Tips for a Filofax/Planner Newbie

29 March 2013

I may have turned a friend of mine into a Filofax convert over coffee one day. As we discussed plans for a future camping trip, I sat with my Filofax open before me jotting down notes and making lists. During our talk, she picked up my planner and said (and I paraphrase), "this is beautiful. You have a lot of these. I think I want one!" Our conversation then went from national parks and potential camping sites to which Filofax was best for what (work, school, home, as a wallet, etc.) and what the difference was between a personal size Filofax and an A5. Of course, at this point, I was doing most of the talking, trying to instill in her the little Filofax knowledge I have, while she sat there, stroking my Filofax, fastening and unfastening its clasp. That sparkle of wonder in her eyes that we Filo fanatics know all too well. Here are just the main pointers I gave her, most of which derive from my own experiences throughout my planner life. Keep in mind that I am no planner guru or Filofax expert. These are just my own thoughts/ideas.

  • Is paper planning really for you? We all know that paper planning isn't for everyone. Particularly if you're not used to it. My friend relies mostly on apps in her tablet/smartphone to get things done with an exception of a mini spiral notebook she keeps in her purse to jot down random notes. For the most part, she's all digital. If you've found a system that works, why change it? It's definitely something you want to think about before investing the time and money into something you're not quite sure will actually work for you. Tip: If, for whatever reason, you still feel paper planning is something you would like to venture in (but have never done before), try starting with a more affordable planner as opposed to spending money on an expensive binder. I was first introduced to paper planning during my sophomore year in high school. My first real planner was a cheap, spiral bound agenda bought at a local shopping market. I used it to keep track of assignments as well as daily happenings. It wasn't until I got the hang of using it and figuring out what worked and what didn't did I upgrade to my first ring-bound organizer.
  • A few more questions to consider before purchasing your first Filofax/Planner. So, you've decided to go ahead and take the plunge, eh? How exciting! But, first, what exactly do you need organized? Are you looking to get just your finances under control? Have you started exercising and are looking for something to keep your fitness/wellness goals in check? Are you looking for something to help keep daily/monthly/yearly tasks organized? Also, what kind of planner are you? Are you planning for yourself or for a whole family? Are you a stay-at-home mom, student, manager of a fancy pants company, or all of the above? Do you like things structured or prefer a more flexible schedule? All these things are good to know as they'll help determine what kind of planner you'll need.
  • Do your homework! There's a plethora of planners out there to chose from that come in different formats, colors, sizes, and textures. The ring-bounds, the wire-bounds, the Moleskines and various notebooks. What's considered "compact" in one brand is really a personal size in another. An A5 Filofax is similar to a Classic size planner which is similar to a "Desktop" planner. But, the rings in each are completely different. It's totally understandable that you get a bit overwhelmed with it all. I definitely was! But, no worries. There's a whole community out there at your service who are willing to answer all your Filofax/planner questions via YouTube, blog post, or a simple "hi, hello!". Your first stop? Philofaxy! You can get most if not all your questions answered there or get connected to people who might be able to help. Plus, it's nice to know that there are others out there who share a similar interest that not a lot of people in this digital world quite understand.
  • Beware of the "perfect planner" myth. You'll run into this a lot once you begin your planner journey. Actually, this myth isn't a myth at all. The perfect planner really does exists. But, know that the idea of a perfect planner isn't an all encompassing theory but rather something that varies from person to person. Know that what works perfectly for me, might not work for you. Once you've really figured out what you need in a planning system (see bullet point 2) and stop comparing yours to others, you might just find that the "perfect planner" was right under your nose all along.
  • Use it. Just like any tool, it's useless when you don't use it. You can spend hours setting up your planner, buying all the numerous inserts for it, making it pretty with all the decorative paraphernalia you've purchased on your many office supply store hauls. But, all that is pointless if it's been sitting in the very same spot you left it on the desk months ago. How efficient your planner is is really all up to you.
  • Writing it down is only half of the process. Unfortunately, planners are made to aid you in getting things done. So, until Filofax comes out with a planner that actually washes the laundry, writes term papers, pays the bills, and remembers to stop at the toy store to pick out a present for Susie's 5th birthday party this weekend then, I'm afraid you're going to have to do all that yourself. You've written it down (yay!), now go and do it!

