Tuesday, 30 July 2013

Convincing Myself

Recently my status has changed to ‘in between jobs’. This change was partly due to not being happy and partly due to a conscious decision by my husband and myself to change some things about our lives. That isn't, however, what this post is about. This post is about my organisational system.

When I was working full time I used two Filofax binders to organise myself and my family. The A5 one stayed at home and had the family diary and other reference documents in it. I also used a pocket sized Filofax as my wallet, diary and portable information system. This worked great for the whole time I was working. Same binders and more or less the same set ups.

When I left work I stopped using the pocket Filofax because I rarely needed to have my appointments to hand and didn't really leave the house as often or for as long. Therefore I decided to use just a wallet instead. It didn't work. Well it worked as a wallet it’s just that I often found myself without something that I needed. ‘Go back to the original system’ was the obvious response.

That’s just what I did. The only differences were that I wanted to carry on using a separate wallet for now, and I didn't need the diary. Because of this I changed from the pocket Malden to the pocket Chameleon as it has smaller rings.

I didn't like it.

I didn't like the page size of the pocket as I wanted something I could write in more rather than just use as reference and scribbled notes for reminders. We have recently got a dog and now he can go out and about after his vaccinations I find I am spending much more time outside.

A rethink was needed. After a brief attempt at making over sized pages for the pocket and using it as a notebook I decided to step into the unknown and try a compact.

I have never got on with personal size as the rings get in the way so have often wanted to try a compact. If I had ever been able to easily get my hands on a compact chameleon I may have tried that. I had already bought a compact Holborn but there were parts where the surface of the leather was missing and I wasn't happy with it so it was returned.

The thing is this time I had made up my mind that I wanted to try a compact but I hadn't seen one I really liked. This is how I ended up with an aqua Saffiano. As I wasn't feeling the love I wanted to get one from the cheaper end. Not my favourite colour for a Filofax – my others are either brown or red. Having said that it doesn't feel too bad for a non-leather organiser and I think it is doing the job. It is MUCH easier to write in than a personal and still fits everything I want in it.

The only issue I can foresee at the moment is when I want to use my small cross body bag rather than my massive ‘prepared for anything’ bag. Consequently I am not ruling out a return to the Malden pocket at some point. As I write this I realise I am trying to convince myself to settle with something I don't love. The 'well you've bought it now' side of me will make me use it for a while. Maybe I will learn to love it...

One day Filofax will make an Ochre Malden compact (no not the zipped one) and I will live happily ever after.

Monday, 29 July 2013

Holiday Memories

As my children grow up I realise more and more how important my memories are to me.  My daughter in particular enjoys talking about things that were said and done. I am so glad that I took so many photos when they were little. However, it is only more recently that I have been keeping written records of holidays.

Initially I tried sticking in bits and pieces that I picked up over the holiday but as I was using bound books they became overloaded and splayed out making them impossible to close properly and difficult to store.

Last year I took a personal sized Filofax to help tackle the ‘overloaded’ issue. In addition to this it meant that I would be able to add and move things as well as use a variety of paper. Unfortunately it just didn’t work for me, I hardly used it and I ended up using another notebook I had instead.  I don’t really know why I thought it would work as I have never been able to settle in a personal Filofax. The rings just make it too difficult to write or draw in it. In spite of this I still liked the idea of having a more flexible journal and decided that this year I would make my own.

Firstly, I cut cardboard to size and covered it in scrapbook paper to make the front and back covers. The hole punch just managed to cope with it. The book is bound with binder rings I got from Amazon. I had previously bought 1” ones for another project which are brilliant. These are 1.5” and I am not impressed. I bought six, one of them broke when I opened it and another wouldn’t stay closed. I am not convinced these will last well but am hoping that if I don’t open them too often they will last the holiday and I will be able to find an alternative later if needed.

Next, I trimmed paper to put inside,  just various pieces I had around the house including some watercolour paper.

I also cut some watercolour paper into small pieces with my silhouette so I could do small sketches and stick them in.

I folded some scrapbook paper in half and sealed the bottom to make a pocket per day to keep some of the paper memorabilia that I collect. 

The book itself is much bigger than I usually take (A5) so I am keeping it in a Belkin tablet case to protect it. This case also has a front pocket, in which I am keeping the rest of my supplies.

I have a travel watercolour kit (and also a travel watercolour brush –not pictured). Any watercolour people out there may well think I have the wrong combination of colours in there. They may well be as I am no artist but they are what I feel like taking this time.

I also have a variety of pens in a variety of thicknesses, some waterproof and others not.

After all this effort here’s hoping it works for me and I come back with a journal packed with family memories.

