Wednesday, 27 April 2011

The Personal Baroque (part 3)

Well, I am surprised!
I have tried to use a personal size filofax I don’t know how many times and failed. Every single time. Seriously. Left it on a desk and wished it would go away kind of failed.
Maybe this is the one.
(Or maybe I’m still only a week in and haven’t got fed up yet?)

I’ve actually converted it to not only be my diary/notes/to do list thing, but incorporated the contents of the mini-baroque purse-o-fax. I have now shifted my business cards out of the zipped pocket and put my coins in there, put my commonly used bank cards/credit cards in the slots on the LHS, tucked some vouchers and stamps into the slots, put store cards and so on in a card holder in the back, and used the vertical full-height pocket to put money (notes) in. I have to say, the layout of the pockets and slots and things is currently working really well for me. The mini had the zipped pocket behind the cards and it didn't work at all.
My supermarket loyalty card (which is meant to go on a key-ring) has been transferred to the rings and my business cards are in the plastic pocket (along with the guinea-fowl card and a picture of me and DH).

Updated picture to show the wallet-function on the LHS

I still hate the diary (the one that I transferred from the city dweller pack) but not so much that I am going to use the WO2P version that came with it and transcribe things across. I’m one of those who is not a fan of the Dodo pads (sorry to those of you who are) and so even though they are practically giving them away on eBay, I won’t be getting one. I’ll struggle on with the current thing until I crack (and then resort to the WO2P probably). Assuming the love-affair with the Baroque is still going strong, I will get a lined WO2P for next year and insert a sheet of lined paper where needed for my daily-list.

Diary pages showing horrible city dweller greyness, miniscule writing and my 'daily bucket' on the RHS - scrap paper with 3 holes punched in it.

The pen-slot still seems extremely small (it holds a pencil just fine; anything any bigger… nah) but I have transferred a slimline ballpoint over. You can see it in the picture above. It really was too hard to get the filofax pen out (and I don’t like writing with it much anyway!).

I decided to personalise some of the dividers...

Personalised divider for the to-do lists section

Personalised divider for Diary - the expression on this cat epitomises my feelings some days!

Personalised info divider page

Anyway, I love it so much (and I always debated and debated over the colour – turquoise or pink? Turquoise or pink??) that I have now just ordered the turquoise from the French site too (since it really won’t be around forever!). Is that just utter madness? If you’re on the look-out for refills/dividers etc – check out the ‘for sale’ page on here. When the turquoise filofax arrives, most of its contents will be on there!

But... Caribbean Princess has also thrown a right royal spanner in the works, with her crimson Malden. Oh, what's a girl to do?? Get the Malden as well???

Either way of course, the question will be: which one to carry around with me?

Other posts on the Baroque:
In-the-bag test of the Baroque (part 1)
In-the-bag test of the Baroque (part 2)
The Turquoise Baroque is here…

Saturday, 23 April 2011

In-the-bag test of the Baroque (part 2)

Well, how is it all turning out? A bit of a Curate’s Egg.

How have I set it up?
Largely as I thought I would.

The Baroque looks smooth on the outside, but when you open it up – wow! There is this fabulous embossing (which is what made me buy it!). It is a decidedly pretty filofax.
On the left it has a full height, zipped pocket. This could be used for coins but I have my business cards in it. Behind that are 6 half-height pockets and one full height pocket. On the right-hand-side it has a slot for a notepad (though this could also be used as another pocket) and the thinnest pen-loop you can imagine! I have managed to get my slim Parker ball-point in there (Parker Sonnet) and there is no slack. The mini pen I got free from filofax with the Gourmet set just about goes in there as long as you don’t want it to go in as far as the clip. I’ve found the loops on my A5 Finchley (strangely, just the red one…) to be tight too. [The ones on my jade Finchley are quite roomy and I can easily get a Frixion pen in them.] Anyway, the Baroque has the mini FF pen in there but it looks a bit odd as it is only half in the slot. Maybe it will stretch a bit with use?

