Friday, December 10, 2010

Experiment #2: Filofax daily + weekly

In my quest for the Perfect Planner I find myself, unexpectedly, trying again with my Filofax.

Stefee has had some very convincing reasons why a day on 2 pages setup in my Filofax could work for me.  (To read her advice for me and how she uses hers, click here on my Experiment Over post (which details my Daily Moleskine Fail) and scroll down to see her comments.)

In addition to Stefee's sound logic, I've been inspired lately by Jotje's recent guest post on Philofaxy about how she uses her Personal size Filofax to keep control of her business, her (large) family, personal stuff, life, the universe and everything.  It made me realize that a Personal size Filo really and truly is big enough to handle a very busy, multi-faceted life.  Just when I had convinced myself it couldn't be done!

Jotje uses a week on 2 pages diary insert (to see the layout of her week) and also day on 2 pages. (to see the daily details).  Hmmmm, veeeery interesting.

This reminded me of how Jess uses a week on 2 pages and also day per page diaries for long and short range planning.  Confession time: I tried Jess's method of using the week on 2 pages with a To Do sheet in the middle back in October, and it quickly failed because the day spaces were crammed so full with my writing I could hardly read it.  Also I didn't like how the To Do page broke up my view of the week.  So I quickly abandoned that method.  But now I'm thinking of how I could adapt it with daily and weekly pages.

Then I thought of someone else we all know and love, Oni, who uses weekly and daily pages in her Filofax too!

Could this be The Way???

Alright, let's do this thing.

So I immediately busted out my personal size Deco Filofax and pulled out everything I don't use.  I figure, my Filo is already fat enough, but if I'm going to use weekly and daily pages the thing will be huge.

I don't happen to have any daily pages for my Filofax for this year, so I fashioned some from white lined pages.  First I'm trying a day on 2 pages setup, and if I find this excessive I'll switch to day per page.

If I do stick with one day on 2 pages, my options are:

1) to buy a 2011 Filofax day per page diary insert and put a lined notes page (or a To Do page) between the day pages for a modified D2P. 

2) Order the Filofax day on 2 pages diary insert from Filofax France (click here for link).

3) Take Stefee up on her very kind offer to send me Franklin Covey's D2P inserts, which is very tempting!

On with the experiment...

I normally use clear page markers to mark my place in my monthly calendars and weekly diary.  I added another one for the daily section.  Then I realized 3 of them is confusing, so I added some of the colored tape flags from the sticky notes insert to have easy color coding for monthly (blue), weekly (green) and daily (bright pink).

Next came the weekly pages.  I had my pink week on 2 pages diary loaded into my Filo, but I took it out and put in the cotton cream week on 2 pages that I happened to have lying around. (Note: this is why I never throw away any current-year planner.  You never know what crazy shit I'll try before the year is up.)  My idea was that I could write my weekly goals into the This Week space at the top left page.

But this was an immediate Fail.  Even for just an overview, I have to have days as columns to see the layout of my week.  Luckily I happen to have some Franklin Covey week on 2 pages inserts with the days as columns.
I have to say, the FC inserts look pretty darn classy in my Deco.

I tried these back in April and quickly abandoned them due to, you got it, not enough space each day. At that time I bought the April-May-June quarter and the entire year July 2010-June 2011, so if I really like these I'll have to order up more to get me through 2011.  Luckily Franklin Covey inserts start quarterly and run for a full 12 months, so I could just get another July start planner.  But I'm getting waaaaayyyy ahead of myself now.  This experiment has to work first!

My FC weekly insert came with tabbed monthly calendar pages too.

Even though I prefer the layout and look of the Filofax monthly pages, I might just use the FC monthly pages so I can write my Monthly Goals and Monthly Reviews on the reverse of each month.

You see, Franklin Covey inserts have a feature that Filofax inserts do not: the back side of each diary page is lined for notes, instead of the diary printed back to back like in Filofax. This allows you to stick tabs into your diary section, splice months into the weekly or daily section, or whatever you want.

In fact, this splice-able feature allows for so many interesting combinations: I could have the month with the appropriate weeks following, and the days between the weeks.  But I don't think I'll do that.

