09 August 2013

Free For All Friday No. 247

I realised the other day that I've been using a Filofax for 4 years now and just couldn't imagine being without one. I couldn't go back to the scraps of loose paper and partially started notebooks, and I'd miss this lovely community too.

Somehow this got me thinking along the lines of penning a letter to your pre-Filofax/binder self. Mine would include things like 'stop messing about and buy what you want', 'you're allowed to own more than one', 'for goodness sake, get up to the London shop before buying online' and (sorry to any Classic fans) 'please step away from that cherry Classic as it's not the one for you!'.
What pearls of wisdom would you share with yourself with the knowledge that you have now?

As it's Friday, please feel free to discuss anything Filofax or ring bound planner related. Have a lovely weekend.


  1. I love decorating my pages. Anyone else decorate weeks in advance?

  2. Pearls of wisdom for myself?
    1) 15mm rings and you won't get on. Ever.
    2) step away from the brown. You crave colour.
    3) card slots are more important than other pockets.
    4) just buy the Baroque in pocket and personal, in both pink and turquoise and save yourself a lot of hassle.


  3. 1) Slimline and personal sizes may come in handy, but compact is the only one you will carry around each day
    2) A5 slimlines are brilliant for study - and you can carry them!
    3) The ochre malden is your favourite A5
    4) Get the one you really want - otherwise you'll obsess and waste the time you want to plan
    5) Other people may like a different binder, but if you know you never have liked it yet, you won't just because they do

  4. Leave the A5's alone....I SAID LEAVE THEM...still not listening!!!

  5. You will never find your ideal size, get over it and just buy them all - lol :o)

  6. I won't be popular, but...
    1. Resist any rings bigger than 15mm (maybe 20mm in A5 because that's the smallest). You'll just end up carrying around extra weight and loads of pages that you never refer to, but carry "just in case"
    2. Go brown. It may seem dull, but it won't date. Grey and purple are already so "yesterday" and teal will be the same next year - let alone in four years time!
    3. Avoid any Filofax that claims to look "great on the catwalk"
    4. Despite what Filofax may tell you, missing out pockets is done to save them production costs. Go for lots of pockets (proper lined pockets - not slits in the leather), of all shapes and sizes!
    5. Don't spend the next four years trying to answer the A5 v Personal question. There is no right answer!
    6. Spend less time researching new and better set-ups - whether it's digital vs analogue, Midori vs Moleskine, Filofax vs Franklin Covey. There is no nirvana! Use what you've got! Spend your time actually getting things done, not proscratinating trying to find a better system to record why you're not getting things done! (that'll be the day..) :-)

    1. So with you on the rings - I wish I had more A5s with smaller rings :-)(...and yes, I need to spend less time playing with my systems and admiring everyone else´s on Facebook, and more time actually doing stuff)

    2. @Tim
      Sounds like you and I should just swap our unused ones! I'll have any of your non-brown with rings bigger than 15mm and you can have all my small ringed ones!

  7. Slimlines are made for male jackets. Compacts are too big, but will fit your raincoat or overcoat pocket. Personals will not fit the Jacket or overcoat ever. Unless you are Mr. Briefcase, go for Slimlines. Black or dark brown.

    1. Hope're right gdigesu! I've just ordered a Slimline Holborn - in brown!

    2. Slimlines are brilliant but sadly I'm not able to manage with so few pages. I spent a while experimenting with Evernote for all the various reference information I tote in my planner so I could use the planner just for scheduling and precise task management, but I found it complicated.

    3. Josh - watching your videos always makes me feel that we share many of the same organiser issues on both sides of the puddle! But then, I thought you had found your solution in a Winchester!

      I agree about Evernote, especially as you can't access your vital data on the free version when not connected to wi-fi. There are other apps that I've found useful though, such as Documents (for reference information) and Day One for journaling (first time I've ever been able to stick to writing a journal). I use Pocket Informant Pro a lot too (after despairing with Opus Domini).

    4. Tim,
      My issue is that for about half of the year everything fits easily into the Winchester, and the other half of the year I'm at capacity or slightly over. I'm happy to slip back into the Winchester which has an ideal portable size, robust construction, and superb style when I can fit everything inside, but eventually I find myself knocking against the outer limits of what it can accommodate...

      At the moment I'm very happily esconced in a very fat Franklin planner which is marvelous. I'm sure I will crave the Winchester in a few months but the Franklin works beautifully. I suppose this is my "personal or A5" quandry... lightly edited to read "Winchester or FranklinCovey Compact?"

  8. What I would tell my pre-Filofax self:

    1. Stick with the Malden - it's the perfect Filofax for you and the one you will always go back to no matter how often you stray from it.
    2. Don't try to cram your whole life into one personal or one A5. Keep A5 for work and a personal for everything else.
    3. You cannot squeeze everything required for teaching onto 25mm rings in A5. It has to be 30mm or nothing :-(.
    3. Stop researching other setups/means of organisation and focus on making your Filofax work.
    4. Don't be tempted to use an iPad for organisation. You will always go back to paper in the end.

    Hopefully my current self has learnt these lessons lol.

