21 June 2006

The 99-cent solution

The problem with using a pocket-size Filo as your wallet (if you're a woman, as I am, and don't wear trousers with big honkin' pockets): there's no coin purse. Yeah, yeah, some models have a zippered pocket at the back, but I don't want to put change in there. It would make a big, ugly lump and distort the leather. I use the zippered pocket for a emergency piece of folding money and a couple of loose checks (so I don't have to carry a checkbook).

So I'm forced to carry a separate little change purse, as well as a card case for the cards that don't fit (and that I don't want) in my Filo's card slots (library cards, discount cards to stores I shop at maybe once a year, that type of thing). It's not as bad as it sounds. I keep those two tiny peripherals in a compartment of my handbag and only end up reaching into it about once a day. Everything I need to make a purchase is in my pocket Filo 99 percent of the time. If I want to travel light, I can take my pocket Filo and cell phone and leave the rest of the handbag at home.

Then I saw this: Always have correct change in your wallet

If you don't feel like clicking the link, it shows you how to make a card with coin slots that hold the minimum number of coins you need to make any amount of change from 1-99 cents (3 quarters, one dime, 2 nickels, 4 pennies). How cool would it be to have one of those, in plastic, with holes for the Filofax rings? It would fit into the organizer just like that post-it thingy. Then I realized you don't even need that. If you really only have to carry no more than 10 coins, maybe keeping them in the zippered pocket, or one of those plastic zippered pouches that go on the rings, wouldn't be so bad after all.


  1. This is great! A place to discuss filofax without bothering my spouse, my cat, or having to talk to myself.
    I have tried all brands over the years in all sizes + PDA's. The pocket filofax,as you have selected, seems to be the best combination of form/function out there. I almost went for the mini but discovered it doesn't support a storage binder. What were they thinking? I am about to make a purchase finally, but still considering all options. Retailers are not all that up to speed I am finding out + they usually keep the Filofax binders locked up in a case or on a shelf behind the counter, so you have to keep asking the clerk to see another one while they engage you in useless distracting chatter. Maybe ordering online from Filofax is best. Any thoughts on the buying process?

  2. I am very happy to see someone is writing this blog again. Welcome and thanks. Do you have problems keeping your three Filos "synced"? I work hard to keep information in only one place and to look at it often, review and revise. Thanks, Jim

  3. Welcome, Richard and Jim! Philofaxer and I aren't shouting into a void after all!

    Richard, I'll address your question first. But I can't say that my experience has been any better than yours. In fact, when I purchased that red A5 a couple entries down, I showed up just as the shop was closing, and the very nice merchant unlocked the door and let me in. Talk about pressured browsing!

    I make most of my Filofax purchases at the local Container Store, a couple good independent stationers, and an upscale luggage merchant called Leather World. I also find that none of them are great about keeping a big selection of either binders or refills in stock.

    I ordered a catalog from www.filofaxusa.com. Their official catalog does a great job illustrating all that's available and the SRP. Then armed with that info you can call stores or search for what you want on the Web.

    Philofaxer orders online from www.goldspot.com and gets a good discount that way. (I'll add all this to our list of links.) But that guy who unlocked the door for me also had a 10% off special on organizers that week, so you don't have to shop online to save $$.

  4. Jim, as for synching all 3 filos -- I don't. First, I have separate binders for home and work, with no crossover. If I end up taking personal notes at work or work notes at home, I just make sure to use a clean page, so "synching" is just moving one piece of paper.

    When I write in the pocket filo, I use the paper like index cards, one issue per page, so I can pop that into a big book if I want to. That book mostly holds my personal calendar, shopping lists, and most-used addys and numbers.

    Since the pocket filo is always with me, and I have a pretty good memory, I find I haven't been keeping the calendars synched. My current challenge is to figure out how to handle this. There's no real reason to copy appointments into the red A5 personal filo, although that book contains everything else...to-do lists, project notes, ideas, lists, plans.

    The big work A5 with the daily pages was supposed to be this wonderful work record where I record my accomplishments by the hour. But I haven't been doing that. Whether or not my work gets done is documented automatically in other ways, without my having to do any extra writing. I'm allergic to redundancy, so I resist the extra documentation. And frankly, I don't like to see my wasted time documented in black and white!

    Furthermore, when I'm at the office, I mark all appointments in iCal and have that calendar open on my screen all day. Usually, I find out about deadlines and meetings via email, so it's hard to resist just keying them into the computer calendar.

    Currently, I'm tinkering with combining my personal and work A5's. It would strain the rings on my beloved red Belgravia, but it would free up the black A5 to fill a current void -- a kitchen counter book with me/hubby/household calendar with emergency numbers, appliance information, messages to each other, etc. Well, not exactly a void...there's a sloppy letter-size binder from Kinko's (sort of) doing that now, but I'd love to get that into the A5 paper size. I'm definitely NOT allergic to interchangeability!

  5. Jim -- I can't believe I forgot to follow up -- WHAT is the one place you keep all your information? Some manifestation of often-enough review and revising is the key to any system. Give us the dirt!! What do you do?

  6. Richard -- I'm belatedly following up with you, too. The Pocket size rules!! Anything smaller is too small! And you must not be the only one who feels that way, because Filofax offers a huge array of refills in that size, and whenever they experiment with new styles or colors, they do it in the Pocket size first. The pocket Filo is easy to carry yet robust, and it can be a foil to any other non-portable system, whether electronic or analog.

