18 April 2014

Free For All Friday No. 283

My brother-in-law recently got married, so I've had some time catching up with my husband's family which was very nice. With some of the relatives that don't know me quite so well, the conversation inevitably came round to, "So, where do you work?" I am employed and self-employed, and some time ago I started buying and selling Filofaxes as part of my business. It was quite interesting hearing people's opinions and overall they were very positive, with only one mention of it being considered geeky. I don't think that any of them will be rushing out to buy a binder any time soon, but I'm glad that I brought it up as it is something different to talk about.
Do you think that you would've talked about Filofaxes in a similar situation?

And as always on Fridays, please feel free to ask or discuss anything ring-bound organiser related.


  1. It depends on who I'm talking to and whether I feel like explaining, "I designed a new planner, it is published by X and sold at Y and Z." Sometimes people are interested, and other times I get blank looks, like how archaic that paper planners are even still being made!

    Sometimes when someone pulls out their Filofax I chirp, "Oh, I have lots of Filofaxes, and I write two blogs about them and other planners too." They give me a look like, wow I like my Filofax but I'm not fanatical about it! So, now I keep my trap shut until someone starts going on about their Filofax/ planner, and then I chime in but sometimes I just keep quiet about it.

    1. I never mind explaining to people why I carry a Filofax (and I almost invariably am). I find it makes for a good conversation, and I don't really mind whether people think I'm a) slightly insane or b) a relic of the 80s at all! Carrying a Filofax is my decision and I'm happy with it :)

  2. I have had this situation many times with former colleagues and friends. Having changed from being a full time radio engineer living in UK to being 'retired' living in France, people often ask 'So how do you fill your day then Steve?'

    Then I tell them about what I do now, and they are interested I suppose and slightly blown away about the transition I've made in the last 4 years. I find it quite amusing now to see their reaction because I know they aren't expecting it!

    To me it's just a transfer of skills and experience from one field to another field. Having been very much a 'people person' at work and dealing with with various procedures and processes it's just the same... but different!

    There is often the usual 'Oh I had one of those once' or sometimes 'I have one of those'

    I did get surprised once when I was explaining I seemed to be taking more photographs of Filofax organisers now than of landscapes... and the person said 'Oh is this for Philofaxy?' She is a reader... so she got the tour of 'the collection' !!!


  3. As someone who's often been critical of Filofax in the past, I want to mention the great service I've had from them this week. I've recently been given a beautiful vintage A5 Bridle in tan leather, and I wanted a set Time Management dividers to go inside, my old set having been passed on some while ago. I was also given two half-sets, but they came up short on a couple of tabs, so I decided to look round for a complete set, either new or as-new.

    Internet searches having yielded nothing, and likewise a tour of the FF website, I called the Filofax customer services number on Monday and got answered by a robot ('Your call is important, please leave a message', etc, etc, etc, blah blah blah). Message left, and no reply came, either Monday or Tuesday.

    On Wednesday I decided to give them another call (I *really* want these dividers!), and this time got straight through to an extremely helpful person called Jo, who told me that no, they don't sell them any more, but that she would have a look 'round the office' and see what she could find. Some two hours later I was delighted to get a call back saying that the relevant divider set had been located ("Possibly the last on the planet", according to Jo!), that it was on its way from their warehouse to her, and that she would personally make sure it found its way to me.

    Yesterday (Thursday) I received a further email from Jo to say that the dividers were in her hands, and that she was putting them in the post to me.

    This, for me, is what customer service is all about - an individual taking a problem (or enquiry), making it their own, and getting it sorted. From the moment I first spoke to her, this was not a 'Filofax enquiry' but a 'Jo enquiry', and she made it her business to sort it out for me.

    Jo, if you are reading this, thank you again (you've already hopefully had my thanks by email). If FF's 'Philofaxy monitors' are reading this (and I know there is at least one), you have a great asset there, both the customer service you offered me, but more than that, the person who took responsibility for solving the problem.

