04 July 2024

The Timeless Benefits of Using a Filofax

In an age where digital devices dominate our daily lives, the Filofax remains a steadfast companion for many professionals and enthusiasts alike. This personal organiser, with its distinctive ring binder and customisable inserts, offers a plethora of advantages that digital alternatives struggle to match. Here are some of the key benefits of using a Filofax:

Tangible Organisation: The Filofax provides a physical space to write down appointments, notes, and reminders. The act of writing by hand aids memory retention and the satisfaction of ticking off completed tasks is unmatched. Unlike digital devices, there are no distractions from notifications or the temptation to switch to social media.

Customisation and Flexibility: One of the most significant advantages of a Filofax is its adaptability. Users can tailor their organisers to their specific needs, whether it's by adding, removing, or rearranging pages. From calendars and to-do lists to address books and notepads, the Filofax can become whatever its user requires.

Durability and Reliability: A Filofax is not subject to battery life or electronic failures. It's a dependable tool that's always on, ready to be used whenever needed. The quality materials used in its construction ensure that it can withstand the wear and tear of daily use, often becoming more characterful with age.

Privacy and Security: In a world where digital privacy is a growing concern, the Filofax offers a secure alternative. Personal information stored in a Filofax is not vulnerable to hacking or data breaches, providing peace of mind for those who value their privacy.

Professional Aesthetic: A Filofax exudes a professional and classic aesthetic that technology cannot replicate. It can make a statement in a business meeting or an interview, showcasing an individual's commitment to organisation and attention to detail.

Mindfulness and Focus: Using a Filofax encourages mindfulness and focus. The process of planning and reflection without the interference of technology promotes a clearer mind and a more deliberate approach to time management.

Archival Record: A Filofax serves as a tangible archive of one's personal and professional history. Unlike digital records that can be lost or corrupted, the pages of a Filofax can be kept for years, providing a physical record of achievements, milestones, and memories.

Environmental Considerations: For those concerned about the environmental impact of electronic waste, a Filofax is a more sustainable option. It requires no electricity, and paper inserts can be recycled, reducing the carbon footprint associated with digital devices.

Networking Tool: The business card holder inserts make a Filofax an excellent networking tool. It allows for the immediate storage and organisation of contacts met in professional settings, facilitating follow-ups and relationship building.

Stress Reduction: The clarity and control provided by a well-organised Filofax can significantly reduce stress. Knowing that all tasks and appointments are accounted for in one place can bring a sense of calm and order to a busy life.

In conclusion, the Filofax offers a unique combination of practicality, customization, and style that digital devices cannot fully replicate. Its enduring popularity is a testament to its effectiveness as a personal organization tool. Whether for professional use, personal planning, or as a creative outlet, the Filofax remains a relevant and valuable asset in any individual's arsenal of productivity tools.

Do you agree with Chat-GPT? 


  1. I see what you did there. ;)

    And yes, I do. Especially the "mindfulness" part.

  2. It's pretty good, isn't it? There are counter points to be argued about durability, privacy, security & archiving/backup (flood, fire, theft, loss, etc,), and lack of ability to search & automatically cross-reference/remind, etc.), but it's a pretty cogent article. Kevin.

    1. Hands Off My Data04 July, 2024 14:59

      True, but even a Filofax full of passwords and PINs written en clair is orders of magnitude less likely to get spread around the dark web, sold, and used to try to bruteforce other accounts in hopes the owner re-used passwords elsewhere.

      Digital data can be endlessly copied with extreme ease, and automated systems run to test variations on many different sites. Writing on paper presents a much less alluring source of information to a random opportunist, since they'd need to read handwritten script, and then manually enter the information.

      Another advantage is that in most cases, you'll actually know it's happened.

      To put the importance of that in perspective, in 2007, two disks with the entire UK child benefit database were lost in the post: "The personal data on the missing discs was reported to include names and addresses of parents and children and dates of birth of the children, together with the National Insurance numbers and bank or building society details of their parents" per Wikipedia. It took around a month for the government to bother mentioning this to the public.

      More recently, in 2016, Uber hid a 57-million user data breach for over a year, and the UK Electoral Comission also hid a 2021 hack that affected 40 million UK voters and which included full names, email addresses, home addresses, phone numbers & scanned images, for a similar period.

      When a smaller store or commercial database gets hacked, even if they don't drag their feet, it usually ends up buried in tech news.

      Knowing you have a problem is an essential part of mitigating damage. Data silently being siphoned & spread, and the coverups that often ensue, amplify the seriousness of digital data loss.

    2. I didn't say electronic was better than paper; just that there are arguments, pro and con, for both. As with most 'questions', the answer is 'it depends'.

      The ability to infinitely copy information is both a blessing (multiple, independent, remote backups, efficient manipulation/processing) and a curse (theft, invisible copying, etc). Digital also facilitates encryption, which provides protection (to a given level/time/effort, provided your Filofax with encryption passwords isn't stolen...). The examples you give are for corporate attacks and stupidity (e.g. the child benefit data being sent unencrypted). Personal attacks are less 'valuable', but most likely to be done via social engineering or key capture malware. Backups are one way to protect yourself against ransomware attacks. Corporate databases are too big to store on a Filofax. Even one with 30mm rings.

      A fire or flood in your home will destroy all your Filofax archive, and precious printed photos. Electronic backups, held in multiple physical locations, protect against this.

      All that said, I have nothing connected to a public-facing network that I would be overly concerned at being made public. The small amount of stuff I need to keep private is held in air-gapped, offline storage. What information private and public organisations hold about me, to facilitate modern life, I have no real control over (barring limiting the amount of genuine information I reveal to private organisations) It would be nice if they didn't screw up their cyber security implementations so often...


    3. Hands Off My Data05 July, 2024 06:06

      All very good points Kevin. There's an entertaining scene in the latest Mission: Impossible film "Dead Reckoning" where the US intel agencies frantically move away from digital and networked systems, and the hangar-sized room of agents typing onto paper is especially amusing.

      But in the real world, as you say, "it depends."

  3. Hi, Pamalison here. Chat-GPT has missed a point that I feel is very important, and that is about creativity. Pen or pencil and paper are perfect tools for capturing a quick idea that could turn out to be a novel, or for a rough sketch that you might go on to work up as a painting, or just for doodling stars in the corner of the page whilst you are waiting for the phone to connect.

    1. Excellent “catch” and observation! The combination of pen, ink, and paper - the physical act of writing - stirs my creativity in a way that a computer never quite manages to do, especially when incubating ideas.

  4. The archival point is a key one for me, and an aspect to add there would be the continuity of the accumulated records, in contrast to different computerised forms that have come and gone over the decades.

  5. I love my Filofax but I find that I like to try new systems. I am currently using a Roterfaden cover with a Hobonichi A5 cousin. I also use a Hobonichi A6 out of the house. The Filofax is nice considering you can add and remove pages, but the Hobonichi is fountain pen friendly so this will be my setup for awhile.