Friday, 30 November 2012

Kendal disappointment

This is what happened on my THIRD day using Kendal.

The weight of a coin dropping towards the bottom of the pocket made the mesh net fray and come loose from the seam. Anyone else who has had this problem? 

Sunday, 25 November 2012

Writing real estate in Kendal

One of the new arrivals turned out to be a PERSONAL Kendal instead of the POCKET Kendal I thought I was bidding on. Ah well, it's still beautiful!

Very beautiful actually. The leather ages with grace, and I think I'll like it even more with time. And being used to a Guildford slimline I'm completely head over heels in love with the ring size, too! 23 mm instead of 11! I decided I want to use it as a notebook, only the personal paper size is too small for me. And there seemed to be so much space around the edges? I made my own. Slightly bigger than personal. The width at the bottom is 10,5 cm (a6 width) and the length is 18 cm. I got three sheets out of each a4.

 This is how it compares to a personal size sheet.

Punching was a little tricky, but I removed the plastic ends on the puncher so there was no obstacle for the paper.

Filled to the brim and ready to go! I love how much writing real estate there is in here!

Wednesday, 21 November 2012

Punching and cutting, getting ready for new arrivals

Tonight I've been busy preparing some more paper for my Bond at work. I bought a pad of 60g lined paper without any holes on my way home from work today. It's nicely perforated at the top and comes out a5. And then I punched all hundred sheets! See?

When I was done, I was still itching for some more DIY... I decided cut up some pocket size paper in preparation for some new Filofax arrivals this week. That's right. Not one. Some. Three actually. So far. 

Last week I kept myself busy on Tradera, the Swedish subsidiary of Ebay, carelessly placing lazy (low) bids on items that looked even remotely interesting. Since they are Filofaxes, nearly all of them are interesting... I never thought I would win them for the price I was willing to pay, at least not that many! 

Don't tell my family :-) but this week I will get three lovely parcels containing:
  • a red pocket Finsbury
  • a chestnut pocket Cuban
  • a brown pocket Kendal
I have already started making plans for them, naturally...

Oh, and by the way - I'm so pleased with Dahle, the paper cutter! It's a dream to work with. Sturdy, easy to use and oh, so good at avoiding fanning. If you are considering one, I would definately recommend it!

As you can see the pocket paper is not punched yet, and that's because I haven't got a pocket hole punch (yet). It's on its way too, and then I'll make confetti to celebrate my new filofaxes!

Keep your fingers crossed I'm not as lucky with the rest of the auctions, the ones that haven't ended yet... On second thought - don't keep your fingers crossed. I want them :-)

Monday, 19 November 2012

My ideal week - focusing on what really matters

I am recovering from burn out and depression.

I never thought it would happen to me.

Sure, I worked a little to much, but I had to since my company had let 6 people out of 8 in our group go, hadn't I? Doesn't everyone work a little too much?

Sure, I wasn't getting enough sleep. Ever.

Sure, I hadn't actually had any proper exercise since practising for and running the half marathon. A year ago.

And how can life in a new step family with four boys aged 8-19 be anything but a handful?

Things add up and it took me a few years to get to the point when my body and brain just stopped working. One strange Tuesday in August last year everything came to a full stop. I couldn't move, I couldn't think, I couldn't sleep, I couldn't decide on anything. I was very good at feeling immensly sad and anxious, though. And my heart was racing all the time.

My doctor looked at me and sent me home. No work (Yes, Maria. That means not reading your email or answering your work phone. No, Maria. You can't work if you "feel like it"...). He told my husband not to expect any household work from me and not to demand my participation in anything. For now.

My husband IS a wonderful man and really did do EVERYTHING at home for a long time. He also rearranged his work so he could work from home a lot more and keep me company and make sure I ate properly every day and got out of the house for a little walk. At the time he had broken his foot and was jumping around on crutches, too... Can you believe it?

Slowly, I've regained a lot of my health and energy. Happiness, creativity and playfulness are back. Yay! But I have to be extremely careful not to overdo things and first of all spend my energy on things that help me get better. This very hard. I'm so used to thinking in terms of duties and responsibilities, that this whole concept of focusing on my own wellbeing is a little provoking even to me.

