15 October 2015

Experienced User - Paige

Thank you Paige for sharing how she uses her organiser. 

My name is Paige Zinn and I am 46 years old. I live in Chapel Hill, NC, and I run a healthcare marketing firm.  I have a husband and two children. My daughter, Parker, is 13 years old. My son, Orlando, is 11 years old.

I love calligraphy; I collect fountain pens; and I enjoy spending my time organizing and planning my house and my life.

Thank you for allowing me to answer your questions. I am a recent fan of Philofaxy and always look forward to my email alerting me of a new post.

1. When did you start using an organiser?

I purchased my first Filofax in 1989 at a local retailer here in Chapel Hill. They were the only place that offered Filofax, and they had a beautiful display of planners and inserts. I purchased the Filofax in anticipation of a semester long trip to Europe my junior year in College. I loved that I could keep all my important documents in one beautiful leather planner.

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

I have definitely gone through cycles. I used a personal sized planner for work/school obligations during college and the first few years of working. However, once I had children, I increased the size of my planners. I started with the Daytimer desk version and wire bound calendar and diaries. That worked for a while, but I thought the calendars were a bit dull looking, and there was no ability to customize my inserts. And the desk size was too large to carry around.

I then went to an A4 size a few years later and have collected 9 or so Filofax planners in that size, as well as a few other brands. It worked for many years, but now I am at a point in my life where I want something smaller. I recently purchased a Filofax personal size in The Original. I have included a few photos of how I use it.  I am actually using some of the inserts from my first Filofax in this new one (the calendar bookmark & the business card holders). I think the quality of the inserts from 1989 are much better than the current offerings. I’ve also placed an order for the raspberry Finsbury in the personal size. I love the color and the feel of the leather.

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

As I mentioned above, the personal size is my preferred choice right now. I love that I can throw it in my purse and not have to worry about it.

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

As one of my photo shows, I love that I can plan projects in my planner. Currently, I have two projects: Thanksgiving dinner (we are hosting) and my Christmas shopping list. And I live by the calendar. I use the one day per page layout. I used to use the day on two pages format, but that is unnecessary and a waste of space.

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

Yes, all of my appointments go in the hour by hour calendar. The other side of the page is used for my work and personal todos. I put my work todos on the top of the page, and my personal todos go on the bottom of the page.

For longer term projects, I use the “projects” section of my Filofax. Currently, my two projects are my Thanksgiving todos (we are hosting 20+ people) and my Christmas shopping list.

For personal notes, I use the “notes” section of my Filofax. Currently, this includes things I don’t want to forget/books I want to read/etc.

I also keep all pertinent business cards (things I access regularly) in my Filofax.

6. What routines and structures do you use?

I’m not entirely sure what you mean by this question, but my Filofax stays open throughout my day. I
look at it regularly to stay on track and make sure I attend to the priorities of the day. Once a task is complete, I mark through it. I love it when a day has all the tasks marked through. I also use a highlighter to note when a call has been made, but not returned.

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

I only use one planner at a time. I use it for all aspects of my life - my husband’s appts, my appts (personal and work-related), my children’s appts, as well as family obligations. If I used more than one planner, I’m afraid I would lose track of things. I like to see everything in one place.

Thank you Paige.

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


  1. Hi Paige

    Greetings from South West England, and thank you for such a great post. I really love the 1989 binder! Also the simplicity yet effectiveness of your setup is really impressive. It certainly made me think. Is that a Franklin Covey placemarker you're using?

    How are you finding the Original as opposed to the 1989 binder? I can see the rings are much larger (7/8" against 3/8"?) - does 'stuff' expand to fill the space available?! Does the internal pocket layout work for you? I've always though the insides of the covers looked a bit under-utilised for my taste.

    Thanks again for a great post, and it's always great to 'discover' other long-time planner users across the world!

    Best regards


    1. Good morning, David. Thank you for the comment.

      I, too, get a kick out of connecting with others who enjoy planners. Especially Filofax.

      Yes, I am using a Franklin Covey placemarker and my 1989 Filofax bookmark. I like to mix and match based on what I need at the time. The Franklin Covey placemarker allows me to insert photos, which I love.

