20 January 2008

Well Enough Alone

It's time to come clean. A few days into 2008, just before I started posting here again, I had a Philofaxical crisis. After one-and-a-half years of all-Filo-all-the-time, I was one trip to the stationery store away from abandoning it all.

It all started one day at work, the first day after Christmas break. I was planning my work schedule for the next few months by projecting my upcoming deadlines. I used a monthly wall calendar to write down the milestone dates and hung it near my desk where I'd be sure to see it. Yes, I write the same milestones in the A5 Filofax I use for work, but then I don't see them far enough in advance. That's one weakness of the weekly Filo format, and it did affect my work performance last year.

I then flipped through my Filo, with a tab for general Admin To-Dos, and a tab for each major project containing both To Do pages and notes, and wrote down a list of things to do today on a big piece of paper. Another weakness of my system -- no instant way to ferret out what needs to be done TODAY.

You can see where this is going. The voices in my head start chattering...all I really need is a simple wall calendar and a running To Do list. I can keep my notes for each project in a file folder...wouldn't that be easier than maintaining a tab for each project and lugging a heavy book everywhere? A composition book for meeting notes...

I started making a list for everything I'd need to replace my 3 Filos (work, personal, and household). The list almost filled a large sheet of paper, and it included a small Moleskine to replace my Personal Filo. Well, those are already sold out for '08. Do I really want to change everything over, when I already have almost 2 years' worth of notes in Filo format? Do the weaknesses of my system really warrant starting over with completely different tools?

There was a time where I made lists like the above one or more times a month. But just as that kind of tweaking becomes an addiction, staying on track eventually becomes the path of least resistance. I started by promising to stick with my Filo system for just the last half of 2006. Then, the entire calendar year of 2007. Done. Now, another year -- 2008 -- is no big deal. I can just keep doing what I'm doing, with the option to change at the start of 2009.

But I'm going to add one thing to my Filo system -- one of those Vertical Year Planners. And I put that list I made away for 2009 -- in the pocket of my A5 Filo.

14 January 2008

Upcoming updates

I'm surprised -- and overjoyed -- to note that guests have begun returning to Philofaxy after just one new blog post after a 3-month absence. So as not to torture you (especially those of you that don't use an RSS feed), I'll let you know that I'm planning to update the blog about twice a week -- once during the weekend (Saturday or Sunday), and once around the middle of the week (Tuesday or Wednesday). I have a few topics up my sleeve, and am always open to suggestions!

In between, you can visit (and hopefully add to) the Flickr Philofaxy pool. The group has been wonderfully active, with folks displaying some amazingly creative Filo configurations.

13 January 2008

Happy 2008!

It's been so long since I've posted to Philofaxy, it feels a little strange. I want to thank all of the readers who've been commenting on recent posts. Thank you for your input, and for inspiring me to keep the blog alive.

My absence has been due in part to getting burned out at work last year (and it feels really good to use the word "last" here), to a temporary addiction to something called Facebook, and to, frankly, a lack of news. It's easy to write about Filofax angst when you're choosing between sizes and formats. I had settled into a stable Filofax system in 2007, and eventually there wasn't much to write about.

I spent the time between Christmas and New Year's setting up new refills in my 3 Filos -- A5 for work, A5 for household, and Personal for personal. The biggest change was in Personal, when I went from week-per-2-pages to 2-days per page. As you can see in this picture, the new, white diary pages (bottom) take up a much bigger portion of the book. I had to cull quite a few other pages to make room.

But I'm enjoying the extra room on each page. Now I have room to write down more than "pay electric bill." I have room to write down the confirmation number when I pay the bill online. I have time to note addresses and directions. There's also a 1/2 page each week called Notes, which I've used so far for to-dos that don't have to be done on a specific day, and notes that go beyond a confirmation number.

I've also changed my tabs in the Personal: They're now Projects, Maybe, Ideas, Lists, Life, and Tel. The Projects section is for truly personal projects, like get-togethers with friends, holidays, and vacations. Maybe stands for "maybe do" and holds to-do pages. It's for Web sites I want to look up, people I want to get back in touch with, products I might want to order, and so on. Ideas may not sound very different from Maybe, but it is. It's for ideas that go beyond a single to-do. Cities I want to visit each have a page under ideas, as do Web sites I want to develop and articles I want to write. It's actually a pretty fallow section at the moment. Lists is an alphabetical collection of lists; mostly shopping/gift lists alphabetized by venue. Life is an oddball name, I know. It's actually a euphemism for diet and exercise records. It makes sense to me.

Has anyone else done any tweaking for the new year?
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