30 July 2009

Telephone Message Page

Do you ever get a phone call that you aren't expecting, but you need to record the details of the call for future action or to pass to someone else to deal with the matter?

We have most probably all seen telephone message pads before, but I'm not aware of something similar available for putting in to a Filofax. So as usual I've created my own. I've created it in A4 format, which is obviously way too big for everyday use. But print it in booklet format or scaled down it prints out ok on A5 format.

You can download this page here, it's available in MS Word format or PDF format.

I've used this page a couple of times to take messages for my wife while she has been out at a business meeting and she has left me to look after the office!

I will one day sit down and try and adapt some of my pages including this one for Personal size, you can get three single sided pages of that size on to an A4 sheet, so as well as a punch, you will need a rotary trimmer. I'm sure it will be worth it and there will be a demand for the Personal size pages.

29 July 2009

Financial Filofax

Last year I decided I needed to start keeping track of my finances and paying better attention to how I was spending money. I tried to record my expenditures every day, then classify them by type (food, entertainment, bills, etc), total them up each month and see where my money was going. As you can imagine, keeping track of everything I spent quickly broke down. I didn’t record everything, so at the end of the month my totals were useless because they were incomplete. Then I made a chart that I would use only once per month, on the day I paid my credit card bill. The chart had totals for my credit card balance, savings, and checking accounts. This is a great chart to have, and I still use it, but seeing my totals once per month wasn’t frequent enough to keep me thinking about saving money and cutting down my expenditures. The result was that every month when I paid my bill and wrote my totals, I was disappointed with myself for yet again not saving enough.

Now, I have been writing weekly totals of my credit card balance, checking and savings accounts on my weekly calendar page. At first I was doing this every Sunday, to have a record each week. Then I had the realization that I should do it on Mondays, to have the totals staring me in the face all week long. This has worked beautifully. Just seeing the totals daily reminds me that I want to save, and it helps me think of ways to cut down on my spending. It reminds me to look for the lower-priced item, or forgo unnecessary expenses. I can remember to make good choices, without having to write down everything I spend.

However, some people do need to make a hard budget, and writing down your expenditures is the first step. Luckily for us Filofaxers, Filofax has several ready-made forms available in various sizes to help with budgeting and tracking expenses. The Budget forms in the new Lifestyle Packs have columns for expenditure or income, budgeted amount, actual amount spent or earned, and a column for the difference to see how far off you are from reality. The Lifestyle Packs also contain Dilemma forms which can be used to decide on major purchases such as a new mortgage, whether to downgrade your vehicle, etc.

Filofax also makes Expenses forms in the A5 size and Finances forms in A5 and Personal sizes to list expenditures and deposits. I use a Finances form for each of my accounts to keep track of transactions.

There are many ways to use a Filofax to keep track of finances. Many people use their daily or weekly diary pages to jot down expenditures. Also, it’s easy to have a tabbed divider section dedicated to Finances, which I have in my A5 household Filo, where I keep all of my financial forms, records and totals.

I think a Filofax would be helpful for people who work at home or are self-employed to keep track of business expenses separate from home and personal expenses. The flexibility of a Filofax is outstanding for categorizing in this way.

I can guess that a Filofax would be a very useful tool to keep track of business expenses and receipts for people who travel frequently for work. Then when you get back to the office, expense reports would be simpler to put together with all of your expense information recorded in your Filo.

I would love to hear how other people use their Filofax(es) for budgeting, keeping track of expenses, and getting a handle on your finances in general!

28 July 2009

Post Holiday Planning

I've just got back from a month away over in France. If you thought the pre-planning was bad enough. (I used a personalised version of the Travellers Check List) Well having been away for so long I also needed to plan my return to UK. Things that I needed to do, things to remember etc.

Normally I just use Filofax pre-printed To Do lists, and I go through quite a few of these in my Pocket size organiser.

So I have created my own template which gives me four To Do pages on a single A4 sheet. I tried to double side this page, but I found it difficult to get both sides to align with each other once printed. So I decided to stick with a single sided page instead.

