24 February 2010

Tabbed sections!

I love to hear how everyone uses their tabbed sections, because it gives me ideas on how to better utilize mine. This is a topic I come back to periodically to see how people have updated their systems, and to give everyone the opportunity to share how they use their system.

Right now the tabs in my main Filofax are (starting behind the planner section):

Emergency and Medical

Travel (with maps here)

Albania country-specific info

Goals (my exercise routines go in here too)

Lists (gift lists for the year, websites, to-do lists)

Notes (mostly blank, to have a landing place for jotting things down since my Filo doesn't have a notes pad in the back)

Move (because we will be moving to a different country in a few months, lots of lists in here)

Kids (homeschooling, lesson ideas, goals)



I'm trying to come up with better designations for my reference lists vs my active to-dos, and goals to reference vs ongoing projects. I feel like I need to change my sections somehow but I'm not sure how to designate them. "Reference" vs "Active" maybe? Anyone have any ideas?

What are your tabbed sections?


  1. I'm a bit of a tab whore, with 12 tabs in total. 2 sets of the "six tabs you can slip your own index papers into" style.

    * Although my first tab says "GTD" it's past tense and "Got Things Done" where I keep a track of piece work rates, cycle mileage and goals.

    * PODCASTS is the organisation of my three shows about the PSP, Rock Music and Smartphones.

    * MUSES is where I place ideas, jokes and fiction 'sparks'

    * NOTEBOOK Duh!

    * PSI X PDA
    * SXSW

    Four tabs for the current big projects I am working on, or websites I help manage

    * TICKLE is my week per two pages diary of todos. Birthday pages lurk at the back

    * TRAVEL is a breakdown of flights, packing and timetables

    * FINANCIAL is where I track what bills need paid

    * PROJECTS are for small ideas that may get finished, or promoted as required/

  2. I stick to the ideas expressed by David Allen, (Mr GTD) in his free paper you can download from here:


    For those that haven't read it yet, I have: Notes In, Calendar, ToDo, Projects, Notes, Reference, Addresses

    Under Notes-in I have a mixture of note paper, plain paper, a to-do list, it's about capturing input to be filed later.

    The rest is fairly self explanatory.


  3. Although I actually do have tabbed dividers, I never end up writing anything on the tabs. But what I use them for is fairly consistent:

    1. Month On Two Pages Diary
    2. Week On One Page Diary (temporarily replaced by a Week On One Page With Notes)
    3. White Ruled Paper (business notes)
    4. Yellow Ruled Paper (personal notes)
    5. Saved & Reference Notes (from the previous two sections)

    The sixth divider is used only to protect the last pages, so I only end up with five sections.

  4. Last night I did a(n extremely useful) What/ Where list just like Nan's (brilliant idea):


    To list what pages I have and figure out where to put them. Most of my categories are pretty distinct, but I had some things I needed to figure out. For example, my Lists section was a confusing mixture of to-do lists and reference lists like gifts. I was always sorting through to figure out what I needed to do. And, not surprisingly, things fell through the cracks.

    So for the first time in 15 years(!), I did away with my Lists section. I broke it into Reference and Action. Immediate relief from my confusion!

    I also realized that all those things that I re-write every week in my planner (that I chip away at when I have time) are better off on a long-term To Do list under Action, or on my Monthly Goals page under Goals. So that clears space on my weekly planner page, and also absolves me of the guilt of not getting things done because I was being unrealistic about my time.

  5. LOL by Ewan Spence re: "tab whore"! I've definitely been guilty of that!

  6. Laurie, may I please ask what your monthly goals page looks like? I am struggling right now with planning and finding time for things I want to do that take longer than one week or month. Like client projects or writing a paper for publication. I have deadlines for the things itself, but how do I know how much I need to work on it every week and month to get it done on time.

    Or if anyone else has any good ideas for handling this...


  7. Paulien, take a look at Charlie Gilkey's Monthly Action Planner. Here is how to use it, with a link to download the planner:


    I hand-write a simplified version of his Monthly Action Planner on a notes page and put it behind my Goals tab.

    I'll be writing more about monthly goal-setting in my March 1 post on Plannerisms.com, but this is the basic idea!

  8. Paulien, you may also benefit from Charlie's Freelancer's Workweek planner, it is designed to let you see not only your deadlines, but to help you plan how much time you need to work on each project and when you will do it.

    You can get the Freelancer's Workweek planner under Free Planners (scroll down):


    And you can also download the whole year's worth under Premium Planners. I recommend checking out the free one first.

    I recently posted all about Charlie's planners if you want a condensed overview:


  9. I have three top tabs:
    Diary (+ to do)

    Under work: I have side tabs: Job Status, Quotation, Invoice plus side tabs for notes on the individual jobs.

    The rest all go under A-Z tabs. Some have their own top tabs too like: Workout, Spring Clean, Ideas etc.

  10. so many good ideas here!!

    I'm currently migrating from one Filofaxt to two - one for every day stuff and one for my writing (contacts, ideas, etc)

    I currently have:
    1. diary
    2. personal stuff/reminders
    3. work related info
    4. writing info
    5. notepaper
    6. adresses

    It's all very yawnsome.

  11. Laurie, thanks for the link to my What/Where post. I need to review that process myself, and I wasn't sure where to find it! LOL!

  12. Nicky is right- there are so many great ideas in here! I think I will rethink my tabs in the following days, I'll have a lot of things to get done in this month!
    Currently I have:
    1. to do's: these haven't been all done, and not all my things to be done have made it to the list.
    Also under this tab and a few pages later, I have a Reminder list. And the next sheet is for the things I need to do for my website. This has been here, undone, since autumn last year!
    2. Diary: one page per day, used as a not too personal journal.
    3. Information (it's just the tab i use to separate the calendar, I should rename it!): Here I have the week on two pages calendar to write down appointments and other agenda items
    4. Notes (a double section): The first part is for random notes, doodles, etc. The second part is my 'Idea Catcher' where I jot down all ideas related to my 21kittens project. I haven't been writing much down though, due to the crappy paper I used to make the sheets.
    5. Adresses (divided into three tabbed sections)
    b1)Spain: friends/people I know
    b2)Spain:work related
    b3)Spain:Useful information (doctors, vet, etc)
    c) world: friends around the world
    6. Nihongo: my japanese section with both syllabaries and a few blank pages to practise-haven't been using it though...
    7. Financial: to keep track of my accounts
    Then without a separating tab I keep a world map and some sudoku pages

    I know I must change my current layout somehow, because my To do isn't working for me anymore... I even considered getting a new filo, but that would mean I would have to carry two binders with me all the time! ugh....headache....x_x

  13. I use the A-Z tabs and have any information that i want or need according to the alphabet. Yes, I have quite a large stack now, but I can find anything info I want in a matter of a minute. I use a Franklin Covey Storage binder to keep it in. I use the personal/compact compatible size.

  14. TAB = Thankfully Ain't Botherin'

    Mine is simply a business diary and indexed phone book + stamps + cards holder.

    Perhaps someone should design a Swiss Army style Filofax that looks like a 'Club Sandwich' with every know tab structure included?