20 March 2015

Free For All Friday No. 331 by Tim Edwards

Some people are avid collectors of different binders, and others love decoration or the tactile feel of the different Filofax designs.

On the other hand, many users see their organiser as a planning tool to help them set goals and progress towards achieving them. This week has featured several time management posts.

Do you use your organiser(s) primarily for planning with monthly, weekly AND daily pages?

Do you set and review progress to achieving goals on a regular basis?

Ask yourself - is your Filofax collection really a hobby, or is it a way of life?

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


  1. I like to plan five years in to the future - what I call high level - through yearly, quarterly, monthly and weekly down to daily. The FF helps me to manage all this, as well as the usual projects, actions, personal reminders such as birthdays. I've recently stopped using a separate journal and incorporate that in to my daily notes.

    There is something to be said however about a nice planner and have got stuck in the 'this new Filofax, that happens to look lovely, will improve my life' self justification, but for now I'm satisfied with an A5 original.

    1. I think long range planning can be great - as long as you don't feel a failure when not everything is achieved! I recently found a 5,10 and 20 year plan I compiled In my A5 Time Manager on a long train journey back in 1994 and when I was in a bit "lost in the world". It's amazing how much of it has come to pass as I planned - escape from central London, get out of the rat race, set up my own small business, meet someone special, have a family, etc., There's one big one "retire on my 55th birthday in 2014" that most certainly did NOT happen! In fact, I might do another 5 or even 10 year plan this weekend. Somehow, 20 years might be too much!

  2. Great subject.....

    Typically, I look at my monthly and weekly pages to plan....

    I find that looking at my week and trying to strategize how I can get done what I need to do is a very manageable block of time to work on at a time.

    I review progress on goals periodically as I feel is needed.

    Have 3 FF binders now....don't know if that constitutes a collection.... :-)

    Meanwhile, per my other recent posts, still struggling with trying to internally resolve whether to stick with A5 that I'm used to using size-wise or force myself to stick with testing out a Personal size binder for long enough time to give myself a chance to really readjust and then evaluate which size to stick with........

    Also, been testing out various inserts lately.....FF, David Allen's GTD Organiser pages, Time/System, LifeIsCrafted, and DIY Fish.......it's clear to me now this is another rabbit hole one can fall into besides the binder size dilemma......

    So it goes.......



    1. I agree that different views is the way to be! Since going largely digital I've found it difficult to get the monthly and weekly overviews visible at the same time as my daily plan. The nearest I've got is a pullout annual Filofax calendar alongside a weekly Informant view on my iPhone with my daily view on my iPad. Works on the the kitchen table - not so good when sat on a busy train!

      As for the different binder dilemma, I'm still in this battle after nearly 30 years! I've only got to see a video on a different set-up and I'm tempted to try it!

    2. Great points.....and agree that watching setup videos can be a dangerous thing....

  3. My planner has definitely been a way of life for 20 years and I don't see that changing. I do a lot of goal setting myself and encourage kids to make one every year. Monthly and daily have always been definite necessities. Weekly planning I started needing about four years ago.

  4. I have never managed to get monthly pages to work for me, but I use weekly and essentially daily pages (though usually they are more a plan for the day on a piece of paper or in the A5 WO2P which has about the same space as half a personal DPP, than done on true DPP paper at the moment).
    I do have a collection of filofaxes, but I only really have one that is the filofax+wallet at any one time - the others store spare paper or await their moment in the sun (or in my bag...). Does that make me a collector or a planner?


    While reading through a post from Anita, and some of the comments from other contributors, I had the thought that I would add in my reasoning behind the choice I made to be exclusively in A5 binders, so here goes.

    My main binder is an Identity A5, which is my every-day binder for work and personal life. I have added nothing to it other than a few maps, an extra top-opening plastic envelope, and switched in some extra white paper (both plain and ruled varieties) for doodles and "dumping" any day to day thoughts. Simple, uncluttered and, in my opinion, minimalist.