When I started to list the jobs to do, the things to remember on my return, I discovered the usefulness of the blank side of my own To Do pages was. I could use the blank side as a notes page.

You can download the To Do/Notes page here it's available as a MS Word doc or a PDF file.

27 July 2009

From the web - Monday 27th July

Some links to Filofax topics new on the web this week:

25 July 2009

It's That Time Of Year Again!!

Oooh, it's a very exciting time of year in the planner world. I get more excited about July/ August than January! By the time January rolls around I have settled on what format I will use for the year (or think I will use, and then usually wind up switching around). But late summer, when all the new planners are in the stores, is open to so many possibilities: should I switch formats? Should I switch to an academic-year planner or wait for the calendar year to start? I know Steve discussed when to buy your new Filofax diary pages and what format to use last month, but in this post I want to talk about planners in general, and trying new formats.

2010 planners are in! Not just the academic year ones (which are beginning now, which is also very exciting), but next year's calendars are on the shelves. The Daily Planner has a huge selection including Filofax, Lett's, Moleskine, Quo Vadis and other great brands. There are some new ones this year, including Rhodia's spanking new weekly planner selection which has an interesting format with a gridded notes page each week. It's a dazzling array of planner possibilities!

In my Scotland post I told about a woman I met who uses a Filofax for her addresses and permanent reference, but a separate diary book with a larger page size for her planner. Confession time: does anyone else do this? I have experimented with this method for awhile this year, using my Filo as my reference book and for my planner an 8"x5" bound week + notes book (of a brand that starts with "M" and end in "-ine"). Yes the larger page size and streamlined book is nice, but carrying two books around seems "silly" as my friend put it, yet I'm lost without my Filo.

My sister has been very patient with me throughout the years listening to my planner angst and generously giving her suggestions to try to help me achieve Planner Nirvana. I told my story to her about the page size/ book size problem this way: When I was a kid, I had a pet hermit crab. For those of you unfamiliar with hermit crabs, they wear a shell on their back like a snail, but they don't grow their own shell. They crawl into discarded snail shells and use their curled tail to hold it on. (I realize by this time you are either intrigued or disgusted.) As the hermit crab grows, they have to find larger shells to live in. My pet hermit crab grew, but the next size shell I had for it was too large. So it went back to its too-small shell for awhile. Then it got uncomfortable and moved back to the big shell, back and forth. I told my sister that's how I feel with my Filofax: all in one book? Or larger page size in a different book? Small shell? Big shell?

Which is why July-August always brims with hope for me. Maybe THIS year I will find the format that works perfectly for me! Maybe THIS year I'll create a system that works flawlessly in all situations. Maybe THIS year I will finally achieve Planner Nirvana!

Oh, what happened to my hermit crab, you ask?

It died.

24 July 2009

Free for All Friday No. 38

What topics would you like us to cover in future blog posts?

What would you like to see coming to you on our Twitter feed?

Now's your chance to share your ideas!


Two Great Finds

Back in the day, my first post on Philofaxy was an anonymous reply requesting information on 6-ring storage binders for Personal size pages. I prefer to use ring binders instead of the post-binders that Filofax has available for archival pages. I like to be able to open the rings easily to retrieve pages or move them to a different binder. And to be perfectly honest, I think the Filofax archival binders are too expensive, at least for my budget.

About five years ago I found ring binders at Tschiffely Pharmacy at Union Station in Washington DC while I was on my way to work one morning. I had been searching for binders for some time so I bought all six they had, for about $4 each. That was the last time I ever saw those binders in a store, and I have been searching for them ever since. Meanwhile my storage binders filled up, and I resorted to doubling-up past years of pages to share binders. Periodically I did an internet search to see if anyplace online has binders available, and recently I finally found some! A new website called Wards5and10.com has ring binders for Personal size pages, as well as some other small sizes of binders (which may fit Pocket size Filos, I haven’t checked the measurements but if you are interested it’s worth a look). Ward’s also has tons of other office, school and art supplies at great prices. I haven’t perused the entire website, but it is huge and definitely worth a look.

