Thursday, July 29, 2010

Ticking off one item of my To Do list..(or my review of the Pocket Urban)

One of the other Filofaxes I own, and cherish, is the Pocket Urban in slate. This was my second Filofax, and I had bought it already knowing what I would use it for. It would be my Travel Filo, and accordingly, I also bought the new Travel pack, fresh from the Filofax ovens!

New Urban pocket in slate

I got this baby on the 3rd of august, 2009 and that same night I wrote my first impressions on it:

'Night has come and I still haven't written anything (inside). Haven't even registered it! I just stare at it, open it and run my fingers through its pages. I am scared I might ruin them.
I have taken out all the unnecessary pages, like international info and the 2008 diary, and kept only Aug-Dec 09.
I still haven't decided which sections to move/carry. I don't want to force it.
I've only twice thought about which pen I want to use with it, but haven't really decided yet. I have tried to insert my purple pilot V5 into the very tight loop, but a piece unfolded from the push. So I quickly removed the pen and tried with something slimmer: my trusted Pentel (mechanical pencil) should help the loop to loosen up a bit.
I have already decided to put a scented tissue into the full width wallet pocket, like I did with the Finsbury, so that it will have its unique, nice scent.
I absolutely love that it comes with a frosted (not black!) ruler. It also lays flatter compared to Finsbury's beginnings; it should be fully trained in no time.
Still don't know if I should keep the coloured, numbered tabs, or use the Travel Pack's white, empty ones.
It also comes with an 'Events Calendar' and a 'Timetable', as well as a 'Course Record Notes' which makes me think this organiser could be targeted at students.'

Now, almost one year after I can only sing praises to this little fellow! 
Shortly after having bought it, I travelled to Bolivia, South America. And both the organiser as well as the Travel Pack worked to perfection!

Travel pack at the VIP lounge

The Travel Pack worked wonderfully helping me plan my trip a few weeks ahead, and inspired me to actually write about our trip every night. It also helped me keep all necessary info such as travel itineraries easy to locate and to keep track of my expenses. 

And the organiser seems to have been born to travel! With the secretarial pocket securely holding my boarding ticket, and the full width wallet pocket not only holding one, but TWO passports, I kept some of my local currency in the zippered pocket outside.

Urban's backside

And don't even get me started on the material! "Waxed textile finish with distressed leather-look trim." It is nice to the touch and very stylish!
As a matter of fact, I love this organiser so much, that my DB got me one in the Mini size for my birthday saying: "You love this model so much, you should have a mini so you can use it as a wallet."
And that is exactly what I use my mini Urban for.

Mini Urban Wallet!

Friday, July 23, 2010

X-ray of the Pocket Filofax I use

A fellow philofaxer and dear friend asked me to write about how I use my Pocket Filofax in detail. She uses the Personal size and has been considering going one size smaller. So, this one's for you:

As you already know, I not only changed organiser model (purple Finsbury to black Chino), but I also recently redesigned my system after coming to the conclusion that it had become incompatible with my new life, even though I had been using it effectively before.

My previous system had more sections than the current one, and I also had the tendency to try and fit every imaginable thing into my Filo. Then again, I also had a more active lifestyle and would always carry 'Filito' with me wherever I'd go.

I believe all the sections I used to carry were:
  • Transparent envelope: with pictures and stuff
  • Personal info + registration page
  • To Do section
  • DPP diary: for daily journalling
  • W2P diary: for appointments
  • Notes + Idea Catcher
  • Japanese syllabaries
  • Financial
  • Addresses: separated by categories, not alphabetized
  • World Map
  • 2nd transparent envelope
I started using/combining the two diary formats over a year ago I believe, and have like very much the way it works for me. Of course, I can't keep one year's worth of pages for neither diaries, so I would mainly keep only three months of the W2P (week on two pages) and about six of the DPP (day per page).

The Notes was, well, for notes of ANY kind! I'd even sketch (and still do) in it whenever the urge came up. The Idea Catcher occurred to me after noticing that I had been starting to sketch and write down ideas I had for my 21Kittens projects in the Notes section, and then having a hard time finding them in the future. So, this addition to the Notes section was quite a helper, except that I stopped using it around the time we started preparing for our move to the UK.

The Japanese Syllabaries was a section I made roughly a month after acquiring my first Filofax in order to keep practising the little Japanese I had been learning the previous year. It also had a couple of blank pages for practice, but sadly I never used them.

I tried to keep up with my expenses via my Financial section, but only used them a few times a year, it wasn't quite necessary it seems.

My addresses I completely revamped during my first month of Filofax usage.I've never been keen on carrying a specific address book, especially after having a mobile phone became the norm. So, I organised my contacts into categories (this is explained in more detail here).
The rest of the sections are self-explanatory.

