I don’t think if you’ve been reading my blog for any length of time you will be shocked to hear the title of this post!
I really am a little in love with my Filofax, and with most stationary if I am being honest (its a hobby of mine to find the best there is out there for different jobs!) – and it seems that this is something that a lot of us have in common.
I have recently been asked by a few readers how I use my Filofax, why I chose one over the other things available, and why I like it so much – so it feels only right that I should write a post all about it!
If you are thinking of changing your diary/organiser at all, then I hope this helps.
I feel like I should introduce you!
My Filofax is my brain on paper – thats the only way to describe it really – as thats what it feels like (scary when I put it like that!).
Its the place where I go to every day to work out what I am doing, where I should be, my TO DOs, my current work etc…. – its a one stop shop and thats why it works so well for me.
I decided to get a Filofax a few years ago, and at that time was just planning to use it as a diary (as most people do really), so I got a manageable sized A5 one.
However, I soon found that I was carrying around that plus an A4 file for my work everyday (as this of course wouldn’t fit inside the Filofax neatly).
So – I wanted to upgrade to a larger size that would be suitable to carry around EVERYTHING I need on a day to day basis – look good to take to clients homes and other meetings, and generally be a pleasure to use.
I went searching for the right one – and found the Finsbury A4 in Raspberry
Why did I chose this Filofax?
- I wanted something to hold a diary that was large enough to write on and easily see what I was doing ach day
- I also wanted to have plenty of space available for my work, schedules, lists etc…
- Leather would wear well, and last longer (and look more professional than a ring binder)
- The colour was much more fun than my previous dark brown diary – and I wanted a change
- A4 fitted my needs as I could easily add in my own paperwork as I wanted
- It came with a diary, some notepaper, TO DO lists etc… – so was ready to go!
- There were place holders for a notepad, business cards and pens so I didn’t have to worry about carrying them separately.
So – lets go through how I use my Filofax specifically – and see whether there are tips to help you too.
Inside the front cover
The first part of the Filofax for me is for my planning and day to day bits – such as business cards and leaflets, and I have also added in a plastic folder for carrying receipts so they aren’t lost (they get transferred each week into my end of month books for work related, and my home file for home related ones).
I have tried to keep this very minimal, as its also the place that has to be turned over each time I use the diary section – so I don’t want too much inside it to make it cumbersome to use (the more awkward things are to use the less I feel inclined to actually bother – and thats where things can fall apart when you get organised).
Behind the receipts folder you can easily also see the year planner.
Year Planner and schedules
The year planner doesn’t come with the Filofax when you buy it, but you can get a variety of extras from the shops with tabs, planners etc…. – and I really like the year planner as it pulls out and is a really quick and easy way of scanning whats coming up when you are planning things – so I think its worth that bit extra.
Its how my brain works – as I can see everything quickly when needed rather than having to flick through all the pages of the diary.
Next to this which you can see in the picture is my weekly schedule – this is a high level idea as to what I have to do each day, what my usual tasks are, and how this makes each day look.
I look at this every Sunday to ensure that when I plan the forthcoming week I haven’t missed anything out – it keeps me on track! (I update this as and when schedules change of course).
The Diary itself
The diary part of my organiser is the most important part to me functioning well on a daily basis, and I put EVERYTHING I need to know about in there.
Firstly – I have bought tabs for each month so that its even quicker to find what I need.
TIP – the back of the tabbed pages is a great places to add in peoples birthdays as a quick reminder (as these tabs can stay year on year so you don’t have to write them out again if you don’t want to
Secondly – you can see that the organiser comes with a bookmark – and I keep that bookmark on todays date – so that I can just get to today without having to do much.
I then chose a week to view diary (this is the one it normally comes with by default but check before you buy of course).
The week to view works well for me as I can see each week clearly without having to turn pages, it also gives me enough room to write what needs to be done each day, and it has time slots so I can block out sections of time for specific events (that way I can really clearly see where any free time is.
So – the way I work is as follows –
Whenever something gets scheduled for specific date and time, I add it in a block into the diary – including any travel and prep time needed (in the picture here I have shaded out my actual stuff as I’m sure you don’t want to see what I get up to!).
Then I have my usual weekly tasks (as these come up week in week out I do a little trick of adding them to post it notes at the bottom of the day they have to be done – then I can simply move these recurring tasks to the following week without having to write the same thing over and over again or having to look in a different place each time I want to know what household or work chores to do that day).
TIP – work recurring tasks are in green, and household chores are in yellow so I can split them up easily – as I can then look at work only tasks in work time, and household ones in home time.
Also – when I plan my week, I can add in any TO DOs off my MASTER TO DO list in the gaps.
That way I can progress as much as possible each week – while knowing that I should have the time for it all so I don’t over commit – and I can see what my week has in store at a glance.
I always add in any of my husbands or daughters activities that specifically affect me (as this is my personal diary only) – so if I have to pick up or drop off, or look after something – I know when and where I have to be – if you have loads going on with the family then I suggest a weekly planner on the wall so everyone can see what they have to do each day – but only put into your diary what is pertinent to you otherwise you will clutter it too much.
Lastly – I add in anything like errands specific to a day (like sending a birthday card, a reminder to book in my next car service 6 months from last one etc….) – so that these things don’t get forgotten, are in the diary around the right time slot, and aren’t filling up a noticeboard with random bits of paper in the hope I will remember them,
They are quite simply all in one place – and as long as I update and check it each day, then things pretty much stay on track.
NB – I also keep my pen and my highlighter in the pen carriers as then I can highlight things when they have been done and write in anything that crops up – simple.
At the back of the Filofax
At the back of the diary section of my Filofax I use this section for my work and my personal notes.
Again I have used tabs so I can get to what I need quickly – and I have a tab for business planning, client work, blog work and personal items (I simply used a label maker to make the labels as this looks much neater).
This way, anything that I need to write down each day has a place, and in theory its less likely to get lost as its all in one place.
(the bonus I find with having an A4 Filofax is that it will fit normal A4 paper as long as its got 4 holes – so it saves on buying the branded paper all the time, which was a big expense with the smaller Filofaxes)
This method works great for me, and I am planning on more updates soon so watch this space for more details!
If you find that you want different sections so that it works best for you, then go for it! – its about making it as useful and practical as possible for the way you live.
Its worth saying here that I use my diary Filofax in conjunction with my home file, as the home file sits next to it on the shelf – I do this as there are a lot of times I need to add addresses to cards etc… which are all in the home file (my choice is not to bulk out my diary with addresses, but you may prefer them in your diary for example).
What are the positives about having a Filofax?
- Diary, organiser and notebook all in one place
- Flexibility of the system
- Massive variety of sizes, shapes and colours
- Gets you organised!
- Can be reused every year with just the cost of new diary inserts
What are the negatives about having a Filofax?
- Initial cost
- Quite bulky to carry in handbag
Whether you decide that this is the system that would work for you, I’m sure some of the tips in this post will help you set up a system thats perfect.