Friday, November 23, 2012

Diaries storage

Hey guys,  I'm not the only one hoarding past pages!  Look at Angela's post today:

Lifestyle changes

i've hinted before to some health issues i have. i've seen a doctor this week for it, and he's asked me to do some changes in my lifestyle. nothing major, but still hard for me to implement. i know my Filofax could help me with that, but i don't really know how. would you guys please help?

so first, i need to change my diet. i have to reduce my consumption of dairy and carbs (all kind), not totally cut them out though, but have one portion a day TOPS. and i have to up my protein consumption.
then i have new rules: i have daily exercises to do, i need to work out regularly, and work on relaxation.

how could i use my Filofax for it?
i thought about different ways to keep track of these changes:

-writing a checklist at the bottom of every day's block, and check when i have had my protein, when i did my exercises, etc.

-write in red when i've eaten dairy/carbs so i now not to eat it anymore for a few days,

-i could have a list of foods i like that are within the new limitations, to help me when shopping

-i could have one checklist and erase it/move it from day to day (maybe using a flyleaf?)

-i should maybe keep track of these things in a different calendar ? (but keep the list of foods i can have in my one life/one binder one ?)

what do you think? do you do something similar, and how? i need the system to really help me reach my goals without it being hard to maintain... the hardest days so far have been when i'm out with family/friends.
waiting on your suggestions you guys :) thanks for your help!!

Thursday, November 22, 2012

Storage of past diaries/pages

i know this topic has been discussed many times, among filofaxers on their blogs, in Philofaxy's Free for all's, on twitter, in real life... but since it's been on my mind a lot lately i'm touching on it again.
before i used a Filofax, i mainly used bound diaries (such as the Moleskines). i have always kept them, since i was ten! at the moment they're all in a cupboard, organized by date, at my parents' (wish i had a picture to share though!). i have now been using a Filofax consistently since last september, and i've changed binders once already, so i'm getting to the point where i need to archive some pages.

-my first idea: using other binders to sort the pages
considering how expensive the Filofax storage binders are, i bought a cheap pocket binder and a cheap A5 (a pink Finsbury off ebay for that one) and thought i would use them to store blank pages and past diaries. how very stupid of me. these binders are the same size as the ones i use, right? once i've filled them with 3-4 months worth of past diary, as much of blank calendar pages (for months to come), and a few blank inserts (lined paper, finance pages...), they're done. very pretty way to store, not so efficient though.

-my second idea: buying cute boxes
i've looked for boxes roughly the size of my inserts for months, no luck. my binders never came with the famous black box, so i couldn't use that. when i use bigger boxes, i lose too much storage space, and if i put other things in the box, the pages get all wrinkly. also, i want to keep easy access to past pages, and in this case it was hard to go through the pages in chronological order, they were not ordered...
which leads me to...

-my third idea: binding the pages together with ribbon or big clips
thanks to Crazy Suburban Mom for the clips idea, and a discussion with Sew Saffy for the ribbon one! she even adds a cardboard cover and back, which i think is a very good idea, must protect the pages very well. so i'll do that i think, and then just put the different 'packets' into a pretty box (whatever its size now!)

i feel rather stupid it took me so long to understand this would be the best idea, because, well it's pretty simple!
and what i love about it is that i'll be able to do a small stack if i want to have for instance only my job searching notes, and another stack for my distance learning notes, and a bigger stack for a year worth of inserts, and so on. really lovely idea! i'm sure i'll share some pictures when i'm done, especially if i do pretty covers like Sew Saffy suggested. right now i'm gathering supplies :)

how do you stock past pages? do you throw them away? i thought about scanning them and throwing them after, just storing them digitally; do you do that?

Wednesday, November 21, 2012

Counting my blessings

so life lately has been harsh on some aspects and great with others. actually my job has sucked the life out of me and made me see everything through a depressing lens. i've talked a little bit already on this blog and twitter about my job and how much it sucks. while i love being able to just SAY IT, and have really appreciated your support and comments and general help, i also think that when you keep talking about a situation you don't like it puts you in a bad mindset...
so one day, when i was very aggressive and pissed and sad and having all those feelings, and couldn't really explain why, i sat down in front of my Filofax. i decided to write down a list of all the things i hate/don't like in my life right now, things that bug me, make me mad, make me sad. my challenge was to be able to list 10 of them, and i thought it would be sooo easy to do. Turns out, i had a hard time filling that page!
when that was done, i felt so much better! everything negative was laid down in front of me, for me to contemplate and act on it if i could, or when i couldn't, for me to measure it and decide how much i would let it affect me. i can't begin to tell you how 'zen' i felt! to continue with the exercise i decided to list the 20 things i love most right now. much easier to fill that page! you'll see i have included big things as well as very small things, but i guess life is just as much about the small things than the big :)
i've tried to do a Gratitude List many times, like a lot of you do, but always had a hard time with the consistency of doing it every day or every week. but doing it this way, when i was angry and needed to readjust my vision of things, that really helped. i'll do it again, and if you've never done it i say you should try next time you're feeling down :)

10 i don't like:
1. my future parents in law
2. my job
3. having my friends and family living far away
4. being tight on money
5. feeling ugly in my clothes/make up
6. the cold weather settling
7. my insecurities
8. my awful procrastination, and the fact that i procrastinate about doing something about it!
9. my health issues
10. my 'fear' of driving

