Next up in our Featured Reader series is Thierry from Canada!
Tell us a bit about yourself.
My name is Thierry, I’m 47 years old, and my time is split in two, as I’m a quality consultant (implementing Quality Management Systems… you know, as ISO9001 – but I’ve a long experience in Medical Quality Systems) and… working as a Graphic Designer. These two activities are on the opposite side of the wheel, as if Quality needs a very analytic brain (left part), being a Graphic Designer… uses the right part of the brain. How I ended up there is a pretty long story, I could tell another time
I’m the father of a sweet little girl of 7 years old, and being half of the week at home is really great as I can keep a close contact with her and her needs. My wife is doing an amazing job with her, homeschooling her, so I’m happy to help my wife out a little bit when I can.
I first wrote with a FP when I was 10, at school, and continuously used them as a student until 22-23. Then, at work… I didn’t want to bring them from home so they stayed in a drawer, used only when I was writing poetry and short stories. I finally lost them moving.
If I’m talking about FP when it comes to QV products, it’s because I consider QV products as “luxury” products, meaning carefully made with great paper quality, and it will be a shame to use a cheap pen on them. The same applies to other quality paper notebooks.
Do you have a blog/ website?
A FB page for my graphics activities (https://www.facebook.com/istridiadesign) and a web site (not really updated… http://istridia.wix.com/istridia-design). I don’t consider having one for reviewing paper products or pens, even if I would love to have the time to keep one up and running. I’m considering it, though.
How long have you been using Quo Vadis planners and/ or notebooks?
I think the first QV planner I used was in the eighties. Just a year or two, as a school planner. Probably because of a special price, because my parents used not to buy expensive stuff for school ;). I just remember the paper and my Waterman running so smoothly, and the maps. These were an endless opportunity to dream of travels and adventure.
Then in 2004, I had to organize a lot of ideas and do a lot of follow-up related to my position as a quality manager, deadlines on different projects, for different locations, etc. and… I’d bought a FP a few months before. So I was looking for a notebook with FP friendly paper, it was the end of the year, the company I was working for was happy with my job… I decided to see if they could buy me a QV planner. I can’t remember if it was a Minister, or Prenote, but it was a “letter” size, with all these maps, (useless) charts (even if they gave me something to read when I was bored in a meeting, lol) and so on. The paper was amazing, so for the next 3-4 years I asked for the same kind of agenda. I was known as the “QV guy”, always having that black planner, writing everything in it. And people knew that “if something got written in it… it will not be forgotten”. When you talk about quality, it means “uh…oh…!”
Then… I got an electronic planner. A nice little thing following me everywhere. Battery powered. Could enter in a pocket… could read books on it… The company was not running so well, asking for a QV planner was irrealistic. This is why I stopped using a paper planner.
Then… I got a smart phone… connected to my gmail calendar. A nice step ahead, I thought.
Then my first client (as a quality consultant, in 2010), offered me a huge notebook with very nice paper inside. Years after, I could use again my FP that had been stored. And I began to remember the time of my QV planners. I’m still using that notebook.
2015… I’m back with a planner. The reason is that I’ve noticed – and strongly believe – that if I don’t write by hand on paper information… I just forget it. Okay, my phone pops me things to do, meetings… but when it pops, I realize I had totally forgotten the stuff. As if the act of writing instead of typing engraves the information. And this was a little bit worrying.
What Quo Vadis planners and/ or notebooks are you using now?
I’m using a Turquoise Blue Habana Soft cover, ivory paper, for some notes, and a Rhodia Weekly Planner (made by QV), orange cover, large one for the benefit of having 90g paper, and because I need “room” to write.
Please tell us some details on how you are using them.
The reasons I choose the Habana are pretty simple. I was looking for a FP paper friendly notebook. Habana has good feed back on that. I was looking for a soft cover, nice color, and something that could stay flat when I open it.
Again, Habana has good feed back. And the name QV was proof of quality, as I was looking for something to get me into writing again. I felt a bad experience could slow me down.
The reasons I choose the Rhodia are various.
• The QV name was a guarantee of quality.
• The size. I’m not writing a lot in my agendas, just some notes in a day cell, in front of the hour, regarding the appointment or thing to do. Having that written down, I can remember the complete story (when this was not the case with electronic record). So the Minister, Prenote, etc. were not suitable. I always feel bad after I turn a page which is not completely filled up with writing.
• Too, as I was looking for something to write ideas, notes, thoughts, or draw / sketch some ideas related to design, the second page, blank with little squares, was the perfect solution. In the same “package”, I could have the agenda AND the notebook. Having some back issues, the weight is important for me to consider. And one notebook instead of two is priceless.
I’ve tried the GTD stuff, bullet point stuff, all kind of “solutions” to classify each task priority, but I just cannot stick with these “rigid” methods.
• Some say “Orange is the new black”. I love black. But I’ve decided to try the orange cover, to dynamize a little bit my (black) bag.
• And I enjoy having to do and undo the elastic ribbon.
So… I’m trying to use it daily. As soon as I have something to remember, I write it down. And since I have that blank page, as an invitation, and as I don’t want to let it stay blank. This includes username and passwords (encoded so nobody can read). I sketch some ideas just not to forget them. Notes on specific CYMK colors I want to use. Basically, all I want to remember. A list of To Do, list of things I need to follow-up. Nothing specific, but every note becomes special
What do you like about these products?
