A Day in The Life of My Filofax

I am a language consultant in Stockholm, Sweden. My job involves teaching, translating, proofreading, interpreting, coaching. I also do levels testing, course design, material creation and social media for my company, where I am a Director of Courses. I can be in up to 7 workplaces a day with much to remember so I need my Filofax as an extra brain! Most of my work is in the Swedish Parliament, the Swedish government offices and government authorities.

5.30am – wake up and have a cup of tea. While I am having my tea I open my Filofax and look at the day ahead just so I have a rough idea of where I will be and what time I will be back home. I add things to my shopping list if necessary. For this I use a week on two pages vertical layout and plain notepaper.

7am – on the bus on the way to work I check notes for the students I am seeing today to refresh myself as to what we did last week and what we are doing this week. The notes are filed behind cream A – Z tabbed dividers. Sometimes I use coloured sheets for easy reference but mostly I use plain notepaper with the code name of the students written in the box on the top. At the front of each section I have printed attendance registers, assigment briefings and business cards/contact details. I just print on A4, fold and punch. I use the Swedish Filofax teacher refills for much of my administration. If I ever need a substitute for my lessons I can then just photocopy the necessary from my Filofax and give it to them.

7.30 am to 8pm – I work in 45-minute to 120-minute blocks. Have to be at each meeting 15 minutes beforehand to pass through reception and get to my teaching room, seated and ready for the lesson. I open my filofax to the notepad at the back and as things come up I jot them down. One page I give to the student at the end of the lesson and another page with different notes (facts to check, things to look up) goes into my Filofax. If I need to type up a speech later I either write it down using carbon paper (one for me one for the student) or I use shorthand (I trained as a journalist) and type it up later. The lesson ends with me booking the next meeting with the client, or confirming an existing meeting in the wotp vertical calendar. I then have about 20 minutes to walk to the next meeting and the whole thing starts again. I seldom have dedicated coffee or lunchbreaks so I tend to eat and drink on the run while I am getting from place to place. I also take spare minutes to listen to my voicemail, return calls and make notes about them in my FF.

8pm – on the bus on the way home I jot down anything I need to remember and take my shopping list out for the supermarket. At this stage I am tired so the Filofax really is my brain.

9.30pm – after a short break for something to eat and a large cuppa I take out Mr Filofax again. I check the new bookings I have made and then double check they are recorded in the six or seven places required (my calendar, my company’s internal invoicing system, client’s calendar, client’s staff and all the various room booking systems). I read my email, return emails, send notes to students I have seen during the day. If there are important emails I print and punch them and put them in my filofax for reading on the bus and following up on the following day.

11.30pm or so I go to sleep with my FF beside my bed. If anything comes up that I need to remember, I scribble it down. The last thing I do is check my bookings for the following day and set the alarm clock for two hours before I start.

I also make to do lists for weekends because I catch up on all the housework and chores then. I also add personal treats and me time to my lists to encourage me. Sunday afternoons and evenings I work preparing for the coming week. I also take this time to do blog posts for the week. I jot down ideas for posts when they come to me during the week (have a special section in my Filofax) and then research and schedule them over weekends.

I work intensely like this for up to four months at a time. I am on call 24/7. But over the summer for example, I have time to write, research, plan and print.

My Filofaxes travel up to 12km per day as I walk from place to place. They are handled, bumped around, and the rings are opened and closed many many times per day. I use A5s – at present a grey Malden.

Attached are photos of the clear plastic folders in my Kendal A5. In there are two articles for discussion and a discount coupon. Behind the two articles is a newspaper article which I love and which is perfect for on-the-spot translation tests. Unfortunately I can’t show you any from the working insides as my work is confidential.

I have pens in the front pocket of the Malden, a ruler cum holepunch at the front, Filo post-its and carry scissors in a zip envelope.

I can honestly say with all the bits and pieces of paper I have to carry and all the information I need to have at hand I would not be able to function without my Filofax. In a whole year I probably miss maybe two appointments – usually because someone has changed something in the middle of a busy day and I have forgotten to diarise it.

Author: Janet Carr

Fashion, beauty and animal loving language consultant from South Africa living in Stockholm, Sweden.

14 thoughts

  1. I can see how you wouldn’t be able to function without your Filofax. You don’t have time to even think!!!

    I’m home full-time but I blog, do the bookkeeping for my husband’s small business, watch the grandkids and am generally available for family stuff all the time. My schedule is busy and very unpredictable. Not like yours – I do have downtime. But I still couldn’t function without my planner.

  2. My goodness, Janet, your schedule is gruelling! You have such an early start to the day and a very late finish! I don’t know how you manage to have a personal life to do the things you want/need to do. I really enjoy reading your blog – it is so varied that your posts are always interesting. I normally use a day per page in a Personal size Filofax and just recently bought a lovely Kendal from a friend. Not sure how it is going to work as a daily but all of my “everything” is Personal sized. I am using a WOTP this year and hate it – not enough room so will have to do something about that. I spoke to Shirral the other day (she is from Johannesburg) and asked her how to pronounce the beautiful Boerboel. She told me the proper pronunciation – a bit of a mouthful of rolled r’s! LOL. I met a lovely, slightly overweight and very healthy looking 22 year old cat yesterday. He looked lovely and was a very sweet boy! Hope you will have a great weekend.

    1. Boerboels are my favorite! Yes I do love the Kendal – I have an A5 in brown and it is one of my favourites. I never wanted to move out of it though I stuffed it so full it was a brick!

    1. To be honest, sometimes I wonder. I can’t lose concentration even for a second and whenever I have a break (usually June and December) all I want to do is sleep for weeks!

  3. This is one of my favorite posts, ever! I am fascinated reading about how other busy, professional people use a filofax for their work. I really use mine much the way you are using yours, but my workdays these days are (mercifully) a few hours shorter!

    I’ve never been able to make anything larger than a personal work for me; being a guy I’m not all that accustomed to carrying a bag around and so portability is key.

  4. Thank you for the quick reply Janet. Unfortunately I don’t read Swedish and the teacher packs we have here in France are not adapted to uni teachers. Never mind I’ll go on making my own forms.

    As for your wish/dream of a purple Gillio I have the feeling it is about to come true! Be patient, you may be the happy owner of one soon if Tom keeps working at this pace. Lucky you!!

  5. Once again, that’s a great post Janet! It is great to see that your days are as busy as mine and that your A5 helps to keep you organised. As a uni teacher (langages and linguistics) I am thinking of buying an A5 Gillio to keep track of the lessons and meetings but the weight of the A5 frightens me. What A5 would you advise me in terms of weight (FF or Gillio). Moreover are there any forms dedicated to teachers that I could print?
    Thank you so much for your fantastic blog Janet! Go on inspiring us 🙂

    1. I am so glad you like my blog. I love writing it!

      I have not got my Gillio yet but I imagine with the two binders in one (I ordered the Mia Cara) it will be heavy – probably heavier than my A5 FFs. But for me and my work there is really no way around it – A5 is the only thing that can cope with my life.

      Regarding my A5 Filofaxes I think the lightest is the Domino Snake and the heaviest is probably the Kendal.

      Sweden has a dedicated teacher pack which would be perfect for you but they only come in Swedish. I have written a blog post about them. I am sure that if we put a request out in the Philofaxy forum someone may have something to help

      Hope this helps. I will keep you posted on the Gillio when it arrives.

Leave a Reply