20 i love:
1. my fiancé
2. my parents
3. my apartment
4. having a job
5. living in the country side!
6. my awesome phone
7. my pretty car
8. having nice things (my coffee machine, my shoes, my leather jackets... material girl much??)
9. my Filofaxes! and my stationery. that makes me very happy
10. meeting people in this new city we moved to
11. the interwebs! twitter and Philofaxy people, i may not always participate but i love reading it all!
12. studying
13. my body since i lost the weight
14. slowly decorating our house and feeling that, this time, we're here to stay
15. my Kindle, and reading in general
16. cooking and eating good food!
17. listening to classical music at work
18. being able to be happy and generally ok when i'm alone
19. not being afraid of other people's opinion anymore (still working on it though :) )
20. being happy and thankful for my life <3

Tuesday, November 13, 2012

A sort of daily arsenal

Let's forget a minute about Planner Fail, ok?
i thought i should speak a little bit about what actually works for me [and would work whatever the binder i use, btw!] and NOT talk about filofaxes :)
my filo really is my portable desk, and with my great smartphone and cheap data plan, i really have a portable desk. i thought i would do a tour of the apps i use and are a good complement to all the organization i do with my filo.
[all apps available in android]

here goes:

  • access to emails and bank account : this is very basic in terms of apps, but crucial nonetheless. i do most of my work from emails, and usually have my filo open next to me when looking at either those apps [i do my budget in my filo]
  • evernote : THE app when speaking about a portable desk. i use it for everything. i have notebooks for reference material, wishlists, travel plans, filofaxes i want to buy, recipes, business cards, blog posts, diet info, school info, websites and log in info [under code], last Christmas' menu... just anything. i can just open it on my phone, type an idea i had for instance, and then work on it later on at home on my laptop. it's perfect if i'm working on something that has to be in numeric format, for work for instance, otherwise i jot down directly in my filo. if you don't use evernote yet, look into it, it might help you lots.
  • my running apps : not one i really love, i'm still testing different ones. i used to write down training plans in my filo but it's just much easier to use directly an app when i start running. then when i'm done i only write the important info, like how long i ran in my filo [usually very short amount of time :/]
  • and then for the fun ones : twitter of course, facebook, linkedin, but also google reader [filofax blogs!!] and beyond pod [podcasts aggregator].
With my phone charged with these, my filo, and a few pens, i'm all set. if i can add my kindle, a little bit of make up, and a bottle of water, i'm one happy camper.

So, if my filo is not gigantic, my bag could be quite lightweight, right??

Monday, November 12, 2012

In which we discuss Planner Fail and Downsizing

only a month ago i was telling you how much i loved my current set-up... and then what Laurie was talking about happened: it's Planner Fail Season.
i really really love my A5 Aqua Chameleon. it's perfect in so many ways: it's pretty, it looks durable [hope it is!], it smells good, it holds my whole life, it's easy to write in, it has a bunch of pockets [but never enough for me...], it's just awesome. and i'm truly a one life one binder kinda girl at heart, so having a very big binder makes sense, right? and it does fit in a lot of my handbags, which is great. well sure, it does break my back. but who cares?? except i saw my doc last week, and he was horrified by the state of my back and joints and, wait for it... i actually 'displaced' [no idea what the word might be in English] some ribs and bones from my back! so, how crazy is that?
now, i'm sure you see, it's really not a planner fail on my part... more on my back's part. but i do have some smaller handbags i would love to use...
so of course now i find myself considering a personal. i explained here why i thought i wouldn't like the personal size: i really like staying with the ISO proportions of A5, A6... and personal looks plain weird. But i've now been using a filofax consistently for a year, and i really don't see myself changing that and going back to using only google cal or a small notebook type of planner. i would miss the flexibility, ease of use, and pockets of the filofaxes too much. so here i am, looking at personal binders. and finding them prettier and prettier, more and more attractive every time i lift my handbag. i may or may not have a personal binder coming my way as you read this... watch this space.
i'm trying to wrap my mind around the idea of downsizing. i have not regretted my pocket once since switching to my A5 [except... why yes when my back hurts!]. as you may remember from my last set-up post, i have a lot of 'reference' info stored at the back of my binder, using the A-Z tabs. i love having all of that with me, it's so useful... but not necessarily used every day. so i guess this part will stay in my A5 at home. i will also only copy my most important contacts to my personal. i'll keep all my projects in the A5 and only copy their 'planning' part to my personal. in the personal i'll use note paper to write down any ideas about projects and such and transfer those to the A5 in the evening. i played around today with Steve and Ray's inserts to create my own week on one page + notes [using the dot paper ^^] and printed it out in personal size. i then proceeded to copy over last week's content from the A5 to the personal paper and it worked out pretty well! of course i think i'll need to take the pages out of the binder to write on them, but oh well i can live with that :)
i would also like to use the personal binder as a wallet, further reducing my handbag's weight... and i think it will work out, i may add a small purse on the side for coins, that's all...
i'll stop my ramblings here, not sure anyone stuck with me until the end of this post :) it's very nice to have a blog where i can just lay down my thoughts on this very important topic, without annoying my boyfriend, and maybe even interesting some readers ?
i'll let you know how this downsizing works out for me!

Sunday, November 11, 2012

School week: so what do i have in the end??