My second great recent find is the Filofax Organizer Stickers. These are little round icons with symbols such as a palm tree for vacation, a car for car maintenance time, airplane for travel, etc. They are great for sticking on the day when the event happens to make it stand out as I am flipping through my book. The stickers are also small enough to stick in the day squares of the month view calendar, if you wanted an overview reminder at a glance, and then have the details on your daily page. The stickers themselves are on a plastic page in Personal (which is multi-fit for A5 also) or Pocket size. I have only found these stickers at Filofax.co.uk in the accessories section, and as far as I know they are not available in the US. I was extremely pleased to find these, because I had been looking for some calendar stickers but the only ones I could find were, for lack of a better description, very “mom-ish.” The Filofax ones are understated and could certainly be used by men as well as women.

Have you made any great Filo finds recently?

New Organiser - Scanda

Just seen the announcement for the new Scanda organiser:www.filofax.co.uk

Note it comes with cotton cream stationary... popular with a lot of our readers I know.. I like the leather used on this organiser, it reminds me of 80's cowboy boots!

23 July 2009

Filofax - Pens

I think we might have all come across this problem before... what size pen will fit my Filofax Pen Loop?
Well I've done a bit of quick research this morning with my own collection of organisers.
My new Finsbury (Personal) would take an 8.5 mm diameter pen, or 9 mm at a push. Where as my used (2-3 years) A5 and Pocket size organisers would both easily take a 10.5 mm diameter pen. I used the shank of a selection of twist drills to measure the size each would take accurately.
In terms of actual pens I'm using Parker pens in my larger organisers and a Filofax 'Barley Twist' Mini pen in my Pocket size Filofax, most other pens are too long. On my A5 I carry a Parker fountain pen and a ball pen.
The Filofax pen is quite heavy for it's size, it has a retractable ball pen refill. One tip, always retract the point on this pen, if you drop it as I did once the pen is so heavy that it will damage the point if it lands on the point as mine did! I did buy a pack of refills from Filofax and the refill is very slim compared to the size of the pen itself!
What pens are you using?

22 July 2009

Don't Leave Home Without It

Recently, I did something I haven't done in years - left the house without a Filofax. My Personal Finchley Filo doubles as my wallet, so it's always with me...in my handbag, in my gym bag, in my briefcase or laptop case, beside me on my desk, or occasionally hand-carried when I go out to lunch at work and don't want to carry my whole briefcase.

But this time, I was going to a stadium concert, and I decided not to carry a handbag. It would slow me down by needing to be searched once or twice on my way into the stadium, and would end up digging into my shoulder all night because I wouldn't feel safe putting it down anywhere.

I decided to travel light...really light. No bag, and since it was a warm summer night, no jacket. Nowhere to put a Filofax. I carried my ID and one credit card in one front jeans pocket, some cash on the other side. An index card with driving directions to the parking location we had decided to use in a back pocket. And a couple of tissues folded flat in the other back pocket (which turned out to come in handy as my husband couldn't find a napkin for his hot dog). After all, I wouldn't really need my Filofax during a concert, right?

Wrong. First of all, the woman standing next to me brought a digital SLR and was taking some great pictures. She offered to email them to me if I gave her my address. So there I was, sans pen and paper. I was able to use the back of the index card, and the camera woman had a pen, so it all worked out in the end. But the point is, I had come perilously close to being without a way to give someone my email address. (The woman had not only brought a camera, she brought a big canvas tote bag and left it on her seat throughout the concert while she wandered around taking pictures, so that may be a lesson for me. No one bothered her bag.)

Also, my Filofax would have enabled me to write down the set list. I wanted to be able to remember the songs, and I'm terrible at memorizing set lists. I have a very memory, but song titles are one kind of information I find it hard to retain, probably because my brain is too busy listening to the music itself.

