10 October 2010

Filofax as a Notebook.

If you don't have a diary refill in your Filofax, does it cease to be an 'organiser'?  Could it become a very versatile notebook?

How did I arrive at this idea or notion? Well looking at the Filofax I recently refurbished, I started to think about what I could use it for? Then I thought... notebook... put in some lined paper, some plain paper and bingo it would work I'm sure.

So then I started to refine the idea about how you could make it better than a 'bound' notebook. In a previous life as a project manager I was forced in to using bound notebooks with numbered pages.

They work ok if you can dedicate a notebook for each project you are controlling. But it becomes a headache at meetings when you turn up with five or six A4 notebooks and you have to go ferreting through them looking for the answer to a question or for some information.

So a Filofax 'Notebook' has the advantage of being loose leafed, so if you are doing more than one project you can use section dividers to separate out the different projects, and move pages in to their respective sections.

One technique I used when we moved house was to use different coloured pages for different topics, it reduces the number of section dividers you need and you can quickly get to the relevant section if you know the colour code you have used.

So if you have a spare organiser it wouldn't cost a lot to turn it in to a Filofax notebook. Just buy some more pages, some of which you might already have. The other great thing is you can transfer notes in to your main Filofax organiser very easily too.

If it doesn't work out for you, you can of course use the pages in your main organiser so nothing will go to waste. I think this represents quite good value for money, minimum initial outlay, if it works for you great, if not just use the pages in your other organiser... result!

I'm going to try this out with a Personal size organiser, but I think it would work with most of the popular sizes.

Would this work for you? Do you have any thoughts on how to improve on this idea? Lets hear your thoughts in the comments.


  1. What a great idea! I want to do this except I don't have a spare filofax lying around!

  2. @Sarah: all the more reason to get another one, hehe

    Steve, my "school record book" (A5 Domino) for my kids is actually sort-of a notebook. I have a tab for each kid, and all the notes go in of meetings (with teachers), and I add a note if they do or achieve something extraordinary. Like my 9 year old who stepped up for herself in front of a teacher that she finds rather intimidating. Rather a milestone for her! The advantage of a filofax binder over a tabbed notebook is the flexibility. It will never get "full", you can add pages endlessly (the worst that could happen is that you might have to dedicate one binder to each kid, but we're nowhere near that point yet ...;-)).

  3. That´s how I use mine.

    One in GTD style. You know - next actions, waitng for, calls, someday/maybe, projects, reading list, etc.

    The other one like a notebook, with templates printed with my company´s logo and tag line.

  4. Yes the filofax as a notebook is a great idea and one that I have used in 2 ways. First I gave a reject A5 Hampstead to my husband who uses it as a notebook for his diploma course in higher education. Second, I have personalised an A5 Domino for use as my scrapbooking planner/Craft-o-fax. I dont use flickr so if you want to see pictures and more details of how this was done go to
    http://caribbeanprincessmusings.blogspot.com/2010/10/dhs-a5-hampstead-filofax.html and

    Based on the above I think the A5 size is more conducive for a notebook especially if you have large handwriting. However I am thinking of using a Personal finsbury as a travel journal to record all my adventures but I havent started this project as yet. I look forward to seeing if you find the personal works ok as a notebook and any helpful tips from Philofaxy.

    That's why I am hooked on filofaxes. They are so wonderfully customisable!

  5. I use all my filofaxes as notebooks, but to me they ARE organizers -- they organize information far better than a notebook could. I use subject tabs and top tabs to organize main categories, and the address tabs to alphabetically file lesser categories. A notebook always frustrated me because notes on similar topics would be spread on random pages, not together. And if you try to put them together,you have to guess how many pages that topic will take and invariably end up with too few. With the filofax, you just add a few more pages! And if a section grows too voluminous, just move it to its own filofax :-)

  6. I've just set up a personal Domino as a journal / notebook for my Day Zero list. It contains nothing but lined paper and subject dividers at the moment.

    Blog post here http://enolassneezes.blogspot.com/2010/10/day-zero.html

  7. I've just started using a slimline (a good deal on ebay...) for taking notes at conferences - it just contains note paper, card holders, and post-it notes.

    Perfect - particularly since I can transfer all my travel itinerary notes from my normal use FF easily without having to copy them across.

  8. I'm commenting in year 2013 here but found this blogpost so helpful. A lifesaver! I have been AGONIZING about my A5. I love the write-ability of the large pages, but find it way too big to bring with me everywhere. So I will use it as a notebook!