Yes, I have to admit that I haven’t been art journaling recently. As many of you would understand, everyday life can get quite hectic and the first thing to go would be the hobby (and I mean the term in the nicest way possible).

This entry isn’t going to be about art journaling but I think would appeal to many art journalers. I’ll be talking about Filofaxes!

It’s funny how things work out, because I was never a fan of Filofaxes. My one and only exposure to the product (prior to the events leading up to this post) was back in Uni when a long-time friend started carrying this tiny ringbound PVC-leather notebook everywhere.

I was using a Palm at the time so it was with amusement and then increasing annoyance that I watch him write his appointments down in miniscule letters on a cramped weekly planner page and record each and every expenditure on a note page which then needs to be manually calculated. It also didn’t help to see that the ridiculously large rings (in comparison) was in the way everytime he wanted to right on the left page (he was right handed).

When I finally asked him what he was using, he proudly told me that it was his mini Filofax. I have had a aversion to the brand ever since.

A few weeks back I realised the yearly calendar at my workplace needed replacing. I went from looking at commercially printed calendars to online printing services. Then I started looking at free online templates to create my own. In the process, I stumbled across DIY Planner and from there I was gone.

I started with just printing A5 pages to be put into a 2 D-ring Binder.

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It was a good start, inexpensive, and allowed me to see whether a ring bound planner was going to work.

I printed out different types of weekly planner, to-do lists and GTD-related pages to see what would be “my” setup.

And it would have been all good and well…if I didn’t then started browsing blogs on planner systems.

Just some among the few which I browsed until wee hours of the morning, flicking through images of fancy looking planners that looked nothing like the tiny plastic-y notebook I remember my friend carrying.

I was hooked. All the pretty pictures and articles on how to customise your own planner made me want to get one… immediately.

I’m not a patient person, when I really want something, I had to get it NOW. Last time this happened, I purchased an iPad 2 within two days of deciding I wanted one. Time before that I went to five different districts in Hong Kong trying to find an English copy of Lineage 2 (which I couldn’t find, so I ended up getting Guild Wars).

This time round I ordered from an online store located within Melbourne and selected “same day delivery”.

Yes I’ve joined the craze and is now in possession of a Filofax – an A5 Finsbury in Antique Rose to be exact.

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A5 Finsbury in Antique Rose I’ve always been into productivity gadgets though I haven’t talked about it much. Don’t get me wrong, I love my iPad 2 very much and I use it at work everyday, but there’s something satisfying about writing with pen and paper – and much quicker; I can’t really be turning on my iPad and opening the Notes Plus app when a colleague comes up to me with things to do. In case you’re wondering why I do that, I’m trying out David Allen’s GTD (or re-attempting the system), but I’ll talk more about that later.

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This photo was taken about a week into using it and you can see it’s full (not to bursting as I’ve seen elsewhere, but I’ve already had to take out some diary/planner pages out to fit my GTD setup).

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I’m not using my Filofax as a wallet – I don’t think an A5 should be used for such a purpose – so I don’t have my cards stored in the slots in the cover. But I do have receipts and ticket stubs (both movie and transport) wedged behind the rings. There’s also a pack of cute stickers that I plan to use to add whimsical elements to my pages (yes, I might go so far as to do zentangles and art journaling pages in my Filofax).

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Filofax only has side tabs that I know of, but I’ve read a few articles on making your own dividers/tabs. Although I did not exactly follow their instructions, I did manage to create a few more dividers for my GTD context folders.

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My tabs are quite plain at the moment; I do plan to decorate them and make them “mine” as I use them.

The tab labels were all printed using a Dymo labeller which unfortunately uses a wider tape than the tabs have space for. I tried cutting them down to the right size freehand, but ended up with wonky tabs that weren’t centered. So I selected the “border” style around the text so I would have a guide line to cut around. I read it on blog about Filofax hacks but I can’t remember which one.

If you are the owner of said wonderful blog entry, please let me know so I could give credit where credit’s due. (note: found the blog, it’s Ray Blake’s My Life All in One Place blog.)

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I have a feeling that this would not be my only Filofax-related post – I actually have a few ideas for future entries already floating around in my head (well they’re written in my Filofax). I think a Filofax is a great tool for creative people to have – it’s a customisable system for people to jot down every single creative idea that they come up with.

I’m quite curious to know; how many people here already use Filofaxes, or paper-based organisers for their creative work?