Sunday, November 2, 2014

5 Reasons Why My Filofax Malden Planner Is Better Than An e-Calendar

Today I received my 2015 week on 2 pages calendar refill for my Filofax planner.

I carry a Filofax Malden in the personal size with me everywhere.  It's how I organize my life. Here's a picture of my Ochre colored Filofax Malden.

Filofax Personal Malden Ochre

See show stuffed it is?  There's lots of reminders in there.  And other things too.  Here's a side view.

Filofax Malden Personal Planner Stuffed

That planner may look very vanilla but I can assure you it's quite exciting once it's opened up.

First let me tell you the reasons why I went from using an online or electronic calendar back to a real life tangible planner for organizing my life.  I've narrowed them to 5 so it won't take long.

I've used some type of electronic calendar for years.  With the technology boom there are so many options - Outlook, Excel, Evernote, Lotus Notes, etc.  When I worked full time as a tax accountant it was required that I keep appointments and a schedule electronically so my co workers could access my whereabouts.

In 2013 I decided to become an entrepreneur and self employed.  So in 2014 when it came time to roll everything over, I decided to make the switch to a low tech and old fashioned method - writing everything down with a pen or pencil.  Here's why:
  • Filofax has a huge variety of planner styles and sizes to choose from. There are at least 7 different sizes, some of which have small binder rings, and some have larger (to fill with more stuff of course).  There are also many different materials, styles, and patterns.  I like leather so that's what I picked.  The Malden is the middle sized planner with large rings. One of the reasons I like this one is the closure strap is pretty long. I knew it would need to stretch across a lot of pages so that was a specific criteria when I bought my Filofax.  I'll give more details on the size later in this article.  Although electronic planners also have variety, they just aren't as pretty.
  • I can take my Filofax planner anywhere.  It fits easily in my purse.  And in contrast to an electronic planner I don't need to find a hotspot while using it, and there isn't a battery to fail before I've saved an entry.  I can also update it on an airplane without upsetting the personnel.
  • I can customize the layout to fit my needs.  Lots of people dress their planners up with washi tape, stickers, fancy dividers, and colorful doodles.  Just can't make that happen on Evernote. I sort of decorate mine, but I don't have the time that some Filofax fans do. Mine is rather lame comparatively speaking.  I found some photos on Flickr of really decked out planners to show you what I mean.
photo credit: danyeela photopin - creativecommons licenses 2.0

If you really want to see some fancy Filofaxes click this link to Pinterest - Filofax Planners on Pinterest
  • My Malden is soft leather and smells good.  Because it's made of a natural material it looks and feels better as it ages.  It also contains actual paper as opposed to Microsoft Outlook or another electronic type planner.
  • My Filofax has lots of pockets and a zipper to keep things contained, and there are a variety of inserts that will hold business or credit cards, post it notes, etc.  There are lots of ways to make a planner functional.  Sorry Lotus Notes, you just don't have a place for my coupons. 
Here are some pictures of my Filofax and why it works for me.

This is the inside front cover and first page.  You can see I have pens in the zipper, and some stickers stored in the pockets.  There are also some business cards tucked in there.  The first page is a current shopping list. Things I need to buy in the next few days. 

Filofax Malden Shopping List

Next is a clear plastic flyleaf page. It's turned so you only see the back side in this picture. Lots of times I have sticky notes on it for quickie reminders of things that need my attention.  Then I have a diagonal cut pocket that I made myself to hold my most current shopping coupons.  Things I need for my shopping list.

Filofax Coupon Holder

Then the calendar pages.  I use the week on 2 pages version.  I could probably use a day on a page but it would make the planner too thick and I couldn't hold all the other stuff.  This is just a random page. The 2015 version I bought has lines.

Filofax Calendar Pages Example

I made a customized cleaning schedule for every month.  Sometimes I get to everything, most of the time not.  But someday I'll get there.

Filofax Cleaning Schedule Page

I made dividers in the back from some pretty cardstock.

Card Stock For Making Filofax Dividers and Tabs

To do that I need a paper cutter and a 6 hole punch. My hole punch is made specifically for a Filofax but I'm pretty sure a generic punch can be adapted.

Filofax Paper Cutter and Hole Punch

There are also lots of pretty free download pages to get from the internet.  Some of these were too big but others I was able to cut to size.  I particularly like the monthly bill planner pages.  I printed mine on white cardstock so they were thicker than plain computer paper.

Printable Filofax Pages

I also have some magnet page lists that I got at Target.  These need to be cut a little on the bottom to fit but they are cute and colorful.  And cheap! They're in the dollar bargain section in the front of the store.

And I have some Filofax brand extra lined and unlined paper.  A few extra dividers too.

Filofax Brand Paper

Colorful pens, these Pilot Frixion gel pens from Japan are cool because the ink is erasable.  They don't fit in the pen loop unfortunately, that's why a couple are in the small zipper pocket in the front.

Colorful Erasable Pens For Filofax Writing

And Washi Tape, To reinforce paper edges and pretty things up. The Scotch Brand Washi Tape is the strongest.

Filofax Washi Tape

This Washi Tape is cool because it's got places for notes and dates.  Not a necessity but cute.

Filofax Date and Note Washi Tape

Here is the back.  There is an address pages section.  For addresses I actually do use an electronic file or my iPhone, so I only have a couple of pages here. Just in case I need to jot down someones contact info and I'm not at my computer.  Or I'm actually ON my phone.  I know you're supposed to be able to add contacts while you're talking but that's beyond my technical ability.

And there's a clear plastic pocket that I use for sticky notes and tabs. The colorful pocket behind that is for receipts.

Filofax Clear Pockets

 And finally the back.  Just a big pocket that I have an envelope in with more receipts, and a small Filofax pen in the loop. This one isn't my favorite because it's permanent.  But it fits the loop so I keep it there as a spare.

Filofax Malden Back Inside Cover

So concludes my Filofax Planner tour.  I bought it at the beginning of 2014 and am completely satisfied.  Looking forward to a busy and organized 2015.

Earlier I mentioned the Filofax planner sizes.  Here is a chart.  If you buy one also consider the ring size, some are made to be slim and others are made to stuff to the brim.  Some are made to carry in a pocket, and some to keep on a desk. And note that some styles have snap close straps, some have elastic bands, and others are meant to just lay flat.  There are a lot of different models within each size, each with variations on the pocket and storage system.  Do some research before buying.  I did and I couldn't be happier.

Amazon is a great place to buy a Filofax Planner.  That's where I bought mine and the price was good.  There are also a lot of pen shops and the Filofax website itself that offer online shopping.  And of course eBay. Actually some of the high end stationary shops have eBay stores.  Problem is I waited too late in the year and there weren't a lot of options.  So shop early if you're planning on converting to a tangible planner this year. 

Original Retro Red Filofax 2015 Personal Organizer

Filofax 2015 Malden Purple Personal Leather Organizer
Filofax 2015 Finsbury Raspberry Personal Organizer