06 March 2011

Time Management with Filofax - Diary Options

I've seen many comments about finding the ideal diary refill to enable people to do the right sort of time/task management on a typical day.

It is all about juggling time, tasks, appointments and remembering all those small things that go together to combat our busy, hectic modern lives. It doesn't matter if it's fitting in those four clients before the end of the week or working out if you can fit in that hair dressing appointment before the children come home from school, we are all trying to get 30 hours out of a 24 hour day.
'My day is already full and unfortunately I can't add any more hours to it' 
Which is a play on my favourite quote
'The radio spectrum is already packed and unfortunately they have stopped making any more of it'...
From the cries (yes!) I've seen in the comments on the topic of diary refills in the past, there is no obvious one that works for everyone... and before you get your hopes up... I'm sorry people, I'm not going to throw you a curved ball and point out to you that magical one that we have all ignored... well not quite... read on.

A few weeks ago we 'uncovered' the Filofax Time Management series of refills. I've tried to contact the 'Time Management Team' at Filofax, but I've not head back from them.

So I've had another detailed look through the various Filofax on-line sites looking specifically for suitable refills.

Going back to this photo of Adam's A5 at the London Meet up in November 2010:

Adam's not confirmed it (I guess he's busy), but I believe he's using the A5 Business refill, this refill is a day per page with space for appointments, To-Dos, Notes etc:
Now I know a lot of you will say ah yes but it's in A5 size... too big.. but in case there is anyone that says it's not big enough... there is an A4 version. I had to include it for completeness.

OK, let us now look at what is available in Personal size. You will of course all remember Jotje's excellent guest post on Task and Time Management. In it you will recall the Day on Two Page refills she uses:
Take a look at Jotje's post to see examples of these pages filled in, this will give you a much more accurate picture of how it works for her.

Another feature of Jotje's Filofax is her use of Undated Planner Pages:
You will also find my own version of these type of pages in the Files page
  • A4/A5 Day Planner undated - .doc .pdf
  • Personal Day Planner undated - .doc .pdf  
Note: there are a whole host of new Personal Size pages on the Files page now as well.

So far these are all 'English' pages, although not all of them are available on the UK Filofax Site. So going a little further a field. I came across the following Day on One Page design on the Filofax Germany website:
Then there is this refill available on the Filofax Denmark site:
It's also a Day per Page refill with space for notes and to-do's in the right hand column. The layout of these pages are very similar to ones available from Quo Vadis here in Europe (France)
This particular example is in Personal size (Timer 17)

Day Timer also do a similar set of refills in their Portable size that fit Filofax Personal size, here is just one example:
Franklin Covey Compact size is similar to Filofax Personal size, but the pages are wider so they would stick out in most Filofax organisers, not ideal.

Thanks Colie for reminding me... There is also the DaVinci inserts that you can import from Japan.

I've most probably only touched the surface, have you found anything else similar to these? Drop a link in to a comment and share your knowledge.

Thank you.


  1. this post is further push to move back to the 2 pages per day format i used a while ago. the BEST part of using a filofax is the ease at which i can change formats.

    here is one you may want to add steve. it starts at 6am and ends at 4am...there are two sections for notes, one with boxes to check off the other as a grid. PLUS it is all on one page. i saw it the other day on the philofaxy flickr set.

    that german day on one page layout almost had me at hello until i saw that the day goes from 8am to 6pm. are they kidding me? ughh whose day ends at 6pm...or 8pm or 7pm.

  2. Thanks for this post Steve. The skype conversation we had when I was trying to sort out my Phd planner was so helpful as I didn't know much beyond my week on 2 pages diary!
    I am a person who needs to view an entire week in one go so I am looking forward to trying out the week on one page with notes that came in the city planner inserts in my Filofax gourmet gift box. But first I need a new Filofax! Hehe.
    I had also loved Kanalt's day on 2 pages which is available on the US site but not here :-(

  3. As for the German "Professional" range diary, you can see some more pics I posted on Flickr. As you see, on the back of 'Sunday', there is a W1P overview for the upcoming week.

  4. I suppose there is also another way of looking at this. I use a diary in my pocket which give me my weekly view. I'm thinking of using a day per page in my A5 work filo for more details and also to carry date specific todos.

  5. Like Steve said I use the DO2P inserts. I also need a weekly overview, therefore I also use the vertical W02P in another section in the same filo.

