12 August 2018

My Favourite Organiser - Danielle

Thank you to Danielle who is a career counsellor and university administrator who lives in France.

1) What is your favorite organizer and why? 

My favorite organizer is a Gillio slim medium Compagna. This corresponds in size to compact personal in Filofaxes and standard with 13mm rings for Van der Speck organizers.

2) How long have you owned it? 

I’ve only had it for about 6 months, but after 25+ years of using an organizer of one kind or another, I know this is the make and model that suits me best!

3) What is it that you like about it so much?

First of all I love using rings, because they allow so much flexibility in what you can add or take out of your organizer. This is the best size for me, too, as it’s big enough to allow for writing more than just a few lines yet slim and lightweight enough to fit into my purse. To me, portability is one of the key aspects of an organizer!

Also, I think it has been thought through very carefully. The semi-elasticized pen loop works with any pen I have tried. There are reinforced pockets and slots for business or credit cards. And it is high quality: the leather has a lovely texture and is vegetable-dyed, the rings work well, and the strap is sturdy and doesn’t feel like it will fritter away in a few months.  I also love design elements like the fact that the strap is rounded, and that one of the inside pockets is slightly diagonal. Details like these make it feel like there is real craftsmanship behind this product.

4) Do you use it all the time? 

Yes! You know that question about what you would bring to a desert island? I think I would bring my organizer! I take it with me just about everywhere. And yet I have drastically reduced what I use an organizer for over the years and no longer weigh it down unnecessarily.

For me, the most important thing is being able to visualize my week and scribble down my most burning to-do items. Like many people, I use a variety of print and digital calendars and journals to keep myself on track: at work we use Outlook, I use a calendar on my phone for personal appointments, I use a bullet journal for my big weekly to-do (personal) list that I usually keep at home, and I have a variety of dedicated notebooks for different topics (financial, food planning, exercise, various personal projects and at least two for projects at work, etc.).

In my organizer, I’ll add work-related commitments that take place outside of normal work hours such as any evening events I have coming up, along with medical appointments, yoga classes, travel information, as well as social and family events. There is some overlap, in that some of these commitments are listed in more than one place, and it requires time to make sure my organizer and my electronic calendars are synched. But I now consider this weekly synching and planning time as a chance to think about what my coming weeks will look like and as a kind of mindfulness exercise as I take stock of how I am using my time.

My organizer is where I can tell at a glance whether I am teetering on the brink of overcommitment or if I can add some discretionary activities that week. Outside of the actual calendar function, my organizer is a temporary repository of information and I have to be very disciplined about transferring notes and other items out so that they don’t weigh the whole thing down. For example, I might write up some notes for a workshop I’ll be leading and then type them up when I get to the office, or if I find myself at a meeting or conference, I can take notes in my organizer and subsequently glue or tape those notes into the appropriate notebook or add them to a paper file.

The other thing I do that makes me a kind of dinosaur is bring a fountain pen with me. I actually chose the color of my organizer based on one of my favorite fountain pens, which is a red Waterman.

Of course when I quickly have to jot something down I use any random pen, or maybe type it into my phone, but if I am thinking about whether to commit to some opportunity that has come up or otherwise working through some options, using a fountain pen slows the whole process down, forcing me to write more slowly and think more carefully. It’s like slow food—slow planning! And I also am convinced that I remember things better when I have written them out by hand.

5) Do you think the design could be improved in any way? How? 

I would love to see a ring organizer where you could alternately open the strap either to the left or to the right to move it out of your way when writing, or even remove the strap entirely.

In this way, it would be possible to own straps in different colors to match or contrast with the color of the organizer. Gillios are expensive, so I can’t imagine having a wardrobe full in different colors, but I get frustrated using the same color every day and would love different straps to change up the look a little. For example, with my red organizer I can imagine a white strap, a purple strap, or even red, white and blue (#France #WorldCupChampions)!

Thank you Danielle. 

As you know we are always looking for new people to appear in our 'Readers Favourite Organiser' 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.


  1. Excellent post; you gave me a few new ideas! Thank you!

  2. Great post Danielle, thanks so much for sharing a glimpse of your organiser!

  3. I just shared your post Danielle on Twitter. As I know many people will love to read it.

  4. Have you tried a digital weekly to-do list? Like this one - https://flow-e.com/blog/weekly-to-do-list/

    Cheers! :)