16 February 2010

Managing Multiple Filofaxes: What Where?

I know many of us use multiple Filofaxes at once for various purposes. Maybe you use one Filofax for personal use and another one at work. Maybe one is your planner/ diary, another is your household binder, another for specialty (music, hobby, projects, travel etc.). Some people have a Filofax for each of their major projects. Some people have a larger main Filofax and a smaller "satellite." It's the blessing and curse of Filofax: so many options!

I started out, as many of us did, with everything in one Filofax. As I got older, my life got more complicated and soon my personal size Filo was bursting so I had to diversify. I started using an A5 (Finsbury) for things that I didn't need to carry around with me all the time: my Christmas cards list, complete addresses and contacts list, website passwords and the like.

Now I have a designated Filofax for traveling in Scotland (Domino) and another one for blogs (Personal Finsbury). Those are fine because they each have a designated theme, and therefore are self-limiting.

Then things start to get murky.

I have two other personal size Filofaxes that I love (my Buckingham and my Deco) that I want to use somehow, just because I love them. But as many of you know, I'm not using a Filofax as my planner this year (*hangs head in shame*). So now these two Filos have become keepers of random notes.

On one hand, I love having a use for all of my beloved Filofaxes. On the other, I feel scattered with so much information in so many different places.

For those of you currently using multiple Filofaxes, how do you decide what to put where?


  1. I'm experimenting with pocket filos now.

    Red Butterfly: Main filo: all planning goes here ie appointments and things to do. Two tabs: diary + notes, followed by A-Z tabs where lists and infos go.

    (My pocket Siena and pocket Domino should arrive next week)

    Siena Expresso: Wallet and everything financial: cash, coins, credit/debit cards, membership cards, daily expenses,savings current accounts, shopping lists and shopping info (passwords are in Butterfly though)

    Red Domino:Work: Job briefs, job status, invoice and quotation status, notes on jobs etc. (although deadlines will be recorded in Butterfly calendar)

    I'm not sure how this will work out though. Would love to hear how others are managing their multi-filos.

  2. Dilaila, your situation is a perfect example of what to put where. I love your idea of using one pocket Filo for your wallet and everything financial! But beyond that, where should everything go? Anything dated belongs in your planner/ diary of course, but is also relevant elsewhere. Even with separate work/ personal Filos, sometimes things overlap. How much re-writing should you do? And when there is too much overlap, sometimes things don't get re-written and fall through the cracks.

    How will you incorporate your 2 new Filos that are on their way?

  3. Laurie,
    the new filos will be the ones I'd be using for Financial and Work.

    That's the plan anyway. I think the Financial/Wallet filo can be independent.

    The work stuff can go inside the Main filo of course. But I don't want to be bothered carrying work stuff when I'm not in work mode.

    The only duplication that I can see is for work deadlines. But since all work deadlines and work to-do lists are in the Main filo, I need only to check the Main filo for dates/tasks.

    The work filo is more like a record keeper of facts re: work.

    I will have to let you know at the end of next month if this method works. lol. Else, I'll end up with a spare filo!

    p/s: I love this blog but it's such an enabler! Before this, I only used one A5 zip red Finsbury for 10 years. Now, there are so many options to explore. lol

  4. Oh now I get it. Yes that's a good idea to have your diary and ongoing things in your main filo and the other for record keeping. I've run into trouble in the past when I've had planning and ongoing things in multiple Filos! That led to breakdown.

    You are right, we are definitely enablers here on Philofaxy! I think a lot of us are somewhat tormented by all the options and possibilities of Filofax: sizes, formats, inserts, accessories.

    Like I said, it's the simultaneous blessing and curse of Filofax. As my sister calls it, "Filofax: the OTHER crack!"

  5. You said in your post that you are not using a filofax this year as your planner what are you using. Just wondering.

  6. Have Just come to your blog and really love it thanks for the time you put into this.

  7. DTSD re: what planner I'm currently using. Good question! I wish I had a good answer! I'm still searching for my ideal planner. You can see everything I tried last year at:


    This year so far I've used 4 different planners. I'm still not settled. Got any recommendations?

