27 March 2006

Thou Shalt Lay Flat

I commented recently that one of the best features of my new A5-size Filofax ("Philo") is that he lays flat. As I work with him further, I am increasingly realizing the significance of this feature.

I spend most of my workday at a desk. My desk is L-shaped. I face two computer screens (their backs are to my office door, thank you very much). To my right is the other arm of the L, where I keep my phone and pads of paper and the like. It's a convenient parking spot for my Filofax, because I can see what I need to see by just turning my head away from the computer screen and to my right.

However, when I turned my head to see Philo's littler but older brother ("Fax"), all I saw was a brown piece of leather. Try as he might, Fax just could not lie down. I would try to help him stretch by gently pushing him down, or folding his spine backwards (ouch!). But he is just an inflexible fellow. So any planner activity at all required me to manipulate Fax with both hands. Once open, I had to use one hand to keep Fax in an open position, while the other wrote, or turned pages, or caressed him and said, "It's okay, boy, you'll get it!"

Philo lays like a frickin' show dog. I mean, he is flat as a pancake. I generally keep him open to the current week's spread. But with a couple finger-twiddles, I can get Philo to show me anything I want. Given my generally astounding laziness, keeping Philo open helps me use him more efficiently. A closed planner is a forgotten, or at least underused, planner. Who wants to go through all the effort of opening a closed planner? I only have so many minutes in the day. An open planner, however, invites attention. It says, "I'm here for you, do what you will with me, oh god, oh god, OH GOD!" You can use one of the pen loops for a cigarette.

And, thus, a rule is born: Thou Shalt Lay Flat. Once you go flat, you'll never go back.


  1. Your blog makes me smile! :)

  2. So wonderful to find someone else who loves Filofax!

  3. THIS IS A GREAT BLOG! I am a filofax addict, a devotee, I am in LOVE with them. I have a few (well - 5 actually) because whichever one I use, sooner or later I start to hanker after a smaller / larger / more colourful / more professional looking/ leather one. I have searched in vain for anything on the web that will resonate with my devotion - and you're the closest I've found. Keep it up. (P.S. My current filofax is NEW, a pocket sized Finsbury in Teal - delicious.)

  4. I have a teal Finsbury, too. I also own more than one. I wonder if every true Filo devotee ends up with multiple binders. One A5 stays on my desk at work, with one-day-per-pages that serve as my work record. Another A5 (a red Belgravia) is my personal life. This one only has the 1 week per 2 page calendar, since most of the action takes place behind the tabs: To Dos, Checklists, Projects, Lists, Ideas, and Notes. The pocket Finsbury is my PDA, and also serves as my wallet, because I can keep folding money and receipts in the big pocket in back. So have 3 that I use every day.

    I also own a Personal size (Finsbury) that I'm not using currently. It used to do everything that the A5 and the Pocket are now doing. I used it so MUCH, however, that I just started to feel cramped being on that size page all day long, and went to the A5. I love the A5 paper, but since I can't take that everywhere I got the Pocket as a PDA.

    I'm hanging onto the Personal, though. I have an idea for dividing and conquering things differently still next year, which would entail going back to the Personal size as my "my everything" book.

  5. Poor little Fax, relegated to the desk drawer! My personal Filofax shudders -- but it has nothing to worry about because it started to lay flat after only about two months of hard use. I think I sped up the cover-softening/spine-breaking process by using a fat (multi-) pen as a page marker for a few weeks. And leaving it wedged under books, water bottles, plates -- anything on hand -- when it wouldn't lay flat. And shoving random (not necessarily flat) things into the front and back pockets.

    You know, maybe my personal Filofax wouldn't mind a little desk-drawer vacation after all.

    Nice to see you're still posting.