I tried to stick with one organiser for a long time. Because I blog about thrift and living simply, I didn’t want to be seen to be buying a new diary on a whim. But my life has changed in the past six months, and so have my requirements in an organiser:
- My children got a bit older. We’re no longer at home most of the day, either waiting for a child to go to sleep or wake up. So I need to be able to throw a few things in the bag so we can get out the house quickly.
- Because my kids are a bit older now, I’ve got some of my independence back. So now I can leave them with a sitter for longer periods and I’m not as house-bound. The Personal size is much more portable for quick errands.
- I started riding a bike (more on this later) and it seemed silly to put the A5 into my basket to go to the market.
These are some of the great things about the personal size:
- I can carry it one hand! I couldn’t really do this with the A5. So therefore…
- I can go from room to room with my diary in one hand and a child on the other hip.
- I can have it alongside me as I eat breakfast and plan out my day. I couldn’t really do this with the A5.
- My desk is only 90cm wide, but it still fits alongside my laptop as I work or study. With the A5 I had to store it on the top part of my bureau, which means I had to stand up just to glance at it.
- It fits on my bedside table, and it fits in just about all the handbags I own. So now there’s no question of “Should I or shouldn’t I bring my organiser with me?”. And I can trust my system a lot more.
My planner really has become more of a life companion now I’ve switched to this more portable size. I’m beginning to really understand why this is called the personal size and why A5 is known as the desk size, and I don’t know why I missed this concept before!
However, there are some things I miss about the bigger format that I haven’t been able to recreate in my Smythson:
- My A5 Collins Debden inserts had a section for appointments, and while I don’t have a lot of those, it did help me visualise and track my time.
- I know that you can print on Personal sized paper and I have some blank paper to make my Bill Planner in this size, but I don’t think it will be as quick and easy as printing on A5.
- The A5 also functioned as a Home Management Binder. It was nice to be able to keep all that information together in the one accessible place.
- Because I would leave the A5 open on the top of my desk, the monthly pages doubled as our family calendar:
I thought I would miss all the whitespace, but actually I’m dealing with it quite well! I’ve noticed that with Personal size, what you lack in page space, you tend to make up for in the number of pages you add to the binder. With A5, I tended to keep most of my notes on the current week’s spread. But with Personal, only appointments and Must-Dos will fit there. The rest of my notes and information is scattered throughout the other four sections of my organiser. Now I am flipping between sections and using the dividers, rings and page-markers much more. I feel I am using this planner for the purpose it was designed for.
What are your thoughts on Personal vs A5?
PS: I’m no longer using the Week on Two Pages format and I’m trying something different. I’m still fine-tuning my set-up, but I hope to be able to give you a tour soon.