    For those working with a Pocket size Filofax, there are also various Day per Page-inserts available. To mention but a few:
    * "conventional" DPP by Filofax
    * DPP by Filofax.fr (wider line spacing)
    * DPP by Filofax.dk (cotton cream)
    * Quo Vadis Timer 14 DDP

    That said, I haven't yet anybody who uses the Pocket as a Work filo (I know Yv uses DPP, but that's for personal stuff only, right Yv?).

  6. it's the diary at the top of this photo I'm interested in.. lol.. the Craft Diary? who's is it??

    It looks very interesting and seems like this could benefit me..

  7. I need advice from all you filofax experts out there (I'm quite a newbie).
    Time-management using my FF at work is fine - no issues. My problem is time-management at home. The method I use at work just doesn't seem to work at home, mostly because I need more definite planning and also because I really want to try and use a personal size FF.
    In my work FF (A5), I use a vertical WO2P, with then landscape, A6 pieces of scrap paper, with 3 holes punched in them, to use as my daily 'to-do'.
    At home I need more detail than this system allows for and it would probably work best with DO2P (like the one Jotje uses, shown in one of the pics above).
    But... I also need to see my week at a glance to keep me straight. I could use 3 diary inserts across the 2 FF - the work one, a WO2P for a personal and a DO2P for the personal, in different sections (like Jotje does), but then, I would be writing appointments 3 times - once in each set of inserts.
    To me, this feels like a) a waste of time and b) a chance for errors to creep in. After all, most TM systems say to have one of things, not three.
    So my questions are:
    1. Do others feel like it's a waste of time? Or is it something you put up with to make the rest of the planning work well? Or do others have a magic/secret way of avoiding all the multiple writing?
    2. How error free is it?

    I really would like to get my personal FF to work for me, largely bceause it's lighter than the A5 and also because there are so many other inserts available (from FF and others).

    Any help/advice would be gratefully received!

  8. I am using the Day Timer do2p this year, and it is working out great. In the portable (personal) format there seems to be plenty of room, and if more should be required I just insert a regular lined or quad in between the days 2 pages.

    In the appointments section on the left hand page, I put appointments in pencil, and then put the work record in the same section in ink as the day goes along, then assign each a letter as needed and label notes on the facing pages with the same letter in the margin.

    Day Timer does make a 24 hr. d02p. Unfortunately it only comes spiral bound. I use one to track my bride's medication, she has a chronic health problem, and needs medication at all hours, but never on a schedule. This has worked well for 14 years, and even though it is spiral bound, I couldn't keep track of everything without it.

  9. I was looking for the undated day planner recently on the Filofax UK site and couldn't see them and now they are there - have they recently added or did I just miss them?! Thanks for pointed them out... off to order this evening. They will be a PERFECT addition to my filofax.

  10. Have started to trial the day planner with to dos and notes. A useful overview summary of my day. Am following my dad's permanent advice for everything in life,including Time Management, which is KISS--- Keep Things Simple Stupid. Obviously not so simple that we write nothing down at all(Doh!!) but as simple and useable as possible!!!! If the planning method works for you and your life, then it probably needs little fixing.

  11. A quick note on the Japanese DaVinci pages (that's my photo Colie linked to):
    They can be purchased worldwide through the Japanese website Rakuten.co.jp. The Japanese equivalent of Filo Personal size is called "Bible Size."
    On Rakuten you can also find inserts from other Japanese manufacturers, there's a lot of really interesting stuff out there.
    I've ordered a lot of stationery via Rakuten, feel free to email me (the address is on my blogger profile) if you have any questions.

  12. Amanda, I totally agree with the One-System-Only rule. That is why I left my A5-work filo behind and integrated it in my Personal. I note all appointments in my WO2P. I usally transfer the appointments 1 or 2 days prior to the DO2P. Yes, that means some copying, but since it's only 1 or 2 days at a time, I don't mind one little bit. Especially if you - like me - love to write and fancy nice writing gear (for me that's the Frixion gel pens currently).

  13. @Amanda:
    How much info do you usually need for your weekly view? I use the month on 2 pages with tabs to divide up my agenda, and it makes a handy overview for a couple weeks at a time, but obviously it only has enough room for a few items per day.
    You could also utilize these progressive task cards as a kind of list view for the week ahead:

    I use them for tasks that either don't need to get done on a particular day or have a longer timeframe than one day for completion. It would be easy enough to list your week's appointments with day and time on a card and then you just move it with (or use it instead of) your pagefinder.

