Fins Fail: Back to The Drawing Board

05 September 2014

With the A5 Van der Spek (VDS) as my main planner, I've been considering something more portable that I could use while on the go. Though surprisingly lightweight for an A5, I still think the VDS somewhat awkward to lug around while running errands and such. With its 35 mm rings, it's fairly chunky. Add to this the typical on-the-go essentials for both my 6 month old and toddler, plus my usual purse things, and you've got one pretty heavy bag already. I know a lot of people who carry their A5's (or similar) around with them with no problem, but it's just not going to happen for me. So, I've been looking around at all my options and finally decided to try out a compact size Filofax for the first time. Enter the compact Finsbury.

I had a Finsbury once, back when I first discovered Filofax. It was one of the first few Filofaxes I bought before discovering the Maldens (yes, there was more than one Malden). It was a bright cherry red planner and, at the time, I thought it was okay. I thought that maybe the compact Finsbury would be an excellent candidate for this experiment because it met a few of the basic requirements I needed. Portability: Check. Decent pocket configuration: Check. Enough ring space to hold what I need it to: Check. And, most importantly, affordability: CHECK! I was able to find someone wanting to part with hers on one of the planner sell groups at a great price and it was shipped to me in speedy time. She even included a few extra goodies in my package which was super kind of her. One of the awesome things about the planner community is meeting some of the most generous people.

If you're not familiar with the compact Finsbury or any compact size Filofax for that matter, the compact Filofaxes have much smaller rings, and though they carry the same size paper as a personal size Filofax, their overall silhouette is more on the, well, "compact" side. Anyway, I was quite happy with the overall exchange, and was even happier once my planner arrived and discovered that it was indeed in excellent condition, just as described. I immediately moved everything I needed in. My setup was quite simple. A month-on-two pages tabbed diary from Franklin Covey, a page marker, several sheets of paper, my favorite pen, and a few items in the card pockets. Everything looked great! But, it wasn't until I started actually using the planner that I discovered a few things that I wasn't entirely happy with.

First of all, this:

Okay, my fault for totally overlooking the fact that the Finsbury does not lie flat. Sure, maybe with time and after some training, but for the most part, you get this. And this is after I tried bending the cover back ever so gently. I found it helped a bit until the next time I needed to use my planner and discovered that the entire process needed repeating to get it as close to lying flat as it did the first time around. Sure, the flatibility (or lack thereof) isn't too bad. Tolerable even. Just definitely not cool.

But, what got to me the most was this:

I was incredibly stoked to learn that, like some other compacts, the Finsbury came with an elastic pen loop as opposed to the all leather ones found in both the personal and A5. Elastic is good. Elastic usually means my fat pens will fit. And, yes, the pen loop was able to hold my 3 barrel Uni Style Fit multi-pen quite nicely. But, notice how the pen loop gets in the way of the inserts? Most of the time, everything just sort of sits on top of the pen. Mind you, I've cut down my Franklin Covey inserts so that they are the exact same width as the much narrower Filofax inserts. I could, of course, pull the pen over to the side and then close the Filofax but I found that by doing that, it was difficult to get the strap to even snap close.

Then I thought, well, what if I switched out my fat pen to a skinnier one? Would that maybe work?

Definitely a step in the right direction but, still, my tabs were going to be smushed no matter what I did. Then I thought maybe if I forfeited my tabbed diary altogether, I would have a bit more wiggle room between my inserts and pen loop.

That most definitely worked, but it meant I would need to find a replacement diary, something I wasn't sure I wanted to do. So, no favorite pen and definitely no tabbed diary (or tabbed anything for that matter!) which is unfortunate because I love me some monthly tabs! *sigh*

Anyway, the whole experiment was unsuccessful. These issues seem trivial enough, but I've given up on making compromises when it comes to my planners. The Finsbury is out and it's back to the drawing board I go. I have a few more ideas in mind, but none I've really followed through with just yet.

Do you use an A5 or something bigger as your main planner? Do you take it everywhere with you? Or do you use a separate planner along with it? I'm definitely taking some suggestions. Any suggestions! I'd love to hear what every one uses on a day-to-day basis.

Anyway, I'll definitely keep you posted. Until next time, here's hoping you have an excellent weekend. Happy Friday!


  1. I use an a5 as my main planner and I usually leave it at home, but I take the current weekly & current monthly inserts with me in a small, thin case. :)

    1. That's an alternative I've not heard before. Thanks for sharing! :)

  2. Beautiful shade of red! I am so weary over trying to decide if I should have gotten a Personal size Filofax, rather than my A5 Malden...which I LOVE...but it is now too heavy to carry in my backpack everyday along with my work iPad and etc. That Finsbury looks gorgeous with the pearl top pen!

    1. I am a BIG fan of the Malden and absolutely loved my A5! But, like you said, it got incredibly heavy to carry around. I suppose it's about finding what it is you need in a planner when you're out and about and then going from there. This one's currently for sale should you be interested.


Thanks for reading! Your comments are much appreciated. ♥

Related Posts Plugin for WordPress, Blogger...