17 October 2010

Guest Post: Jess's Personal Finsbury Filofax

Here is another excellent guest post from Jess!  You may remember her post this spring about how she was using her A5 Snake Domino.  Now she has downsized to a Personal size (gorgeous pink Finsbury!) Filofax for her final, and very hectic, year at university.

Many thanks to Jess for this post!  I know I speak for us all when I say, I love reading about how you use your Filofax!  :)

The last guest post I wrote for Philofaxy was a gushing, passionate account about my new found love: the A5 snake Domino in Bronze. I loved the space, the ease with which I could create my own pages, and the ability to carry around EVERYTHING I might possibly need. Anyway, as happens with most tales of planner bliss, it didn’t last. I’ve always wanted a ‘proper’ Filofax, one of the classic and understated models made from leather, so when a pink personal Finsbury appeared on ebay I decided to take the plunge. I eventually won it for around £25, which I was delighted with – but how would I go about making the switch from A5 to Personal?

Luckily, my more diminutive Finsbury came into my life during my summer off university. As you can imagine, university life is much more hectic than normality, so the A5 was perfect, but when I had nothing to remember beyond gym classes and shifts at my part-time job it quickly seemed redundant. It was the perfect time to make the switch and get used to the Personal’s smaller page size before in the busy, bustling few weeks of term began. My set-up has been simplified enormously, and it is working out wonderfully. Let me take you through it.

Upon opening the Finsbury, I have lots of things stuffed into the credit card slots on the inside front cover – appointment cards, vouchers, cards from good pubs I’ve visited – and inside the full-length pocket I keep a couple of spare envelopes. Next comes the top opening plastic wallet insert, again filled with bits and bobs – a card from my mother, a London Tube map, some stickers to make my Filo look pretty. After that I have the plastic credit card holder insert, containing stamps, passport photos, mini-post it notes and my newly created business cards for my website!

Next, my paper inserts begin. I have a really simple set up that will probably seem heinous and impractical to so many Philofaxy readers! I have my information sheet (always a necessity in case of loss and emergencies!), then a couple of blank lined yellow sheets, a couple of spare To Do pages in Cotton Cream, then a few days’ worth of Day Planner sheets. Apart from my diary, that’s everything I carry. I find that I don’t make use of the lined notepaper that much, since I tend to write reminders down directly onto my diary pages (which I will explain...) or just remember them.

I don’t even have the usual tabbed dividers anymore. Instead, I have two clear dividers that insert like a ‘Today’ marker, with a single small tab at the top with an ‘F’ printed on. I don’t think I’ve ever seen these on the Filofax site, so I’m not sure where they are from – my mother bought them for me about a year ago. They are stamped with Filofax, and make the whole set up look less bulky. Behind the first of these tabs, I have a pull-out year planner for 2010 and then my main diary – Cotton Cream Week on Two Pages, with a clear ‘Today’ marker – with a pull-out year planner for 2011 inserted at the end of December. Its a 2010-2011 diary, so I carry the weeks until my final week at university around with me since I frequently have dates to make a note of as far away as next April or May. I get around the smaller space for each day by writing my weekly-recurrent things, such as lectures and classes, on a post-it note which gets moved to the next page every week. I also keep a single ‘To Do’ list in between the two pages for the week – this means I can always see what needs to be done at a glance, and keeps my day spaces freer from reminders.

After this, I have a Day Per Page insert. I don’t have a divider between these – instead, I use my other clear divider as a ‘Today’ marker, since it is so easy to move around. On these daily pages, I write specific reminders such as ‘Renew library books’, or plan out a day’s schedule if I have a lot of different things to do and places to be. I rarely use these far in advance; I’m more likely to fill the next few days’ pages in during the evening’s review of the day. At the back, I have another plastic credit card holder insert to protect the back pages.

That’s it – two diary formats, minimal tabs, no piles of spare paper colour-coded for projects or ‘To Do’ lists. I keep all my spare inserts at home, since I’ll never be out and about for more than a day at a time so I won’t run out. It’s working out excellently for me, and I’m not plagued with anxiety about how to tweak my set-up since there’s not much to be tweaked! I also love the pink Finsbury Filo itself – the colour is beautiful, and I adore the soft-yet-hardy leather. The only thing that my newly-simple set up has got me wondering is whether it would be possible to downsize even further, to a Pocket – this would never have crossed my mind if I hadn’t won the Pocket Classic Rose in a recent Filofax giveaway on Facebook. It’s just sat there, looking gorgeous, complete with 2010-2011 diary. I might transfer all my stuff from the Finsbury to the Classic and trial it for a day...

And so planner anxiety strikes again!

Read more from Jess at her excellent blog From Here, With Love!


  1. Thanks for the post Jess. I really like the new look of your blog too :-) I have the identical Finsbury which I plan to use to record all my travel adventures at some point. It is a lovely filo. Was in your neck of the woods yesterday for dinner! I look forward to seeing what you do with the Rose.

  2. Great post! I like your set up very much... I may shamelessly copy it to see how it works for me!

  3. I'm intrigued by the option of putting an ongoing Todo-list between your weekly pages. Unlike many (or even most?) FF-fans, I don't like to use post-its, as my brain seems to interpret it as "if it's on a tiny paper, it's just not important". But a "real" list INSIDE the rings is a totally different story obviously ;-)

  4. Great post and well done for your win of the Rose pocket - v jealous! :)
    I too am tempted by the To Do list inside the week to view pages. I am off to "page shuffle" right now :)

  5. Jess I'm actually trying your system of the To Do page in the weekly pages right now. I like the idea of focusing the list on what doesn't have to be done on any exact day, but does need to get done sometime within that 3-4 day period.