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07 May 2013

Free For All Tuesday No 118

Tuesdays are your chance to ask any Filofax related questions you might have.

So fire away and we will collectively try to answer your questions or offer opinions.

37 comments:

  1. I think this says more about my life in general than my filofax, but does anyone find they have a couple of weeks where nothing is written on the day pages... and then wonder what the hell normally goes there?

    These past two weeks all thats written in is a doctors appointment and a christening, yet i flick back to before my holiday and the notes page as well as the weekly page are completely full...

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    1. My weeks fall into two basic categories - the weeks when I'm travelling to/from London, which are usually crowded out with appointments, travel details, etc, and the weeks when I'm in the office, when there is nothing in terms of meetings. Paradoxically, it's for the latter that I very often find myself wishing for the DPP setup (as opposed to the Wo2P which I customarily use), because it's when I'm *not* travelling that I work through my tasks, whereas when I'm travelling I really only need the meeting details. The 'output' from the meeings goes into the notes/in section, and through there to the next actions/waiting for sections, as needed.

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    2. I use a Arc notebook for meeting notes and I use a week on one page with notes setup in my filofax, looking back i seem to put a lot of 'things i should REALLY do when I get home' things in the daily spaces and just scribble down everything else on the notes page, websites to look at, things to get done/order in the week etc... I wonder if its just because this month has seen us pay out for a new kitchen and bathroom already so I know i dont have any money to shop online with!! in which case I should probably do less of it anyway!

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    3. David, like you I find that there's a lot more on the pages when I'm not travelling to the office in London. I normally work from home in Somerset, but every couple of weeks I spend a day, or two, or three, in London at the office. Those office days sometimes end up as blank pages - my meeting calendar is in (spit) Outlook - because I'm scheduled to the eyeballs and they turn into a parade of meetings, workshops, roundtable sessions and so forth. Sometimes I don't have time to stop and think until I'm on the train home afterward. The pages which fill up are the ones when I'm home, working through the actions...

      The other thing which I find happens occasionally is I 'fall off the horse', and that's particularly around breaks or holidays as Clareio has found. Being organised is a habit - a break in the routine can derail me for several days while my brain unwinds, and then there are a few days in the doldrums where I'm off the game and drifting, then I usually realise I've fallen off the horse and give myself a swift kick up the backside. Cue a bit of a mindsweep, lots of planning and scheduling for a couple of hours and then often a sudden blast of things get done very rapidly and we're off again. :)

      The latter pattern also used to happen to me with exercise. At one time I worked in London 5 days a week and came home at weekends, and I had a full schedule and routine going. Over Christmas I would often take 2 weeks or so off, and once back at work that break in routine would often hang around for weeks or months. One year I didn't get back into my routine until March!

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    4. Yes! Clareio, I found that after a two week vacation I returned to the normal swing of things and had no idea what to write into my planner or where to write it... It took a couple of weeks to get back into the swing of it.

      I too find that I have days with heavy scheduling, and little in the way of task management, and the opposite days where I have no scheduling and tons of tasks. I find this an enormous struggle as my planner needs for these two types of days are so completely different. I used a 2 page per day Franklin Covey compact size which gave ample space to three functions: time planning, task management, and note taking. But I rarely used all three functions on the same day so much of the page seemed like waste. I did find, though, that on incredibly busy days this planner was totally ideal. It is definitely what I would use if I had an incredibly hectic job with lots of personal contact. So convenient to have notes space right on the planning page; I always had a place to jot a note right at hand. But it was just SO much paper to tote around and looked silly. So I slipped back to week on two pages with a notes page leaved between. This works very well on all but the busiest days.

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    5. Hi Paul

      Well said. Being (and staying) organised is indeed a habit, a set of routines. I've learned (and usually remember) that if can keep the routines going, the weekly reviews etc in place, I stand an above-average chance of staying organised. Getting the habit is a whole different subject, maybe a guest post somewhere if anyone wants to pick up the offer? :)

      Much as I detest Outlook, if your meetings are subject to random and frequent changes (as are mine) I can quite understand why you'd want to use it!

