01 July 2016

Free For All Friday No 398

Today is the start of the second half of the year.

In my own case following some of things I've learnt from my discussions in the podcasts with Karine, I've been using my own organiser far more intensively, I'm writing a lot more things in my week per view diary, more tasks are being recorded... and being actioned.

So each there is a lot less white space these days! I'm feeling more in control of things. Still not many appointments, but I don't think that will change any time soon!

Are you using your planner any differently now compared to the start of the year?

But as it is Friday you are of course welcome to discuss anything about your planners/organisers.


  1. Yes! At the beginning of the year I struggled with my setup, especially with weekly, daily and master to-do-lists, and you could say my planning was an overall mess. I constantly felt overwhelmed and not in control of things at all. This changed at the beginning of June (so after almost one half of the year^^), when I implemented a GTD-setup in my Filofax. Now I am finally and happily at peace with my planning system and definitely get more done than before. The second half of 2016 may begin - I will be in control of my appointments and to do's! *insert crazy laughter here* ;-))

  2. I've officially moved to A6 from personal and I absolutely love it. I've also switched to day per page which works well for me - I now write day specific tasks on the day and it doesn't get muddled in with time specific things as it did before. I've also added a planner for the next ~6 weeks as I'm teaching full time in a summer school and don't want lesson plans, timetables, etc., in my A6 specifically - I'm using a clipbook for this which works rather well (or seems to, I start work tomorrow and teaching on Monday so we'll see!).

  3. I have been using my personal ochre Malden as my EDC since February 2016. Despite a minor issue with the weekend days being too limited on space, the size and layout of the Filofax WO2P has been working very, very well for me. No one could be more surprised about that than I am, given how married I was to the A5-ish Day-Timer Desk-size pages previously. This Malden goes everywhere with me as wallet/scheduler/important stuff carrier. The nicks and scratches it accumulates as such only make it more interesting and lovely to me. :)

  4. I love these inserts! Just what I've been looking for - the left side for appointments, the right side for planning and general info. Where can I get these inserts, please?

    1. They are our own inserts. Look on the Diary inserts page above and you are looking for the Week on two pages Enhanced T M inserts, there are a few different versions available to download and print yourself.


      I've been using these for about 5 years now!

    2. I was just about to ask the same thing. Will check them out.

  5. I started with a day per page format and it made it so conscious that I constantly had to migrate tasks from one day to the next. I have now moved to a week on 2 pages in which I only write down absolutely necessary tasks such as classes I am teaching, meetings and appointments into the day sections whereas I just keep a running to do list on my ruler in between. There are still days that I have to plan in detail, and I am just using the odd old day per page insert here and there if needed or alternatively just a big post it that I stick on the insert to throw it away in the evening. Since I am throwing away old diary inserts and do not see all of the changes that were necessary anymore, I am feeling much more able to focus on the present and take charge of the future. Only when I completed a task that can go on my CV as a publication or a project that I have run successfully, I take a note/update my CV, other than that I feel I don't need a record of my past. This enables me to constantly add more to my planner too, without it getting any bulkier.

  6. Last year I got my first Filofax and did my own inserts, this year I got a Malden a5 and LOVE IT. Working on inserts all the time and it’s so fun. Have made my own planner inserts adapted for my personal needs and it’s great really. I have changed my way of using it a little, drawn my own stickers and stuff like that, because I couldn’t find ones I wanted among the buyable ones, even on Etsy. So, I guess it’s changed because I’m doing more and more with it, shaping it to my hearts content :D

  7. Yes ! I am currently waiting to receive from Colemans my very first Filofax. I thank the philofaxy people (and some youtubers and other bloggers) for helping me to choose the A5 Malden Ochre.

