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Filofax update and Getting Things Done

April 8, 2012

Filofax update

I’m still using my Filofaxes to keep track of everything. It is much easier to write things down than to type them in to some computer or mobile phone app – and much more satisfying to make a real tick on a to do list! I also love the fact that I can pick and choose the inserts that suit me best, including coloured paper to brighten things up.

Here are some photos showing how I am using my two ‘pocket’ Filofaxes at the moment:

My Filofaxes

Storage for Filofax inserts - I use a Really Useful Box (1.5 litre size)

A selection of Filofax inserts

I use this Filofax as a desk diary with the day to a page diary insert

This Filofax is the one I carry everywhere - here I am using a 'jot pad' page within the week on two pages diary

My current blog to do list

I’ve kept these photos fairly small – but you can click on any of the photos to see a larger version if you want more detail.

Getting Things Done

I read ‘Getting Things Done’ by David Allen in January this year, and have been putting some of the things the book suggests into practice.

1. If I can something within 2 minutes, I just do it. It is quicker to do it than write it down! This means that I have far fewer items to remember to do.

2. For more complex tasks, I decide what the ‘next action’ will be and write that down. The fact that I’ve written ‘next actions’ makes it much more likely that I will make progress than if I just have the big tasks written on a list.

3. I group ‘next actions’ on different coloured lists according to where I need to be when I complete each action. So things that can be done in town are grouped together, things that can be done in my office are grouped together, and so on.

4. This means that if I have 20 minutes between meetings, I can tackle a few of my office ‘next actions’. And if I’m at the shops, I can work my way through my ‘next actions’ there too.

5. I no longer bother with daily to do lists, and the only things I write on diary pages are things that have to be done that day. I also use ‘jot pad’ pages and post-it notes to add extra info if required.

There are lots of other useful ideas in the book, and I am feeling a lot less overwhelmed by stuff to do than I used to be before I started using these techniques.

I find the flexibility of the Filofax works really well with Getting Things Done, but I also know people who use computer-based methods to achieve the same results. It is whatever works best for you.

If you are interested in using the Getting Things Done approach with a Filofax, there is a really interesting guest post by David Popely on the Philofaxy website about his GTD Set-up.

19 Comments leave one →
  1. Stephanie permalink
    April 8, 2012 11:28 am

    I use a filofax, as well an a control book for all over Ks, stuff and things I need to deal with in the house but you are uber organised!!

    • April 8, 2012 11:49 am

      Thank you! I wouldn’t describe myself as uber organised, but I am finding it much easier to keep on top of everything now I have my filofax.

  2. April 8, 2012 3:29 pm

    I have a 20 year old bright yellow A5 filofax that my 7 year old has requisitioned. I’ve passed my stationery love on to my children πŸ™‚ I have that book too, must make the time & organise myself to actually read it!!!

    • April 8, 2012 5:54 pm

      I like the sound of your yellow filofax – and approve of you passing your stationery love onto your children. πŸ™‚

      The GTD book is worth making time to read. There were some points which I thought could have been made in fewer pages, but overall there are so many useful tips in the book it more repays the effort invested.

  3. April 8, 2012 5:04 pm

    This is a great example of how GTD is a paradigm that can fit into any system. As a tech and gadget nerd (my great weakness :-P), I have always wondered what life would be like if I went back to keeping track of all my todo stuff on paper. Thanks for sharing your own pen and paper GTD strategy!

    • April 8, 2012 5:51 pm

      Thanks for your comment. I’m actually a bit of a tech and gadget nerd myself (from a Palm PDA in the late 1990s to an iPhone now). But last autumn I bought a Filofax and discovered that pen and paper works well for me. I find it more flexible and spontaneous than any software or app I’ve tried.

      But I remain open to idea of using a more techie approach (though probably in addition to pen and paper!) – and it looks like your blog has some useful pointers for me to follow up.

      • April 8, 2012 6:41 pm

        I totally agree! The flexibility of pen and paper has not yet been replicated in digital mediums. I still often use white boards for brainstorming and pen and paper for creative thinking! I’m glad some of the suggestions on my blog helped!

  4. April 9, 2012 10:36 am

    I love your filofaxes! I used to have one as a student which I loved. I’ve since started using my phone for most things, but it’s so much nicer to have a real to do list to actually tick things off. If I’m making a list I always write it down on paper and I’ve always used a ‘real’ diary as I find it easier to flick through than the one on my phone.

    • April 9, 2012 6:49 pm

      I was using notebooks, plus a diary and an address book before I got my Filofax – the iPhone is great for lots of things but I find pen and paper is often quicker and easier for writing and accessing notes/addresses/appointments.

  5. April 14, 2012 5:24 pm

    Great post! I’ve been using the GTD paper planner set up in my filofax for some time now & think it works really well.

    • April 16, 2012 9:29 am

      Thanks! I love your blogposts on this topic too. It’s great to find other Filofax fans out there.

  6. December 27, 2012 4:08 am

    I’m a filofax junkie myself, and really like the tan colored one that you have. It’s gorgeous – I wish I could trade in my others and get one like that. Anyhow, I’m in search of the gtd papers that fit into the filofax — can’t find them on the gtd website, and certainly no stores. Any suggestions?

  7. November 16, 2013 7:44 pm

    I just wanted to say I’m very happy your desk diary is open on my birthday (February 6th)! πŸ˜€

  8. January 5, 2014 11:07 am

    Ooh hi, I am currently reading this book too sounds like iits been useful for you?

    • January 5, 2014 1:47 pm

      Yes the ‘Getting Things Done’ book has some useful ideas in it. I keep meaning to re-read it.


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