      It sounds as if you have a very similar life to mine...where in Somerset are you? I'm close to Wells. My work (I'm an accountant in practice) takes me to London for around 4-5 days monthly, usually in two trips, and that's when I have the most trouble keeping track of all the loose ends which are hitting me from all angles. I usually have back to back meetings right through the trip, and if don't record everything, and then process it into my system in a timely way, by the time I get back everything is in disarray. Recently I've introduced a fresh strategy of travelling back first class (I can leave London an hour later and it's only £0.50 more than standard on the previous train), which gives me a bit of quiet time in which to do a 'brain dump' into my FF, or at least to process all the random notes I've accumulated in the 'notes/in' section over those two days. That's always assuming I have enough mental energy left to do the job after two days and 8-10 meetings on disparate subjects!

      While I have disagreements with the GTD philosophy, and therefore the set-ups, I do think it has helped me to see more than ever that it's all about keeping the lists up to date, and if I can do that I'm fundamentally OK. But, as Neil Young said, 'Rust Never Sleeps'!

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    6. @David - I do back office systems support (IT!) for a large media company. I used to spend most of my life in London (8 years of weekly commutes!) but a few years ago my boss' boss had an epiphany and realised he could save some dosh (and probably improve my health which was a bit rocky back then) by having me work from home and only come to the office on 'special occasions'. I've got a little office at the back of the house over the kitchen, lined with bookshelves and computer equipment...

      The house itself is in Weston-super-Mare, near the sea front. When I do have to go to London I'm lucky enough to claim Standard class fare back - but I always book first class both ways in advance which works out only fractionally more expensive than standard class if you do it early enough, as you have discovered, especially if one is willing to compromise regarding travel times! On commuter services into London from the west of England I find travelling in standard class leaves me only partially functional when I get to the office; since my job is about reviewing other people's design work and providing background system knowledge and expertise, it helps if my brain is actually working while I'm there!

      As I type this I'm actually just outside Bristol Temple Meads on the 1930 Paddington - WsM service, laptop open and connected via iPhone personal hotspot, filofax open on the table in front of me, sorting my life out a bit. Most of the time these days I find it's someone else's job to be the scribe at the meetings I'm attending, but it's good to have some quiet time to think. Another little hint - I always book a reserved seat in the 'quiet carriage' if I can - no mobile phones, quiet murmurs of conversation, no personal stereos making a racket... blissful peace!

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    7. Hi Paul

      I use the SW trains line from Yeovil, as most of my work lies in the SE quadrant of London, so Waterloo is very handy once I arrive (it only takes an extra 30 minutes or so on the train compared with FGW and the fares are cheaper too. I fully endorse what you say about quiet carriages *and* First Class, although my experience of the former is that there is almost always someone who thinks the rules don't apply to *them*....sadly, an indication of the 'advanced' world in which we now live.

      I've never regretted leaving the Smoke, and the 4-5 days per month which I spend there are a small price to pay for living on the Levels, in what must be the most ideal setting (and set-up) we could have ever imagine.

      What format FF do you use? I'm using my vintage Hampstead Personal, although like everyone else, I have all the usual quandries regarding A5/Personal and space/portability.

      If you fancy a coffee any time in (say) Burnham or Brean, I'd be more than happy to stand you one - assuming your work allows you to get out during the day and that you're not required to be ever-present on standby. It's always good to meet fellow-filofaxers (and Philofaxers), specially, in my case, business users. Week after next I hope to be meeting Lewis Doyle, and I'm still in touch with Paul B from our excellent evening out a few weeks back! Drop me an email if you'd like a chat davidpopely (at) googlemail (dot) com

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  2. Can anyone tell me how to setup the Filofax 8.5 x11 personal pages on computer paper? I'd like to try and create some of my own pages, but I haven't a clue how I should set the page up so as to get everything within the perforations and hole punches. However, I can follow instructions very well! Just keeping my fingers crossed! Thanks to all!

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  3. Hey Rebecca,
    here is a link on how to print personal pages: http://www.philofaxy.com/files/printing.pdf
    I have set up a Din-A 4 page with the outlines of three personal pages, then print these, cut them along the outlines an then print the pages I have made for myself in personal size. I use the manual feed on my printer but yout have to set up the correct page size for the personal paper in the printing options.

    In short:
    - set up a page with the outlines of the personal pages, print an then cut out the pages
    - create your own personal page on your computer whilst setting the page settings to the personal size
    - set your printer settings to personal size so the printer knows which format the paper has
    - feed the manual tray of your printer with the personal paper you have just made an then print your own created pages on it

    I hope this is somewhat understandable...