Now my current setup is as follow:

  • Transparent envelope (still empty)
  • Personal Info + registartion page
  • To Do's: (only 4 sheets)
  • Notes: here, the first sheet is an Expenses sheet where I keep track of my debit card (I was recently overdrawn because somehow I thought I had barely used my card!). Then I have all lines sheets in assorted colours. Ever since I started with the new system, I have been using this section to write down blog entries or Filo related stuff (if this goes on, I might consider creating a subsection called Blogs or Filofax). Sometimes I still draw in here.
  • Appointments: this is where I keep my W2P diary. I use it only to jot down future appointments, dates, or urgent To Do's, sometimes even my chores for the day. I'm currently carrying pages from April 8th to Sept 20th. My frosted ruler serves to mark the week.
  • Diary: here are my DPP where I simply write about  my day, what I ate, people I met, music I heard, jobs I applied for... all things I consider worth remembering and keeping track of. But I never write my very personal or secret stuff in here! I use my black ruler as the marker.
  • Finally I still carry my World Map, a picture of my cats and another transparent envelope.
The missing sections are the Idea Catcher (have a Mole for this purpose), Japanese Syllabaries (have put learning Japanese away for a while), financial (didn't really need) and Addresses (I transferred these to my Mini FiloWallet).

So there you have it, a complete and detailed description of my former and current sections in my Pocket Filofax. Hope you enjoyed it :))
(Will try to add pictures later on, either here or flickr)

Sunday, July 18, 2010

Musings of a tipsy Philofaxer in London...

My birthday is coming up.
Next Wednesday to be exact.
And all the happenings during the days before it won't be routine-driven! That is a change. In a new London life that's been filled with hope, only to be replaced with fear, stresss and anxiety, it is hard to make decisions for tomorrow.
So I can't really pin my hopes onto anything. The sanest and safest thing to do as of now, is to just try to go with the flow, and not have another breakdown. Life is crap and we all know it, but still we have to manage to overcome all that bad luck and ill outcomes! Ugh...

As I was saying, my birthday is near. Already my better half has proposed to buy me a new Filofax as a present. We were supposed to go to the lovely store on Neal Street yesterday, but on the day before, I started having doubts about which binder I should get.
I love love love the Raspberry Finsbury...
I could go for the Aqua Fins...
But then the Bond calls to me...
I don't really need another Filo...
Another Pocket Filo would mean I'd have to stop using my recent Chino...
I'd really need an A5 for future work projects, but they don't have one I like...
The Bond in A5 could work...but I need some colour...
Why is the Lavender Domino not available in A5?????
And sorry but the Fins in such a large binder doesn't look good!Not to mention it's EXPENSIVE!

But just half an hour ago I saw a lovely photo of Jotje's Mini Fins in I think I might just have made up my mind. I'll go for what I've wanted since it came out: the Pocket Raspberry Finsbury!

Stay tuned!!

Thursday, July 08, 2010

This Pocket is personal!

This past week has been pretty filled with Philofaxy happenings.
It started with Yvotchka's Citrus Love Affair, followed by my attempt at making it work for her, (luckily she did it all by herself!), being promoted to administrator of the flickr Philofaxy group (still getting my ideas sorted...), and not to mention all those tweets from other happy Filofax users.

It's been quite hard to avoid the temptation of getting a new Filofax, especially after having found out that somebody had quite recently acquired the raspberry book that I have been coveting the most for the past year! The fact that my current economical situation doesn't allow me to splurge on things I REALLY DON'T NEED, does play an important part, though.

What's a girl to do then?
Simply, switch from her current Fins' to her unboxed black Chino.

The Chino or 'the one that got away'...'but was finally recovered with the help of a good Samaritan at the Filofax store'.

The first time I set my mouse on the Filofax UK site looking for a planner that would complement my life, I was torn by having to choose between the Chino and the Urban; two planners that perfectly seemed to fit my 'urban' and casual lifestyle, with their brushed or waxed fabric, their convenient zippered pockets and their whole 'laid back' attitude. It was a tough decision to make, so I decided to return after a few days.

Not five days had passed since my last visit, when upon arriving on the main page, I saw It.
The ultra-sexy, brand-spanking new Purple Finsbury.
It was love at first sight.

Pointlessly I clicked my way to the Chino's and the Urban's main page. It was useless. The black and the slate were no match against the Finsbury's purple magic. I was smitten!
No matter how hard I tried to reason with myself, there was no talking me out of it, and a week later I was finally holding it in my hands...

...but I'm getting side-tracked here!

Some time later, whilst looking to set up a travel Filofax, I decided to go back to my initial choices. To my disappointment, the Chino was no longer available. It was discontinued.

