03 February 2012

Free For All Friday No. 168

It's our first FFAF in February!  It's a Leap Year, what are you going to do with your extra day this year?

With the release this week of the new styles of Filofax binders coming out this year, there have been a lot of replies (including from myself) to the effect of: new binders are great and all, but what we really need are new inserts!  I keep reading about people using other brands of inserts because Filofax ones don't fit their needs and/ or are increasingly hard to find.

So, let it all out: what inserts would you like to see Filofax come out with? What diary formats would work better for you, and what other types of inserts would you use in your daily life?

And of course as always on Fridays, feel free to discuss anything Filofax-related.

Have a great weekend everyone!


  1. I'd like to see a set of inserts based specifically on GTD categories (yes, I *know* I already have David Parker's excellent custom A5 set, but you asked.....) This would include Next Actions, Projects, Project Plan, Agenda, Information, Contacts, Waiting For and Someday/Maybe. Plus maybe a couple I've forgotten (it's early and I'm about to run out to a breakfast meeting).

    All of these would be available in Personal *and* A5, and would be printed on 'real' paper, not the 'toilet' version FF now prefer to use.

    GTD is one of, if not *the*, largest bodies of time managers and organisers in the world now, so I wouldn't accept any guff from FF about them not selling well enough.

    For me this could be the 'acid test' of whether FF will step up to the plate and finally show some respect for their customers. I won't be holding my breath.....

  2. May I ask Deco users? Does the filo loose up (soften) a little bit after 1-2 years of using? I`m just got new one and I'm deciding on using it or returning it. My old filo is so soft and broken in, I just want the same with Deco.

  3. Have a look at Filofax’s recent candidate for Valentine’s gift.


    The words immediately springing to mind are “Apex”, tacky, cheap, unromantic and lack of style.
    I’ve tried to guess what sort of man would give such a fax to a woman, thinking it was romantic, but the nearest I can get is an immature 8 year old boy with a crush who may think that a similar girl may find it fun and cute.

    In my view, what they should have done for Valentine’s, is at least produce two products being a “him” and a “her”; with a box set (even if it is a loss leader that the retailer has to later split up!). But what is required to make the Valentine’s product are stylish dividers with some special pages, “love cheques” … ie This cheque entitles the named bearer to big hug or ten gentle kisses, a diary with daily or weekly areas to note down how you are to show your love to the other person in your life, cute heart shaped post-it notes, etc etc etc. But, even if they didn’t want to do that, they should surely have luxurious, even limited edition, leather binders with some sort of classy heart design.

    Dear Filofax, please give us cause to stop complaining about you!

  4. Two things: I would love the return of Personal sized month on two pages (without tabs). I believe they used to be on the US site. But they seem to have disappeared. Also, I wish slim flex covers could be a bit less expensive.

  5. @David - I think David Allen would have something to say (through his lawyer!) if Filofax started producing GTD inserts as he owns all the copyrights! Of course he produces his own paper organiser range - all non-European sizes of course - and available through his website catalogue https://secure.davidco.com/store/catalog

  6. Another Filofax 'sighting' (story):

    I was reading a magazine called "Real People" sent to me by my grandmother. In one of the true stories a woman is missing and the husband told her family that she had left him and gone abroad. The sister was suspicious. After some time she found her sisters' Filofax hidden in her home and her passport was in it so she knew he was lying. She went to the police and they found the body in a suitcase in the garage.

    If you went missing and a family member found your Filofax at home, would they become suspicious??? I think mine would!

  7. I would like to see something for the family. I know Filofaxs are meant to be used for business but I see a lot of mums using them for the kids schedules/household binder. I know there probably wouldnt be a huge market for this sort of insert, but maybe something a bit like the travel pack but with menu planners, shopping lists etc. Im a stay at home mum its quite hard to fit arrange a home schedule into the business style pages x

  8. @Princessk Have you checked out our Files page:

    This includes shopping lists, recipe and meal planner pages in personal size.

  9. Hi Steve,

    I have checked but I only have a little laptop and no printer and my current budget means I wont be buying one for a long time! I would love to be able to print them but its not really an option for me unfortunately x

  10. Hi Princess K
    Contact me philofaxy at gmail dot com and we can see if there is an alternative solution...

  11. @Scoot - are you in marketing? If not you should be - some great ideas there! Perhaps Filofax should give you a job!!!

  12. I think we are 'flogging a dead horse' a bit here.

    I suppose one of the great things about Filofax is that it can be all things to all people because of the very diverse way we all want to use it - from planning board meetings and very hectic business trips to the family meal planning and shopping list. And yes I do understand that Filofax has to look at their bottom line and be ruthless about culling non profit making lines.

