14 August 2014

APATT* Nan's Work Filofax

*All Personal All the Time

Early in 2014, when I was still struggling to decide which organizers and diary formats I would use for the year, I came up with a way to simply my decision. During 2013, I'd found myself drifting toward doing everything on Personal-sized paper, even journaling and lengthy note-taking, so I decided to go Personal all the way for the year 2014. Whatever I needed my Filofaxes to do for me, I would have to make Personal size work. That put an end to my indecisiveness—at least for the next 12 months.

With the year more than halfway done, I thought I'd take stock of how APATT is working for me, starting with the Filofax I use on the job.

Step one was buying a new Personal organizer, since all my other Personals were either in use or not suitable. I ran out and got a Fusion, which was all I could find in my local shops on short notice. I'm not in love with its plain, nylon-bound appearance, but it's proved to be serviceable.

I filled it with:

1. Month on 2 Pages with tabs. This is where I keep track of deadlines and days blocked out for ongoing projects. In this photo, you can see one challenge already: The limited ring size. I will fix this by archiving, but I would love to have larger rings and be able to feel like I'm carrying all my information in my fist.

2. Week on 2 Pages diary, lined. I don't have a lot of appointments, so this works fine. I also note my coworkers' vacations so I know who's available.

3. Tabs. Only three are labeled so far: Projects, Notes (weekly meeting notes), and Research (future project development). These are the colored tabs that came with the Fusion.

4. Forms. Behind a few of the tabs, I have some vintage Filofax business forms. I haven't come up with a use for them yet, but I love having them.

5. A-Z Index. I use the standard cream-colored A-Z tabs to store contacts and reference info. 

Behind the Projects tab, I keep both To-Do pages and notes for each project. I soon realized that I needed some way to create tabs-within-tabs so I could quickly flip to whichever project's pages I needed. My solution is to color-code them with washi tape along the inside edge—a different color for each project. I arrange the projects in alphabetical order, which also helps me quickly find the project I'm looking for. 

Here you can also see that I have no trouble taking notes on the diminutive Personal pages. The tape does add to the organizer's bulk, though.

Using Personal for professional purposes is working well for me—except for the ring-size issue. There are also times when I yearn for larger pages to take notes on. If I continue using Personal for business in 2015, I will buy an organizer with larger rings; perhaps a Van der Spek. Or I'll go for something completely different, like an A5 Clipbook. 


  1. Thank you, Nan, for this wonderful post! As a long time personal size user (20+ years), I totally agree that the page size ist sufficient. BUT, I also have been longing for larger rings, too! I hope your systems continues to work for you or will evolve the way you wish for.

    Once again thank you, Thomas

  2. Hi Nan

    The Cavendish has 30mm rings and might do the job for you.

    It's encouraging to read of another Filofaxer using Personal for business purposes. I agree with you, and with Tommes - the page size *is* big enough, you just have to work on making the system efficient, and geared to your personal needs. Like you, I like to have all my stuff with me, in my hand, all the time......

  3. great post nan! i think i saw this filo in person at the boston meet up and i LOVE IT! i am so going to borrow your idea about color coding with washi tape!! **genius** easy to flip where you need to be without having to add extra tabs. perfection!

    1. Thanck you Nan for this very interesting post! As I don't have washi tape when I need it, I use a different color paper for each project, so that I can use all the place to write on. I have printed squarred on these paper, but you can print lines if preferred.

  4. Nan, a super post. I just loved the fact that you also feel that you have to have one planner. I too dislike separating personal and business planners, as I always fear I've double booked! I like the monthly labelled tabs. Would love some of those, but my Filo is full already. Thanks again. xx

  5. Thanks for a great post, Nan. I used to just use the one personal & I do sometimes think about going back to that. I don't use washi tape, but I could imagine using it in the way that you do. I hope that it continues to work for you for the rest of the year.

  6. Flipping between Personal and A5 is one of the most annoying things about my Filofax approach. I so want Personal to work for me but always fail. The best thing about A5 is being able to easily shrink and file work reports. Having another go at Personal success currently so a timely and useful post

  7. Thank you for a really great post Nan. Your setup is functional and well thought out. I don't recall seeing the dividers,where can I get those? And the tabs are super. I have a terrible time finding MO2P tabbed inserts. Where do you find yours? I use my planner for personal and work and the index tabs as a filing system as well. Other binders archive seldom used materials. As far as ring size...VDS makes binders with 30mm rings. Over the past year I have purchased and sold dozens of binders, it's just browsing of sorts as we have few options here, and have discovered that I am still very much a Filofax fan, but my favorite is Van der Spek. You can customize it to suit your needs, i.e., double pen loops, zippered flyleaf, extra secretarial pockets, specific card slot orientation, different leathers and countless color combinations. No, I do not know them, not related and do not receive any perks from them in the least, except for the great customer service they provide everyone. ;) Please feel free to email me at loremkc at ymail dot com. (That is a Y, not a G - google has tried to auto correct on some.) Again thank you for sharing!

    1. Hi Lore! I may get myself a 30mm VDS someday. Maybe it will be my Christmas present to myself! I ordered the MO2P with tabs from filofaxusa.com, but they're currently out of stock. But filofax.co.uk has them for both 2014 and 2015.

    2. Nan, feel free to contact me if you wish to try a 30mm Personal ring binder.


Related Posts with Thumbnails