26 June 2008

Free for all Friday No. 4

How do you love your Filofax?

You may be the next guest blogger!

25 June 2008

Guest Blog - Diary Musings

Another fine essay from Laurie Huff, sharing an international perspective from where she's currently living in Albania. I think this is my favorite one yet!

Many people here in Albania use a day-per-page diary for planning and writing notes. In fact, the people in my husband's office gave him one as a welcoming gift! He brought it home for me, since I am the one who is nuts over calendars and he is more of an Outlook man. I was really hoping it would be in English and Albanian so I could learn the days of the week and the months, but it is Italian. Which is no big surprise since Albania is only 60 miles across the water from Italy and we get a lot of Italian products here. The diary has the days and months in Italian, English, French, German, and Spanish. In the back is a great map of Italy, and I'm sure we'll be going there sooner or later so it will help plan our trip. (Did you know that Naples is on the WEST coast of Italy? Well now you do. For some reason I always thought it was on the EAST coast. But this map set me straight!)

This Italian diary is an interesting glimpse into some aspects of Italian culture. One feature is that every day has a corresponding saint. For example, the saint for today is Saint Luigi Gonzaga, whoever that is. Of course that is in Italian, so I might recognize the name if it were in English. The saint on my birthday is Saint Edoardo (Saint Edward I'm assuming). I think this is a pretty neat feature, and I can picture people celebrating their town's patron saint, or whichever saint has particular meaning for them.

There is a page for every work day. Saturday and Sunday are together on one page, Saturday at the top half and Sunday on the bottom half. Work days have the time printed on the lines from 8 to 20 (8am to 8pm). And interestingly, days during the week that are a holiday get a little less than a half page rather than their own full page. Which seems like it would screw up the layout for the weekends but somehow does not. And for much of August, regular weekdays have only a half page each. Which is telling because apparently most things shut down in Italy during August because that is when most people go on vacation.

It is interesting to me the sense of national identity that can be drawn from using a book like this. Holidays, vacations, festival days and the geography of the country are all here. By following the dates in this book I feel like I have tapped into the national happenings. I can imagine people in Italy having a certain sense of synchronization with everyone else, aware of when things are happening.

I own day per page diary books from two other countries where I have lived, Russia and Nepal, and they also give a glimpse into local culture. For example, in the front of the Russian diary along with conversion charts and the zodiac signs, there is a chart for a person's weight and alcohol intake, and the number of hours it takes to metabolize the alcohol and become sober (and safe to drive, since Russia has a zero-tolerance drunk-driving law).

For some reason I feel more connected to the people around me when I look at the same information in my diary as they are looking at in theirs. I wish I knew people here well enough to ask to look through their book and see what they have written there. The joining of personal identity within the framework of the national identity. Hey, I think I just came up with an idea for a PhD thesis!

24 June 2008

Filofaxes on Sale

Everybody, The Daily Planner is offering good discounts on lots of different Filofaxes, mostly Minis and Slimlines, but other sizes, too. Here's a direct link to the on-sale planners: http://tinyurl.com/3qncq2.

2008 dated refills are also on sale. Just navigate to the usual refill page for your size.

22 June 2008

Cosmetic Organizer

A few years ago, I got a "free" Trish McEvoy makeover and makeup lesson, in exchange for which I had to spend a certain amount of money on products. As a planner fiend, I bought this case and a single lipstick to meet the requirement.

Trish McEvoy's philosophy "stay simple, stay organized." And indeed, the makeup lesson was based on simple, yet effective techniques for applying eyeshadow colors, blush, and so on. Mnemonics were used to help you remember the shapes and hand motions to use when applying the makeup at home -- "windshield wiper" technique, for example.

Her makeup cases have rings like a planner, and she sells makeup colors in the form of "pages" that fit on the rings. Shu Uemura is another designer who is now using a ring-binder format.

At the end of the makeup lesson, I was given a sheet to remind me how to put the makeup on. It had a picture of a woman's face with the makeup on it, and the names of all the products to use. I'd probably still be using it today if the sheet weren't a jumbo 8.5 x 11!!! It didn't fit in the case! Cards, Trish, cards!

20 June 2008

Free for All Friday No. 3

My previous post may give you some ideas this week.

Let's get really creative!