I've decided I need to add a Pocket Slimline or Mini Filo to my arsenal. And I really should have worn at least a light jacket in case it got chilly later on. That way, I'd have a jacket pocket for the Filo.

And I already know which one I'd like it to be: The Special Edition Pocket with Swarovsky crystals! http://www.filofax.co.uk/

- The link will expire when Filofax discontinues the model or changes its website.
- The image is from the Filofax UK website.

21 July 2009

Philofaxy Now on Twitter!

I'll update every time there's a new blog post, and other Filofax news.

If you're on Twitter, please follow: http://twitter.com/philofaxy

Family Organizer Pack

I promised this post would contain information about 6-ring storage binders for Personal size pages, but since there is so much interest right now in the Lifestyle packs I thought I would post my review of the Family Organizer first. If anyone is desperate to locate ring-binders for Personal pages, let me know! Otherwise I will hold off until my next post.

I want to apologize for the enormous length of this post! I hope you will read it. I had a lot to say about the Family Organizer Pack. I ordered the 2009 A5 Family Organizer Pack when the price went to 50%, partly to be able to report in full to Philofaxy (as I justified the purchase to myself), and partly to satisfy my own curiosity. This was before the contents of the Lifestyle Packs were made available to view online at Filofax.co.uk, so now it seems a little redundant. Oh well, some of the pages will certainly be useful to me.

This family pack is very similar to the Go Mom! Planner (www.gomominc.com) which, interestingly, will not be produced for 2010 after 9 years of production. They used to have a ring-bound planner with removable pages in a Dayrunner style, as well as spiral-bound planners. The calendar format of the Go Mom! was similar to the new Filofax Family Organizer calendar with space for Mom, other members of the family, and meal planning. A note about the boxes for family members: they can be used in other ways too of course, such as to record your exercise that day, expenditures, or anything else you want to categorize on a daily basis. The A5 calendar has the days as columns across the two-page spread. The Personal size version has the days as rows down the page, similar to the grid of the fun and quirky Dodo Pad (www.dodopad.com). I use a Dodo Wall Pad in my kitchen to have the comings and goings of the family in public view. It is such a useful format, I am seriously considering getting the Personal size Family pack to have my Filo and wall calendars in the same format. MomAgenda and Whomi planners also have a similar weekly grid format, which must work for a lot of families since this format is so popular!

The Go Mom! Planner contained many of the same worksheet pages as the Filofax contains, such as babysitting info, school info, contacts, children’s activities, pet veterinary records, etc. One thing the Go Mom! Planner had that the Filofax does not is a Carpool Chart. I thought it was particularly ingenious. It was a chart with each day of the week, event (such as sports practice, music lessons, etc.), times to and from. Here is the most brilliant part: the chart is for each CHILD. I would have thought to make a chart for myself, where I need to drive each day. But this addresses the much more important issue, does the child have a ride to and from each of his/ her events throughout the week? Genius.

Another section the Go Mom! Planner had that the Filo does not, and I wish it did, is medical summaries for each member of the family such as when they are due for checkups, vaccines, dental, when were their most recent appointments, lists of medications, etc. Go Mom! also had directories for insurance information such as group and member numbers, address and phone contact info. I have found these pages to be especially useful when at a new doctor’s office. Inevitably they ask these questions, and it helps enormously to have it all on one page for reference.

The Filo Family Organizer includes A-Z tabs, which is redundant since Filofax binders themselves come with A-Z tabs. Far more useful would have been to include blank tabbed dividers, which it seems the UK pack does. Something to note: when I put the pack contents into my empty A5 binder, it filled it up. So if you already have a lot of pages in your binder, it will be over-stuffed if you put all the pages in at once.

The US Family Organizer is for the calendar year only. The UK Family pack starts now, July 2009, and runs all the way through the end of 2010. That is a great feature, so that your planner can be on an academic or calendar year.

