My post about a day in the life of my Filofax is enduringly popular, with many people wondering how I manage such long and stressful days.
It sounds trite but in many ways I am saved by my Filofax. Because I have so many different things to remember, writing everything down is the only way I can cope. I don’t know from hour to hour where I am going to be next and for the sake of my sanity I can’t start thinking about what I am going to DO next, because I would derail whatever I am doing at the moment, but I know my Filofax knows so I can relax.
Because I have so many meetings one after the other and my days are so long (I sometimes start my first lesson at 7am and finish my last one at 9.30pm with no break for lunch) I do not often have time to prepare lessons in the traditional way. Namely via prepared lesson plans. What saves me here is the same thing that saved me many times as a journalist and probably keeps my blog going – insatiable curiosity and a mind that never sleeps.
I use my plastic sleeves to keep anything that could help me. In my plastic sleeves at the moment are:
- a small article on different types of religious head covering for women. This can be used in debate, translation and summarising.
- package insert from a tub of Clarins cream. Can be used to illustrate how language can deceive (your skin will look younger, appear smoother and fine lines may appear to be reduced)
- review from a book written about how to manage staff who are from Generation Y – also for debate, discussion, translation
- crossword puzzles I have created to train the most commonly occurring false friends between Swedish and English
- example of a bad speech (a doozy with an 8 page opening statement!)
Also in my plastic sleeves are:
- a new section of the Parliament tour which I teach that needs to be added
- a speech that needs translating
- book and film recommendations. These I photocopy and can hand out at the end of a lesson
- conversation topics
In the credit card sleeves:
- my business cards
- business cards of my clients
- business cards for various businesses I am interested in
- club membership card for my hairdresser
- blank credit card samples that came with my Gillio – I use them to hold information like my company’s organisation number and other details I need at hand.
- conversation cards (see below)
Punched A4 papers:
- attendance registers for groups
- assignment briefings for all my clients
- needs analyses
In A – Z
- notes for each client, filed alphabetically. What we do each lesson, what they want to do next lesson, things I have promised to look up
- blog ideas
- shopping lists
- at the front I have a week on two pages vertical for my bookings – this enables me to have an overview of my week. I keep one month previous and two months ahead. Once I have invoiced for all my hours I throw these away (see above)
- behind that I have week on two pages horizontal for daily to dos.
Conversation cards – these I slot into the credit card pockets to use whenever there are empty minutes at the end of a lesson:
Everything that is in my over-full head that needs to be remembered is jotted down on the trot – either on the notepad at the back or on post its on the front flyleaf. At the end of the day I go through what has arisen, deal with what is immediate and transfer everything else to the end of the week. On Sunday I deal with it all.
I am only as good as the information I input though – one cancellation or change of booking that I forget to record will derail me completely. Because I don’t work in an office, calls and messages come in when I am in a meeting or running between meetings and I HAVE to record them in my Filofax or else I forget immediately. It happens very seldom so people are understanding. A more difficult problem is usually a political crisis where I am needed to do something at short notice and I have to rearrange everything around it, like a puzzle, without telling other clients why I need to change.