30 June 2009

Is it too early to buy next year's diary refill?

Last year I made the mistake of buying the wrong format diary refill for my A5 Filofax. I made too hasty a decision in December, and by the time I realised I had made the wrong choice it was too late to get the format I wanted.

So I noticed that it's possible to buy 2010 refills 6 months before the end of the year... but I'm not going to rush into buying my refill for another couple of months yet.

So which format to go for? Obviously your first decision will be what size to match your binder... OK, that was the easy bit!

If you're just going to stay with the same format as this year, then your task is very easy. Filofax have standardised on the product reference code for their diary pages. This page has all the details. If you're buying from an alternative supplier, you should be able to check the product reference code against the ones shown on the Filofax site.

Looking at the catalogue on the Filofax website, you will notice that there are more different formats for personal or slimline size (95mm x 171mm) than any of the others.

The choice of refill will be a bit of a compromise between writing space and the bulk of number of pages for just your diary section. We all like to have plenty of other pages in other sections, don't we?

There are even choices to be made even for what seems to be the same format. For instance, in 'two pages per week' format, the multi-language version starts the week on a Monday and has reduced space for Saturday and Sunday. Or go for the English-only version, which starts on Sunday and gives each day the same amount of space, with a notes section at the end of the week. There are other variations as well, so take a look at all the options open to you.

Some of the larger formats offer additional planning tools in addition to appointments, as with the A4 Business Diary. This refill is quite expensive, and it's in 'page per day' format. Half of the page is dedicated to appointments, whilst the other half covers To do, Reminders, Phone calls/correspondence, Things to delegate. This would have everything for the serious 'GTD' (Getting Things Done) devotee.

If you find that some days or weeks that you need more space to write notes of a special occasion or a meeting, then you can easily slip in a sheet of ruled or plain paper. I tend to put a to-do list in to my diary in the week I'm going away so I can add things to the list for things to take away with me.

There are also choices on some formats on the colour of the paper; most are white only, but some come in cotton cream (a favourite of Inky's I recall) and also pink (to match the pink breast cancer edition binders, I presume).

I think we now know why Filofax place their diary refills on sale so early! Have fun choosing your next refill.

29 June 2009

Welcome Laurie

Philofaxy has another new team member!

Laurie, who has posted some of the most interesting and intelligent comments on this blog, has joined Philofaxy and will be contributing her own posts where they belong -- front and center.

Laurie is an American living overseas. She's been using Filofaxes for over a decade and has been reading and commenting on Philofaxy for almost 3 years now. She travels frequently and relies on her Filofaxes to contain the details of her ever-changing life.

24 June 2009

Filofax on eBay, it pays to be patient

Well it took me a few attempts to get the right bargain for a Filofax Finsbury on eBay, but it was worth the wait. Some were selling for more than you could buy them for on normal mail order from a variety of UK office suppliers. So I limited my maximum bid each time. Wise advice from my son... it's easy to get carried away close to the auction deadline.

So I have added a new Finsbury to my collection, I paid £26 for it, this compares to £44 on the Filofax UK site.

Another bargain I bagged on the way was a Filofax pocket metal punch and pocket storage binder for a total price of £5.19 for the two items. The storage binder on the Filofax site is £8.50, the punch £26, so I was very pleased with those two.

So I now have a nice new black Finsbury with 2009 fill. I will be moving some of my pages from my old Winchester personal across in to the Finsbury, but at the moment I'm just enjoying it's newness!! I don't want to snap the cellophane wrapper on the pages just yet... well not until I've taken some photographs of it tomorrow when my camera will be back from having a sensor and mirror box clean.

So take a look at eBay for Filofax binders and accessories, but don't get carried away.

What bargains have you managed to bag on line?

23 June 2009

Welcome Steve

Philofaxy has a new team member!

In the time-honored Philofaxy tradition of admitting one needs help, I've asked longtime reader and Filofax enthusiast extraordinaire Steve Morton to join the team. To my delight, he accepted. Steve's writing is always interesting, and his posts will be appearing on these pages along with mine from now on.

Steve is the owner of the Filofax Yahoo group and maintains his own blog, which focuses on his interest in Filofaxes, photography, and high-tech gadgets.

Steve divides his time between his homes in the UK and France.

You'll be seeing his first post tomorrow!

21 June 2009

Whatever Happened To...

Felice Willat

Ms. Willat invented the Day Runner along with her husband Boyd in 1980. They created the organizer to stay on top of their high-stress Hollywood jobs and family lives. In 1992, the company (Harper House) went public, and the same year they pioneered a software companion to their paper system (yep, in the DOS days!) Although I'm a Filofax user, I'm a big fan of Day Runner and its pioneering creators.

What's the Filofax connection? In 1998, Harper House purchased Filofax Group, LLC. That was the same year that paper organizer sales hit an all-time peak. Unfortunately, the peak was followed by a decline. People were spending more time onscreen and less time on paper. Ultimately, Day Runner was acquired by Mead (an American mainstream office supply company), and Filofax was acquired by Letts of London (a British leather house).