So if you followed since Monday (kudos to you!) you know that i have for each class, each month:
-a 200 pages book, with the theories, the exercises, and the paper due;
-extensive notes;
-a summary of important concepts, ideas, and formulas in an A5 notebook.
That'll be a LOT of paper when the end of the term comes!
I discard the scrap paper used for the exercises almost right away. I do keep for the moment my extensive notes, in a regular A4 binder. Not very exciting, i would love to use something nice, but now is not the time to spend monies :)
In the binders the different sections of the classes (one section = roughly one month) are separated with plain ugly dividers. I don't know yet how long i'll keep these notes though, because it's already quite a lot to keep in my cupboard, alongside the books!

And now the mothership from which i command everything, my "classes" section in my Filo!
You saw most of its contents in the previous posts, but here is the structure:
-general info i researched before registering for the classes;
-my "typical" weekly planning (i.e. when and how long i can work, after having taken out working time & fitness time);
-the things i need for the classes (mainly a bibliography of reference books to get, but also stationery i *might* need);
-all my log-ins info (a bunch of different usernames and pwd are used for the different websites we need...);
-the table summing up my deadlines and how the work is planned, from now till June and the first exams;
-the calendar with the deadlines, important meetings and such written.
This is all stored in my A5 Chameleon that's always with me, and i refer to it quite often. When i have a panic-attack wondering how am i doing with time, when planning something with friends or family, and of course when i study!

So there, you have it! I think we discussed all the aspects of my study-organization, what do you think? Is there anything else you would like to see covered?
It was really fun for me to share all that with you along the week, and i hope the few who stayed until today enjoyed it too :)

And here are the results of the poll!
I asked how many among you would consider working full-time and study part-time. 9 of you answered, thanks for participating :D 4 have done it (please let me know how you survived??), 3 would only do it if they could stop working or work part-time (the only sane people here, i'm telling you :) ), and 2 said yes, they would do it.
Thanks for giving me your opinion guys, and reading me all week!

Friday, November 9, 2012

School Week: Revision

Yes I'm back with more! Are you tired of my posts yet??

I left you after i finished all my exercises. Now i have a good understanding of what's important in these chapters, how the concepts work, and what's expected of me on the exam day.
But I have over 50 pages of these notes, and as i told you, some parts are left blank. That means that nothing in the exercises and paper relating to these chapter touched on these parts. And i have other sections full of scribbling and highlighting, not very readable...

The idea is now to condensate the chapter in a readable and transportable way! This is when i stop using my beloved binders and switch to bound notebooks. Clairefontaine, A5, one per class, square paper.

I re-write the now completed notes, and leave blank pages before the next chapter to add stuff later if necessary.

It becomes my own version of the class, my companion of sorts on this journey :) I'll be traveling to take the exam, and this notebook is much easier to transport and flip through than all my notes. Rewriting one more time the same info also helps me remembering it better.
I draw a margin on the outside edge of each page, to add remarks later on, or indicate an important or difficult point.

The poll on the right hand site of the blog is still going on, until Sunday, did you participate? Please hop there and cast your vote! Also, please add any comments you might have in the comments section, let's start a discussion about going back to school ;)

Thursday, November 8, 2012

School Week: Note taking 2

Thank you for spending the week with me talking about school organization :)
I find it so hard to stay on top of things between my full-time job and my distance classes that i think it's super important to be as prepared as possible. I'm sure my system is not that good and will evolve during the year, but i hope it might help you anyway!

The course i received is structured in such a way that you have a bunch of exercises to do after you've read through all the 125 pages of theories of the book. I showed previously how i get through that much reading in 10 short days. For me it involves a lot of note-taking, as it's the only for me to remain focus on what i'm reading. I need to write stuff to remember it, i guess that's also why i'm a paper-planner user :) But i do realize that these notes are not very useful in themselves: they don't condensate the book into what i really need to know, i won't be studying from my exams from them. They help me get to the point where i can start working on the exercises though.
So now i have pages and pages of very plain notes, and i start the exercises portion of the book.

I'll dive into the exercises, flipping through my notes to the appropriate section to look up formulas, definitions... and then i'll add my own remarks on my notes, i'll highlight what i now understand to be an important aspect of the class. Also, while working on my notes, I might need to search for some more info from other sources, which i'll add to the same notes.
However, i do not keep the exercises. If they exemplify an important demonstration for instance, i'll write that directly in the notes in front of the relevant section.

So now i have heavily annotated, highlighted, and scribbled on notes. I also have completely blank parts. It's now easy to know what parts to focus on and what has been harder for me to get and required more research on my end.

Now onto the interesting stuff, what stationery do i use! I use the same brand of highlighters as before, only different colors: pink for important to know by heart (such as here the formulas for instance), yellow for important concepts, green for examples. Post-it flags help me recognize important sections. And sadly that's it for now :D

I'll see you tomorrow to show how i use these notes to prepare exams!
And go participate in the poll, of course :D

Wednesday, November 7, 2012

School Week: Note taking 1

This is the second post on my back to school organization. You can read the first one here. Also please answer the poll on the right hand side of the blog!

So here's the thing: if I only read something, I have a hard time understanding it and focusing on it. I need to take notes along with reading to be able to follow. So here's my tactics for these classes. I first read through a determined chapter (according to my planning), and I take notes on the side. I tend to write almost everything that's in the text, which may seem counterproductive, but it really helps me when I rephrase it and write it down. I write everything with the same color pen, I only underline the titles and such, so as to not make anything stand out yet. You see, I'm just reading the text for the first time, I'm still understanding the concepts, I don't know where the story ends: I don't know yet which are the important parts or the ones that will be difficult for me to understand. So I write everything the same way, which is the most neutral possible.