This is a difficult one. I think I don’t really like the ivory color (of the Habana paper). I mean, I don’t really like writing on this color. But I’m still trying to understand why is that. Maybe my writing is not fluid and nice enough.
I really enjoy the way QV planners help me to keep track of important things. I enjoy the paper as it takes me back to my years at school, where I was always distracted by dreams, ideas, poems popping into my mind. When the pleasure of the nice and smooth sound of the nib on paper was my secret place to hide.
What would you change about these products?
Nothing from my Habana. I’m pleased with it, even if I’ll look for white lined paper next time, probably with a ribbon and an elastic band. I love the feeling of the cover. I love touching it. Not hard, but not too soft either. Just perfect
My planner is perfect. Even if I don’t get the idea of the first page where I can write down all kind of info in case I loose it… even my NAS number, lol! And the charts. I mean, I just don’t read them anymore (even in boring meetings ). I feel bad about these “lost pages” because I don’t use these, the same way I feel bad after turning an almost blank page. A kind of waste. A shame for such good paper (left brain talking). The maps are too “small” to be really useful, and too modern for that scale. I mean, if it was a kind of reproduction of 17-18 century maps, it could be funny to have a look at them, or be inspired by some graphic element (right brain talking now).
With the exception of this, all is perfect too. I’ll not change anything.
What is the future for paper planners?
This is a good question. According to me, paper planners still have a future. As long as human beings produce paper, there will be a need. The same “need” for straight or DE razors, or fountain pens, or mechanical watches.
As I’ve mentioned, I’ve noticed that writing done things (with pen and paper) helps me remember. And I’m reading more and more articles related to this: electronic devices don’t help with memory. So I strongly believe that we will always have a need for paper planners. They work in dusty environments with no modification or special shelter, they support vibrations, oil, dust, all kind of writing styles, colour or instruments (paper pen, markers, gel pens, FP…) Portable, light, battery free, highly customizable, offering the opportunity to take quick notes…
Part of the market might be “reduced” to passionate people, probably more in the artistic pool of people. These people will transmit the passion, the love, feelings to their children and/or close relationships. (For example, I’ve transmitted my love for watches and FP to a working fellow, and when he saw my QV agenda, back in 2005, he promptly bought one too. A small one, far from what mine was, but he was sold to the idea of using nice paper for his new FP, and… revisiting the art of writing.)
The other part of the market should be people that need to have an overview of their time to organize their day, weeks.
As an artist, I hope QV will continue offering paper planners. As a quality guy… I truly understand the question. You need to adjust your offer where people are willing to spend their money. Is the offer too wide? What product should be cut, and what will be the impact for the brand? See next question, though ;).
Are the Quo Vadis planner formats still useful or do we need to develop other kinds of layouts? (and if so what are your suggestions?)
What I really appreciate from QV is that it seems you cover the needs of everybody. Daily planner, weekly, monthly? You have it! A6 size, or X-Large? You have it! What a hard time I have to find what I want…
I just hope the format I choose (one week on a page, a blank opposite page) will stay in the offer. If part of the game is defining THE product that suits me, the real pleasure is to find the same product years after years, and be comforted in that choice.
I tend to doubt of some planner offers, but I assume if you offer them it means there is a market for them. Then after, it’s just a cost issue. Incomes versus production costs.
A plus in my planner is the “week before” and “week after” feature. With one sight, I embrace 3 weeks. That’s great. In the first planners I got (President, Minister), the field boxes (call, email, $, etc.) were not really useful. I tend to prefer a big blank note field.
Regarding suggestions, I will not repeat myself with the charts and maps… A phone book at the end is pretty useless for me, too. Oh! I truly hate spirals…
What are your biggest time management challenges?
LOL ! Getting things done! And fighting procrastination.
Some projects work fine with the Pomodoro Method, others with the bullet points. Sometimes I just have one call to do as a follow up. I have a hard time trying to find something fitting my needs. This is the reason why the agenda I chose is perfect for me. It offers me the flexibility I need. I almost wrote the freedom I need. Oops! I did it
How many notebooks do you have in use at once?
3. A very small one (Clairefontaine) I always (try to) keep it with me so I can write things and stuff, ideas, etc. I see in the street, when I talk to someone, etc. A second one (Habana) for notes and research, and a 3rd one, for all kinds of thoughts and ideas, projects notes, diary. This one is a kind of big black hole, where everything written is lost forever, and just serves “for reference only”. I just put a date before writing something, so I can more or less have an idea “where is that damn information” when I’m struggling to find it
What are the most important features of a notebook for you?
The paper has to be FP friendly. I prefer a soft cover over a hard cover, and I would like my Habana to have a ribbon or two. Should not be too big either, in terms of page number. Habana is a good size. Really.
Huge thanks to Thierry for being our Featured Reader this week!
If you would like to be a Featured Reader here on Quo Vadis blog, email me at: laurie (at) quovadisplanners (dot) com. We’re looking for Quo Vadis planner and/ or notebook users from all over the world to participate!