    1. That's *proper* old-fashioned Service (with a capital "S") that everyone wishes for, and only occasionally receive. Nice to see it alive and still kicking :-)

    2. Good to hear someone's getting service. My last order of planner supplies was short an item. When I called customer service and asked them to ship the missing piece, they said they'd get right on it, but so far nothing. :(

    3. Jo was extremely helpful when I had my Cross peel off its color a few months ago. Delightful. I owe her a quick thank-you note, which I'd forgotten about.

      I've had similar experiences with DayTimer (when I phoned them up to see if they had something no longer listed on the website, which they were able to find and send along to me) and DodoPad (who also found and sent me the last of a discontinued product).

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    5. I bought my first Filofax in July 2013 from Officeworks Australia. I use it every day as a home scheduler. It was an A5 Metropol in red. After only 6 months the glue of the strap started to separate. I rang Filofax Australia Customer Service and was told to send it to them with a copy of the receipt. The receipt had faded badly but Customer Service said not to worry just make a copy and include the details. I was told only send the cover, take out all my inserts and information. That was on a Friday. By Thursday the following week I received a brand new Filofax with all the current inserts. The gentleman in Customer Service was very friendly and helpful and I was very impressed with their super fast professional service. I sent a thank you email via their web site but wanted to share my happy experience here as well

  4. No, everyone is pretty sure I am not sane, but when they want something done without worries or they need information from the past---who do they call?? Seriously, I only knew of one other person that used a planner and he passed away a year ago. A vent--when my boys go to "planning meetings" they work out three months of weekly activities, but nobody ever writes it down????? ARGH!

  5. I have talked about paper planning to my relatives. We discussed certain tips, methods, or inserts. My sister has an office person who manages her schedule. My sister notes the time of her first and last appointment in her bound planner and her office manager takes care of all the details of scheduling. We both like to keep our planners neat and orderly. I am open to talking to others about paper planners but I don't start the conversation on it. A few times other people showed me their planners, inserts, etc. They were excited and talked at length on it. I mentioned a few things. I notice though that many people do not use paper planners. I like to hear what people have to say about technology planning and different apps. I am designing a simple insert to use for specific tracking in my A5 Filofax. I think that it is a little exciting to do that and have ideas and tips that I can use in my planner. However it probably does not interest those who do not use a paper planner.

  6. Fortunately the Library system where I work provides us with an annual choice of paper planners - from DayMinder monthlies to month/week combinations - so I never feel too exposed by having my own planner on my desk. Even our supervisor, who keeps her schedule on her Blackberry, uses a big sectioned notebook to keep track of things to do. At meetings some folks use their iPads, most scribble on yellow pads or the backs of handouts. Even with this rather egalitarian culture I am not eager to call attention to my planner, which does look a bit "fussy" compared to notepads and DayMinders.

  7. I was happily digital during the Palm years, but when the Palm ecosystem fell apart I kept personal in iOS, but moved back to a paper planner for work and have used one ever since. (I have always used a notebook for work meeting notes). But all along I was the person with the long range plans written down, and that hasn't changed. I don't know how many times I've been asked to check the Dept calendar in planning meetings - I'm the only one who has it with me.

    This year, I skipped the bound planner and changed to a Filofax-like binder, and quite a few people at work commented on it, especially since I had been digital so early.

    I'm surrounded by the gamut - one guy uses beautiful bound books for each meeting with a fountain pen or his signature Rotring. My boss uses the Barnes & Noble authors planner every year - with the weekly vertical view, but she leaves it on her desk because it's so large.

    Most everyone else, especially newer employees, use their phones and maybe a legal pad or steno pad for notes/task lists.

    I have always been the most particular person about my planning system, and I don't expect that to change.

    I did find out my sister has a Filofax that she bought a couple years ago, but it sounds like she barely uses it. Her default is the family wall calendar.


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