  9. 1. Before you sell a filofax make yourself wait at least a week to see if it still seems like a good idea.
    2. Don't by washi tape if you don't like decorating your pages
    3. Take out half of those spare pages -- they will weigh you down -- put them in when you need more.
    4. Putting a task on your to-do list is not enough -- you still need to do it.
    5. It's ok not to use all of the inserts - give away the categories that are not 'you' - or modify them.
    6. How a FF feels in the hand is just as important as looking good to the eye.
    7. Not every Ff has to have a dedicated purpose.

    1. Ha ha ha at number 2 :-) Number 3 - slimline A5, that´s what we need. Number 7 - hell yeah!!! :o)

  10. I would say to myself...
    1. Buy the A5 with 30mm rings, you know it works for you.
    2. Well done for pruning, pruning, pruning your set up until you know it is Just right for you!!! Yay!! It takes a year or so of actually USING your planner to work out which systems work for you in terms of inserts and planner itself.It can be a frustrating journey, but oh so worth it in the end.
    3. If you know a planner works for you utterly, totally and completely, like my slimline Amazona does for me, as an address book, consider buying 2, so that there is a spare,if they are on a special cannot lose dicount ie like 50% off!! But only if they are perfect in use and you know it!!
    4. STAND AWAY from TK Maxx at Christmas.... fatal!!
    5. Be brave and if something doesn't work for you, work out what is wrong and change it. I cannot function with crammed pages, others can, and hate spaces. Know your loves and hates and petty irritations.
    6. Finally... Keep trying new ideas. This week, I was sent a washi wrap card by Meredith, and what a fabulous thing that has proven to be. Brilliantly inventive.You are all fantastic, with your ideas and creativity... and I appreciate such a lovely hobby. xxxx

  11. I am Pre-filofax, but already know not to patchwork together a planner. I've bought used, then mixed different company products... Lesson learned: Just go with the one you really WANT, and if you don't have money for it yet, then WAIT till you DO! ~tina

    1. OMG that is so true. I'm pre Filofax also and holding out for my A5 original patent purple. Love it but must save my pennies first to get it... Dear Santa.... lmao

  12. I am "new" to the filofaxing world since June but have always been an organizing/planners/stationary junkie since grade school...and I have realized very quickly that trying to have JUST ONE to do everything just won't do and that have a few (LOL) that are geared and used for specified reasons (ie, work, fitness, personal, finance etc) actually can work very well provided that you find the system that works BEST for you! I have 3 now and am happy (right now lol) with what I have created for myself...A5 for detailed planning of personal family and biz that stays home--Personal for to dos and my personal everything budgeting/finance and just bullet points on family priorities or appointments and then my new Pocket for fitness/health/meals...who knows I may get more but for now it is working and I feel very accomplished! lol.

  13. Notes to self:( I should probably hole punch this)

    1) you will never, never, never be quizzed on the 2013 EU member countries. And if by chance you are- "they" won't let you look it up in your FF.--just take them out already

    2) Cotton cream.

    3) Don't be ashamed of loving the zipper.

    4) Don't get distracted by someone else's beautiful pages, Your handwriting will never look like that -

    5) Leather-real leather. Bonded Leather is the MDF of leather.

    6) You know you are going to end up buying the red one, no matter what you say.

    7) Listen to Josh, he was right about the Clairefontaine paper.

    8) Just get on with it and order the A4 paper and print your own inserts--you know what you want...Red ink on "red letter days" and full sized weekends on creamy smooth paper

  14. These are such great, funny, and insightful comments! Mine also are stop looking at everyone else's planners on You Tube and just make your own. Stop switching planners through out the year, or at least stick with it for 3 months at a time. That's long enough to know if it works for you or not. And what Tim (or Josh) said,,,,,USE WHAT YOU'VE GOT!

  15. Dear earlier me,

    1. Buy that A5 Spring Green chameleon ... it will haunt you forever that you didn't and no-one wants to part with theirs now, let me tell you!

    2. Think before you buy page flags ... you have enough already and you don't really use them!

    3. A5 and Personal both work for you for different things, so don't fret.

    4. You think you won't like diary stamps, but let me tell you ... you will!

    5. Your teaching year will be sooo much easier to plan and run once you start to use an A5.

    6. Buy notebooks and hack them up for good quality/sassy paper -

    7. RAK all your unused lined filo paper that you can't write on because the lines are too narrow ...

    8. Share

  16. I am pre-Filofax also, still doing research and saving my pennies. I start a new job on Monday and my celebration will be to buy a personal size for my finance planner and an A5 Flex to hold my Moleskine calendar planner and my Moleskine notebook I scribble in all day. Your comments are convincing me not to settle and go for the wild colors I drool over, and to set up the planners the way I want to use them. Thank you all for your insights. And thanks to everyone who keeps this blog site up and running.

  17. On a slightly different note, has anyone tried the Uncalendar pages (uncalendar.com)? I just realised you can buy loose unpunched sheets to put in your own binder and they're very close to A5 size. I Really Want but of course it's a lot of money to spend if I don't know FOR SURE that I'll like it!

    1. Hi Gail - Laurie at Plannerisms has reviewed these pages :o) http://www.plannerisms.com/search/label/Uncalendar