My Moleskine Cahiers Customer Monthly Notebook (The Little Dukie)

Photo art by Alexander Farto (aka Vhils)

Being somewhat of a nut about any kind of planning tool, electronic or paper, I’ve had my share of failed experiments over the past 28 years. Every new system generated a burst of planning energy in me mainly because “new” planning tools are always fun.

I have used or continue to apply in some way David Allen’s GTD, Franklin Covey, HipsterPDA, Palm Pilot, Outlook, EverNote and OneNote. Unfortunately, when the novelty wore off of my primary planning (note/task) tool, my review habit tended to suffer.

I think David Allen’s “review” habit is very likely the single most important attribute of any planning system and you really can’t beat the convenience of electronic tools for indexing, search & scheduling activities.

When it comes to compact calendar and task tools David Seah’s blog has been an inspiration. I adapted one of his compact calendar designs to fit my system. Finally, I really love Moleskine notebooks. My particular model of choice is the Cahiers 3 X 5 Squared Journal.

So, a few years ago I started playing with the idea of creating my own hybrid planning system. I wanted to incorporate the best of the paper and electronic methods available. I find most of my creative thoughts are stimulated by paper and pen.

The end result of my experimentation resulted in what I call my “Little Dukie” custom monthly planner. The criteria for my planner included the following:

  1. Compact and paper-based
  2. Utilize EverNote’s indexing of scanned images for long-term reference/retrieval of my paper-based notes and task lists
  3. Can’t be boring and must incorporate some level of artistic quality to the appearance of the work.
  4. Include a small paper/custom annual calendar for quick reference of important dates for planning purposes only.
  5. Outlook is my primary meeting scheduling tool working in conjunction with my Blackberry.

The Cahiers notebooks are 64 pages log and include a back flap that’s the perfect size to slide in a few spare business cards. This is the perfect size for a 30 day custom planning notebook.  Photos of some of my Little Dukie note books can be found on my Flickr site.  Go here to find detailed assembly instructions and create your on version of the Little Dukie custom monthly planner.

Please email me if you come up with any interesting variations of your own. I’d love to here your ideas.

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