I commented recently that one of the best features of my new A5-size Filofax ("Philo") is that he lays flat. As I work with him further, I am increasingly realizing the significance of this feature.
I spend most of my workday at a desk. My desk is L-shaped. I face two computer screens (their backs are to my office door, thank you very much). To my right is the other arm of the L, where I keep my phone and pads of paper and the like. It's a convenient parking spot for my Filofax, because I can see what I need to see by just turning my head away from the computer screen and to my right.
However, when I turned my head to see Philo's littler but older brother ("Fax"), all I saw was a brown piece of leather. Try as he might, Fax just could not lie down. I would try to help him stretch by gently pushing him down, or folding his spine backwards (ouch!). But he is just an inflexible fellow. So any planner activity at all required me to manipulate Fax with both hands. Once open, I had to use one hand to keep Fax in an open position, while the other wrote, or turned pages, or caressed him and said, "It's okay, boy, you'll get it!"
Philo lays like a frickin' show dog. I mean, he is flat as a pancake. I generally keep him open to the current week's spread. But with a couple finger-twiddles, I can get Philo to show me anything I want. Given my generally astounding laziness, keeping Philo open helps me use him more efficiently. A closed planner is a forgotten, or at least underused, planner. Who wants to go through all the effort of opening a closed planner? I only have so many minutes in the day. An open planner, however, invites attention. It says, "I'm here for you, do what you will with me, oh god, oh god, OH GOD!" You can use one of the pen loops for a cigarette.
And, thus, a rule is born: Thou Shalt Lay Flat. Once you go flat, you'll never go back.