Think outside the ... binder?

19 June 2008

Random musings

I don't think I've ever done a "random musings" post on this blog. Either I have a concrete idea to develop, or I don't write at all. But with the new Free-for-all Fridays, it would look really bad if I went from Friday to Friday without a post. So although I thought I had nothing to write about...I realize I do. Just nothing completely organized.

I can promise that I do have a new post coming, and when. It will be this Sunday, and it will be about makeup kits in organizer form. Something for the girls (and some of the guys).

If I'm not posting frequently, it's because I'm not currently in Filofax angst. When everything's going smoothly, there's less to write about. I'm happily keeping all the information I need on Personal and A5 pages.

And, to be honest, Filofaxes are a fairly limited subject. For a blog like, say, Notebookism, there are lots of different kinds of notebooks to write about. Filofaxes are a smaller subject, and they work so well, there's not always much to discuss.

And yet there is a lot going on. For example:

- Everybody, please check out Richard's comment about his beautiful Slimline Filofax and how much it enhances his life.

- I can post about how I label my tabs with a Brother labelmaker.

- The A5 binders from Empire Imports in the U.S., or how I might just repunch my A5 pages like standard U.S. 3-ring 5.25 x 8.5 pages.

- The running list I keep of things to look up on the Web, so I can just jot things down and get back to work.

- What's going on with Franklin Covey, Day Runner, and DayTimer, anyway? No reason not to write about these other systems.

- Should we have contests and polls on Philofaxy? Giveaways to drum up more interest?

- Should we have more guest blogs?

- More holiday-related posts? For example, in the Filofax's front matter, it states that summer is from the vernal solstice to the vernal equinox. But it doesn't say when that is. It took my husband -- a non-Filofax user -- to explain to me that the empty circle on June 18 signified a full moon, and thus the vernal solstice. Should Filofax do a better job clarifying the lunar cycles and seasons on the diary pages?

- Should we branch out more and discuss which pens, pencils, sticky notes, papers, and other accessories work with Filofaxes? Is being too purist limiting this blog's activity?

13 June 2008

Free For All Friday No. 2

This week, a propos of my June 11 post, a reader suggested weighing in on what types of calendars are available in different countries. For instance, the vertical week format is available in the Personal size in France. In other countries, it's only available in larger sizes.

What day does the week start in your country - Sunday or Monday?

When does your Filofax indicate your workday should begin and end?

11 June 2008

Eeny Meeny Miney

One of the wonderful things about Filofax is the variety of yearly calendars (diaries to you Brits). Everything from one day to a page, to one week to a page, to one year on one large fold-out sheet. You can see your time in as much or as little detail as you need. You can implement any time management solution with the right format.

Or if you're like me, you switch. For example, for my work Filo, this year alone I've tried using one-day-per-page, one-week-per-2-pages (vertical format, as pictured here; the one that usually comes with the A5), and one-week-per-2-pages in horizontal format, just like what comes with Personal organizers, but larger, for the A5. Since my work revolves around deadlines and tasks, not appointments, the horizontal format seemed to be the perfect solution. The vertical didn't give me enough room to write per day, and the day-per-page didn't let me see enough time at once.

Well, it seemed to be the perfect solution, until I read about time-striping on the Lifehacks blog, which should sound familiar to many of you reading this blog. Here's a link to Lifehacks' time-striping article: http://tinyurl.com/5jp2cp (complete with a really helpful illustration).

It kind of reminds me of a school schedule: First period (hour) of the day: Subject 1. Second period: Subject 2, except the "subjects" become projects. Recently, with a greater number of projects to juggle, I need a solution like time-striping to keep me from jumping from one task to another and taking 2-3 tries to complete any single task. I need a set amount of time blocked off to immerse myself in one subject and nothing else.

And I think I'm going to be switching back again to my vertical-format pages—with stripes drawn across them this time.

06 June 2008

Free For All Friday

A recent commenter, Kerowyn (thank you!), had a suggestion that confirmed something I've been thinking about for a while: Do a weekly open post, giving our readers the chance to speak out.

With apologies to the Notebookism blog, which is perhaps the most popular implementer of this concept, I've decided to give all of you a forum for your Filofax-related thoughts and feelings.

Just leave a comment to this post. Who knows what it may grow into? ;)