I've had my filofax for a few weeks now, and I've finally got around to taking some photos of my setup. However, I've done it mainly for reference, because I'm seriously thinking about changing it! I love my planner, but I don't think I'm happy with the way I've got it arranged at the moment. I've kind of kept it very similar to how it was when it arrived, and the bits that I have changed have been as a result of being inspired by other bloggers and videos on Youtube. However, as much as I might like someone else's style, it doesn't mean it will work for me. So I'm taking my time and trying to decide what I need from my Filofax, and then I'm planning a complete 're-jig'.
For now though, here's my first tour!
When I open my Filofax, this is what I see:
In the slots on the left I have a selection of page markers/tabs, sticky notes, fancy paperclips and in the zipped pocket, some more paperclips. I'll show you a photo of them further down. Apart from one clip, one tab and one sticky note, I haven't used any of these yet, so maybe I should take them out? On the right, I have more sticky notes attached to the clear plastic flyleaf (is that the right name for it?). I like this idea, but I found I was using them as a bit of a to-do list but not transferring the information elsewhere, which wasn't really my intention, so I'm also not sure if I'm happy with having them there.
When I turn over the flyleaf, there are more sticky notes on the other side of it. I don't think I need this many to be honest. On the right is one of my first attempts at making my own divider. It's just some plain card, with a bit of washi tape on it. I had some 'letter' stickers which I've had for years, so I wrote out 'What's on your mind?' on the divider, because this is my brain dump section, an idea I've seen on various blogs/videos. I like the idea of making my own dividers but it's frustrating for me because I have zero artistic talent, and I mean ZERO!! I've seen some beautifully decorated planners and I feel slightly sad that I'll never be able to achieve anything like that - I think I'm destined to have a fairly plain one!
Anyway, I've got a few sheets of Filofax lined paper behind my Brain Dump divider, but again, I don't think this section is working for me. I often feel like I have a million thoughts racing through my mind, but when I come to write them in my brain dump, my mind just goes blank! I think it's supposed to be a kind of 'stream of consciousness' section, but it doesn't seem to happen for me. I definitely need somewhere to write down random thoughts (when I can remember them!) and I've been reading up on bullet journals. I quite like the idea of writing stuff down in no particular order, but using various symbols to organise it, so if I can work out how to incorporate that into my filofax, it might be something I'd like to try. I really don't want to buy another notebook specially for it though, because the whole idea of getting a filofax was to not have loads of notebooks all over the place.
I took out some of the pages that came with the filofax - the public holidays, time zones, conversion tables etc - but I did leave this page with the full yearly calendar on it as I thought it might come in useful. I don't think I've looked at it since though.
I bought this fold-out year planner from Staples. I haven't used it yet because I can't decide what to use it for! I didn't really want it to get too cluttered, so I was thinking, maybe just put my annual leave on it or something like that. I'm still deciding what to do with it - I don't really look at it but I'm sure I would if I was using it.
Now we get to the month on two pages section (I'm still getting the hang of the 'proper' names for all the inserts). The previous months are all paper-clipped together, and then I'm using a bulldog clip to link this spread to the current week, which I'll come to next. I'm quite happy with how I've decided to use these pages. First of all, I've outlined the month just using a coloured pencil/crayon - I've seen other people highlight the month this way, and it does help distinguish it from the extra days of previous/following months. Then, although it doesn't show very well on the photo, there are different coloured asterisks in some of the squares. My colour-code list is on the front page of the section which is paper-clipped together, but I didn't photograph it. For example though, dark green refers to work - it might be annual leave, it might be a meeting or something else I want to remember. Whatever it is, it gets a green asterisk on the relevant day in this section. Pink is anything that's personal to me, and if something happens on the same day as a a work thing, then there will be a green asterisk and a pink asterisk in the same square, and so on. The only order is the order in which I write them in. It's just a way of having a quick glance at the month and being able to see whether something is happening on any given day, or not. I don't have a very busy social life, so to be honest, most of the squares are empty! Oh and birthdays are written in light blue against the numbers down the side, but they also get an asterisk and an entry in the diary. No excuses for forgetting someone's birthday!!
The list in the bottom right corner is just stuck in with a bit of washi tape, so it can be moved if necessary. I've been trawling through Pinterest for funny and/or motivational quotes and pictures, and then I printed a load off and just taped them throughout my planner. This list is called 'Creating A Day Worth Living'.