Anyone have any ideas for keeping a holiday journal if I find this isn't a good method for me? Anyone interested in seeing the results?

Wednesday, 24 July 2013

Nothing New

Now this subject has been done to death but seeing as I am still not fed up of looking at other people’s Filofax setups then I thought I would share part of mine.

I have been using a Filofax for about 2 years and currently use an A5 ochre Malden.  I have occasional guilt pangs about it as I am a vegetarian, but then again I also have 2 pairs of leather shoes. One day I may realise how gross it is and rid myself of all things leather but until then…

I credit my love of Filofax to philofaxy. I am an avid reader.  In fact about this time 2 years ago I downloaded every post and spent several nights reading through them all. I had recently got a new job and had been researching time management (yes I know a few hours ‘thinking’ that I could have spent ‘doing’). A ring bound system seemed perfect for me as I appreciate aesthetically pleasing, which in this case means packed with paper poking out everywhere, as well as practical.

It has definitely worked for me. Now my previous post was about how I don’t ‘do’ stuff. I want to clarify. Stuff like house, family and work are organised and happen. If I didn't follow through with that organisation it would still all happen, it would just happen badly and I would go loopy. So the house is (reasonably) clean and tidy, bills get paid, food is bought and meals are cooked, maintenance is done, family know what they are doing and when, and so on. What doesn't get done is anything that takes me out of my comfort zone and requires me to take a risk.

Now on to the nitty gritty. Behind the front tab I have stuck a small plastic pocket (Martha Stewart @ Staples) which is where I have a few tabs and stickers. I don’t really use them that often so I only need a small space for them and they kept falling out of the front pocket.

The diary I have used this year has been the DPP Leadershipdiary. It was a spiral bound diary which I took apart and re-punched. The messiness doesn’t faze me and I love having the monthly tabs printed with a monthly overview. I write appointments on the left as there are time slots and write my to dos for that day on the right in the notes section. I colour code family appointments and indicate whether I will be involved or not. For example if my daughter has a doctor’s appointment I write it in her colour but star it with my colour because I will need to take her. However if my son is going to the cinema I just write it in his colour. This way I can see at a glance whether I have that time free or not.  If I have a particularly busy day coming up I allocate the most important to dos time slots as well. That way I can prioritise and also have an idea of whether I am roughly on schedule during the day.

I use the flyleaf as my daily marker. I also stick a post it on it where I write my non time specific to do list.

As I have the monthly tabs my other tabs run across the top. I made these tabs before I had my label maker so they are not pretty, but they work. All of the sections are useful apart from one. The projects tab is my revolving door section mentioned in the previous post. I have told myself that if I am still posting regularly a month from now and I have opened an etzy shop then I can put something behind that tab. Otherwise it has to go.

So there we go, a brief overview of how I organise my daily life. Mundane but true and I like it.

Tuesday, 23 July 2013

Making choices

I think. I think a lot. Not that there is anything wrong with thinking, in fact I would actively encourage it, it’s just that I take it to extremes. I think about something, I think about how I will go about doing it and use my much loved Filofax to plan it in minute detail. I often feel the need to print and punch newly designed pages which will help me carry out my new project.

Then that is it.

It sits there in another section making my Filofax look fatter and I tell myself I have done something. I haven’t though. I have just reached the pre-doing stage. I have thought and I have organised my thoughts but I haven’t really DONE anything.

Then I have another thought and the process starts again. I have a box with sections I have taken out of my Filofax to make room for more things I won’t do.

Until now. If you are reading this then I will have actually done something. Recently my life has changed a great deal (time for all that later) giving me a chance to make different choices. Part of my latest plan was to start a blog. My impulse was to get my Filofax and start planning. I didn’t. I switched on my laptop, went to blogger and entered names (variations on the one I ended up with) until I found one that was available. It took me about 5 attempts. I don’t know what I am doing really and I have butterflies writing this. How ridiculous. I also have this niggling doubt that I will actually post this. Aaaargh! Stop thinking and do!

I know what some of this is about. You can’t fail thinking and you can’t fail writing down your thoughts but you can fail doing. I have read numerous inspirational quotes and writings debunking my theory and can agree with a lot of them wholeheartedly. However I then carry on thinking and it all goes to pot.

When I was at school I was one of those students that never put their hand up in case they were wrong. I don’t know where this came from but it doesn’t help that when I think about the past I often remember the negative before the positive. Some things I can laugh about now but others make me wish I could go back in time and change them. No, not change them, change my reaction so I wasn’t still so afraid of making mistakes.

So here we go. If I can post this then I can change the pattern. From here I can take the next step in my very vague plan. I will still think, I will still worry  and I will still use my Filofax to organise myself but only when I actually have something to organise.