    If this is the case, then less specific and more generic inserts would be useful - we could them label them, or adjust slightly with the odd line or entry. However what is a requirement is some decent quality paper.

    I still think the time manager inserts would sell better if people could actually find them, so I find their decisions around this product line very strange.

    Perhaps the real truth is that we are a dying breed and most of the population want cheap and tacky binders and all use bic pens so don't need decent quality paper. Perhaps there is a business opportunity for someone to make some really nice inserts and sell them (like Maudie Maide does) but I suspect you wouldn't make enough money to cover your time!

  13. I have a WO2P cotton cream diary - free to good home (UK only - sorry). I got it free in a bundle of other giveaways (thank you A Chic Coincidence!) but I have no need for it.
    Email me at amanda (dot) fleet (@) btinternet (dot) com if you're interested. First-come, first served.

  14. @Tamara - Oh no! I didn't realize that Filofax US had removed the monthly layout, as I use them every year. I had to pop over to the site to double check. I'm hoping they've disappeared because they don't have any in stock at the moment, but I'm fearful that they won't make a comeback.

    I keep coming back to Filofax from other brands just because I have worked a system for using them. If they take that way from me, I'll be forced to switch brands (for inserts) and never look back.

  15. I must be one of the few people who are not bothered by the Filofax paper. I can’t help think that the finer (lighter) paper was chosen so that we can fit more into our binders and choose how much we want to carry and ultimately how heavy it is. I actually like the way it curls up and makes a crinkly sound when written on heavily which happens when my daughter uses her Filofax.

    I have rather unruly handwriting and don’t press hard so the only thing that keeps my writing in check is to use a boring old fine orange Bic which does not have any of the problems of wetter ink.

    However, I do agree that better quality paper options should be available particularly for those professional/business people and of course fountain pen users. I do love the cotton cream paper and cant for the life of me understand why it is not available in the A5 size when it is for the Mini which I can’t really find a use for?
    However I do notice a difference in the weight of my Filofax when I choose cotton cream over their standard paper.

    I would like to see more diary variety and have the same layout of WO2P with notes at the top of the week like the cotton cream WO2P.

    I would also like to see them print on the diary the weather symbols and temp and possibly mood indicators.

    I don’t think they should be decreasing their range but expanding it so that we are all happy. They need to introduce professional pages on good quality paper, family pages for mums at home and the standard offering with a few tweaks for people like me whose life is not so busy. Basically options for all lifestyles and at all price points.

    @katka - I have just moved into a Deco also and the main thing I notice is how heavy it is. I transferred out of my compact into the Deco but the back pocket seems to take up quite a bit of room, not that it bothers me too much otherwise I would just be tempted to carry more pages and add to its weight. It does lay flat which is always good but I presume it is supposed to be one of the stiffer more professional/prestigious designs unlike the casualness of the softer more pliable binders like the Baroque, Malden and Topaz. I did find that the button at the front makes using the left hand side wobble when you write - bit of a nuisance.

  16. I think that what Filofax ought to do if they can no longer support as wide a range of inserts as we'd all like is to have a 'print to order' service. They could maintain an online catalogue of specialist papers that they print and dispatch to customers when they are ordered. This means they have no stock to maintain or warehouse but can still boast a full range of general and specialist inserts - fuller perhaps even than in their 80s heyday. And perhaps they could even allow customers to design their own inserts using a web tool that Filofax would print out and send direct to the user. This need not be much more expensive than the bulk-printed inserts, but I imagine most of us would be prepared to pay a little more. Even more so were tehre to be a choice of paper quality.

  17. I'd love to see the time management diary, a day per page, on cream paper with small tabbed months. Glad that more colour is appearing in some inserts in the new range. Some colours and designer type today markers in all sizes would be great too. But..... even better would be a bespoke ordering service.

  18. I am okay with the inserts they sell. But I would prefer a better paper-quality.

  19. PrincessK, it's interesting you are the second person this week to ask for a Family organiser pack. Filofax had this exact thing, the Family Organiser Lifestyle pack, and recently discontinued it (I'm assuming due to low sales). I reviewed it here:


    One thing that stands out in my mind when I met the manager of the Conduit Street London Filofax shop a couple of years ago was that Filofax is making fewer inserts because of retailers' limited shelf space. But it seems to me that with internet sales this would be less of an issue. She also said the French personal size week with days as vertical columns inserts sold well even to non French speakers because so many people wanted the format. You would think that would be a clue for them to make an English version, available in the UK!

