19 March 2011

'How I Use My Filofax' - James Franklin

James very kindly wrote in to Philofaxy a couple of days ago, the title of his email was 'How I use my Filofax' and he included a couple of photos and some text, but it triggered one of those 'Steve moments' with 'this would be a great series for the blog' so James is the first of hopefully a regular series on Philofaxy.

I hope you enjoy it, I know from past comments we all love learning from other peoples experience and seeing the pictures of the inside of their Filofax.

If you would like to submit your own story about 'How I Use My Filofax' please email philofaxy at gmail dot com

'How I Use My Filofax' - James Franklin

I first fell in love with Filofax when I saw the Winchester at age 14. I was too small to spend a few hundred bucks on a leather-made black binder. My dream came true a few years ago when I managed to buy one at an online auction and absolutely love it since then.

My organiser is divided into these sections:
  • The goal section keeps my mission statement, my wife's and my annual targets
  • The schedule section has to-do lists, yearly and weekly schedule sheets
  • The note section stores diaries, ideas, extracts from newspapers and magazines
  • The finance section keeps records of my spending and household budget
  • Some plastic envelopes hold receipts and business cards
Every morning, I begin my day by opening weekly schedule sheets to check what should be done. Each item listed there has a tick box, like a to-do list, and a symbol that shows which category the task falls in. I divide my activities into seven categories, namely Health, Relations, Intelligence, Career, Finance, Leisure and Soul. If the task is marked C, for example, it is supposed to help achieve my long-term career goal of making my work like a hobby.

Diary sheets keep records of when I woke up, went to the office, left there and went to bed. I also write down at least one thing that I am grateful for, for instance good health, support from my spouse or the fact that I have work. It's repetitive most of the time but is fine because this is based on my belief that happiness stems in part from gratitude.

For note taking, I use a Filofax leather jotter holding three blank sheets. Each note has a title and a small box. I tick the box after inputting the title in a computer text file so that it's easy to search later. Notes and diaries are archived in plastic binders, which I read regularly, like a book.

Although I use an iPhone mainly for calling, texting and checking news sites, I don't think it can replace a Filofax. My organiser is like a map, compass and travel journal, tracking my progress to long-term goals, showing where I am and pointing to where to go.

I believe "you never actually own a Filofax. You merely look after it for the next generation.'' Sounds familiar? Google Patek Philippe!

Thank you James, you might also like to check out his blog.  James also sent me a pdf of his daily diary page which is available for you to download and try out.


  1. Great post, beautiful Filofax!

    Thanks, James!

  2. James, thanks for sharing your filofax with us. It is nice to see a male filofax! Where did you get the lovely binders in the last photo?

  3. To T,
    Thank you! I was really lucky to get that almost brand-new Winchester though it was made 20 years ago.

    To caribbean princess
    The last photo shows my plastic binders that keep old diaries and notes. I bought them at a nearby stationary shop when I was in Japan. It may not be convenient for you to order them from there but I believe Filofax offers a similar product.

  4. Thank you for sharing your pictures, pdf, and story. I especially like your categories and designating to-do's by those areas.

    Congrats on finding a Winchester in such great shape--the quality is amazing!

  5. Lovely to see how you are using your filofax. It's always interesting to see how similar components can be put together so uniquely! I suppose that's one of the joys of filofax - the combinations and permutations are almost infinite.
    Thank you for sharing your set-up with us all.
    And yes, Steve, this will make a great series!

  6. I really enjoyed this post, thanks, Steve and James.

    I like the idea of using a letter to designate categories; it reminds me of how I prefaced action items by class codes in high school and college. I may try this system out again.

  7. Enjoyed reading your post James... thanks for sharing your ideas.

  8. It's always fascinating to see how others use their filofaxes - so I've really enjoyed reading this.

  9. Thank you very much for the positive feedback. I'm glad to hear everybody enjoys my post and hope this will become the beginning of a long last series of `How I Use My Filofax.'

  10. Brilliant post James! Also, love the PP Quote! Perhaps you are horological enthusiast too? :)


  11. Thank you, Adam! Glad to hear you enjoyed my post. I happened to find PP's ad on the Economist magazine and couldn't forget about it because of its lasting impression. I cannot afford such an expensive watch though.

  12. This is a nice article - where did you find the leather jotter? I can't seem to find any in the US

  13. Rich J, thank you for your comment. I'm glad you enjoyed my post. I bought the leather jotter on a Japanese shopping site, which said it was made almost 2 decades ago and unused. I'm afraid it is no longer available. You may want to check EBay, as there is a chance somebody will sell it at times. Good luck!


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