January 29, 2008

My System: Circa

I try to get out, but they pull me back in!

Ah, Levenger. Worse than a drug dealer aren't they? They just have the best stuff. But this isn't as bad as it seems. I got a sample Junior sized notebook for $12. It comes with the clear covers, tabbed dividers and the famous ring binders. It also comes with some samples of paper, but not enough to really use. Now you have to decide if you want to buy their (admittedly nice) pre-cut paper or go for the unique hole punch.

Go for the hole punch. Yes it's nearly $60, but it will last forever and you can punch whatever you want to fill up this puppy. I print out pages and punch from my Google Calendar for free. You can find every kind of pre-printed form you can imagine at DIY Planner for free or just cut and punch blank paper. So yes, it's an up front investment but for less than the price of seven disposable Moleskines, you can have the magnificent organizational and creative outlet that is Circa.

I love it because other notebooks don't lay flat and you're carrying 200+ pages of blank paper. I used stenos to lay flat, but they fall apart too easily. This is the best of both worlds. It carries only the papers you require and it can be folded back and lay flat and the pages can be taken out and put back in however you wish without the clumsiness of a three-ring binder.

My partner teacher has since gotten one. So has my mom. They're just awesome.

Now Staples does carry a knock-off called Rollabind. The notebooks are much cheaper and they have (less fine) pre-cut refill papers that look like they would work just as well. I've heard they have a punch too, but couldn't find one. Levenger has a cheaper "travel" punch, but I've heard it's wonky to use so opted for the heftier original.

I made my own inner covers, print and fold the calendar pages, and have tabbed sections for Next, Projects, Someday, Waiting, and Reference/Journaling. That's another plus. I used to have separate notebooks for GTD and journaling, but because the pages can be easily moved, this is great for both. I can punch my 3x5s to fit in here and move them around. Sometimes I have only 3x5s in some sections (like Waiting) rather than whole sheets of paper.

The best thing is, I have quit switching around and just gotten more done (which is the point, no?) since I settled on this. I think because the notebook itself lets me fiddle with it, I don't need to fiddle with other notebooks or systems or whatever and can concentrate on actually Doing.