Already I'm noticing I can't have many weekly pages (and hardly any day pages) because otherwise my Filo won't close.  I usually like to have pages as far into the future as I can, so this feels a little limiting.  I can still have a whole year of monthly pages though, so that is good.

I'm feeling slightly overwhelmed with putting this together for some reason, and sometimes I wonder, why am I doing this again?

But if it will work for me, I think it would be great to see my weekly layout and have my daily details in a separate section.  As much as I love my Trinote, I tend to fill the week pages up with my messy handwriting and end up staring at it like a deer in the headlights wondering what I should do first.

Should I just be tidier in my Trinote?  Should I go all out with my Filofax?

I'm at the very earliest stages of this experiment, and am still putting it together so anyone who has any day-per-page advice for me (or even just supportive cheering-on) please post a comment!


  1. Supportive Cheer!!!! GO LAURIE!!!

    Seriously though, I vote you at least TRY with this new plan in the Filo. I think at the moment enough of us (myself included) are kicking around ideas about week in view/daily page systems that eventually SOMEONE has to strike gold!

    Day Timer also has the monthly tab feature where you can write notes on the back. And they are the same width as FF pages. Right now I am playing with DT tabbed month, followed by WOTP (for my weekly view), followed by only one month at a time of DPP for a lengthier day space.

    Department of Redundancy Department ; )

    Anyway, keep at it girl! You are "doing this again" because that is what we do. This is who we are. We are planner geeks. Proud, and well organized!!

  2. Every Wednesday evening, I take the upcoming week (Thursday - Wednesday) out of my W2P diary and replace it by the week (Thursday - Wednesday) of my DpP diary. Since Thursday is on the right page, it fits smoothly into the W2P - thus giving me enough space for each day plus a full year's diary. Works for me!

  3. Very interesting! Did you know that has colored day markers in every size (Classic (almost A5) size is item 24461)? They are pretty...

    I think I've settled on week-on-2-pages for 2011. I like to see a week at a time so I can see my weekly landscape, and also, that way I can keep more historical pages in my planner. I decided on the DayRunner Pro 3-in-1 weekly pages (item 481-185-11), because I will then have room for appointments, todo's and notes for each day. I've tried day-on-2-pages in the past and I like it, but I can't keep as many in my planner at one time, and also sometimes I end up running out of note-taking space or end up not writing many notes at all, which is a waste of paper.

    I have a separate section in my planner with plain lined pages for taking notes at work. I record what I've working on throughout the day as well as take meeting notes, etc. I use the DayRunner Notes pages (item 011-200) because they have a colored section along the left hand side of the page on which I write the basic topic of the note, then in the lined section I write the notes. I decided on topics according to the current projects that I have going on at work. Then, when looking back through my notes, I can just glance down the left hand side of the page to more easily find the notes I want. Kind of a Cornell style, but better.

    Sooooo... one quandary I have is how do I capture TASKS that come up during the day in meetings or hallway conversations? I have some Time/System fold-over task pages left over and I punched them and put them in my planner but it just isn't working because I take notes on the front and back of the notes pages, and the weekly pages also use both sides, so the fold-over task pages always cover important stuff.

    For me, out of sight is out of mind, so I need those fleeting thoughts, assigned tasks from meetings, etc, VISIBLE or else they will just not exist in my mind. I'm trying out the yellow sticky note Hotlist from Daytimer (item 10041) and sticking them to the plastic Today markers but that isn't working either (too small). Sigh.

    I also need some way to carry a small capture tool in my pocket so that if I'm in the hallway without my planner and my boss stops me to tell me to do something I can write it down right then, then transfer it to my master task list, which HAS to be kept in Microsoft Outlook for work. Double sigh.

    An option I have considered is the DayTimer DualView foldout monthly dividers (item 12222) plus 2PPD, so that when I have my planner in front of me I could fold out that monthly page for my long-view landscape and still have my daily page to focus on. But those monthly pages don't have much room to write for each day. Plus... I hate having to write anything in several places. Triple sigh.

  4. Iris, do you only keep the 2ppd pages in the planner for a week, then archive them? Do you keep the weekly page for Thurs-Wed in the planner and rewrite items on them for historical notes?

    If I did this, I'd take my work-related notes on the 2ppd pages... but if I then removed those pages from my planner, I wouldn't have the notes to refer to later on.

