29 February 2012

Reader Under The Spot Light - Ray

It is an honour to introduce to my 'partner in crime' sorry I mean my partner in the creation of the Philofaxy Diary Inserts... Ray.

Ray is a Filofax returnee, a one-time user who returned to the format to find that an internet community had sprung up in his absence. He recently started a blog, My Life All In Once Place in which he has shared a number of downloadable and printable Filofax projects as well as a few makeable accessories. He has recently worked with Steve to produce a range of printable free diaries for the Filofax. An avowed Excel and VBA geek, he lives with his wife and three sons of 14, 12 and 9.

1. When did you buy your first Filofax and what was it?

It was bought for me. My employer sent me on a course to learn about time management, as part of which I was given a Filofax and taught how to use it. It was a brown leather Buckingham.

2. What other brands have you used or considered using?

In the 90s I followed the herd onto a succession of electronic platforms, but after a number of years realised that none of them worked as well as paper. On my way back to Filofax I spent some time with Moleskine and other bound diaries and notebooks. Interestingly, my wife stuck with Filofax throughout my flirtations with electronica, which she crows about whenever the opportunity arises.

3. Out of the organisers you own which is your current favourite (Style and Size)?

My Personal Malden. It feels just right in my hand and it’s just individual enough to look good, not so wacky or extravagant as to stick out like a sore thumb.

4. How many Filofax organisers do you own?

Half a dozen or so. I only use two at any one time, though.

5. What do you use your Filofax for?

The Personal Malden is what I currently use to organise my life. It tells me what I’m doing, when and where. It holds my lists of things I need to do and buy and helps me track my business expenses. I use a lot of notepaper, too, because anything that’s not written down tends to be forgotten. I use a black A5 Kensington as a business tool. Its contents vary depending on what job I’m doing and for which client, but it generally impresses the hell out of people.

6. What was the feature about Filofax you like most?

I love that no two people’s Filofaxes will ever be the same. They are infinitely adaptable and configurable and you can add your own content.

7. If you could design your own Filofax what would it feature?

Don’t think I haven’t thought about this! For me, it’s all about functionality, so it wouldn’t necessarily be decorative or flashy. It needn’t be leather, either, although there’s a practicality about leather that’s hard to beat. It would have a pen loop that had a little more tolerance for pen size than the Malden’s does. It would have no zips on the internal pockets (am I the only person who dislikes zips inside binders?) nor around the outside. It would have a magnetic press-stud, too; there are lifespan issues with the purely mechanical ones.

8. How do you carry your Filofax?

In a backpack or messenger bag usually.

9. Which Filofax in the current range do you like the most? Are you going to buy it?

I still like the Malden. I’m not planning to buy anything else.

10. What is the most you have ever spent on a Filofax? Which model?

£30 for the Malden in the Filofax UK half price sale. All my others have been eBay bargains.

11. Turning to Philofaxy, what do you like the most?

The enthusiasm. There’s always someone who can answer a question and the advice people offer in the comments is generally excellent. I’m often inspired by seeing and hearing how other people use their systems, so I’ve really enjoyed the recent ‘How do you use’ series and hope it will continue.

12. And what do you not like about Philofaxy?

Like everyone, I struggle with this question, because I love the site and wouldn’t change anything. All I can think of (and it’s probably more about me than Philofaxy itself) is that the discussions of different binder styles and colours does little for me. What interests me more is the content and the ways you can use what’s inside the binder. That’s why you won’t generally see much binder talk on my blog.

13. What was the last music album CD you bought or downloaded?

I bought two at the same time. One was Pearl Jam’s first album, “Ten”. Pearl Jam are a band that passed me by entirely, but a friend recommended it. It’s a great album and I’ll be buying more of theirs. The other was Steven Wilson’s recent solo album, “Grace For Drowning”, which I can’t recommend highly enough.

Thank you Ray for offering to step under the spot light... and another big thank you for your help with the diary inserts..


  1. Ray, YOU ROCK!! I love your blog, and THANK YOU for everything you have done (and Steve too!) to make your awesome printable inserts!!! It was really great to see you under the spotlight!

  2. And PS I meant to add: I LOVE that your wife gloats about her continual Filofax usage! Does she read Philofaxy?

    1. No, but I might send her a link to this since she gets a reference!

    2. I second Laurie's comments!

    3. Totally!!! We love all the tips, tricks & designs that you put out there for us, but your wife rocks!!! She is the coolest - ha ha ha!!!

  3. Ray, it's great to read about you, and I'd love to see a "How I use my Filofax" piece from you. Thanks for all the Filofax projects!

    1. ditto! so glad you returned to filofax. now that you have a cult following you're stuck here heh heh. also, thanks SO much for sharing your ideas for further productivity with our tool/companion/fetish. i love having more than one binder and can sometimes get caught up in my growing collection but the bottom line is productiviy. so glad you're here to remind us what it's all about. cin-cin! to Ray!

  4. Really enjoyed this Ray - you are a Star! I already bought my planners for this year, but I'll be using yours next year if you are kind enough to do 2013 versions! The key is being able to print on our own choice of paper, either by colour or quality. Love your blog too!

  5. Ray, you are just FAB! I love all the inventive things you come up with on your blog and then share with the rest of us over here, thank you.

    1. Yay for Ray!!! I love reading your blog too although I am more of a lurker! hehe. I will be thinking about using your inserts next year (or maybe this year if I ever move on from my Malden)

  6. I'll throw in my thanks to Ray as well. I would give him a gold medal but I think we would have to reserve that for Steve, whom has to unparalleled in terms of his efforts to this blog and community.

  7. Ray, I have just printed and I am filling in your TM A5 week to view. I have used the border changes you e. mailled me about and enlarged some of the print, as we discussed, so it is not as pale. Now I have a PERFECT diary solution, which feels so bespoke. Ray and Steve, you are the bees kness. I loved reading your spotlight post here too. Like CP I have now become an ardent follower of your blog. Thanks for all that diary hard work.

  8. Ray, it's lovely to read more about you. I just wanted to second your dislike of interior zip pockets! It's a pet peeve of mine, too.

  9. Well, this is all a bit overwhelming. Thank you all for the positive feedback.

  10. Ray your blog is AMAZING :-)

    It was interesting to read more about you :-)


  11. Ray, it´s interesting to read about your connection to Filofax.
    As you know I´m following your blog since a few weeks and I´m so happy about the Pocket 2DpP you sent to me!!! (At last it worked to print it and I´m using it at the moment - thank you very much!)
    Greetings from Renate

  12. I second M Ng's comment about despising interior zippers! They either catch on the page edges or create a bumpy surface. The zipper on the back of the Urban is my favorite. Plus the interior zippered pockets themselves are so tight they are a pain to get stuff out of them. Thanks, Ray, for all your hard work!

  13. Lovely to read about you here, Ray! Also from me, many many thanks for your superb diary templates. I find that I especially benefit a lot from my monthly planner sheets (with the goals in different life categories). I printed them on lightblue paper.

    P.S. I just can't believe that you haven't heard about Pearl Jam until now? I mean .... REALLY????


  14. I know. Im my defence, I had a lot going on in my life in the early 90s.


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