Thursday 25 April 2013

The accidental benefits of carrying a Filofax

I have twice in recent weeks been approached by people who – noting my Filofax – have struck up a conversation with me about it. One of those people reminisced at some length about how she had used one herself and how much more organised she was when she did. The other was a fellow user who had believed he was in a minority of one.

These conversations would never have happened had I not been carrying my Holborn at the time, and this thought made me reflect on what else might have happened purely because I carried this binder around with me.

For one thing, I tend to quickly create in new circles a reputation for being organised. I think the Filofax is a very visible signifier of organisational skills. This is odd really. The Filofax is a device to support organisation in the same way that glasses are a device to support vision, but do we congratulate glasses wearers on their excellent eyesight?

So by bestowing the aura of organisation, owning a Filofax gives us a perhaps unfair advantage, as well as a stand-by talking point. And this is on top of all the more tangible benefits it confers on us, like having important facts always to hand, being able to capture ideas instantly and being able to access appointment details irrespective of internet or power availability.

And there’s more too. The average wallet layout and capacity hasn’t changed in perhaps fifty years or more, despite the profusion of credit cards, loyalty cards and other essential items. Transaction counterfoils also need to be stored, whereas in past years the cheque stub would mean no counterfoil was necessary. With so much to carry, the typical wallet is close to breaking point. With a Filofax to share the load, however, two important benefits come to light: I can carry far more loyalty cards than would otherwise be the case, thereby scoring more freebies and discounts, and the line of my suit will be unspoiled by excess wallet bulge.

Saturday 20 April 2013

Traveler's Notebook decoration

One of the things I picked up on my recent trip to Florida was a leather punch alphabet kit.

It has allowed me to personalise my Traveler's Notebook (subtly and on the back, naturally.)

Thursday 18 April 2013

Download a free Project Setup Planner for the A4 or A5 Filofax

For me, the hardest part of any project comes at the start, when I am trying to work out the scope and shape of it and identify some initial actions for each of the key work streams. I generally start with a mind map, which I use to extract the first actions. 

I have now turned this process into a tool you can print and use in your own Filofax. It comes out as a double-sided page. Here is the front:

The mind map starter graphic is a Word Shape custom curve, so if you'd like it to look different or have fewer branches, you can edit the points and change it.

The reverse of the page has room for more actions:

You can download the pages as either an editable Word file or as a PDF file. Either way, it is set up as an A4 document for you to print in booklet mode and then cut in half. Mirrored gutters allow space for the holes to be punched.

Monday 15 April 2013

The best gel pen - it might not be the one you think

The gel pen that seems to be most raved about is the Pilot G2, and that is a nice pen. But I've often found it a bit skippy and it can be a little choosy about the paper you use.

For a couple of years now, I've been using the Zebra Sarasa Gel Retractable. You may have seen some multipacks among my holiday haul.

Image from Zebra website

At first glance, this is a very similar pen to the Pilot. If you know and like the G2, you'll probably be comfortable with this pen. It writes smoothly, the colours are vibrant and although slightly lighter than the G2, it feels substantial in the hand. They are priced simlarly, although Cult Pens will charge you 18p less for the 0.7 Zebra than for the corresponding Pilot (£1.57 vs. £1.75 at the time of writing). I always turn to the 0.7 point, but as with the Pilot there are broader and finer options than this.

For me there are important differences. The Zebra ink is happier with a wider range of papers than the Pilot G2 seems to be. I have never known the Zebra to skip, either, whereas I find the G2 prone to this, especially when the refill is low on ink.

If you like gel pens - and especially if you have problems with the Pilot G2 - you should give the Zebra Sarasa a try. 

Saturday 6 April 2013

My geeky Florida stationery haul

It's a work in progress, but I'm busy trawling the stores and malls of Orlando snapping up things that are unobtainable or too expensive back home in the UK.

Here's what I have so far:

Will there be more finds in my second week? Oh, I do hope so.


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