A while ago I read an article on how to design your ideal week in order to control your time and make sure you spend your time where it matters most. I decided to use this idea and marry it to the layout of happiness wheels. I sat down and had a little workshop with myself, and picked out those ingredients of my life that help me recover and stay balanced. And made a realistic decision based on my energy levels and health at this time. Especially those I feel bad about not doing more so that I could make an agreement with myself that IT'S OK if I don't cook more than twice a week, or drop off my son at school. It's actually ok if I don't do it at all, but this helps when I've already done it twice but think I should do it more... :-)

  • Sleep - I need 7-8 hours every night
  • Yoga - once a week 
  • Friends - face to face meetings once a week
  • Work - 20 hours a week
  • Cook dinner - twice a week
  • Pick up or leave my son in school - 3 times a week
  • Time outdoors  - every day
  • Quiet mornings - every day

I keep sheets like these in my filofax Roxy, and I review it every day. I fill in a section if I have gone to yoga today, or cooked, or slept more than 7hrs etc. If I notice in the middle of the week that I've not slept properly I try to make it possible for me to go to bed earlier or reschedule an appointment so that I can sleep longer in the morning. Using this for a month has made it really clear that I simply don't sleep enough. I actually thought I did!

I've decided to keep it like this for a another month or two, then I will have another workshop with myself!

How do you navigate to keep a straight course to reach your life goals?

This picture is from one of the walks last fall

Sunday, 18 November 2012

Bond is ready to go to work

Since I received Bond in the mail the other day, I've organized the inside for a flexible start next week at work! What I did:
  • I removed all of the dividers. I will make up my own later on anyway, and I will use removeable tabs when I realize what needs to be kept separate. A very organic, self organising approach...
  • I trimmed the calendar, keeping only future dates. For now. I'll decide later on what format fits me best when I've used it for a while. 
  • An "inbox" pocket. I made a clear pocket for my inbox notes, it will go in at the front. Opens at the top. I've already added some things in the inbox, the little green square notes.
  • I've never used the to-do-lists or fold out project planning pages in any filofax, and I have some sort of resistance against using them, so out they went! 
  • Note pad. I put in a lined note pad from Ordning&Reda (it's a perfect a5 after you rip out the sheet, I like that...) at the back of the binder, in the horizontal pocket.
  • Loose note paper. I had a pile of filofax squared a5 and I figured I'd give them a try. I usually prefer ruled or blank paper, but I'll be daring here... I also had some simple ruled a5s from an office depot pad and I punched them and added them as well. 

Bond and I are ready for work tomorrow!

Friday, 16 November 2012

Meet Bond, A5 Bond...

I found an ad for a brand new unused, very reasonably priced, A5 Bond, and I bought it... My though was to use it for work, as my stay-at-work planner. It arrived in the mail today! Here he is!

It's the same model as the one I used for my son's Birthday project. He seems to be in good shape, the rings are looking well (fingers crossed there). It doesn't lay flat when opened, but I'll work on that.

It may be a little out of character and a perhaps a little mean to Mr Bond, but I wanted a filofax that wasn't pretty enough to distract me from my actual work. Anything in genuine leather would have me stroking it and sighing instead of planning... Grown up decision, eh?

The set-up 
I will use it for taking notes in meetings, for pen-and-paper planning, for keeping reference material handy and action lists for my different projects. I will also keep track of hours spent on different projects. I am not sure I'll want to use the generic calendar, rather loose sheets for the week at hand when I'm busy with a particular project (they usually don't overlap). My work requires some travelling, and I have spent too many hours offline in an airplane without access to some important piece of information I needed... No more!

My preliminary sections/dividers:
  • Inbox
  • Meeting notes
  • Next actions
  • Waiting for
  • Project 1
  • Project 2
  • Project 3
  • Project 4
  • Later
  • Someday/maybe
  • Reference material
  • Email addresses and phone numbers for my colleagues and clients
    (good to have on paper as well as digitally)

I think that's it! I'll give you an update on how I progress with my work set up.

Thursday, 15 November 2012

Red M2 Balmoral

I'm bidding on a pretty red M2 Balmoral, keep your fingers crossed! I know it's a little premature, but I'm already thinking of its setup! Auction ends on Saturday. Oh, the suspense...

Update: I didn't win it... Sigh...

Whitelines link

Look what I picked up today! I saw on Whitelines' facebook page that you could get a free sample pad of Whitelines link if you registered through the app Freebee and went to the Bokia bookstore and showed the digital coupon (it might only be available in Sweden, I haven't checked that). So I did! And here it is:

Whitelines link is a special adaptation of the Whitelines' paper that makes it possible to scan what you've written or drawn on a sheet of Whitelines link paper using an app (available in the AppStore). You can decide if the resulting image should be sent by email, to Evernote or Dropbox by checking one or more of the boxes at the bottom of each page.

The app seems to align the sheet by using the special corners, shown below. 

