27 November 2016

Reader Under The Spotlight - Thomas

Today I would like to thank Thomas from Denmark for sending in his contribution to Reader Under The Spotlight.

Hello, my name is Thomas Bentzen. I live in Northern Zealand in Denmark (a small country in Scandinavia) with my wife Bitten and our two children, Simone and Oliver. I work as a software engineer in test (or tester for short) at a consulting firm.

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

Eight years ago, and it was a Filofax Graphic A5. I’ve started using GTD as a method to avoid stress and be more productive, and a paper setup was the only thing, and still is, fast enough to keep up with my worklife. It’s still in use but my wife has it now.

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

Metropol A5 zip. I love the 30 mm rings and all the cardslots. This is my main workhorse and in spite of it’s size, it’s always with me in my bag.

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

I currently only have 3: The Metropol A5 zip which houses most of my GTD system as well as a small referencing section, a pocket size Pennybridge zip which I use as a wallet and ubiquitous capture tool (to help me write it down when I think of it, not five minutes later when I have forgot it). It also holds my shopping lists and whatever I need when I’m out and about. The last one is an A5 no-name which only have 13 mm rings, I haven't moved into that one yet, but planning to use it as a satellite for my Metropol as it’s easier to carry around.

4. What do you use your organisers for?

Mainly to stay sane. This is mostly done via my GTD setup (www.davidco.com). To go into detail about that system will be blogpost of it’s own, but the short version is that I plan most of my life in there.

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

I have eight sections:
  • Notes / in - a planner version of an office in-tray. All notes and receipts go in here. I also have a special note leaf for each day where I take notes bullet-journal style and keep track on time used on clients (for invoicing)
  • Calendar - Philofaxy A5 week on two pages 5 lines with journal - perfect fit
  • Action lists - It’s similar to contextual todo lists, but the items are smaller and are better thought through than regular todo lists. This section is subdivided by context.
  • Agendas - Lists of things i need to talk with people about, og lists for reoccurring  meetings. Each person / meeting have their own leaf. I find this section is a huge productivity enhancer.
  • Projects - A project in the GTD world is something that is not done and needs to get done and takes more than one step to complete. These range from organising a meeting to a 5 year software implementation project. This section is subdivided by area of responsibility.
  • Someday / maybe -  Things I might do in the future, but I haven’t committed to yet. You could say a dreamers section. If I get inspired about something but can’t find the time do anything about it now, it goes in here for incubation and later reference.
  • List / reference - A - Z indexed reference materials. Also where I store my checklists and mind maps.
  • Storage - A few empty leafs on various types. I restock a few times a week but still manages to run out regularly.

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

Perhaps 70 mm rings :-) - I have my eyes on Van der Spek because I like the idea of a custom designed organiser, but I’m not yet sure what to put in it, so I’ll hold that idea for now.

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

Get a laminator and make your section pages yourself. Use funny pictures og beautiful images of whatever you fancy, just to make your organiser even more appealing. I had a resistance of putting actions for things i needed to do on my Mac in my actions lists, but then I made a subdivider for my

At Mac context with a picture of Gandalf using a Mac which I find hilarious, and that was enough to make that resistance go away.

8. Have you ever attended a Philofaxy meet-up? if not do you intend to one day?

I have not, but I would love to

9. What was the last movie you watched?

Miss Peregrine’s Home for Peculiar Children - absolutely worth to go se

10. What was the last book you read?

The Mind Mapping Book by Tony Buzan

Thank you Thomas.

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. Thomas. thank you for giving us a peek at your organizing system. To me, the GTD system has always been a puzzle that each post or video has given me a 'piece' of. I think you've just given me the last piece of my puzzle.

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  3. Hi Thomas, thank you so much for your answers. As a fellow GTD user I was particularly interested.

    I recently read The Year of Living Danishly: Uncovering the Secrets of the World's Happiest Country, by Helen Russell, and I'm somewhat (no - very!) envious of the Danish way of life. I can easily see how planning in the way you do contributes to that.

    You're right - a paper system is so much faster and more accessible than any digital solution.

    What bag or bags do you carry for your A5 and other day to day needs?