13 March 2015

Free For All Friday No. 330 by Steve

You might find this amusing, but I actually find writing these posts harder than any of the others I write! I sit and think, now what can I write for this weeks... what haven't we mentioned before. Were as some of the other odd-ball stuff I come up with is quite easy to write once I get an idea flowing in my head!

So this evening I was looking at how I've been using my organiser at home in some detail. As I've said before I'm mainly task driven these days and I'm finding this year more than before that I'm using my organiser more and more each week.

With so many things going on between now and August it has become an essential planning tool. I still like the space my A5 format gives me each week, I don't think I could improve on it to be honest, well not for my own requirements.

I tend to think along the lines of 'if it's not broke, don't fix it' or put another way why tinker with something that seems to be working for you. And I suppose that's very true of a lot of things in life.

So do you ever get tempted to change your set up drastically?

Naturally as this is a Friday please feel free to discuss anything ring bound planner or organiser related.

Have a great weekend.


  1. Thanks, Steve, for keeping the philofaxy so fresh and interesting....

    As for your question, the answer is 'Yes!'.....probably like many others that visit here....

    Although my biggest struggle right now is due to my recently (started about a month ago...) greatly expanded job responsibilities (see post if interested in FFAT no. 211)....basically went from being responsible for managing about 6 - 8 large complex new healthcare facilities design and construction projects to managing a much larger team with a portfolio of 2 new large projects plus about 300 other renovation projects that covers two separate medical centers, each with about 15 buildings, some on campus, some a few miles away.

    With such a major change in scope, I felt that the system I was using the past 2 years of carrying around a Moleskine type lined journal was now very inadequate as a tool to assist me to stay on and feel on top of all that needs to be done and tracked on a daily/weekly/monthly basis.

    Seemed like the best way to keep track of things and yet have flexibility as projects sometime stop or get paused for awhile, was to return to a ring binder that I can change as things change on projects.

    Got another A5 Malden Ochre like I had in the past and got setup...with the wise counsel of the great David Popely here....(Thank you, David!...) and others that posted there advice, which I greatly appreciate.

    Took a week or so, to get Malden setup in a way that seemed to feel right, sort of a modified GTD setup of tabbed sections. All was going pretty well, but did the nagging thoughts about whether to stick with A5 or try to downsize to Personal to save space and weight in my leather manbag or just carrying binder around in my hand during the day going from meeting to meeting.

    I've decided that best way (hopefully....) to settle this issue and stop (hopefully...) thinking about it all the time, is to use a Personal size binder for a week or two and see if I can feel comfortable that it is adequate to use. Main concern is whether I can use this size paper for taking meeting notes and writing my To Do Lists. Think calendar will be OK.

    So, to simplify things since I'm in US, I went to Office Depot on Friday and picked a cheap Franklin Covey Compact size vinyl cover binder that comes with a starter set of inserts (undated Wo2P), monthly tapped dividers and contacts pages. The Compact size pages are same height as Personal but about 1/2" wider, and the extra width is useful for me and think will ease the transition and up the odds of making this work.

    So, test will really start next week as I took off Thursday and Friday from work...will give it about 2 weeks, unless I feel that it's just not working out, before deciding whether to stick with this size or go back to A5......

    One other aspect is that I really like writing with fountain pens, so, ideally, pages should be good for ink and this type of writing and I generally like using pens with italic nibs to get a bit of line variation and character in my writing...call me retro, but I enjoy it..... ;-)

    I'm sure this binder size turmoil is very familiar to many of you here.....

    So it goes......

    If you have any thoughts, suggestions, would love to hear them......



    1. I think you'll find the FC compact to be compatible with your work. It's extremely useful for tracking projects and keeping yourself on task. I've had difficulty making the personal work from a business perspective; I don't know if it's the size of the paper or maybe the shape? I know it doesn't make any sense, but my brain just doesn't process that size paper.

    2. Thanks for your input, Lisa.....makes sense.....

      I think you have a good point about the shape of page issue....as well as size of course as the larger the page, the easier it is to write comfortably...just becomes a carrying around issue...

      I find the FF Personal size pages to be very 'tall and skinny' from a shape and proportion perspective, while the FC Compact pages look like a more pleasing rectangle proportion with the extra width.

  2. I agree with you, Steve, as I also find the Free For All Fridays tough to write!

    Whilst it can be tempting to drastically change my set up, I know from experience that mine works for me so I tend to leave it alone. I did use a Raydori for some months, which I loved, but I also knew that this was just a sabbatical as I am a Filofaxer at heart. However, I did find the change useful as it helped me identify things about my set up that could be improved upon or simplified.

    I know that some people change their set ups or the size of binder more often, but I know that this would drive me a bit crazy!

  3. I have been there with switching from personal to pocket to A6 etc. but I am now pretty settled in a personal with the 'system' I have now been using in one form or another for a few years. At the moment, the 'system' is split across different binders and notebooks, but not in a way that is duplicating anything and mostly because I am using a compact binder (and so the system has overflowed into other places).
    I can foresee me having another personal/pocket itch at some point but I also know from past experience that I will end up with what I'm in now! It has taken me a few years to reach this point of realisation though!

