31 October 2006

All Hallows' Eve

Halloween (AKA All Souls' Day, Samhain, Allentide, and other names) is not recognized by Filofax, as evidenced by this picture taken from the 2007 Personal diary (it's not in 2006 either). I'm trying to deduce why. Most holidays listed in the Filofax diaries and Information pages are either religious holidays or public holidays (that is, days off from school and work) in one or more large countries. (The following day, Nov. 1, All Saints Day, does appear in the Filofax diary. It's an official holiday in the Catholic and other Christian churches.)

At first, I thought it was because Filofax's British creators considered Halloween an American, commercial holiday, unworthy of recognition. But a little research proved that to be false. Ireland and Mexico get a public holiday for Halloween, although it doesn't always fall on October 31. All Souls' Day is a religious holiday in many traditions, although since it's an "eve" holiday, people can go to school or work that day. An increasing number of countries are joining the Halloween tradition, yet Filofax doesn't mention it even in passing.

I've always been fascinated by the wiccan and pagan Halloween traditions. In my favorite legend, it was the wicca who originated the tradition of dressing in costume for the holiday. But it didn't start out as a way to create a fearful or humorous image. Halloween was the wiccan New Year's Eve, and celebrants would dress as the person they wanted to become in the coming year.

I think that's a great idea.

29 October 2006

Wikipedia Coolness

Lately, I've noticed some folks arriving here by clicking a link on the Wikipedia page for Filofax. It's true! Our humble blog is listed as an external link on that page.

I don't know how long the link has been there, or who put it there, but I'm sure glad to see it there. Anybody can edit Wikipedia pages. I could have put our link there myself a long time ago, but I didn't.

Note to self: Stop missing opportunities like that.

27 October 2006

Sharing the Love

I got a nice surprise in my email box the other day -- a photo from Philofaxy reader Kevin Hall of his gorgeous 1986 vintage pigskin, made-in-England Filofax. With Kevin's kind permission, I'm sharing it with you here.

Going through the process of asking Kevin's permission and then uploading the picture to this blog also helped me make up my mind about something I've been thinking about for a few days -- starting a Philofaxy Flickr group. We Philofaxers need a straightforward, informal way to share pictures like this with each other. Flickr is the obvious choice.

So let's see those pics! To use Flickr, you must do the following:

- Take a digital picture (or take a regular picture and scan it to make a digital image).

- Go to http:///www.flickr.com and sign up for a free Flickr account. (I know, none of us needs yet another user name and password to remember, but if you have a Yahoo ID, you can also use that on Flickr.)

- Upload your pictures to your Flickr account.

- Join the Philofaxy Flickr group (click the Groups menu), and add the pictures to the group pool (click the Add to Group button above the picture).

Here's a direct link to the Philofaxy Flickr group.

Questions? Email me at the address in my Blogger profile.

25 October 2006

I had a dream

I dreamed about Filofaxes last night. I dreamed I was attending a Filofax seminar, similar to a Day-Timer one I attended several years ago. (I actually found it one of the best self-help teachings I've ever had.)

In the dream, I brought my little red Filofax with me, then I found out when I got there that a free Personal Filofax was included, with all these new leaves. It was black with a zipper. My least favorite kind of binder, but in the dream I was thrilled to get a whole 2007 diary and all these beautiful new leaves. The leaves were 4-color; at least some of them were.

Before we started the instructional part, we (the group and instructor were all women) all did something fun like go out to lunch together. The dream ended before we got back to the seminar room, so I didn't learn anything productive in the dream, as I sometimes do. Oh, well.

19 October 2006

Full Day

Funny how, a few months ago, I never wrote in this A5 Filofax with One-Page-Per-Day diary. I even packed it away for a while because I found it impossible to use.

What changed? I don't know. I just took some notes in it, created some labels for the tabs, and after a couple of days I found I needed my A5 Filo for my job. I'm still need to revise the tabs; some of them make no sense. I'm not taking especially great notes. But none of that is stopping me from using the system as a whole. Why?

Here's the best answer I can come up with: Last year, I decided that the most important element of any organizational system is one thing -- that it show me what I need to see, when I need to see it. For now, this A5 Filofax is doing that for me while I'm doing my daily work.

14 October 2006

New Linkage

I've added a couple new links to our list. Both are departures from our usual Filofax topic, but worth mentioning nonetheless.

First, for familial reasons, I'd like to direct your attention to my brother's Web site, EdSpargo.com. I know he's my brother, but he's so talented, I can't believe he and I share the same DNA. Ed is a bassist who plays a fusion of jazz, funk, and blues, and he's currently recording CDs of his own compositions in his interpretation of that fusion. Translation: This is music you can listen to all day long. If you don't believe me, there are some sound clips on his site.

