30 October 2008

Free for All Friday No. 18

My Filofax helped me remember to buy Halloween candy in advance this year, as usual.

It's also time to buy our 2009 refills.

Is your Filofax part of your Halloween costume?



  1. It SHOULD be. What a great idea! What could I go as and incorporate my Filfoax into my costume?

    Happy Halloween everybody!

  2. A Filofax makes a perfect Witch's Grimoire!

  3. I had it in my Filo, but just didn't get around to buying any. Guess I'll leave the porch lights off tonight. Does anyone else have a problem like that, and how do you deal with it? I just have a monthly task list and cross things off as I do them.

  4. Last week Anonymous posted a long list of all the things she has in her Filofax, and I printed it off and have it in mine to review once in a while. But my problem is that my one-inch binder is already so bulging with papers that it won't zip closed, and don't see how I could get anything else in there. And it's heavy too! I used to carry just a spiral planner that would fit into my purse, but now want the flexibility of a binder. But that binder has developed a mind of its own and is reaching out like an octopus and grabbing papers, all of which it thinks are useful, and getting fatter by the day. I keep going through it and looking for something to take out, but I want them all. And I added tabs, and pockets. And monthly calendars (I can do without those--I never look at them--but they make me feel beter). I don't want to go to a bigger binder, just stay with this one.
    What to do?

  5. My Filo helped me to get ready - I'm a saloon girl (no place for the Filo as part of my costume though). In my Filo I had a list of all the things I might want to incorporate in my costume. It ended up that I didn't need a big list after all, but lists help to get my mind clear, so for that it worked. Happy Halloween!

  6. RE: Anonymous' "Octopus Filo"
    I guess every Filo owner goes through that kind of problem once in a while. In my experience, the trick is learning to let go of some things and establishing hubs for different kinds of info.

    For example, I use GMail's contacts as my master contacts list then I just list down some frequently used contacts in my Filo. I also remove old calendar pages (By "old", I mean older than 2 months. I still keep the previous month's calendar as a reference). Then I paste idea notes to a separate notebook.

    It will take some time and it will be a bit frustrating at first but that's ok and normal. Let your system evolve until you become comfortable with what you have. Then, you can choose to change and evolve your system again and that's ok.

  7. Thx, Joffrey--
    I guess I was trying to get that one binder to cover every aspect of my life. Will start dividing it all up. Still would like to see how big Anonymous' binder is, that has all the contents that inspired me!

    One of my favorite obsessions is to do a flickr search for Filofaxes and planners.

  8. Hey all--I just started reading last week and I must say, I love this blog!

    If I could post a question for readers; which Filofax's new and discontinued, have softer covers that lay flat easily?

    I know the Kensington was a great soft cover. Any others?

  9. Dear Octopus Filo Owner:

    No kidding. I have the same dilemma. So, a month ago, I got tough. I hauled all my Filos out from the closet, lined them up on the dining room table, and dedicated four binders for specific purposes.

    One, my main Filo, a Topaz, which I carry everywhere. Two, a Finchley, for projects-in-progress. Three, an old Cavendish, which I use for all the old notes I don't ever want to throw away (but don't need to carry around). Four, a Sterling for the overflow.

    Then there's a fifth one which I use as a scrapbook and memorabilia binder. (A Rio.)

    I dedicated paper in specific colors for the projects. That way, I carry those colors in my daily Topaz. When I get around to it, I transfer them over to their main hub in the Finchley.

    That's actually working out quite well. Each project in the Finchley has its own tab. So, all notes pertaining to a particular project are in one spot.

    It took hours to do, but I'm happier with my day book than I've been in a long time. It's much sleeker and I can actually snap it shut.

    Now I keep a basket on my desk with my Filos inside it, and reach for whichever one I need at the moment.

    I had to do it. The reality is that the ring size, even the one-inch rings inside the personal Cavendish, makes the "one book only" idea a pipe dream. For me, anyway.

    A packet or two of blank tabs helped tremendously with this project. Everything's labeled the way I need it to be for my brain.

    Would love to see a picture of your out-of-control day book. As maddening as it must be to work with, I'm sure it looks great. All that creativity and all.

  10. Paul,

    The Stratford.

  11. Anonymous what do you keep in your Topaz? How many sections do you have now that you have streamlined your filo compared to before your overhaul? I am trying to work out what I do and don't need in my filo...