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  4. An odd question.... but one which is driving me a little into planner fail..... so.... here goes. I like to colour code with Coleto/gel pens in my Filofax and I would also like to highlight the most important to dos. I have begun this as a "Filofax try out" recently and to my annoyance the highlighter disguises the colour of the ink underneath.....removing the advantage of colour coding. Can anyone recommend any highlighters that are light and therefore don't change the pen colour underneath ie where the pen colour can be seen just as clearly as the highlight?? I've tried highlighter pencils but have the same issue!! Thanks folks.

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    1. Not sure about this but my highlighters match my colour coding, I got a pack of Stabilo swing and they come in lots of colours and were relatively cheap on Amazon or in Rymans :)

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    2. I use the Frixion pens, and there is a yellow Frixion highlighter which works very well. They also produce it in green and pink. Both the pens and highlighters are erasable.
      I haven't done extensive testing but I checked back through my diary to find stuff I had highlighted, and you can see the original frixion pen colour through the highlighter.

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    3. I have used the Frixion highlighters as well (orange, pink and neon yellow) and they work very well as far as "see through" is concerned. I've also used the Avery lighters which are much more color dense with the purple being pretty dark which obscures the writing underneath, so I prefer the others.

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    4. Thanks everyone for all the replies about highlighters. This really is a fabby community. xx

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  5. I'm using the Pentel Arts 8-colour pencil as additional highlighter to my coleto multi pens and don't have this issue because I can adjust how hard I press on the paper to regulate the color lay down.

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  6. Jotje, are these highlighter pencils or ordinary colouring pencils which you overlay on top of the Coleto? Never heard of this Pentel one, so I'm intrigued.

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  7. I did a (or a few) posts on the pentel 8 color pencil and a video. The post is here http://www.crazysuburbanmom.com/2013/04/highlighter-happy-dance.html and the video is here http://youtu.be/FJX953oRXsY

    Hope this helps!
    Tracy

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  8. l love the Pentel, I got it after your recommendation Tracy.

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    1. Thanks for letting me know! It feels great to help :) I love mine too, don't think I've used a 'regular' highlighter since I got it. I love that you can write on them (with ink) under or over them
      Tracy

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  9. I am considering getting a Filofax from overseas in the UK both Chamelon's and I am a bit hesitant about the experience. Is it pretty straight forward? Has anyone had any problems with custom or what not because I am going to be outlaying almost 200 dollars. [ A hell of a lot of money for me in one lump sum] so I would love to hear some experiences.

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    1. Hi Blair
      If you are in UK? and the package is coming from within the EU, then you won't have any issues with Customs.

      If it's coming from the US though you might get trapped by Customs and have to pay UK VAT and UK Import Duty on your parcel.

      When stuff has arrived from the US for me and it's been one of our readers that has sent me an organiser I insist that they put a customs declaration on it marking it as a gift and ask them to put a small birthday card inside to strengthen the reasoning!

      So far I've not had to pay extra duty on the items. But it is a risk you take with importing things from the US.

      Steve

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    2. I know I have always got my Filofaxes in great condition. Are you ordering from a website or from a person? That again can change things! The Chameleons are beautiful! I have three A5s, black, red and raspberry as well as a A5 Imperial Purple Finchley.

      When ordering from a site/business there are some with better reputations than others. Are you in the Philofaxy group on Facebook? If so, there is a wealth of knowledge and experience available on there. Believe me, we have ALL gone through this multiple times!! :)

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    3. Steve:

      I am in Australia. I have a hard time finding cheaper ones on ebay/Amazon etc and such so I wanted to get one from the actual company. It will be coming from the UK Filofax store. I am mainly worried about having to pay extra for customs from the company sending it. My first Filofax I just brought at the store but am so limited here in Australia.

      Rebecca,
      I am pretty sure I am on facebook in the Philofaxy group [hehe It would be sad if I wasn't since I am terribly addicted.]

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    4. @Steve - in theory even gifts above a certain (relatively small) value are subject to tax and import duties if coming into the UK from outside the EU, which always seemed to me to be a bit curmudgeonly... imagine your Auntie in the States sending you a 21st birthday present of a diamond necklace or somesuch (or maybe an alligator skin Filofax!), and instead of getting a gift, you get a card from the Post Office saying 'there is £200 tax and handling fee to pay'. Deep joy!

