Making the Most of a Tiny TN

A few years ago, if you’d told me that I’d end up doing my main planning in a Pocket TN, I wouldn’t have believed you. No way. Yet here I am, content as can be. Here’s how I make planning in a small book work for me:

  • Only the things I want with me when on-the-go are in my Tiny TN; everything else (financial info, reference info, household info) stays in my Filofax or Van der Spek on my desk.
  • I stopped treating every insert in my Tiny TN like a divider in my ringed binder.
  • A lot of my inserts are dual-purpose; I use the front half of an insert for one “topic” and the back half for a different one.
  • I put two inserts onto one elastic by putting one insert inside of another. This works especially well if the “inner” insert is a thin insert. “Piggybacking” a rather thin insert can cause it to bend because it doesn’t have enough pages to withstand the pull of the band at its spine. Putting that thin insert inside of another insert means I can still have two inserts on one band without piggybacking them. (Also, when paired with #3 above, this can create four “topics” all on one elastic!) For example, I put the Appointment Tracker insert from Annie Plans Printables, which I use to track communications, inside of my Notes notebook; they both contain information that works together, so it’s perfect!
  • Use inserts for things other than their indicated purpose. If the framework of an insert is helpful to you, cover up what you don’t need (dates, text, etc.) and use the framework however you see fit. If it’s a printable from Etsy, a lot of Etsy sellers are more than happy to create a custom order for you… just ask nicely! 🙂 I use the Undated Daily Grid from Annie Plans Printables for my Lists because the layout is perfect for it!
  • When writing notes that are too long for a sticky note but I know I won’t need to carry with me for long, I write them in the center of an unbound/unstapled notebook. That way, when I no longer need that note, I can just remove those center pages without disturbing the rest of the notebook. (Also… removing unused center pages from several notebooks and putting them together to make a new notebook saves paper!)
  • If you’re considering changing notebook sizes, regardless of whether you’re thinking about going bigger or smaller, make an insert or two out of scratch paper (I use old school worksheets when the kids are done with them for the quarter or semester). Seeing and feeling the actual dimensions of an insert and trying out some layouts on the new paper size can make the decision to change sizes (or not) much easier.

  • Ann Cumbie

    Having just gone from a Wide TN to a Personal, I found this post extremely helpful. Thank you, Carie!! Bullets #2, #3 and #4 (listed above) are worth their weight in gold! Sometimes, I cannot believe I did not think of things like this. NO ONE ever said you had to have all the same things in an insert. We all know it is a “make it your own” planner. . . but somehow I just didn’t think of this. Thanks again.

    • I’m *so glad* that you found this so helpful! It took me ages to realize I didn’t have to use one insert all for one thing. Now it seems like the simplest idea ever, but at the time… no way!

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