Wednesday, March 14, 2012

bound for anything: planner review

yeah, i know it's march
as in: not typical planner season. but see, my current planner runs out at the end of june [conveniently, around the same time as my maternity leave likely will!]. until recently, i hadn't really decided on a replacement. i do love my current system [and yes, i bought it off of ebay], but thought it might be time for something more steamlined. plus, i actually wanted something for just 6 months -- so that i can get back on a normal-person january schedule starting in 2013! after all, i won't be in the world of fellowship/academia forever. and i admit i miss starting the year off with a fresh new paper planner.

bound for anything is actually a new company based in downtown durham -- ie, as local as it gets for me, and pretty much the opposite of shipping from korea. i actually became aware of the company after jessica [the owner joel's wife] emailed me after spotting me on a run around town [that was back when i wasn't relegated to the treadmill!]. [hi jessica -- i hope you don't mind the shout-out :) ]

i wrote back enthusiastic about their products, because

a) i had never seen a customizable planner before! so cool.
b) i liked how they were REAL bound books [and the quality looked great]
c) based right here -- and there was even a durham MAP available as a [custom] insert.

i really wasn't expecting it, but joel surprised me with a voucher for a FREE custom-made planner, which came in the mail last week. i am excited to use it, and i wanted to share the details with all of you.

shown here with my current system

in its natural habitat . . .

the details
so first of all, this planner is bound like a BOOK, which is different [and cool, in my opinion]. i almost feel bad in a way having something with such fancy craftsmanship that is designed to be used for such a finite period!

since it's customizable, i am showing you just one possibility of what could be inside. i chose to turn this planner into a 6-month version, complete with plenty of extra space for notes, lists, and project planning, so that i'd only need to throw ONE smallish book into my work bag. as you might imagine, my goal was to lighten the load, since come july i'll be carrying a baby, diaper bag, and breast pump out the door with me every day -- in addition to all of my regular work stuff. whew.

i started with monthly pages. in the past, i've actually used these to plan and document workouts [race training plans, for example]. for next year, that may change [perhaps it will just be my call/clinic schedule].

i added tape flags to delineate the various sections

next come the weekly pages. the typeface is very nice and the paper is lovely and smooth. my only complaint is that i wish there was an option for weekly pages with a blank page to the right [ie, all 7 days on the left], because i like to have a weekly area to plan out to-do essentials.

however, i think i can make this work!

note the added categories on the right

i decided to follow up this section with ~15 sheets each of lined:

. . . and 15 graph! you never know when you need a page with beautiful squares on it, after all!

finally, i added a section of list paper. i imagine that i will use this for work and home tasks -- perhaps setting up a page every week or so?

and finally, the MAP! available cities include austin, chicago, detroit, NYC, SF, and DC -- and of course, durham.

i may or may not live somewhere on this spread!

pros + cons
overall, i think this is a great [and fun!] product, and i can't WAIT to start using it.

i love:
the customizability! there are many other options available that i didn't use -- recipe pages, grocery lists, contacts, storyboards, music paper, etc. you get to decide exactly how many pages of each element you want, and you can choose the starting and ending dates.

quality. the paper isn't super-thick, but it's nice and smooth [i'm very picky about this!]. and the real binding is a step up from a typical planner. you can tell this book is really well-made.

style. i like the fonts and overall aesthetics of this planner a lot.

local. i admit i LOVE that it's from right nearby! durham pride.

minor critiques:
planner layout. as i mentioned above, i would LOVE a weekly planner layout that includes a blank page on the right / dates on the left. since it's a custom product, i think even more options would be great.

spine. while i love the traditional book-style binding, so far the planner hasn't been great about laying flat. it may be that the spine just needs more breaking in and that this will happen eventually, but i find a flat surface easier to write on [and sometimes i like to leave my planner open on my desk].

price. i completely understand why this planner is expensive -- and i have no doubt that the dollars are going into a very responsibly-run company that is making a fantastic product. but it is admittedly on the pricey side for a planner at $35 [plus shipping].

if you've made it this far
i'm going to offer you a reward since i feel like i want to pay joel's generosity forward! a random commenter today will be chosen to win a $40 gift certificate to bound, courtesy of me. either leave a note with:

a) how you would customize your planner


b) something good about today.