First up I have a pocket (sadly slightly opaque) with a card from Malawi in of guinea-fowl, made from feathers. These were being sold in aid of a school when I was there and I just adored them. I bought about 10 packs of the cards and everyone always likes them. Anyway, it’s in there to remind me of Malawi and to make me smile.

the little birds always make me smile

Behind it I have a clear plastic page and then a home-made organisation-sheet to indicate what’s behind the different tabs. These are three of the four buckets: to-do, diary and information. Immediately behind the home-made sheet are about 20 pages of note-paper to act as a landing pad. Some of this is filofax paper but most of it has been salvaged from old non-filofax organisers that were in the cupboard!

See what I mean about the pen!?
The to-do list is self-explanatory – it covers everything in my life I have to do, except the stuff from purgatory work. I have also put shopping lists in here on a separate page.
The diary – I am using up the city-dweller diary that came in the Gourmet filofax, but I’m glad I need it for nothing more than an aide-memoire as the unremitting grey and tiny font is already driving me crazy. If the in-the-bag trial works out, I will get a lined, WO2P for next year and insert notepaper between the pages to use for my daily-list. At the moment I am just writing the daily-list on the bit where I am supposed to note ‘life’ and ‘play’ things. My handwriting seems to have miniaturised itself too to fit on the diary bit! Not a long-term ideal.

TINY writing needed for the diary bit...
In the information section, I currently have a bit of a mish-mash of things – the personal info,  SOS, travel itinerary, dilemmas, commuter games, top takeaways, fitness plan (nice juxtaposition I thought…) and www pages (all from the city dweller pack). The rest of the guff in the city dweller pack is in a ‘top-up’ non-filofax organiser, along with spare sheets for everything else. Tucked behind this plethora is another home-made divider labelled notes and is the place where I have noted things to look out for (books, websites, blogs etc) and then an A-Z with contacts.

I love these calligraphy animals

Right at the very back (acting largely as a protector since it is empty) is a credit-card holder. In time, I may be so used to carrying this around that I combine my wallet with it. There’s plenty of credit-card space and the zipped pocket could get used for coins (or I could shift the purse-hack out of the mini into it).

Check back in a week to see whether it is still making it into the bag with me!

In-the-bag test of the Baroque (part 1)
The Personal Baroque (part 3)
The Turquoise Baroque is here…

Wednesday, 20 April 2011

In-the-bag test of the Baroque (part 1)

After I did a compare and contrast for an ‘in-the-handbag’ filofax (A5 or personal – see here) I have been bag-testing the Baroque personal.

As it was when it arrived...

I bought this gorgeous little thing from the French filofax site and I use its baby sister the mini as my wallet. When I bought it, I was thinking ‘Why?’ as I have tried to use a personal size filofax in the past and always given up (and just been disorganised. I don’t especially get on with electronic things either…). It always seemed too small to write in.

A personal has failed for me for one main reason. When I am out and about, I like to write. These could be blog ideas, character notes for a story, plot ideas, etc. The personal never worked for me because the rings got in the way. Someone on here suggested that I try a slimline filofax as the rings were smaller but the rest of my writing stuff is in an A5 binder and an A5 slimline (do they even exist?) would probably still be big.

But I think I have solved it.

If the journey is big/long enough to warrant taking my writing filofax with me, it goes on the trip. If it isn’t, then it stays at home and I take my Cartesio notebook with me. On short trips, I am probably just scribbling ideas that need fleshing out (which I can then do when I am at home and reunited with the A5 writing filofax) and so the smaller notebook isn’t a problem. The Cartesio, having sewn-in pages, has no problem with the rings getting in the way and although not a true hardback, is firm enough to write in with it balanced on your knee.
The Baroque then covers everything else that isn’t writing-related. I realise this isn’t ideal and that I’m carrying two things rather than managing to combine them, but I’m willing to give it a go as the combined weight of the Baroque and the Cartesio is still less than the A5 filofax.