The sheets are A5 after they have been removed, the perforation is where it should be :-) I will add some of these A5s to my Roxy and will tell you what I think when I've used it for a while.

Sunday, 11 November 2012

the Holy Grail of organisation

I had a lovely vision this morning.

Imagine me sitting down, at home on a Sunday like this. Going through my gtd inbox (=random notes and scribbles) in my filofax, Roxy, and updating my action lists. At some point I add an appointment to my calendar, and I know it should be added to my husbands calendar, too. Now I would like it to be magically, or atleast with minimal effort, sent to him!

I don't want to have to write a separate note and remember to give it to him later, start up the computer to write an email or text or call him. It should be extremely quick and also fit his style of organisation. He uses a moleskine diary, spends several hours a day in front of computers and has his Android with him most of the time. 

I'm not psychic, so I can't make the thoughts and info appear in his mind, so I suppose I have to stay within what is physically and technologically possible. Speech, notes on paper and digital representations will have to do!

What I do today is usually just hand him the original inbox note with some extra info on what's been decided and let him process it any way he likes. It's a good system. The drawback is I have to remember to give it to him (it's actually an action item in itself!) and when he's out of the country on work they tend to pile up here. Some of them need to be acted upon before he comes back.

Technology is getting there, I suppose. Just look at the Evernote Moleskine initiative (the price of the notebook is, well, crazy) and the Whitelines link app and paper. Whitelines allow you to download the paper as pdf for free which allows for (or at least inspires) all sorts of attempts at adaptation and tweaking - yay!

Wouldn't it be nice to be able to capture what's handwritten on a page in your filofax (or any other piece of paper for that matter) and with a click or two on your smartphone have the relevant information sent to whomever it should reach? I would love an app like this! The computer scientist in me will have to give this some serious thought... :-)

Magically (digitally) sharing my handwritten paper-based calendar items and actions with other people in the appropriate format at the right time. 

This is my Holy Grail of organisation, what's yours?

Thursday, 8 November 2012

What's this, then?

Look at this beauty! I went to buy some paper in the best shop in the world and I couldn't resist it. Too pretty to leave behind...

Wednesday, 7 November 2012

A4 sheets in my A5

I asked for suggestions on the last free for all on Philofaxy on what to do with A4 sheets of paper that I don't want to punch holes in but still need to carry in my A5. The replies gave me the idea to use a A4 plastic folder, cut it a little wider than the folded sheet and then punch holes in that... Very simple, and in hindsight I can't see why I didn't think of it in the first place - but I suppose that's part of the beauty of a community! Actually taking the time to post a question gets all sorts of brain processes going :) Thank you for inspiring me, Amanda and Clara! This is what I did: 

The problem. The very important piece of paper and nowhere to put it (except with a paper clip, but that isn't fail safe, I've noticed). And I couldn't get my hands on any pockets where they'd actually fit entirely.

The solution. A plain plastic A4 folder... It opens on two sides and I wanted to keep two of the closed ends in my new folder. So I put the folded sheet in the right place in the folder and cut the folder in two a cm or so outside the sheet. 

...and this is what it looked like after the cut. Next step - punching holes! 

Punching plastic is not a nice experience (see my post on the Birthday project for my son). So I've stopped trying to doing more than dent the plastic slightly with the puncher, and then trim the rest with a scalpel.

The finished pocket! On its own and in Roxy. It is a little wider than the pages of course, but I think I can live with that. The plastic might be to frail to last long, it looks like it tears easily. If there are more signs of that I think I'll just add some book plastic or hole reinforcers. I am very happy with the result! 

Monday, 5 November 2012

Birthday project

I thought I'd try and instill some healthy (?) organisational habits in my son, and what better way than giving him his first filofax? My boy turned 13 last week and I am sure he would much rather have found Assassin's Creed III gift wrapped than this beauty, but parenting is very often about giving children what they NEED rather than what they WANT, right? 

Problem no 1: which binder? I didn't want it to look too grown up, too exclusive or too expensive. Not too childish either, he is after all a teenager now. I settled on a Personal Bond, and he actually likes it very much. Yaaay!

Problem no 2: What about his school schedule? His schedule isn't the same every week (some classes are only every other week and some once a month) and his schedule is printed on an A4 and can be a bit tricky to decipher. No point in just adding a copy of that to his filofax. 

When I went to school I used to draw my schedule in a note book, one week on two pages for every week of the school year. So I added class specific text boxes in the undated monthly personal Word template (after moving the columns and merging a little) and added mail merge tags from the DatesSourceFilo_WOTP_CC. Thank you, thank you, thank you for the templates and source files at pHILOFAXY!!

