Quo Vadis Time and Life planners

Posted January 23, 2015 by
in Announcements, Pens, Paper & People | 18 comments »


I am very excited to review these Quo Vadis Time and Life planners! They tick a lot of boxes: all seven days have full-size columns, there are month grid calendars and pull-out anno-planning calendars. There are repositionable notes pages, covers with pockets, and great portable sizes. This post is longer than Quo Vadis blog posts usually are, and it’s very photo heavy so I can show you the great features of these planners.

These planners are in English but are actually made for the Japanese market. They have holidays for the US, UK, France and Japan printed in the day spaces. Even things like Daylight Savings Time for the US and European Summer Time are noted on the days, which is very handy.

The Time and Life planners are currently available in France, Germany and Japan. Quo Vadis sent these to me to ask if I thought the US market would be interested in them, and my immediate reply was definitely yes! Take a look and see if you would like these to be available to you. Currently you can order these from the Quo Vadis UK website, but they take longer to ship.

(First of all let me apologize that the photo quality isn’t the best. It’s hard to get good light this time of year at 57 degrees north. But you’ll be able to see the features okay. You can click on the photos for a larger view.)

The cover material is soft and leather-like, and feels very nice. The purple planner is the Pocket size, 10 by 15 cm (4 by 6 inches). The red one is the Medium size which is 16 cm square (6 1/4 inches). They are both very portable and handy to carry everywhere. I have to confess I love these planners and I moved into the Medium red one immediately. Then my daughter spotted them and claimed the purple one for herself! They are very appealing.

both planners


Inside the front cover there are a couple of slots for cards, and the cover creates a pocket which is a handy place to put papers.

Inside cover


There is a fold-out Anno-planner for the current and following year. This fold-out page is attached to the rings with tabs, so it is repositionable if you would like to move it to a different location in the planner.

Anno planners


Next are several repositionable notes pages, so you can move them to different locations in the book or remove them neatly when they are no longer relevant. I’m using a two-page spread for each month for things to do that month and to track expenses. There are plenty of pages with some left over too.

repositionable notes pages


Next is a page with some information about the Time and Life planners. They are designed to incorporate all aspects of your life into one planner: work, family and self. I think these planners do a great job of keeping it all together!

work family and self


There are two Timetable pages so you can keep track of everyone’s weekly schedules at a glance.



The monthly grid calendars have holidays in the day spaces which is very helpful. Monthly calendars are some of the most-requested features in Quo Vadis planners and it’s great to have them in this planner!

month grid calendars


The weekly spread has an excellent, efficient layout. All seven days have full size columns, so the weekends have just as much space as the weekdays. This is great for those of us who are just as busy, or busier, on the weekends!

weekly spread no placemarker

I love how the dates are nice and big at the top of the page, making it easy to find days as you flip through the pages. Something I’ve noticed that I really like: the date color is blue until the Vernal Equinox, then green until Summer Solstice, then red until the Autumnal equinox, then orange until the Winter Solstice when it goes back to blue again. I love the color designations for the seasons/ quarters, and the changing colors also help find the date you’re looking for quickly.

left page week

At the top of each day’s column is a box for priorities that day. The daily column is timed from 7 am to 10 pm! Another frequent request we get is for extended times so that is a great feature. There is room above and below the timed space if you need earlier or later appointment times too.

right page weekAt the bottom of each column is an open space for notes or reminders. You can use it any way you like. At the right of the page is a column with designated list boxes with icons for phone calls, emails, meetings and children’s activities. These boxes are flexible and can also be used any way you like.

Below is the weekly layout in the smaller Pocket size, which is compact but still easy to write in.

weekly spread pocketThe paper is spectacular, as you would expect from Quo Vadis. It is pure white, super smooth and has no bleed through and practically no shadowing even with my wet gel pens, so my writing is not at all obscured when writing on both sides of the pages.

The Medium size planner came with a repositionable page marker that doubles as a ruler.

repositionable page marker

Here you can see it in the planner. There are also tear-off corner tabs to mark the current week.

week spread


Other features include reference calendars:

reference calendars


And full-color maps of all the continents including an excellent time zones map!maps

There are also reference pages with international holidays, telephone codes, conversions etc.