  20. Meant to add: the A5 version is still available at Filofax US:


  21. i think one thing to keep in mind here is that making these inserts relies heavily on both the printing and paper industries. having been laid off from the printing industry well over a year ago and not being able to get back in, it's pretty obvious to me that it is in a major state of flux. there are a lot of digital demands these days so it's necessary to change focus and interest and adapt in order for the printers to stay afloat. a lot of newspapers are having to adapt with losing their doorstep subscriptions. the online/mobile papers such as the ny times are starting to charge for subscriptions.
    this in turn affects the paper industry. with paper, there is additional heavy environmental pressures. the need to get more green is definitely an issue with more and more companies. also, i believe these inserts are printed way in advance. my wpp and mo2p have 2010 on them. my blank pages, 2001, cotton cream todos and plain- 2009...

    i think it would be really difficult to offer personalized pages as for example, only the uk has the one offer right now and i'm not sure how that's working for them. a p-o-d service could be a whole different enterprise altogether and i imagine it would be pretty expensive as well as a headache to manage. also with their not being a unified filofax front online for example - with all the different websites of the different countries having different binders, different inserts, different shipping policies, etc, i believe the 'simple' task of offering 'better' inserts is a lot more complex than we imagine.

    there are things i use and like and things i wish would change, but it is what it is and i try to make do. i agree with alison that the more generic, the more people they are likely to please. i also saw that the mo2p are missing form the us website. they are on others' websites and i feel that they're pretty mainstream so i couldn't imagine they would get rid of them unless they were maybe UPDATING them somehow like with TABS or something...

  22. I'd like a week to a page diary with notes in cotton cream in English only for the space. As I find the lined paper difficult to use I'd like plain paper inserts in a range of colours. please, Filofax.

  23. filopedia...
    Did I get the concept wrong, or was it meant to be a reference-type thing so you could look up filofaxes on it? I just went over and there are pics like that, sensibly tagged... but there's also quite a lot of less useful pictures which I think (though happy to be corrected) belong more on the other flickr pool??

  24. just to let everyone know that the time management inserts will be continuing into 2013 and they will have a look at making them more accessible on their website. yaaayyyy the power of facebook comments!!!!!!

  25. @ Alison, thanks, but I’m an accountant. I am used to looking into clients’ businesses and we try to run/experiment with everything going to look for any new possible USP, yet keeping it realistic and practical as opposed to fanciful or unprofitable. To me, Filofax is a company that should be so much bigger and I constantly wonder why they don’t get a team of 3 or 4 creative staff members to drive simple and cheap changes to help customers/retailers with their products; therein drive up profits.

    It must be worthwhile for Filofax to have even just one full-time member of staff monitoring/running their own forum about time management, co-operating with people on such sites as Philofaxy and DIY Planner, engaging with customers and giving extra product information such as explaining why they use the paper they do, tell us why Time Management inserts aren’t in stock or even just how to use the system!, even giving out experimental versions of PDF inserts and seek feedback.

    I think they could make much more of Limited Edition Binders, it would be easy to justify 3 or 4 per year. Other companies, like Succes, appear to be leading in design.

    I am probably not alone to have sought prices for the manufacture of Fax inserts from printers, and while there are issues, if I had the time I would do it and sell online; just can’t imagine Filofax ever stepping up to the plate and undermining the business model.

  26. Gosh, so there really is someone at Filofax listening to us! Just to check we've got the wording of their statement right: -

    "We can confirm again, that the Time Management diary refills will be continuing in 2013. We will investigate the prominence of this series on the website and, if feasible, look to making it more accessible".

    Sounds encouraging!

  27. Just wanted to say that I am selling my A5 Aqua binder on ebay at the moment if anyone is interested - http://bit.ly/Aaf18L 99p starting price. Also my old iPhone.

  28. However they don't say which time management inserts are being continued ...

  29. Second call for a print-on-demand service there from Ray Blake (I mentioned it on my 1st ever post here and for all I know it's come up before).

    I had some custom notepaper printed on VistaPrint and it cost a small sum to load the first template, but then reprints were dirt cheap - and the quality beats home-printed stuff hands down, the ink doesn't run at the slightest drop of coffee for a start!

    Does anyone else feel that this is an area Filofax might move into, offering their less profitable (inc. in terms of retailer shelf-space) inserts as print-on-demand, and also allowing users to custom design pages?

    I would LOVE that, and be willing to pay to get my own design printed on punched paper (I have a punch but, tedious much?!) so if anyone else is interested please post, then we could maybe take it to Facebook, and/or direct to the company? :)

  30. @ SNARLing, sorry I missed your comment on p-o-d, but I guess Filofax don't chop their own trees and mill their own paper (oops, that looks snarky, was meant as SILLY!) so why not out-source to a company with the gear in place, and then just make sure the special sizing and six-hole thing gets added?