  12. Topaz owner, I broke down Friday night and re-did my binder. It was really out of hand, and I was worried about it. So no pics. Have printed out this entire page and it's in my binder for inspiration. Love the image of your neat and tidy desk with the basket of binders.

    I'd also like to see lots of pics and lists of people's binder contents. This is a be-deviling subject for me. I've got my octopus down to te minimum and am now trying to decide how to move things around into different binders.

    Looks like I'll have binders for work, recipes, household, gardening, decorating, and maybe a couple of more. Maybe one for spiritual/psychological inspiration. And a small notebook for my purse.

    I believe that a couple of years ago I was carrying two binders around in my car and juggling them, deciding which one(s) to take inside at night, so I combined them. And the octopus took over. These things just don't take care of themselves -- I guess I need a plan, a set of rules, perhaps, to govern my Filofaxes.

  13. Silver Elixir:

    Inside the personal Topaz:

    Front inside pocket/flap: my work schedule; various loose notes I need to transfer elsewhere; two thin pamphlets (for downtime reading); a couple of things I need to fax to people (folded up).

    Inside front cover business card slots: Index cards for random note taking or jotting things down to hand to people; a check I need to deposit; dry cleaning stubs; loose small pieces of paper I don't want to lose.

    First insert in binder rings: The Filofax sticky note insert with brightly colored flags. This also serves as a hard surface so when I write on the left-hand side of the pages, it's smooth writing.

    Next: January through December monthly view from Day Timer, which I prefer over the Filo version. I jot down when I pay a bill, when one is due, deadlines of all sorts, dates to remember.

    Next: The Filofax diary, cotton cream version, week on two pages, which begins, not with a day of the week, but a section titled "This Week" for notes. In this diary version, Saturday and Sunday are the same size as the other days. Lots of space to write every day. The overflow goes on a sticky note, and the Filofax sticky notes are the perfect size to fit over top of the days of the week. Therefore, if I don't get something done (which is all the time), I remove the sticky note and carry it forward, or just leave it there and flip back and refer to it.

    Notes: this is where I put blue paper. In my mind, blue is the Filofax color for all my notes. I've been doing that for many years. In my mind, "notes" are different from "information". Might be a quote, a thought, something interesting I want to follow through on. It's a personal section, not for work.

    Project: The Filofax "To Do" inserts. This works well for me. These are things to do that don't belong on my diary week pages.

    Information: This is the hardcore stuff: account info, business contacts, estimates, driving directions, the color of a paint by Benjamin Moore I want to check out. Stuff like that.


    After Financial, here's where I break routine with Filofax. In their order of things, Addresses comes next. But I've inserted their blank tabs, a set of five.

    First section: my current main project. This is salmon colored paper. When it gets too bulging, I transfer into the Finchley, into a tabbed section with salmon paper also dedicated to the same project.

    Second section: another project.

    Third section: media information, website addresses, books, music, art. And so on.

    Fourth section: everything pertaining to my daughter.

    Fifth: miscellaneous. With an assortment of colors. Yellow is always for ideas, things that pop into my head that might turn out to be something. They usually don't get acted upon, but sometimes something works out. It's more of a brain aid: it's where I do that brain dump, mind-mapping stuff. I'm less anxious because at least I've captured the thought, made a record of it. Green paper for garden information, names of plants, etc. As for the pink, I've given up. I don't know how to allocate the pink paper. But I carry it, though. The pink paper makes me feel stupid. So I skip over it.

    Then Addresses. Here is where I ordered the Slimline address pack. Best thing I've done to skinny down my Filo. Takes up far less room than the regular Addresses inserts.

    Next: business card holders, which I stuff with business cards, bandaids, personal junk.

    Last in the rings: A stiff pocket (access on both sides). From Staples. Day Timer, I think. Usually containing a folded-up article I want to read.

    And then, in the back of the book, a zippered compartment, where I cram thumbdrives, keys, change for the vending machines at work, other junk.

    And it all snaps shut.

    But only because I looked myself straight in the eye and said, "Honey, you DO NOT need to carry your entire life around in one book." This has the added advantage of making use of my old Filofax binders. Instead of choosing only one to use, I use them all, they are here on my desk right now, in a beautiful basket, and each one is dedicated to a separate project. They are like little leather-bound hubs of information.

