The Crazy Suburban Mom: 2013-11-03

Friday, November 8, 2013


I've switched binders a lot lately, from one size to another and between brands. And for periods of time as short as a few hours to as long as several months.

In a recent post called Hot dog stuffed crust Filofax, I made peace with the madness, accepted it, and stopped thinking of it as a problem.  Playing with my planners relaxes me and on days I'm feeling anxious and out of control it helps take the edge off.   It's a pretty harmless coping skill.

Since finding  Zen about switching I've been in  Malden A5. I  love my binders and each calls to me for a different reason. A lot of people can manage multiple binders but since I can't, I am continually twitchy for one I'm not using.

Eventually I give in because the grass is always greener on the other Filofax but I'd really  like to finish out the year in my Filofax Malden A5.    I'm pooped from this binder wanderlust.  

Instead of constantly lusting for what it doesn't have I decided to take inventory of the things that work so yesterday I took a good look at the positives.


Of all the planners I have, the Malden has the most efficient use of space.  All slots and pockets are totally usable. I can get as much as I want in them and none are so stiff it's rendered unusable.   Filling them also gives structure to the cover and this go around I added something to stiffen them intentionally. 

In the long front pocket I added a Franklin Covey page lifter I've had forever.  It's the right size for a Filofax A5 but has seven rings so using it for structure gives it purpose.


In the back pocket I put an A5 sized notebook.   I've been experimenting with different A5 papers lately and this one (a recent jetpens purchase)  is great.  It's the Kokuyo Campus Highgrade MIO Notebook and I've been using it as daily pages since I ripped open the package and clutched it to my chest.

 It's lovely to write on, takes ink well and is very smooth.    The paper is a creamy white with muted lines and it has a lovely translucence, making it relaxing to look at.  


The Malden has room to spare so I added the A to Z tabs as a ringed file.  This has worked for me in the past and I expect it will continue to be an asset.   The binder has two good sized pen loops and a strap that goes on for days.

You really can't fill a binder with a short strap to capacity, but this strap is a long, tall drink of water...


The 30 mm rings are roomy enough to handle extras.  I plan on keeping multiple year on a page inserts in there to easily find important dates; doctor's appointments, purchase dates (for warranty and return purposes), and for a record of things that renew (Amazon Prime, insurance, Ventura's dog license and therapy dog registration).

This is the first year doing that but wish I'd thought of it sooner, it's helped me already.


There's room for any random extras I want like these crossword puzzles snipped out of a book.


And things I need to bring to appointments with me.  For example; paperwork Ventura's vet had to fill out yesterday as well as an internet pet pharmacy price for his meds (my vet price matches).


I have room for extra paper.  Although I don't need or have much with me, it's great  for letters, lists, and doodles.


And there is room between the pages when the binder is open.  Smaller binders have less space but this space is usable in the Malden and I carry magnets stuck to the ring mechanism.   By the way if you can fit a tiny, rare earth magnet inside the body of a pen....  You can carry pens there too.

And yes, there are negatives but as Zig Zigler says, "Positive thinking will let you do everything better than negative thinking will."  And maybe focusing on what works will give the binder switching a rest...

At least for a while...


Thursday, November 7, 2013

The way I'd like to journal, but can't...

Usually when I post videos they're mine but occasionally I find one so compelling I watch it over and over.  This post is about one that I've watched more times then I care to admit.

It's a travel journal that is everything I wish mine could be but never is.

The title indicates it's not finished, and although it was published five years ago, there is no follow up.  I've not given up hope to see part two and until then I'll probably watch this one another hundred or so times...


Wednesday, November 6, 2013

Chronodex Core Planning

Chronodex cores are like snowflakes and vary as much within the same user as between different ones.    I can't remember ever seeing two that looked the same and I've tried - I'm an unrepentant Chronodex image stalker.