As mentioned, the bulldog clip takes me straight to the current week, but I didn't want to photograph that as there are personal things written in this week, so I've just turned to a random week. I probably should've picked one with at least one event though. Imagine if I had a dentist appointment on Tuesday 29th July. Well, anything medical is written in red, so it would've had 'dentist' and the appt time written in red ink on Tuesday, and in my month on two pages, there would've been a red asterisk on the 29th. As you can see, there is another one of my Pinterest quotes stuck in at random. I really should use my filofax to schedule special 'internet time' because I really do spend too much time on my computer.
Anyway, where was I? Oh yes, I'm also currently using the black ruler/today marker that came with the filofax, but the bottom hole of the ruler catches on the bottom ring when I turn pages, so I'm thinking about taking it out. I also had a go at making another divider here, to act as a today marker and also a to-do list. It's the same card (but yellow, not pink) with a bit of washi tape for decoration, and I gave it a 'to do' tab. Initially, I'd planned to stick notes onto it, but when I did that it soon started filling up and looking untidy. So I've actually put one of the filofax to-do lists at the back of it, which works better, although I'm still not 100% happy with it. The plus side of having a full width divider instead of the ruler is that if you're writing something in further into the diary, you're not writing on the 'bump' of the ruler. So I probably will get around to making myself a proper 'today' or 'this week' marker/divider at some point, and it will be a good excuse to borrow Chris's laminator, which he's said I can use.
After the diary section, I've used the tabbed dividers that came with the filofax to create some more sections. I've got one for family, which is just stuff relating to me and Chris and the cats, plus some contact details for other family members.
Then there's a social media section, where I thought I might write ideas for my blog, that kind of thing. I know some people write down their favourite websites, but honestly, I look at so many I just wouldn't have the space, plus I have them bookmarked on my computer. Referring to the comment above about spending too much time on the internet however, I'm seriously considering having a page where I just write down all the things I want to look up online, and then I'll schedule a time to do them. At the moment, a thought will pop into my head, like "oh, who was that actor in that film about xyz..." and I'll go on IMDB and look it up straight away, even though it's not urgent or even important. And the trouble is, once I'm online, I'm only one small click away from Twitter, Facebook and Pinterest. So I thought if I could write down the things I want to look up, I won't forget them, but I won't need to go and check them out straight away either.
The next section is lists, which is fairly self-explanatory, although again, possibly not exactly right for me. I was keeping my to-do list here, until I moved it into my current week. I've seen some planner users who have 'this week', 'this month' and 'this year' lists, or variations on that theme, and I think I might need to do something like that. The to-do list I've got in my current week has things on it that aren't urgent, or that I'm just too plain lazy to get around to doing any time soon, so I might as well not have them there. Some of my other lists are working a bit better, like a wish list, and a places to visit list.
The last section is just a miscellaneous one. I've used the alphabet index tabbed dividers that came with the filofax, and my plan was to use it as a kind of filing cabinet, as others have done. You put things under the most appropriate letter for you. So if I wanted to write down details of my car breakdown service, for example, I could put it under A for The AA, or B for breakdown, but I'm more likely to just think C for car. Then I could write down other useful information about my car, and have it all in the same place. This section hasn't really got going yet, but I think it could work.
One idea I had which has worked quite well, is that I've made my own pages for my filofax, using some old letter-writing paper. When I was younger I used to have quite a few penpals, so I tended to collect nice writing paper. I stopped penpalling years ago, but kept the paper because it was too nice to throw away. It was also too nice to just use for scrap, so it's just been sat in a drawer for years, unused. When I got my filofax I decided I could use the writing paper - yes, there'd be a bit of wastage after I'd cut it down to size, but at least it would be getting used now. So the two photos above show a couple of pages - of course, I plan to use the cat paper for anything Mischief and Millie related!
Nearing the back of the planner, I have some of the filofax financial pages, and some graph paper. I really would love to keep a track on my spending but I don't really know where or when to start! I've even been thinking about buying a pocket sized filofax to use as a purse/wallet, and getting the appropriate finance pages for it so that I can keep everything money-related in one place. If I could have some kind of envelope to store receipts in, I thought I might find it easier to quickly jot down what I've spent if it's all in the same place. But I shouldn't really be thinking about buying another filofax when I'm still getting used to this one!
I bought the graph paper because I saw someone using it to design a crochet pattern and I thought I might be able to work something out myself, but I haven't as yet. I also thought I might use the very back page of it as a 'scribble page' for trying out new pens. To be honest, if I don't start using either the financial pages or the graph paper soon, I might take them out and leave them out when I rearrange things.
