13 October 2008

Kickin' it old skool

This past weekend, I found that my brother stumbled upon Philofaxy by googling my name (my real name, so I guess my pseudonym isn't terribly effective). He asked me, "so do you have an unhealthy obsession with Filofaxes?" He seemed especially concerned about the number of Filofax pictures I take.

During the ensuing conversation, I learned a new (to me) phrase, "kickin' it old skool," in reference to people like us who are using paper in the digital age.

He used a DayRunner until he got an iPhone and never looked back to paper.

Just going by my family and friends, I'm noticing a combination of paper and electronics. My dad has an iPhone, but also carries Levenger cards in a leather case for writing things down. My mom has a Blackberry, and was never a big notetaker anyway; she's one of those people who can carry everything in their head. They've both used various Palm handhelds in the past. My sister-in-law has an iPhone and a Moleskine.

I used to carry my entire life in a Palm handheld, even doing email and word processing on it, in lieu of a laptop, with the help of a portable keyboard and an IR link to my cell phone. When I went back to paper, I went all the way. I will carry a Filofax and a small cellphone in my handbag, and nothing more.

Seems pretty healthy to me.


  1. I say, whatever works. I personally am a technophobe and have a deep mistrust of electronics. I want to have my important info right in front of me, written on a piece of paper that I can hold in my hands. I like turning pages, and writing on paper with a pen or pencil. Also, I remember things visually, such as where on the page something is written, or whether my 5 o'clock space is filled, even if I don't remember exactly what's in there. This doesn’t work so well with a screen.

    I like technology that makes life easier or more convenient. I couldn't do without the internet, because it is my main form of communication and news while I am overseas. I need my cell phone, mostly for safety purposes. But for the details of my life, I can't feel comfortable with them just floating around as electrons. I prefer them to be more tangible.

  2. I like tech toys just as much as the next girl, but I agree with Laurie-- I want the details of my life to be more than bytes floating around. I also love the physical act of checking off a completed task. I also keep my Finchley open on my desk all day-- I couldn't imagine doing that with an electronic PDA. Here's to kickin' it old skool!

  3. I'm with Laurie & Vidya...I do carry a Palm Treo 700p smartphone for web use, but the only data I keep on it is relevant to using it as a phone (contact information). I don't like keeping that in my Filo because it changes so often and I am type capital A and so I have to re-copy address pages as soon as info changes because I can't stand scribbling stuff out.

    Everything else goes into my Filo. There truly is something about the act of writing things down; the tactile factor, the artistic factor...I never did learn how to doodle on a PDA.

    Somehow writing my life in my Filo validates it more (celebrates it more?) than merely "storing" the information digitally...

  4. I use Google calendar as an electronic version of my appointments (which are also in my Filo) - I share it with my best friend (and vice versa) so that it's easier for us to plan our get-togethers. I also share my work calendar with co-workers so they know when I'm in the building and when I'm not. That's as technological as I get with paper vs. digital. Everything else (and there is a lot!) goes into the Filo. The idea of digital is great, but I too love the act of actually writing things down. Plus it never has to be synched or recharged or upgrades unless I want to do those things - in other words, those things aren't needed for the piece of equipment to work. And most importantly, I just love looking at planners - the binders, the calendar types, the paper and accessories! The possibilities are endless!

  5. I have a BlackBerry but love using my paper planner to keep calendar, tasks, and a lot of other information I need to carry with me. Old skool it is!

  6. I too tried the electronic way, a Palm in which I would put everything in. On two occassions, the Palm blew up so it was rather simple to get another and snyc it to the computer. Then on the last one, the computer blew up, and not doing backups as often as I should, lost a great deal of valuable information.

    I went back to paper, and have not regretted it at all. The only thing I really miss are the books I had on the Palm reader, have been thinking of getting a entry level Palm just for those, but I will stick with Filofax and various journals for the duration.


  7. I use my phone for a few reminders, but I am finding that I am using my filo for more in depth records of calls and follow up actions. Something I have never done before, except on pieces of paper that always get lost. It is my birthday soon and I am thinking of treating myslef to a new filo - the Ikon. Does anyone have one and if so how is it?

  8. I have been going through an incredibly busy time of life when I'm mostly at the computer and I've been using Entourage and its MyDay feature to keep track of what I've got to do. But I'm going back to my Filofax, starting today. There is much to like about the electronic solutions, but I tend to find that with them I generate these very long lists of tasks and they seem to lose context. With Filofax I can keep those lists, but elsewhere from the daily calendar, and I can focus on what I need to get done that day. (It is also easier on paper to figure out how I spent my time during the day, rather than always entering that in.)

    It's not the system's fault if I don't work it.

  9. omein!

    "my" law firm finds it hilarious that their IT manager relies on her filo & moleskine and kicked both her crackberry and palm (III) habit years ago. good luck getting me to use the phone. i'm intrigued by the iphone (I miss mobile rss reading) but monthly charges turn me off and i carry to much anyway.

    i am a google calendar addict. COLOURS that don't run out or are left at home! (plus it can show me things my filo can't since i only buy the yearly and week-per-page)

    i use them both and you'll have to pry them from my cold dead hands -- oh wait, my hands are always cold hmm... ;)

  10. Hi everybody -- Thanks for your comments. You're making me nostalgic for when I used a Palm T3 as my laptop and connected to the Internet through a dialup connection on my cellphone and IR to my Palm.

    But in those days I spent 1/2 day a week on synching, updating, and troubleshooting! I wanted so badly to get just the right calendar and to-do list out of iCal, Palm Desktop, or Entourage.

    Penny, I agree Google calendar or something like that is much better for an overview, and indeed that's something I'm finding a challenge in my life right now. That's something I have to work on.

  11. I love that "kickin' it old skool" - I also love my MacBook Pro and my iPhone, but for me I still have to have paper, and not just a notebook like Moleskine (although I have used one ... but then, I think I've tried just about everything!). There's just something about having your month, week, day and lists and notes all together ON PAPER. Right now I'm using an A5 Filo, but with a trip coming up, I'm getting that "It's too bulky to carry" feeling. I don't know if I can ever really solve this dilemma!

  12. Claudia - may I suggest for your travels with your A5 pages that you might pull out the most critical pages, such as next few upcoming calendar pages, project lists and some blank paper and carry those on your trip? It's not as ideal as having the whole beloved planner on hand, but it might be a helpful idea. If you already have an A5 notepad, you could just binder clip the sheets to the pad and have a "compact" for your trip.

  13. I went back from a Palm Treo 680 to my old Filofax (Bridle Personal).

    Treo is great for communication. But when it comes to time and task managements, my experience is:

    - Electronic is good for C tasks.
    - Paper is good for B tasks.

    In other words: Filofax is the better chioce for strategic planning.


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