Sunday, 30 October 2011

Filofax dividers

I've been posting a bit about making my own dividers for my filofaxes (with some more posts still to come!) and I wondered - how common is it for us all to do this? So - there is a poll on the side for you to let me know! Also, why not leave a comment saying why you do/don't make your own and a link to any pics??
Poll closes on November 14th - vote away!

Saturday, 29 October 2011

More filofax fiddling...

I never seem to be quite settled with my filofax… a feature that seems to plague many of us filofax owners! Now, don’t get me wrong – I am really pleased with the set-up of my filofax. That’s stabilised and settled into a pattern that’s really working for me: notes, goals, diaries, lists, info. All happy there.
No. It’s the dividers!
I made new dividers for the baroque filofax a couple of weeks ago (see here) and they’re just not quite right. It’s a combination of the fact that the colour doesn’t quite match well enough and also because they’re too dark, I think. Anyway, they are not making me feel warm and fuzzy the way the purple ones in the domino are! So, I’ve ordered some pearlescent grey card which I hope won’t be too dark or too shiny, to try and lift it. If it does feel too dark I’ll use it in another filofax!
Check back for updates…

Thursday, 27 October 2011

"Sharpening the saw"

The last few weeks have been ridiculously busy, throwing off my goal-achievement and generally wearing me out. I needed to do something different today.
A while ago, I went on a course which talked about the 7 Habits of Highly Effective People (Stephen Covey), one of which is to “sharpen the saw” or (in layman’s terms) to look after yourself so that you are more effective. My recollection of much beyond this concept was a bit fuzzy, and I wasn’t entirely sure what I was supposed to do to sharpen the saw, so I read the summary on Stephen Covey’s site and also this blog.
Good job I did, because otherwise I would have assumed I was just resting today and that magically, all blunt saws would be sharpened! Resting would only be preserving/enhancing the physical side of me. I also needed to ‘sharpen’ the emotional, mental and spiritual.

What did I do?
Well, I went for a run this morning. I’m training for a half-marathon so that was on the books for today anyway, but unlike my DH (who thinks that running is something that has to be done in order to eat as much as he does and not get fat…), I enjoy running and find it relaxing and therapeutic. So although I was running (and potentially making myself more tired), I was also enhancing my health and in fact relaxing.

I had then intended to chill out with a book and a pot of tea, but after reading the summary, I thought I should at least try to work on the other areas.
For the social/emotional aspect, I wrote letters to friends and took time to relish the fountain pen and silky writing paper combo whist I did it. I love writing letters; almost as much as I love receiving a hand-written letter. I owed a few people a few missives, so I sat down (after evicting the cat from the desk chair) and wrote away.

For the mental aspect, I did some reading and some work on my new book. I’m at a stage I really enjoy, which is discovering the characters. I write long character dossiers and have pictures of ‘them’ cut from magazines (if I spot someone who looks right) and pictures of ‘their house’ cut from Ideal Home etc. They slowly come alive as I work on them. That’s one of the fun bits. Of course, once they’re ‘alive’ they also plague me until I finish writing which can be less fun at times!

For the spiritual aspect, I tried to meditate, but unless I’m also running, I find it almost impossible to get into a meditative state. I used my sand-timer (which always helps me to focus - at least on the falling sand - and to think less) but it was still a bit of a struggle. Maybe the running could cover both physical and spiritual??

Anyway, I’m feeling a little sharper and realised that (apart from the running) that’s largely due to paper, pens and ink featuring highly in my day!

Tuesday, 18 October 2011

All change for autumn

As many of you will recall, I bought two Baroque filofaxes – one in pink and one in turquoise and I was going to move out of the pink and into the turquoise on the equinox. The more observant amongst you will have noticed that the equinox passed a while back!
Well, I did swap out of the pink and into the turquoise (almost) on the equinox but I didn’t have chance to blog about it!
The order/tabs etc inside are pretty much the same as they were in the pink, although I ordered some card for them and changed the tabs a bit. My ‘every day’ filofax is loosely organised around the following system:
‘Dumping ground’ (tab = notes)
‘Plans/goals’ (tab = goals)
‘Overview and Daily detail’ (tab = diary)
‘Lists’ (tab = um.. lists!)
‘Information’ (tab = er.. information!)