    My second binder is a Clipbook, in black. This is one of 3 that covers my cycling exploits, and it contains the following:

    A5 laminated route direction / instruction cards / route maps (for training routes and events)
    A5 laminated event / sportive calendar / year planner, which is now complete for 2015
    A5 laminated food / drink plan (per hour / ride / event)
    A5 laminated ride / session cards for the indoor trainer

    The route plans are also duplicated on my Garmin GPS, and stored on my laptop too. The food and drink plan helps me with organising myself for events, and keeps me from over-doing the bike nutrition, or even falling short and suffering (heaven forbid) the dreaded "bonk". Each of the session cards is removeable so that I can have it with me when I'm on the static trainer, and do the intervals as prescribed.

    Thirdly, and the second of the cycling binders, is another black Clipbook which contains:

    A5 (custom) ride records - time / distance / speed / HRM / cadence / weather / "feel" / etc.
    A5 (custom) ride notes - ride food and drink consumed, weight (before / after), etc.
    A5 (custom) health notes - heart rate (morning), other meals, sleep (hours), etc.
    A5 lined notepaper - for recording purchases made, when tyres / inner tubes have been replaced, and a general maintenance schedule.

    This is my main cycling folder as it keeps a record of all of my rides, and other factors, every time I go out. It also serves as an injury record, and food diary to help me keep my weight in check....too heavy and the hills get harder, too light and the power / speed disappear. It also serves as my day-to-day health diary should I ever need any serious medical intervention.

    Next, again for cycling, is a third Clipbook (in black, again) that holds the current British Cycling Sportive Training Plans, in Beginner and Advanced formats (printed on A4 and tri-folded to fit). This is only a 24-week plan in each case, but both of them fill the Clipbook to capacity. It means that if I'm feeling under the weather that I can switch down to an easier ride on a specific day, and move up when I feel better again.

    Leaving cycling, I also have another Clipbook for recording and planning various (and many) fishing trips that I go on every year, some abroad but mainly in the UK. This is not my only source of reference for fishing as I also have a huge digital database of trips, magazine articles, and video e-magazines on my laptop (a new Lenovo S20 Touch, which replaced my now dead, and ancient, Thinkpad T30). It is "synced" with my Samsung tablet and Sony smartphone on a daily basis, after cross -referencing anything I add / may have added to my Identity binder. This Clipbook binder also contains a WO2P diary, as I can plan everything including new tackle purchases and bait needs on the lined notepaper page that I put in between each page of the diary.

    Generally, the only binder that doesn't stay at home is my Identity, and between all of my binders, the S20, my tablet and my smartphone, I have found MY planner peace / Nirvana, and wholly endorse my choice of being exclusively A5. My system is not the best way for everyone, but it does what I want it to do, and backs up the using a Clipbook as a project folder....albeit I use more than one to fulfil my requirements.

    Does this make me a collector?


    1. I think that makes you a collector AND a well organised planner person!

      I'm a cyclist and enjoy sportives and a bit of mountain biking too. I would love to read a post about your Clipbook set-up and this is just the sort of thing that would go down well on Philofaxy. (Hint hint). At heart I'm an A5 man but only take a Flex Pocket or Midori Passport when out in the saddle and only record things like route, cycling time, average speed, good tea rooms etc.. Maybe I should also be logging faults, tube changes etc. As for cadence (pedal rotations per minute) that would make depressing reading, as I'm a bit of a masher!

    2. I too, am a masher, bangers and mash, roast beef and mash, gravy and mash--you get the picture!!

    3. Tim, I thought I'd pretty much covered it all already, just without pics. I had thought about doing a "guest post" and sending it to Monsieur Morton, but then this FFAF came up and decided on the "contribution to the discussion option". Apart from all of the laminating, and some resizing, the setup is pretty simple, and took me away from A4 / lever arch folders and reporter notebooks.

    4. Mac - I think it would still make a great post - Use the same text plus a few pictures to go with it.

      I hope that others might also be tempted to write a guest post on their favourite subject. it can't be fair on Steve, Anita and Nan to be left to do it all all. Go on - do it this weekend!