09 July 2015

Experienced User - Ray Blake

Ray runs 'My Life All in One Place' where you can find all sorts of free resources for Filofax and other planner systems. He set up and remains active in the Midori Travelers Notebook Resources Facebook Group.

1. When did you start using an organiser?

When I was given one in my early twenties. There followed some misguided adventures in electronic organisation before I finally saw the light and returned to paper five years ago.

2. How has your use of an organiser changed over the years?

Not greatly. I have never worried too much about using consistent pens or inks, for instance, and will always write in it with whatever comes to hand.

In common with many people, I have abandoned a written address book in favour of the iPhone/Outlook combination. In in other respects, my current Filofax contains very similar things from those my first one did back in the eighties.

3. Which diary format works best for you and why?

A week-to-view. It's the right size for the relatively low complexity of my working and personal arrangements and I like the weekly overview it gives me. If I have a complicated day that needs more space I'll plan it out on plain paper.

4. What other information do you keep and maintain in your organiser.

Important websites, IDs and passwords (encrypted, naturally). Ideas and plans. Task lists. Notes on books and music I plan to get hold of. A tube map is always in there somewhere. Sometimes I'll add in a funny cartoon.

5. Do you use a 'system' of organisation, and how does it work in your Filofax?

Not really. GTD has never worked for me. Beyond writing things down and reviewing what I've written, I don't do anything special. The focus is always on living and doing, not on the system.

6. What routines and structures do you use?

There really is only one. Open the book. Read the contents and take action if needed.

7. Do you use one binder or several, and if several, how do you use them?

Only one at a time. That might be a Filofax or it might be a Midori. I change when I feel like it and choose not to apologise for that. I only change the binder or cover, not the contents.

Thank you Ray, I've had a good response from people wanting to take part in this series. I look forward to receiving responses back from people.

If you would like to take part in this series please email steve@philofaxy.com and mark your email 'Experienced Filofax User'


  1. Hello Ray, I'd like here to say a big thank you for all the useful and interesting resources you've made available on Philofaxy and on your blog.

    I find your way of using a planner refreshing. Your phrase about 'living and doing' has helped me realise I need to simplify things myself, not over complicate them. Another useful tip!

  2. Hello Ray, I'm going to echo a bit of what Carol has written. Thank you very much for all of the free resources--the inserts and videos--you've made and shared. I've used many of the inserts you and Steve Morton have designed and I've been using one variation of one of them now for almost a year. It works beautifully for me. I also like your perspective of keeping things simple--and reading what's on the page--then doing. Simplicity. Thank you again.

  3. Simple and functional.. My view exactly and it is still working well for you,that's the best part. Tfs. 😊

  4. Thanks, all. I'm really looking forward dot read other people's responses to these questions over the coming weeks.

  5. Hi, Ray,
    sorry, I am a bit late with this comment... First of all also from me: Thank you very much ! for all the free resources you developed and made available. I really, really appreciate them.
    I am also a long time user of ring binders (since 1986) and made the detour via the electronic gadgets and came back to paper. I also share the love for Midori/ Giramondo. And here I have one question: how do your manage changes from Filofax to Midori? You described that you only change the covers not the inserts -> how do you do this?
    Greetings, Sari

  6. Yes I only change covers, but not cross-platform. I have Filofax inserts and Midori inserts.