      I'm a bit OCD and love things to be in their place. I also appreciate efficiency, so I work hard to keep my planner set up simple and easy to use.

      I have a special place in my heart for my original 1989 binder. I love the leather (I swear that the earlier Filofax's leather was higher quality than the ones made now.) and the color is gorgeous. But the rings are much smaller and I am unable to use it because I need more capacity.

      The Original works well for me. I like the larger ring size so that I can keep the rest of 2015 and the 2016 calendar through May in it. Believe it or not, I am already scheduling activities for 2016, so I need it in my planner. However, I am not fond of the internal pockets in The Original. I would much prefer a larger pocket as opposed to the smaller pockets/business card slots they offer. They are stiff and not easy to use or access.

      I am visiting England for the first time next year. My daughter and I are really excited to visit your country, and to visit some Filofax retailers. Can't wait!

      Have a wonderful day. And thank you for taking the time to comment on my post.

      Take care,

    2. Hi Paige
      If you are visiting England next year, it would be great to see if we can co-ordinate the dates with a meet up in London and you can meet a lot more readers that way as well as being shown around some of the main stationery stores in the centre of London.

    3. I would really enjoy that! I will be there in late March/early April. Thank you for offering to do that.

    4. I'll be in London both late March *and* early April, for a ouple of days each time. Keep me posted on dates please?

    5. Paige, if you need even larger rings you could look out for a Cavendish or a 5/4 Winchester (quite rare and somewhat expensive when they do come up) on eBay. My go-to Personal binder is a Cavendish in chocolate brown, and it works well for me.

  2. Great system. I need everything in one place, too.

    1. Thank you for your comment. It's fun to connect with fellow planners!!!

  3. Simple and to the point system. I appreciate how neat and tidy your filofax comes across. Very efficient and straight forward. Thank you for taking the time to share.

  4. Thank you for taking the time to read my post!

  5. Thank you for your post, Paige! I love reading how others use their Filofax! I was surprised to see that you and I started using a Filofax the same year and our current setup is almost identical! Great minds think alike! (Or maybe that should be "Slightly OCD minds think alike!) ;)

    1. Thanks Carina. Glad to hear there are other OCD Filofax users out there!

  6. Good post!! I am curious about you travel fax, it looks like pigskin which I love, the color is right and texture looks right. I blew up the picture, but it was blurred so I could not read all of it.

    I for one am sure the earlier leathers were of much, much higher quality than those of today. I have a large number of Winchesters, one a 5/4 which I used very heavily, and my EDC which is a 5CLF1/2..
    Neither show any appreciable wear, but have a lovely patina which only comes from much handling over a long period of time. I have 3 Filos not made in England or Italy. To me the English and Italian are the Real Filofax, and those of today simply can't compare.

    Thanks for your post!

    1. I think I would agree - my A5 Bridle is made of superb quality leather, and I con't think of anything I have seen in the past few years (maybe longer) which compares. In teh rare event of me going to look for a new binder, I always start with Ebay these days (unless, of course, there is something on Adspot!)

    2. You are correct. My original Filofax was pigskin. And after 26 years, it still looks great. Maybe even more beautiful than when I purchased it. Does anyone know why a higher quality leather isn't offered at Filofax (at least in the US)?

    3. Hi Paige,

      Great post! I'm "slightly" older than you and live on Long Island. I loved your post because you mention using day per page (my 2016 plan), A4 (I just acquired a Van Der Spek A4 zippered writing case), and healthcare marketing (I've done graduate school in healthcare mgt) !!

      As far as the higher quality leathers I don't know the answer, but the company has gone thru so many changes. Filofax USA moved their main distribution center in Connecticut to a smaller operation in the midwest a few years ago and nothing has been the same since. I own a personal in both Lizard and the Tejus model from the mid 80's. I can tell you they were both made from the same mold!

    4. Michele, thank you for taking the time to respond. It is much appreciated. Sounds like we may have been separated at birth! ;-)
      I would love to see a photo of your Lizard and Tejus planners, if you have the time to post them.


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