I bought 'teal' card to make the dividers from and the match is good for the colour of the filofax, but not perfect. I also bought some mirrored card but I don't like it. Just TOO shiny![The colour in the picture below is too blue.]

New tabs
With the tabs, I always like to cover them in a small piece of clear, sticky-backed plastic as it reinforces the tab and stops them from getting bent so easily. You can see it on the Notes section in the picture.

The dumping ground is where I can scribble a phone number I need for the next minute, jot down something I need to remember, doodle, etc. I like to have a stack of paper right at the front of my filofax for this. Although there is a slot for a notepad at the back of the Baroque, which would also be a sensible place for a ‘capture’ area, I haven’t ever got around to buying a pad! I also have loads of paper that I can use for this and it seems daft to buy a pad until I’ve got through all the other paper. It’s just a handful of sheets – they get replenished during the weekly review, when the random information trapped there gets sorted out!

I have a mind-map overview of things (colour coded) then goals for each of the key areas (also all colour coded). I’ve blogged about this before (see here). Normally, these are all just tucked in ahead of the diary bit but I think they should have a goals section on their own. Each key area has at least one goal and then each goal has a ‘next action’ with a deadline associated with it. When I do my monthly reviews, I list all the ‘next actions’ I want to achieve that month on a monthly sheet.
I also have a ‘don’t forget’ page in here (right at the front of the section) to jot down things that I need to do but which aren’t linked to a specific goal (like – pick up the dry-cleaning).

The diary section.
This is by far the biggest section and might seem complicated, but I have been working hard this year on time-management and doing monthly and weekly reviews to try and ensure that my goals get achieved.
During my monthly review, the ‘next actions’ from the goals section get allocated to a week. Then in my weekly review they get allocated to a day of that week. However, I can’t cope without being able to see a week at a glance, so as well as my daily pages, I have a week on two pages.
The diary section runs like this:
  • The monthly goals sheet followed by the four weekly sheets for that month (I like to be able to look back over the last few months to see that I have been achieving things!) – so for example, I will have a pink ‘August’ sheet then four weekly sheets, then a pink ‘September’ sheet and four weekly sheets etc. They continue, interleaved like this until…
  • The current weekly goals sheet
  • Seven days of day to page sheets. On the right-hand side of the day to page sheets I write my tasks for that day (during my weekly review) and then I block out time for those tasks on the left-hand side. I know that some (many) time-management systems don’t recommend this at all but, it works for me! I also have a ‘don’t forget’ section on the bottom of the right hand side.
  • A card reminder of my weekly review checklist (so that when I get to the end of the week, I remember to do the weekly review)
  • The other weekly goals sheets for the remainder of the month
  • A card reminder of my monthly review checklist (so when I get to the end of the month I remember to do the monthly review!)
  • Pink paper ready for the next month’s goals/tasks
  • Week on two pages diary. Because I work in academia, I tend to have the diary months held in the filofax linked to term times: semester 1 (September to February), semester 2 (February to May) and ‘summer’ (June to September). February tends to be in for both semester 1 and semester 2 (as the semester changes mid month and I don’t like having part of a month in there!). Likewise, September is in both for ‘summer’ and semester 1.
I have a Today marker in the day to page bit and another one in the week on two pages bit. I like to have the diary in the middle of my filofax so that it’s easy to write on the pages without the rings getting in the way!

Lists: here I have lists of things I’m looking out for, such as books, websites, DVDs etc. I also have lists of Christmas/birthday presents given/received over the last few years.

Information: This has various bits and pieces in it: my personal information sheet, SOS sheet, important information (insurance policy numbers etc), the diary information pages (holidays, temperature conversion etc), a packing list for a weekend away/overnight stay, a packing list for going to Malawi, a packing list for being away longer than a couple of nights (but not in Malawi), a map of the UK, a tube map and a world map.

The front sheet isn't purple - it's because of the clear plastic pocket with my guinea fowl card.
Front pocket removed. This is a better representation of the colour.

Well that's how the current filofax is set up. Hope you enjoyed seeing it!