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  5. Well for 19 years I used FC DO2P, and a year of DIYfish DO2P for last year. I am at a point in my life where I have very little appointments to track anymore, and homeschooling only one next year. So I have been playing with different setups to see what I would like to use in my next "season of life". (Which opens a can of worms!) I have to keep tabs on school, house, bills, church, & 2 volunteer positions, but I love to journal. So this past week I have been experimenting with a Planner Pad mockup and a composition notebook to see if I could get along with a set up like Laurie's, I love the plannerpad as it eliminated so much of my papers in my binder by putting everything in the "buckets" at the top and I love having the bills from my budget pages listed each week. It really works great. My dilemma is seeing a week freaks my brain & writing out a day in the notebook is good, but right now it's pretty rough for whatever reason. A little frustrated but I committed to it for March so that I can iron out something everyday and then I shall see what is still frustrating at the end of the month.

    1. Just bought an undated plannerpad and it really helps to have all those sections across the top at a glance.Can check the status of all my projects at once! I think I'll just grab a moleskine and resume bullet journaling to go along with it. Hope your composition notebook serves you well as a daily adjunct.

  6. I change my setup fairly often and i've narrowed it down to two possible reasons: I'm bored and want to have a play or I'm avoiding something that should be done and I need to see it from a different perspective. I've stopped letting it frustrate me. I keep a small box of my binders and inserts under my desk at work so I can scratch the itch for change if I want to. Doesn't stop me from scouring the web looking for new binders, though. Which reminds me: has anyone here used an FC pocket binder? I saw a lovely one on eBay a few weeks ago and I can't stop thinking about it.

    Steve, great content as always.

  7. After using FC Do1P in Classic size for the last 22 years, I,m going through a year of many changes and trials. First, downsizing to a Personal size, too small, now FC Compact, just right. One decision down, next decision, which inserts? This is an ongoing dilemma. I've found that my space needs change as my life changes. I definitely like the Wo2P, but a blank horizontal layout is too unstructured. Tried a vertical layout, wherein I can group tasks according to context. Because of the limited space, I use codes or 2-3 word descriptors. This is working for now. The DIYfish inserts were intriguing, so I'm trying those, again horizontal but I drew in my compartments. I love the idea, but I,m feeling overwhelmed.(Seemingly unrelated,but I am nearsighted and have astigmatism, so open spaces tend to overwhelm me. Who knew that would carry over to paper?) Oh well, it's only been one day and I've committed to using them through April. Then I'll decide whether to keep them, or go back to my vertical layout. DIYfish has a vertical layout too, so I might try those. Decisions, decisions.

    1. Agree that the FC Compact size pages are nicer size than FF Personal due to the extra width.....

      As for the calendar page issue....it's interesting that you find the Wo2P too unstructured. I like seeing an entire week's progression across the page in the way it happens, one day after the next and then fill in my appts and then block out time for various tasks.

      Only recently discovered the DIY Fish inserts LM system, but somehow it seems very overly complicated with the vertical layout and mapping the daily tasks to the weekly pages and then onto the monthly pages, seems like there's a lot of repetition of info, etc. And don't really see advantage of grouping same days horizontally across the page. But maybe I just don't really grasp the system well enough...not saying that DIY Fish is not a good system, just that somehow it's underlying logic and setup does not feel intuitively comfortable to me. Maybe you need to use it for a while....

      Agree, decisions, decisions....wishi I could be more helpful....but I'm going through some similar anxiety over binder size and page inserts.....so, at least I can empathize.... :-)

  8. New to philofaxy so hello I'm new to binders too! I've just ordered a Filofax clipbook which should arrive soon. To replace the current system of A5 hardback DAP diary and whatever weekly planner tear off pad I have on the go. Will still use outlook for appointments for work and iPhone for contacts and appointments at home I think as I need a reminder ping!
    Slowly catching up here and looking forward to joining in :)

    1. Welcome, Lucy.....glad you found this site....

      I've found it to be very a helpful place, full of great info, lots to read up on, and very helpful, friendly people that will usually be glad to give you comments and advice if needed.

      Will be interesting to hear how your new setup works for you....


  9. ArchiMark, yes the DIYfish system looked like a lot of re-copying. She has a new (v3) out which are the month and horizontal W1P + notes with small chart, and a vertical Wo2P. Should have gone with the vertical. Would have been more comfortable. Oh well, live and learn. Good luck with your decision making process.

  10. Thanks for the info, Carla!

    Will take a look at it and see if it seems any easier to grasp......

    Might just be one of those things you need to play with for a while....

    Suppose at some point you can get a batch of the vertical and see if it works better for you.....

    Best to you....

  11. Because I've always been a stationery geek, I've been easily tempted by the lovely videos and posts from others. Over the past year, I revived my use of the Filofax (after years away) and have experimented with different page layouts. I've bought a Midori and a Hobonichi--mainly because I was so impressed by others' videos--but never really used them as planners. Since the end of last year, I've been very happily using a D02P that I customised from the Philofaxy inserts here. I bought one of the Hyperdex stamps from DIYFIsh/Mary Ann Moll and the set-up works for me. I have extra space, but that's okay since I never know if I'll need extra space for notes or reminders, and I like white space; it's hard for me to see notes if they're too cluttered on the page. That's my everyday work planner--an A5 Domino, and since it's working so well for me, I don't imagine making any major changes. I use a personal sized Filofax for home/weekend/calendar dates/grocery shopping/library lists--and that works perfectly since I can carry the personal size in my handbag. I haven't had any problems (yet!) with duplication--so I think I've finally found a work/home system that suits me well.