  7. Nan,
    Thanks for your input. Another question for you and all here: Since I will be keeping a journal, a weekly calendar, notes, a data file and addresses (5 tabs) + monthly calendars, will the thinner (approx. 1/2") binders in the pocket size get the job done? I'm willing to only carry a few pages of weekly calendar and minimum pgs. of everything else. I'm attempting to actually carry the "pocket" size in my pocket. Any experiences worth sharing?

  8. Ah, now I understand the importance of the storage binder in your case! The mini would definitely be too small for what you're talking about anyway. It can definitely be done -- you'll just have to spend some time evey other day or so archiving old pages and adding new ones. And that can be tricky since many of the Pocket models don't lie completely flat when open, even when the rings are open. Makes it hard to move pages in and out.

    The best way to save thickness is to leave out tab dividers. It sounds like you're going to eliminate the A-Z tabs, which is a very good idea for portability.

  9. Nan,
    You are right the importance of the book opening with pages lying flat. It's not only easier to move pages, it's much easier to work with when you don't have to use two hands to record or read something.I believe the "executive" pocket would work. I know the mini size opened flat. Nearly bought it. The pocket exec. is a bit wide at 4.5", but maybe not a deal breaker. Topaz "slim" is also a possibility. Problem is no retailer seems to have all of them, so I try to work my Filofax investigation into when I am near a store, in my case it's the SF Bay Area. I hadn't thought of deleting the A-Z tabs, but it really shouldn't be that much of a problem. Getting close. Thanks for helping think it through.

  10. I don't think you have to get rid of the A-Z tabs if you don't want to, but I do think that the best way to stay within 1/2" rings is to eliminate EITHER the A-Z tabs or the set of 4-6 divider tabs.

    For instance, if you frequently use addresses or data-file information, you might want to keep the A-Z tabs -- and file everything else alphabetically, too. Keep your journal behind J, your list of books to read behind B, and so on. Or, you could use a few divider tabs instead, for journaling, lists, finances, etc., and just keep address pages in alphabetical order (but without the tabs) at the very back (or very front) of the book.

    Just to share here, I really use my pocket as a PDA. I just write too much to use it for everything, especially journaling (but then I bet you've already figured that out from my blog entries). I use A-Z tabs for addresses and a little data (mostly source and travel info) and 2 page markers. One at the current week's calendar spread, another to mark the beginning of a bunch of blank paper between the calendar and the A-Z index. Behind the second page marker are my shopping lists (one page per venue), and it serves a quick way to get to a blank page for idea capture.

    I think if I had to choose one, I'd go the A-Z route, because you can file ANYTHING alphabetically. It's also good to note that you can locate things using a natural break in the Filofax instead of a tab, like at the very front, very back, before the "A" tab, by a change in paper color, and so on.

  11. Nan, Jim,
    Thanks Nan for your thoughts on keeping the book slim. I think for me, getting rid of the A-Z is the way to go. I won't have all that many contacts. Maybe two or three pgs.
    Any idea of what pocket size binders open flat? I'm most interested in the open style.No zippers or snap tabs. I doubt I would ever use the credit card slots for credit cards. Maybe a few bss. cards if they fit and the jot pad seems like a great idea.

  12. The more expensive, real-leather binders like Finsbury are the least likely to lie flat. The pocket ones that have a full-length pocket along the back, like a wallet, really don't want to lie flat (but they do better when you have a lot of stuff inside that pocket).

    The cheaper ones made of fabric or vinyl with an elastic closure are much easier to flatten out. Sadly, most of them look a little "girly."

  13. At the risk of being blasphemous, I would like to hear about experiences with other planner systems, i.e. Franklin & Daytimer: how they compare with Filofax, advantages, disadvantages. I've used them all at one time or another, so let's compare notes.
    PDA stories in another thread?

  14. Richard, the problem with Franklin Covey is that it is a cult.

    A long time ago I used Day Runner. I mean a long time ago. (Like college.) Since then, I've floated mainly between Filofax and electronica.

    I briefly used an Exacompta calendar, which was really well organized and cool. I ditched it, though, shortly before my most recent readoption of Filofax, because a standalone calendar doesn't offer the integration of functions I need.

  15. Philo,
    I was just about to write that I should have read the archived threads so I wouldn't have to ask stupid questions that have already been answered - like the one I asked. Oh well, at least you didn't change your answer. As you can see, I really need to get organized. Wish there was a really huge selection of FF somewhere in the Bay Area. Looks like Patricks is my best bet.

  16. Richard, my second planner experience, after a brown leather Personal Filofax in college, was Day-Timer. I still think the Memo-ry pages are one of the most brilliant ideas ever, although they don't make them anymore.

    For many years, before going electronic and before then returning to Filofax, I used a Franklin Planner. At the time, I was juggling 2-5 part-time jobs that added up to 2 or more full-time jobs, and I developed a system where I had everything I needed with me, everywhere I went.

    But it was a Day-Timer seminar that I attended in the mid-90's that did more for me than any self-help session I've attended or book I've ever read. I've checked out their site, and Day-Timer now contracts with a different company rather than doing their own classes, but this class really inspired me to set goals and meet them. Much of where I am today came from attending this one-day seminar. And I didn't even use a Day-Timer at the time. I brought my own Franklin planner.

  17. This is a really old post but I was clicking the instructables link and it doesn't work. Do you by any chance remember and can describe?
    Also if you don't explain elsewhere can you explain how you managed up to 5 part time jobs in a personal and what were the great lessons from that daytimer seminar?
    Thank you!

  18. Hi Estelle,
    I've updated the link it should now take you to the correct page on the external site.