I admit it... the A5 is a bit of a beast
I’ll post on how I finally set the Baroque up soon.

sneak preview...

Monday, 18 April 2011

That old chestnut... A5 or personal?

I do love my filofaxes, but I am struggling to get one to work ‘in the handbag’ for me.

I keep wanting to get on with a personal size (and I keep on looking at the beautiful Baroque and sighing) but it still just doesn’t seem to be happening for me. It’s a shame because I have (um, several…) beautiful filofaxes without a use (yes… how did that happen??) But, I have the age-old dilemma of wanting to carry something small around with me, but feeling as though I need something larger to make it useable.

My work set-up (which I blogged about here) is still ticking all the boxes for me. It uses a modified four bucket system and so far, has not let me down. But, I only thankfully work part-time and the jade Finchley stays at work and I currently don’t have a home-filofax that travels. I have a writing filofax which makes the odd trip, but not something that I couldn’t leave the house without.

Since my work filofax set-up is going so well, a huge chunk of me wants to replicate it for a home version. The modified four-buckets system would still work well – diary, to-do (‘global’ but non-work), the daily plan, and information (addresses, personal info etc). I would always add a ‘notes’ section as a fifth bucket – basically a landing pad for jotting things down which then gets sorted more usefully. But, do I replicate it in the personal size or in the A5?

I’m generally an A5 girl (ahem… woman) – I like the ability to produce my own pages and I love the space to be creative, but is that what I need for my carry-around?

Let’s take each section/bucket and think about it.

Oh yes. Let’s start with the difficult one!

Now, those of you who follow my ramblings here and on Philofaxy will know that I have talked about the DO2P being my thing, since I like to have my daily To-Do list and so on to hand. But… I also like need to see my week to view and life is too short to write things out again and again. With a work diary, and a week to view and then also a daily one in a carry-around, this seems like too much effort and a chance for things to go wrong. I also only need a non-work filofax to plan half of my week since the work half is planned brilliantly in my jade Finch. So to my mind, a whole year of week on 2 pages diary when I only need it to plan about half the week (and then not really the weekends) is just too much. I also don’t have squillions of non-work appointments in a day and so I reckon a week on one page with notes would be the format to go for in a carry-around. Then I would know what was coming up at work (in a “am-I-lecturing-first-thing-tomorrow?” kind of panic way) and have space to write notes relating to the week . Since I don’t really care which side of the rings the diary is, I also reckon I could do a fix with the basic week on a page diary interleaved with notes or to-do pages, but we’ll see.
A5 or Personal? As long as it lies flat out of the box so I can have it open on my desk at home when I need to, to see both sides of the diary pages, the size isn’t important. I can handle taking the pages out to write the daily list in if the rings get in the way and probably don’t need the size of the A5 if I’m honest.

Thankfully, life splits easily into work and not-work and this would be for everything ‘not work’. Again, I am happy to take the pages out of the filofax if I have to (but would prefer not to). I do like the big pages because to-do lists can run on a bit, but it wouldn’t be a deal-breaker. I often make a To-Do hack of drawing a line down the RHS of a normal lined sheet of paper (for ticking things off) and writing To-Do on the top of the page. In a personal size, this would give me more than enough space.

The daily plan
This is where I struggle on non-work days. I generally work better if I plan my days by putting things from the global to-do list into real time slots – i.e. scheduling the tasks. At work, I use scrap paper (A6 size), punched with three holes (to fit one set of rings on the A5) and I throw them away at the end of the day, which implies that the personal size would be okay and the A5 perhaps too big.

