10 July 2014

Guest Post: When the Identity A5 met Deborah-Jane Williams-Lewis.

Once upon a time, I didn’t use a planner or even a diary. Don’t get me wrong I had a diary and always had a wall calendar but never really used them except for hours worked, peoples birthdays and the like. I had heard of Filofaxes and things but they were for other people, not me. I never missed an appointment. My to-do lists were usually on a back of an envelope, or a notebook and the cheapest notebook at that. With this scenario I was happy.

Then it all changed…

In 2008 I started to work with him-in-door’s.

Then in 2009 both my children were at secondary school and I went back to college. I was using bound diaries for time sheets and using Microsoft outlook calendar as a tickler file. This too was fine.
But early spring 2011 it started to fall apart I was late for two nurse appointments and had to make another appointment for the latter. Because it’s fine to have a wall calendar but it only really reminds you when you are in the kitchen, not when you are in the office even when said office is in said garden of said house. Also I was requesting info from clients that would ring up about the same info saying what did, you need again. Funnily never when my computer was on, or I would have to find when we had the meeting, to find the notes. So, I could yet again remind them what we needed.

Something needed to be done and soon.

Remember I work and live with an Accountant, neither of us like spending money and “him indoors is digital” all the way. I on the other hand am not.

So, I went to google then you tube, where I met Imy as in Imy’s world. Imy likes Filofax, so did Jennifer and so did The life of the Perpetual student. Imy mentioned Philofaxy.  Philofaxy mentioned you could print your own inserts. I studied the files like I was taking an exam. It came down to Personal or A5. Yes people, the penultimate decision on size were how easy I could print out. To a degree choosing A5 made sense I was using an A5 diary.

Then the decision was which A5 Filofax to go for and after picking myself off the floor. Saying “How much?”  And “my diary only cost two pounds”. Yet, I needed a ring binder and a lever arch file wasn’t really going to cut it. It could do the job the A4 lever arch or the cheap A5 ring binders. I wanted something a little bit more. As an employee of an accountant, you don’t want to look too cheap or too expensive you have to have a half-way house.

So I returned to google and google did indeed save me.

There was a sale at WHSmiths. There were the cheapest A5. A domino, An Identity, A5 Metropol  Zipped and an A5  brown Metropol with a strap. The Identity was £22.50 the Domino about the same price, the Metropol’s were £27 and £28 or so. I looked over the pocket and the like, the functionality of all of them. I am a newbie after all, what did I know? What I did know was I needed a planner. At the end of the day a planner is after all a planner and I had a myriad of inserts to choose from all of the courtesy of Philofaxy. What exactly could go wrong? Did I really need a zip when I have a habit of breaking zips. The elastic was ok but a bit of a deal breaker  for the Domino( I got one later and gave it to my youngest an incident we no longer speak off). Did I really want to spend an extra 5 or 6 pounds extra for it to be brown?

So, I made my decision I ordered the A5 Identity for work. It has stayed my work filo ever since my personal use one has changed a lot. Yet the work one has never changed. 


You may well ask?

It’s a cheap Filofax surely you must want a more expensive one?

Surely as an accountant you can afford one that more expensive?

But I am happy with my black Identity which surprises me because I really did pine for colour. I really believed I wanted a colourful one. Yet, black is indeed what I want.

My clients love they get a section in my planner. Him indoors appreciates I can remind him on things that we are waiting for who called when etc.

Some clients don’t even realise it’s not leather.

What’s really important is what I put in my planner and how I use my planner, not what’s my planner made of and which brand it is. The most important part of the planning is not the planner it’s you. Is the A5 size to big, well its main residence is my desk and the occasional Audit. I’m also  5 foot 8 inches  (173 cm) and have a hand span of 9inches (22.5cm). So to me what’s the fuss about.

At the end of the Day a planner is just a planner..


  1. Deborah-Jane, thanks for an enjoyable post, it serves as a very good reminder that the most important aspects of the organsier are what you put in it, and how you use it, not what colour it is or what it is made of. And you're not the only to make the decision based on the ease of printing. I have used A5 and Personal at different times in my working life, and I know I will probably change again, depending on what role I have. When I was managing projects, I needed the space of an A5, and the ability to print A4 sheets, punch them and have them to hand in an A5. Currently, I can get by with a Personal, so that's what I use. As you so truly say at the end of your article, a planner is just a planner!

  2. I liked your post too. I have separate work and personal planners, and my work is an A4 black Domino. The easiest size to print for, cheap to buy (considering its size), and paper and punches are cheap and easy to get hold of. You're so right - the requirements for a work planner in a professional environment are very different to a personal planner, and thinking about the FUNCTION first is very helpful in identifying what we actually need from a planner. I also swop my personal planner quite often but the a4 for work is here ti stay - it's just so convenient, and looks professional when I'm leading sessions.

  3. Great post. It's interesting to read "behind the scenes" about the people we come to know from our common likes and interests.

  4. I love your quote, "I studied the files like I was taking an exam." I so identify with that!!

    Great post!!

  5. Deborah,
    Well done. You are dead on--the planner isn't about the binder, it's about how you manage it's insides. That, after all, is the important part.
    Great job!
    Jane :)


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