Friday, 16 May 2014

Filofax Essentials / Getting started with a planner - Filofax Friday - Week 19

Following on from last week's blog post on advice for getting started with a planner, this week I thought that I would share my experience with using a (or several!) Filofax, what I must have and what I can do without. I have also asked the lovely ladies who sponsored the giveaway if they would like to share their experiences with you and of course they all said yes.

In the video below you will find the answers to the questions posed from my point of view and then under that you will find the responses from our lovely sponsors. I find it really interesting how different people use planners in a different way and what each of our organising must haves are!

I would also like to open this out as a tag. If you would like to answer the questions posed in either a video or blog post that would be great, just leave a comment on the video so others (myself included) can come over and watch. I would really love to get a community spirit going and get more experienced planner users to help out those just starting out on their journey.

Also please don't forget to enter the giveaway if you haven't already done so. The giveaway widget for entering is at the very bottom of last weeks blog post.

I would like to introduce our giveaway sponsors to you. Please do take a moment to swing by their Etsy stores to see the lovely things that they sell for using in your Filofax or just because you like lovely stationery!

Claire runs Filomania and she makes lovely co-ordinating dash boards, page markers, washi on the go cards and dividers. Venetia runs Chaotic Stationery and sells washi tapes, stickers, sticky notes and other lovely items and then last but by no means least, we have the lovely Maria who makes and sells the most loveliest of planner charms (I have a few of hers myself) and her shop is Filolove. Wait hold on, I forgot me too lol! Well you know me by now, I sell printable inserts, stickers, sticky notes and washi tapes and my shop is called, guess what... Mrs Brimbles.

What did the ladies have to say?

1. How / when did you get started with a paper planner?

Claire: I have always had a planner since I can ever remember. The first one I remember was a bright pink breast cancer awareness one I got from Avon for about £15. I have always preferred pen and paper as I find it more fun to complete.

Venetia: I started a few years ago, when I first started my teaching job. I wasn't very busy back then, but I had fallen in love with an a5 pink Finsbury and I couldn't resist grabbing it! I didn't really use it until last year though.

Maria: I started with paper planners since high school. I loved keeping track of my everyday life and homework assignments, etc. 

Anna: I too have had one for as long as I can remember, when I was younger there was no mobile phones and we have paper planners given to us at school for logging homework etc and I think it has just stuck from there. I did use an electronic diary for work use when I worked in an office but still had a paper based diary for my personal life because I just like the tangible thing in my hands!

2. What did you start out with and why?

Claire: I quickly upgraded my planner to something nicer, and I had an Aston from TK Maxx. I saw the Maldens and this was the closest I could get at the time until I could afford the sort after Malden

Venetia: I started with my a5 pink Finsbury, mainly because of its size. I felt that it was big enough to give me enough space to scribble on.

Maria: I used to get the small planners that I could carry in my backpack. As time went on, I started to purchase bigger planners with rings, so that I could customize it. 

Anna: When I left University I wanted to move on from an academic diary but the year was already in full swing and diaries were not out in the shops to buy for the next year so I bought my first Filofax (pocket botanic) so that I could be more flexible with my diary inserts.

3. How has your planning evolved?

Claire: At first I only used my Filofax for keeping track of my shifts at work. Now I decorate it each week, and pop in lots of different sections

Venetia:  It has evolved a lot! I have tried several systems and layouts throughout the years and I'm very happy to say that I've finally found the layout that suits my lifestyle. 

Maria: I'm an official planner addict now. I own over 20 planners of different brands. I use an A5 size for business. I use another A5 for my etsy business. And I use a personal size for my life. 
Anna: I used to just plan appointments and that was all I used my filofax for. Nowadays my filofax has my entire life in it! Literally everything going on or I want to track goes in there.

4. What could you not live without (for planning)?

Claire: Washi – 100% love washi tapes of all kinds, I must have about 150 rolls now

Venetia:  Nothing fancy really. All I actually need is pen and paper. But everything else just makes the process so much prettier!

Maria: I could not live without my pens. I love pens! 

Anna: I am not just saying this because I sell them but for me it is my inserts and actually the reason that I made them in the first place was for me to help me with better organising my life and now I couldn't be without them. I also really like sticky notes so that you can move them around as needed.

5. What at the start did you think you really needed but later found out that you didn't?

Claire: Tonnes of the Filofax note paper, I had packs of the stuff, but now I prefer to cut up pretty notebooks and use them instead.

Venetia: At first I thought the A-Z telephone directory was desperately needed, but turns out it really wasn't. I blame the smartphones for that!

Maria: I have so many stickers and I don't use them as much as I thought I would. 

Anna: For me it was colour coding and highlighters. I saw all of these different people saying that they colour code things and write in different colours but it didn't work for me. I kept getting confused as to which colours I was using for what and it was more time consuming to keep referring back to the key code!

6. What advice would you give to people just starting out or people looking at starting out.

Claire: Always get a cheap planner first, don’t just jump in and buy something expensive.

Also always ask for advice before you buy. The amount of Filos I have brought and then decided I didn’t like. Instagram will become your best friend, you can use it for ideas and also tips. Youtube is great too.

Venetia:  My advice is to take small steps at a time. You should try new things and test them in action, it's all trial and error. I also suggest drawing inspiration from other Filofax users, give that a try and then slowly adapt it to your own lifestyle and needs. The only way a planner actually helps you, is when it's put into good use!

Maria: I would suggest to really do your research to find out what kind of planner you really need. Don't base your decision on what is popular but on what you need it to do for you. 

Anna: I would say take advice and ideas from other people but don't feel like that is how it has to be. I see so many people getting frustrated because they don't seem to be doing it right! I would also say don't rush out and buy loads of stuff. Just because other people are doesn't mean you have to, evolve with the process and find your own way. 

I think you will agree that is is really interesting to see other people points of view. What are your planner must haves?


  1. Love the interviews... Can't wait to try the washi tape, never used it before and just bought a bunch off ebay. Sorry but I hadn't heard of Etsy before these videos. I am looking and drooling at all the items I want to buy. I have spent my budget already ($10 for odd months and $20 for even months)

    1. I love washi tape, I never thought I needed any and now I am addicted lol! I love Etsy but it can be easy to get carried away as everything looks so tempting!

  2. Thank you all for your advice on planners! I so need to get organized. Due to having brain fog from lupus and fibro and taking my meds, I lose track of days so badly!!! I need to get started right away! Thank you again!!

    1. you are very welcome Gina, I hope it is of use to you x