Problem no 3: Week numbers. His school uses week numbers for everything, so natually his week view would need to include week numbers. After fiddling with the source files and templates adding week numbers to the template and excel file felt pretty straight forward, so I did! 

Then came the fun part. Making dividers! I bought a pile of magazines with nice photographs in them and glued them to paper and copied the shape of the dividers that came with the binder. I wrapped them in book wrapping plastic and punched them. That almost wrecked my nerves, the plastic got stuck in the puncher and  this racoon grinned at me for ever when I struggled to get this particular divider unstuck! 

Problem no 4: A teenager with a filofax? Will it work? I have no idea. But he's already using it, which is a good sign. See the jot pad notes in above? I flipped them over so you can't see what he's written (and I have his permission to post these pictures, btw :-)) but that's proof he's using it!! Time will tell if he'll continue using it and if he'll develop the same obsession interest as his mother. His younger brother has already asked me when he will get his own filofax, and wants one exactly like his brother's. So I have high hopes at least one of them will be a filofax user!

Saturday, 3 November 2012

Moveable action lists

I dearly love my A5 Raspberry Finsbury, and she (yes, it's a she...) is my main Filofax. But she is heavy, and I can't bring her along wherever I go. My action lists need to go with me, however.  I also want to be able to carry them in both my mini and my personal. So I decided on a format that works well for me:

It's basically a mini page, and I punched it with the mini hole punch. All the holes have little slits in them so they can be lifted off the rings. As you can see, this page will not fit in a personal, so I cut off the corner.

When I process my inbox I write my action lists, and when I'm at home, they stay in my A5, and when I go out I move them to either the mini or the personal.

What about you, do you move information between your organisers daily?

Removeable notes

I don't know if there is anyone else out there who doesn't really like opening the rings of you filofax, but I don't! I'm always worried things will fall out or that the mechanism will wear out too soon, and instead I just let things stay where they are, which sort of defeats the purpose of a filofax... And when I eventually muster up enough courage to open the rings I have a lot of reorganising to do.

So I cut out little squares of paper, and punched them with three holes so that they will fit into all my organisers (mini, personal and A5) and made small slits from the punched holes so they can be removed from the organiser without opening the rings. I have blank pieces in all my organisers and keep stacks of them around the house and in my office, too.

I use these mostly for GTD inbox/bucket style notes. Whenever I think of something I need to put in my inbox I jot it down. Later I just pull the notes out from all the organisers (and my pockets!) and put them in my inbox. 

Most of them are torn up when they end up rewritten as items on a next actions list, but this one was added as a reminder in my calender. See? 

Of course I have to be careful and make sure the slits are not too worn if I reuse it, but most of the time they are ok being moved a few times. 

Hole punchers

I've got the filofax hole punchers for mini, personal and A5. I still can't believe I actually put out so much money on them as I did, a fact I do my best to try and forget. They're really too expensive. And useful.

Say hello to Dahle

Meet Dahle, the latest addition to the family. He's just perfect. He helps me in all my paper related projects.

What do you use for cutting paper?

Hello world, and Meet my darlings!

I'm Maria and I love my stationery.

I've had a passion for all things pen and paper since I was a little girl. This fact is so well established that it even made it's way into my sister's speech at my wedding (she used it as a proof of my character)... I am sure you understand :-)

I'd like you to meet my Filofaxes: from the top: a mini Finsbury in black, Guildford slimline (also in black) and Roxy, my lovely Raspberry Finsbury A5.

I bought my first filofax many years ago when I was at university, and I used it for years until the mechanism broke. It was a black slimline, I am not sure which model but it might have been a Finsbury, the leather was very similar. I bought as many inserts I could afford at the time, and felt very grown up using it.

A few years later, when my boys were young, I didn't feel I had the need for a big organiser and that was when I got the mini Finsbury instead of simply a replacement for the first when it fell apart. There wasn't much room for anything bigger in the diaper bag anyway. The black mini has cute bite marks my son made once..

When I went back to work I needed more room for notes, and so I got the slimline Guildford. Since I had used that size before I thought it would work, and it did for a while, but there's simply not room enough for notes. We have four boys and my life no longer fits into a personal/slimline size filofax!

Now I use the A5 Finsbury (Roxy) for everything personal and family related, and sort of the hard outlines of my work schedule (trips, project deadlines etc). Roxy stays at home, but I carry my action lists with me in the Guildford or mini Finsbury to work or when I'm out on errands.

Oh, and I live in Stockholm, Sweden.