01 November 2012

Guest Post from Helen: Using a Filofax to plan a new website

A while ago I did a post as a Reader under the Spotlight and followed up with guest posts . I got some very nice comments from people wanting to read more of my posts on planning, which I let go to my head. The result was that I decided to set up a whole new site called Plan ● Create ● Succeed for your delight and delectation.

Plan ● Create ● Succeed  launched on 1st November 2012 and will have regular posts and features on organising, personal development, living a creative life, designing, creating food and journaling and other good stuff. I cannot top what the Philofaxy community is doing already writing about the stationery-love side of things so I thought I’d deal with the goal setting, life improving and plain fun creative reasons to use a Filofax instead.  It can be found at www.plancreatesucceed.com. Easy to remember, no?!

I wanted to make it professional and I felt in need for a challenging project and of course that means I needed a new Filofax. This post is, therefore, all about how I used a Chocolate Classic and then a Purple Malden to make my project happen.

The interesting thing for me was how the filo changed with the project and supported change in the project. I literally started with a Classic full of blank paper and one page with some ideas jotted down. As I expanded those ideas, I’d create sections, then the sections would grow and get divided and new tabs would be born. Moving the tabs around made me think about how the posts of the blog would be ordered and so on until eventually a structure was arrived at. The filo was literally a physical manifestation of my brain.

I wanted a Project that would give me the pleasure of learning something new so I deliberately chose a self-hosted WordPress blog because I didn’t know how to do that. Research notes followed. Somewhere in the process the Classic grew too small and the Malden with its big butch rings rode in wearing a Stetson to give me a hand.

So, let’s have a look see at the Malden as it ended up. This is a very functional binder so the dividers are unadorned Filofax brand. But I found that if I cut scrapbook card, folded a piece and used Pritt Stick to glue them on around the plastic tabs, they stay on, yet come off easily if, as I did, I needed to move categories around as the project changed.

Open up and find… to do lists.

Time is an issue with this project so it’s an open-up-get-straight- to-work Filofax. One project, several lists. How does that work? First, as I started to think about the new blog I realised my other blogs and website needed an overhaul in the future so they got added in. Then I was asked to set up three private blogs for the Studio Art Quilt Association (www.saqa.com), one of which is a Visioning Project to assist people to reach their creative goals, and they joined the party. So, one list for each site allows me to focus on one at a time.  Plus one list on pink paper to list all the technological sites, books, tools etc I come across and want to follow up with later.


Steve’s inserts of course. I can be a bit flaky with my personal blog these days. Ok, I am as flaky as an Eccles cake with eczema. But, I am turning a new leaf of reliability and decided to blog on Plan ● Create ● Succeed to a set pattern and schedule ahead so I can write in batches but you get a regular read. 

After the initial launch fortnight I will post each Thursday on Planning, Succeeding and Creating in turn. Each Sunday has a regular Salon Sunday. Yes, it’s a rip off of  inspired by Free for All days. But I hope that just as you talk paper and pens on Tuesdays and Fridays here you might like to come over and talk about the wider subjects of life planning and succeeding etc on a Sunday.  Or any day after that you choose of course.

The first Monday of the Month will be a  Design Monthly article. On the second Monday I will be Creating Food, and the week after Journalling. The Fourth is for guest posts and other random stuff I might want to talk about, if I want to. ( Have an idea for a guest post? Give me a shout!). And on the occasional fifth Monday, she shall rest. (To be honest she might rest on the Fourth too. She shall see!)

As you can see I have written the category of post in red. When I have a draft in progress for a specific date I note it in pencil. When it is scheduled on the blog it goes in black. The note is to remind me to post on my other blogs From Down the Well ( www.downthewell.blogspot.com) and Tea and Talk for Two ( www.teaandtalkfortwo.blogspot.com). I must be crazy to attempt so much.


A boring section for blank paper and the inserts I made for behind other tabs…

Category tabs and Evernote

Each type of post to go on the Plan ● Create ● Succeed site has a tab. Behind that it s a coloured sheet with a list of ideas for posts. Then as I work up each idea I use my own template adding to it until the final scheduled date is added in red. Eventually I will move these out but there is still room at the moment.

This is working along side my Evernote system. I first tried Evernote when I first got my ipad and didn’t get it, but tried again for Plan ● Create ● Succeed  and now I think its brilliant as an adjunct to a filofax.  If I see material on the web that inspires a post or a good quote or just have an idea myself I make an note in Evernote. Each category of posts has three notebooks so, for example, Create Articles, Create Drafts and Create Posted. Raw material goes in Articles. As I start to write the post it moves to drafts and then when posted goes to … oh, you have a guess! I can work on it at work (only at lunch time of course, ahem!) on ipad and laptop and it all synchs.  Brilliant. But I still need the paper planner to keep my head around it all. And to clutch to my chest for comfort when I panic.

