25 October 2013

Free For All Friday No. 258

'What would you do if you didn't have your Filofax?' was a question a friend of mine asked me the other day when we were out at lunch together.

Well I would struggle to remember anything, appointments, usernames for websites and hints to the passwords (not the full passwords obviously), how to change my watch from one time zone to another. Lots of silly bits of information that I'm sure you carry with you just like I do.

I answered the question by showing my friend the contents of my Filofax. They seemed a mix of bemused and impressed. We might have a new convert!

Have you ever introduced someone to using a Filofax?

However, it is a Friday, so please feel free to discuss anything Filofax related.

28 comments:

  1. Once I was talking to a group of friends about my Filofax, and one asked what I put in it. I described the contents, similar to yours--basically everything important in my life. She shrugged and said, "I wouldn't even know what to write in a planner." I was too stunned to even reply. How do people function without one?? Where do they keep all that important information?

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    1. It is my theory (based on conversations with several people) that the majority of people just lull through days. They have a set of hours through which they go to work, come back home and then there usually is some sort extracurricular activity. I´ve tried to make do without DPPs and I always end up drifting through days instead of thriving. Every single time I talk with people and very superficially mention to do- lists, chronodexes, meal planning, budgeting, setting up dates and actionplans considering the family and my helping hands (that´s how I see my wonderful worker) and weekly- &monthly planning and projects (see, I can´t even mention all at once since their heads would explode) I´m always perceived as some sort of pathological control freak that should be locked away. But the thing is, when I don´t jump through all these loops, I too end up drifting and there´s too much for me to do to afford the luxury of drift. Then, OTOH if I again, very superficially brush the subject of all the things that go on simultaneously in my life, every single time I get the "how can any human pull that through". Well, it´s doable but it all has to be planned. The reason to my multiple level of planning is the fact that without these steps, I could only do a fraction of what needs to be done. That just is not an option.
      So to get back on the subject, I claim that people usually just lull through life without too much thought. And that´s fine if it makes one happy and if it is in sync with ones´ situation in life.

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    2. I'm definitely a planner. Having two children under school age, I need to plan my time. Otherwise I end up forgetting tasks I need to carry out, items for shopping, appointments etc.
      This was the main reason I started using a filofax again, about a month ago. Without it, days were passing and I was forgetting things, as part of the daily multi tasking. It really has helped. I carry it with me whenever I leave the house.
      On the other hand, my mother thought getting a filofax was a good idea as she tends to "lull" through life and was realising she was forgetting a lot of things. But, she has still failed to do anything more than open it, when it arrived, then stuff it in a drawer for "when I have time to look at it". Maybe I got the wrong idea, but I thought the original idea of buying the filofax, was so she could organise her time. Lol
      I guess, to each their own.

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    3. Kirsty - I think the problem when you get a filofax for the first time is setting it up, which can seem a huge daunting task. Perhaps your Mom needs some inspiration to get her started? Sounds like you are doing a great job with yours.

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    4. My sister said the same thing when I bought her a Flex for her birthday in January. I was stunned; I've muttered, "How would I survive without my Filofax?" at least three times today!

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  2. As a SAHM of two toddlers I wouldn't get much done if I didn't organise myself. I would breeze around in a sleep deprived state forgetting all out appointments and activities!

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    1. That's exactly the position I'm in. One child is 2 yrs and the other is 14 weeks. I figured if I could land up so sleep deprived, that I tried squashing the kettle into the fridge and went to the water filter tap aiming to get lemonade, it was time to write things down and so I got a filofax. Life saver or sanity saver more like.

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  3. Hi Everyone. I arrived back in UK late on Wednesday night and yesterday was a prime example of what happens when I don't use my Filofax.
    Stuff just got out of control, I could feel my stress levels increasing and my blood pressure as well no doubt.
    So today a new day... Filofax out and I wrote all the things down I had to do today and I'm gradually making my way through the list. I keep glancing across at the list open on the table next to me to keep myself focused.
    Yesterday wasn't helped by having several things to unbox from Amazon to 'play with' and investigate on the net. But I've put those to one side today to concentrate on catching up from being more or less off the net all Wednesday as we were travelling up through France and across to UK.
    Sanity has been restored today that's for sure. One of my tasks this afternoon is to prepare my bag and contents for the trip up to Manchester tomorrow.
    Have a good weekend
    Steve

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  4. No. I cannot imagine life without a planner, whether it's a Day Timer, Franklin Covey, or Filofax. I have been using one for work primarily since 1985. This past couple of years, since I bought a house, I have been using the filo for my personal life, and using a cheap bound notebook for work. My Housemate calls the filo my brain and it is. She will come and check the filo calendar or to do list for events and tasks as much as I do. I really don't know how people live without one.