Awhile back, someone made the observation that the US Family Organizer is labeled as “for busy Moms,” and the question was, why not dads too? I haven’t held a UK version of the Family Organizer in my hands, but on the front of the pack (visible online) it says, “for busy parents.” I wonder if the US version for 2010 will change to “for parents” or if it will remain “for moms.”

In all, I think the Family Organizer pack is very useful, and would certainly help any parent keep things straight. (We need all the help we can get!) There are certainly some things missing that would be useful, such as the carpool chart and medical info pages I have mentioned. But, I guess it can’t be all things to all parents. And of course the beauty of a Filofax is that we can make our own pages for whatever we want and insert them where needed.

I am very happy to see that Filofax is making these Lifestyle packs, and I hope to see more in the future!

20 July 2009

Cleaning Out the Punch

At the suggestion of reader Miss Charlie, I took a pair of needle-nose pliers padded with tissues to my A5 Filofax punch and finally succeeded in removing a couple of years' worth of chads.

In case anyone else is having the same problem, I've documented the process in my Flickr photos. Click the image to see them.

Men and Sheds

It might be just an English thing, but men like to tinker around in their sheds. Well I'm over at our house in France at the moment and 'the shed' is our sub-basement which is over 100 sq metres (approximately 1000 sq feet) of space under the main house. There are windows so it's not totally dark, but it is cooler and I suppose that's why I seem to spend more time down there than upstairs when it's hot.

With all of that space to use for storage it takes a bit of organisation to make the best use of it. Surprisingly because it's so large and there aren't many walls, you quickly run out of places to put things if they are against a wall. So that is where my Filofax came in...

I first of all made a list of the things (major or large things) that we already have over here and put them in to categories. I then made a list of the things we have in England which one day will also have to come over here, as well as the major things already here.

I've then used some graph paper with a rough plan of the basement to sketch out some ideas of where to put some more shelves.

It has worked out quite well, I've now set up our cave in the coolest part of the basement which is under the terrace, for our growing wine collection and added another shelf unit in there for other drinks and bottled water.

I think we will need some free-standing shelf units that come out at right angles from the wall to maximise on the available space.

My Filofax inventory lists have also help solve the continual problem of 'What is in France' and 'What is in England?' I've got a terrible memory so it helps.

I've also got a 'Clothing in France list' in my A5 Filofax as well. I have more or less clothes for all seasons over here in France, but I like to rotate my clothes between England and France, so keeping a list is a big help when it comes to packing for the next visit.

A beintôt

19 July 2009

Filo Adventures in Scotland

Hi everybody! I am back from my wonderful vacation in Scotland, my favorite place on earth. If you have never been there, you must go immediately.

I am pleased to report that my Filofax UK Guidebook worked fabulously throughout the trip. On our way up we stopped over in London for a day, where I used my London city maps and rail network maps, which are available on Filofax.co.uk. Very useful.

While in Scotland I used the Scotland pages of my British Isles maps, also from Filofax UK, extensively. My self-made guidebook gets better and better with every trip. This time I added the things I did, as well as things I didn’t get to do but would like to in the future. I sketched in small detailed maps of areas I visited. I wrote down contact information (like the CalMac ferry bookings phone number). The book is turning into an excellent reference and record of my trips.

Our weather in Scotland was really good, with only a couple of days of rain. But rain is always a possibility there and some days were mostly clear except for some mist or sprinkles. I had to be careful with my leather Filo when using it outside. I had the idea that Filofax should make a waterproof binder with waterproof pages to be used in damp situations such as doing oceanography field research, traveling in Scotland, or while taking a bath. I’d buy it. Are you listening Filofax?