These days, Boyd Willat is still pursuing his careers as a movie producer, real estate developer, and the inventor of the Sensa pen. A professional photographer, Felice Willat has continued to create paper organization and self-development tools.

You can find her work on her Web site, Tools With Heart.

Felice sells beautiful bound journals, handmade binders, and journaling tools (such as "journaling cards" that offer writing prompts) along with notecards and other products based on her photography. Her central product (and most interesting to female Philofaxers) is the 8.5" x 5.5" loose-leaf journal called the Woman's Book of Changes.

The Woman's Book of Changes doesn't duplicate any standard Day Runner or Filofax sections like a calendar or business forms. Its pages are journaling and life-exploring tools, including "assorted journal pages, dream sheets, warm-up tools, and accessories. Journal topics include: LifeStory TimeLine, Seasonal Changes Log, BodyScape, building relationships, career change, motherhood, mid-life changes, dream journal and more." The pages and tabs are subtly colored and beautifully illustrated.

Of interest to American Philofaxers is the fact that the refills are standard 3-hole punched, so you can use them in any 8.5" x 5.5" binder. You can use the current Day Runner Classic size calendar, tabs, address pages, etc. in the same binder. (With the help of a Filofax punch, you can also place Woman's Book of Changes pages in an A5 Filofax, with the understanding that the pages will be slightly taller and narrower than your A5s.)

I'm sorry to say that Felice has created no such product for men. What do you think, Philofaxy guys? Would you like to have a Man's Book of Changes? What would it contain (aside from football scores and cigar records)?

17 June 2009

More Tab Tips

Courtesy of reader Silver Elixir, here's another potential source of family-planner forms.

On The Organized Mom section of Parenting Weekly, there are links to lots of different household forms like Babysitter Instructions, School Shopping, and even Parent Activist (for tracking political contacts).

The forms are Web pages (HTML), and there's no Print button. But I've found that you can carefully drag the mouse over the form to select the entire table, and then paste that into a word processing program. Then you can print onto whatever size Filofax paper you wish from your word processing program.

Here's a link to Silver Elixir's own custom-made tabs:

This link is to one photo. Keep clicking, because she has created lots of tab options, including some top tabs she printed herself!

15 June 2009

Special Filofax Offers

Reader Steve Morton posted the following in the comments, and I wanted to give it greater visibility. The website linked to below compiles a list of current special deals and discount codes for the Filofax UK website:

14 June 2009

Creating Top Tabs

One of the original Day Runner features I've been wanting to add to my Filofax is the top tab; namely, used for the monthly Calendar and the Memo-ry to do/maybe do record.

Filofax's tab dividers only come with side tabs (6 tabs for the A5 size). But when I thought about creating my own, I first had to think about materials. What to make the divider page out of...and the top tab?

I realized that an American manila file folder was made of very similar material to the Filofax tab divider. Because the file folder is larger, one can trace any size and shape tab divider on it, and then cut it out.

And so, I've traced and cut Calendar and Memo-ry top tab dividers from Pendaflex file folders, as illustrated here. The lettering comes from a Brother labelmaker. The equipment requried is a manila file folder, a pencil, a Filofax tab divider, scissors, and a labelmaker.

Edited: Clicking the image now takes you to the entire set of pictures.

12 June 2009

Free for All Friday No. 35

Thanks for your great ideas last time. Lots of our readers shared ideas on how they use their Filofaxes and WHY.

I especially wanted to call this link to your attention: Steve Morton's Filofax story in his own words.

If you shared your Filofax philosophy at length on Free for All Friday, No. 34, please let me know whether you'd mind letting me publish it here on the front page of the blog. So much of that stuff is too good to be hidden away!


11 June 2009

Filo Runner

After my recent format crisis, inspired by a vintage Day Runner I acquired, some folks have been asking me what I've done to cope.

I decided on a gradual approach. No need to spend extra time converting to a new format when it was really the Day Runner layout, not the size, that I was craving.

So, here's how I recreated Day Runner in an A5 Filofax (the same Black Finsbury I've been using for work for 3 years now):

1. Put monthly calendar (Filofax Month on 2 Pages) behind a top tab at front of binder. (I figured out a way to create top tabs. Pictures to come!)

2. Follow with 2-3 months of 1-day-per-page diary.

3. Top Memo-ry tab. Use Filofax To-Do pages to hold ideas and maybe-dos.

4. Create an index page for info stored behind A-Z tabs.

5. Create Sources page for use behind A-Z tabs. (There will be both address pages and source pages behind each A-Z tab.)

6. Other tabs: One tab for each of 4 work projects I'm working on, plus Projects and Notes, using Filofax 6-blank tab set.

Each of the work project tabs contains a running list of to-do pages, plus notes. Now that I'm using day-per-page, the individual tabs are seeing less use. I still feel I need a discrete section for each major project, though. This may change in the future.