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31 March 2007

Spring Cleaning

My return to Filofax was precipitated by a desire to rid myself of attachment to various rigid systems -- Getting Things Done, Franklin Covey, and so on. Filofax organizers are unobtrusive, customizable. And when I'm really busy or focused on things other than my process itself, I can disregard all systematology. I can write to-dos on diary pages, ideas on list pages, projects on to-do pages, anything wherever. In the heat of the moment, the point is to do what works; just capture the information, right?

Well, after several weeks of this, I find myself at odds. I'm missing things because I'm avoiding opening my Filo because it's just a little too chaotic inside. I've been remedying this condition gradually, trying not to let it grow until my life is in an equal state of disrepair. That's a good thing.

What's the solution? If things in my Filo aren't the way I like, change 'em. I wish I could say I'm OK, even prospering with a little bit of chaos, but I can't.

13 comments:

  1. I'm feeling the same way about my Circa daily planner, too.

    On the one hand, I love that I can move pages around. On the other, the very fact that the pages can be moved around so easily makes them less permanent and somewhat frivolous.

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  2. I have to admit to being rather rigid in my approach. The downside is Chocolate Filo is acquiring data sporadically which therefore limits utility. Still it's early days, only the first quarter.

    I like the Inky tag. Like my trusty Parker whose barrel seems taylor made for the Personal Filofax.

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  3. Yes, it's me, Nan! I decided the Inky nickname is more appropriate for this blog.

    Chet -- The last time I used Circa was in 2005. I found that I blew through tasks more quickly than I do now and came up with more creative ideas. The problem was that I'd end up with a lot of pages with just one undone task or idea left. Also, at that time Levenger didn't have the assortment that they do now, and I found the DIY forms weren't good for my handwriting. Still, I've found that Circa seemed to draw out the most creativity in me, with the A5 size coming in second. Using the Personal size Filo, I don't seem to come up with as many new ideas, since I have nowhere to put them.

    Hi Andrzej -- You're right to recognize that one quarter of a year is too soon to decide anything. That's why I'm committed to sticking with what I'm doing for the rest of 2007. From now on, I will only allow myself to change approaches once a year.

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  4. I just got an A5 and was surprised to see it doesn't have the usual Filofax tabs--Diary, Notes, Projects, etc. just blank tabs. When entering new info I get confused about what section to put it in, so I'm looking forward to custom tabs. Now I have to decide on tab labels -- I won't be able to blame Filofax for my confusion anymore! I hope to decide soon - by the weekend, so I can start migrating from Personal to A5.

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  5. Tangerine, what you use the tabs for may evolve over time. I label mine with a Brother labelmaker, so I can just peel off the label when I want to make a change.

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  6. I've started using the A-Z tabs exclusively-- notes for my dissertation are under "D", and church stuff is under "C", and so on... of course, names and addresses are filed underthe same rubric. So far, it's been working well for me

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  7. Hi Cyril! Glad to hear that the A-Z tabs are working well for you. I've been tempted to try that system myself.

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  8. i'm debating going to a5 for more space but am currently using a personal filo (i've been using one for almost 15 years [no, not the *same* binder]) and a medium sized moleskine. i am not avoiding my planners for the chaos inside but because i am not doing well at keeping them updated. i was once given a palm pilot because it beeped at me (until I disabled that feature 3 seconds later) ... the best planner in the world doesn't work if it isn't used. stuff just goes on index cards and postits and other random scraps. *sigh*

    i'm also a bit frustrated because the system i designed nine months ago has fallen away (mostly because my work load tripled) but perhaps four pen colours (and i won't use that 4-colour pen from grade school) are a bit difficult to keep up. Hmm...

    one thing I have done to try force me to open them is that all my timekeeping goes inside. result? my timekeeping records have gone helter skelter. *sigh*

    anyway, i'm going to price A5s and think about going up a size. we'll see.

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  9. I experience the same things. For the last two weeks I have switched from a fully loaded personal size Filofax to a wallet and monthly calendar. In my effort to streamline and carry less, I ended up with more. My wallet held all the basics, the monthly calendar captured a snapshot of what was going on with little room for planning. Planning required a small notepad and I dusted off my PalmPilot to house my contact information. My landscaping plans and house projects for the summer were floating around my purse with no permanent home. It was then necessary to consult the Palm for suppliers, the calendar for delivery dates the loose copies of the layout and my wallet to make purchases. You’d think I’d learn. Prior to this bout with insanity I was tired of lugging my book around. After this experience, I have decided that my little book does it all with minimal effort.

    It never fails. Whenever I feel overwhelmed, I take it out on my Filofax – it’s too packed, it’s heavy, I don’t need this much info every day. The list goes on when, in reality, it’s not the tool it’s me. I finally put an end to this confusion when I visited the Franklin Covey store over the weekend and the clerk was about to ring up a mountain of products I was convinced would help -- a classic binder, filler, forms and accessories. It was only when he told me the total of $189 that something snapped inside and I put everything back. I was embarrassed, thanked him for his time and walked out. It was a small step that really paid off. I have spoiled myself to the point that if one system isn’t working, it’s time to trade up. How silly and expensive that can be. I went home, emptied the contents of my Filofax and reassembled it with fresh forms and the original divider tabs. I reverted to the original tabs because every time I try to customize my setup, it’s never enough. I start thinking ‘this system would be perfect if . . .’ and I never implement what I have so far.

    It’s time for some tough love. Everything is now backing in its place where it will stay. The next time I feel like my system isn’t working, all I need to do is look in the mirror.

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  10. Anonymous? How can you plan in that little personal filofax? and do you use the two day to a view pages or the whole week at a view pages? I am in the same boat with alls you alls here on this post. I used a little personal for years and now switch daily from treo w ical to big filo to circa to even a Mulberry, etc. Nuts. And I am miserable right now.
    Will Not Sign My Name
    p.s. Lugging the miserable things around is a pain. I want to be streamlined and efficient and on top of my game, wheee. ah, right.

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  11. And Inky, What are you going to do about the creative idea thing? I mean that is sooooo important.
    Too Embarrassed To Leave A Name again

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  12. Actually, I can plan very well in the personal size. It's like carrying a larger purse -- the bigger the bag, the more unnecessary junk I lug around. The personal size is the best fit because it doubles as a wallet. The operative word here is ‘personal’ because that’s about all I can plan and monitor here – personal stuff. The biggest issue I have is that it is not suitable for work related planning and meeting notes because of its smaller size. The best thing about the Franklin classic size is that it was perfect for combining my personal and work life. That combination worked well for a while until I got tired of carrying my work stuff around in my off time and vice versa.

    Seems like a silly thing to struggle with, but it’s nice to know I’m not the only one. Misery loves company!

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  13. ok, an a5 came home with me (logic, $30) .. i can write what i need and not have to rely on my small handwriting. will i regret this? time shall tell, which is why i bought the logic. if i end up not using it, i didn't loose too much money. it is big. it's a bit clunky (i've been spoiled with smooth leather). Tonight, via some insomnia, I just discovered a new-to-me website with a company that is compatible with filo a5 (an ISO standard). they have many of the forms i've been creating by hand. They are semi GTD-ish, but in a logical way (at least to me). i won't deny that the slimline personal my husband bought as a hope i'd cary less wasn't nice. but i think now i won't carry (and leave behind) 3 different planning books. now to get myself to look *IN* this one. c'est ma challenge extrordinare! (along with remembering french)

    now if i could only find a cheap (i.e. $5 or so) hole punch.

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