Another link I'm proud to add is Kristina Pinto's, The Marathon Mama. Kristina is running the Boston Marathon to raise money for cancer research. Having several cancer victims and survivors in my life, I'm sponsoring Kristina in her effort. If cancer has touched your life at all, I encourage you to do the same.

13 October 2006

Old Traditions / New Lines

I've transferred my "carry around" Pocket Filofax into a Personal size. It wasn't easy, either. That cute little turquoise Finsbury was an extension of my hand. But the truth was, it was little more than a wallet. It was supposedly a satellite for the A5 Filofax that contained my personal life, and yet both the home planet and the satellite were seeing less use. The Pocket didn't show me enough information at once, and the A5, too much. In fact, the A5 wasn't really showing me anything I needed to see more often than, say, once a week. It had become an expensive, leather bound idea book. Things I may do someday, but that I don't need to have with me everywhere I go. And I wasn't using the calendar diary at all, except to copy things from my Pocket calendar just for the sake of synching them.

I loved that Pocket Filo. It had that soft, worn in, Velveteen Rabbit quality. It smelled good. But I had to put sentimentality aside and admit that it was missing a few things: enough room for each day's worth of committments and reminders; enough room for more than a few sentences per page; enough capacity to free me from carrying an A5 along with the Pocket any time I left the house for more than a few minutes.

And so I bit the Personal bullet. Credit cards, cash, phone numbers, week per 2-page calendar, blank paper, all went from Pocket to Personal. Also, the Personal comes with a Projects tab, which has an important function: reminding me when I wake up bleary-eyed each morning, what my current, most important projects are. What I need and want to work on. Things that are important but not necessarily urgent. I've populated that tab with yellow leaves (and I don't use yellow anywhere else).

The Personal fits into the crook of my hand, much like the Pocket did, whenever I leave the house without a bag for a trip to the drugstore or dropping off my husband to pick up his car at the shop. It fits into my gym bag. It holds a few paragraphs of notes per page as well as shopping lists. In time, it will get worn and comfortable...or I'll find a Personal size that does.

So, if I'm going to use the Personal Filo as my personal philo, I need a 2007 calendar. And I've bought one. Filofax is now producing its week-per-2-page calendar with lines to write on. I've always felt at-sea in the plain week-per-2-page without guidelines. Be careful what you wish for: I may ultimately find the lines constricting, but for a year, I'll give them a go.

Does anyone out there know whether this is the first time Filofax has offered a lined version of the week-per-2-page diary? I don't think I've ever seen it before. I bought the refill at my local Container Store, but it was printed in the U.K.

06 October 2006

Where do I put it?

Since transferring to the A5 Filofax, my main dilemma has been storing the archived pages. Stuff that I will need to refer to someday, but that I don't need to carry around all the time. I thought it would be a fairly simple matter to buy A5 binders to hold the pages. I could even write in A5 notebooks, when I wanted to, and combine them with pages generated in my A5 Filo.

The only problem was, I couldn't get A5 binders in the U.S. Sure, there were the Filofax storage binders, but they had posts, not rings, so they weren't convenient for reading and leafing through. I thought if I could just get my hands on some A5 binders and a punch, all my information-storage problems would be solved, and I could devote myself to cleanly and seamlessly generating ideas for the rest of my life.


I found some A5 binders at Kinokuniya in New York for 4 bucks each, and a hole puncher for 8 bucks. And I bought them. I also found that they sell some pre-punched paper. Japanese stationers have a fascinating system, sort of a combination of spiral notebooks, loose-leaf binders, and rollabind rings. It's a 20-hole, A5 configuration with plastic rings. You can buy A5 notebooks in this configuration, then remove the pages and store them in 20-hole binders or other notebooks. Two out of the 20 holes fit in a standard 2-hole A5 binder, so they're interchangable. I bought a pack of that 20-hole/2-hole paper while I was at Kinokuniya.

This picture shows a Japanese A5 binder, with an A5 page from a pre-punched Miquelrius notebook. You can also see the pack of loose-leaf paper, the 2-hole punch, and a closed A5 binder behind the open binder.

I've learned that I can't find the perfect storage binders. These Japanese binders only hold a few pages at once since the rings are so small. To add pages from my Filofax, I have to punch extra holes in them. I'm really no better off than using the Filofax storage binders, even though they don't lie flat.

Barring perfection, it's imcumbent upon me to come up with an alternative. And I'll do that in a later post.