It’s time to revisit my Filofax setup and capture some thoughts on the A5 size now that I’ve been using it for a few months. What have I liked? What have I disliked? Does it still suit my purpose, is it time to change up a few elements, perhaps even take a more drastic course of action?
Overall I’ve had no further wobbles over paper size since early March when I toyed with the Personal Sized Filofax. I’m entirely confident that A5 is my Goldilocks page size and I’m getting good at kicking myself whenever my eyes stray to smaller books.
I still think the Filofax Original binders, with their simplicity of design, are excellent at reducing the bulk of an A5 planner to a manageable level whilst still providing an acceptable ring capacity (25mm). If I’m honest, I am beginning to crave a more structured cover, but in the ring-planner world these come with a lot of pockets which I know I won’t use. Also, the nice stiff covers impact on the binder’s ability to lay completely flat when open and I rather like that in my Original. My cover is still pristine since it hasn’t been asked to leave the flat although, like its owner, it is probably ready to be out and about!
One big change I’ve made to my inserts as of the beginning of May has been to move my daily journal back into a bound notebook. I wasn’t loving the loose-leaf option as much as I hoped I would. I felt strangely restriced in the amount I could write each day as I found myself sticking strictly to filling two sides of A5 paper. Some days I wanted to write a little more and some days I didn’t have much to say, but the format played funny tricks with my brain, keying in to my natural inflexibility which I try to expunge whenever I can.
My other reason for moving the journal pages out of the Filofax was to keep the number of pages in the binder down. Although I was emptying out the pages at the end of each month, I began to realise that I was getting frustrated with the amount of paper in my Filofax. This does make me wonder (not for the first time) whether the ring-planner system itself is my first choice. I haven’t come to a conclusion yet, and I’m still intending to use the Filofax A5 for the entirety of 2021, but let’s just say I’m keeping my options open.
I still love the paper quality of the Stamford Notebook Company Burghley Organiser Refill and I’m in awe of how well it handles fountain pen inks. I’ve been using up all sorts of scraps of paper since the beginning of the year and I’ve come to the conclusion I really love a good ivory-coloured paper best of all. If I have a problem with this insert, it’s that I haven’t yet settled on a system for laying items out on the horizontal weekly spread which entirely pleases me. I often feel the pages get messy as I use them although, strangely, I really like the weekly spreads when I look back at them – hell, I even like the horrid “too much colour” week I did back in February!
I think I’ve identified one promlematic element in my setup: how to bookmark my current week. I’ve been clipping a magnetic bookmark to the right-hand side of the page, but have come to feel that this is too distracting. I need something which makes it easy to turn to the current week, I’m just not sure what I’d like best – I have a multitude of ideas to work through and eliminate.
Another minor irritation is the feeling that I under-use my Filofax; I sometimes find myself wishing that I was a more avid note-taker, but I rarely come across anything I need to jot down. Shopping lists go into a separare little notebook in my wallet, and I’ve set up a Pen and Ink Journal so notes about that side of life are kept separate. I find, particularly when I consume the output of planner “influencers”, that I have an irrational desire to engineer situations where I can use the Filofax, and that is something I try to resist. The point with anything like a planner is to have the equipment to hand when we do need to search for a date or take notes rather than creating situations to fit the desire to play with our toys.
Overall, the Filofax has been a beneficial tool in my life over the past few months and I’m going to keep using it unless I suddenly find that it doesn’t suit my needs any more. If this should happen, I might well look at a traditional bound diary because they have been increasingly catching my eye. As it is, my next task is to address my Filofax’s page-finder/bookmark issue, which should provide sufficient entertainment for my needs.
Petty Peeves: I've got an irrational dislike of diaries which have been designed and manufactured ignoring the capital letters on the names of days and months. I know it's done in the spirit of being cute/rebellious/cutting edge, but to me it's just plain wrong and I won't consider even the most perfect diary if this basic rule is flouted. So what do you think? Would this bother you, or would the overall design win out?