Inside the back of the book is a reference booklet with themed tabs for Health, Children, Administration and Services, Going out and Body Care.

themed reference booklet

The booklet also has A to Z tabs.

A to Z tabs

The Medium size is currently available via Quo Vadis UK (click here for link) for worldwide shipping.

Here is a short video by Quo Vadis showing the French version and how it’s used.

Personally I think this would be a wonderful addition to the Quo Vadis US lineup. There is a French version (sold out for this year) in a larger size (16 by 24 cm, 6 1/4 by 9 3/8 inches) that I would like to see added too.

Would you be interested in these planners? If so, which size: Pocket (4 by 6 inches), Medium (6 1/4 by 6 1/4 inches), or Large (6 1/4 by 9 3/8 inches)?

Thanks for your input everyone!

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Notor Update

Posted January 22, 2015 by
in Announcements | 2 comments »

Textagenda old vs new scan cropped

Great news for all of you Notor fans out there: your voices have been heard!

Huge thanks to everyone who gave feedback on the post about the new look of the Notor, and in the poll in the sidebar. The vast majority of Notor users indicated they preferred the more subtle look of the previous year’s pages, so future Notors will go back to that style.

The 2016 planners are already done, so it’s too late to change those. The changes will take effect in the 2017 Notor planners.

Quo Vadis loves hearing from customers. After all, the goal is to provide you with products you will use and enjoy! Thanks again to everyone who gave their opinions.

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Writing Wednesday: Robert Burns

Posted January 21, 2015 by
in Cabinet of Curiosities, Pens, Paper & People | Add your comment »

PG 1063Burns Naysmithcrop.jpg
Sunday is Burns Night here in Scotland, to celebrate the birthday of national poet Robert Burns. I’ve been lucky enough to go to several Burns Suppers, which are great fun. Someone important addresses the haggis, there’s plenty of whisky and of course ceilidh dancing.

Many people outside of the UK know Burns only as the author of Auld Lang Syne, which we sing on New Year’s Eve. But here he’s known for much more than that.

Most infamously he’s known for being a bit of a womanizer. Much of his poetry was inspired by whichever lass he was pursuing at the moment. He wrote some powerful verses, like loving a woman until the seas go dry and the rocks melt in the sun. Unfortunately for the ladies in his life, he didn’t keep his word. It seems to me his attention was like striking a match; it burned hot and bright briefly, then burnt out quickly.

Burns was also known for his Scottish patriotism and political poems. Had he been alive to vote in our recent Scottish Referendum I’m sure he would have voted for Scottish independence.

One of my favorite Burns poems is A Man’s A Man For A’ That. He sums up well the people who think they are important because of status or wealth. He was the people’s champion, valuing “honest poverty” and self-direction.

Around Scotland there are lots of places to see Burns heritage. The National Trust for Scotland has the beautiful new Robert Burns Birthplace Museum where you can learn all about his life and see where he grew up.

One of my favorite Burns sightings was finding a poem he allegedly wrote on a wall at the Kenmore Hotel (also known as the oldest inn in Scotland). I wonder how many other places around Scotland have traces of his poetic graffiti!

In his short life (he died at only 37) he wrote songs and poems that still inspire people in Scotland and the world over.

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Need More Notes Pages?

Posted January 20, 2015 by
in Announcements, Editorial, Where to Go? | Add your comment »


We recently received this email from a Quo Vadis customer in Washington State:  “The description of the Hebdo Weekly Planner says that a blank notes insert is available.  How can I order it?”

A 16-page blank notes insert is available for Hebdo, Minister, Space 24, Academic Minister & Scholar–all 6 1/4 x 9″ planners. The suggested retail price is $2 each.

The blank inserts can be purchased from Classic Office Products and Paper Bistro.


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Time management Monday: Padding your schedule

Posted January 19, 2015 by
in Planning Tips, Where to Go? | Add your comment »

Padding your schedule

Last month I wrote about one of my favorite time management techniques: time blocking. I like the peace of mind it brings, knowing I’m doing exactly what I need to be working on right now.

