Single-page calendars are handy. You can use them for counting days or weeks, or just for finding out quickly on what day of the week a certain date falls.
I've built an Excel file that calculates days and builds an A4 or A5 calendar page for any year - past, present or future. All you have to do it enter the year you want and it does the rest for you.
Download the Excel file and play with it as you wish. The formulae behind the calculations are all there for those of you with the geek gene. I've confined the colours to shades of grey, but you could easily add your own dash of colour should you wish.
My new template allows you to plan each month for the month ahead. It can help you develop your goals and habits, plan for events and improve your financial situation.
It is a double-sided Personal page. As usual, you can download an editable Word file or a PDF version. Print onto A4, double-sided along the short edge. Use a craft knife to cut the sheets out using a steel ruler, using the crop marks to guide you. Then punch holes and file in your Personal-size Filofax.
Here is a quick guide to how you can use the sheet. This is a completed first page:
Click picture to zoom
At the top I've added the date, noting work and personal goals in the first section. Then I have noted some significant events that will occur during the month. In the financial section, I have shown my targets for both debt repayment and savings during the month. (Those without debt can leave the first blank, of course, but I recommend that whatever the size of your debt you undertake some savings activity as well as repaying the debt, to provide for emergencies.)
Finally on the first page, I have noted what habits I want to develop during the month, showing what I'd like to start doing, continue doing (habits started last month, for instance) and stop doing.
On the reverse of the page are some further sections:
Click picture to zoom
At the top is an area to capture ideas during the month for what might be considered for next month. Next comes a section to review the month at its end. I have rated the month (or rather my performance during the month) for each of the key aspects on a 1-5 scale. This allows me to give the month a score, out of a maximum of 20 points. Finally, there is a space for notes and reflections that arise from my review.
The review section means that after I've been doing this for a few months, I should be able to look back at the scores and reflections and identify some trends that will inform future planning.
I hope you will find this page useful. It strikes me that there is scope to do more in A4 or A5 size, and I intend to produce versions for these sizes soon.
It was on The Crazy Life Of J blog that I first learned of the Franklin Covey Swing Pad, the answer to a problem that I hadn't realised I had with my filofax:
You see, my bindler - like many - has a pocket inside the back cover for a pad of paper:
Nice. I'd never thought about it until I watched the video on J's blog, but what I can't do easily is make notes on the pad while referring to notes elsewhere in the Filofax, because the pages obscure it, thus:
Time for some DIY. I started with a nice, firm file folder. This one is in blue, but you'll probably want one that looks good with the colour of your binder.
First, I trimmed the folder down to just less than the height of my pad:
Hopefully you can see what I've done in the picture above. The top edge as you look at it is the spine of the folder. Opening it up, I now measure the width of the pad and mark it up:
Next, I use a craft knife to cut from the spine to the outer edge, plus the remaining length of the spine. This leaves me with an L-shaped piece like this:
The next bit is tricky to explain, but here goes. I fold the long piece back on itself at a point that matches the width of the pad. It's probably easier just to look at the picture below which shows what I get after the folding:
If I lay it flat it looks like this:
I take the leftmost edge and take it to the right, making a fold that exposes paerhaps 2 or 3cm of the pad-shaped piece beneath:
By the way, don't worry if you're starting to get lost with these folds. In a minute I'm going to lay the whole thing out flat and it should become clear then. Before that, I'm just going to cut off the end of the piece I've just folded to the extent that it sticks out beyond the fold beneath it. Here's what I'm left with:
As promised, I'll now unfold it all so you can see how far we've come:
Another tricky bit. If you look at the top piece as you look at it above, I'm going to mark and cut out a rectangle from the central panel of it, from its left-hand fold, almost all the way to its right-hand fold, like this:
I wonder if you can work out what we need that hole for! Once it's cut out, we need glue all over the right-hand panel. I've used craft glue, but double-sided tape would be fine:
This now sticks to the card that backs the pad itself, like this:
Once that's dry, it's time to load the piece into the binder:
It looks like I still have a regular pad in there:
But look what I can do!
And the need for the cut-out rectangle becomes apparent, necessitated by the pen loop. Now I can access any page in my filofax at the same time as I use the pad. If this is something you now realise that you need to be able to do too, you can make one yourself. I'd suggest you either find a folder colour that complements your binder (I'll be using black if I can find one in black) or that you stick pattterned paper to the visible part of the contraption.
I wanted to create a template to let me print and fold very wide pages, like Filofax use for their world map. One application I had for them was to print a Periodic Table, a notoriously wide graphic that is hard to read if printed too small.
I built the template in Word and sourced a nice JPEG of the table from Google Images.
I included the usual crop marks, plus folding marks. You need to perform the two folds before you start cutting. The left hand fold is what in origami they call a valley fold, the right hand one is a mountain fold. A tip is to fold both as mountain folds to start with, so you can see the guide marks as you fold. Once the fold is there, it is simple to change it from a mountain to a valley.
After a minute with a craft knife and ruler and another with the hole punch, here is what we have:
And here it is ready for filing away in the binder:
As usual, you can download the template in editable MS Word or Adobe PDF formats. If you choose the Word version, you can, of course, replace the Periodic Table with your own content.