    What made me finally give up on using a Filofax as my planner was that the page size in the Personal was too small, but the A5 book was too huge. Maybe someday if they come out with a slimline A5 that problem could be solved. But in the meantime, my search continues!!

  8. I am in the same boat. But it is sure fun trying the different planners. I do use moleskine and also some stuff from levenger.

  9. I bought my first Filofax (Personal Guildford) in October 2009 (though I had been using other ring binders before). By the end if the year, it was stuffed with tabs, maps, notes, addresses and... got a little bulky. (Many of you know what I mean, don't you?)
    So I decided that I don't need to carry all this stuff with me every day and got myself a Metropol Slimline: I only put my diary and some sheets of notepaper inside and kept all the other things (maps, notes, addresses...) in the Red Domino I got for Christmas. 
    Well... though I really *love* the Slimline, I soon found out it is too small for my daily needs: the week-on-one-page diary simply doesn't work for me!

    So now I use the Guildford as my every day planner which I take everywhere I go. It holds my week-on-two-pages diary, some important phone numbers, my ToDo list, financial sheet for the current month - followed by 6 tabs for books, projects, events, shops... 
    Everything else is filed in my Domino - it stays on my desk but is referred to many times a day. 

  10. I have used a filofax for over 30 years,mainly personal size but also pocket and A5, depending on my organisation needs (and preferences) at the time. My favourite is a now venerable calf-skin Burlington which has aged gloriously and my partner still uses. As my work environment changed to a corporate exchange server, and others had to have direct access to my information, it became inevitable I would be forced to use a PDA (heresy) which would just synchronise automatically for diary commitments. But you just can't beat the pen and paper filofax experience can you? (I know I am preaching to the converted here). I have continued to use a Personal Lyndhurst for day to day. So I have ended up with a mix of systems which is basically iphone for contacts and emailing, and filofax for everything else. In our house my partner and I have over the years accumulated a selection of filofaxes of various models and sizes which we tend to use as a group pool. One of the principles we did establish was that the decision over which one either of us would use should be taken at the beginning of the year and we should stick to it.

    I have also found the principles of David Allen's GTD system very useful and one of those is that you should have a limited number of places to 'collect' information to process. Although they are lovely to have and use, I fear that using too many filofaxes simultaneously defeats their object i.e.to help us organise! So I say, have them, use them, enjoy them, love them - but be clear about which you are using for what purpose, and stick to it for s defined period of time (calendar year?).


  11. Laurie: Torment is the right word! I spent so many hours agonising the order of the filo when I should have been working. Would you believe it, my thickest section is on Project Filofax! I even assigned the pink refills for this project lol.

    Currently using day per page with DIY ToDo inserts in between in different colours. These are divided into: Work, Project Declutter (home), Weekly Routines, Admin and Project Filo (hehe).

    Each week, I just bring forward the ToDo inserts and write on the rest of the page/behind that page. Filo papers are so expensive.

    Ideas for ToDo inserts and Weekly Routine chart derived from the archives here.

  12. My own primary 'trusted system' for tasks, contacts and caledar is electronic. My Filo is a 'satellite' to that.

    The problem with satellites, is they tend to grow into Orbital Battle Stations of great proportions.

    But if it's important to me, I first commit it to paper before I enter it electronically. I have notebooks that are thirty or more years old. I have no digital media (except possibly music CDs) that are even half that old.

    If I want it to be permanent, I write it down.

  13. I currently have two pocket binders. The Finsbury which is my main Filo, with everything! And the Urban, which only comes out to play whenever a trip is near; it is my travel Filo. I use most of the inserts from the Traveller pack, as well as the Finsbury's two page week view, in order to write down appointments.
    I would like to have another one, but I still don't know which use I could give it...

  14. I use multiple filofaxes (my entire collection probably exceeds 30): (1) Main 'master' planner - personal size - contains details for my eyes only, and my calendar I use to plan (2) A5 Meetings binder - for business meetings - because I can shrink an A4 document to A5 and have it as a reference (3) pocket - used as an extra for travel - travel itineraries (1 page per day) + addresses especially if they are local language with characters which I can whip out of my pocket to show a taxi driver and doubles as a wallet for key credit cards.


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