    Gah - now I look like a shill for Vistaprint, which I'm SO not!! but I've used them and also a local printer to get my own A5 inserts made which I then punched up, and being able to print in run-proof colours and greys was worth the aggro.

  31. @Alison - and I thought I was the no 1 cynic..! Like you, I always look at any company's (or politician's) statement and read between the lines.

    As you say, Filofax only mention continuing the diary refills. So that could mean the range will end up like Deskfax (diary refills and nothing else). My prediction is that they'll keep the other items (meeting planner, results planner etc) until current stocks run out, but won't reprint or add new inserts.

    And they say they are "confirming again". When was the first confirmation? 2005?

  32. Just floating this.....

    Why don't we just start our own company and produce what we all obviously want - a range of *proper* inserts, on *proper* paper, and sell them through one of the p-o-d sites already operative.

    If FF don't want the 'minimal' trouble, why let them have the profits?

    I'm in if others are....

  33. I like A5 vertical WOTP (need to see the week at a glance)but I would like to see a more detailed time system (my day is blocked off into 45 minute appointments with 15minutes to get from place to place)and better paper. Would also like more powerful project management and to do lists.

    I need a ring-binder system because my schedule changes so much that I have to rewrite the coming week each Sunday and replace the messy pages.

    One thing that should be possible even with today's narrow selection of inserts is monthly tabs. They make such a difference and have been much requested for a long time.

    Not sure if it is available in other countries but Sweden has an A5 teacher's pack which is quite useful for me as it has attendance registers, class lists, lesson planning pages and student timetables. Being able to produce specialised packs for a relatively small market for several years now shows that it can be done. You can buy them in a binder or as refill packs.

  34. @David, I was wondering about the ramifications (and costs) of loading some stuff up to a certain p-o-d company I've namechecked too much already, then linking other people to that so they don't have to pay the image-loading costs... I can't say how far I'd go with that but it's an area I'm interested in.

    Before we storm the citadel, how about an online petition asking for a p-o-d facility, using one of those sites that uses e-mail verification to contact the company with?

  35. I don't know much about the technicalities of doing that. Why not drop me an email davidpopely (at( googlemail (dot) com?

  36. * I meant petition sites, and probably also the Facebook thing, though I don't use FB myself.

  37. Yes Alison, I think that is the bottom line. We are a dying breed.

  38. @Savannah - remember the panda? we only die out when swe stop - oh, okay, not THAT exactly! but stop trying at least.

    Remember the Filofax that survived WW2, and saved the company? One little binder against Hitler and the massed Axis powers?

    I rest my case! :o)

  39. Hi Laurie

    They sound good, shame they don't do them anymore. I have a diary for appointments then blank paper for meal planners and more blank paper for shopping lists and end up with different bits all over and five different shopping lists because I keep forgetting where the the previous one is. I think i've got quite a gift, I can even make a filofax un-organised lol. It would be nice to have a week with appointments meal planners etc all in one place instead of all over!

    Hi Steve

    I saw your comment and i'm not ignoring it. I'm in and out at the minute but i'll e-mail you when the kids are in bed and I have some peace and quiet.

    Thanks again x

  40. For all your home makers out there. Last year for part of my Xmas present, my Sister-in-law got me a meal plan pad from a place called Mums Office. This is A5, with a list of days to plan means on the left and a detachable shopping list on the right. I could find it this year - but it seems they are re-launching it at the end of this month - details are here: http://bit.ly/wNAJto I just peeled off all the sheets from the pad, punched them and put them in my 'home' filofax. I really like them and am investigating some of their other products. They are also launching a 'moms todo list' so may be worth checking out as well.

  41. For fashionistas...


    Just look at all the comments about faxes, click below her post!

  42. Further to alison's comment if you go to the website she suggested if you sign up to their website you can download their templates for free!!!!!!

  43. I second Mr. P's "I'd like to see ..."

    Will ask around and see if some printer in my hemisphere is willing to do the job ...

  44. The filofax response about the TM system puzzles me...
    "We can confirm again, that the Time Management diary refills will be continuing in 2013. We will investigate the prominence of this series on the website and, if feasible, look to making it more accessible".
    If feasible?
    They own the site, they run the site, they (presumably) want to make money... even if the TM range is done by someone else, presumably THEY want to make money. Surely it's a no-brainer to include the range along with the rest of the diaries??
    What's the if feasible for??

  45. Thanks for the tip, Christa. I'm going to have a look. It does annoy me intensely, though when a stationery company can't use the correct spelling of stationery!!!! Aargh!

  46. Just an update, I e-mailed Filofax UK asking about p-o-d options this morning, I hope I made a decent case for it: I'll let Steve & everyone on here know what they reply!


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