06 September 2015

Reader Under The Spotlight - Elena

Today I would like to introduce you to Elena. 

Hi, my name is Elena and I reside in Connecticut with my hub. I'm a full-charge bookkeeper for an asset management company as well as own a part-time bookkeeping service business.

Although we do not have children, between being out of the house from 7:30 - 5:30 M-F and then sometimes having to work in my home office a few evenings, things can get very busy - or forgotten. Oh, and there's this thing called a house that needs to get cleaned and shopped for! I've been using a planner since the mid-90s, but really began to USE it after stumbling upon what I now know as the 'planner community' late last year. Utilizing it to the fullest has helped to make me more productive and keep me sane!

In addition to earning a paycheck, I enjoy blogging at The Weekend Wife about work/life balance, productivity, couponing, recipe testing and, oh yeah, planners, reading, power-walking, trying to find new and inventive ways to re-purpose leftovers and patiently waiting for The Walking Dead and Gotham premiers in the fall!"

1. When did you buy your first organiser and what was it?

The earliest I remember getting an actual ringed binder was in 1995.  I want to say I got it at either Marshalls or TJ Maxx.  It was a no-name, but had that rich, grained brown leather look to it. I used it up until 2000 or 2001 when the snap closure fell apart.  After that, I don’t believe I got another planner until 2006 ( I remember this because I save all my inserts!)

After I got it, I had read an article in Glamour called ‘Happiness Is A Worn Filofax’ and the editor interviewed (Liz Logan) showed how she used hers and I swear hers looked just like my no-name one.  I ripped that article out, folded it up and inserted in the side pocket of my ‘Filofax’ where I read and re-read it over and over until it fell apart and I tossed it.

How cool was it when I discovered someone on Instagram who had not only read that article too, but had laminated it, hole punched it and keeps it in her planner!  Plus, you had a recent user (Alice) who quoted the same article.  Awesome!

2. What other brands have you used or considered using?

Honestly, I’m not really pulled by a specific brand.  If it’s made well both inside and out and the color and style appeals to me, then I will definitely consider it

3. Out of the organisers you own which is your current favourite (Style and Size)?

I much prefer personal-sized (even though I’m currently in a classic sized Franklin Covey now).  It was the one I had purchased after (another no-name) after the snap closure fell apart on my very first one.  This one didn’t have any type of closure (snap, zip or Velcro) and I really liked it.  It was a permanent part of my purse from 2006 until last summer (2014) when I happened upon the bullet journal system.  Bored with my planner being just something that was ‘there’, I began bullet journaling in a notebook until early June this past year when my personal and business needs changed and needed more structure, causing me to go back to a ringed planner.  I still keep that old personal one and use it to store extra inserts, etc.

4. How many Filofax or other brands of organisers do you own?

The only Filofax I’ve owned was a personal sized nude original that I had wanted since I first laid eyes on it last fall.  I found it on eBay, but used it less than a month as both inside pockets were very stiff.  I need my planner to have some give and be able to slide papers in and out with ease, so it became part of an Instagram giveaway and now some lovely lady has given it a forever home. I had also owed a black, personal sized zippered Franklin Covey, but I gave that away too.

The only other planners I have are an A5 Daytimer in a gorgeous cognac color I had ordered back in 2007 – complete with an embossed initials plate.  It was the planner I finally reached for when I had to go back to one in June, but – AK! – the name plate popped off and I never found it.  It made me ill, which led me to purchase my current planner  -  Franklin Covey Classic Quinn in a beautiful shade of burgundy.  I got it for a steal - $6 at Staples (regularly $34.99, marked down to $30 then had a $10 in-store coupon plus $14 in rewards for returning 7 ink cartridges)  I also recently purchased a FC compact polka-dot from Amazon because I want to be prepared to downsize should my need for an A5 change

5. What is the oldest organiser in your collection?

Definitely the no-name one I used from 2006 until I put it aside to bullet journal last summer

6. What do you use your organisers for?

Personal and business (I have a part time bookkeeping service business)  I also have a full time job as a bookkeeper, but any job related tasks or appointments do not go in it.  I use my planner for appointments (doctors, client, car, etc), track when bills are due, log daily tasks, reminders, meal planning and errands.

7. How many sections do you have in your organiser and what is each section used for?

Not very many.  I have a Tasks section where I keep a master task list of things that have to get done at some point, but not necessarily date sensitive.  I keep a Notes section to record client meeting and webinar notes, Business Planning for my business and an Index where I keep reference pages for To Purchase, Household Projects, Discretionary Spending/Budget, Quickbooks pricing spreadsheet, and also a reference page for my planner where I note dimensions, sites where my favorite free printables are, login for FC, Jet Pens, etc. Anything related to my planner gets logged here.