My friend is still in the beginning stages of her planner journey. Last I heard, there were several Filofaxes she was ogling online but has yet to commit to one. "Yet" being the key word there as she is determined to find "the perfect one". Sound familiar?

Anyway, if you're a first time Filofax user or overall planner newbie, I hope these tips have been somewhat helpful if not entertaining. Good luck and happy planning!

April Filofax Photo-a-Day Challenge

22 March 2013

When I started the first Filofax Photo-a-Day Challenge back in January, I wasn't sure whether or not others would actually participate and, if so, whether or not it was something I wanted to continue doing every month. Seeing as how successful it was the first time around, I figured we're due for another one.

Participation is, of course, optional. I won't be hurt or come looking for you should you decide to opt out. If you don't know how to play, it's really quite simple. Like many photo-a-day challenges, each day you are given a prompt to follow. The real challenge isn't just to take a photo every day but rather how creative you can be with it. The prompts act as guides but it's really up to you where you want to take it. Just don't forget to incorporate your Filofax into the photo (it is a Filofax photo-a-day challenge, after all). Don't forget to share your creation on a social network of your choice (like here, for starters) and include the hash tag #fflovephotoaday so that others can see, too. Easy peasy.

So, without further ado, here's Aprils:

There's still about a week left in March but I know how we planners love to look ahead and prepare. I do hope that you'll play along. I'm looking forward to seeing some more yummy Filofax photos. Happy snapping!

A Beautiful Surprise

15 March 2013

I had seen many an Amazona on various blog posts and YouTube videos in the past and, at first, I thought they were definitely nothing to write home about. Until I saw this one in Almond--a color you don't get to see quite often. I purchased this off of a seller on eBay and completely forgot about it until a package with my name on it arrived yesterday. It wasn't until I opened said package and this beautiful Filofax sat inside, peeking out at me from under plastic and bubble wrap that I remembered (she didn't arrive in the infamous black box, unfortunately). It was love at first sight! Or rather love at first touch as I had never expected the Amazona to feel so nice.

I wasn't too fond of planners with animal print/textiles until I had received Olivia, the Osterley, from a good friend of mine. Even with that in mind, I still wasn't sure how I'd feel about the crocodile print of the Amazona. But, as soon as we touched, I couldn't help admire how its shiny, smooth leather felt in my hands. Unlike the Osterley, the crocodile print on the Amazona is more prominent and puffier in texture. It came with a few inserts, ones I'll most likely take out and toss into my ever growing stash. I swear I can fill a dozen Filofaxes with the extra inserts I've accumulated!

The Almond is a pretty, creamy, milk color and one I have never seen before in all the planners I've had. I also prefer the pocket layout of the Amazona over the Osterley's. Not that I'm comparing binders as both are lovely in their own right. This one's definitely a special one and I'm almost afraid to use her on a regular basis because she looks too pretty to scuff up and throw around. But, I'm happy to know she's now mine. Now if only the personal Baroque would magically appear into my hands, I would be one content lady.

Anyway, I have been taking a good long look at my League of Super Filos for a while now and I have decided (after days of deliberation) to let go of a few of them. *GASP* I know! I have a general idea of which ones I'd like to keep and which ones I'll be saying my goodbye's to, but I feel even this changes from day to day because I just can't bear to part with any of them. Each Filofax that manages to get onto the "sell" list, I've found a reason to keep. No, not the Finchley! It's PURPLE! But, sadly, the truth is a lot of them aren't being used and, quite frankly, I can't say if they'll ever be used. Because of this, I know finding good homes for them, where they'll be stuffed with all sorts of goodies, used on a regular basis, and loved, is the right thing to do. There will be more details on this venture once I finally set into stone which ones I can part with both physically and emotionally. In the mean time, wish me strength as I know I'll need it. Isn't it funny how attached we get to things? *sigh*

Day-Timer Malibu Planner: Thoughts & Quick Review

08 March 2013

I purchased this planner during my brief fickle phase when I was trying to figure out whether or not to make the move to an A5. My other option was to go elsewhere (as in another brand altogether) and the Malibu by Day-Timer happened to be on my list of "other possibilities".

