07 October 2011

Free for All Friday No. 151

At the New York City meetup last month, we talked not only about our Filofaxes, but what we put them in.

Some people simply hand-carry their Filofaxes. I do that on quick errands. Women, of course, carry their Filos in a handbag or totebag. More men are starting to carry an organizer bag (Mr. Morton), and that's an obvious place to carry a Filo.

A few people asked me, with some concern, how I carry around my A5, the one I use for work. The answer is -- I don't! I take it to and from work in a wheeled laptop case. If I worked only in an office, I'd simply leave it in my office.

The subject of carrying is on my mind now. By the time you read this, I'll be traveling in Ireland. And I'll have a Filofax in my backpack.

Where do you put yours?


  1. I carry mine in my hand, or if I have my briefcase with me, in a pocket on the front, which is almost a perfect size for it. If I'm in the car it lives in the side door pocket, so its always handy, because I use it for my debit cards and for capturing receipts as well.

    Like you, Nan, I've quite given up carrying my A5, it's just too big, which sadly means it's out of service at the moment.

    All of which leads me to my (supplementary) question: how do you manage two filofaxes? I'm self-employed, and my work and personal lives intertwine in terms of appointments (although obviously not often in terms of to-do items). How do you run two diaries effectively? If I worked a strict 9-5 and then walked away I could understand it, but for most of us that's no longer the case. Do you 'synchronize' diaries? That seems far better done electronically to me. Or is there some other clever 'trick' you employ?

    I'd be really interested to hear from you, as the A5 would actually be far better suited to the volume of 'stuff' I have to work with - but at the moment, as soon as I do that my diary management goes awry - and I *do* have to be able to trust my diary implicitly, which is why I gave up electronica and went back to Filofax in the first place.

    I'm in London all day today, back late tonight, so I'll respond to any comments tomorrow, or this afternoon *if* I can get near a PC.....

    Happy Friday, everyone!


  2. Mine go in my 'Man Bag' which in fact is sold as a camera bag in UK but with removable dividers so it can take all of my stuff (two Filos) and other bits and bobs.

    It's lined with a soft padded material, so I never have to worry about damaging the leather of my Maldens. It will take my A5 as well if I need it.

    I've grown used to just grabbing the bag when I go out, I hate things in my pockets. Man bags are very much the norm here in France.

  3. My work A5 stays on my desk most of the time unless I am going to meetings, in which case I just carry it in my hands.
    My everyday filofax (for everything except work) travels in a bag but the bag is lined so it doesn't get bashed. I sometimes use my Old Bag Company bag which has a filofax-sized inside pocket which protects it from all the other junk I throw in there. I try to keep my keps in a separate pocket so they don't bash the filofax, whichever bag I use.

    @David - if you just need to be aware of when your appointments are, without necessarily having huge details in the appointment, could you switch to one, small, bound diary that you can tuck into either of your filofaxes - then you would have it with you wherever you were. Obviously, if you need to know more than just time/date/location that wouldn't work, but if you kept the detailed notes and plans for meetings separate from the diary, it might. I work part-time, but thankfully my work and home times don't overlap and all I need to know is what I'm doing at work in very basic terms when I'm away (and work makes us have an electronic diary which I use as well as my filofaxes).

  4. nothing to do with carrying filofaxes etc but as it's FFAF...
    I have just bought (another) A5 domino... Contents will be on sale here soon (once it's arrived) - I just wanted the binder.
    That would take the total to... 11 (not including non-filofax brand organisers). Eek.

  5. I don't carry my work one anywhere - it tends to stay on my desk. I have a small pocket one I keep in my bag.

    @David - I share your dilemma - in fact syncing more than one diary manually just doesn't happen for me. I have most things on outlook, so am wondering of it is viable to print out the outlook calendar and pass it between filofaxes? Also my iPhone syncs with my outlook so technically I have my diary with me when I go out, although I prefer to not enter stuff on the run as I usually enter it wrong and it doesn't sync properly!

    I see the A5 as more of a planner so I can plan out my dy.

  6. I have a small messenger bag which carries the filofax. Not perfect but it works.

    I use my personal for everything, work and play, planning my day, appointments and reminders, to do lists (which usually just get jotted in with the day planning pages), addresses, etc.

  7. i'm a girl who likes a small bag.. so getting a filofax has made me sacrifice my nice big purse..
    the lack of card slots is driving me nuts but i've slotted a plastic card holder thing into the front flap.. it's being held in place with a hair pin (it's quite something to behold) BUT it makes my little filofax quite bulky.. and i've had to remove the a-z section.
    has anyone got any tips about this? the three card slots in the amazona is just not enough.

  8. Oh, and I carry in my hand a good bit too, especially when walking around at work.

  9. @Dollface
    What size is your filofax? I use my baroque personal as a wallet/filofax and it works really well. I have the plastic business card holder/credit card holder in the back (on the rings) and it holds 6 cards (3 on each side), and I have 4 cards in the slots on the inside cover.

  10. @amanda
    I have the pocket amazona, can you buy special filofax card holders for that size? i just tried to DIY it with a card thing that came with my railcard

  11. @Dollface
    You can - they hold cards in the vertical orientation (because of the width of the pocket size)

  12. I have a Personal Durham Zip (23mm ringed) that stays in the office with a day-per-page. I have one of those 9-5's that I can thankfully walk away from every day.

