Some Filofax users seem to be naturally organized, highly efficient individuals. I am sadly not one of them. Left to my natural tendencies I forget appointments, names, dates, and to do things as simple as sweep the kitchen. Before Filofax (B.F.) I relied heavily on other people to keep up with things, and really lots of things went forgotten and eventually fell through the cracks. Like many non-planner users, I thought that I had a very good memory and that I got along just fine without planning.
My current setup is devised to balance many competing desires; I want weekly perspective with plenty of space to write every day. I want portability but also want to have everything at my fingertips. I want to use a binder that makes me smile every day, but that binder also needs to be robust enough to handle the bumps and bruises of daily, heavy use with aplomb. Janet’s comment about her filofax needing to work as hard as she does really resonates!
After playing around with various inserts, sizes, brands, and binders over the past few years, I’ve landed on a setup which meets my current needs beautifully and works extremely well.
The lovely Natalie sold me her 5/4 Winchester which is what I’d planned to use, but when I actually got the setup all thought out and put together I did not need the extra capacity so I stuck with the vivid red ⅞ model. This binder is fabulous and absolutely makes me smile every day. It is just right in every way, just the right size, just the right color, just the right amount of flexibility to the covers…
Immediately following the notepaper is my DayTimer two-page-per-day diary insert. This is the real meat of my planner and where I have the planner open to throughout the day. There are eleven lines for tasks, 8am-8pm scheduling (which is my biggest complaint about these pages, my day frequently ends much later than 8pm!), and an open page with 40 lines for notes. As you can see, I stamp the top of the notes page with my daily home routines stamp; the left hand column is generally done in the morning before work, and the right hand column in the evening after work. I check these items off as I do them. Most of these are really 5 minute tasks which, when done daily, help enormously to keep up with the housework and prevent things from going all out of control. The rest of the notes page I use for free-form note taking throughout the day. I jot figures when I am working with budgets, I write down checks written, phone numbers, anything I want to transfer into my reference binder at home. At the end of the day I usually jot down some a list of good things that happened that day, a “gratitude list.” I mark the current day with a frosted today marker.
All other scheduling goes onto the weekly diary, which is slotted in just after the daily pages. I’m using a week on two pages with lines from Filofax. I write in meetings, appointments, and ticklers here. If I send an email today and want to make sure I have a response, I will jot in a “F/U w/ABC” next week (meaning “follow up with ‘initials of person’).
I also used the month on one page tabbed from DayTimer (which comes with the daily diary) to help me flip easily from month to month. These have a month view on the front and a list of tasks to complete that month on the back. I use them just for very basic overview and to jot out tasks I plan to accomplish during that month.
To make this system work, I need to do a weekly changeover, which is normally done on Sunday evening. I start by flipping through the coming week’s pages and copying all appointments and tasks onto their appropriate day pages. I then go day by day through the prior week’s daily pages and insure that everything was done or logged, and transfer any unfinished items to the coming week’s daily pages. I review my “waiting for” list and my monthly task list and add anything in. I then remove last week’s daily pages and insert the newly prepared coming week’s pages. The whole process takes about 15 or 20 minutes, and in the process I get a thorough review of the past week and a good look at the coming week, preparing me for what comes ahead.
I keep the archived pages and the coming weeks’ pages in a storage binder; this one happens to come from Franklin Covey but I prefer the DayTimer version.
So that’s my system in a nutshell. It takes some maintenance to run but that maintenance serves as a useful reminder of things that have happened, things coming up, and things I need to plan for or around.