PCS Site

In this section I have

  • A mission statement to remind me what it was that excited me about this idea to read over in times where I think I have lost my marbles for wanting to do it at all
  • A list of the doubts I have had and positive statements to counteract those doubts
  • A list of possible site features to add later
  • Lists of Wordpress themes I liked
  • Notes from a variety of blogs about blogging and books about setting up websites
  • Notes about how to use Wordpress, Google Analytics  and other stuff new to me.

Plan ● Create ● Succeed Journal

From the very beginning I kept a diary of what work I was doing on the site, the feelings I was having about it, my hopes and aspirations and fears and the time I spent on it.


A Blank section. Guess what one of my ideas for the future is?!

Other sites

I have a tab for my personal gallery website, and other blogs all of which will need attention to update or have been created while I was focusing on Plan ● Create ● Succeed


It is frightening how many accounts I have had to create to achieve these goals.  Al of which seem to have different rules about how many letters and numbers can go in your user name and password. No way can I remember them so they are here. In code in case any kleptomaniacs are reading.

So, I hope you will pop over to www.plancreatesucceed.com and see what I have going on. I very much want the site to be interactive. All you lovely people on Philofaxy are my core target audience  and I hope you will meet some of my art friends in the Sunday Salon, so if you have any comments or ideas of what you would like on the site please let me know. See you over there!


  1. Helen, just checked out your new site, can't wait to see how it develops. I love how you used your Filofax to plan it all, especially since I am doing exactly the same thing with my chocolate cross.

    1. What is your site that you are planning then?

    2. I just have two blogs at the moment printedportal.com and planningwithprintedportal.wordpress.com which are just starting out. I hope to develop them into a proper shop, collection and resource. But it is a WIP.

      I am currently tackling nanowrimo, so progress has slowed.

  2. Hi Helen - really loved this post. I am doing a lot of development on my business website - so far I have learnt Wordpress (up to a point!) and transferred my basic pages. I now have to plan and add more services specific pages, training outlines, and of course the blog. I've found it incredibly interesting to read your post as I have been trying to decide between a section in my main FF or whether to set up a separate one. I've now got much food for thought.

    I've popped over to your new blog and it's looking good. It has great promise and I'm delighted that it will cover so many subjects that I am interested in!

    I'm sure this project has taken a lot of thought and time!

    1. I gave myself about three months or so to get it up and running... Sounds a lot for a blog but all the technology was new and I wanted to schedule posts in advance too so I was confident I could keep it up. I really hope people willkeep telling me what they want on a blog like this so I cankeep it responsive.

    2. I'll give it some thought and definitely make some suggestions.

  3. oh Helen, I love this post! Thanks so much for sharing!
    I have way too many sub-tabs to help on my main blog tab. And that main blog tab is actually one category of a "projects" Filofax. It has totally over-grown now and sure thing I needed to read your post to realize I need to allocate a whole organizer just for my blog. Thank you SO much!

    1. Happy to enable you :)
      Do you have a secret hankering for a particular model that can be unleashed?

    2. Hi Helen!
      I have been going back-and-forth on that. I was using an A5 as well, but wasn't working too good as sometimes I need to write something "on-the-go" and didnt have it with me. I am redoing *yet again* all my systems and I will probably include it on a personal one that I take with me. I am not doing that much detailed tracking , so I *may* be able to fit it in a personal size. will see. *sight!*
      I will keep you posted ;D

  4. FYI your link to down the well has a typo in the url

    1. Hi
      Can you please be more specific, the link appears to work for me.

  5. Wow, I feel very inadequate about my blog planning now. ;-). Just kidding, of course. I'm very amazed at people who have separate blogging sections and/or binders. I have a writing tabs, which includes blog topic ideas and journal topics, but it's just a running list of topics that get crossed off when they've been completed. When the page gets full of ideas, I rewrite the topics, leaving out the ones that have been done of course, and maybe purge ideas that I no longer like or that are no longer relevant. Also, I write down the post title on the day I do one, but other than that, I don't keep a huge section of separate binder for it. Is ish I had enough topics to do so!

    I'm looking forward to your new blog - it's going into google reader right away!

  6. Helen, terrific binder, terrific new website. I think it's a great idea. If I may, I would be happy to contribute to your Guest Blog feature somewhere in the future (and my post would NOT be planner-related at all! hehe).

    1. P.S. Where did you get those awesome Blogpost records from? Or did you make them yourself? Great idea!

  7. I feel your pain when it comes to passwords! I find myself cursing and swearing at my computer at least once a week because I can't remember which annoying combination of characters I need to put into the password field.


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