Here you can see a typical page, looking very blend. But it's the point! You'll see in later posts how I go over these notes later. Right now the note taking is here to help the reading :)
Also, I always use the same format to number my pages, top right corner: date, class number, chapter number, page number / total pages.

And my tools :) I write on a Seyes (French ruled) Rhodia pad. The sheets are already punched. I use my faithful Lamy for most of the writing, and the Stabilo purple pen and the Bic blue highlighter to make the structure stand out a little bit. Finally, an ink eraser, because you know...

I hope this was interesting! I'll continue on my note taking tomorrow :)

Tuesday, November 6, 2012

School Week: Planning

So to kick off this week, I will describe a little bit how the classes are set up, and explain how I put together my planning.

I registered for 2 different classes this year. I have 6 papers to hand in in each class, up until the end of April. I have specific deadlines to respect for the papers. If they are not met (even once), I'm out. After that I'll first sit for the exams mid-June, then again at the beginning of October. Right after this second round of exams I'll start next year's classes. I sit twice for the 'same' exams (=same program) because the first is just for the degree, the second to work towards a national certification. If all goes according to plan, I'll repeat that for the next three years, and then work on a thesis for another three years, and then graduate and receive the certification :)

Now I'll take you step by step through my planning process. I realize how boring that might sound to some people, and can literally hear the footsteps of my readers leaving... I'll try to add some picture to spice things up though :)
To start on planning this project, I first worked out how much time I could spend on it each week, and when that would be. I jumped to my 'distance degree' project page in the 'Projects' section of my Chameleon. The section already existed since that's also where I did all my research before I actually registered. I wrote down my usual (and optimistic...) working hours, set aside two/three days for 'sports', and figured I could study for 2 hours 2 nights a week, plus a good 7 hours on Sundays. At that time I hadn't realized that I'm not able to study for 7 hours anymore... but anyway it amounted to 11 hours a week.

Then I printed out a yearly calendar to use only for this project, and wrote down all the papers hand-in dates. I figured I would start planning backwards from them, since they are the only thing 'imposing' me a rhythm of work.

From there, I looked into each class what chapters needed to be done for each paper, and, working backwards for the hand-in date, assigned weeks of studying to each part of the class. I summed it up in a table, because it wouldn't be readable if I put it on the calendar (but if you have an idea around it...!!)

Now I can see what chapters I need to have studied each week, and I know I need to study around 10-15 hours a week to get there.
Each week I go over my plan, to see if I sticked to it or not, and write in my diary what I'm supposed to do the coming week. Of course, it's color-coded, orange for my classes :)

I can haz editing skills

My initial plan of studying only three times a week for longer periods of time is not working out too well for the moment, as I already said, so I find myself working around an hour everyday instead, and more on weekends. In order to keep track of the time spent studying, I use this very nice little application, Timesheet. It's intended for much bigger projects than mine, you can export the data and stuff... I use it because it's very pretty and easy: just press start when I start, pause for break time, then done... then I can see the data for that day, that week, and so on.

That's it for the planning part. So I have a section dedicated in the 'Projects' part of my Filo, with my master plan, and then the more detailed program goes into my diary. As for a lot of things, my phone and apps help me :)

Hope you enjoyed this post, and I'll see you tomorrow for the rest of our school-week!

Monday, November 5, 2012

School-themed week!

As I hinted to in this post, I decided to register for a Masters and started taking distance classes a couple of weeks ago. Basically, I received books about Finance and Accounting that I have to read and prepare by myself, and I have papers to send every month for correction. I of course continue to work full time.

There are different challenges here for me to face. The first one is the whole going back to school thing. I always loved studying and always knew I would go back for a degree like that at some point. I'm actually very surprised at how hard it is to go back to that special rhythm, mindset, way of working... that is the one of a student. Even though I graduated only a couple of years back! I feel stupid when I see how long it takes me to read a chapter for instance, or that after 3 hours of studying my brain is toasted... guess it's a good thing I decided to work my neurons out before they all started disappearing!

The second challenge is to balance it all. Right now it means working, managing our finances (we are tight right now and need to work on our debt repayment), taking care of my health after what happened last year, being with my fiancé :), and succeeding at this new project.

I've received my books 2 weeks ago now, and since then I've taken the time to come up with an organization and a way of working, which are still very much tentative. They might get improved or totally changed as things advance.
I thought I would spend this week talking about the different aspects of this organization and what it involves. Nothing groundbreaking, I just wish to share how I do it, since it's been so interesting to me in the past to read about how others do it.
I'll first explain how the class is set up, then show you my overall planning, and how I came up with it. Then I'll talk about the different sorts of note-taking I do, how I work on a chapter, and how I tackle the monthly papers. Then we'll talk about storage and physical organization of all these notes :)

To accompany this theme, you'll see a new poll on the right hand side of the blog, which will be up all week. Please participate, the more answer the more accurate the results will be :)

Sunday, November 4, 2012

What makes a Sunday perfect

If you guys follow me on twitter or instragram, you'll have already seen a lot of these pics :)

After an awful week (this job...), I really need to enjoy my Sunday, and relax.

A beautiful perfect fall day greats me when I wake up
Huge, fresh, OJ to start the day!
I made a good ole veggies soup to enjoy tonight, and probably the rest of the week :)

No photo of my brunch, inhaled too quickly, but please picture delicious poached eggs on toasts, with avocado...