I'll start with a disclaimer: this has the potential to cause serious problems in your printer and the fact that it caused none whatsoever in mine should not be taken to imply it'll be safe for yours.
If you're still reading, this is how I managed to print symbols on the Post-It tabs, like this:
GTD devotees could use these for context lists. The rest of us will just enjoy having cute little pictures poking out from between our pages.
You'll need a laser printer, some Post-It tabs (I used the ones that come with the Filofax Sticky Notes insert) and some regular printer paper.
You start by making a document in Word or Publisher with some blank boxes, a little larger all round than the tabs themselves. It should look like this:
Note that this document is in portrait layout, so these are tall boxes, not wide. For the Post-It tabs that come with the Filofax insert, you need boxes that are about 15mm x 50mm. You can download a Word file with these all set up if you prefer.
Print this document out. You should now have a sheet with some empty boxes printed on it. Inside each of these boxes, you're going to stick one of the tabs. This bit is important: the sticky end must be at the end that first goes into the printer feed.
You need now to go back to the document on screen and add your icons, which of course need to be positioned to print at the non-sticky end, like this:
These will be side tabs. If you want top tabs, rotate your icons so they're in the same place but upside-down rather than side-on. Incidentally, all the icons I am using come from The Noun Project, which has a huge range of royalty-free icons. If you prefer, you can download the ones I'm using in this Word file.
Now put the sheet back in the printer, with the blank tabs attached. Make sure the sheet is the right way up for your printer and that it will feed sticky-end first. Print the document that countains icons in the boxes, and when it emerges from the printer, it will have lovely printed tabs attached. You might want to experiment with just one tab to begin with to make sure you are positioning the tabs and icons properly within the boxes.
Tesco are selling these mini Post-It-style index tabs for £1.20 a pack.
Here's the link. They are the same size as (and look and feel completely identical to) the ones on the Filofax sticky notes insert. So, if nothing else, you've got a cheap way to replenish your stock. But we can do better than that!
When you unwrap the package, you find the tabs are attached to a piece of firm, clear plastic.
This plastic piece is just about the same height as a credit card and slightly narrower.
I rooted out the used iTunes gift card you see above, and used a short piece of tape to attach it to the plastic card the tabs are on.
If you do this right, leaving a slight gap between the two pieces, the clear plastic will sit snugly on top of the gift card. At this point you can put the gift card into one of your credit card pockets, with the attached tabs sitting outside.
I've used a credit card insert, but there's no reason why you couldn't use an empty slot in the cover, if you have one. And if you have a Pocket or Mini Filofax, you could attach the tape to the shorter edge of the card, which should work just as well.
I used clear Scotch tape because that's all I had to hand. My only concern is how well this will hold up in day-to-day use and I may upgrade to a stronger tape at some point.
I have now built a 1 page per day version which you can download.
If you're not interested in the techie stuff and just want to get the pages now, you can download and print this PDF file. Print straight onto A4 paper, double sided. If you have an A5 Filofax, print on A4 in booklet mode and cut down the output into A5 sheets. If you want to play with the source files, read on.
You'll need this excel file which does all the hard work. You can adapt this to give you any date range you want; simply change the dates in the first column. See my earlier post for some technical insight into the content of this file.
You'll also need the Word layout template I merged the data into to make my layout. You can adapt this to produce pretty much any layout you could imagine, then merge into a document you can print and punch. Depending on what version of word you're using, Word may put section breaks between every record, which will throw out the mirrored gutter formatting in the format. If it does, the solution is quite simple; do a find and replace on section breaks (^b) to remove them all. You might also need to adjust the top and bottom margins until print preview confines the layout properly to single pages for your printer.
Of course, you can play with the layout to produce what works best for you. This approach is particularly useful to those switching mid-year because your pages can start and end on any date you like.
In the days when Filofax made a wider variety of pages, you could buy a pre-printed shopping list, which you could use to note down your grocery needs under various headings. I never used them, partly because the headings were a bit arbitrary, but mostly because I felt it was a lot of money for only a small productivity gain.
But then I got married and found that shopping from a list someone else had made was no fun at all. My wife would write the list in the order she thought of things. Imagine my mileage as I wandered to and fro along the aisles, visting each department multiple times.
My new shopping list page makes it all easy. Across a double-sided personal page, I can write a super-organised list.
The categories are listed to match the layout of my supermarket, but they tend to be laid out similarly. If yours is different, you should find the template straightforward to edit. If you'd like to use the shopping list, you can download either an editable Word file or an Adobe PDF file.
Click to see a bigger version
Both files contain two A4 pages (the first is pictured above), which you should print onto a single sheet of paper. If you have a duplex printer set it to flip on the short edge. If your printer will only print on one side, you'll have to experiment with manually refeeding between prints.
The front of the sheet has crop marks to allow you to position your ruler perfectly when cutting out the pages with a craft knife. The front of the page is set with a left-hand gutter, the back with a right-hand one. This allows for the holes, of course.
I still don't really enjoy the shopping experience, but my mileage inside the supermarket is much reduced.