06 March 2012

Free For All Tuesday No 57

Fifty Seven varieties of Free For All Tuesday and no two the same.... You get to ask the questions... anything as long as it's Filofax related of course... and we will comment/answer your questions.

To get you started, we had a reader send us a question:
I am thinking about using an A4 for work. I currently use bound notebooks, but with up to 10 projects on the go at any one time, it isn't really working well. I do like bound books though as it does keep everything on one place. I was wondering if anyone who uses an A4 Filofax for this sort of work and how they got on with it? How do they store their notes for long term reference etc?
But if you have any other questions.... fire away...


  1. Why are all Filofax websites down? Are they updating their online inventory? Mmmmmmm... If so, can't wait! :)

    1. Back now... no sign of the purple Malden yet... although someone is bound to correct me!

    2. and I was here certain to see some juicy stuff...

  2. I'm Identity.
    Bold. Utilitarian.
    Democratic. Cheap.

    I'm Identity.
    Easier on the pocket
    than perhaps the eye.

    1. Oooooh....Filofax haiku! I'll play after more coffee.

  3. Does anyone else use, not just the perfectly sized & punched card when you buy refils and dividers etc, but also the cellophane wrapping?

    I always keep the wrap safe and flat, and use it for things like reference pages, which would get fingermarked eventually, and I also have it over my "in case of emergency" page in the 'Fax I carry about with me, a friend is a paramedic and said having that info with you is really helpful if there's an accident or you're taken ill... the cellophane wrap seemed like the perfect protection, since printer inks tends to run and blur.

    Does anyone else use "everything but the squeal" when buying inserts?

    1. Ha ha! I just did a post on this!
      I used the cellophane that the inserts came in as a thin, cheap pocket for a picture in the front of my filofax. I like the idea of the important info going in one too.

  4. Got a birthday coming up, and considering a personal to carry around with me. Still struggling with the weight of the A5 I have.
    I really fancy a zip, so have been eyeing up the cuban or Holborn.
    Like the sound of the soft leather on the Holborn, but LOVE the thought of 30mm rings on the Cuban.
    How do the Cubans' wear? Do they soften up and get a lived in look, or are they like the classic, and stay like shiny painted leather?
    Sorry, I am a soft leather freak!!! Having lived for so long with my Waverley pocket (feels like silk to touch and handle) I NEED soft lol I do like the leather of the Hampstead I am using. It has a nice aged patina, and is flexible and tactile also. Any thoughts and help much appreciated :) Hope you all have a super day :)

    1. Hi Nikki
      I assume you are thinking of Personal. The Holborn Zip definitely lays flatter than the Cuban Zip. My Cuban Zip eventually will now lay flat, but zip it back up again and say a day later you have to retrain it again.

      But the Personal Cuban Zip does have 30mm rings where as the Holborn only has 23 mm rings.

      I regularly swap between my Malden Personal (23mm) and the Cuban Zip (30mm) and I've fine tuned the contents now to do the swap in less than 5 mins. When swapping to the Malden, some inserts are left in the Cuban (UK maps for instance)

      But I do like the Holborn it looks comparable to the Malden in softness.

      Wear wise the Cuban is looking good, but I've only had it a few months.

    2. yes personal size!
      oh, the decision is too hard!!

    3. I just got an A5 Kendal and the oiled leather on it is unbelievable. It doesn't have that coating on it like the Malden or the Cuban have. It is going to be well-worn and lived in. The (A5) Holborn Zip I have seems to have a different feel to the leather than the Malden. It doesn't seem to have any protective coating on it.

    4. oh this is interesting, you are describing the leather well! My filo in use now is the oiled leather, and you are so right, it is fabulous and "natural" for want of a better word. You know it will just improve with age, and develop a patina. I am not a fan of this coated type feeling on the leather!
      I had a classic a long long time ago, and the finish just started peeling off in the end, YUK
      I just know you and your Kendal will have a very long and happy life together :)

  5. Re the A4 question - I use an A5 for work and similarly have multiple projects on the go - I find the Filofax system works as I can add and move sections freely without the need for multiple project books. I have a secondary Filofax as a storage binder on my desk where all the archive notes/projects go for reference.

    My key sections are:
    1. DIary
    2. Dashboard - instant must do's/thoughts/random things that I jot down before filing/adding in where they should be
    3. Overall To Do's
    4. Meeting Notes
    5. Project 1
    6. Project 2 etc etc

    I find having an area for meeting notes separate is easier then I can file the notes under the correct section once the meeting has ended and I sum up the points/actions.
    Having a general to do section allows me to log all requests for the general side (ie non project related) and tasks from my boss etc

    With an A4 system you could archive in a ringbinder on your desk and use the A4 Filofax for "live" projects only

    Hope my ramblings help :)

    1. I really like your ideas on this Louloudorset, I hadn't thought of using my FF for project info - I tend to create a traditional file and carry that with me when required. As I tend to work mainly from home and not an office this works well for me.

      I am still very torn between using one overall task list, and several which are category based. I like the idea of them being category or project based, but am frightened that a really important task will get overlooked because it is buried in the project 3 section and I haven't noticed it recently!

      The person who asked the question mentioned using an A4. I have an A4 Classic which is a lovely binder, but I don't use it as much as I would like. It can be a bit bulky/heavy to carry around, and takes up a lot of desk space when open, but if I worked entirely in a corporate environment I can see it would be a good option. I will be interested to hear any other opinions on this.

