08 December 2022

Using an A5 Original for work - by Anita

Since purchasing my first Filofax back in 2009, I've consistently been in personal size, apart from a very brief attempt at using an A5 as my only binder. Whilst personal is a great size for me, the skinny pages aren't so good for when I want to write longer notes, so at some point, I decided to try an A5 for planning projects as well. In theory it made sense, but I tended not to use the A5 as my focus was so much on the personal. Therefore some years ago, I made the decision to sell my last A5 and donate any remaining A5 supplies to a friend. 

However, circumstances do change and I then changed jobs after having been in the same role for 13 years! Somehow it felt like time to try something new, so I just happened to mention that I was maybe considering trying an A5 for work and then a friend kindly provided an A5 Original. 

As I tend to prefer older models, the Original is actually one that I haven't seen much, apart from occasionally at one of the Philofaxy meet ups. 

Steve previously wrote an excellent review of the model when the the Original was first released back in 2013, so this post is going to be more about how I'm using it for work.

This is the aqua colour, which I've realised is one of those colours that is very hard to capture properly as it tends come out too blue in photos. I really love this colour as it's a lovely mix of both green and blue. I love the simplicity of the design and don't mind the internal layout, as I don't need to keep much in the pockets anyway. However, that black elastic pen loop doesn't match the rest of the design at all, and Filofax could've done much better in my opinion. 

Taken on an Ikea bag - still too blue!

I changed jobs in 2020, so all of my training was done by Zoom, and at the beginning I was writing lots of handover notes for clients that I would be taking on. Sadly due to client confidentiality, I can't share any of those pages, but it's not pretty with lots of scratchy notes, crossed out stuff when my boss changed her mind and then highlighted sections for important things and to-dos.

As I've been in my job some years now, the notes written in my A5 have reduced as I've done my training, but it's still been a very useful tool to keep everything all in one place.

Here's an mocked up example of what a page might look like (and you can see how long it is since I started writing this post from the date!):

As per normal, I'm using up some old diary inserts and the butterfly pages are from a very old notebook that I tore the pages out of and hole punched. As I gave away the small amount of A5 inserts that I previously owned, I'm pulling apart old A5 notebooks and using that paper up.

My work set up is very simple

  • Date and day highlighted in pink
  • Any to-dos are highlighted in green and I'll put an asterisk next to anything urgent or important
  • Separate to-do list by client for any tasks that will take longer to do 
  • No diary in the A5 as I use Google calendar, which is shared with my boss
  • When I first started using the A5, I briefly had two jobs, so just split the Filofax in two with a couple of dividers and also used small sticky tabs for anything that I needed to return to on a regular basis, e.g. notes on an individual client, as a reminder whilst the work was still new to me. 

Well, I admit that I started writing the draft for this post such a long time ago, that my set up has changed quite a bit now! 

  • At the beginning, I used the A5 for everything for work
  • As time went on, I realised that it could be useful to also use a spreadsheet to keep track of client information, and I found that I was using Excel more, as it's easy to copy and paste details from an email or software. Also, as it's a remote job, it's easier to share the document via Google drive
  • So, therefore I was using the Original mainly for meeting notes, and then realised that I just find notebooks easier for when you're writing more like that, and also I had no need to move pages around
  • A5 Original returned to its previous owner (a big thank you to my friend for allowing me to try out the A5)
  • Current set up:
    • A4 hardbound notebook (2017 day per page diary that I got for 50p, which I bought as it was cheap and I liked the silver colour) - meeting notes, brain dumps, ad hoc lists and for when I need to figure out something more complex
    • Excel spreadsheet - summary for monthly work by client and sheets for each client with important dates, to-dos, waiting for items and notes. 
I might not be using a Filofax for work any more, but I couldn't be without my faithful personal Kensington, which is my external brain for everything else!

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