It's hard to explain why they appeal to me because for years I didn't think I could plan that way.    Despite looking at hundreds of them and reading explanations ad infinitum,  I didn't see planning, I saw a beautiful story in a language I didn't understand.


A lot of the appeal seemed to be the ability to see a day as blocks of time with only a quick scan.  That wasn't something I normally need.  I have a lot of things to do and single items to track but on a daily basis it's more about getting quick tasks  done then it is sectioning off my day.


A few months ago when I was ill (asthma) I needed a way to track medicine.  I wasn't going to be on any of it long enough to build a habit and I needed to take it perfectly.  Some I took once daily, some a few times a day and some I took only when needed.  And  the doses varied.

I needed a way to track by time and something that would be easy to decipher with a glance. I couldn't find any stashed inserts with times so I decided to print out a chronograph.  It worked incredibly well, so well that now when I have a day heavy with timed things I add a Chronodex core.

I print them (several at a time on  a4 paper sold at JetPens ), cut them up, and keep them in my planner to paste  on daily pages.


If you want to try one but, like me, don't quite understand how to plan a day with them I have a suggestion: Print a core and fill in a busy, past day.  Trying to learn how to plan on a blank core can be a little intimidating so  learn how they work first.  Filling in a day you're familiar with  gives you a frame of reference you won't have otherwise and after I did that the whole thing started to make sense to me.

I think there is a learning curve with Chronodex (and for that matter, any planning system you've never tried). Some people get it right away but others, like me, just sort of stare at them and don't know where to start.  Practicing on past days helped me a lot.  

I have to admit, a major reason I love them is a visual thing, that they work as time management is just a bonus.  The cores have an ASMR-like appeal to me;  modern and at the same time, worn-in and disheveled. I can look at images of them all day long, their steampunk vibe just pushes my happy buttons.


Chronodex cores are the brainchild of Patrick Ng.  He blogs about them (and many other wondrous stationery things) at Scription and can be found on Instagram, Flicker and Facebook.  He offers the cores and dated printables (many for the Midori Traveler's notebook) free on his blog.

If you've ever wanted to try them, do.  Filling in a past day helped me to understand them and while I don't use one every day, I use them every chance I get.


Sunday, November 3, 2013

Hot Dog Stuffed Crust Filofax

I've been driving myself crazy in the last few months switching out planners and yeah, I did it again over the weekend.  Ooops, as Brittany said...

Since August, I've had a lot of home projects to manage and things to deal with (my son, leaving for college was especially difficult) and I've been overwhelmed for months.  Whenever I get that feeling a voice inside says, "It's the planner, Tracy.  Fix the planner and you'll fix your life!"  I try and resist but before long I'm in the middle of an office supply cyclone making holes in everything  like a rabid woodpecker.

This madness must end.

The whole process is a little crazy and feels oddly  like emotional eating.   Both help shut down the madness. 

Eating works, Oh! Does it work...  My current account with Weight Watchers proves that...  But  so does switching from one planner to another because it's so all consuming.  Changing binders focuses me on something other then what's overwhelming me...  And for a reasonable length of time.  

Yeah, it's more then a little crazy making and in some ways counterproductive but how much better it is then pulling a chair up to the Coldstone Creamery counter and saying," Line 'em up my good man, and make it a double." Can only be measured in light years.

I was looking for a way to stop the planner switching madness but.. Eh, I don't know. Switching out planners every week is pretty harmless in the grand scheme of coping skills.   Certainly a much better alternative then  one of these...

(Hot dog stuffed crust Pizza image from the Guardian)
...followed by a  Shark Week Sundae chaser.

So where does that leave me?  And really, is it madness?  

Maybe...  but it's a harmless sort of madness. It takes my mind off what's irritating me for a while and  there's always a chance I'll stumble on a few good planning ideas in the fray.

My plan isn't so much to stop, just  stop stressing about it.  I'm giving into a little harmless madness because it's works at least as well as chugging pizzas...And until comfort food comes in a calorie free version...

I'm sticking with this...


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