.

It's not just because I'm a lefty; spirals fall apart, catch on things, and are overly bulky. In fact, an annual planner is kind of a waste of space in my already full bag.

My solution is a system where each month is a separate book, which hooks together with other months to hold just as much time as you need at a time. 2 months, 3, 4... and when you're done with a month, you can unlock it from the group and put it away.

Here is an example of the 4 books, loose. Each book contains a month of information. The months are blank, so you can use them for whatever month you would like by simply marking the month, and the days on each page.

The books hook together through their binding to make one connected book with as many months as you want.

Here's an animation of several books being connected together. The flap slips through the binding of the month in front, and tucks back into itself.

The colored flap also serves as a bookmark to the current week.

The first several pages contain spots for daily tasks, and for notes. There is a space to write the month at the top of the page, and open circles to write the date number above each day.

There is also a section for more notes, and dates to remember (birthday, anniversaries, etc.)

The last spread has "forward planning" for adding items to future months. It also has instructions on how to bind the months together.

The final page has an overview of 15 months for reference in setting up the blank book.

I have chosen to use three patterns of Mod-Tone paper for the inside. Each book has a colored flap, and one coordinating paper. The following are three of the four papers.

1) I've been using the books already, for my day-to-day planning. They are working quite well for me, but I'm curious what the rest of you think. Anything you would add, delete, change from the inside design?

2) Also, I am planning on designing medallions to letterpress on the front of each book. Each of the 4 medallions would be a decoration with a place for writing the month. Any ideas or inspiration would be appreciated.

3) I want to sell the books in sets of 4- which is a good opportunity to try them out to see if they work for you. Each set of 4 would come with a band to tie around your set. Anyone have any comments about the structure of the binding, and the rest?

Any comments are helpful, and again, thanks! I hope one day these will help someone else stay on track.


  1. I LOVE that it's not a spiral, and I really like the inside design. I especially appreciate how much space is left for notes and to-dos because I'm constantly squishing all of that information in the nonexistent margins of my current planner (I'm using a large Moleskine). I also really like that you can fill in your own months/days.

    My only concern is in regards to its practicality. I can see the appeal of having a planner like this, especially if you're short on bag space, but I know that I'm constantly adding appointments in my planners that are months and months in advance. I'd have to carry more than one month around with me at a time, and I worry that the binding wouldn't hold up to my level of wear and tear.

  2. It's beautiful! Love all the little details you've added and how each page is organized.

    I agree with lindsay though, I'd feel weird carrying only the current month with me as I do lots of planning well in advance. Just yesterday James and I planned a vacation for June 2012!

    Also, one thing I like that my Little Otsu planner has is both a monthly calendar as well as 52 weekly pages. Being able to look at a whole month to jot down birthdays, holidays, and for me- craft shows is nice.

  3. Rachel - Great Suggestion, I'm going to try to work a monthy overview in.

    As far as the planning in advance, my hope is that the "future planing" section would be a great way to make note of those future dates, and as a way of reminding you they're coming up. (For instance, I have no idea when my next teeth cleaning is because it's too many months from now.)

    I definitely see carrying up to 4 months at a time, but I like that you can choose fewer or more depending on your planning lifestyle. I've been working off one for a few weeks now, and the binding has held up well in my mess of a bag, so that's reassuring. (;

    Now I'm thinking about adding a complete overview section that contains all 12 months (about a month per page)....

  4. I just got a suggestion for more add-ons

    a list book, and and address/phone number book.


  5. Let me know when you start selling, and where. I want one!


Thank for the help!