24 July 2012

My Filofax Blog Planner

Used Filofax Slimline Finsbury
This project has been months in the making and I'm actually quite thrilled with the results! While doing my research I loved exploring other people's Filofaxes, seeing what worked and what didn't - so I thought I might share mine. (Please pardon any poor spelling, I'm dyslexic and the analog world doesn't offer spellcheck yet!)

I've been trying to bring some sort of organisation to my blogging since last year, but I was really struggling to find a system that worked for me. I started with a Filofax Pocket Flex I won just before Christmas.
Pink Filofax Flex Pocket - First Edition
I loved the compact size and flexibility, but I hated the bound notebooks. Unfortunately my mind doesn't work in an especially linear manner, so I find it very difficult to keep information organised if I can't rearrange the pages. I carried this notebook in my handbag for over six months and I only made one page of notes in the left hand notebook and three lists on the jot pad. In the end I decided it wasn't working and hopefully it will be finding a new home via ebay soon.

My New Filofax

I decided I needed a very slim ring bound notebook that would fit easily in my handbag. After a bit of searching I found this second-hand Filofax Slimline Finsbury on ebay. I'm afraid I have quite a weakness for pretty stationary, so through this whole project I've been torn between buying things new and reusing pre-existing items. I haven't succeeded everywhere, but I have managed to choose the eco-friendly option in several cases.
While searching for different blog planner designs (many of which featured in the second Shiny Somethings), I also spotted someone who used a postcard as a cover sheet. I loved how it added colour and personality to their Filofax, so I went searching for something similar. At first checked the stores, but couldn't find anything with the vibrancy I was looking for. When I got home I realised the answer was staring at me.

My best friend had sent me a fabulous birthday card, which was still sitting on my mantle six month later. I hated the thought of cutting it, but really, what else was I going to do with a birthday card? So I removed the pink raised flower that would be cut off, cut the card down to size, and reattached the flower over some of the text. I even found an old sheet of acetate I'd rescued from an outdated PR report, which I cut down to use as a protector. I'm thrilled with the results! It's so much better than a random postcard would have been!

First Section: Blog Planner
Filofax Blog Planner
Behind the cover sheet hides the meat of the project, my new Blog Planner. It's not perfect yet, but as I print the pages as needed, I'm free to tweak the design as I go along. The top box is for my weekly Step Down Sunday & the second lets me note down Shiny Somethings before I forget them. The third box is just a random to do list, and the fourth is for general ideas. I think I can make both the to do list and the Step Down box smaller in future. Then I have a box for stats, just so I can see if something is working well or gets a good reaction. I'm also trying to increase my interaction, so I've set myself a goal to comment on five other blogs each week (preferably new people I don't know). 

My favourite section is Images to Take, which has saved me lots of time lately. Previously I'd just take images when I'd finished writing the post, but this way if I see a shot is needed in the future I can take several all in one go.

I'm sure this planner will continue to evolve over time, but I finally feel like I have some control over my blog, rather than rushing about last minute.

Second Section: Long Term Lists
Filofax To Do - Step Down Sunday
Filofax To Do - Website Maintenance
Behind the next divider I have a couple of Filofax To Do pages for long term planning; things like Website Maintenance and future Step Down Sunday ideas. I also have a vertical year planner to mark down when blog posts have been published, so I can get an idea of how often and evenly I'm posting.

Third Section: Notebook

Just some blank pages for everyday notes and shopping lists.

Fourth Section: My Diary
Filofax Tabbed Month Per Page Vertical Planner
Recently I've been making a slow shift from a Moleskine diary to a Google calendar on my phone. The advantage of the digital diary is being able to share events and appointments with Mr Goldfish, so there are no last minute surprises. My worry though is that Google will one day swallow up my calendar leaving me no way to recover my schedule. So this month per page vertical planner is my back-up, and means I don't have to carry my Moleskine any more.

Fifth Section: Quaker Diary
Filofax Vertical Year Planners
This year I became Clerk of our local meeting, and primarily my responsibility seems to be keeping the meeting organised and to know what's going on. I needed something separate from my personal diary, so it would be quick to scan and not clutter up my own calendar. The vertical year planner was the one thing in my Filofax Flex that worked well. While Quakers are a busy bunch, there are only a few events each month that need to be recorded so a year planner offers just enough space for the key details all at a quick glance.
In the picture you can see my pocket Flex calendar hacked to fit, with the normal 2013 behind it. The kink in the Flex cover does seem to crowd the binder rings, making it tricky to turn the pages. I was tempted to buy a new one to replace it, but that seemed wasteful. I'm hoping everything will move more smoothly when I take it out at the end of the year.

Inserts & Dividers
Muji Filofax Inserts

Back in university I bought a small silicone binder from Muji which I used as a project planner. The notebook itself didn't age well and wasn't really suitable for everyday use (instead I use it to store both blank and old pages I'm not using), but the inserts were still in good condition and fit my new Filofax perfectly.

The Muji dividers are unusual in that the tabs go across the top of the page.This actually works quite well as it keeps them away from the month tabs of my diary. I'm also using the plastic Muji pen loop page. It feels gratuitous as the Finsbury Slim has it's own pen loop, but unfortunately it's too small for my Filofax Pocket Pen to fit comfortably. Rather than risk damaging my Filofax, the plastic insert seemed sensible.

My only frustration: Even though I've only put a few sheets in each section, my Filofax is already full. The leather adds a fair bit of bulk, so the rings have to be quite small. It seems to be working at the moment, but I may have to pare it back in the future.

So that's a quick peek into my Filofax, how do you stay organised?