02 April 2012

Reader Under The Spotlight - Paulien

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

It was early 2007, shortly before finishing my masters degrees and starting a job as a consultant and phd student. It was a blue personal size piazza, that I chose after thinking about it for months and spending hours on-line on Philofaxy and filofax.nl. I still have it, but stopped using it when the rings became misaligned and the suede strip became dirty. I already asked about it on Philofaxy in the comments on this post: http://philofaxy.blogspot.com/2008/02/how-do-you-filo.html. By this time I had become attached to Filofax, and I have used one since then.

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

Before buying a Filofax, I had used Moleskine pocket weekly notebook for a few years, and tried out pocket size Filofax-like organisers. Before that I don’t even remember what diaries I used, but I know that we were obliged to use one in school from age 10 and I continued to use one in university.

Even though I love using a Filofax, I now and then become restless or want to downsize so I tried larger Molsekines, some Quo Vadis models and a few Paperblanks, and even a solution with outlook, Gcal or iCal and a smartphone. But I always come back to Filofax after a few days, or weeks at most.

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

Hard question. It will have to be my personal size Finchley in purple. I just love the soft leather and the colour. Too bad it scratches quite quickly though, especially on the clasp.

4. How many Filofax organisers do you own?

Let me think. I have two pocket size ones, a classic in brown and a chameleon in raspberry. I love them both, but they don’t work that well since they are so small. Still I would try and fail every year, but this year I have managed to resist buying refills in pocket size.

In personal size I have quite a few. First the blue piazza, then I got the classic in brown as I loved the pocket one but wanted the size of the piazza. Then I have a Siena in cinnamon, Finsbury in raspberry, a green Songbird, a purple Finchley, a raspberry Chameleon and a yellow Piazza (which doesn’t have the suede strip). Way too many and I should probably sell or give away some of them. Only I can’t decide which ones!

5. What do you use your Filofax for?

O a whole lot. I only use one Filofax at a time. I have my diary in it, where I write all work and personal appointments and reminders. Then a section for personal notes which has all kinds of lists like book wish list, clothes I need to replace, hours of the nice classes at my gym, gift ideas and such.

Next I have my general to-do lists for my work as a consultant and phd student, where I keep smaller and larger long-term items split up by personal, research and client work. These are sometimes actual tasks, sometimes they are more project-like. I just write them down as a reminder that they exist. In the front of this section I have a weekly to-do list for just that week, that I make by looking at my general todo lists and diary pages. Then I have a projects section where I am supposed to keep a page for each work project, like my thesis chapters and defence organisation. I am not that good at keeping this up to date. Then I have a section with some spare paper, and in the back I have a world map and two clear envelopes, one for fun bits and pieces and one to collect receipts for my monthly expense reports. I don’t keep client information in it, this is on my work laptop. I plan to set up a section for larger personal projects, like restarting my blog, learning to knit and my Archimedes translation but I haven’t done that yet.

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

I like the fact that you can have all of your information in one place, and I think this is what keeps me coming back to it. No need for an extra notebook for wish lists and to-do lists on loose papers. And you can add and remove pages as needed any time.

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

I would be personal size, and purple of course. It would lay flat like the finchley, but have sturdy leather like the classic and piazza. It would have a secretarial pocket in the front, and the layout of the siena in the back with no zipper pocket. And there would be two thin pen loops, not a thin and a fat one like the siena has. I hate fat pens, so the thin loops are usually perfect for me without the elastic bit.

8. How do you carry your Filofax?

In my backpack when I am going to university. When I use a nicer and smaller laptop bag for work, or when I’m off work, it’s in my handbag. I take it almost everywhere except the gym.

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

If I am honest, I don’t like the current range that much so I am not going to buy any new model. The only thing I sometimes think about is adding a mini to my collection to use as a notebook and wallet in one. I’m not sure about that yet, but I think mini organisers are very cute.

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

By far the siena; I paid 200 euros for it. This was before I discovered that ordering from Filofax UK was cheaper than buying in a shop in the Netherlands, even with the shipping costs. It is a beautiful one though.

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

What I like is seeing how the community evolved from what it was in 2006 when I started reading to what it is now. Wonderful, no other word for it. Everyone is just helpful and respectful and fun, despite the differences in age and sex and country of origin and everything else. And I love how helpful everyone is, for example Steve fixed my chameleon when the rings had damaged in the mail and wanted nothing in return but a Chimemwe donation. And I have exchanged diary pages with people for no charge, just because. Where else would you find that?

12. And what do you not like about Philofaxy?

This is a hard one, but I have to say this: I miss Philofaxer! I love all the posts by Steve and Laurie and Nan and I don’t want to miss those, but I just think Philofaxer had a wonderful style of writing. Hope he will rejoin the team one day.

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

Hm, I’m not much of a music buyer or listener. I love books though, the last ones I bought were IQ18 by Haruki Murakami and The Imperfectionists by Tom Rachman.

Thank you Paulien. 


  1. Hi Paulien,

    It's nice to read about you - thanks for posting :)

  2. Interesting that you haven't tried A5. Any reason?

    1. I have not tried a5 because I don't see any need to. The persoanl is large enough, I have very small handwriting so I can fit a lot on each page.

  3. Great post, Paulien! Any chance of a photo of your collection?

  4. Ihave to admit I also miss the Philofaxer - he had such a special way of writing. Steve, Laurie and Nan do a fantastic job though so many kudos from me guys!

  5. Does the sunflower yellow Piazza get dirty quick? And I am wondering if I should do a piazza or a chameleon just because the piazza seems to be more thick, and i dont really want to lug another thing around, what with an ipad, sunglasses, wallet, etc. thoughts?