  14. @Amanda -

    I totally understand your dilemma about using more than one planner. Although I know that using only one is the ideal, it really doesn’t work for me. I enjoy planning, writing, practicing my handwriting, etc. too much, so using more than one type of diary works for me. Although rewriting things can be tedious at times, it really isn’t a big issue.

    Right now I am using a Personal size with three different diary inserts.
    1) Filofax folded yearly planner
    2) Filofax Week on one page with notes
    3) Daytimer Flavia Day on 2 Pages

    I use the yearly planner for quick glance info (birthdays, bill due dates, vacations, etc). It's probably not really necessary, but I appreciate not having to flip pages when I am looking for one specific thing that I know has been written in ahead of time.

    I use the week + notes for weekly planning. Appointments or important to-do's that MUST be done at a certain time on a certain day go here. If something happens that I need to remember (ie, sick for 3 days), I'll also mark that here, so that if I need to, I can easily find the exact dates later on (detailed info goes in the daily planning section). I keep my weekly to-do list on the notes page, which I make at the beginning of the week and add to throughout if necessary.

    I use the DO2P for daily planning. Appointments go in the schedule box, daily to-do's (taken from my weekly list) go in the to-do box, and the journal box (2nd page) contains notes, things to remember, medication tracking, phone numbers, etc. Basically just anything that I need to write down during the day. On days when I am superbusy or stressed, I use the schedule box to actually plot out my day. Most of the time I don't need to do that, though. The DO2P isn't a necessity either, but there are some days when I really appreciate having the extra planning space!

    Also, I only keep the current one month of Do2p in my planner. Each month is inserted into the Week + Notes section, after the first week of the current month. At the end of the month, I remove the previous month and add the current.

    Errors aren't such a big concern for me because I feel like each format serves its own purpose. The yearly planner is very much an at-a-glance record of things that I know way in advance will be coming up. The actual planning goes in the weekly pages, and the daily pages are for daily info or planning in addition to weekly. They are rarely touched before the night before each day.

    Hope this was helpful!:)

  15. Franklyn Covey make these pouch page finders which you can slip a to do list in or one of their pre-printed /perforated pages.



    I don’t know if they would fit the FF rings though? The first one might? Would be very useful if FF made something similar.

  16. Saffy:
    I can confidently say that the ring spacing for FC Compact items fits a Filo Personal. I can't confirm for other page sizes, though.

  17. Hi guys,
    Thanks for all the advice and comments!
    I have too many appointments to cope with the month to a view pages (sadly). The to-do day marker things look interesting but I have way too many things to go on them for a day. The notes/appointments on one side and the to-do on the opposite side for a day looks like it will be the best format for me.
    My A5 at work is 'one stop shop' at the moment and I don't think that moving my diary to the personal would work. I currently just pick up my A5 and go when I have meetings etc, and have my diary, notes, previous minutes, etc. etc. all with me. If I shifted the diary into a personal I would then have to carry 2 FF with me.
    Since the main problems I have are the 'not at Uni' days, I think I will trial using notes pages and to-do pages interleaved (and just write the date on the top), rather than buying another diary insert! I know the notes and to-do pages will swap sides every day, but I don't mind that. I'll try and cope without the week to view in the personal (so I'm only transcribing once not twice).
    I'll let you know how it goes (and no doubt ask for more advice soon!).
    Thanks for all your help. This is a great community.

  18. The cost of shipping inserts from Franklin Covery to the UK is eye watering these days as they no longer ship from the UK - only from the US. However Day Timer do so I'll be checking them out for a similar type of insert recommended by Saffy and Stirwise. Thanks guys!

  19. Amanda, it sounds like you have a lot of appointments to cram into a day. Maybe making your own accordian pages, the same as how the year overview looks would work for you, but to a smaller time scale?? Or buy and adapt into your own usage of the Filofax Family planner??? Just musings!!

  20. >> I've tried to contact the 'Time Management Team' at Filofax, but I've not head back from them.

    I guess they don't have the time.

  21. JJ.... if they still exist!

    I think the craft Filo in the picture belongs to Sharon.

  22. Steve, apologies for not confirming sooner. It is the Time Management two pages per day system which can be found here:


  23. Steve afterreading your post here i have purchased time managemetn diary from Filofax for my work A5 Holborn.It seems to be really good allthough to thick to insert all of it into one filofax, i isd about 2" thick.
    i will let you know next year how it is holding up

  24. @Amanda, I totally agree with the One System Only rule and it's help alot about time management. Check it out How Long is a Business Day