04 December 2013

Guest Post - Steve Y - My Filofax

I first became aware of the Filofax concept but not the brand name in 1988, when Woolworths did a cheap plastic imitation. I didn't know then that they were imitations, but the thought of being able to move information around in a binder without having to re-write things was fantastic and I soon became a fan.

At the same time I discovered quadrille paper, and this was ideal for my interest in the mathematical and theoretical side of church bellringing. I've attached a photo of some work from that time in the Woolworth's grey plastic binder so you can see for yourselves.

Around this time, Psion were championing their new range of electronic organisers, and being a fan of all things small and gadgety, I had to have one. Having a young family, they came first so I saved up. I have three models today still, and all work perfectly.

However fantastic the Psions were, nothing really ever replaces the functionality of pen and paper, and so in the mid 90's, with a new promotion under my belt I bought a pocket size Microfile from W. H. Smith and used that mainly for addresses and phone numbers, and nothing more to be honest. It wasn't until 2002, when I was handed my final promotion, which came with a massive project to be completed by 2005, a year before I could take my early retirement.

It was a can't fail scenario and it was my sole responsibility. I bought a brown, soft leather Portland, from TKMaxx for £19, and utilised a very simple set up. Two address books in A-Z index. One at the front for work contacts, suppliers etc., and my personal address book at the back. In between these two, I simply had a set of project sheets, todo's and sometimes daily planners.

The project were divided into three, for short, medium and long term, and within each an urgent and not so urgent list. I could see at a glance what was to be done, and what the time scale was. Most important, was the fact that crossed out items gave inspiration and showed that I was actually achieving something. It all turned out just fine and I retired in 2006, aged only 54. What a fantastic feeling.

Retirement means that I do what I want when I want, but I still wanted to use Filofax. I just like them. I bought a slimline Guildford next. I didn't know what for but I just liked the look and feel. It's a bit too big for me! I love small things. So it wasn't long before I bought a pocket Finsbury. It needed training, but it sits nicely now. This year has brought about an ongoing and total reorganisation of the binder.

It now incorporates my interest in horseracing, next years things to grow, my CD wish list, shopping list, and an insert yo record our Premium Bond winnings for next year. I've attached photos. There is also an extract from my Betting Book from last week which particularly good, which is why I've included it.

It prints only one sided, which is lack of ability on my part, but my thanks are due to Ray for making it so that I can now print two sided. I use an A-Z index for each subject, and at the front an Index sheet, so I know where everything is.

Earlier this year I bought a lizard print pocket Flex, but I reckon I will struggle with this because sheets are sewn in, so my notebook holds permanent rather than transient information. The photo shows the diary on the left, a notebook with all my horseracing knowledge on the right, and behind that a jot pad for on the hoof notes, shopping etc.

You might also note I have a penchant for gold. I'm lucky to own an unused set of 18 carat gold Parkers from 1979, which I use everyday. Believe it or not this boxed set was given to a cafe owner in Birmingham in payment of a long standing cafe bill!

Last week I bought a grey mini Malden (thank you Tudor Office Supplies), at virtually half price. I don't know why I bought it, probably because the urge was irresistable. I don't know what I shall use it for yet, maybe just to look at. But it's small, and I like that.

So there we have it. I hope you've liked some of my more unconventional ways of using my binders, and maybe you have some suggestions for my Flex and Malden? I don't need another, but I have an increasingly strong urge for a compact plum Osterley. But what I really fancy, is the orange/red mini Amazona. Is it masculine enough though? 

Steve Y

Thank you Steve for sharing 'Your Filofax' with us, nice to see your custom inserts and how you use your organisers. 


  1. I loved this post! Loved seeing all you do and how different it is from mine - I think you only see ALL the possible ways a Filofax can be used by looking at what others need theirs for. Thank you for this, for some reason it made me smile :)

  2. I'm glad it made you smile, for whatever reason!,

  3. This has given me some ideas which I might put into use myself. I like your use of the A-Z tabs with your index. Great post - thanks!

  4. Wonder whether your oldest Woolworths binder might actually have been made by Filofax? It's not impossible judging from what's visible in the picture - it looks quite similar to the smooth vinyl binders Filofax used to offer.

  5. I have checked the binder, but the rings seem very cheap compared to the real thing, and there are no distinguishing marks. It still works faboulously though

  6. I enjoyed reading your journey in planners, very enlightening.

  7. I loved your fuss- free planner. Very classy!

  8. Thank you for sharing, it was fun to read and look at the inside of your planner. I like that you still have the first one and it can be used.

  9. Thanks for sharing your planner journey. Very interesting.