My Filo, tea, favorite pens and PC, good looking back on previous weeks and scheduling the one ahead

After some planning and filofixing, my afternoon will be filled with baking (cinnamon rolls?), studying, and enjoying time with the fam :)

Friday, October 26, 2012

Press Review 2 : Louis Vuitton's stationery line

Another article I found that I thought you guys might like!

Louis Vuitton to diversify its activities into pens and stationery

Again, the article is in French, and I'm available to translate it if someone is interested in the details, but I'm not sure I'm allowed to publish a translation here.
Basically LV will be selling very high end pens and stationery before Christmas. They are talking about leather (alligator) pens, paper, colored inks stored in Baccarat crystal bottles, and leather notebooks and covers, and want to compete with Montblanc, Hermes, and S.T. Dupont. We should know more in a month apparently.

So, who is working on their Christmas list right now?...

Wednesday, October 24, 2012

Organization : home

As you may remember, we have just move into a new country. That meant we had a perfect opportunity to go through all the paperwork we accumulated over the past few years, and to set up a new system.
I went for something super simple, so I'm not sure it's any interest for you guys, but since it's working so well for me I thought, even if it only helps one reader, it was still good to describe it :)
I first divided everything in different categories : home (which contains rent information, insurance, appliances instructions booklets,...), car, bank, work (contracts, pay slips...), electricity, phones, etc.
I created an 'archive' binder for each category, which contains past years of data that I still need to keep (check online, but in my country you're supposed to keep the past 5 years for almost everything).
All these binders, I'm lucky enough to be able to store them in our basement, which is perfect : easily reachable should I need them, but not in the middle distracting me from every day business. In the past, having to pick up a huge and heavy binder just to put in the last bank statement for instance, meant I would wait 3-4 months to do it...
For all the current business, the past 6 months of statements and such, I bought a file for each of my categories. I haven't talked about it yet, but you know me, everything is color-coded :) So my Home archive binder is yellow, and the smaller file I keep upstairs is yellow too. These files are easy to grab, to identify, they make it easy to check something or file away something you just received in the mail. It's also very easy to take whatever is old enough (usually the back of the file) and archive it in the binder.
For whatever I have that need action, I leave it out on the counter and do it ASAP. It's the only way it's ever going to get done anyway...

Monday, October 22, 2012

Back to school time!

I'm so excited... I register for a new degree!
You guys may have picked up from my posts or my tweets that I'm not happy at all with my new job... I started it a month ago, and it took me forever to find a job in the first place... but I decided to react quickly this time.
I'm not able AT ALL to leave this job (because finding a new one takes forever, screw this economy), but if I continue like that I know I'm headed for a depression! So the idea is that I registered for a distance course in accounting. I liked the topic at school, and you always hear it said that accountants can always find a job, whatever the state of the economy is. It would complement well my resume. Focusing on learning something will improve my morale. I have a one-year contract right now, so I registered for 2 classes for the moment (you have to take 7 to get the final degree), and we'll see how it goes.
This opens up a new topic of consideration for me : how will I organize working full time, managing my finances and debts, being with my fiance, working out and feeling sane overall, and now studying for a Masters??
I know a bunch of you guys do it, or have done it. And the bigger part of you have done it using their Filos :)
Can you help me? Any sort of advice is more than welcome!
Organization, planning, following a learning plan... I need to know how to do all that so I can succeed :)

Saturday, October 20, 2012

Press Review 1 : Clairefontaine paper

Clairefontaine's manufacturing secrets

I stumbled across this slideshow the other day. I'm sorry, it's in French :( Basically it is a visit of Clairefontaine's plant in France. I was geeking out when I found it and thought you guys would be the only ones understanding my excitement!

It's a slideshow with comments, not an article, so I think it will be interesting even if you don't understand French, but let me know if you want me to translate something specific (if I'm allowed?...)

I learnt how energy consuming this industry is. I had never really thought about that before, but really our passion is not kind on the planet... I also learnt that almost all of Clairefontaine's operations are maintained in France, and that 60% of its revenue are made there. They also were very reluctant to start distributing their products in supermarkets, and still have different offers between supermarkets and small specialized retailers!

Sunday, October 14, 2012

My new set-up, part two

I've been reading about Getting Things Done for a few years now. I've always been an organizational geek, so when I discovered David Allen and his system, I was in heaven. I read everything I could find that was free, especially off the official website, because I'm poor thus cheap! That means that I only read the book this summer, when I had the opportunity to borrow it. I wasn't disappointed, and decided to include a bunch of GTD ideas in my set up. I won't explain the whole system here because I think you guys basically know the principles of GTD, but if anyone wants to talk about it please let me know in the comments!
So my new set-up is a balance between the cutesy I love, GTD ideas, being plain enough for work... perfectly adapted to me :)

As I was saying in my previous post, I now take this binder more or less all the time with me. It starts with the same cards as before in the cards slots, I only added my ID and some business cards, as well as a blue BIC pen in the pen loop. You'll see I try to color-code my entries, and blue is for the 'personal' stuff. I also have a pencil in the second one.
I have the fly leaf right at the beginning, with a variety of post-it notes on it. Right behind it there's a sheet protector and then some draft paper. I took the calendar pages I haven't used and turned them upside down. I did 'erase' the dates to make it less confusing... This part is basically my 'capture' area. I'm trying to make it easy for me to collect my ideas and thoughts, wherever I may be : small post-it notes to quickly jot down something, sheet protector to insert a note I might have taken from somewhere else, blank pages...

