Wednesday, 30 May 2012


"Flatability" appears to be the adopted term that describes the degree to which a filofax will successfully lay flat without assistance when opened and, although this word has yet to appear in the Oxford English Dictionary, it is a term dear to the heart of many a filofax user.  Indeed, flatability (or the lack of it) can make or break the relationship one has with one's binder.

So my story goes like this.

I bought a Filofax pocket sized Finsbury in a January sale (it's the one in the video below, even though I erroneously call it a "Kensington"), for less than the price of a round of drinks and, although I have many filofaxes, this is my first 21st century purchase.

And I was happy with it.

Why?  Because it probably cost me (in real terms) less than a tenth of the price of binders made in England all those years ago and I thought that the distinct lack of "flatabilty" wouldn't be a problem, because I just intended to use it for storage.

But, as filofax affectionados will appreciate, it's fun to change things round occasionally and I'm actually using this binder in anger from time to time.  And that is what lead to this particular Filofax Finsbury undergoing the "Nivea treatment" for a couple of days, amongst other things, to see if there was anything I could do to make my new aquisition lay flat.

And the result?

I've ended up with a reasonably well behaved binder, my daughter now has some extra inserts for her pocket fax (because I prefer to use 140mm x 90mm paper myself), and Filofax end up with another sale. Oh, and Beiersdorf, if they knew what their skin product was being used for, would probably be happy too.

Wednesday, 23 May 2012

Paying attention to my "to do" list.

I have dabbled with "to do" lists for decades.  In fact there may still exist, within the English public library service, a copy of "Jennings goes to school" which contains one of my early attempts at paper based organisation.  To have defaced public property in this way is a little shameful, but to have returned the library book without detaching and retaining my "to do" list was clearly a shocking case of GTD failure!

Forty years on, I realise that using scraps of paper, or indeed school library books,  is a somewhat precarious strategy, and that the only way for me to keep tabs on a "to do" list, is to insert it in my diary where I will see it, preferably quite regularly.

So, in my "action fax" (that's the pocket sized one in the videos below), I make sure that my ever growing list of things to be done is inserted at today's diary page, whenever I open my filofax.  In my humble opinion, continually repositioning my "to do" list, so that it stares at me on a daily basis, is the only way!

Wednesday, 16 May 2012

ARC - what's in it for Filofax users?

A few days ago, I bought a couple of those ARC notebooks at my local Staples. You know, the ones with those funny plastic discs instead of the familiar "filoesque" mechanism.

So, why am I fooling around with a new type of re-positionable binder, when I'm a "dyed in the wool" Filofax sort of person? Well, it's all about ISO standards and, in particular, the requirement for punched holes to be positioned 11-13mm away from the edge of the paper.  Which means that, perhaps miraculously given the incompatibilities in life these days, you can use a standard hole punch to perforate each ARC page to enable them to fit Filofax binders.

Currently, here in the UK, Staples are knocking out packs of 50 sheets of lined 100gsm paper for two quid in both A4 and A5 formats ($3.99 and $2.99 respectively for letter and junior formats in the US). And this paper hits the spot when I want to use my fountain pen. I can't vouch for every pen and ink combination but my Lamy ST, with a medium nib and black Sheaffer Skrip ink works just fine on this super smooth paper. I'd be inclined to blot the last few lines before you turn the page, though, as drying times are not particularly fast.

The ARC punch isn't in the UK at the moment but, when it is, you will be able to punch your existing A4 and A5 Filofax inserts too, so enabling all sorts of possibilities; like, for instance, the option to keep an ARC binder on your office desk but travel to and from work with that lovely A5 Malden you simply can't risk losing, transferring projects between binders as required.

Ok, this may not be binder nirvana, but the concept of combining the two binder systems is definitely worth thinking about.

Saturday, 12 May 2012

An introduction.

My name is Neil, I live in the UK, I'm old enough to be part of the generation who bought into the Filofax phenomenon in the eighties, and I've been using them on a continuous basis ever since. In fact, I have several.

So, what will you find in this blog?

Well, I'm not really part of the fashionista crowd, although there's nothing wrong with that. "Filofax Filosophy" (note the spelling) is all about hardcore productivity, product testing and other geeky stuff. There's not many of us blokes out there, banging on about Filofaxes, so I hope you will find my thoughts (and indeed my Youtube videos) interesting.