    Things I am trying to attain :
    - No more misplaced or lost things (hence the puchase)
    - Four To Do Lists :
    * Important things (seems to become 'Important Projets I must push constantly', more a list of projets than a list of things to do, because they move fast and I don't want to keep up-to-date the list with the next thing to do for each projet (as in Getting Things Done)
    * Things to do outside the home (They impose their kind of constraints : time, location, savety margins, so they deserve special way of planning. I tend to group them for travel management )
    * Things to do for the home (home and garden maintenance, computer and paper archives, special and unusual cleaning, ... difficult to find motivation, so I keep them apart to
    1) make one thing on that list every day (or at least trying to think about) ;
    2) hide them together in that list in order to do not let them diminish my motivation by being present in my mind when I recall the other lists)
    * things that take a few minutes (To glue other things together, fill savety margins when not used. I hope I can become able to do something useful every minute of my life. But using this time for remembering my plans may be fruitful too, or for mental conditioning in accordance with what comes next.)
    * (each project has his own todo list, too)

    Things I will keep :
    - the A5 format, because I need space for my wordy plans, shematics, self development ideas, etc. And because using a personal, or worse a A6, should increase the number of sheet I need and drive me too fast to the limit.

    - using each day a blank page for everything I may not recall the minute after, without any structure in it. (I believe you call it a minute book in English) => more confidence relating to my memory, and less disturbance of my thoughtflow by allowing me to not conform to any rules of organization when I don't want to focus on the notes themselves. I usualy begin the day by taking a new page and writing some ideas on it (but for this, A4 works beter for me)(todos for the day, self-help ideas, plans on wich I may have slept ...) in order to feel more neat, relaxed, in control. ... Then I can breakfast in peace.
    This eases the use of my four todo lists, and other things, and saves some method-related actions, because I dispatch sometimes after a cooling-off period, after the majority of the stuff to do listed on this page being done, sometimes at the end of the day.
    This is in some way the anteroom for my system.

    1. Just remember that taking some unstructured time to relax, meet with friends, helping a stranger will also be very "useful" for your wellbeing, so don't think you have to plan every minute of your day. Leave yourself some slack time/wiggling space. I do that, for example, by always slightly overestimating the time I need for my tasks and I also schedule my leisure time so that it will not be forgotten either.

    2. thanks for your opinion. I believe what you say is fundamental.

      I believe my conscious, rational, logical mind is not as skillful as the other part(s) at choosing what I need to fill my life with. Relax/meditation/time off is a mean to tap into the other part's potential.
      But I daydream easily, and in this context, unstructured time takes a bad shape.

      As Excellence is an habit, Daydreaming is another one. Falling into daydreaming is easy for me, but quitting is hard. I use a lot of willpower for that. And at the end of the day, I don't lack time but willpower. So a good plan is a plan that saves willpower. I save the willpower by not switching between Working and daydreaming. And the better way I found includes always knowing what's next, always having something to do, always keeping my mind on practical things and not allowing myself to spend time on decisions that are unuseful. Until daydreaming time is come ;)

      I do not plan every minute of the day. Now I reply to you, time doesn't matters, quality do. You deserve the better I can think of and it takes time to be expressed. But I know what I can do next : it will be time to lunch here and the exact moment wiggles, so I may recall a positive belief I am struggling with.

      Now this raises a question : do women tend to spread good moments across the day, whereas men only search calm when everything is done ?

    3. I don't think there is a general gender difference, other than that those taking care of children having to live with constant interruptions. To me it depends on the kind of work I have to do and whether I work from home or not. In any case it helps me to schedule/set an end point for tasks as well as for breaks. If you give yourself a whole day to write a project draft you will need the whole day. If you give yourself 30 minutes for brainstorming, 2 hours for reading /scanning through related materials,taking some notes, 1 hour to work your notes and your brainstorming ideas into a draft and 30 minutes for proofreading and polishing, you can get it done by noon and rightly deserve going for a walk and set your mind free for a while. I understand your willpower argument, but if you need mental focus for your tasks, you will not be able to be really alert for 8 or 10 consecutive hours. It may work when you switch between intellectual and physical tasks though. I am a daydreamer too, but I have just learned to combine these tendencies with manual work that I have to do anyway, such as cleaning the house or ironing shirts. I set an alarm for the end of those tasks, so that I don't get lost in them. You can reduce a lot of willpower by setting an alarm that will pull you back to your next task.