While I was there I had lunch with a friend, and a woman who is a friend of her family. During the course of the meal the family friend pulled out her diary/planner to reference a date. I didn’t want to be too nosy and eye her book too much, but it looked like a Letts of London weekly diary, hard bound book. Later when she went to pay for her lunch she pulled out a tiny pink Filofax Piazza that was stuffed full of cards and cash, and on the rings were address pages. I couldn’t keep silent in the presence of a Filofax so I piped up and said, “I like your little Filofax, you use it as a wallet?” She said yes, and that she also uses it to hold her addresses and permanent reference information. Then I couldn’t hold myself back and asked, “And you have a separate diary book?” And she said, “Yes, I suppose it’s silly to carry two books with me everywhere, but the Filofax pages are just not big enough for me to write everything I need to do every day.” Then we had a lively discussion about the Classic Filofax Dilemma: the page size to book size ratio. I told her my saga of how I have used a Personal size Filo for many years, but the weekly planner page size was just too small during busy times. I tried using day per page diary pages for more room to write, but this failed because I absolutely must see my whole week in one view. So last year I upgraded to the A5 size, and while I enjoyed the larger page size, the book was too big and bulky for me to want to carry around with me everywhere, especially when traveling. So now I am back to the Personal size and trying to make it work with the smaller pages.

During my trip I removed my weekly pages, which I didn’t think I would need since I have month view pages also. I also removed my address and reference pages, in the interest of security. But while I was on my trip I felt adrift without all those pages in the book. Lesson learned: keep everything in the book.

Now that I am back home I have moved the Scotland pages into a ring-bound storage binder (more details on this in my next post) and have turned my Filo back into my planner. Then the next time I take a trip, I can just pop in the UK pages, and off I go!

I’m already excited to plan my next trip!

17 July 2009

Tweet Tweet

If you use the micro-blogging site Twitter, you can follow Filofax UK's Twitter stream at http://twitter.com/Filofax_UK and get the company's latest announcements.

In other news, Filofax has also created a focus group as a way of getting customer feedback. If you join, Filofax will ask you to complete occasional online questionnaires. In return, they'll offer discounts and prizes.

If enough of us sign up, we just might get some of things we've been dreaming about: http://www.filofax.co.uk/signup/.

16 July 2009

Lifestyle Packs

Filofax have today announced a series of Lifestyle Packs.

Take a look here http://www.filofax.co.uk/lifestyle/

We will take a closer look at them in the near future. I wonder where the ideas came from?


I enquired about the individual pages of the Lifestyle Packs being available should you use them up within the 12-18 months of use, here is the response received from Filofax UK today:

Dear Mr Morton

Thank you for your enquiry. Our lifestyle packs are a new product in our range and were launched after our 2009 brochure was printed. The lifestyle packs are sold as units and no individual pages can be purchased separately. However, if you would like to get back to me with the page you think you will require more of I can look further into this for you.

Kind regards


Val Abrahams
Sales Administrator, Filofax UK
I suspect that if it was just one or two of the pages you used up they would send you a few as a complementary gift, but obviously they want you to buy the whole pack really.


Filofax News - New Cherry Organisers

So Filofax have also announced a new range of 'Cherry' Organisers today... where will it end!


I've only checked the UK store at the moment....

Just in season with the real fruits in UK I guess!


13 July 2009

Punching It Up

There are two kinds of Philofaxers in the world...those who find an accompanying hole punch indispensable and those who will never own one.

I'm of the first camp. I have 6-hole punches for both my Personal and A5 Filofaxes. I like to punch "outside" pieces of paper (sometimes with trimming) to carry with me...schedules, maps, information sheets, and so on. I always buy A5 journals with perforated pages so I can use the same paper in my Filo. One time I punched a postcard of a museum display I wanted to see!

If you print your own forms, like the ones Steve makes and offers for download in his Yahoo group, a punch is a must. (Although sometimes I print information from Word documents onto the blank leaves Filofax sells, which are of course already punched.)

The one problem I'm having: I haven't figured out how to empty the paper chads out of my A5 metal punch. Does this plastic cover just pull off somehow? I've never been able to do it.

11 July 2009

Free for All Friday No. 37

Hi everybody!

I think I speak for everyone when I thank Steve and Laurie for their outstanding contributions to this blog so far.