    I carry a "personal" personal-size (varying between a Guildford and a 30mm-ringed Durham zip either in hand or in a bag. This serves as diary, project archive and wallet all in one. A lifetime commuting on the NYC subway or by bike gets you, even as a man, accustomed to shouldering something in a strange survival metaphor.

    I look forward to autumn and winter, because I can stuff a Slimline in my jacket pocket, and with luck lose the bag, if only occasionally.

  13. I put mine in my Filofax briefcase of course! A question for all the readers out there: In buying gift for friend (Osterley) do you think the plum or the gray looks better?

  14. @Filofreak - lucky recipient of an Osterley! I would definitely go for the Plum, however if it is for a bloke, I'd probably get the grey. I'm not into grey so it would never be my first choice - but the plum looks so ... well ... delicious!

  15. I have a messenger type "man bag" why is it called that? it measures 33x39x10 and it carries quite a lot. On another topic The thought occurred to me how many of our readers/members are retired and for what purpose do they use their Filofaxes.
    I know Steve is and I am too (it’s best job of the lot). Someone was once heard to say
    “I’m retired having a good time is my job”

  16. Has anyone compared the Osterley to the Amazona? I'm particularly interested in how the leather finishes and interiors compare. Thanks.

  17. @David, I just wanted to respond to your question....how do I sync the 2 Filofaxes? Ah, synchronization, a subject near and dear to my heart. If this were ancient Greece, we'd have a goddess devoted to it.

    I gave up electronica for much the same reason you did--specifically, because the software that synched my Palm Pilot and computers didn't work. I was spending 4 hours a week just troubleshooting software to achieve that elusive goal of typing something once and being able to see it everywhere.

    These days, I don't spend energy worrying about synchronization. I don't have one unified schedule to look at every morning, and I find I don't need it. I don't work a strict 9-5, but I also don't have a lot of appointments. My work meetings happen on a predictable schedule (meeting with my boss at 3:00 on Mondays, department meeting at 1:00 on Fridays, every week), as do my personal appointments (choir practice at 7:30 on Wednesdays, workouts at 4:00 at Tuesdays and Thursdays, every week). I can remember those without seeing them in writing.

    [to be continued]

  18. When I have a random appointment, I write it in the A5 if it's for work, and in the Personal if it's personal. One defining aspect of my system is that I keep the two spheres completely separated in the different organizers. Yes, that means I have to check two different organizers every morning. And I've made peace with that, as they say.

    There is no trick. There are times when I have to write an appointment in both places to make sure I see it when I need to see it. When my schedule is more complicated, I synch it every day in writing by copying personal appointments from the Personal to the A5. The Personal still contains only the information I need as I go about the day, and capture receipts, as yours does.

    For me, what worked was to let go of that fear of writing something more than once. Spending a few minutes a day (and really, it's only a very short amount of time), copying my schedule is beneficial. It helps get my appointments into my memory and discover conflicts in my schedule. I consider this "manual synchronization" to be a good daily practice It helps me focus my mind.

    So there you have it. My system is not perfect. Once in a great while, I miss an appointment. I'm still not good at tracking projects on paper. And there are times when I look longingly at the iPhone and Levenger's Circa system. But every day I take a look at what's working for me and how I can use my Filofaxes to improve upon it.

  19. A few more words about my system:

    1) I don't work a strict 9-5, but I do divide my time between working in an office an working in a home office. The company I work for has technology that lets me connect to the computer network from my home computer, and attend meetings by conference call.

    2) I use one day per page in my Personal and the business one day per page in my A5. This layout lets me write more details about each appointment or task, helping to jog my memory.

    For example, I write "Talk to Jack about Sally's birthday party" instead of just "Talk to Jack."

  20. @David: the synching problem seems to be common. One solution could be to use the removable yearly planner with a month per double page. It can be ordered with a plastic cover that slots into the rings of your A5 filo.

    In there you can keep the appointment overview and it slips into your jacket pocket without any trouble. The disadvantage is the synching required.

    I use the A5 with a day per page calendar where all the detailed information resides. The removable planner will only show buzzwords for any appointments I might have.

    But if any kind of work is required I have to take the A5 with me. Exception: for errands I will either take out the relevant page or jot the information on a small piece of paper.

    Yes, sometimes the lure of a one size fits all smartphone like the iPhone is getting stronger...

    Best regards,


  21. @Filofreak: I agree with Allison Reeves; definitely go for the plum/wine if it's for a female friend. I have it in a personal and duuuuuude...the colour is so breathtaking! I love how the plum and the texture make the Osterley both stylish and professional, youthful yet timeless.

    When I had the Malden (before my mom fell in love with it and permanently borrowed it ;oP), I stashed it in my bag with my other things. However, the Osterley is more delicate, so I put it inside a spare dust bag before stashing it.

  22. Now that I'm using the compact, it fits into more of my bags. Well, I was always able to fit it into any of my bags, but since it's smaller it fits better. Sometimes I will carry it by hand, mainly if I'm doing errands, but then it will stay in the car while I run into the stores. And I carry it with me just about everywhere when I'm at work, even though I have a non-Filo planner for work items, which stays at work at all times.


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