Saturday, 8 September 2012

All Stars Guest Post by Helen: The Flex - One Month On

I'm delighted to be hosting Helen's post about using the Filofax Flex. When you've read this post, be sure to check out Helen's fantastic blog, Fennell Books

Many thanks to Ray for letting me post my Flex update on his blog. I am a great fan of My Life All In  One Place, so it is lovely to be a part of it!

Over on Philofaxy, you might have seen my guest post about my new Flex. That was written about a month ago, when I first took delivery of it. I have now been using it in anger in the office, and thought an update would be useful.

The cover is purple leather and I was surprised to see that the layout differs from my Husband’s original flex which he has had for some time.

Before I had the Flex, I used an A4 bound notebook in the office. I find a bound notebook much easier to use, than a binder system for my work. However, there are loose bits of paper I need to carry around with me, which often used to fall out of my book, so the pockets in the Flex looked like they might work for me.

I was a little worried about bulk once I had loaded it up, but as you can see it is really very thin still, and much lighter than an A5 Filofax binder.

On opening it up, I have a Moleskine notebook slotted into the left hand inner pocket, and a pen holder in the right hand outer pocket. The pen is a 4 colour Lamy. As an engineer I need to be able to mark up drawings in different colours, so having one pen to do all four colours is really helpful.

In the front cover I have my Blackberry slotted in. The pocket also takes an iPhone.  This change in layout from the first edition Flex is a real positive. I have to carry my Blackberry with me everywhere, and as my team are spread across three buildings in the town in which I work I spend a lot of time away from my desk.  Carrying my phone around with a bound book meant I kept dropping it, or leaving it behind. Now it lives in my Flex, so I always know where it is.

My note book is a lined Moleskine soft cover. The hardcover notebooks do fit, but it is really tight, and I was worried that I would damage the leather, so opted for softcover. Each morning I make a to-do list in my book with items carried over from the previous day if I haven’t closed them. Closed items get a tick in the margin, and items that I carry over get a horizontal line in the margin.  I use my book to make notes throughout the day, whilst I am in meetings, talking to my team and to develop ideas.

So far, so good. Now, for the reason I bought a Flex in the first place… the pockets. Each Monday I have to plan what my team are doing, and so I have lists and spreadsheets with workload histograms and reports which have to be completed.  These are the bits of paper which I kept loose in my A4 book previously.  They are now tucked into the inside right hand pocket. I only use them for the week, and they are then thrown away, so if they get a little dog-eared it doesn’t matter.  If I wanted to keep something permanently in there I would be tempted to laminate it.  This works really well. If I am away from my desk, I can instantly look up the availability of any of my team to complete urgent or ad hoc work.  Everything is safe, there no risk of losing it, and I know exactly where it is.

Also in the back is the list pad that was provided with the Flex. I wasn’t very sure I would use it, but now I have it I really like it. It is great for scribbles, thoughts, random shopping lists! I use it for both work and non-work related things which pass through my head and I need to capture. The non-work items then get transferred to my Filo for action later.

Finally I have a few stickies as I find it handy to have some with me for leaving notes on people’s desks if they are not there.

I have to say that I am really pleased with the Flex. It gets a hard time at work, and the leather is holding up really well. The colour is lovely and it looks professional. The pocket layout, particularly with a place for my Blackberry, is really good. I know a traditional Filofax doesn’t work for me as I prefer bound books at work, so this is a great compromise.

So, if you are a bound book sort of person, who needs some pockets for extraneous bits of paper, then a Flex could well be the answer. Go on, you know you want to!

My thanks to Helen for this insight into the Flex and how it works in practice. 

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