Another area where I have found working out what to carry around more tricky than I expected. The filofax should be a repository for all the important information, like addresses and phone numbers of friends, contacts and services. I even have some ‘yellow-pages’ personal size address pages to put the details of essential companies on. So why are these still written on scraps of paper or just circled in the phone book? More because I haven’t put the effort in than because the size/format is wrong. Again, no need for the A5 size and I have plenty of personal-size inserts that would work (and the yellow-pages ones would be excellent).

Landing pad
I like my landing pad to be either a block of paper near the front or a pad of paper in the back cover in an A5 binder. In a personal, this would have to be a pad in the back because of the rings/large hands issues. Incidentally, my personal-size Baroque has a slot for a pad in the back…

Other stuff
Yes, I know, there isn’t an ‘other stuff’ bucket (and probably nor should there be) but this is about aesthetics and personal things, like, I want to carry around some cards or pictures with me to remind me of people/things etc. In an A5 this would be easy-peasy because I have splashed out on a hole-punch. For the personal, short of buying a personal-size punch this would be less easy-peasy. I find the filofax hole-punches a complete rip off, but there is probably a non-filofax hole-punch that would be the right size for the personal (whereas there just wasn’t for the A5). Maybe if it would make me carry a personal size filofax, the expense of a hole-punch would be worth it.
I’ve already said that I like to make my own inserts for the A5 and these are incredibly easy with A4 paper, booklet printing and a hole-punch. I even get them all to match using the same cream printer paper, which gives an extra point to the A5 size. However, in the personal size’s favour, you can get lots of other brands to fit in, as well as filofax’s own brands which makes less need for custom pages. In addition, I could buy a pack of plain filofax paper and print onto it for anything else that I needed.
Weight: A5-girl as I am, even I recognise that the personal has the edge when it comes to the sheer size if the thing!

You know, in writing this, I’ve just about persuaded myself to give the Baroque a spin and see how it goes… Keep you posted!

Tuesday, 12 April 2011

Cartesio - I take it all back...

DH is a keen photographer and while that is wonderful, it does also involve quite a lot of waiting around while the clouds become ‘just right’ and the light is in the right place and so on. During these times, I usually spend a few minutes gazing at the scenery and then I usually wander off into my own little world in my head, the product of which can be a blog idea, a character developing a personality, a plot development or other such thing. In my last post, I was bemoaning the fact that I wanted a notebook for jotting down these creative ideas, but that I wanted to be able to sort the pages and re-file them into different categories.
Well, since then, I’ve been away on vacation and I packed to take with me: my A5 writing filofax (Finchley), a personal size filofax (Domino) and my Cartesio notebook. And what did I write in the most and which did I carry around with me the most? The Cartesio.
So, were the others there just for a trip?
Hmm… kind of!

The A5 was a) a bit big to carry around (although, I did have a rucksack with me so that wasn’t the main problem) and b) not quite stiff enough to write on. I love that it lies flat on my desk, but it is a bit floppy for writing on whilst perched on a rock, somewhere halfway up a hill in Mull.

The Domino was taken on holiday because I am trying to record a food diary, although I did carry it around with me to use as a notebook after the A5 failed me. As ever, the rings got in the way for writing and it annoyed me, so although it was stiff enough to work well for scribbling in, I gave up on it pretty sharpish.

Which left me with my old friend the Cartesio, which is small enough and light enough to travel easily, has a stiff enough cover to write in it with it perched on my knees and lies flat enough (and has no rings) to make scribbling my ideas down easily.
Picture from The Journal Shop

But… my complaint was that you can’t re-file the pages when you get back from out and about.

It has turned out to be less of a problem than I thought it would be. I’ve started to do two things: 1) coding what the scribble is about (writing in corner of the page and circling it… yes I know. How original!) and 2) cutting the corner off when I have dealt with the scribble.
I found that when I came to deal with the scribble, I was generally using it as a spring-board for more detail. Rather than needing to file the notes as something that was ready and complete, I was tending to flesh out the notes and I could do that straight into the writing filofax.

So, my trusty old Cartesio is my steady travelling companion and we’re getting on just fine.