      (and incidentally having things declared as gifts when they're not, or at reduced value, is technically fraud and can land you in deep dippy if caught)

      I've imported things from the US many times - usually vintage fountain pens - and have found that packages from businesses seem to be more likely to be caught in customs than packages from individuals. But there's no rhyme or reason to it really - I've had packages worth hundreds of dollars sail through unscathed, others not, and then again a quite low value consignment of ink (well under $100) was stopped and subject to more than half its value in handling fees, import duty and tax.

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    5. Yeah if they asked me for 200 euro I wouldn't be able to get it at all.

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    6. Hi everyone, I am from Australia as well. I just ordered my Filofax from the UK website, and it literally came within 8 days. No customs as it is below $1,000. You can read more on the Customs website here http://www.customs.gov.au/site/page5549.asp

      Everything arrived in mint condition and I'm super pleased with my new Filo.

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  10. I also just wanted to say thank you so much to all you guys out there. I feel so welcome in this group. <3

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  11. Steve,
    I've struggled with this. People have asked me to mark something as a gift even though they actually purchased it from me. It is my understanding that declaring something to be a gift when it has actually been paid for would constitute tax fraud!

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    1. I like it when people undervalue something and mark as a gift but I would never ask them to do it as I am very conscious that it is fraud and I would hate someone to get into trouble over it.

      I did make an exception to this rule a few weeks ago though, when I bought some Frye Boots from the US. I was caught for customs on the way in (which I was happy to pay as they were so cheap to start with) but they had sent me two wrong sizes and both right feet. So I sent them back marking them as faulty merchandise being returned (so the seller wouldn't get caught for customs on the way back in to the US) and the replacement pair was marked secondhand and a gift so that I didn't have to pay customs twice on what was essentially the same item.

      My rule of thumb is whether I want something enough to pay over the odds for it (if I can only find it where I would have to pay customs duties) OR if the total price + postage + tax is cheaper than I could get it at home.

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    2. Yes! I often include shipping when I've sold binders to I subtract the shipping cost from the already low price charged for the item, meaning that even if one does need to pay import duties they should be reasonable.

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    3. Import duty here in Switzerland is supposed to be paid on anything over 200 Francs ($200 ish), but if you receive something through the post (even if it is significantly below this value) then you can get charged import duty, and the worst part is that you also get an admin charge of around a further 20 Francs. I discovered this when I ordered some DVDs from Amazon to the value of about $20 and then had to pay duty and admin fees on delivery. It is very frustrating.

      I have no objection to paying import duty on items that are above the threshold, but feel that it is ridiculous that I should end up paying as much in duty & admin fees as for the item itself.

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  12. I've been noticing something watching all the unboxing recent videos - The inserts are including things I haven't seen in a while - the clear rulers, top opening pockets, the colorful dividers... A bigger sample of colored lined paper ... maps...and a lot of perfect rings. For a while it seemed most of the one's I watched had binders that had to go back due to rings. Inserts were mainly the black rulers, a TON of address sheets and to do lists... a credit card insert and a few sheets of colored paper. For a while it felt like they were using their stock up things people really didn't like and didn't order. But it seems things are looking up...

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    1. Could it be that the sterling efforts of Philofaxy and the fruits of the various discussions with Filofax which happened a while back are filtering through to the sharp end?

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    2. Paul, I'd like to think that and so I think I will! I've seen more happy unboxing videos in the last few weeks then I think I saw all last year. It's very nice :)

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    3. Tracy, I almost never watch unboxing videos as I'm more interested in the setup than the binder itself. But this sounds like very good news! Interestingly, I used the rather useful inserts that came in my first Domino forever. I still have many of them in my current setup.

      I was looking through the fill that came in my Winchester, a complete setup from 1989 with maps, tabs, a black page marker with rounded ends... The maps are quite nice but the paper quality is, if anything, far worse than the current offerings. It is so rough and absorbent.

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    4. Josh I definitely find set up videos much more helpful. I admit I do get caught up in how excited everyone is when they get a new filofax - That says a lot about the way people (especially new people!) feel about the brand. I hope filofax has seen these, it's very encouraging! Although they might be quite surprised that people give them names :) And even pick out the names ahead of time. We love our filofaxes to the utmost degree, what can I say? About the older things... Remember me talking about that old clear ruler that was SO stiff? Well one of the holes broke within a few uses I was pretty upset - it's such a nice ruler! But looks like they make changes when warrented - the maps in your case, the ruler in mine!

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