This week I’m bringing you a review of the Quo Vadis Life Noted Planner! Quo Vadis has been around for over 60 years–they’ve been making planners and time management products for a long, long time. (Their copyright began in 1959!) Their products are designed in France and made in the USA.
The name comes from the Latin “quo vadis,” meaning “Where are you going?” Quo Vadis designs products that help you “know where you are going at a single glance.” Quo Vadis specialized in weekly planners (although they have daily options), as conceptualized by their founder.
Quo Vadis got its start from a young man’s need to plan ahead.
Frustrated that appointment books were cramped with only daily pages, he designed his own format. He took a ruler, pen and notebook, and laid out a full week across both pages, including special areas for actions, notes and priorities.
Quo Vadis reached out to me and asked if I’d be interested in reviewing their 2018-2019 Academic Year LifeNoted Planner. You can get this Life Noted Quo Vadis planner from Classic Office Products for $34.95 (sale price $31.45) and Hyatts for $34.95 (current sale price $27.96). I happily agreed and selected a Life Noted planner in their Violet cover! I’m delighted to bring you this review of a portable and crisp midyear planner. 🙂
The Quo Vadis Life Noted Weekly Planner includes weekly, monthly, and yearly pages for a big picture view of your year. Quo Vadis describes its Life Note planner as having/helping you:
- Assess and take stock of your life
- Helps set, achieve and track goals
- Attached address/memo book insert
- Determine priorities
- Daily and monthly to-do lists
- Tear-off corners
We will get into all these and more!
When you open your planner you see the title page. This includes the name of the planner, the year it runs for, size, and other important details right off the bat. The title page also includes Copyright information and company information, like address, website, and customer service phone number. Turning the page, you get a Personal Notes section which allows you to put in as much (or as little) personal information as you like. There is space for everything from your name to your blood type, driver’s license number to a space for special instructions or a note.
Adjacent to that is a page that provides three years (2018, 2019, and 2020) at a glance. I like that they include where they’ve gotten their information from–did you know that there is an International Organization for Standardization? I didn’t! This is followed by a two-page spread that goes for the length of time that the planner covers, starting in August 2018 and ending in July 2019. You have space to write in the priority for each month, as well as a small cell to write in any details on given days. Holidays and moon cycles are added, and Sundays are noted in green.
I love it when planners include pages on how to use them. Whether or not you decide to go along with the intended system, it’s nice to have a place to start.
The Life Noted planner is flexible and allows you to determine the way to use it that best meets your needs from work or school to family, friends and life.
The Life Noted planner is goal-oriented. Quo Vadis considers the four core elements of time management to be “assess, prioritize, set goals, and take action.” The planner is designed to keep you within this cycle. The Life Noted Planning System pages guide you through how the planner is intended to be used.
Then it starts you on this cycle. You get a page for your 2017-2018 assessment, followed by a page for writing down your priorities for the current year (2018-2019). This is followed by another lined page for Goals for 2018-2019 and then a dot grid page for Action/Notes for 2018-2019.
Before each month you get a Forecast page, where you have a lined section taking up one half of the page for Goals and a dot grid section for Action/Notes on the other half. This serves as a helpful brainstorming space for looking at the month ahead–or as a space to spend some thoughtful, dedicated time hashing out your goals and how you will take action on them. Either is a helpful strategy.
Then you reach the monthly spread. This layout is designed to give you plenty of space in the margins for your monthly Objectives (along the bottom) and To Do List (righthand side). The To Do List is 2″ wide, which means you get plenty to space to write things out. The Objectives section along the bottom of the pages has a height of 1.5″ so you get enough space there to brainstorm or list out your goals for the month there as well.
The monthly calendar has a Monday start. A unique feature of this layout is that it indicates which week of the year you are on–the first week of August, for example, is the 31st week of the year. The year and month are printed on a green band that stretches across the top of both pages.
The boxes are 3 cm x about 3.5 cm. They are plenty big for writing down important notes, appointments, events, etc. Holidays ranging from American to the UK are entered in bold into their corresponding daily boxes. Religious holidays are in italics and incorporate Catholic-Orthodox to Muslim holy days.