  6. I have nervously ordered a KW Trio 9170 hole punch from DinoDirect.com after reading this post and the comments following:


    I know some have ordered from there and got the punch eventually (I'm expecting a 2-3 week wait) - but I didn't get a confirmation e-mail, which makes me even more nervous. Is that typical for them?

  7. Re A4
    I just bought mine, primarily for travel and meetings where there is only one or two projects to be discussed.
    I stripped out most of the standard inserts, and use my own minimalist year planner.
    It is good for airticket and hotel reservation printouts, itineraries, expence receipts and draft expence report sheets.
    I will have a list of essential tel nos in case my mobile goes awol.
    The Finsbury A4 has a an internal slip holder on the right, which holds and Ipad.
    The A4 is good for holding standard sized docs, and it is easy to write on, compared to smaller ff, whose rings get in the way.
    I am however searching for an Extra slim pocket or similare, where I can keep my passport, Uk currency and credit cards ( cannot understand why ff does not design around a standard UK banknote, passport and say 6 credit cards?).

  8. I decided I needed an A5 Filo for my home organizer. It will loosely based on the Fly Lady Control Journal. I got my husband to buy this for me with the promise of a more efficiently run home. I decided on a Sketch. Haven't heard much about that one. Does anyone own one or have experience with one? I know, I know...I should have conferred with the Philofaxy Family first. I hope I haven't made a big mistake!

    1. I wrote a long reply that disappeared afew times so i had to switch from chrome to firefox, weird.. but anyways :p
      The personal sketch was my first filofax a bit over a year ago and I put it back into use recently as a study filofax. I love it because I am not worried about it's leather or interior or any part of it showing any signs of wear or damage like my leather filofaxes, it looks as new as when I first bought it (no exaggeration). hope you enjoy using it! :)

  9. Re A4 Fax: How you use it will depend on what you want or need to do with it.

    I would suggest getting a cheap A4 ring binder (preferably the “display” type with a clear outside cover so that you can insert things), not lever arch, and try to collate all your working papers and information. Perhaps stick, with double-sided sticky tape, post it notes and tabs to the inside cover. A set of blank dividers are normally 70p?

    Forget various systems for now, just work out a system that would help you. You may just need a diary (an A4 diary can be bought at my local cheap shop for £1.50 and can be guillotined and hole punched), some reference material, one sheet of telephone numbers and addresses, also some blank note paper. Use post in notes as tabs and stick them on anything you like.

    See how your system operates and continuously modify and experiment to suit yourself, looking at other systems online to see if there are any practical ideas that would help you. Treat the Filofax “system” as just a general suggestion, which it is.
    If you are still using the system in a month, and it is helping you, then I’d dive in and upgrade the binder to an organiser.

    I operated an A4 organiser but gave it up due to lack of space in my briefcase, also I was concerned about wasting paper; many A4 sheets with one or two sentences going into separate client files. I still have the A4 organiser but it is used as an Office work file.

    1. I really like this idea - usually, people tend to get a Filofax in the format they desire to test said format out. I guess we are even more willing to switch to another format if we have to proper binder to switch into, but trying out a new format in an alternate no-brand-and-dirt-cheap binder is clever.

      And that's how I found out I wanted a new filofax more than I wanted more organization :) And my new 5€ 2-ring A5 binder remains unused on my home desk, even though it's pretty, has transluscent colored dividers and Leyes sheet like the ones I had in school ages ago! I have plans to use it for the home, though, as a Flylady Control Journal, or something like it, or something else entirely, I have no idea what, right now.

      What I do know is that trying an low-cost-alternative to Filofax was the smartest idea I had this month and I saved quite a few bucks along the way, too !

    2. - "Leyes" + "Sey├Ęs" sheets (duh)

  10. Does anyone have a timesheet or template to record time spent on different customer projects? I have to invoice customers individually and often have to provide timesheets, so it would be useful to have something where I could record time spent on each project each day, then I could update the timesheets. I will devise something, but thought I'd ask here first in case I can save some time!

    1. If you're using an A5 Filofax, the DIY Planner 'core' package has some relevant forms:


    2. Thanks Daniel - I'll go and check it out.

    3. Hi Alison, do you want to record time manually or via a keyboard onto an excel spreadsheet? If the latter I probably have something which will do the job.

  11. Re A4:
    I've been using an A4 Strata for a while for different projects, as my GTD tickler file, for reading material & for paperwork too big for my personal Malden. Notes for long term reference are eventually moved to lever arch files, as my filo is more a working file. It's still a work-in-progress, but the plan is that actionable items will only be in my Malden & Strata, so I don't have to search for them.

  12. I think this question has been answered before, my apologies in advance. It's about storage, what's the best way to store previous pages, calendars etc? I know Filofax have storage binders at £9.50 is there an alternative or anything better?

  13. Being a teacher, have used my A4 Filofax,bought at an utter knockdown price of £9, to store my weekly lesson plans and policies. It is a day to day file to take home. All the massive amounts of paperwork and filing go in large traditional A4 ring binders, which stay at work. My A4 is a decant into folder to hold just a few relevant sheets, to avoid lugging big thick folders back and forth all the while.

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  15. I have really enjoyed downloading Ray and Steve's diaries and have printed off my own.Thanks guys for all of these and all your hard work for us all. I am hugely delighted with the A5 amended TM diary, Philofaxy style and the month on two pages. Think I have found THE diary for me. My printer is pretty aged right now and so will need updated at birthday time. It is pre laser. Is a laser printer better? Are all printers for PCs laser now? Not a clue. Also, does anyone use anything to set the ink.I haven't but I am curious about this, as I do a lot of print your own stuff. Any thoughts much appreciated.xx