I've been using Filofaxes for years, but in recent years I can't make the personal size weekly pages work for me as a planner no matter how many times I try . When I first used my Filofax they worked fine, so why can't I make them work now?
Back in 2001 when I started using my first actual Filofax, those were the Glory Days of my Filofax usage. There was no struggling, my Filofax just worked for me. Or did it??
I decided to take a trip through my Filofax storage binders to find out when my Filofax weekly pages ever worked well for me. Below are my storage binders, they are vinyl binders from Mead that I bought a whole bunch of several years ago. I don't know if you can even find them anymore. I labeled the spines (not very neatly) with tape flags covered over with tape.
day per page planner I'd been using the previous semester. Day per page planners don't allow me to plan ahead effectively, and I was having a hard time planning assignments and projects. So the weekly pages seemed super-efficient compared to that.
But how effective were they really? I used the week on two pages that came in my Filofax. I had never heard of a week + notes format back then, but I think that would have worked much better for me. Because look at the photo below. What is up with those tasks that never got checked off?? Did I ever do them at all? Who knows??
Meanwhile the rest of my Filofax did work well. I had sections for all my degree requirements and classes I had to take, which I marked off as I completed them.
I also used my Filofax on my research trip throughout Europe where I studied fossils at various museums. I had everything I needed in my Filofax: maps, train times, museum addresses, contacts, etc. That time is my favorite Filofax memory.
So imagine my surprise when I discovered that, despite the rest of the Filofax working well for me, the weekly pages didn't at all! Which made me wonder: had they ever really worked for me?
After grad school I worked in an office that required everyone to use Outlook. As much as that sucked, it freed up my Filofax pages for only personal use. I didn't have trouble synching my Filofax and Outlook since my work and non-work lives were pretty separate. My Filofax weekly pages (cotton cream then) held my social engagements and weekend trips, and later the schedule of my prenatal doctor appointments. My planning needs weren't too strenuous, and my Filofax weekly pages worked fine for the most part.
But my Filofax got fatter and heavier until I didn't feel like carrying it around in my bag any more, so I switched to a small day per page book, which I loved. So even though my Filofax technically was working well for me, I was happy to ditch it for a smaller daily book.
That daily book worked fine for me all year because I didn't have much to plan, but a lot to record (which daily books are best for). The next year I went back to my Filofax, this time the week + notes format (which didn't work all that well for me due to the small pages). I switched around weekly formats and finally ditched my Filofax for a spiral-bound weekly planner.
Then we went on a trip to the US (from Moscow where we were living) and I didn't bring my Filofax along on the trip. I quickly discovered just how much I relied on my Filofax with its years of accumulated information and contacts, which I was lost without. When I got back from that trip, I was desperate to get my Filofax back in my hands and make it work at any cost. I had to have my information and contacts with me wherever I went!
But no matter what I tried, I couldn't make the personal size planner pages work for me. So I upgraded to an A5 Filofax, which I discovered was too heavy for me to carry everywhere the way I wanted to, and after that my real planner journey began.
So, what have I learned here? My Filofax worked best for me when my planning was simplest: while I was working and before my kids were born. I only planned personal stuff in it, no work stuff. I didn't do cleaning schedules (our apartment was only two rooms, easy to keep up on). I only had myself to keep track of (my husband's schedule was predictable and low-maintenance).
Ever since then I've tried several times to use my Filofax as my planner, because it does make such a handy information/ reference/ contacts book and it would be so nice to have all that together in one book. But now with two kids to keep track of, after school activities, blogs, work, cleaning schedules, meal planning, and all the other complications of life, a personal size Filofax just doesn't work for me as a planner.
In fairness to the Filofax, I am very out of sight out of mind and after
years of planner experimentation I've discovered I have to have my week
schedule on the same page as my to-do list, which the personal size pages don't give me enough room for. The A5 Filofax has a bigger page, but the binder is just too heavy.
Which begs the question: is a Filofax best suited as just a "File Of Facts" rather than a planner?
When Filofax first started out, it was intended as a reference book. Does anyone know when they first started printing diary pages for Filofax binders?