    4. Very useful idea, I completely forgot Parkinson Law.
      I will try; with end point set to 31 July. And report back.

      If one set tight end points to tasks and make short switchover, it all begins to be rude, as you said...

      I can be vigilant 5h per day. I design my plans in this timelapse, and implement them later. There is priorities for the day without end points and then I fill the remining space. I do a lot of creative things and I made the mistake to believe that they don't suit a little planning.

      I understand you split the work in tasks, each one has his raison d'ĂȘtre that leads to his own sub-goal, and then you allow time as you said, knowing how many time you need and scheduling a little more in order to have room, with breaks.

      To do so, you need to know your craft, how to split it, in what sequence, how many time to allow to each task you defined. You may need to know a set of success criterions or what to expect from each task, or a definite method.
      What you expect from a brainstorming is clear, what time to allow to a coffee is obvious.

      When designing electronics for my guitar, it's like a tree I must explore. I never know if I am on the right path.
      Often I find myself in a dead end and I try something else.
      Sometime I learn something that can revive what I believed to be a dead end.
      Sometimes it seems promising but I lack knowledge or the right component and I need to work (work which is strongly linked to other projects) in another area before I return to the main stuff.
      Slowly, the things I build and use help me to grow toward more unterstanding and more awareness, therefore my taste improves, what makes me see flaws I will want to work on later.

      Where setting deadlines will be an improvement is when I simply need to try every component of a family, or every components combination. I often end up in enjoying the sound until my ears are exhausted instead of getting things done. But the level of enjoyment is a primary criterion for the choices I am currently trying to make, and the mesurement of the time I spend speeks.

      My point is, momentum counts. End points will break it.
      The duration of the momentum helps me to see if I am passionate or if I will soon think about quitting.

      In contrast to that, I found that when reading books, allowing one week on a row per book leads me to not spend unefficient time on difficult topics. Here, allocating ressources and making the most of them works better than pursueing understanding at all costs.

      In software development, I have sometimes some tasks that take 1-2 minute, in rows of 100 and more, some of them raising other ones. If I manage to track down easily each one when they appear, I should be able to set useful end points.

      I struggle with documenting my projects for myself. It may be a good idea to develop the habit to take notes at each end point.

      Another very important thing to consider is ... ring ... ah ? time to move to the next task !

  8. The beginning of the year saw me still in my personal size which has worked for me for nearly 25 years. I had no interest in being a 2 planner kind of person. With the start of a new career I quickly realized I could not keep all I needed for work and my personal life in one planner no matter how hard I tried. It was simply too much. My husband had gifted me with an A5 at Christmas that I wasn't sure what to do with. In April I started making it into a work binder/planner. I work as a medical coder, am new to the field, and have a lot of notes, tips, charts, meetings/provider training sessions, and dates to keep track of. The A5 has worked out beautifully. It is every evolving, and I still keep my personal life in my personal sized Filo. My job has been a huge change for me, and having a planner has made the adjustment much smoother. This is my second career, and I am starting a little later in life. The tangibility of my Filofax has made me a bit more confident in my abilities, has served as a valuable reference, and has cut down on my work stress. Also, the Lieutenant Commander I frequently see in the elevator carries a obviously well used, well loved zippered A5. My office head uses a battered, stuffed A5. The military chaplain carries one as well. They range in ages from their 30's to 50's. I am in good company. (I work in a military hospital.) When our Outlook email went down for the day I was the only one not losing her mind. Why? I had backed it all up in my Filo. So yes, my planner is being used differently than at the beginning of the year. And I am rockin' the change.

  9. I maximize the large space on all days of my weekly insert in my Franklin pocket binder. I differentiate the notations to quickly know the information. I write various meals and some lists on the day instead of a different sheet or section. I no longer design different formats, buy inserts, and over analyze many details and ways.