15 April 2009

Format Crisis

I guess it's no secret to anyone who's been reading between the lines in this blog or clicked through to Flickr that I'm having a format crisis. Me, Ms. Filofax A5 USA has taken an 8.5" x 11" DayRunner into her home.

My current system isn't working as well as it could. Which wouldn't be a problem but for the fact that I'm not working as well as I could. Just today a wise person said to me, "don't let the calendar overtake you," and I realize that's what's been happening. I haven't written down a new idea in weeks, and I'm starting to wonder whether it would help to have a Memo-ry page to write them down on. Would I be able to have better information at my fingertips if I were able to print and carry documents in the standard American 8.5" x 11" size? Would I take better notes if I had a full-size page to do it on? Why am I using a blank sheet of paper folded into my week-on-2-pages Filofax for a daily to-do list when I could be using a page-per-day? And if I had a big, month-in-view calendar to look at every day, would it be less likely to overtake me?

I'm thinking, yes.

When I joined this blog in 2006, I had been spending at least a year changing systems as often as every 3 months...Palm Pilot to Circa to Moleskine. Then I laid down some ground rules when it comes to switching formats:

1) I can only switch twice a year—in January, or, as a last resort, the beginning of academic year calendars in July or September.

2) I must commit to using any one system exclusively for at least 6 full months before switching at all.

Since I've been using an A5 Filofax for work consistently for 3—that's right, 3—years straight now, maybe I can change the rules and start the new format now.

Or, can I take what I need from the DayRunner system and do it with my existing A5? Most of the forms I need are in the DIY Planner's basic A5 kit. And NOT, I might add, in the 8.5" x 11" letter size. I could create the templates myself, but wouldn't sticking with my existing A5 format be the more elegant solution?

And yet part of me thinks that making the letter-size switch will make me feel free! Powerful! Creative! Maybe a change is just what I need in my life right now!

And so I'll go to meet the friends I'm supposed to meet right now. We'll all be having drinks, and we may all have an angel and a devil on either shoulder, but I bet only mine will be whispering to me about paper formats.


  1. I feel for ya - this is exactly the inner struggle I had running for MONTHS before going from Ffx Personal to A5. Doubly so coz the A5 I really wanted was £80, and money's not flowing too readily right now.

    All I can say is, I made the leap, and have never regretted it for a moment - I was folding A5 notepad sheets in half, or having my "To Do" list split between Ffx and spiral bound notepads, then keeping my diet tracker in a Rhodia A5 elsewhere...

    I battle chaos enough anyway on a daily basis, and getting it all into one place, big enough for my needs and with room for more... paradise!

    One idea though: try having a standard wall calendar maybe that you can cross days off like normal, and also some of those thin Post Its that you can write appointments etc on, and place on the calendar?

    I can't show a photo of mine without heavy editing for client confidentiality reasons, but it really works and gives you a visual feel for how your month's looking.

    Another thing I've always done is if there's a BIG date coming - holiday or big deal social event, whatever - I do a countdown on my week-(or day-)to-view pages under the date, so I'm aware daily that time's a-flying!

    Good luck whatever you decide, and do remember that the amount of inner turmoil :o) you experience over choosing the right format is more than repaid by the support your organisers give you over the years!

  2. I too have a split Filofax existence! A pocket one for carrying around with my calendar and todo lists. An A5 for my journal and other information.

    I found that the standard refills for any size didn't suit my own method of working, so I have devised my own over time, might not work for anyone else. But it works for me.


  3. A planner is much like a computer program, you can't base your business around the program, but the program has to be built around your business. It is stifling ones imagination to much if you don't. I have designed many of my own forms, and it takes time, but it becomes truly a personalised system. It also gives me quite a bit of a boost when someone comments on it. In itself it becomes a work of art. Just stay with a loose leaf system I think is the main thing.c

  4. Hi Inky, I feel your pain. I have been absent from Philofaxy for awhile now because I haven't been Filofaxin' very much lately. My Filos are now my reference books, which stay home. They just got too out of control for me to use as my planner/ all in one book. I have a bad habit with Filos, stuffing them full of things I think I need. Then they become way too big and bulky to be portable.

    So I cut myself off from Filofax as my planners and switched...to various things. For January I tried a page per day book, which totally broke down. So I used my weekly Uncalendar until my Exacompta Visual arrived. I used it about a month before I abandoned it for lack of space to write notes each week. I like having my lists and to-dos visible on my weekly page. Now I am back to my Uncalendar until July, when I will start a large Moleskine week + notes.

    I like the Uncalendar, and it works well for me, but it is just not portable enough for me. They do have an 8 1/2 X 11 3 hole punched system if you want to check it out. I really enjoy the Uncalendar system but am looking for something more streamlined. If you are looking to expand, you might check it out.

    Good luck finding what works for you! I am still searching.

  5. Oh and by the way, the monthly calendar in the Un has really big boxes for each day, and an extra box at the beginning of each week which is really nice to write in goals, reminders, or whatever. Good luck!

  6. Hi Miss Charlie -- You've hit upon an important point. When I was using an electronic organizer, I could print out large monthly calendars. When I made the switch to Filofax, this piece dropped out. I'm thinking I can print out calendars from iCal or Entourage. I've also ordered Filofax month-on-2-pages calendars to try those.

    Hi Laurie -- Great to hear from you again! I've checked out the Uncalendar Web site but never ordered any. I think the people doing it sound really cool. Thanks for reminding me of this option if I go to the letter-size format.

    I can so relate to the Catch-22 that you describe...If I put everything I need into a Filofax, it becomes too big to carry around! Or it outgrows the rings.

  7. stationerygal10 May, 2009 16:23

    I too seem to be in a pattern of switching my organizer of choice every 3 months. So here I sit, with my new Filofax catalog full of new organizers! I do not need a new organizer but am seriously thinking of ordering the pocket Finsbury in teal. I am currently using my chocolate Personal Finsbury but think I may like the smaller size for my to do lists, etc...my husband was just saying today how I seem to change every quarter...something he and I are complete opposites on. He still uses (and loves) the bomber leather Franklin Planner I got him 10 + years ago! Wow! I can't even imagine that!

  8. I feel for you too. I went through the same thing for three years. It was the opposite for me. I tried bigger but needed to go back to my pocket filofax. I work from home and it is my portable everything. I had used the pocket filofax from 1981-2004. Thank goodness I am using it again. Why I changed to something else I'll never know. Now I have all this circa, and other systems to get rid of... I hope going back works for you


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