Before reporting on my current tempus planner, please let me briefly introduce myself. I have been using ring-bound planners for about 30 years, switched to digital, back to notebooks, index cards, digital again … - I think you get the picture. Since 2004 I am using tempus planners, besides some fILOFAXes.
Being a theoretical physicist at a university, I am heaviliy involved in teaching and in a lot of projects. Therefore, I am planning appointments and daily tasks on paper. Long-term planning is done on a computer.
My planner collection comprises three tempus planners (WT black with M-sized rings, WT brown with S-sized rings, and an A5 black with M-sized rings) and (too?) many fILOFAXes (Personal: Malden ochre, Malden grey, Kendal brown, Hamilton black, Active zipped black, Sketch grey; Slimline: Kendal black; A5: Malden ochre, Holborn black, and Finsbury grey). Currently in use are the tempus WT and the A5 Malden, the latter for meeting minutes and conferences.
tempus is a German company (http://www.tempus.de/zeitplansystem.html) which offers two lines of planners: A5 and WT format (vest pocket, *Westentaschenformat*), the latter somewhat smaller than fILOFAX Personal. The calendars come in three flavours: week on two pages, day per page, and day on two pages (D2P). I’ll report on my WT planner with D2P calendar.
The WT planner’s size is between a fILOFAX Personal and a fILOFAX Pocket.
|tempus WT planner (right) and a fILOFAX Personal Malden in ochre.|
|tempus WT between two fILOFAXes: Malden Personal and Holborn A5.|
|tempus WT on top of two fILOFAXes: Malden Personal and Holborn A5.|
The four rings are 20 mm wide. The planner has two elastic pen loops, that on the right-hand-side with leather reinforcement, as the Kendals have. It lies absolutely flat out of the box, thanks to the »striped« back which also makes the planner somewhat floppy (which I like - Malden lovers would appreciate this, too). The leather is thin but robust - it shows only minute wear after several years of usage. Currently, I am using two pens: a 0.7 mm pencil (left, for appointment entries) and a black Pilot G-TEC-C4 0.4 (right, for anything else).
The yearly calendar package is available in German only. It is quite expensive, at first glance it costs much more than fILOFAX inserts. But the set comprises a D2P calendar, a monthly calendar, notepaper, planner for the actual and the upcoming year, project planner, page marker, info pages, motivational cover pages, and an archive folder. The paper quality is high - very thin but ink-proof, with the shortcoming that pencil is somewhat bright (low contrast). There are so many well-thought details which make using the planner fun.
On the left side you find four credit card slots, one of them with a window, and a vertical full-height pocket. The cover page provides a motivational quote and a picture.
|Motivational cover page.|
Then comes the monthly calendar.
|Monthly calendar (left).|
This is a booklet with plastic cover which can easily be »ripped off« the rings, like a »today« marker. There is a single line per day which is sufficent space for up to four, maybe five, appointments. Note the transparent divider with the blue tab at the bottom; this allows to open quickly the actual month. Futhermore, the calendar is tabbed for easy access. It starts with December of the past year and ends with February of the next year. On top of this it offers pages for the upcoming years (up to ten, with decreasing space).
For daily planning one uses the D2P inserts.
|Day on two pages.|
The left page exhibits a motivational quotation and space for notes. Note the lines with the fading background - these »sections« offer structure but do not disturb. The right page shows two columns: one for appointments, the other for tasks. The latter is divided into four sections; from top to bottom: to do by yourself (for me: urgent and important), delegate (for me: not urgent but important), phone calls (for me: contact), and email (same for me). On the top of the page you find a line for this day’s priority. Note also the day tabs for easy access; tabs for Saturday and Sunday are slightly darker (e.g. 14. and 15. of March). The rings are wide enough to hold five weeks of D2P pages, besides the other inserts.
The to do lists wrap around the divider with the green tab at the bottom and can be folded out, similar to the Professional range of fILOFAX. I do long-term planning on mind maps (week, month, and year), also foldable for more space.
|Mind map and to-do list.|
On the top you’ll find several dividers made of plastic. Those labeled 1 - 3 are for notes. I am using section 1 for projects, 2 for personal notes, 3 for ideas. The notepaper is pretty conventional.
|Ruled and lined notepaper.|
Then come sections for spare inserts: to-do lists etc, then notepaper. The info section is updated yearly and comprises about 80 pages. I pick out about 20 pages that suit my needs (e.g. holidays, time zones, etc.).
The back of the planner hosts a transparent compartment for small notes, recipes, etc.
|Back of the WT planner.|
The »today« markers come in three flavours.
The transparent one is similar to that supplied by fILOFAX but more flexible. The other two are made of cardboard - I am using them when travelling; so I have my schedule and travel information always visible. Or one could use these for notes, phone numbers, shopping items, … See them as kind of a dashboard.
The yearly inserts come in a handy folder, which gives a nice archive.
|Archive folders in WT format (top row) and A5 format (bottom row).|
Concerning planning, a tempus offers sufficient structure but is not too restrictive. It is flexible enough to fit to my needs, that is, it is close to my »sweet spot«. However, it is not as customizable as a fILOFAX which offers no guidance at all.
In my opinion, whether you prefer structure or flexibility is a matter of personal habit. I am using a GTD-inspired approach; but instead of running several »orthodox« GTD lists (@NextAction, @Waiting, @Someday, etc) I have a single to-do list in which tasks are marked according to the DashPlus system (http://patrickrhone.com/dashplus/).
Summarizing, a tempus planner is suited neither for scrap booking nor for decoration with Washi tapes. Instead, it is a professional tool you can trust on: awakening towards serenity (*Aufbruch zur Gelassenheit*). There is — of course — a drawback: it has neither the vintage style and the haptic of a Malden nor the patina of an old and often used Hamilton. I think I do not have achieved planner peace yet but I am pretty close.
Once again thank you Jürgen for your post.
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