    Quandaries, quandaries... the only thing that I am fairly certain of is that I WILL SWITCH PLANNERS AGAIN. I have come to accept that this will happen. I used to berate myself for it, but now I am trying to just accept that it WILL HAPPEN. Heh heh.

  5. Yeah, Laurie! More supportive cheering here and don't give up! Love all the creative ideas and those pastel today markers are soooo cute. How long does it take to ship to Scotland???

  6. Sarahb1 - Here's a picture of my diary to give you an idea.
    When I put the upcoming DpP (day on one page) week in my Filo, I take out the "week on 2 pages" sheets for that week - thus I only have one diary with one page marker to mark the current day. The rest of the DpP diary (and said W2P week) is kept in another Filo which stays at home. Come Wednesday evening, the week gets replaced by the next one.
    Yes, I do "sync" both diaries regularly.

  7. Sorry, here's the link I was meaning to give you.

  8. Hi Laurie

    I've really enjoyed our exchanges over the past week, and I'm impressed with your resolution - I can see a lot of the ideas we've mentioned or discussed in here, in one form or another. I'm going to post a longer response over on Philofaxy because I want to tie it in to my own recent experience - but looks good, and good luck!

  9. Yv, thank you for your support! I am proud to stand among the Planner Geeks. But, I am concerned about my own planner redundancy--I'm worried that re-writing everything in the monthly, weekly and daily pages will lead to a Fail. Interestingly, it makes me think of my WeekDate planner that starts in a couple of weeks. "Only Write It Once" sounds appealing. It seems like ONE or the OTHER should work perfectly for me! But in reality I know it's not that simple.

    Iris I like your system of having only one diary format in your Filofax at a time to avoid redundancy.

    Sarah I identify with your comment so much! I definitely have to have a place to capture those unexpected tasks or I forget them.

    David, thank you for your supportive words! I'm curious to see how this system will work for me.

  10. Laurie, I'm trying this as well, using week-on-two-pages and for now the dayplanner sheets (I have two page per day for next year incase that's better than the dayplanner sheets). One thing I did to save space is to completely eliminate the month view - I really wasn't using it much anyway. Good luck and I hope a filofax implementation of some sort works for you! (that's partly selfish - If you're using a filofax, you'll likely write more posts about them :)

  11. Laurie, yay for the Filofax Deco rerun (that thing really is too pretty to be sitting at home anyway ;-)).
    Have your considered the German Filofax DPP Professional inserts? Iris has just done a review on them in her blog. It has a weekly overview before the daily pages, which might be the space to record goals. For todo's it seems rather restricted in space, but general pointers/goals seem doable on these pages. Here's the link:

    I capture my Tasks/Todo's on my lists in front of the binder. However, you might also consider the shorttrimmed Todo inserts from Daytimer (just saw a very good offer on Ebay!).

    Generally, I don't think it's really so much about WHAT planner you use, but HOW you use it. Maybe the reason of your planner fails is not technical (kind of planner to use) but psychological? To find out, I highly recommend reading Julie Morgensterns Timemanagement from the inside out. I know she cleared my path by opening my eyes!!!

  12. plaiditude, LOL! I'm sure I would have more Filofax-related things to talk about if I were using one on a regular basis!

    Jotje thanks for the photo of the German pages, those are really nice. I wouldn't be able to use those though because they don't have English on the pages. Sounds silly, I know, especially since it's not hard to figure out the days. But I once had a planner all in French and wound up abandoning it quickly partly because I had to translate in my head each time I used it, which I found irritating.

    I'm actually really liking the Franklin Covey weekly pages because I can write weekly to-dos and notes on the back sides of the pages. Also the few To Do spaces at the bottom of each day's column are perfect to note my cleaning schedule.

    And Jotje, LOL! I'm sure psychology has a lot to do with my planner fails. But I also blame the laws of physics. I want a huge page size with lots of space to write, but a small book.

    I've heard so many good things about Julie M's books, I think I'll see if my library has any. I'm interested in her approach. Thanks for the recommendation!

  13. Laurie, if you like the Filofax "Professional" range, you might want to take a look at the Filofax UK Time Management range. Similar page layout, but A5 only.