The weekly spread is open but provides just enough structure to give you a place to start. It’s a Monday start and laid out in a horizontal planning style. Each day (including weekends) gets the same amount of planning space. The boxes for daily planning are approximately 2″ x 5″. You have a spacious unlined rectangle for whatever planning layout works best for you (lists, long bullet points, breaking the box into different sections, etc.), as well as a To Do List with four check boxes on the righthand side.
Each week also has two smaller blank rectangles after the Sunday section. The first is for your Goals (whichever week you are currently in will be listed, i.e. Week 31 Goals). The idea is that you brainstorm and set your goals for the year at the beginning of your planner, then move those goals to the applicable monthly spreads. Do you have a goal that you need to start working on immediately? Great, put it in the Objectives section of the first month in your planner and keep reminding yourself that you should be setting aside time for it. Holiday planning for being the host for this year’s Thanksgiving, for example, maybe doesn’t need to pop up until October. Then break these goals down even further by writing in action steps or things to accomplish/look out for in each week’s Goals section. This way, the goals you get yourself for the year are always getting some attention, rather than getting lost in the busyness of day-to-day life. The second rectangle is for Reminders, which is great for future-planning if you know that there’s a medical appointment coming up or need to remember to, you know, renew your application for income-based student loan payments.
At the end of each month, there is a Review page which provides space for Assessment and Priorities. The Assessment section prompts you to review your month–what worked, what didn’t, how did you progress with your goals, etc. The Priorities section is designed as a self-evaluation space–Quo Vadis encourages you to look back and see how you spent your time and write down what you actually prioritized versus what you might want to prioritize for the next month.
The planner continues in this vein until you reach the end of July 2019. You still get a page for the next month’s Forecast, so you can seamlessly transition into your next planner with your goals already addressed. You also get two pages for Annual Planning during the next year–2019-2020. This is in the same format & layout as the Annual Planning pages at the beginning of the planner. This is a great space to come back to when you start scheduling things for the next academic year.
You get a few pages for reflecting on the year that just finished, as well as planning ahead to the year that’s about the start. This is followed by a couple of dot grid notes pages and 14 pages for contacts, alphabetized.
There are various colors available for the cover of the Life Noted planner. I chose Violet, which is a gorgeous purple. (My photos make it look a little bluer than it is.) These are faux leather grain refillable covers, so you only need to buy refills as long as you enjoy your cover choice. 🙂
Quo Vadis planners are built for portable, functional planning, which is what you’ll find with their Life Noted edition.
The cover depends on which color option (Black, Blue, Red, Pink, Violet, Blush) you’ve gone with, but is a pebbly faux leather that feels nice and soft. The stitching is tight and precise. I can definitely see this planner cover handling at least a few years of refills. The elastic closure band is sewn into the cover and has a nice thickness of 1 cm. It feels sturdy and strong. Over time you might see some impressions on the spine of the cover from the coil used to bind the planner pages. The front cover is blank except for the Quo Vadis logo debossed in the lower righthand corner. The back cover is blank–the cover really streamlines the appearance of your planner.
This planner is 6 1/4″ x 9 3/8″ and has a thickness of about 1/2″. This makes it especially light and portable–it’s really fantastic for taking on the go. Quo Vadis is an environmentally-conscious company and uses materials from sustainably managed forests and controlled sources. They even manufacture their own paper in adherence to these values for minimal environmental impact.
While there are no pockets in the Quo Vadis Life Noted planner, the covers can be used in a pinch. See here how I’ve slipped in a sticker sheet (from Paper Panduh) for easy access and storage in the back cover flap. It has held without any trouble. 🙂 Quo Vadis uses a wire-o binding for their Life Noted planner, and although it is small it’s incredibly tight and strong. It is not easily bendable and feels very sturdy when I press forcibly on it.
The planner uses two slightly different sans serif fonts throughout their planner. One is for headings and appears in a thicker weight (probably a bold or black), and the second font is used throughout the planner in multiple weights. The only two colors used in the planner are green and charcoal gray. The green appears in varying opacities to highlight and designate certain sections of the planner–like the dates in the monthly spread or the headings for each day of the week in the weekly spreads.
There are no tabs in this planner, but it’s still quite easy to find your place. The month you’re in is indicated by green “tabs” that are simply printed onto the page itself. Each page that sits within that month is printed with the same little interior tab, and they are organized in descending order, so it’s pretty easy to find where you need to be. Each page also includes an easy-tear perforated corner, so if you would prefer to find your place that way it’s even easier!