Right after that I have my registration page, personal information page, and my 2012 goals mind map.

The next section is my 'next actions' and 'waiting for'. Like last time, I used washi tape to mark my tabs, this way I can reuse the section page easily. In this section I have, again, a bunch of blank pages. The context is written at the top of the page, and actions and waiting fors are separated by these pretty postcards, on which I put Tracy's Martha Steward for Staples tabs :)

The next section after that is the calendar itself. I start with a year calendar I printed off the internet, and then monthly calendars I made and printed. They have a section at the bottom that uses Ray's monthly planner main parts. I decorated them with the tape Tracy sent me. Here I write the main events of the day, like trips for instance. I also use them to track my weight.

Then I have my week on two pages calendar. I try to color-code my week so it is more readable. Black ink is for work, blue for personal, pink for sport, brown for blog, and purple, bright blue, green, orange for everything nice :)

I write down the appointments in the time slots, use the remaining of the column for to do list and a summary of my day. Most of my to-dos are on the next actions lists, so in the calendar you'll only find things to do on a specific day.

After the calendar I have a 'Projects' section. It starts with a list of all the projects inside, and then the main ones are identified with Tracy's tabs. I have Finances (I designed my Finance sheets, so I could follow my budget), Sport (with my C25K training plan, list of workout, etc.), everything about our move here (budget, plan of the apartment with dimensions, shopping list, infos...), Next summer vacation... There are a few more blank pages here as well so I can insert them where I need.

Then I have my 'Someday/Maybe' section. For the moment it's just a list of things I may or may not pursue... This section feels very liberating, I must say! It allows me to think about things I may not have the time or money to do for the moment without feeling guilty.

And finally, my 'References' section, of which I am most proud. I decided to organize my references with my alphabetical tabs. I have a first sheet here on which I have my access codes to a bunch of sites, written with a code of course. Right behind that I have a 'work' page where I put all the important contacts from work + my MS exchange access to Outlook. And then, I have a summary of what is behind each tab. For instance, under 'EF', you'll find a page about Filofaxes :) (more specifically, ideas about set-ups). So behind these tabs I have the corresponding contacts, and then a few references. Under 'OP', with my organisation-related notes, I have my GTD notes.

And then, we have some business cards, and my beloved notepad.

Here you go, my new set-up! I really like it, it's easy to use, and to find everything I need. The only thing is that it's quite heavy...
What do you think? Did you see any ideas you liked? Do you use GTD? Have you solved the 'I need all this with me but my back is breaking' problem?

Friday, October 12, 2012

My new set-up, part one

Every year, I feel like September is the best 'good resolutions' time for me, and that it's truly my beginning of the year, much more than January. This year it's even more so, as we had a true back to school period! We left our previous jobs around June, moved out, moved in with my parents for the summer, then both started new jobs in a new country we had to move to early in September. And just like when I used to start school, I found myself in need of a new planner with a new system. I actually did call it back in June in my first set-up post)

As you may recall from this post, I used to carry my Malden Pocket in Vintage Pink around with me all the time, using it as my wallet and writing everything in it. Then my Chameleon A5 in Aqua Blue was my stay at home Filo, where I would detail my day and think more long term.
With the move and then a new job beginning, it became more and more difficult to sync both my 'stay home' A5 and my 'always with me/wallet' pocket. Also, I needed something much bigger for work. Not necessarily because I've lots of work that I want organized, but because I need a place to vent and something to use that will make me feel better and a little excited about my job. But more on that later!

So I decided to transform my stay home A5 into my one and only Filo. My beautiful Pocket Malden is being retired for the moment, and it breaks my heart because I love it so much, with its delicate leather and wonderful smell... I miss stroking absentmindedly at the cash register. I'm glad my wallet is leather too :)
So now I'm only with my Leon. My blank pages and archives are all in my A5 Finsbury. I adapted the Getting Things Done system into this binder (a little bit), so I'll tell you more about that in a different post. In a third one, I'll tell you how exactly is the binder set up and drown you in pictures! I bet you can't wait :)

Friday, October 5, 2012

Long time no blog...

But I did use my Filos!
I've missed our wonderful community quite a lot this summer. I tried to read your posts and your tweets from time to time, but it's just not the same!
I'm almost ready to go back to my routine. Our move is more or less done, and I'm (very slowly) getting settled at my new job (thanks for your help with that!!) We still don't have the internet though, so I don't know how much posting I'll be able to do from my phone...
Anyway, I need to tell you about my new set-up (September will do that to you...) and inserts, so watch this space!
Ah... I've missed you guys!

Tuesday, July 24, 2012

Recipe -- Apple cake


There are Filofaxes, but there's honey too!!

This is a recipe I adapted from a bunch of others I read online, so I'll call it mine, but it's not all that original!

I don't know about you, but where I live we are having the Crappiest Summer Ever. Right now as I type this it's pouring. We also have an apple tree that makes a ton of apples, but they are too sour to be eaten on their own. So I backed small muffins, that taste of fall, that make use of my apples, and that are perfect to go with my cup of tea!

4-5 apples
25gr of brown sugar
175gr of sugar
200gr of flour
1/2 a packet of baking powder
2 eggs
2 spoons of cinnamon
2 yogurts (plain)

Preheat oven to 180C (th.6)
Start by peeling and cutting in small dice the apples.
In a small pot, put 25gr of brown sugar and 75gr of white sugar. Pour enough water to cover it. Let the sugar melt, on low heat. When it's melted, add the apples and let them cook. Stir from time to time.
In a dish, mix the flour, the cinnamon, the baking powder and a pinch of salt. Set aside.
In a second dish, mix the eggs with the 100gr of sugar left, until the mix is white. Then add the 2 yogurts.
When the apples are done, mix them in with the wet mix first, then add the dry mix to it.
Fill the cupcake pan to 2/3 and cook for 25-30 minutes!