  14. Thanks for that Iris! I like the TM system but A5 is too big for me to carry around. This would be great for work though!

  15. I am also moving back to Filofax (an A5). Using the week on a page calendar, with a notes page next to it. I don't have tons of appointments, but I do have lots of notes, so I hope this will work well for me. Previously I used the one day a page format, and I didn't like not seeing my whole week at a view. I got my wife her first Filofax recently and she absolutely loves it. She's using the week on two pages format, along with the family plan inserts.

  16. From personal experience I think that to expect a planner to do everything plus be light and small is unrealistic. But it doesn't stop me hoping....

    The lightest planners are Smythson - their paper is very thin and the leather planners can take a major beating and come up smiling. YOu can also send them back once a year to be rebound.

    However, they are hugely hugely expensive so a planner fail would really be felt in your wallet.

    The best Smythson I ever had was a small week to view in their signature featherweight paper with notepaper at the back. They used to do five year undated diaries in Cerise with thicker paper but they don't anymore.

    They do online but the best value is at Heathrow just after new year - then they are tax free and 50% off. They never used to have sales on planner but I think the recession has hit them.

    And regarding the Holy Grail of planners - I think finding it would be boring in the long run. But much less writing!

    I have run the gamut of planners. At the moment I am using an orange A5 Finsbury because it works best but oh the weight the weight and the ungainly size...

  17. You go get 'em, girl!!!
    I'm really happy you are giving the Filo another chance; afterall, that is one of the good things about them, you can tweak and play with them as much as you want :)
    As for how during two years (already!) I have managed to stay with my two formats system, I have come up with a small list of things that make it work:
    - 2 page markers: one for each current week and day
    - my W2P is used ONLY for events that are to take place in the future
    - the DPP is for current & past events. I try to write in this section every night before going to sleep. When I can't, I try to update it as soon as I can.
    - Moveable reminders (on the W2P) for recurring events: rent, bills, travel card, etc. This will keep me from forgetting them and will give me more space to write on that day.
    - Important events such as birthdays, anniversaries, are recorded on BOTH formats, so I will always have them visible
    - when I don't have enough space on a day (W2P) for that day's stuff, I will either use a post-it, or a jot-pad note. If the list's too long, I prepare a to Do list for that day exclusively and write down "Check To Do" on that day. Anything, as long as I keep it visible!
    - Info such as phone numbers, addresses, etc. that I receive on the day, will be written down on my Notes section, then I transfer it accordingly.
    - Stuff that wasn't programmed, but is worth/beneficial to remember for the future, gets written down on the Daily Page, and highlighted.
    - If a new task comes up, e.g. "Give M. the recipe for this dish", it gets written down on the To do list.

    I hope these are of some help to you getting your system to work with you. Nevertheless, the NUMBER ONE thing that actually makes it possible, is remembering to ALWAYS flip back and forth between the two sections, so nothing will be missed. In the end you get used to this routine and do it automatically, without even thinking about it. That way, there won't be an "Out of Sight, Out of Mind" problem ocurring frequently.

    For instance, today's important task for me was to write this comment, so I prepared it on my Filo on my way back from work :)

    Good luck!!!!

  18. Thanks for this Oni! It's great to get your advice after you've had so much success with this system for such a long time!

  19. I know I'm a little late to the discussion here, but I too use three formats - monthly, weekly and daily. For the daily, I've been using the Day Planner pages and each night I add the information to it that is listed on my weekly space. (I keep a week's worth of Day Planner sheets in my main planner and have future and past ones in my storage binder.) I have to use the weekly for the week's plans (I have to see it laid out that way) but, like you, the information gets overwhelming and ends up everywhere. Hence the daily pages for a more organized day. Plus, I can keep additional information that I just couldn't fit into the weekly spaces.

    After seeing Jotje's Philofaxy guest post, I have been drooling over the 2PPD sheets. I don't necessarily like the daily sheets but I'm going to give it a try for 2011, mainly because the Day Planner sheets only come in packs of 20. When I buy them, I buy at least 5 packs at a time but I feel like I'm always buying them - when I venture into the city and go to a retailer, they only have two or three packs of those sheets.

    I'll be sure to write a post on how that's going after they've been in use.