    But I've been down this organization road before, carrying a Filo for twenty-five years, and, well, let's see how long order is maintained. I might be singing the same tune as Octopus Filo Owner in another month or two.

    All best...

  14. Anon to Anon (Topaz to Octopus Owner):

    Darn! I really wanted to see a picture of that out-of-control day book of yours!

    The best out-of-control book I ever saw, an elderly lady, 70 maybe, with an ancient Ostrich Filofax, personal size, that she NEVER removed ANYTHING from. I swear, I stared at that thing with my mouth wide open for half an hour. She would NOT let me touch it, even though I begged her to let me hold it and flip through it. It was so beat up, it was one of those perfect objects you see once in a blue moon. That baby had EVERYTHING in it. She said she took it to a shoemaker decades ago and had him stretch it out somehow. I think with some sort of chemical that relaxes the construction. Anyway, I heard she died, and all I could wonder about was WHAT HAPPENED TO HER FILOFAX?

    My daughter thinks I need an intervention. A rehab for day book nut cases.

    Would like to share this: recently discovered mind-mapping. There are a few lovely mind maps on flickr, and Wikipedia has several excellent articles on this subject. This may become my newest favorite thing to do. Some mind maps are beautiful art objects. This is where I may make use of the pink paper...finally a use for pink.

  15. I would love to have seen the overstuffed Filofax of the 70-year-old. I always love to see how people organize, not just in how they set up their planners, but to see how they write appointments and to do lists and what all they carry around from day to day. It helps me to choose what's best for me, too.
    One thing I do that helps to keep the Filo (partially) slim is to keep the not-needed-all-of-the-time information on the computer rather than in the Filo - my list of books to read (WAY too long to keep in the Filo), movies to check out (although new movies go on a list and the dates they come out so I can remember to make the time to see them), favorite quotes (I have separate lists for movie quotes, song quotes, book quotes, random quotes, and - believe it or not - quotes from this blog that I want to remember because they're just too great and because it makes me remember I'm not alone in my crazy obsession), car maintenance, health/doctor log, vet log, etc. These are things that I don't need to keep with me all the time but that are easy to print out when I do need them (Excel is my best friend when it comes to these lists). I had to let some things go, to take them out of the Filo - otherwise, it would get so stuffed that I wouldn't be able to carry with it me everywhere, which would defeat the purpose altogether.

  16. Paul--

    Just saw a mention on Flickr that the Bloomsbury has really soft leather.

    Would that mean it would stay flat when open?


  17. Oh man what I wouldn't do to see that old ostrich Filofax!!!! I love stuff like that. I am also very curious about what people write in their books, how they organize their diary pages and notes, what is important to them and how they arrange it all.

    And I have definitely been in the position of Octo Filo. In fact, this problem caused me to abandon my overstuffed Personal size Filo in 2005 and use it only as my at-home reference/address book. That year I used a day-per-page diary instead. That was an odd year for me. When 2006 rolled around I went back to my Filofax and have been tweaking ever since. Until recently, that is. This A5 week per 2 pages seems to have cured my planner angst!! Could it be true?? After years of casting about for the right planner format for me, have I finally found my solution??

  18. Laurie -- The horizontal A5 isn't perfect (it sure isn't for the busy work and personal day I have tomorrow, in that it doesn't have room to write out my day-long schedule). But it sounds like for you, like me, it's close enough to try it for a few months and see how it feels.

  19. Inky, I can definitely see how it wouldn't be enough space for a very full day. It's so hard to balance the space on the page: more room in the daily spaces, or more space for notes? This seems like a pretty good balance for my needs right now. I can always add a sticky note for occasional overflow.

  20. I'm a recent Filofax user and have really been enjoying this blog. Through everyone's comments, I've really been getting some ideas on how to maximize usage of my Filofax. I have a gorgeous Chocolate Pocket Finchley for carrying around and a blue Personal Domino for work.

    Question - How do you use your A-Z tabs? I can't really figure out how to use them.

  21. I put everything in my A-Z tabs from people's addresses and phone numbers to websites and any other important information that can be alphabetized. Some people use them only for addresses/ phone numbers.

  22. I saw a Pak Filo on EBay. It was weird--must be a special version for outdoors people. It is black and orange and looks like it has bumpers on the corners. Looks big and bulky. Sounds strange. Looks stranger.

    Does anyone know of a Filofax museum with pics of all the Filofaxes ever made?


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