Recently, I started to become frustrated with my Colour-A-Month Moleskines. They’re too small & there’s nowhere to write down extraneous lists or pockets in which to keep things. It was making me nuts to have to dig out another book to write down anything happening further than a month out. The romance was over. It was a dead duck. I stopped using them. I went back to index cards (aka the “hipster PDA“).
Serendipitously though, all this occurred around the same time that Kris Atomic mentioned that she had purchased a Filofax & that it was rocking her world. It planted a seed in my mind.
I started logging into the FilofaxUSA site late at night, bookmarking planners & accessories in a cold sweat. I imagined the things I would put in the plastic pockets; I fantasised about having one place to contain all my madness. Then, one night, I took the plunge. I ordered an organiser & a slew of inserts & accessories. Then I waited. (Very impatiently, I might add. I called them TWICE to track the package! I’m sorry, patient & charming Filofax customer service staff!)
When the package arrived, I rushed downstairs in little more than my pyjamas, & stole back to my room to rip the box open with fervour. Oh, it was beautiful, & worth the wait. It got better & better as I dug deeper through the box. An organiser in bright, rich raspberry; Filofax-specific sticky notes; A MIRROR; a NYC subway map; purple lined notepaper…
I am totally, totally, totally in love with my Filofax & thought I’d show you how I’ve been organising it & using it.
The Filofax organiser I bought is the Metropol Personal, in Raspberry. It’s not the most expensive one — at $34, it’s hardly a splurge — but it is the colour I liked best, & has a minimal, chic design. The colour is (let’s just say it) extremely sexual. The Metropol comes with two pen loops (I use one for my ink pen & one for a highlighter!), a pocket in the front (my passport is stashed inside), six credit card slots & a mesh pocket in the back.
I decided to go with the Personal size because it’s most convenient for my purposes. I wanted something big enough that I could write in comfortably, as I often do a lot of writing on paper when I’m out, but that was also small enough to fit in my handbag. Here is a size guide so you can get an idea of the different options!
At the very front of my Filofax is a mirror, which is genius & perfect for checking your teeth or general appearance before you meet someone — & no one even knows you’re doing it! Fab!
After this, I have two transparent envelopes which contain things I want to keep at the forefront of my mind. When Angeliska did a tarot reading for me at Barton Creek in Austin a couple of months ago, the High Priestess was a significant card that turned up. Angel told me that I should keep one around as a reminder, so I pulled mine from my deck & this is where it’s living for now.
The second pocket holds a variety of things — fortunes from cookies, a fortune from the Zoltar machine at the Wildfox Couture party, passes to clubs in Las Vegas & my Virgin America plane ticket to JFK. It has become a kind of catch-all for scraps which come my way — it needs to be reorganised! (Or perhaps I need multiple envelopes for different purposes… Mmmm sounds good!)
After that is my To Do list. I write each item on a separate line, drawing a heart as a bulletpoint & highlighting the line when it’s completed. (This is a system I’ve been using for a very long time!)
The best thing about a Filofax is that because it’s essentially a binder, it can be opened & pages can be removed or replaced on a whim. This means you don’t have to keep old lists around — it’s a brilliant way of clearing out mental clutter.
The next page is my list of things to manifest! Every sentence starts, “I am so happy & grateful…” & then I describe what I want. For example, one of them is, “I am so happy & grateful that Hank & Dolly get along like old friends & are peaceful & happy together”. I wrote about these lists in Love & Sequins #9, because they really, really work! I like to have mine at the front of my planner because I see it all the time as I am flipping through.
My monthly & daily calendars are next. Initially I was just using the grid calendar for planning travel, but have recently switched it up & am now using it to plan out my articles for the month. This way, I can look at it & immediately see where I have a gap, & know what days need content! (Additionally, when I am ahead on my work, it gives me great comfort & a feeling of fantastic smugness to look at these pages. Hahah!)
After the grid calendar is the actual day planner. I use a page for each day, which is great. I like lots of space to add whatever I might need to remember. I am in the unenviable position of needing to write down everything, or I forget about it. I schedule in everything, from meetings to birthdays to reminders to email people about odd things.
I don’t have every day of the year in here — my calendar starts on May 25th (the day it arrived) & at this point, it only contains days up to September. I just don’t want it to be bulging unnecessarily. The rest of the calendar is stowed safely in a desk drawer, & I threw the days prior to May in the bin.
Now we’re into the section which is divided by colour-coded sticky notes. Get ready to Virgo it up!
The first portion contains lists of places to go for brunch & restaurants to try for dinner, separated by borough. Yes, ’tis true! I collate this information from a bunch of sources (like Yelp & Time Out New York) & make notes beside each name, like the address & type of food. The Dish & I like to go on food adventures, so this is a very useful section.
The next page is an ongoing list of songs to put into a summer mixtape, which I am perpetually (but idly) working on! The tab for this page has a musical note drawn on it. I often flip to this page as I am walking along the street listening to my iPod! (Not very graceful!)
I have a page for handwritten gratitude, as well — I like to add to it when I’m waiting for people or have some downtime. Writing it on paper changes the form of giving thanks. It makes it more real, & taking the time to commit it with pen & ink is a really positive practice for me. It also gives me something to refer back to when I’m putting together Things I Love Thursday!
The page after that is for recording my dreams! I write down the date & any details I can remember. The more I do this, the more of them I remember. (It also apparently increases your chances of lucid dreaming.)
The last page in this section is my wishlist. I add to this list when I think of things which need to be replaced or purchased. (Currently featuring: Hollywood tape [I ran out in Las Vegas], Make Up For Ever All Mat primer, & “cute underwear”. Always.)
I am aware that some of the ways I use my Filofax are pretty unconventional, but it really works for me! That’s the best thing about it, it is basically a good-lookin’ binder & you can fill it with anything you like. You can create it in a way which serves you. You can use it to infuse your life with more magic. I love that.
Future Filofax plans? Yes, I have those!
While I love the Metropol, it’s not leather & so I feel like it will probably start to look ratty after a year or so of use. It’s totally no biggie — when that happens, I will probably upgrade to the Filofax Classic in pink. I’ll just scoop out the guts of the Metropol & switch them over. Easy peasy.
I am on the verge of having new business cards (& stickers!) printed up, & when they’re ready, I’ll be stashing them in my Filofax for sure. I’m going to get another envelope — one with a zip closure — to house them. I always forget to take them with me otherwise, which is tragic to say the least!
I’d love to get my hands on a portable hole punch, so I can instantly add things to my Filofax, but for now, I am pretty happy just putting important things in the pockets or transparent envelopes.
I used to have a Filofax when I was about 10 years old. I seem to remember them being a kind of trend — or were they just trendy among nerds like myself? At the time, there were also many poor imitations of the Filofax, which folded open & had magnetic snap closures. (I think I had one with a crocodile on it, which also included a crappy pen?!) I used to write my homework in it & give myself fake, “cool” homework too. Oh brother.
My life is pretty different now — understatement of the year! — & having a Filofax is the perfect complement. Sometimes, when I hold onto it, I feel like I am clutching a little binder of sanity! I take it everywhere with me, even when I think I won’t need to use it. I inevitably do, & besides, it makes me feel happy just flicking through the pages.
Extra For Experts:
Why A Filofax?
Using A Filofax For GTD: Setting Up The Pages For Tasks & Calendars
Flickr photos of how other people do it
Philofaxy is hardcore!
How do you organise yourself? Are you a Moleskine diehard like I used to be, or do you just keep everything in your head? Would you consider getting a Filofax? Tell me how you keep everything straight! I love hearing about it.