My Planner Journey

After putting together the Ring-Bound Planners series, I decided that I needed to take my own dive into planners too. First, I ordered a green Franklin Covey Giada binder in the compact size. The compact size in Franklin Covey-speak is similar in size and ring configuration to the very popular Filofax personal sized binders.

Ring comparison FC vs Filofax
On top, the Franklin Covey Giada in Compact Size and on the bottom, the Filofax Original in personal size. See how the rings don’t quite line up?


The hole placement of the 6-rings is CLOSE to the same on the Franklin Covey to the Filofax.

Since the FC compact-size planner is designed to fit slightly wider paper than the Filofax Personal, and most of the planning sheets I want to use are designed to fit the Personal-sized Filofax, the Giada might end up feeling to gappy for me. But, oh that color!

Franklin Covey Giada compact planner green

The Giada binder was on sale (thanks, Christmas discounts) but it was still not the cheapest option available. The Giada ships without any inserts at all so there is an additional cost factor to consider when choosing Franklin Covey.

The thing I noticed first about the Franklin Covey planner is that it did not ship with any inserts at all — not undated planner pages, no plain  lined paper, no dividers, nothing. So, despite the sale price, there would still be an additional investment to build out the planner. That wasn’t a huge deal breaker for me since a big part of my interest in a planner came about when I discovered how many custom inserts were available for download on the internet. But still… nothing but two plastic slip cards for the front and back (what are these things called anyway?).

Inside the Giada

Inside, the Giada features lots of pockets for cards in the front and a zipper compartment. IT also has two pen loops with elastic on the underside to accommodate a variety of pens.

Inside the back of the FC Giada

Inside the back cover were two slit pockets placed quite low but would probably support a reporter style notepad or hold a few loose pages.

I never really unwrapped the Giada because I just wasn’t sure about it.

The more I thought about the size and the weight of the FC Compact planner, the more I started thinking I might prefer a Filofax Original in the Personal size. Its narrower than the FC Giada and the color options were different. I was able to find a Filofax Original on clearance which was actually a bit less expensive than the Giada. Also, Filofax planners do ship with an assortment of filler pages though including a week-on-two-pages diary, ruler-page marker and a sampling of paper including to-do list sheets, ruled colored paper (in an assortment of colors), address pages and a clear plastic envelope. While I may not end up using the sheets that ship with the Filofax, the fact that it comes with these tens-of-dollars worth of add-ons, may be a consideration in your purchase if you’re just starting out with a ring binder planner.

Franklin Covey Giada vs. Filofax Classic Personal

I kept the Giada long enough to photograph it with the Filofax Original. I wanted to be able to see for myself the size and feeling difference between a Franklin Covey and a Filofax before I made a decision about which planner I would stick with for the year. As much as I love green, I didn’t let that be the deciding factor between these two planners. When the Filofax arrived, the feel of the leather, which was much more pliable while also feeling more durable was immediately more appealing. The FC Giada has board stiffened covers which are then wrapped in leather. Add to that the abundance of pockets and zips and the Giada just felt bulky before I had even put anything in it.

Franklin Covey Giada vs. Filofax Classic Personal

From the profile, the rings on the Filofax Original seem larger but the binder clamp looks more streamlined. As you can see from the profile, I took to the Filofax very quickly and I’ll go into a more in-depth review and flip through tomorrow. I just wanted to walk you through my own experiences and show you the differences between a Franklin Covey compact planner and a comparable Filofax personal-sized planner. The Giada has been returned to Franklin Covey. Maybe it will be the “just right” planner for someone else but its not for me. The pockets, the color, and the wider size would be the pluses for the Giada but in every other way, the Filofax  was the clear winner.


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12 comments / Add your comment below

  1. Last fall I replaced my 30 year old red leather planner, unknown brand. The Franklin Covey is the larger size with 7 rings, it came with a pad of paper with 7 holes on the side. I love the 2 loops, one for pen and the other for my Pentel Twist-Erase 0.7 pencil. Everyone of the many pockets is in use. AMB, SEC

    1. I had a gappy ring but found a demo on youtube for manhandling them back into alignment. It worked! They still catch a little bit but much better now.

  2. Hi Ana, those two black plastic things are pagelifters. Their purpose is to “lift” your pages off the rings, so they stay nice and straight. I’m a longtime Franklin Covey user and can’t imagine a planner without them. I do have a Filofax, but those fly leaves are just too flimsy. Can’t stand my pages curling under the rings. As to what inserts I’ll be using in 2015, I’m trying out the FC Compact, calendar only. Too lazy to rewrite all the personal sized notes and lists. This will be an interesting experiment.

  3. I love the colour of the Giada! I’ve never tried a Franklin Covey, but I didn’t realise the width difference compared with Filofax. Thanks for the comparison 🙂

  4. That Filofax is gorgeous. I went for a Paperchase own brand one, both because I loved the design and because it’d half the price of a Filofax, even in the sales. They take Filofax refills (mine is just an A5, so plenty of options for making my own refills too), but also do their own very similar but slightly cheaper refills.

    1. Do you have a picture of your planner? I’d love to see it!

      I would have considered a Paperchase planner too but there is no place left in the US to buy Paperchase products –at least not that I know about since Borders closed. I do like the idea of the A5 size planner and all the options for inserts and refills. I’m trying to keep myself contained in the smaller space of the Personal size…for now.

      1. I did a set-up post here. *Hopes HTML works* The photos were taken on my phone, so they’re not amazing quality. I’m currently eyeing up this personal size one, because it’s so pretty. I think Paperchase have partnered with Target now, but whether that’s across all stores I’m not sure.

        1. The links work! I love the Union Jack design on your planner and the butterfly design is so cute… only £8? How could you resist?

          1. I get to go to Paperchase tomorrow, so hopefully they will still have some. It’s always quite a treat going to the city, because they’ve got a TK Maxx as well as a The Pen Shop. Stationery heaven.

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