10 August 2015

Guest Post - Filo Tips - Amanda

Thank you to Amanda Moore for this guest post. 

A lot of these have been mentioned occasionally on the Philofaxy site and elsewhere. I hope my own list will help people with their 'Filo-Adventures'. I've run these tips successfully in my personal and my A5.

1. Folding is your friend:

Folding your inserts can create quick guides for drawing, to do lists and for most writing tasks that require margins or proportions. For instance, a central fold divides my week to an opening and gives me appointments on one side of the day and tasks on the other side. A quick fold converts a blank page into a To Do list for instance.

2. Play with papers:

Philofaxy printables are fabulous! I found 70gsm photocopy paper which is fractionally thinner than the 80gsm you usually find. Whilst not Filofax thin, it is very serviceable and a fraction of the cost. I also hunt the Bargain Stores looking for good quality paper journals that might suit for notes, finance sheets and so on. A quick trip to most printers (in Australia I use 'Officeworks) and a few dollars for them to guillotine and you have piles and piles of inserts. 

3. Fitting it all in:

Of course a good hole punch is a 'must have', but you might prefer a single punch if you're more patient than I am. There are links on Philofaxy for the Rapesco punch which is excellent.

A single hole punch is indispensable for those jobs where the portable plastic punch is not strong enough or your Rapesco is at home. I use mine to make plastic dividers from plastic envelopes as well as to punch other inserts. It saves hauling a heavy six hole punch around everywhere. Mine sits in my 'emergency' bag inside my handbag and is barely noticeable.

4. My stationery drawer:

I use a plastic Filofax Credit Card insert for spare labels, stickers, postage stamps and so on. My mini-stationery cupboard. It holds quite a lot and also encourages me to not carry too much! Of course there is the wonderful suggestion of a 'Dashboard' for sticky notes as well. 

5. Find your sections quickly:

I have collected a number of Filofax page markers over the years and I use three currently: One for my month on two pages, one for my daily pages, and one for my current project. It's easy to remember to count in 1,2, or 3 rulers to open instantly at what is required.

6. Easy Tax Time:

Keep your eye open for the right size envelopes for your planner and you've instantly made a collection of dividers with pockets. Easy to label and useful for reference materials and notes. I use a standard size envelope to hold the month's receipts. I number receipts and list them on the envelope with number, item and price. A new envelope monthly keeps all my tax receipts in place.

7. Two or Three Filofaxes in one:

I make my own dividers, using 230gsm card. I make a few that are 'full width' meaning as wide as the standard divider plus tab. They run full length and allow me to have 3 sections in my Filofax with smaller tabs within each section. I use Washi tape to colour code the edges. 

I use these Section Dividers to separate my Diary section, my Projects section and my Information section. (and my information section is a set of Filofax A-Z dividers that I use for all those references we tend to collect.
I use a white cardboard so that I can write significant events or items on them. For example, my 'Diary' section divider lists the big events that occurred during the year. For example, "1 July - New Car arrived". This means I have a quick reference to look back for important dates and information. So if I go to July 1, I'll see dealer's contact details, impressions of the day and so on. Likewise I have projects listed, start and finish dates and context etc.

8. Those pockets:

Filofax and other brands have a bewildering array of pocket styles and sizes, and rather than fill them up with bits and pieces, I use them to hold custom paper and plastic envelopes. I find it easier to pull an envelope out rather than a collection of reference material that I then have to sort through. A bit of Washi tape and trimming can colour code references such as, 'mad money', prescriptions, spare business cards, etc. This is also a useful way to deal with budgetting if you follow the 'envelope' system. Make the envelopes the right size and bill paying is a breeze.
9. Saving it all:

With every phone also a camera, it's easy to back up your planner. Just take a photo of the page or layout every time you have essential to remember information and email it to yourself. You'll probably never need it but it only takes a few seconds and it's peace of mind. For the actual pages, at the end of the year I use plain old ribbon wound through the holes and tied up nicely. I hole punch some new cardboard covers to convert my planner into an archived diary. A strip of tape on the spine gives me a label, and I have an easy reference for the year.

10. Wake up and Smell the Coffee:

 I find sitting in a quiet cafe with open Filofax and sorting out my life and tasks very relaxing. Taking time to 'smell the coffee' is always worthwhile. 

Some great ideas there Amanda, thank you very much for sharing them with us all. 


  1. Hi Amanda, I too enjoy scouring through thrift stores for interesting papers to turn into inserts. Results in a complete Frankenstein binder, but interesting. Thanks for sharing your tips.

    1. Hi Carla, Yes there are some delightful finds, and whilst I'm not a 'decorate your Filo' sort of user, I really enjoy the different colours and textures that I end up with.

  2. Which make and model of binder are you using here, Amanda?

    1. Hi Cruz. That is a Van Der Spek Touch Me that I've just received via Philofaxy Adspot. At the moment I'm jumping between Malden, Holborn and the Touch Me. The tip about using cardboard separators helps the migration process too! Each binder has its advantages but none of them is perfect. I suspect I'll end up asking the artisans at Van Der Spek to make a custom version featuring bits of each of these models.

  3. Hi Amanda, Thank you for sharing your tips on your planning system. You have inspired me to make some changes to my own system, you have simple ideas that can work well for myself and my planning. Do you have a blog or social media that I could follow to keep up with your ideas?

    1. Hi Sam, and thanks for the compliment that I might be a blog person. Sorry, no. Yes I do try and 'keep it simple' and I think that 'keep it simple' would be a very loud chorus here at Philofaxy. I've really enjoyed David Popely's posts on GTD and I think that the GTD system is perhaps the simplicity of thought, task, accomplish that I strive for.

    2. Thanks for your reply Amanda, i'm doing some research into the GTD system at the moment and will check out David's posts - I intend to have it in place and set up over the next week or so. Thanks again for your inspiration :)

  4. I love the idea of indexing envelopes with receipt information inside, but OH the hack of making divider a little wider so the tabs stick out far enough to have sub-tabs behind. I use top tabs for sub-sections, but I like the fact that everything is on one side. Thank you for these tips!

    1. Thank you very much for your kind words. I'm pleased that you found something useful in my jottings.

  5. Hi Amanda--What a thoughtful and practical post. I really enjoyed reading it, especially your tips on writing significant dates on white cardboard, backing up your planner with your phone's camera, and crafting a bound volume for the year. I will be borrowing those ideas for my own filofax :) Thank you for sharing all of these great ideas!

  6. My pleasure thank you Cathleen.

  7. Amanda, thanks for a great post! I really enjoying reading other people's tips & tricks as you can always learn something handy. I'd love it if you were able to write some more guest posts :)

  8. Thanks Anita for the kind words. With the forebearance of Steve I'll probably bother him with another at some stage. I trimmed down the suggestions since it was starting to look like a first draft of 'War and Peace', so hopefully soon. Thanks again.