23 October 2016

Experienced User - Michele

This week I would like to welcome Michele to share with us how she uses her organisers.

Hi All, I'm Michele,  and I live in New York  with my fiance, our cat and dog with my son away at college.  Presently, I am an  independent project management contractor which progressed from my work in the marketing within the information technology industry.  

Between assignments I stay very active in the project management community by volunteering with our local chapter of the Project Management Institute (PMI).  

1. When did you start using an organiser?

It was between 1990-1992.  I was very lucky in those days when Filofax was so popular as the "must have" accessory.  Located next to my Manhattan office was a business supply store filled with everything Filofax!  

Then Filofax opened a retail store within my local shopping mall.  I thought Filofax was used mostly by male executives until I read in Madmoiselle that Lori Laughlin of Full House used one.  As soon as I read the article  I rushed to the store next to my office and bought a green pocket Kensington.

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

In the early years thru 1996 I barely kept it beyond keeping track of appointments and maintenance work on my car.  I moved away from the Filofax once I was home with a baby and used an organizer his pediatrican gave me. Needless to say, my Filofax spent a lot of time stuffed in the drawer.  

In 1996 I became a single mom and that is when I REALLY got serious about my organizer.  I lived alone with my two-year old, and I had to manage a household budget so I would be comfortable paying rent.   I pulled my organizer out of the drawer, and it has never seen a drawer since.  For budgeting finances which I was most nervous about I designed a monthly budget template which I still use today.  

I  record every expenditure in designated categories -- every penny is tracked!.  At the end of the year I do a full tally up and set up budget goals for the upcoming year.  I feel so strongly about these budget sheets that I still maintain them in my archives going back to 1999. 

All my business contacts, meetings and hours spent on contract jobs are noted in my organizer.  I do find using a notebook for work  helps me with my job rather than a ringed binder (which I tried for a year, but I wasn't comfortable using).  

What has evolved is how I use those printed "To Do" pages that come with calendar refills.  I just don't even try to use them anymore.  I have found I need those To-Do's need to be on the day itself or on a "Project Page"

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

I prefer Week on 2 Pages format as it allows me an overview of the entire week at once.  I do love the monthly overview, but I cannot imagine adding more to my format. 

In 2011 I purchased the Filofax Business 1 Day per Page for the separate work binder I had then, but I did not use it to its full capacity.  This year  for the second time in my organising life I started using 1 Day per Page with Life is Crafted daily inserts.   These inserts are a great organising tool, however I miss my Week on 2 Pages.  

Earlier this summer I purchased on sale July-Dec A5 Week on 2 Pages from Life is Crafted for my new A5 Van der Spek.  I'm totally in love with this layout because in addition to  the vertical view of the week, there's plenty of room to write down tasks, goals, tracking, etc.   

For 2017, I'm going to buy Life is Crafted Week on 2 Pages for both my Personal and my A5. The layouts are completely different, and I think I can have one to "organising" and one for "planning".  I got this idea from Mella's YouTube  Planning vs. Organising video.   

4. What other information do you keep and maintain in your organiser. 
  • My mother's online information.  She is now 87, and she is an avid iPad user.  I have to be ready when I receive emergency calls when she's forgotten a password.
  • My passwords all in code
  • Job Positions I have applied for are written down on the day I apply.  
  • Exercise and weight tracking
  • Project lists for house, vacations, etc.
  • License plate spotting from road trips 
  • Vision board for future events such as my wedding planned for sometime in 2017
5. Do you use a 'system' of organisation, and how does it work in your Filofax? 

I never got into  Getting Things Done or Bullet Journaling.   My "system" is how my organiser is set up consistently year-to-year.  

6. What routines and structures do you use?

I keep track all  of my "meals out" expenditures and my daily weight recording.   Every $ I spend is recorded immediately or I keep the receipt in my wallet until I write it down. I go over what my daily goals and tasks are for the day.  Whatever wasn't important enough to achieve that day is carried over to the next day.

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

Standard Van der Spek is my go to all in one book.  I put everything in here, and it's always next to me to record errands, job applications, meetings, weight, goals, daily tasks $, etc.

A5 Van der Spek started this year as mainly a vision board of photos for future life events and a record of our recent house makeover. By adding the July-Dec  2016 inserts the A5 mirrors the Standard.  I will definately purchase the full year for 2017 inserts as it is such a detailed calendar for the week on two pages.  

Mini Van der Spek is used primarily on the weekends as a wallet or when we are away on a trip.  It's perfect for stuffing currency in the side pockets, a few cards, etc.  I use the calendar for license spotting and for my exercise diary. 

A5 Mustard Finchley is very sentimental and is used for Christmas and holds many sentimental professional notes I've taken over the years.  

Thank you Michele,

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


  1. Hello Michele, Thanks for sharing. I love the juxtaposition of colors in your Standard VDS. Calm, neutral, then opens up to an explosion of color. But not too busy to be distracting. Hey, I read that Mademoiselle article too. Mella's video, have to watch that again and check out the LIC inserts.

    1. Thank you Carla! I have to say the grey color in my LIc inserts matches my the interior of my Standard VDS really well!

  2. Great stuff Michele! I especially like how you incorporated your vision board and planner all in one spot. Great way to keep your goals top of mind. Thanks for sharing.

  3. Great share Michele! Love seeing how you use the pages together. And I'm still totally adoring your VDS :) And lovely to find out a little more about you!

  4. Love it Michele! Glad my video helped you, I need both weekly and daily or my swiss cheese brain will certainly forget something :-) Now the question remains: does your purse have a purse?

    1. Hi Mella, The answer is no purse for a purse! Love your videos!!!

  5. Thank you for sharing Michele. I really like your budget page. I do one every month but it's not quite so structured. So I'll borrow some ideas from you, if that's ok. Also, congrats on your upcoming wedding.


Related Posts Plugin for WordPress, Blogger...