05 February 2018

Guest Post - Functional planning thread on Facebook by Jane

Thank you Jane for creating this wonderful thread in the Filofax for Philofaxy Fans Facebook group. 

The great thing about our planner community is the diversity of planning approaches. Some folks are energized by stickers and decorations; others are distracted by them. I fall into the "squirrel" camp: if you put a pink neon glitter heart on my to do list, I will stare at the magical sparkles...and not complete my tasks! Plus, I know a lot of folks say they aren't "artistic," and actually beat themselves up (newsflash: don't waste your time berating yourself! Instead, you can be a productivity ninja in your own unique and wonderful way!)

Here is a list of fabulous resources that have really helped me over the years, in no particular order, except the first website.

The ultimate guide, Plannerisms' Choosing Your Planner, Part 1: Daily, Weekly, Monthly?
This three part article is a must read. Laurie, who runs the blog knows every planner under the sun...or knows someone else who has used it.
Choosing Your Planner, Part 2: Size Matters
Choosing Your Planner, Part 3: Types of Weekly Planners

Anita Lim's amazing GTD set up: My set up (based on Getting Things Done) - by Anita

David Popely's set up: Guest Post - My current (GTD based) Filofax setup - David Popely

The ultimate mini Filofax set up by HP. Yeah, he doesn't play; planner essentials' hardcore!
My Filofax: The Mini Is Big Enough - Guest Post
At this point, I feel as if I should mention I'm a minimalist, so I'm obsessed with streamlining my entire life. Fawn is a mother of 5 who single-handledly raised her children. My FAVORITE thing about her is this quote: "I'm a big fan of doing what works." Duh! I know I completely overthink/plan/analyze everything, especially my planner. Fawn's simple system might help you focus on basics: Organizing: How To

George Redgrave is an amazing Filofax user I found on Flickr. I harassed him for so many years, he finally agreed to write an interview for Philofaxy, and his photographs are STUNNING:
Guest Post: The Filofax that started it all - Jane

Patty Gardner is freaking brilliant. She offers loads of creative solutions to everyday problems, including if your planner isn't working at work and a simple alternative:
Unfortunately the link listed in the FB post doesn't work anymore as Home Makers Daily is sadly no longer there, but you can visit Patty's other site at Planning With Patty

This website is VERY different from your everyday planner guide, but I rocked this system for 1.5 years when I was an elementary librarian: Rhodia + GTD. Kenji Ohta, a Japanese game designer, created a game where you use small slips of paper (post it notes, index cards, whatever) and choose when you will do different tasks based on Today, this Week, this Month, Hold/Waiting, or Someday/Maybe: GTD + R :: Getting Things Done + RHODIA

Check out these to do lists, which to me look like art (I wish I could write that tiny!!!)
Mrs. Easton to do lists

This article is geared for a specific notebook, but let's face it. All of us, even me the minimalist, have more than one planner and you can use a planner for a notebook. I LOVED the very first comment at the bottom of the article--actually, his words echoed more in my head than the article. Don't want to keep a pile of spirals? Use dividers or tabs in your planner:
Why You Need to Keep a Notebook

The following are two beautiful ideas for recipe planning:
A. This one is for couples without children (the gal just makes 3 meals a week and they eat leftovers. A family of 3 might be able to do this, but certainly not more!) THIS IS SO ELEGANTLY SIMPLE, I LOVE IT! And she mentions she makes different grocery lists for different places, so when she makes that blog post, I'll add it: Weekly Food Planning 1: Planning before you go shopping
B. This one is for creating a recipe bank in your planner!!!

Time Management for Unmanageable People by Ann McGee-Cooper is great for right brain thinkers and offers a few non-conventional ideas for people who have no concept for time (ahem, me.)


Right now, I'm personally learning all about the Franklin Covey system. I'm amazed at how their entire system sews seams from one area of your life into another so there are no cracks for things to fall into: Use of the Franklin Planner - My System after 25 Years of use

Back when Jennifer Ross was OrganizedLikeJen, her simple system taught me how to take an end goal, break it down, and then work the different steps so you have achieved it. ( 13 min. 30 seconds) To-Do List System & Project Management Update
and an actual planning session of Jen's is pretty interesting: ( less than 9 min. ) My Planning Sessions: How I Use My Planners (2014)

This wacky guy offers a bare bones method of making a task list: To-Do List Hack
This color coding video is freaking brilliant by Annie Smith: Color Code in Your Planner (Franklin Covey, Filofax, Color Crush)

Any video by Joshua La Porte. I'm serious, watch them all. He will educate you and then, BOOM! Drop a one liner that will make you spit out your coffee! Here is his video for how he rocked a Filing Cabinet before the term was even invented: my new filofax setup

Zandranna shows off her very functional pocket in this video, and urges "Oldies" to use a Filofax (her word, not mine). Her other videos are very creative, and worth a look--she shows you how to make a divider tab with pockets not needing any tape! Oldies Can Make Use of a Filofax Too

Chris Kyle has invented an incredibly simple and effective system called Strikethru. (Thanks for sharing this, Anita!) If we compare planning styles to movie genres, pretty planning is Bollywood, while Strikethru is film noir: Strikethru

Cori at YouTube Channel TalesfromaPolkCountyGirl has some really great content including goals setting--she mind maps them out then lists them and puts the list right in front of her desk. Her method for tracking completed goals is so simple, it's brilliant (Goals Update January 2016)
modified bullet journaling (which is so simple, you aren't fussy with the system, you're getting things done!) (May 2015 Bullet Journal) and shows how you can actually fit different page sizes into different planners without having to punch new holes! Filofax and Mini Flex Hacks

Not sure how long ago I found this, but Rhomany's Realm (the founder of One Book July) has a ton of excellent videos. This one, on how to use a brain dump is simple and keeps you from re-writing things: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=kXUjQFytc-k&t=1512s ANY of her videos are fantastic and focus on functional planning.

Strikethru system is a simplified Bullet Journal option, using a calendar, vault (reference), Brain Dump, and you focus on what needs to be done now with the Live List section. https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=b-Zukikrw_Q
Valerie Brown doesn't have many videos, but the ones she has are super quality, and on taking a ready-made system and customizing it for your needs. She has a simplified Franklin Covey system, where she uses her own print-outs in an extremely budget friendly and printer-simplified method. https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=wYQHFHvM--A&t=775s
Megan Rhiannon is an amazing young woman and her workhorse bullet journal planner videos are fantastic. Her emphasis is on keeping things simple so she can be productive while finishing her degree at Cambridge. Here are my top 3:

Plus, she does flips of her finished planners, so check them out!

Favorite functional planning resources added in the comments
Filofax Tip No 7 - How I Plan Each Day - The Australian Way
Filofax Tip No 55 - Using Bullet Journaling to Plan My Week
A5 Filofax Malden: Routines & DIY stickers
The 17 dividers system in A5 Filofax - part1
One Fantastic Find!


  1. Fabulous post, Jane!

    Thanks for sharing all these great sources of info and inspiration in one post.

    Have already enjoyed reading a few of the reference posts.

    More to go...


  2. Mark, be sure to message Steve if you have any other videos like these to recommend! Truth? I just made the list so I could find everything in one spot!

  3. Thanks for putting this together, Jane.
    Like Mark, I'm still working my way through reading them all & it's all very useful!

  4. I don’t think Jordan’s amazing videos were mentioned:

  5. I'm blown away by this post! So many resources all together--and with great descriptions. Like others above, I very much look forward to working through and reading them all. Thanks so much!