11 June 2020

Personal Kensington flip through - by Anita

Thanks to Stephen K. from the Facebook group for requesting this post.

I've been in my Kensington since January and am feeling very content. Whilst I've owned more glamorous binders, the internal layout is perfect and the leather has aged to a wonderful squashy softness.

I discovered quite some time ago that charms annoy me as they get in the way and bang on my desk, but instead I have a piece of string from a bunch of wild flowers given to me by my best friend. My TWSBI Eco fountain pen sits inside the rings as it's too large for the Kensington pen loop. I often have temporary items at the front, like these book token cards to remind me to post them to some friends. My dashboard is from a hand painted Valentine's card from my talented husband. 

Currently I also have a quote by Albert Camus - 'Au milieu de l'hiver, j'apprenais enfin qu'il y avait en moi un été invincible'. (In the depths of winter, I finally learned that there lay within me an invincible summer) 

Behind my dashboard, I have some quotes that I currently quite like and these will get changed from time to time.

My first section doesn't have a marker or divider as it's just the first part that I come to. This is my Inbox and also holds spare paper. The contents can vary greatly, depending on what I'm up to - 
a) At its most tidy, it will only consist of blank sheets, as everything else has been processed 
b) Currently it's fairly full of random inserts as I've been having a bit of a declutter and tidy, so inserts have been dumped there for me to look at
c) Often it will only hold a couple of brain dumps and spare paper.  

As you can see from this photo, everything gets re-used and the previous quotes page is an old Dodo Pad insert being used upside down. I love looking at some people's beautifully decorated and well designed pages, but I'm just a scribbler really and nothing gets wasted!

My next section is for next actions.
(Page markers purchased from AtelierDays on Etsy)

I am still using up the Muji notepad sheets (printed on one side only) and add tick boxes on the back using my Hobonichi stencil.

My next section is for projects.

Over the years, the way that I plan projects has definitely been simplified. Once upon a time, I always used the project planning method from David Allen's book Getting Things Done - (1) Defining purpose and principles 2) Outcome visioning 3) Brainstorming 4) Organising 5) Identifying next actions).

However, nowadays I've realised that most of the time, all I need is a section for notes and a separate space for actions. For example, here is my most recent planning for getting my email back under control.

On the other side, I have my actions.

My final section is my A to Z dividers. 

From Stephen - 'I, like you, use a modified GTD. Where I struggle following your process, and perhaps you could add some insight, using A-Z tabs: what types of info goes in the, how long does it stay there, does if get file away?'

Thanks for your question and it's actually helped my better understand how I use my Filofax. 
When I purchased my first one back in 2009, I was actually looking for something to hold my GTD based system and wasn't looking to use it as a diary. Apart from a short period where I used a purple mini Finsbury as a combined wallet/diary, I've rarely kept a calendar in my personal sized binder, so have more space for keeping more project notes and reference information. I use Google calendar, which syncs with my husband's iCal.

Some examples of info currently in my A to Z tabs:
AB - notes on aikido techniques (the martial art that my husband and I practise).
CD - a picture of the Dalai Lama (I went to one of his talks and this photo came from the brochure) and some notes on decluttering.  

EF - a Zen Habits post about clearing out email and behind that exercises for my foot (for plantar fasciitis).

GH - Some random bits and hospital numbers for my Mum's appointments.

M - the largest section is for my Mum as I'm her carer. It's mostly notes from oncology appointments or about medication, with an actions sheet at the end.

R - I also keep more temporary lists here and there. For example, I purchased an audio course by the teacher and author Ram Dass, so this is currently under R.

 Y - 30 days of yoga completed (this now needs removing).

As always, the final item is my trusty Getting Things Done workflow diagram, which acts as a page lifter and handy guide to help me out, if I'm feeling a bit stuck with anything.

So, to fully answer Stephen's questions:
1) My A to Z holds all sorts of info - from essential reference details to temporary projects that I'd like to keep track of.
2) How long it will stay will depend on what is is, some items are always there like Mum's notes, notes from some books etc. Whereas others will be removed once they're completed, like my yoga sessions.
3) None of the information removed is filed anywhere else currently as I am quite discerning about what is a permanent resident in the A to Z. Currently this is working well, but if I find at a later date that it is becoming too large, then I may set up a second binder as an overflow. However, I'm loath to do that as the main reason for keeping an A to Z is for quick and easy access in one place. In the past, I had planned to remove some of my Mum's notes, but have actually reminded her consultant of something at an appointment! Currently I own the Kensington and my custom Van der Spek, so having a second as a potential back up reference book could work well, if needed.

Thanks again to Stephen for his suggestion for the post and his questions. 


  1. Congrats on finishing 30 days of yoga ;p

  2. Also I love your "flip-throughs" :)

    1. Thanks! I love doing 30 days in a row like that. I find doing a flip through always make me think about how my set up is or isn't working.

  3. Great functional set up Anita...thanks for posting this.

  4. how I wish I could find my 'scribbly' planners. I'm not, nor have ever been, a 'pretty planner'. If you use your planner as your creative outlet because you don't have another one, then that's fine. But I see these planner pages crammed with stickers and washi and think, "I would never see what I have to do". My focused-challenged brain would not be able to cope. The simpler the better. I just dig how you re-use old calendar pages for notes. When I went back to rings in June (after bullet journaling for the first 6 months because current events didn't require me to be so structured, but now that I'm back in the office 4 days a week and getting my routine back, rings are what fits the bill)I didn't buy any inserts. I created my dividers from good ol' fashioned dividers they sell for 3 ring binders at Staples, cut them down and hole punched them. I had a unused notebook full of cotton cream dotted paper that I deconstructed, cut the paper down and drew boxes for a week on 2 pages. the rest of the paper went into my projects, lists and inbox sections. I also made an Index section to act like the index page in the FC system. I calendar anything pertinent or memorable that happened on each day. For that section, I use lined, cream paper that was leftover from a partially used notebook. I have a Coupon section where I hole punched 6.5" x 3.5" envelopes and wrote the name of my most frequented grocery stores at the top. coupons to be used at each of those stores go inside the envelope and a post it note with a list gets stuck on top of it (so I don't have to replace the envelopes - I'm cheap!) I'm really just letting it grow on it's own without being influenced by anyone elses setup because what works for someone else may not work for me. But please - post more photos of your planner. Finding ones such as these are few and far between, although I did find a handful of truly functional non-pretty planner videos that were a joy to find!