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    1. I couldn't agree more (and Steve, I couldn't sympathise more)....like you I've been using a system of personal organisation since the 80s (1983 I think), and I couldn't manage without. I believe the processes associated with being organised are habits, and once those habits are learned and ingrained, it's possible-but-difficult to revert back (although I feel as if I've had a go, from time to time, in the last 30 years!). My wife knows that my Filofax is the one place either of us can find details of what's happening and when, and although most of my task management system is personal to me, and the business I run, the calendar function is certainly one we both refer to frequently.

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  5. There are days when I don't work off my to-do list and days when I do. The days when I do tend to get a lot more done with a lot less stress and guilt than days when I don't - because if I'm not focused on my list then I get sidetracked very easily and lose the plot, then spend the day drifting without achieving much. It's been worse over the last few months as I've been battling a bout of depression.

    My partner doesn't use a planner and tends to be permanently snowed under, and also tends to get very stressed from time to time because of the number of things piling up. I also tend to be the one doing the planning for joint things, but when stress levels get stupid my usual answer is: "Stop. Breathe. Get a piece of paper. Get a pen. Write down all the things you can think of that you need to get done today. Work out which is the most urgent, then start doing it. Repeat." The human brain is a marvellous thing but was originally designed primarily around the need to find the ripe fruit, in between avoiding getting eaten by things with more teeth long enough to find a mate. We've come a long way since then as a species, but the inbuilt limits of the cognitive wetware (e.g. working memory capacity of 7+/-2 things, primarily single tasking and a highly developed interrupt handling and prioritisation system) are still with us and we forget that at our peril.

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    1. Hi Paul...what a great summary of the organising process! as a GTD-er, I have a master list of all my Next Actions, but I must admit that the days when I have a day-specific list of tasks to complete are the days when I accomplish most. Best of all are the days when I have that list ready and in place the night before (or the Friday before if its a Monday). If I start early (another key aim of mine every day) with the list in front of me, I often find I've got rid of almost all of the list items before 10 00 a.m. An hour before 10 is *definitely* worth two after, IMO

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  6. I would be lost. It's as simple as that.

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  7. Sometimes I get tired of having a planner and tell my family I'm not going to use it anymore. They FREAK out!!! They know my life and theirs falls apart when I don't use my planner. I can't function Remember anything without it. I also don't know what day it is or what's happening. No - I couldn't function without my planner.

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  8. I can't function without my planner either. Not only do I keep a list of things that must be done, but I also use it for record keeping. Like patty, there are days when I get tired of being so attached to my planner. Some days, it feels more like a hindrance in that I feel like it bogs me down, like it dictates my day rather than me just going out to enjoy whatever may come up. But the reality is that nothing would get done without it. The trick is to schedule a few of those "non-planner" days, which may seem pointless, but it's the only way it works for me.

    To answer the question of how others function without a planner, they have different personalities and different ways of thinking and probably don't care about keeping track of the things we like to. That, or they just rely on others to get them where they need to be. ;-)

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  9. Can anyone help me find the diary insert of my dreams? I am looking for a personal size week on 2 pages with appointments does such a thing exist? Preferably in column form and not the horizontal ones they sell on the Filofax website

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    1. Like this one may be http://philofaxy.blogspot.com/2012/03/free-vertical-weekly-diary-pages-for.html

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  10. Filofax Denmark have one - go to http://www.filofax.dk/store/diaryrefillsdetails.asp?productId=2475

    They ship to the UK.

    Don't buy the Quo Vadis Timer17 version - it's 4mm wider than Filofax size and will play havoc with your dividers etc.

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    1. Thanks David, that would be perfect if it was in English(I am extremely fussy I know). Cheers about the Quo Vadis, I was actually looking at that!