This planner has underlying structure but is presented in an open format to fit your planning needs while still maintaining big picture goals. The design is simple but effective. It offers much more than a $5 Target planner while still providing portability and compact ease of use and carry. I wouldn’t necessarily call this planner aesthetically minimalist, but it does have a simple and efficient layout. It’s spacious, and while the bones are there, it’s up to you to be as reflective and goal-oriented as you want to be.
Quo Vadis, as mentioned previously, manufactures their own acid-free and pH neutral paper with minimal damage to the environment. They use a 90 gsm paper that is bright white. While there is a fair amount of ghosting, there is almost no bleed–it honestly reminds me of how Hobonici paper looks. The Sharpie Permanent Marker only bled through in a couple of small dots. That’s great performance. The paper feels smooth and a little slick. Most of the pens I tested did well, but I didn’t like how ballpoint pens wrote on the paper. I would recommend felt tip pens and rollerball pens (especially the Modern Writers from ooly) but only if you have a second to let them dry before you flip the page. Felt tip pens performed best, in my opinion, especially in 0.5 mm or finer.
Another note on the paper, from Quo Vadis–“The paper used for Quo Vadis products – planners and notebooks – is from the Clairefontaine mill in the Vosges, France. It is renowned as the best writing paper in the world.”
So! Is the Quo Vadis Life Noted planner a good fit for you?
The Quo Vadis Life Noted planner is a slim, portable way to carry around a year’s worth of planning. I would recommend this planner to fresh graduates who want to start thinking about the bigger picture outside school, the busy professional who doesn’t need a daily planner but still wants a place to keep everything intact, and the on-the-go person who needs a reliable book to carry around with them at all times.
The slim, professional cover makes this planner a great fit for the office, the board room, or at home. The simple design and multiple cover options make this a good unisex planner, great for men, women, and nonbinary folks. This planner would also be a fantastic fit for new planners who want to ease into goal setting. If you are the type of person who doesn’t need to write out the smaller things like weekly chores or reminders to go shopping, etc., then this would be a great planner for you. Likewise, if you want to keep your daily To Do List to a limited, manageable length, then this planner would work wonderfully for you. It prompts you to write out a daily To Do List but suggests four things.
This planner is a good choice for someone who wants a super simple planner that can just handle regular use and some big picture goal planning. If you don’t want a bright, colorful, big planner, then Quo Vadis is stately and sedate–it will give you a functional planner with the white space to make it your own.
Are you a no-white-space planner? This probably won’t be your jam. Although the wire-o binding means that this planner can handle stickers without altering the shape of your planner overmuch, it also probably doesn’t have a lot of sticker shops that make kits for it. Do you really need a planner that you can fold so that you see only one page at a time? The cover makes it hard to do that. Do you want a huge planner? That’s not what Quo Vadis is about–they want to provide you with products that help you manage your life in a compact, stylish fashion.
I wouldn’t recommend this to someone who wants to get super decorative with their planner (more power to ya!) because it strikes me as a highly functional planner that is as its best when its allotted space is used for writing it all down–lists, appointments, plans, goals, events, schedules, etc. I also wouldn’t recommend this planner for someone who needs plenty of notes space/pages, or who needs long, long lists of To Dos for each day.
I love the perforated corners for easy bookmarking! I also love that the weekly spread is actually quite spacious–it looks a little small at first but once you start writing things down you realize that there is a generous amount of space for each day. I do love the paper in this planner–it’s smooth without feeling dangerous to write on, if that makes sense. I love the refillable covers and overall portability of this planner! I also love the environmental consciousness of this company–great job, Quo Vadis!!
I would like to see more notes pages, even if it thickens up the planner a little bit. There weren’t too many spots designated for notes as opposed to some other purpose. I also wish that the covers of the planner “fill” (not the faux leather covers) were a little sturdier, material-wise.
There you have it–my review of the Quo Vadis Life Noted 2018-2019 Planner! I was so impressed with this planner–and that the company has been in business since 1959! Wow! Have you ever had a Quo Vadis planner? What are your thoughts? Leave me a comment–I’d love to hear from you!
Until next time!