02 July 2015

Experienced Filofax User - Anita

This week Anita shares with us how she has developed the use of her organisers. 

1. When did you start using an organiser?

I purchased my first Filofax in 2009, a cherry personal Classic. I had been looking at leather refillable notebooks as I wanted something beautiful & hardwearing that I would enjoy using, so unsurprisingly came across Filofax.

2. How has your use of an organiser changed over the years?

I've discovered over time that the personal size suits me the most as it's the best compromise between portability & page size. I have tried using a slimline as my main planner (too slim) & also an A5 (too big to carry around).  Over the years, my binder has become more messy (as I'm working on being less of a perfectionist) & I love this as it means that I use it much more & consequently feel much more content with it. My set up rarely changes as I know that it works for me, so I try not to mess around with it.

3. Which diary format works best for you and why?

I have a confession, I don't use a paper diary! Some years ago, I did use a mini as my wallet & diary, but unfortunately found the diary pages too small & it was difficult to get change out of the zipped pocket. I currently use Google calendar on my iPod touch, but I may return to a paper diary one day. My preference would be a week on two pages as I find there's enough space without taking up too much space in my binder.

4. What other information do you keep and maintain in your organiser. 

Pretty much everything. I use it as a notebook, for favourite recipes, inspirational quotes, my to-dos by context (phone, Mac, home etc.), planning projects & a small amount of reference info that I regularly refer to.

5. Do you use a 'system' of organisation, and how does it work in your Filofax?

I read David Allen's book Getting Things Done & thought that a Filofax would be a perfect place to keep everything in one place. You can find details about my system and I have just plonked the contents into the Winchester that I am now using.

6. What routines and structures do you use?

I do a fairly regular review using this checklist from Getting Things Done. It's not done weekly, but I find that overall it helps me get everything back up to date & feeling in control again

A the beginning of my to-do lists section, I keep a separate sheet for my most important tasks for the upcoming week (MITs). I've tried a number of ways of keeping this information (Dodo pad, old diary inserts, lined paper & printing out a blank month from Google calendar), but I generally find the simplest is the best, so I just use lined or blank paper now

I've recently started using the Pomodoro technique. I don't strictly stick to everything in the technique, but find that using a timer really helps me focus & the short breaks mean that I can concentrate for longer periods more easily

7. Do you use one binder or several, and if several, how do you use them?

I currently own & use two binders, my personal Winchester  and my A5 Hamilton. My Winchester is my extended brain & is the one that I always reach for to figure out what needs doing, or if I need to make a note about something. I use my A5 to help me plan projects, keep project support material, reading material & help me sort out my paperwork. I couldn't imagine being without my personal one, but I fairly regularly question my need for an A5 as I would much prefer keeping everything in one binder. However, I can find the personal size paper a bit too small for planning & I make sure that all the actionable stuff goes into my Winchester, so that I don't end up needing to look in two places.

Thank you Anita, I've had a good response from people wanting to take part in this series. I look forward to receiving responses back from people.

If you would like to take part in this series please email steve@philofaxy.com and mark your email 'Experienced Filofax User'

13 comments:

  1. I can understand that you do not use a paper calendar. At times I want to move in that direction. I am pleased with the month and week layout that I designed this year. However it still is so much paper and I really do not want to draw it again on lined paper. I am currently designing my insert on the computer but I am far from finished. Some people stated that the 2016 inserts are already available. I just want to complete my computer version by the end of the year. It looks like you have settled in your two binders.

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  2. In a sense, I do this too - my ring binders are for notes and data storage only. They are an invaluable part of my planning and note-taking but my schedule is separate. I've not found adequate phone apps and Google Calendar is overheavy on scheduling and weak on tasks,s so I carry a bound weekly planner. In fact the cost of maintaining my smartphone per year would allow me to buy the most expensive Gillios and exotic Filofaxes multiple times per year, yet for planning and scheduling it's next to useless, plus it stinks as a phone. Oh well.

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  3. Unfortunately, both Google calendar and iCal have messed me up too often. When I can't take my trusty planner with me, I take a snapshot of the relevant pages with my smartphone. That's the only way I can have my calendar and planning on my phone. Third party calendar apps are too slow and clunky. I'm faster with paper.

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    Replies
    1. Hi Carla

      Don't you love it when Google Calendar duplicates, triplicates, deletes, corrupts and otherwise 'plays with' your calendar data? yet another reason why this isn't progress at all!

      Delete
    2. Hi Carla

      Don't you love it when Google Calendar duplicates, triplicates, deletes, corrupts and otherwise 'plays with' your calendar data? yet another reason why this isn't progress at all!

      Delete
    3. Hi David,
      oh yes, joy of joys. "New" does not always equate "Better".

      Delete
    4. This comment has been removed by the author.

      Delete
  4. Hi Christine

    I can certainly agree about Google Calendar being heavy on scheduling and weak on tasks, which is why I can't use it myself. I've never been a user, but the iCal seems to have a much cleaner interface as well, although nothing I'm aware of would pull me away from my paper diary and GTD lists!

    You make a very good point about the cumulative cost of a smartphone (and like yours, mine isn't fit for purpose as an *actual* phone, although it *is* nice to use for paying for my car parking!). I reckon that my phone costs me nearly £800 base cost over a two year contract, and for that,a s you say, I could get a basic phone for £30 from the store and spend the rest on pens and paper (which in reality I probably already do!).

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  5. Hi Anita

    Thank you for a great post. Although I've seen your system up close, it's always interesting to hear again about how others are using theirs.

    Looking forward to dinner with you in September. I'm about to move into a beautiful chocolate brown Cavendish, I'll bring it with me, although I suspect the setup inside will be just as it was last time! Apart from stand-alone experiments, things don't change as much as they used to......

    ReplyDelete
  6. Hi Anita

    Thank you for a great post. Although I've seen your system up close, it's always interesting to hear again about how others are using theirs.

    Looking forward to dinner with you in September. I'm about to move into a beautiful chocolate brown Cavendish, I'll bring it with me, although I suspect the setup inside will be just as it was last time! Apart from stand-alone experiments, things don't change as much as they used to......

    ReplyDelete
  7. Hi Christine

    I can certainly agree about Google Calendar being heavy on scheduling and weak on tasks, which is why I can't use it myself. I've never been a user, but the iCal seems to have a much cleaner interface as well, although nothing I'm aware of would pull me away from my paper diary and GTD lists!

    You make a very good point about the cumulative cost of a smartphone (and like yours, mine isn't fit for purpose as an *actual* phone, although it *is* nice to use for paying for my car parking!). I reckon that my phone costs me nearly £800 base cost over a two year contract, and for that,a s you say, I could get a basic phone for £30 from the store and spend the rest on pens and paper (which in reality I probably already do!).

    ReplyDelete
  8. Hi Anita,
    Thank you for your post. I always enjoy them, and invariably come away with something.

    ReplyDelete
  9. Hi Anita,
    Thank you for your post. I always enjoy them, and invariably come away with something.

    ReplyDelete

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