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Saturday, December 11, 2010

Filofax experiment continued

It's day two of my Filofax experiment, and so far so good!  Already I really like being able to see the daily details and the week layout.  Today I got so much more done than I normally would on a Saturday, and I felt more focused on what I needed to accomplish.

I've been playing around with my pages and deciding what to put where.  I realized I'll be opening my rings often to add and remove diary pages, so I needed to rearrange some things to make the diary pages closer to the middle of the book.  I even tried putting the address pages in the front of the book but didn't like that.  I ended up putting my reference information and maps all up front, and took out some pages that didn't really need to be in there.

Now my Filo is holding monthly pages through all of 2011, 5 months of weekly pages and a month of daily pages, which is great.

Something I've discovered that I love: I can write my monthly goals on the backside of the Franklin Covey monthly pages, which is wonderful.  I can also write tasks that have to happen in a particular week on the back side of that week's pages.  Then I can transfer those tasks to the daily pages when they need to be done.

I've made my own day on two pages dairy from lined pages, very unstructured.  If I manage to stick with this system, I'm considering my options for day per page planners.  (See previous post for more on that.)

Possible pitfall:  Writing each appointment in 3 different places might be the downfall of this system.  Already I've caught a couple of appointments that didn't get transferred to where they needed to be.  All this re-writing has me thinking the "Only Write It Once" system of WeekDate sounds really good.  I'll be experimenting with that next month so we'll see which system works better for me!


  1. Hi Laurie,
    This is exciting news! Being more focused and productive is what it is all about, isn't it? I agree that writing appts in 3 different places is going to be very tedious and has potential for omissions. Perhaps you could use some kind of shorthand or symbol to make the re-writing less of a chore?

  2. Laurie, How do you deal with the fact that the FC pages are wider than the Filofax pages? I've always liked the FC pages but just not their typically inelegant binders!

  3. I am looking forward to the Week Date post as the photos you sent me were already very helpful! And it that doesnt work out then I will use tips from how you modified your beautiful deco instead :-)
    Hoping it will be win win!
    Thanks again Laurie......

  4. Stefee I definitely need to come up with a system for being diligent about re-writing so that nothing slips through the cracks!

    Claudia, the wider pages are okay in this particular Filofax, but I can see how some Filofax models might not be able to accommodate the wider pages as easily.

    CB, thanks and I'm glad the WeekDate photos I sent you were helpful! And if it doesn't work out for you, you can always adapt your Filo!

  5. You folks seem to be excited about these systems and the mechanisms and I truly hope you find a thing or collection of things that helps you accomplish more in your waking time. However, statements like this: "Today I got so much more done than I normally would on a Saturday, and I felt more focused on what I needed to accomplish," suggest to me that your toys are distracting you from basic discipline. The only thing time management tools have ever been able to do is encourage you to write things down and prioritize them. And maybe, since you've written them down and arranged them, you will get around to doing some or most of them. No device can make you do any more than you are willing to commit to doing. Promising to deliver that magical devotion to fulfilling all of your commitments is how time management product manufacturers make all those billions.

  6. bogiesan, that is a very good point. No planner system, no matter how excellent, will actually DO our tasks for us. We have to do them. And, planning is not the same as doing.

    That said, in my experience the right planner makes all the difference in whether I am organized or not. If a system is too complicated to use, or doesn't let me easily see what I need to do and when, then things slip through the cracks and I miss appointments or I fail to prepare for upcoming events. I'm one of those people who has to have things written down in front of me and think things through ahead of time in order to function well. And if my planner system fails, I wind up feeling confused, stressed, and unsure of what to do next.

    My journey to my Perfect Planner has been long and full of experiments. I feel like I'm starting to close in on it, but I'm not there yet!

  7. Laurie: Cheers! I completely agree that the right planner makes all the difference. Keep on your journey to the Perfect Planner, there is no magic number of planners you have to try before finding the right one. Perhaps like someone else wrote, you will ultimately design your own and start a new format!

    bogiesan: I read with amusement your comments about “basic discipline” and had to laugh because I think you are barking up the wrong tree! I find that planner users are a conscientious, thoughtful, creative, disciplined and a perfectionist lot! We are focused on our goals and values and have high expectations of ourselves. We are striving to find sanity in our complex daily lives with multiple commitments and a to do list that is never ending. We are devoted to our families and want to make the most of every day for them, whether that is a timely birthday card or remembering that they needed that something special. We have jobs, whether in the home or outside the home, and want to do the very best in that too. We are a creative people, and when we have an inspirational idea we want to quickly write it down before the awesome idea vanishes into thin air. We are visual and like to draw or doodle. We are disciplined in keeping up with the basics to feed our families nutritious, tasty and varied meals, keep them clothed in clean attire and shoes that are not too big or too small, and make sure they are living in a clean and safe home. What “we folks” are talking about is taking it to the next level. For me, it’s keeping track of information so that I don’t walk around with a pinched expression on my face as I mutter what I need to get done today/this week/this month/this year/this lifetime! It’s also so that I don’t walk around in a daze because I am overwhelmed by the lists floating around in my head. It’s so that I don’t miss the opportunity to make a special lifelong memory for my daughter because we had time to plan and organize her 11th birthday party with 15 friends. (BTW, it turned out gloriously, but I already wrote down a couple of notes to make it run more smoothly next time. E.g. when ordering pizza for 16 girls, don’t get any cheese flavored crust since the cheese powder dropped all over the floor, and that the pepperoni & pineapple combo was their favorite! Another tip: I had the ice cream already scooped out into individual cups with lids so all the girls got to eat at the same time. Easy peasy.) Everyone had a great time and I am still reaping the “You’re the best Mom ever” comments.

    I applaud what Laurie is doing on her journey to find her Perfect Planner. I’m lucky that I found something off the shelf that clicks with the way I process and organize data, but obviously there are many ways to manage data & time as evidenced by the various styles of planners/calendars/organizers in the market. I am fascinated by that and may one day make a study of it. It’s a Rorschach test of sorts of how our minds work. Why is my one friend contentedly functional with just a monthly wall calendar for her family of 7 and her daycare business, while I need my FC Day on 2 Pages with 2-pg Monthlies and 5 tabs of info for me, my husband and daughter, and that I carry everywhere? Why does another friend handle her day on her iPhone? One way is not superior to another, it’s only wrong if the owner is unhappy. And then I say, “Try something else.” For those who shake their heads at our planner obsessions, consider that there are worse things to obsess over… jewelry, our looks, cars, etc. At least with a planner obsession, we are trying to enrich the lives of our loved ones and to better ourselves.


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