But one of the big secrets of time blocking, or any scheduling technique is: you have to cleverly pad your schedule. You can’t make plans for every single minute of the day, because inevitably things come up you hadn’t anticipated. That’s life, and it’s normal. But if something urgent must be done during an already jam-packed time slot, you’ll go into crisis mode.

Here are good times to add a little padding to your schedule:

First thing in the morning. Inevitably something will take longer than expected, or something will come up. Even if you’ve prepared ahead, there’s something about first thing in the morning that lends itself to a time crunch. Do yourself a favor and add a little padding to your morning time in case there’s traffic, someone forgot something, or you’re just having a slow start.

When working on that big project. You can generally expect that things will take longer than you think they will. You’ll discover steps you forgot to include in your plan. You might take two steps forward and one step back for awhile. Or, you’ll have to wait on someone else to get done with their part before you can continue yours. Leave yourself some wiggle room in your schedule for the inevitable derailments.

When going places. Similar to first thing in the morning, whenever you set out to go someplace make sure you have enough time to get there plus a little extra. If you’re afraid of wasting time waiting when you get there, bring along something to work on or read while you wait. I have a friend who usually leaves home at the time when she’s supposed to arrive at her destination, because there’s always something else that needs to be done before she goes out the door. Plan to wrap things up ahead of time, and don’t forget about extra time to warm up your car this time of year.

When listening to people. Yes it’s hard to listen to someone yammer on about something that’s not high on your priority list while you’re busy, but if that person is important to you, take the time to listen. If you really need to get away, make a polite apology, explain you’re in a rush, and ask when you can continue the conversation at a time when you’ll be able to really listen.

At bedtime. Don’t expect to rush around or be attached to screens until you flop into bed and then drift magically to sleep (unless you have magical sleep capabilities). Give yourself screen-free time to wind down before bed.

At what times of the day do you pad your schedule?



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What should the icons be in the list boxes?

Posted January 16, 2015 by
in Pens, Paper & People, Where to Go? | 4 comments »

2015-01-12 2015-01-12 001 009

Back in October I featured the list boxes that are in some of the Quo Vadis weekly planners and discussed different ways to use them. My question today is, what should the icons be?

Currently the boxes are labeled with little icons indicating what types of lists or notes you should put in each box. It’s a nice way to give you a quick landing place for things you need to jot down quickly, and it organizes everything as you write it.

The icons are a little phone to indicate phone calls you need to make or notes from phone calls; an @ symbol for things you need to do at the computer or emails to send; a $ to indicate bills to pay or payments received; a notepad for notes, and a pencil to remind you of things to write.

I’m wondering if these icons are the best things to go in those spaces, or if some icons should be different. Or should we do away with the icons entirely and just use numbers, or an empty box so you can designate the spaces according to your needs?

What are your suggestions for the icons in the list boxes?



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Mary Slessor centennial

Posted January 15, 2015 by
in Pens, Paper & People | Add your comment »

"Mary Slessor and her family", Calabar, late 19th century (imp-cswc-GB-237-CSWC47-LS2-019)Here in Scotland we are recognizing the life of Mary Slessor, a Scottish woman who died 100 years ago this month. Mary was a missionary in Africa at a time when women traveling alone were frowned upon, to say the least.

Mary lived in what is now Nigeria, and quickly became widely loved. She adopted local dress and became fluent in the language. She seems to me like one of those people whose door was always open. And she absolutely dedicated her life to helping people.

At that time, the local people believed that twins were the work of the devil, so they were killed upon birth. Mary put a stop to the practice by adopting the babies as her own. She also campaigned tirelessly to put a stop to practices of severe punishments against women like flogging and being forced to drink poison.

She was a true diplomat, encouraging hostile tribal leaders to communicate among themselves to facilitate trade. She even talked with cannibals to try to convince them to change their lifestyle.

She traveled deep into the jungle often to bring medicine to the sick, and she created schools so the local children could learn to read and write.

It’s hard to imagine what her life was like with malaria, illness from dirty drinking water and the constant danger of violence. Some lines in her diary illustrate what must have been a fairly typical day.


Carrying sand, cleaning corn patch, mudding and rubbing walls.

Patients from early morning; man bitten by rat; another by snake.