Enjoy, and let me know what you think of it!

Monday, July 23, 2012

Poll -- Your Filo & a job interview -- RESULTS!

Hello everyone,

I'm back from my interview! I'll tell you in a second how it went, but first, the poll results:

Thanks a lot for you 36 people who voted!

  • 63% thought it was ok to take your Filo to a job interview, to use it to take notes.
  • 44% thought it was ok to bring it to look up info you have researched before.
  • And 16% wouldn't bring it under any circumstances...

If the matter interests you, please also have a look in the comment section of the original post!

So I did take it to the interview. Actually, it turned out to be 2 interviews... As we discussed in the comments, I took a not so cute Filo (the Chameleon), and got all the cuteness out of it (stickers and so on), so it would look professional enough. Rest assured, it still looked handsome!
I only used the notepad at the back both times, to take notes. Neither interviewer seemed phased by it, they treated it as they would have any notebook.
During the first interview (that one went really well) the interviewer said how much they would need me to be organized. I showed my Filo, and Leon made a good impression :) During the second one, which didn't go so well, we never talked about the Filo and the interviewer didn't look at it weird or anything.
All in all I would say the Filo itself made either no impression or a good one. Now pray for me as I'm waiting for their final answer....

Saturday, July 7, 2012

Re: Poll -- Your Filo & a job interview

Hello everyone,

Thanks a lot for helping me with my Filo dilemma! I got a lot of comments on the post, and votes in the poll on the right side. Thanks a lot for sharing your insights on the matter with me! Given the discussion we've had so far, I'll take the Filo with me ;) (it's this one, which has all my notes about job searching. Of course my Malden will come as well, since it's my wallet!).
I'll be gone next week, to take this interview, so I won't be able to reply. But please keep the discussion going, and don't forget to vote! Also, send me good vibes :D
I'll try to comment during the week but can't promise. I'll make a post on how the interview went and if the Filo had any effect when I come back. By then, the poll will be closed, so I'll also be able to give the results. 

Thanks again everyone, and see you next week!

Tuesday, July 3, 2012

Malden, my Filo-on-the-go

Hey there,

Here is my second set-up! I hope you enjoyed the first one. Today I'll show you my Malden, which is the binder that's always with me. As I said when I described my Leon, this summer is a bit special for me in that I don't work and live at my parents', so my Filos are not as they would be in 'normal' life. Expect an update on the set-ups in a few months!

My Malden is my very first Filo. I had been expecting a Filofax for a long time, and this binder did not disappoint! It has a rich feeling, with its soft leather and beautiful color (to my eyes at least :) )
I ordered this binder in Pocket because it doubles as a wallet. To me, this is the best way to ensure I always take it with me.

Here goes!

This is what I see when I open the binder. I keep in the slip pockets my credit card, an ID, and some small business cards printed off of And I have a cute picture/quote to make me smile :)
I keep coins in the zip pocket. I was very surprised at how much fits, in this picture I had 20euros in coins, which is that much :
That many monies

Yes, it does say 'and act like Kate Middleton'. LOVE IT!
After the Dr Seuss picture I have two credit card holders, full of frequent flyer's card, debit card, social security... And then this picture, next to my post-it dash board. This is so useful. On the bigger post-its you see here, I can jot down whatever when I'm on the go, and later put it in either this Filo or the A5. On the back of the fly leaf I have 2 smaller post its.

This might be my favorite part of the diary: I write everything on this calendar, and it really helps me keep track of things (workouts, weight, travels, work, friends' visits, illnesses...) I had a hard finding blank months to show you :)

This is the diary itself. I use the week on 2 pages that came with the binder, but I think I might change to week on 1 page for 2013... not sure yet. Here I added a note page in the middle of the week to give me more room to write down info. Typically I only write appointments and some times grocery lists on the days :) This note page is actually from an A4 notebook I bought when I was younger and never used, because 'I had to save it for an occasion! I can't waste the paper!!'. Well I gathered all these precious notebooks and cut them down to fit in my Pocket, where the cute designs make me happy :)

Typical of this poor Malden : I write something down on a post it note, in a hurry, and slam it in the appropriate week. Then it never gets written down in pretty colors... I did use a sticker here though. The post it on the Today ruler has my weekly to-dos, so I don't repeat them.

This is the end of the diary part. On December 31st I put a post-it note on which I wrote things scheduled for 2013. They'll get written over when I get next year's calendar. After the diary we have a Notes section, delimited by this cute postcard I cut down to fit. You can see again some of the cutesy paper from earlier. Here I have notes I need to keep with me, mostly related to shopping! For instance I have a list of chemicals I try to avoid in cosmetics, or perfumes I want to try out...
After the notes I have some important phone numbers, and then a Finance section. For this section, I was too cheap to order Filofax' Finance paper, so I copied it by hand on paper cut to size... works perfectly for me :)

At the end of the binder I have this enveloppe containing souvernirs, then a zip-pocket with subway tickets for Paris. In the vertical slip pocket at the back I have my driver's licence, and in the horizontal one more note paper. The pen I use in this binder is a 0.5 Frixion, because it fits perfectly and because I need it to be erasable.

