Thursday, May 15, 2014

Dear Filofax

I am of the Filofax generation. I fell in love with Filofax in my teens and I'm still smitten. A young love full of sweet Filofax memories evolving into mature companionship with the occasional passion on finding new Filofax collections online.

Then: Filofax was a romantic date at Paperchase in Tottenham Court Road, or a quick rendezvous at WH Smith on the way home from school. Filofax was full of hope for the future. Revision timetables and exercise schedules that, this time, I was going to stick to. Lists of things to accomplish by the end of the week, this year, before I'm 30.

Now: Like eccentric old men who still use their fountain pens for writing and wear fob watches tucked into their waistcoat pockets, I don't quite trust having my life trapped entirely inside a technical device which could fail on me at any time. I like to be able to see everything at once, spread out on the table if necessary or at least viewable with a quick flick of the page.

I still have three standard sized Filofaxes. A cloth covered 'student' Filofax that I did indeed use as a student 30 years ago and is my current diary and life support system. A pink plastic Filofax that I bought my sister for her birthday when she was 17 or 18 (she's now 48) and is full of years' worth of obsolete addresses and telephone numbers. (Actually my 5yo daughter has taken that one and is busily colouring in the pages as her first Filofax project. As I said, the numbers are obsolete.) And a slim black leather Filofax that I bought in my twenties when I was trying to be sophisticated. It now holds seven years of detailed monthly spending records, to date. With an overview page at the back showing average spending each year. Obsessive - moi?


There have been others including a pocket sized leather Filofax from when giant hold-alls went out of fashion and small handbags were in. I gave it to a friend on a whim one day, when big bags were back and my life was more complicated than could fit into a miniature Filofax. Aah, I call it my whim-away and have fond memories. I hope she's taking good care of it.

At one time a Filofax was my Bar and Bat Mitzvah present of choice, however times change. My brother, being of the post-fountain pen generation, got four calculators for his Bar Mitzvah. Now I buy disposable calculators for a pound. I sometimes still give a Filofax if the recipient is a special sort of young adult who I think would appreciate the exquisiteness of such a gift.

But what about me, Filofax? I've not bought a new one for myself for 25 years. A whole generation of Filofax has passed me by. I'm broody for one last new Filofax to keep me young. But I'm set in my ways now. I have very specific needs. If I were to invest in a new Filofax, this is what I would hope to fill it with...

1. A weekly diary with one week shown on a double spread. However, the backs of each sheet should be plain lined, with only the dates of the week at the top, so that I can write a weekly action list before detailing each day. This would also allow me to insert extra pages between the weeks for e.g. a weekly menu plan and extra notes pertaining to events that week such as addresses, what to bring, or flight details.

2. A yearly planner on a concertina fold-away sheet so I can see the whole year on one page. Please repeat this planner on the back of the sheet so I have two planners. I might want to use one for tracking hours or progress on long term projects and the other for blocking off holidays, trips, and leisure pursuits, for example. Whatever you use a yearly planner for, the small cells get filled up very quickly so it would be great to have two.

3. A years' worth of whole months on a page. People who like projects and challenges often set themselves a task for each month. In fact anyone who likes lists (almost every Filofaxer) is likely to start planning their months with glee whether they follow through or not.

4. A folded double page showing a weekly chart for timetabling. And one on the back too please. In fact I'd like a few of these as schedules change from season to season.

5. Monthly spread sheets to record income and expenditure.

6. Lined paper for other records - hours worked, weight lost, expenses incurred, etc.

7. Graph paper for plotting my own. Some records need to be compared with other data for full effect and appreciation doncha know.  

8. The subject dividers do not need headings. I like to write my own so don't plasticate the tabs. And please include two sets of dividers as I might have 12 different sections to label.

So thank you for a lifetime of love, support, passion, companionship, security, and stability Filofax. Thank you for putting up with my obsessive list making and planning. Thank you for not making a big deal when I failed to achieve the bottom of the list or the goal at the end of the month (a nifty tearing out of a page and no trace of it remains).

This is not a sponsored, collaborative, or in any otherwise compensated post. However, I am happy to change that if an offer were made.

With all My love,
Rachel 

26 comments:

  1. This is an awesome post! I love how you already have your "perfect" Filofax in your head even if you're not already using it. You should attempt to design and print your own inserts (or have a look at the Philofaxy website download section).

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  2. I didn't know there was a download option. I'll check it out. Thanks Nickie.

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    1. Lots to choose from here: http://philofaxy.blogspot.com/p/diary-inserts.html

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    2. Thank you Mr Philofaxy - I'm honoured to have you comment on my post.

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  3. You must have been posting this as I was thinking about how people don't use Filofaxes much anymore. I was never a Filofax person, but I'm a big fan of keeping track of my life on my smartphone. My husband has a Day Runner (similar to a Filofax) that he uses to organize his life (when he remembers to write things in it — he's missed more than one appointment because he hadn't entered it in his calendar!).

    I used to be more like Inspector Frost, always scribbling lists & reminders on small pieces of paper that I then tucked into a pocket in my clothes or purse.

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    1. I'll google Day Runner - it might be very efficient but does it have the romance of Filofax?

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    2. I'm Gail's husband. I'm an analogue guy in the digital world. (And I use fountain pens and I wear a pocket watch, too).