I've been reading a lot about folks having a dedicated Filofax for travel, even for a particular city. If you're traveling this summer, enjoy!

09 July 2009

New Organisers

A new range of 'Butterfly' organisers are available on the UK Filofax site:

I think you will agree some nice detailing on the cover.


07 July 2009

Filofax – The Missing Manual

I know I'm being a little cheeky titling this post 'The Missing Manual' because some of you will have realised the connection to Inky... so why is the English guy who's only been here 5 minutes getting in on the act.....parody is sometimes the best complement

So was there ever a manual written for the Filofax? Or should it be included in the category of 'No Instructions Required' ? Which to me is a play on 'No Jacket Required' the album by Phil Collins.

If there was a manual what sort of detail would it go to? Surely not to this sort of level of detail?
Hold your Filofax with the closing strap on the right hand side and the gently pull on the press stud until it 'pops' open, now open your binder to reveal the pages.
Or should it contain ideas as to the order of the sections/pages? The dividers supplied with some sizes always put the diary at the front and addresses at the back. But that is the beauty of the flexibility of the organiser system in that you can put what you want were ever you want.

May be the designer of particular binder you have bought would include ideas of what he/she was intending you to keep in the pockets of the binder.
The zip pocket at the back of the binder is intended for you to keep your train ticket, letter headed paper or receipts. Please don't try to hide your iPod Touch in there.

The business card slots have been designed for cards of 85 by 43 mm
The manual writer might also have a sense of humour as bad as mine...
When you first purchase your leather Finsbury, you will find the leather is quite stiff and it will not lie flat. Do not force it, over time it will become more supple be able to stay open on your desk for longer.
On a serious note, I'm sure it would include notes on cleaning and maintaining the appearance of your Filofax.
To help maintain the leather cover we strongly recommend Filofax leather polish, the special wax formulation feeds the leather and helps to keep it supple No, do not use this leather polish on non-leather covers, instead we recommend Filofax foam cleaner.
Would there be a compatibly table of pens and pencils that will fit the pen loop of your binder, if my own experience is anything to go by, it will be a fairly short list. If you have ever tried buying pens that you like writing with, but then find they are too big for the pen loop on the binder.

No doubt there will be a technical specification section:
This binder has rings of 38mm diameter, the maximum capacity is 500 pages, this includes loose pages. Why do you think you can cram even more pages in that will fit....
A tips section would no doubt include a section on choosing your diary refill.

In reality the only instructions my new Filofax came with was about how to register it. A very simple process, once registered should you be unfortunate to lose it and the finder returns it to Filofax, it will be returned to you, and the finder will receive a gift.

It's pleasant change to not have to wade your way through half a dozen safety notices before you get to the section on 'how to install the batteries' But of course with a Filofax... no batteries are required... or included. And for a product that has been around since 1921 I don't think any instructions are really required.

So did I miss anything out? Post your own ideas in the comments section. And I'm sure Inky's advice to me will be 'Don't give up the day job yet Steve!!'

04 July 2009

The Advanced Day Planner User's Guide

The Advanced Day Planner User's Guide by Hyrum W. Smith – Published by Franklin International Institute, Inc – ISBN 0-939817-001-2 First of all, this book is not written with the Filofax in mind... so before I get your expectations up, I thought I best say that first. However, whilst the Franklin Day Planner is a rival to Filofax, a lot of the principles and ideas are transferable to the Filofax system.. so it's worth a look. The book takes the form of suggestions and ideas sent in by users to Franklin International and there are 83 different suggestions in total, all nicely explained and illustrated in the book which is over 175 pages in total. I've been working my way through the book looking for new ideas that I could use in my Filofax. As has been mentioned previously in a comment on this blog a while back, there is nothing earth shattering in the book, but there are a few good ideas. You don't really need to read it from cover to cover even, just open it when you have a few moments to kill and read one of the suggestions. Each one is complete and it doesn't require you to read all the others. Some of the suggestions refer to specific Franklin Day Planner Forms, some of these are similar to those available for Filofax but there are some that could be adapted to different Filofax sizes and may be slightly different layouts according to the size of the binder you are using. One of the nicer touches about the way the book is written is the way in which the suggestions are described. How they came about from real life situations. So it is easier to see how the problem was solved and how the form or suggestion solved the problem and may be how you might use a similar suggestion for a similar problem of your own. I picked up this book on Amazon Marketplace for less than £5 including postage, it was published back in 1987, which was about the time that planners and organisers where becoming very popular. So I suppose there was demand for such a book at the time. I'm not sure such a book these days would sell a lot of copies... this blog and other associated websites are most probably a better sources of information. So if you are interested in reading more, I'm not sure if this book will be in your local public library, or take a look at Amazon, there were plenty of copies available when I purchased mine.