I also have tabbed, undated month-on-two page section with my week on two pages for that month behind each month’s tab.  I’m a minimalist and only keep the current and prior month’s weekly pages so it doesn’t get stuffed.  Once I print, punch and insert September, July will be taken out and archived.  The monthly inserts, however, stay in.  Since I got the planner mid-June, I have June – Dec in it.  This allows me to future plan anything past the month that I don’t have weekly pages printed for.  I also like how Franklin Covey has an ‘Index’ on the front of the each month’s page to record pertinent events, information, etc. that happened that month for easy reference later down the road

8. What was the feature about Filofax you like most?

I didn’t really keep mine long enough to really appreciate it.  If anything, that nude color had a gorgeous opalescent sheen to it

9. If you could design your own Filofax what would it feature?

If Filofax made a patent Domino in a delicious shade of lemon yellow with a side/secretarial and zip pocket like I have in my FC I’d snap it up in a heartbeat!

10. How do you carry your Filofax?

I carry a bucket/tote bag during the week (and on weekends if doing errands)  My planner comes with me everywhere while carrying that bag.  I put it in, spine down, so that the opening is facing up.  This way can just reach in, undo the snap and put receipts, coupons, appointment cards, mail, etc. directly into the side pocket (that I refer to as my ‘in box’ ).  I process papers out of there 1-2 times a week to clean it out.  Again…..minimalist!

11. Which Filofax in the current range do you like the most? Are you going to buy it?

For cost effectiveness, I love the Domino, but the bright pink/turquoise is just a tad bit bright for me.  If I wanted to go all out, I’d get an Ochre Malden.  The leather looks like ‘buttah’ and very pliable.  I love how the inside cover is set up with pockets, zipper and slots.  I think I’d get a LOT of use out of that one, but it’s just a tad bit pricey.  Maybe I’ll win one in a giveaway someday ☺

12. What is the most you have ever spent on a Filofax or other brand of organiser? Which model?

Probably the A5 Daytimer.  I can’t recall how much I had spent for it back in 2007, but with the size, leather and initial plate it had to be over $65

13. What's your favourite Filofax tip or hack?

Since I consider my planner my mobile office, I’ve utilized it like one to contain everything I would need to conduct any personal or business tasks away from home.  In addition to using the side pocket of my FC as an ‘in box’, I use the secretarial pocket as my ‘out box’ where I keep any documents related to tasks on a specific day – with that date written on a page flag attached to the document.  Example:  I have to go grocery shopping on 8/10/15.  That gets entered as a task on that day with an @ sign next to it. That tells me that I have something in my out box to accompany that task – which would be my shopping list with any coupons clipped to the back.  The shopping list would have a visible page flag on the edge with 8/10/15  written on it.

Or I have a task on a specific day to drop off my glasses to have new lenses put in and there’s another @ next to it.  In the secretarial pocket, I’ll have my lens prescription there with the date of my appointment written on a page flag.  It may seem double duty, but it’s a cross-reference system to me.  When I open my planner, the first thing my eyes go to are the neon page flags sticking out on the left with dates written on them.  They remind me I have something to do that day just like looking at the @ sign next to a task on my weekly reminds me that I need something else in order to complete that task.  Whew, does that make sense?  ☺

14. Turning to Philofaxy, what do you like the most?

The planner community.  Plain and simple.  I feel like everyone here understands what someone who is a slave to phone apps does not.  I don’t feel looked upon as being archaic or ‘not with the times’ because I prefer to pull out a pen, open my planner and put that appointment on paper or make a note to myself on a sticky for something I need to transfer to a future page rather than press, swipe, open app and tap in that appointment in a calendar or plug that note into one of the many note taking apps.  I do have certain apps on my phone, but they’re meant to compliment my planner system, not take its place.  The planner is what I go to first whereas the apps are there as a back-up reminder when I need an audio alarm  (I use Google Calendar for that).  I anxiously await Saturday mornings for the Weekly Roundup post and eat up just about every post.  I get encouraged and inspired by everyone’s tips, hacks, suggestions or just looking at gorgeous photos of their setup.

15. And what do you not like about Philofaxy?

Well, I haven’t come across anything yet.  If you’re all about planners, how much could there be not to like?  ☺

16. What was the last music track you downloaded or bought?

I like classic/contemporary country.  I recently downloaded Brad Paisley’s ‘I’m Still A Guy’.  His lyrics are down to earth and have a quirky humorous twinge to them

17. Have you ever attended a Philofaxy meetup?

No I haven’t, but if there’s ever one in Connecticut that I’m able to make it to I would love to go

18. What was the last movie you watched?

In the theater, it was American Sniper.  On television – how many times can one watch How To Train Your Dragon before you realize it’s a problem?  ☺

19. What was the last book you read?

Sadly, I haven’t done much reading for enjoyment lately.  At work, we had a (short lived) book club so it’ll have to be Sheryl Sandberg’s ‘Lean In’.  I currently have Living Well, Spending Less by Ruth Soukup on my nightstand

Thank you Elena.

As you know we are always looking for new people to appear in our 'Reader Under Spotlight feature, you don't have to be 'well known' or a long term user to be considered to appear in this 'spot'.

So please contact Steve philofaxy at gmail dot com today. Thank you.


  1. Hi Elena, nice to meet you. Ive recently found your blog and am thoroughly enjoying catching up.

  2. Thank you Carla. It's great connecting with others in the planner community

  3. Elena, just discovered your blog and I am enjoying it immensely. I love your style!