I first read about this particular planner here. I remember looking at photos and thinking, I've seen several Day-Timers at local office supply stores many times before but never ones this beautiful. In fact, this particular model wasn't available at any of the local retailers in my area and so, one night, I took the plunge and logged onto the Day-Timer website and placed my order. Here are just a few of the things I liked and didn't like about the Malibu.

Filofax Fridays & Planner Updates

01 March 2013

It's been about four months since I've launched this blog and I have been enjoying it since. Lately, I've been brainstorming loads of ideas for future posts and really thinking about which direction I'd like for this blog to go. Figuring out my niche, per say. I started this blog with no real intention other than to share my favorite things, and current obsessions, with a few shared moments of my personal life. Sort of a lifestyle blog, if you will. In a sense, I've accomplished this with my many ramblings pertaining to Filofaxes and planners. In fact, it's all I've been talking about, really. Not that there's anything wrong with that. It's just that there's so much more to me and my life than my obsession with planners. Much more. So, I've made a plan to blog more often and keep all Filofax and planner related posts to Fridays. I hope I don't lose any readers because of this as I do enjoy engaging with you all on the subject of Filofaxes. There will still be talks about planners, no doubt, but I'd like to also expand my thoughts and creativity into other areas of interest. Which areas? Well, that we'll find out as they come along. With that said and done, and as promised, here is a quick update regarding the A5, and which planners I'm currently using. It is Friday, after all.

I had originally made the decision to move to an A5 because I felt I needed the extra space. My original intention was to use it as my main planner while using something more portable as my on-the-go. Temporarily, I had chosen my personal Osterley for this task. After a week or so with the A5, I started missing having everything in one nice portable planner (the A5's too heavy to carry around with me everywhere) and felt that transferring information I had accumulated throughout the day between the two planners was too much work. I found that I was slowly moving things back into the Osterley. Anyway, to make a long story short, I've decided to continue using a personal size planner as my main planning tool and, as you can see, it's not a Filofax.

I have actually moved into my compact Franklin Covey Aurora binder. This move was more accidental than intentional. In the middle of figuring out which personal Filofax I wanted to use on-the-go, I moved everything into the Aurora out of curiosity and immediately liked it. The Filofax inserts look a bit awkward in this wider binder. But, that extra space between the pen loops and where the inserts begin? Doesn't bother me at all. In fact, I think I can work with Filofax inserts in an FC binder than vise-versa. I know others have managed to work around it but FC inserts sticking out of a Filofax binder would drive me bananas. Plus, that extra space means the inserts aren't rubbing up against the two (two :D) pen loops when the binder's closed.

Gaps between the inserts and pen loops. 

Not too bad, right?

I do continue to use the A5 still. I use it mainly for household related projects and tasks. It helps to organize bills, bank statements, and other finance related duties. I also have been keeping all my blog related material in it and using the weekly diary as a journal. I figured these were things that I didn't care to have with me at all times and without these sections (finance and blog) it helps lessen the load in my personal--er, compact--planner. Not that the FC can't handle extra baggage what with its 1.25 inch golden rings. If I could magically turn all my Filofaxes rings to gold, I would.

Anyway, I can't say there won't be anymore changes but for the most part, I'm content. It's still a bit of an adjustment having to work out of two binders as opposed to having everything all in one place but until that perfect planner magically appears into my life, this is how it's going to be. I'd like to commit to this arrangement (the use of a personal/compact size planner as my main planner and an A5 as a home binder) till at least the end of the year or for as long as I can because I can't bear (let alone afford) another move.