Filofax – Personal or A5 size?

A5 Siena vs. Personal Deco
A5 Siena vs. Personal Deco

Someone asked me recently why I switched my Filofax from A5 to Personal size. Only one reason, but an important one – it’s lighter and easier to carry.

I love A5 Filofaxes with 30mm rings. You can fold A4 paper in half and punch it and it fits. All pages from A5 notepads fit. It is a nice size to write on. They have nice notepads at the back. You can stuff in articles, recipes, things to read, reports, birthday cards just in case you need one. Those 30mm rings take a whole lot of paper. But there is no getting around the fact that a full A5 is a brick. Heavy and takes up a lot of space.

With my job I can start my first meeting at 7am, finish at 09.30pm and walk more than 12km between meetings in a day. You feel that full A5 after a day like that. I recorded one day in the life of my Filofax here and, quite simply, it is exhausting. I have a huge handbag to carry with water, lunch, all my books and papers for work, an extra jumper, umbrella and everything else I need for the day and I just couldn’t lug around anymore.

So now I have moved over to Personal and it is working very well. I cannot carry as much useful information in it as I could my A5 but to be honest, I haven’t needed any of it. I can’t overstuff to backbreaking proportions and what is even better is that now my Personal functions as both my wallet and my Filofax so I have actually downsized the amount I have to carry. My Filofax is no longer my everything in one but what a difference it makes to my day. My bag is lighter and so is my step.

If I worked in an office where my Filofax sat on my desk all day only moved home and back, I would definitely use A5 and only A5. But being as active as I am I just needed to downsize.

Another thing I am trying is keeping my personal things (wish-lists, photos of things I want to buy, favourite websites, recipes to try)  in my Deco and my work items in my Personal Compact Temperley (which also functions as my wallet). There is no need for me to lug around personal items when I am working because I have no time to even look at them.

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Personal Compact Temperley vs Personal Deco + my Frixion erasable pen and highlighter.

Author: Janet Carr

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

14 thoughts

  1. I have tried to use personal for a long time, and ultimately couldn’t make it work. The book is too small for my hand and it ends up cramping after a few minutes. (I’ll never understand how people can make a vertical week work in one!) I have my one and only A5 Aqua Lockwood, and IF I ever move away from it, it would be for a traveler’s notebook in the same size.

  2. Thank you so much for this article / post! It helped me a lot on deciding which size to use. I’m currently using the personal size, but for 2015 I’ve been wanting to try an A5 planner – more space and a lot of white space. But considering the weight issue of the A5 (I’m always on the move everyday and I carry a lot of things with me too), I guess I’ll just stick with my personal sized planner.

  3. I’ve only recently started to use A5-sized Filofaxes, but I imagine I will just use them at home because they do seem to be a bit too big to carry around with me all the time. 🙂

    1. My size of choice is A5 but at the end of a long day I curse it to hell and back. It gets heavier with each step, like a suitcase at the airport. Then I change back to personal but it is too small. And the endless dance continues!!!!

      1. Mmm, yes! Is there not a two day view for the personal size? …… Should be! X x

      1. Hello Janet, just wondering how you put all your appointments in to the personal size Filofax as it is a week over two page spread. I’m concerned … Before I buy a cream deco how to write it all in that space. Xx many thanks Zena

  4. Also a great excuse to use two beautiful binders 😉 the Deco is a binder crush of mine it is one of the prettiest binders Filofax have ever made in my opinion.

  5. I am often so tempted, not by A5 filofaxes but by the Classic size Franklin binders or Desk size Daytimer (both the same size and hole spacing, by the way) for the reasons you list above; our american size paper can just fold in, so many accessories available, etc. Plus, during a busy day I am constantly bumping against the confines of 2PPD diary. But I’ve tried it before and it’s just too big. I spend a lot of time at my desk but I also spend a lot of time running around at work. I need the planner to be easy to pick up and carry everywhere. If I get up to ask someone a question I usually bring the filofax with me as I am likely to need to reference or write something in it. So personal size continues to be the best compromise.

      1. I actually prefer Daytimer inserts. They have, for my needs, better layouts and are somewhat less cheesy looking. But the 1990s Franklin Quest binders are really unbeatable for daily use; they are built like tanks and last for years with little wear. And, of course, giant rings are nice!

  6. I read your article again, and the truth is, sometimes you have to change sizes for practical reasons. I think you’re smart to downsize since you’re so mobile. I, on the other hand, am home most of the time but I’ve been trying to make a smaller size planner work. I have a LOT of things going on and the smaller size just won’t do what I need it to. I need to switch to the bigger size and suck it up when I do need to carry it. It’s just really not that big of a deal and I will be a lot happier with adequate space instead of trying to make the smaller one work.

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