I looked at other European sites, and only few of them still had it. It was also available through the US site. But after working out the differences in price, in exchange rates and in shipping charges, I came to the conclusion that it was a better investment to get the Urban. And I did.

Fast-forward to May this year.
It's a windy Sunday afternoon and I'm standing at the Filofax store on Neal St. I have reassured my boyfriend that I am not going to purchase anything, no matter how good the sale is.
I look at all those pretty binders that need to be sold in order to make space for the new models! Some Domino's, Urban's... the rest I don't remember.
When all of a sudden one of them catches my eye. It's the Chino in beige. As I'm trying to stand my ground, I tell the store assistant that I do not fancy that particular colour, so she quickly pulls another Chino from somewhere I can't see, this time in black!
I proceed to open it, trying not to linger on the softness of the fabric, and notice that the tabs are pastel. I tell the assistant that I do not do pastels. She then leaves me to 'simply think about it and browse a bit more if I wish'.

Next thing I know, I'm handing her my 7GBP, after she's put a new black chino with IVORY coloured tabs (thank you very much :) ) inside that little white plastic bag.

The search is over. You are finally mine, Chino!

Thursday, July 01, 2010

Help for a fellow Philofaxer

Yvotcha, this one's for you:

You mentioned that the sections you carry are: Contacts/Notes/Information/Projects/To Do/Diary.

Diary + To Do:
You say you are currently using the DPP format, but will most likely have to revert to the W2P format due to lack of space.
You carry all your year with you because you need it for referencing, right?
From what I understood, the DPP format also allows you to write down your daily ToDo's? which is why a W2P would be too small...

I suggest:
From today start using the W2P format (I counted and it's only 28 sheets from today until end of year :P).
Then, take your To Do sheets and cut them in half. Keep them all neatly stacked at home, but have some 6 resulting sheets with you. 
Place one half of the TD between your week spread, with the To Do's that belong to that week, should you need more, you can always add more halves.

Like many other suggested on your post, I also think you should store older months in another binder. Really think about it, which months do you still need to revise regularly? You could carry the last 3 months in a separate binder (maybe even a Slimline), if you REALLY need them. Older pages you can store in another binder at home, but keep it somewhere easy to reach, say your bedside table? That way if you ever need it to bring it to work with you, you can easily grab it and not spend all day rummaging through all your Filo parafernalia...

I am assuming this is your personal info. Maybe you carry all those Weight and measures etc....Think about it, how badly do you need it? Here you could just carry your personal details (one sheet) plus the Registration page with you.

If you're like most people, you probably not only carry sheets that are filled, but also tons of blank sheets.
Maybe the way I have it set up could inspire you.
I currently carry my Contacts inside my Kendal Mini. Instead of having my contacts arranged in an alphabetical order, which is a terrible 'space eater' due to all those tabs (*gasp*), I have them arranged by their importance in my life:
   -boyfriend, father,BF parents house, BF father's +mother's mobile, sister, BF's brother+wife, BF's sister+husband, BF's cousin's house in London, and then mobile for each of the London cousins as well as more cousins in Spain (I'm lucky not to have a large family)
----TAB COMES HERE------
-FRIENDS (Spain):
-about 10 contacts here
-FRIENDS (World):
-about 12 contacts
Useful Info UK:
-Bank numbers, mobile operator, Utilities, NHS, (this one will grow the longer we live here)
Useful Info Spain:
-Dentist, Doctors, Bank, Vet, 
-Those contacts I don't have as friends, like our landlord, my cousin's half sister in the US (don't even know her), etc etc.

That for me totals a number of 10 sheets including two blank ones. And I am using the Mini format. In the personal format, more info would fit and you'd still keep your sheet number low. 

I don't know how you currently have set up this section. So, if you can, just keep it as it is, otherwise try to find a way to slim down the pages.

Here you could also try to slim them down, by storing older ones and just keeping the last 5-10 sheets. I know this is probably not much help, but like the Projects, it also depends on the way you currently use this section.

Looking back at your post, you say "doing future planning in the field with a contractor waiting for me to give him dates."
I was thinking, if you still need to reduce your system, one option for this would be to add in front of your Projects section a couple of pages with only VERY important dates. That way, instead of flipping back and forth in your diary, you can simply look at this list to let them know when is what due. You can either have it organised per month:

 3rd: do such and such
 4th: blah blah
10th-20th: blah blah

Or per Project:
 Project A:
   9/3: blah blah blah
   12/20: blah blah blah
Project B:
    9/4: Blah blah blah
   10/12 - 10/25: blah blah blah

Either way, it should help you plan those dates better and not look clumsy flipping through your very fat Filo ( joking ;)  )

Anyway, this is all my brain could come up with. I  hope it is of some use for you, and look forward to reading your posts on your system revamp.