1. When did you start using an organiser?
Around 1982. I’d been using ‘organiser diaries’ for a couple of years before that, but got my first ‘real’ Filofax at that time, and then quickly graduated to a full Time Manager system.
2. How has your use of an organiser changed over the years?
I’ve changed systems and methods many times, and I think cataloguing them all would take a book! As a general summary, the big shift in my system has been from the TMI-style ‘project management’ based approach of the 1980s to a more fluid GTD style (with some modifications) in the past 4-5 years. Also finally ditching my TMI system was a key moment (I sold the lot to a nice lady in Denmark, in four large boxes!)
3. Which diary format works best for you and why
Despite all my various trials (I’ve used most formats which are out there), I keep coming back to Wo2P. Being able to see the ‘landscape’ of my week in advance enables me to see what time I have committed to others, and what I need to keep back for my own projects, in a way which I can’t seem to get from other formats. Monthly views seem too ‘brad’, while daily views lead to loss of perspective from day to day – much as I would like that sort of planning ability! My current diary is a Wo2P generic Filofax diary with lines (ref 6841815). I draw a line down the centre of each page, write appointments on the left and key date specific tasks on the right. If I have so many meetings that I need to, I just erase the line and use the whole page, on the grounds that if I have that many meetings I’m not going to get any tasks done anyway! I always and only use pencil in my dairy, without exception.
4. What other information do you keep and maintain in your organiser.
Basically, everything! Diary, GTD lists, general reference info, agendas for people I see regularly, places I go regularly, or just ad hoc lists. There really isn’t anything I don’t keep in my organiser, except the bulk of my contact info, which is on my phone and synced to Google. However, I’ve recently started to entertain the idea of bringing them back into my Filofax.
5. Do you use a 'system' of organisation, and how does it work in your Filofax?
I’ve written at length about my system and its evolution elsewhere on Philofaxy so I won’t inflict a repetition here. All of that information is readily available by searching the site. I have a fully structured ten-part system which does everything I need it to, although with most of the things I would want it to!
The previous material concerning my system can be found at:
Guest Post - My current (GTD based) Filofax setup - David Popely
6. What routines and structures do you use?
Again, this information is in my previous posts. Suffice to say that for me routines are key, because routines build habits and habits build success. My key routine, as a GTD user, is of course the weekly review, and I always do that on a Friday, unless I’m in London or elsewhere on Friday, in which case I do it as close as I can to the appointed day. I think the other key routine is *always* having my Filofax with me, always writing things down immediately, in the Notes/In section, so I can process them later.
7. Do you use one binder or several, and if several, how do you use them?
One binder, and always and only one. One life, one organiser. I cannot imagine how anyone could use a ‘split’ system, other than for storage, although it’s obvious that people do, and very successfully.
Not me, however. I own five binders, as follows:-
- An A5 leather Bridle in tan, which was a gift from a Philofaxy reader (thank you – you know who you are)
- An A5 Finsbury in Chocolate brown, again a gift from a Philofaxy reader (and likewise, thank you – you also know who you are).
- A black Cavendish personal.
- An ochre Malden personal.
- A Hampstead personal in brown (they were all brown).
At the moment I’m in the Hampstead. I’ve had it since around 2001, and the clasp is loose, but I love it as much as any old friend. It has 25mm rings and holds as much as the 30mm Cavendish (don’t ask me why, I’m no expert), and two elasticated pen loops. A superb binder, and a good friend over many years.
The Cavendish is my reserve binder if I fancy a change. The Malden is currently out of favour since that stupid and inadequate pen loop caused the loss of a Parker 25 mechanical pencil of great sentimental value, and which it had taken me many months to obtain. Not good.
The A5s have recently been the scene of an extended attempt both to ‘make A5 work’ (for the umpteenth time), and to develop a more top-down system than GTD allows for, but at present it’s GTD in the Hampstead which gets me through the battle scarred landscape of my business life, and less battle scarred personal life!
Thank you David.
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