19 October 2012

Free for All Friday No. 205

At various times, organizer manufacturers like Filofax, Day Runner, and Franklin Covey have attempted to unite the paper world with the electronic one. That has included things like a binder or portfolio that can accommodate a Palm Pilot or iPad and a paper organizer side-by-side. Or something as simple as leaves designed for listing favorite websites.

Do you keep your calendar on paper but your contacts list on your cellphone? How do you combine (or separate) your paper-based and digital information?


  1. I have an A5 filofax with 2 diaries - week on 2 pages (columns), and the business page per day. But I keep my master to-do list online (computer / smartphone), checking it against my diary each day and adding tasks to the relevant days in my diary. I also print out my to-do list and insert it in my day per page diary.
    Contacts are on my phone but I keep a printed list at the back of my diary (filofax address software).
    I see no reason why paper-based and electronic diaries and task lists can't work together - each has its strengths and weaknesses. Electronic task lists are great for sending reminders and the ease with which you can reorganise the list, but I prefer my diary on paper because you can see your week at a glance. Combining the paper diary and electronic task list is easy with daily and weekly reviews.
    Much as I love my Android gadgets, I don't ever see me having just an electronic diary. I have tried it before and it just doesn't work for me.

    1. Totally agree with you there, if I don't have my Filofax with me I put dates on my iPhone then transfer when I get home. I keep addresses in my Filo but not on my phone, it would take forever to write down all my contact numbers from my phone but I have all our household contacts like gas and electric, water, insurance in my Filofax for easy access.
      I don't think I could ever just use my iPhone. It's pretty cool but the battery drains so quick as I basically surf Safari every lunch time!

    2. Contacts on Google contacts, and by extension on BlackBerry. Everything else in Filofax. I just can't get round to putting in the spade-work to get my contacts into the Filo, even though it would probably work just as well.

      Mainly, I access contacts straight from the phone anyway, so it helps to have them there, the speed-to-access is absolutely first-rate (one reason why I signed on for another two years rather than migrate to iPhone).

      Unlikely I'll change any of this in the foreseeable future...

    3. Access to contacts on the iPhone is immediate as well David?

  2. My calendar changes so frequently that it became a full time job trying to maintain a duplicate in a paper diary, so I gave up. I now print out my Outlook (work week view) and punch it into my FF. I also print out a month view and fold it into a pocket. Phone numbers are maintained in my phone.

    Now you mention it, I no longer have one place to store addresses...thinking about it, I'd like a separate small address book that can be kept alongside my letters and writing paper/envelopes.

  3. Addresses - Outlook/iPhone
    WWW passwords - FF
    Diary - Outlook/iPHone/FF
    Planning - FF
    Checklists - FF
    Lists generally - FF
    To Do/Projects/Tasks - under review, nothing seems perfect yet - am looking at Wunderlist (viewable/updateable on laptop, iPad and iPhone) bring down 3-4 tasks at a time to my FF to action at a time and get ticked off. This would allow me more flexible sorting of lists, but the joy of writing them down and crossing them off - oh and a history of achievements so I can see what I have done. Just waiting for them to introduce nesting lists and reminders (both imminent).

    By the way - what do you all think about the hybrid binders FF are now populating their website with which join rings and electronics? They have introduced both binder and flex options. I'm not sure about it as I wonder just how bulky it will all get - I'm sure some will love it, but I'm not sure.

    1. Hi, Alison, I have a Pennybridge A5 and I really like to use it when I travel. The iPad fits nicely and I can take the pages off my ´regular´ binder that I want to bring along. Usually I prefer leather binders but the Penny looks and feels quite nice ( not `plastic-like`) and it´s very, very light - so compared to the bulk of leather binder + iPad in a cover it is much more practical - and I just have to grab one item. I can even put my Kindle in one of the pockets, too. So I am very happy with this combination of paper and electronics. greetings, Sari

    2. Hi Alison - I was going to buy Wunderlist, but decided - based on many reviews - to go for Things. It's not cheap (as apps go) but I have found it easy to use and great for multi-task projects and repeating events. It automatically synchs my to-do lists on iPhone and iPad (and would do Mac laptop if I had one) and produces an excellent "Today" priority list. It's also GTD friendly!

      I can see why Filofax is trying to salvage market share by introducing joint iPad/Filofax and iPad/Flex combis. Sadly, they are probably a bit too late. There are loads of excellent iPad covers already. I would suggest that not many folk are going to spend another £100+ on a Filofax version when they've probably already got both a nearly new iPad cover and a perfectly good Filofax/ Flex already! If they had launched these products two or three years ago, it would have been very different...

    3. Hi Sair - it's useful to have feedback from users and can see how it could be useful if you travel quite a bit.

      Hi Tim - Wunderlist is FREE!

      I have a feeling I have a copy of Things and didn't take to it - I'll review it again so thanks for the reminder.

      I see what you mean about covers - I have a nice one for my iPad so am loath to change it. I've also recently moved into a personal rather than an A5 binder to see if I can manage so wouldn't want to go back just now! I suppose if I travelled more and could combine the two as Sari mentions it could be useful.