      Day Runner's aren't as sexy as the Filofaxes and their inserts used to be less expensive. But I have to admit that the design of them (and the choice of inserts) has really declined over the past couple of years.

      I now make some of my own inserts. A great source (and a terrific place for us analogue people) was http://diyplanner.com/ -- but the forums aren't as busy as they used to be. But there are some nice downloads there as well, if you don't need/want Filofax-specific ones.

      Lawrence

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    3. Hi Lawrence, thanks for this information. The truth is that I don't buy the Filofax dairies as I need my year to start in September and include all the Israeli and Jewish Holidays. So sadly I have to buy an Israeli 6-holed organizer diary which is is not as good and often full of annoying spelling mistakes in English. I once went through a whole year of irritating Wendesdays. They did use to make Hebrew Filofax inserts in it's heyday but I've not seen them for a while. Maybe this year I'll try to find one.

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    4. Rachel:

      Every year when I get my new refills, the first thing I do is go through my monthly calendars with a couple of highlighters in various colours and highlight all the family birthdays, stat holidays and yom tovim (it's sort of like getting ready for the first day of school!). Granted, for yom tov, I need to go online and check various calendars to ensure that I've got the right dates.

      You know, you can always put the months in whatever order you want--put September's tab first--and then so on. You'll need to buy (or make for yourself with some of the nifty tools out there) two years the first time (so you get Sept - Dec 2014, for example, and then Jan-Aug 2015) and put aside the Sep-Dec 2015 unitl you need it--then buymake the 2016 stuff in the fall of 2015.

      More work than what I need to go through, but it IS doable, I guess.

      Google didn't come up with any hits for "hebrew filofax refills"; you may need to see if you can track down an Israeli distributor of the products and see if they can find anything for you!

      Lawrence

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    5. I agree that shifting the year is doable. However the other stuff is more complicated. I need all the Jewish Holidays - including Israel national days which are sometimes shifted because of Shabbat, and school holidays. I need Rosh Hodesh each month as the school kids have to do Rosh hodesh stuff. I need Shabbat times (in and out). I need Sunday to be a full working day (ok, I know I can print that no problem). Sometimes I do need to know the Hebrew date - yes I know I can google that as well. It's doable but I'm not sure it's worth it. The Israeli equivalents aren't as sexy as Filofax but, like living in Israel itself, you learn to compromise. :) Thank you for your detailed replies, I could talk Filofax all day.

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  4. I have three normal Filofaxes, but I am embarrassed to say that they are all just address books at this stage. Buuut, having tried all the electronic diaries, I am now using an A4 customised diary in a lever arch folder from Philofaxy! I love that I can easily add in letters about upcoming appointments, notes from phone calls etc at the correct page. It's made my life much easier to organise :)

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    1. I've not quite worked out the relationship between Filofax and Philofaxy but I've liked/followed/joined both.

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    2. Philofaxy is independent of Filofax, whilst we started life in Oct 2005 (not by me, but another guy) blogging only about Filofax. In recent years we have broadened our coverage to include lots of other ring bound organiser makers and sellers.

      We have close working relationships with Filofax UK, Gillio Firenze and Van der Spek.

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    3. Ah, thanks Steve, I was wondering.

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  5. Like you I've had a trusty Filofax for decades and can't imagine life without it. Every July I buy the pages for the following year (a cheaper chain-store look-alike) and copy in birthdays and other important events. The exterior was getting a bit shabby so I made it a smart cover using a pair of pyjamas I bought in a charity shop.

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    1. It's almost a pilgrimage to the stationery shop every July to ge the New Year's supplies. And yes, I also have to buy a cheap substitute as I need all the Jewish Holidays marked in and I need Sunday to be a normal working day.

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  6. I can relate. I have always had a paper diary and have used Filofax and Day Runner in the past. Currently I use Google calendar on my phone, a Filofax A5 week-to-a-page diary for home use, and a small cheap planner diary (month to a page) for my bag. It's ridiculous maintaining so many systems, and most things are not captured in all three, only in one - but it is (kind of) working for me.
    When I bought my Filofax this year I found it really hard to get what I wanted. Like you I had quite specific wants and nothing fits!
    I also am not into a lot of the different 'pretty' designs, I just want a nice colour that is not black or red or pink, is that too much to ask? :)
    In the end I got a black A5 week to a page Filofax cheap from Officeworks as it had scratches on the cover. Good enough, though I can't quite let go of the navy one that only lives in my head.

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    1. There must be a navy one, surely? It's a basic colour isn't it? I hope you find one.

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    2. Aren't there navy Originals oder Maldens out there?

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  7. Loved this! I am of the filofax generation too - and I still use one too, I have a lovely raspberry coloured one :o) X.

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  8. It must be something to do with the girl guides group you went to! - my wife will also only use a filofax despite using an iphone and Microsoft 365.
    Drives me mad

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    1. We started earlier than that - it must have been all the sewing on of buttons and learning to knit that we did in the Brownies. Once you get groomed in the old traditional crafts it's a hard habit to break.

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  9. Love it!! I adore my iPhone but seriously prefer the written planner. When I'm in organised mode I use my old fashilned paper diary..which has the week spread over pages!
    Did an interested company take you up on your very kind and subtle review offer? They should! xx

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  10. The main thing is to have each week separate so that I can put other pages in between the weeks. It's such a simple concept but no one seems to do it.

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