After the graph paper I have the credit card holder that came with the filofax. At the moment it contains details of the paper size in mm for the Personal, for when I want to cut my writing paper down to size, and a couple of pictures I cut out but which didn't get stuck into the diary. The middle one says "why is it when a certain coworker goes on vacation I feel like I am on vacation?" and that is so true in our office!! A colleague (who has a loud voice and sings along to the radio really badly) went on holiday a couple of weeks back, and it was bliss, the office was so peaceful!
Behind the card holder I have the filofax stickers - I've used one or two but there are some there that I will never use. I bought these in Staples because I was going a bit sticker crazy, but really I probably shouldn't have bothered.
Behind the stickers is a thick cardboard template, again for cutting paper down to the right size, including where to punch the holes. It also acts as a bit of a back plate and makes it a bit easier to write on that side. Remember what I said about having ZERO artistic talent? I can't even make a simple word look good!
Finally, the back of my planner contains some Martha Stewart Dewdrop removable stickers. I thought these might've been an American only product so I was surprised and pleased to find them in Staples. I've only used a couple so far, but I do like them for recurring events which you might want to keep moving through your diary. For me, that includes a regular blood test which I have to have, and I'm also using one for a reminder to pay my credit card. I get a text on my phone as well, which I have a tendency to ignore sometimes, but I'm hoping putting a dewdrop on the same date in my planner will help me to pay my credit card on time each month.
I also have two notebooks in the back, which is probably at least one too many. The one with the emoticons on the front is just plain white pages, and it's just slotted into the pocket by it's back cover. The frog that is peeping out of the pocket I've had for years. You see, I have this problem where I buy nice stationery, but then I decide it's too nice to use, and that I don't want it to ever run out. So I don't use it... So I finally decided to stick the frog notepad in the back of my planner, and I might actually start using it now. I might take out the other pad, because like I said, I don't think I need two.
The pens I'm using are two Bic 4-colour ones. One has your basic black, blue, red and green, and the other has pink, purple, light blue and light green. I think the only colour I haven't used so far is the light green, as it really is very pale and quite hard to read. The pens write really nicely though, and they both hook into the pen loop. The only thing I worry about is what happens when they run out and you can't get to buy another one for a while? Oh no, I can't write in pink!! Tragedy!!
So that's my Filofax! I just thought I'd show you a photo of some of the other bits and pieces that I've bought for it, or stationery which I already owned and I've decided to make use of for filofax purposes! Ooh, I've just remembered, I was going to show you the stuff in the front pockets, wasn't I?
Ok, so this is front and back. Bottom left are six thin metal paperclip/page markers with various messages on. I got them in Hobbycraft, and I think they were in the Smashbook section. To the right of them are some sticky notes, again with different messages on. They're mounted on one long piece of card, I just cut it in half so that it would fit in my planner. They were in the same area of HC I think. There are two different types of sticky page marker/tabs/flags whatever you want to call them, and then there are the MS Dewdrops, the two notebooks and my pens.
And this is some of the other stuff! Standing up at the back are a few packs of stickers. In the plastic box are my bulldog clips and paperclips in the shapes of hearts and stars. I've also got some little frog clips (there are three at the bottom centre of the photo) but to be honest they're probably too bulky to use in my planner. There are lots of different sized sticky notes, some of which are too big (they'd nearly fill a whole page), plus three more notepads. Just above the three frogs is a pad which has different sized sticky notes on it saying Today; Urgent; Reminder; Soon; Sometime. I really like that, and that's a bit like the kind of to-do list that I need to make for myself. I got that in Wilkinsons. To the left of that are a few rolls of washi tape. These were all I could find in Hobbycraft, and I know I can get much nicer ones online. Next to my planner are some spare pages which I removed and I've held together with treasury tags. I didn't need half a dozen pages for writing names and addresses on, I don't know that many people!!
Things I didn't photograph were the pack of different coloured cardboard, some of which I've used for my homemade dividers, some of my other pens (thought I'd try some Sharpie markers, and a Frixion pen) and coloured pencils/crayons.
So that's it! My current planner setup which I'm hoping will soon look a bit different. As well as maybe changing some of the sections, and creating new ones, I'm also thinking of altering the order. I've kind of got diary/calendar first, lists etc second, but because my social life isn't all that busy, I'm thinking why not have the diary at the back, and have the sections for brain dump, to-do lists etc at the front, as I think organising is more important to me than scheduling, if you see what I mean.
If you have any thoughts on my set-up, or if you want to share yours, please leave a comment below. I love seeing how people use their planners, and I'm hungry for ideas and inspiration!!
That was quite a long post, so if you've made it to here, thanks for reading!