  4. I've been waiting for FFAF because of a niggling question on the vintage models: which ones have the 2 pen loops and a buttery soft leather. I've seen the Cavendish and Portland on some videos and blogs, but am also curious about the others -- Winchester, Kent, Kensington, etc.

    I know there are some aficionados here so I would appreciate any thoughts/inputs.

    Thanks in advance.

    1. Hi Doris, I've had two Winchesters briefly (burgundy & black king crocodile print) & both of them had pretty hard leather & only one pen loop.

    2. I have a Portland Grand with 5/4" oversize rings which has two pen loops and is the softest and best quality Filifax-branded organiser I've ever owned. I had a Pigskin in personal in the 80s which I'm sure had two loops, but it got stolen when I trustingly left it on a pub table
      In London. I hope it's still in use now. The Portland Grand seems hard to find in EBay but I've seen 2 or 3 Portlands in the last 2 months. I can't recommend them enough.

    3. @Anita! Thanks for the input. I may look beyond beyond the Winchester then.

      @Paul B: Does the Portland come in smaller rings as well? I'll be on the lookout for it on ebay for sure! It may be just what I'm looking for. Thanks!

    4. I think the Portland standard size was the usual 7/8. I needed the bigger rings at the time and phoned Filofax in London who said the Grand was the only one they did at that time with oversize (5/4) rings. Although the leather is beautifully soft, it is also remarkably hard wearing. Mine has hardly any wear to show for over 20 years of work and its been to a lot of horrible places and been thrown around a great deal. The last Portland standard I saw on Ebay UK went for about £20, so a real bargain. I wish they had made other colours in the Grand but it only got made in Black. I guess in those days they figured it was a business organiser, hence as Henry Ford said........and colour you like, as long as its black.

    5. Here are some photos of the Portland Grand. They don't really do it justice but I'll add a couple of better ones now I'm back from holiday and have my decent camera. http://www.flickr.com/photos/burjmax/sets/72157630790759334/

    6. Paul, thanks for the photos. It does look good doesn't it? (: I prefer the card layout of the Cavendish but since I will use it as a stay-at-home filo, it really doesn't matter. I've never had a filo with 5/4 rings! And I have a saved search on ebay going now. Again, thanks!

  5. I used to use my iphone for my diary, but I never connected with it properly! It was such a relief to go back to paper! I would choose a good pen and nice paper over every cool ipad etc device, if it wasn't for the ease that word processing software brings to writing essays! I feel like I connect more with the stuff I write down when I put it on paper, and I can remember it better!
    But there is always that worry that I will lose my handwritten notes etc, and there's no back-up for it! I use a Moleskine notebook for my uni dissertation ideas, and that notebook is my pride and joy!! Moleskine recently released a notebook that partners with Evernote- it has special paper, that once written in, you take a photo with your iPhone through the Evernote app, and it records the page for you, with handwriting recognition, that you can use to search on your phone fir keywords in your notebook, and of course it creates a back-up for you. Unfortunately the app doesn't work for my new Android phone yet, so the notebook is useless for me! But to create a back-up of my notebook (and this is a good idea to back-up your filos, too) just in case I left it at home one day, or even if it got lost, I used a camera to scanner app on my phone, took photos of wach page of my notebook, and the app then turned it into a pdf! I have a copy on my phone, computer and portable hard drive just in case! :)

  6. I have an iphone and an ipad but I solely use my Filofax for diary app's, I have my tel no's on my iphone everything else is in my Filofax, I tried using my iphone/ipad but it just doesn't work for me. I wouldn't be without my iphone or ipad but their purely used for music, texting, the odd phone call, email, internet and the odd game or two. I just love pen and paper too much and love writing things down, technology stresses me out, writing relaxes me :-)

  7. I use Google calendar (synced with hubby's iCal) & all my contacts are in Gmail, so these are with me on my iPod touch. I've tried numerous to-do apps & online list managers, but always come back to my filofax. Planning, tasks, lists, thoughts & the like are normally done on paper as I just get more done that way. I sometimes note down a reminder in a basic to-do app on my iPod, but this gets transferred into my filo when I get home.

  8. This topic is one I wrestled with all the time, until I decided to use both my Filofax and my iphone. Using only my iPhone, I uncovered mistakes and missed appointments.
    I think I have reached a place of comfort and accuracy with my current set up---I use my iPad for research, web surfing, and Facebook. My Filofax is best used for appointment scheduling, meal planning, and journaling. Since this arrangement is working so well, I see no reason to stop using one or the other completely. And I still get the fun of buying a new Filofax, or a new iPhone!!

  9. I have an iPhone but I don't use it for planning. I have a phone list in it but no addresses. I keep information in it that I might need when I'm out - like the model number of my printer ink cartridges (I can't ever remember which one to buy when I'm out) or the model no. of my vacuum filter (again, can't remember what to buy). Otherwise, it's paper all the way.

  10. Does anyone have any suggestions for alternatives to the Filofax slimline? I like the ring size of the slimline but am not in love with the Filofax options that I have seen. Does any other company make a slimline binder that is comparable in quality to the Filofax slimline? Thank you!

