Hello, fellow Filofaxers!
My name is Jane and I'm here today to introduce to you "the Filofax that started it all" for me. George Redgrave has been using ring-bound organizers for over 25 years. I'd never seen a Filofax until I stumbled across this picture in the fall of 2009....
|George's notebook. I'm charmed and awed by the used look.|
Since then, George has patiently answered all my questions regarding his system, which are simple and effective.
And now, take it away George!
How long have you been using your ring-bound system?
My children gave me a pocket size six ring binder (not Filofax) for Fathers' Day in 1988. According to Wikipedia that was Sunday 19 June but my diary entries do not start until Monday 27 June 1988
What attracted you to using a ring-bound planner as opposed to a book planner?
I had been using bound notebooks for some time but the children gave me a ring binder as a present. I don't remember asking for one or saying that it would be more useful.
What is your current Filofax model?
I have a black Pocket Finsbury.
What other Filofaxes do you use? What are their purposes?
I use a black standard six ring binder - possibly Filofax but un-named - for sermon notes (I only preach occasionally so it doesn't get a lot of use). I have a slim burgundy standard Filofax which I use as an address book - this was bought by me for my wife. I also have another standard size red leather ring binder made by a local craftsman which I bought at a craft fair for my wife but which I don't use. (I've got a spare pocket Filofax which I bought cheaply on a stall and which is waiting for my current pocket Filofax to become too worn.)
Describe how you use your Pocket Finsbury. This is the part we LOVE: the sections, specific pages you have in there, how you use your calendar with a to-do list, etc. The more details the better.
I put papers in the large back pocket - minutes of meetings, agenda etc but take them out and file/discard them soon after.
I haven't got anything in the front semi-transparent pocket at present. I have four plastic membership cards in the slip in pockets: Cyclists' Touring Club, Historic Houses etc I have a shopping list and a repeat medical prescription form in the large pocket.
The first "page" is a clear plastic wallet with a photograph of my late wife on one side and a photograph of my younger son, his wife and their three daughters on the other side. In between the photos I keep a spare blank cheque which I can write out if need be.
|Inside front of George's Filofax.|
After that comes a 2014 calendar, this is clipped to the previous page with two spare paper clips - which I might need. Then the 2013 and 2015 calendars on one page facing the 2014 calendar.
Next comes the diary section, this is the "week to one page" style. I used to have "month to a view", making it myself for many years, but it was a little too cramped. A paper clip holds the pages with the current week and earlier weeks to the 2013/15 calendar page so that I can easily open the Filofax at the current week and look at the 2014 calendar page. At present I have inserted the diary pages only up to August to save space, then a plain page with the months of 2014 set out so that I can note things after August. On the other side of that is a similar set up for 2015 but I probably won't use it as I recently bought the Filofax 2015 Vertical year planner which I've put in already.
On then to a plain page which I've divided into two columns of six boxes headed "Anniversaries" and with the months written in them. Principally this is to record birthdays, wedding anniversaries, dates of baptism and of deaths. Some are in blue, more important ones are in green but very important ones are in red. On the other side of this page are notes of the times of last postal collections from my nearest post box, the local shops and from the main sorting office. There are a few other things too, some conversion tables of English/metric measures, bus times and train times. As this page stays in the Filofax for succeeding years I have strengthened three of the holes with adhesive tape which has fibreglass running through it. I have done this with many pages. I used to run the tape down all six holes but as this causes the pages to bulge I now put the tape over three alternate holes and then the other three alternate holes on the next page.
|You can see the Anniversary page on the right hand side of his notebook here. I love how he color codes depending on occasion.|
The next two pages list the Folio Society (www.foliosociety.com) books I have bought with the date and the price I paid in secondhand bookshops. I love these books, they are beautifully produced with their cloth covers, slip cases and illustrations. These pages are not Filofax pages but from another loose leaf notebook and have yellow edges to the paper. This method of colouring not the whole page but just the edge is quite useful.
The next two pages are Bible texts that I particularly wanted to note. These are all to do with reading the Bible e.g. Deuteronomy 11:18 "Let these words of mine remain in your heart and your soul" Jerusalem Bible. I have noted the version they are taken from as sometimes the same verse seems to speak more tellingly to me in one version than another.
The next page lists favourite hymns and worship songs and is written on violet paper. There could be lots but I've only written down about forty or so.
Next comes section of white lined pages which I use to take notes in sermons. I usually only jot down a few points but sometimes far more. There are four sheets of paper here, two have been written on and two are blank. As the section fills up I transfer the pages to the storage drawer. These notes, on Filofax pages and in bound notebooks, go back about forty years.
The next dozen pages are in various colours but I am currently using pink paper. These are thoughts - possibly even poems, though they mostly neither rhyme nor scan. On 25 May 2004, on holiday with my elder son in New York, I wrote:
It's E to A at the corner of Fifth and West 42nd Street,
Yellow cabs stream past,
I stand in the bright sunlight,
Alone in New York.