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    2. As Steve says - in that case you're probably going to be looking at print-on-demand....good luck!

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  11. I have been enjoying my Compact Luxe because it is not as thick and heavy as my personal Filofax. I have to carry less but I think the trade off is worth it. A long time ago, I gave a Franklin Covey binder to a friend who has used it well but now wants something smaller. I know several people who are using smaller paper planners because they are relying on both technology and paper. I am still designing my own week on two pages insert for the personal Filofax. As far as not having a Filofax, I think I would manage because I have a pretty good memory. However it is nice to have one place to keep the necessary information and items. I think that how someone manages with or without a paper planner also depends on the person's job. Some people have assistants who keep track of all appointments on the computer and/or paper. They don't need to write every appointment in their planner.

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    1. Surely the whole point of having a system of organisation is to not have to keep things in memory?.......

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    2. Hi David. Yes that is the point. Had I written a meeting in my planner then I would not have missed it. For some reason though I think that I did not hear the meeting being set up. I'll just have to accept that I missed it. In the past I have managed without a planner but I have used one for a long time now. There are some days that I don't look at it. I guess one's use of a paper planner depends on different factors, and your reason is a major one.

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    3. I think personal organisation is entirely a matter of habit. The tool is secondary - although too often we make the tool(s) the primary focus. If we can get into the habit of listing *and* looking (or noting meetings *and* referring back!) we'll be OK :) It's great for me to have a master Task List (as I do), but if I don't refer to it, it won't be any good to me. Further, if I only refer to it 'after the fact' (to see what tasks I managed to complete and cross them off) I am still operating from my head instead of from the list. My *current* way of working this is to extract each evening, before I leave my desk (I work from home) a 'today' list for the following day, of the tasks from my Master List which I intend (or have) to accomplish the day after. That list sits on my desk in plain view so that it's the first thing I see in the morning - and the only thing apart from my laptop. If I leave the tasks on the Master List alone, with apologies to 'classic GTD', they tend to get lost among the rather long Master List, or I see the total of all the tasks I have to complete, all the time, and get overwhelmed.

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    4. one other thought.....very often, when my own system runs into trouble it's because I've been either too lazy (usually) or distracted (sometimes) to do the thinking to establish exactly what the next action *is* which is required of me, for a given project. Definitely a case of 'more haste less speed'. This happens especially when I'm in London and have back-to-back meetings, running from one to the next, and not stopping to isolate and note the next to-do items which relate to the meeting just finished. I'm still working on this one!

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    5. I write my weekly tasks on a piece of paper that has the days printed on it. That way the tasks are broken down for specific days. When I complete a task then I write it on the diary page and check it off. I am using the week on two pages insert with the boxes for each day. I draw a line through the completed task on the list. If I have unfinished tasks after the week is over then I just keep the list until I get to them. I don't rewrite them for the next week. Your extra step of having a today list that you see in the morning is a good idea. As I am trying to design a Wo2P insert (personal size), I would like to incorporate a task section on the left page. Then the page is dated and I would not have to use an extra piece of paper that I date. I think fatigue is another factor that stops people from thinking about what the next action is for a project. It looks like you have a very solid system.

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    6. Thanks for the compliment! It seems to be working for me at the moment. Currently I've just these past few days been using a single to-do sheet which I keep in view all day. One side of a to-do page holds 12 items - I'm making it a rule not to set myself more than 12 items for a day (most of my to-do items aren't 2-minute jobs since I've done those when they arose, as per basic GTD). That way I have a good chance of finishing the page each day - positive feelings for me and good progress on the tasks front! If I have a build-up of more than 12 items which 'pop into' my head, I just start a list for the next day behind today's version.

      I think solidity is very important in a system. It should be resilient and flexible at the same time. That's why I like GTD (with some reservations at the moment!), and especially why I love my Filofax!

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  12. i've always been the kind of person who needs to make to-do lists. There's a sense of achievement for me in crossing things off my list. I know that I don't really need a planner for that, but I prefer having a planner, so I can put in task reminder by dates. I don't use my planner for meetings since I put them on my phone which syncs to my outlook. But love having the freedom to carry a few important phone numbers, some personal pictures and membership cards. I've been using a planner / filofax for about two years now and I just can't imagine going back.

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