  11. I am slowly moving away from using my phone/tablet/computer to carry important daily information. My blackberry has no way to organize my numbers and I'm constantly scrolling through them to make a call, which annoys me or my phone is dead due to lack of battery and I have then have no way to make an emergency call when on the road. I'd rather have the information in my filo for quick access. No battery to go dead there. I even keep an packet of paper maps in my car now, just like I used to years ago, because my tech was constantly failing me when I needed it the most.

    Currently I have my general wallet items, travel info/maps, phone directory, ToDo lists, and shopping lists in my Filofax Slimline Holborn. I keep my diary in a pocket Moleskine. Dividing the two functions keeps the paper burden weight at a minimum.

    I've gone back and forth with using googlecalendar and paper, but I've had problems with the googlecalendar losing appointments or not syncing with my ipod touch properly. I still use it to track events that are not appointments or when I am in a group and many people need to see the calendar, but for personal meetings where I have to see people, I stick with paper.

    Lately, I've been incorporating paper journals in my writing, although I have not given up on Scrivener for my novel or Word for general word processing. I also see the value of using Evernote to create and store backups of my work electronically via PDFs. However, it seems the more I get out of the computer, the more creative I seem to be. I wonder if that makes me old-fashioned? All I know is that it seems to work for me. I don't see the era of paper ending any time soon. Not for me at least.

  12. Phone contacts - phone/address book (personal)/ House manual (useful numbers etc)
    Addresses - address book
    Diary - Erin Condren Planner and Quo Vardis Textagenda (when I can't carry EC with me)
    Planner - Erin Condren Planner and Uncalendar
    Daily notes/to do (daily and rolling) etc - Uncalendar
    Journalling/notes on the go - Quo Vardis Textagenda
    Writing notes/plans/contacts - FF Red Personal Chameleon
    Morning Pages - Moleskine unlined notebook

    I really couldn't cope with an iphone app for my diary. By the time I've found the app, clicked the various "buttons" and typed in the event/time/notes. I could have opened my diary written it in and finished my cup of tea! The only thing I use my phone for is telephone numbers and the number of times it has run out of battery and I can't get at the numbers doesn't bear thinking about.

    Paper every time.

  13. I use my old Palm LifeDrive software on my PC to keep records of all my passwords, addresses, birthdays, small notes, instructions, directions. I used to use the LifeDrive to back it up but my records are now too big.

    A-Z address book for my passwords
    my Filo for my appointments and any day to day info used for my job
    my mobile for my commonly used numbers.
    My old mobile holds backups of my numbers.
    My Mac holds all my website logins and passwords on my Mac Keychain.

  14. I've organically grown my contacts via Google/Android, and it's so seamless at this point (integration of Facebook, LinkedIn, who knows what else) that I don't think I'll ever even go iPhone, much less return to paper-based. I think people in my generation (late 30's) seem to have so many options for connection (multiple phones, multiple e-mail addresses, profile links to web sites like FB, LIn, G+, etc.) that anything less than a service doing it for you on some level makes entry alone a full-time job.

    Calendar is a different story. Given that I'm not a titan of high finance, I don't have much of a need for Exchange/Outlook style calendaring. And for me, there's something about handwriting appointments and GTD that makes me remember those tasks more reliably. That, and I don't know if there's anything I find more irritating than the ding-buzz of an electronic reminder.

  15. I have one compact Osterley in grey. Didn't like the smell initially - kinda too animal like for me. Then the smell wears off and it's very me now. And the leather was a bit stiff initially and it just feels better and better with use. Now I'm absolutely in love with it. This is the only filo I use but I share calendar with my husband on my iCalendar so we're in synch with each other's schedule.

  16. Hi all

    This is my first time posting - I've had my Personal Vintage Pink Malden for just over a month and I'm wondering if I've got a ring problem - as you guys are the experts I thought best to ask you first :)

    I notice the issue most with my Today ruler - its nice and loose when its on either side of the rings, but if I move it to the middle, it gets stuck. Especially on the very top ring and actually starts to pull the lowest one apart.

    Is this something I should get looked into?

    1. Hi, and welcome to Philofaxy
      The ruler should be a loose fit through out the travel of the rings. It sounds to me like you have a ring alignment problem.

      Return it to Filofax if you are in UK, or to your retailer elsewhere.


    2. Thanks Steve, that's what I thought.

      I'll have to put my personal pages in my A5 while it's away :)

  17. The only thing I keep in my phone are phone numbers - I keep all info in a small address book I stick in the filo

  18. Question. Does the monthly calendar come with back to back pages or is each month separate. On Franklin Covey the front of the month is an index page, then you turn the page and have the month on two pages, then a task list on back. Does that make sense? How are FF months laid out?

  19. Hi. I now have the Pennybridge. I had lost a lot of data recently and was so pleased I had my filofax to hand. I use electric and paper for everything. Filofax goes everywhere with me and doesn't need charging or booting up, so much quicker to jot a contact number into but data finally is added to my blackberry which links to computer and iPad thanks to google.