The E to A refers to an unusual clock there, I took this photo soon after.
I was alone when I wrote this as my son had gone off to do some shopping but we met up for lunch a bit later on.
Then comes a lot of white lined paper and is the standard notebook. I jot down things I want to remember, jokes, calculations … anything that you'd do with pen and paper.
|Where George jots notes.|
|George's archival system. I love how he doesn't use binders to archive, just humble rubber bands.|
Then comes a section of unlined white paper, some currently have alphabets written by my grand daughters. I give them this section to write on when they ask me for somewhere to write or draw. I have a six hole Pocket Filofax punch (the nice metal one not the cheap plastic one - which I used to use) and put my own paper in here. I used to do the same with the lined paper but I bought a pack of 100 Pocket Filofax sheets quite cheaply about a year ago so I use that, also it's not easy to get sufficiently narrow lined paper – I used to buy cheap diaries and cut them up.
Then come a few sheets of half centimetre squared paper - I make odd notes … and my grand daughters have written here too :)
After that there are a couple of blank green pages and a couple of blue ones with nothing on.
Now we come to the beginning of the chief section of my Pocket Filofax. A photograph of which has received the second highest number of views of my photos on Flickr.
|I wish I could write this small!|
Then come the pages of quotations, they are dog-eared from much use, the corners have been worn away by the zip at the back of the Filofax (I've since taken the fastener off as it was a nuisance.) The holes have reinforcing tape on them, some early pages all six holes but latterly only three to a page. This photograph of has had over 21,000 views!
|I love the classical style found in this: the elegant handwriting, the dog eared pages, and the timelessness captured in George's pocket Finsbury Filofax.|
At this point we must stop. Not because the notebook finishes here but because all the rest of the pages are written upside down so… we turn the Pocket Filofax over and start again at the back. I do this as it's easier to find the end sections this way.
The first thing you would notice is that the leather clip to hold the notebook shut is missing.
|The front of George's Pocket Finsbury.|
The "first" page is another clear pocket with a photograph of my three children, two daughters in law and three grandchildren … one had not been born when the photo was taken. On the other side are two photos, one of my grandson, now twenty, when he was about ten, and one of my grand daughter now ten when she was about two.
Next come some pages with addresses and telephone numbers that I want to have to hand, these pages have purple edges.
Then there's the accounts section.
|Are you as up to date on your money as George? Me either.|
a & b spending on two credit cards
c what it was for (centre column)
d cash in (forth column)
e cash spent
I reckon it up each Saturday and carry it forward. I've been doing this for nearly forty years and have all the records in the drawer - though I've organised it more systematically over the years. I total up on Saturday and start again on Sunday. Sometimes I can't account for things which I've probably forgotten – or lost – hence the question marks.
The next section on yellow edged paper is a list of books that I see or read about and would like to buy. It's got a bit out of hand as I'm up to book 1,364 and I don't often get them but … there it is.
|George's list of book titles he finds interesting. A check means he's read that title.|
Next is a list of people who've borrowed books from the Camera Club I belong to – not very many books are borrowed, I started doing it in 2000 and I've only just gone onto the second sheet of paper.
The next two sheets are really only there for sentimental reasons, I rarely look at them. They list the Anglican churches within about a ten mile radius of my former house, the distance from that house, the time it took to cycle there, the date I went and the type of service. I used to set off early on Sunday morning and go to 8.00am communion services, being back in time to go to church with my family. The paper is the original paper from the notebook my children gave me in 1988. The dates range from then and become fewer until the last one is in 2002 … and I live about three miles away from that house so the distances are wrong and I'd be much slower riding them now :)
Next is a printed Filofax list of weights and measures with metric and Imperial equivalents, over the page are some facts about time and the calendar.
And now we've reached the quotations in the commonplace section coming the other way :)
What is your favorite feature of your current binder?
It's got fairly big rings to keep quite a lot of pages, previous non-Filofax binders tended to be smaller. The binder is pretty tough - I've been using it for about seven years and it's still more or less OK.
If you could design your perfect Filofax, what would it include? How would these adjustments help you (others)?
No zip pocket, no pen loop, and a slightly smaller cover – but with the same size rings. I now keep a slim stainless steel Papermate ballpoint pen in the rings of the binder. It fits well but would fall out so I have a piece of string with two loops, one at each end, to slip the pen through and clip it onto.
I think I love the simplicity of his notebook. Its small, portable, and does the job. Plus, I'm really envious of his small script. If we compared handwriting to shoe size, he's got a petite 5 (EU 35/ UK 2.5) and I'm the awkward size 10 (EU 42/UK 7.5).
A huge thanks to George for being such a great sport and answering all my questions! I'm so lucky he's so gracious and I'm grateful he's willing to share his Filofax with us.