School begun, nearly a hundred scholars.

Chiefs here by daybreak for palavers.

Terrific thunderstorm. School-boys drenched. Got a big fire on in hall, and all sat round the blaze and I gave them a reading lesson.

Two women murdered on the way from market and their heads taken away.

Fever; trying to make meat safe.

Cut my first two roses from the rose bush — lovely, a tender gift from God. Heaps of sick babies. Full up with work till late at night. Dead tired.


Mary is still recognized in Nigeria, and the Mary Slessor Foundation continues her work there.

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Writing Wednesday: Tracking

Posted January 14, 2015 by
in Pens, Paper & People, Where to Go? | Add your comment »

Tracking in Miniday

A planner is a very handy place to track things like diet, exercise, medications, symptoms, expenses, even how quickly you’re getting through your reading list.

Many people use their daily planner as the landing place for all things trackable. It’s easy to jot things down when you have your planner with you all the time. Recording things as they happen is the best way to make sure it gets recorded at all.

Other people prefer to use a designated planner or notebook to track and record, because it’s easier to see in a purpose-specific book where it won’t get obscured by your other daily details. Especially if you need to track patterns, it might be easier to use a separate book. You’ll just need to make sure the book is handy to use, and that you use it often enough.

Different types of planners are good for different types of tracking. Day per page planners are great for logging lots of details. Monthly planners are good for broad overviews, seeing patterns, or tracking projects.

Several years ago I used a Monthly 4 planner to help me prepare for an international move. It was great for counting down to moving day and the timing of preparations like packout, address changes, medical records transfer and travel arrangements.

This year I’m using my daily book as a journal too, and I don’t necessarily want to look back years from now and see what I ate for lunch or what my medical symptoms were. So I bought myself a cute little Miniday diary (shown in the photo at the top of this post) to log these types of things. It’s tiny so I can take it with me everywhere, which increases the likelihood I’ll actually bother to write my food diary!

The Journal 21 planner has monthly columns, month per page grid calendars and daily pages, which makes it extra useful for tracking. I like how Gini used hers to track medical symptoms, medications, weather, and nature observations.

How do you use your planner(s) for tracking? And what types of things do you track?



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Changing Over To a New Planner

Posted January 13, 2015 by
in Editorial | Add your comment »


I switched from Sapa X to Biweek for 2015.

The Sapa X has served me well for several years. It is a handy pocket size with open space for notes. It’s great for jotting reminders, events, birthdays and other special dates.

This year I have a lot of major research and writing projects to juggle, so I switched over to a format with expanded view for planning blocks of time. Biweek, my new pocket format, shows a two-week view, which so far is more useful to me in allocating and balancing chunks of work.

This format doesn’t include appointment times, which I don’t need, but offers four lines to write down whatever is important to me that day.

I have used a weekly layout for many years, so moving from a one-week focus is an adjustment. That being said, I appreciate the Biweek’s necessity of whittling down down to-dos to the essentials.  That helps me keep the work focus.

Did you move to a new planner format this year?  If so, why?


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Time management Monday: Where is your planner?

Posted January 12, 2015 by
in Pens, Paper & People, Planning Tips | 3 comments »

Planners open coffee keyboard

One of the most important parts of using a planner effectively is to have it out someplace where you will see it and refer to it often. That’s easy enough when you are sitting in one spot most of the day. But it’s all too easy to forget your planner in your bag, or on your desk when you are away from your desk. As my sister wisely says, “A closed planner is a dead planner.” It only works if you look at it.

I have to keep my planner open in a visible location so I can refer to it throughout the day. It’s easy to look at it when it’s next to me while I’m working, but later that evening I’m likely to forget to refer to it and may miss something like sending that check with my daughter to Brownies or putting out the trash for pickup the next morning.

I’ve solved the later-in-the-day issue by keeping my planner open on a book stand on my kitchen counter. I spend a significant amount of my evening time in the kitchen cooking, eating, and cleaning up. And it’s a location where I know the entire family will be that evening so I can talk to them about things that affect their schedule too. I can easily grab my planner during mealtimes to write in things as they come up.

Where do you keep your planner so it’s visible and handy?

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