01 July 2009

Alternative Filofax Uses

Hello everybody, welcome to my first post as a Philofaxy blogger! Long time commenter, first time blogger. I’m going to be offline for a couple of weeks and wanted to be sure to post before I leave for my vacation in glorious Scotland!

Speaking of Scotland, last December before my holiday trip to the Highlands I posted about my conversion of my retired Personal Buckingham into my self-made Scotland Guidebook. You can read some details about that on the Free For All Friday for December 5, 2008, here.

To update: I spent the holidays in Scotland and also in March I took a trip to London for the first time, and am happy to report that my Filofax UK Guidebook (to include London) is great. I have tabbed sections for all the regions of Scotland as well as the cities of Glasgow, Edinburgh, and now London. I have maps, sections for notes, lists (places yet to see, websites about Scotland, books to read about the area and history, etc.)

One of my most useful sections is a record of trips I have taken. I write the details of my upcoming trip on the first page behind the tab: Flight details, where I am staying and how much it costs, reservation numbers, rental car details, and the current exchange rate. When I am on my trip and checking in at the desk of the airline/ rental car/ hotel, I have all of my reservation info right there, including the dates of when I paid online or over the phone, and all of my reservation numbers. This is obviously very useful while I am on the trip, but it also makes a great record for future reference. When I take another trip, I add the new info page on top of the old one, so this section contains a reverse-chronological record of every place I stayed, how much it cost, and what the exchange rate was during that trip.

In my regional tabbed sections I write places I visited, how to get there, restaurants that I would like to eat at again, things I did not do but want to do in future trips, etc. The accumulation of information in each section is very useful on subsequent trips, and a wonderful record of past trips as well.

My Filofax UK Guidebook was inspired by the Moleskine city books, which are fill-in-yourself guidebooks for various cities around the world. They have maps and tabbed sections for restaurants, accommodation, sites, etc. But the classic problem with Moles is, what do you do if a section fills up? This is where a Filo excels. The flexibility of the refillable binder, tabbed dividers, and even different colors of refill paper make classification easy. And you never have to worry about a section filling up. I think it would be fun to make a guidebook for the city where you live, to record things to do, restaurants you have enjoyed, delivery numbers, museums, or other attractions in your area. This would be especially useful for guests to borrow when they come to visit.

Using Filofaxes as DIY guidebooks makes me think of other possible uses for Filos. Another use for a Filofax which I haven’t tried myself but sounds like a good idea is as a wine journal. Again, this is where a Filo would be perfect, because you could classify your wines any way you want. There could be tabbed sections for classifications such as Red/ White/ Rose/ Sparkling, or by type such as Merlot, Cabernet, etc. or even by place such as French, Californian, Chilean etc. Then you could subdivide your tabbed sections using the different colors of paper. For example in the French section you could use a different paper color for areas like Bordeaux, Alsace, etc.

This is just an example to illustrate the ways a Filofax can be used. The combination of the refillable binder, tabbed dividers, various colors of paper, forms, accessories, and even computer software result in infinite possible uses for this system. Do you use your Filofax(es) in ways beyond the usual planner/ address book? Tell us about it!

Hope you all have a good two weeks and I will post again when I get back!