Last but not least, the reason why Pockets work so well as wallets to me: here I can of course stash paper money, but also letter I need to take care of, or doctor's notes... very useful.

There you go, you now know everything about my M.Malden!

Monday, July 2, 2012

Poll -- Your Filo & a job interview


As you may know, I am currently looking for a job. It is lonely and sort of depressing, and I often find myself getting very absorbed in small details.
The question on my mind these days is: should I bring my Filo to interviews? As you may have seen in my A5 tour, I have a whole section dedicated to job search, which could be really useful during an interview. But I am concerned with the impression I would give to the interviewer.
What are your thoughts? You'll see a poll on the side of the blog, please participate, but also feel free to discuss in more details here in the comments! The poll will be open for 2 weeks.

Thanks for your help!

Wednesday, June 27, 2012

Leon, my Stay-at-home Filo

Hey there,

So here we go for my first set-up post/walk-through. I'm excited! Get ready for a lot of pictures, because picture-heavy posts are my favorites when it comes to Filofaxes :) I'm sorry these are a bit blurry!

In my first post, I explained that this A5 Chameleon was the second Filo I bought. I had been using the pocket size for almost 6 months by then, and I was starting to feel limited by the size. I love that the Pocket is so portable, but sometimes I would feel frustrated, especially when I was trying to write up my day in the evening. I tend to use my Filo as a planner, for future events, as an organizational tool, when my time is a little tight and I need to put more thoughts in planning the day, and as a record of what happened, gluing bits and bobs in it. So, I decided to get an A5 Filo that I would mainly keep at home. If my job were to change, I would then think about taking it with me to work, but that wasn't an issue at the moment (and still isn't). I will do a separate post where I describe my Pocket 'on-the-go' Filo.
I received this A5 Chameleon just as I was quitting my job and going to spend the summer at my parents' house, so I have some difficulties setting it up. Because, you know, I'm not in my 'real life' right now, if that makes any sense?? Anyway, except an update of this set-up when September arrives :)

On the left hand side of the cover, we have 8 credit cards slots, one bigger slot, 2 slip length pockets and one zipped length pocket. I don't keep a lot here. I have a few stickers in the slip pockets, some post it flags and Tracy's paperclip. In the credit card slots, I keep personal pictures that I printed on Moo to the right format. I don't use the pen loop because, as the binder stays at home, I have access to ALL my pens :) When I do need to take it with me, I usually take a pencil and a ballpoint pen with me.

The very first page you see, behind the transparent fly leaf, is the registration number. I'm paranoid I might lose my Filo (which stays home...) After that, there's the personal information page (well, really, only my name and email address), and then the Filofax informational pages I decided I needed (EU Members, Religious Festivals, Notable Dates). That's the end of the 'introduction' part of my Filo.

Then we go into my 'objectives'. First I have a mind map of my main goals for 2012 (roughly). I made it cute with different colors and stickers, and put it in a homemade protective sheet (just an A4 plastic sheet cut in half and repunched. The washi tape is here to help punch trough plastic).

Then we have my first divider, on which I put one of the tabs Tracy sent me, and behind which I have my monthly goals. I've created a template for those that I adapted from Ray's monthly planner. I've been using them to set up goals every month and review them at the end since February, and love it so far. It's been very helpful, in improving myself.

My next section after that is 'sport'. I tried to keep it pretty vague. In it you'll find a Couch to 5k training plan (with the pink tab) that I printed off the internet, and that gets checked off every time I achieve a step, a Workout Log that I drew on some squared paper (4 columns: date, type of workout with room for comments, duration, distance if applicable), and a few interesting articles on fitness I punched and put here. I just put some washi tape on the tab of the divider, wrote the title on it and added some Winnie the Pooh stickers. As I said I'm fairly certain my set-up will change when I'll go back to the real world, so I tried to do tabs that I could easily modify.

The following section is my diary. I put one of Tracy's cute stickers on the divider (the character seems to be scratching his head in a sort of 'duh?' attitude; too cute. Sorry the picture is so blurry!).

I start with the year overview that came with the Filo. It's far from perfect, I very much prefer the horizontal calendar where each month gets a column, but I haven't yet found a way to print it out on my own. I know, I'm pathetic.

But then you can see the month on one page I did, adapted for Steve and Ray's template. I think I only changed the look, and added a Notes column. Oh and there of course you can one of Tracy's goodies, again :)

Then we go into the diary. I use Week on 2 Pages, column, because it came with the binder, but it's actually my favorite format, so that was nice. I usually first write down the appointments in front of the time, then the to do list of the day where there's room left, and then write about the day where I can!

The three next sections are dedicated to current projects. The first one is about the things that need to get done where I am now and during this summer. The second one is about planning after September. The third one has everything I need about my current job search.

After that, we get into a 'References' section, where I keep important information, a list of things I like, a list of Zen habits, a summary of Christmas gifts exchanged, and a page about my Filofaxes' structures. Then I have the alphabetical tabs behind which are my contacts (addresses, not email addresses or phone numbers, which are in the computer or the phone).

At the back I have blank paper, which I use to sketch, the business card holders (in which I keep mainly contacts needed in my job search). In the last pocket I have the Filofax notepad, which I use a lot, and I use the space left behind it to stash any letter or paper I need to take care of.

There, you have it, my Leon! I hope you enjoyed this post, as much as I enjoy reading about your set-ups! What do you think of him?