Return to paper, week one

Stationery nerd klaxon!

I’ve had my new Filofax one week and it’s barely been out of reach. A stack of meetings and a two-day course on Thursday and Friday meant it was invaluable for extensive note-taking. The fact the Fusion has a pocket large enough to hold my iPad Mini is the icing on the cake.

I barely used my laptop Thursday and Friday, just reaching into the Filofax to check emails on my iPad. Having scanned the course pre-reading into Evernote, I could access it via the iPad and leave most of the paperwork at home.

A win-win for both sides on the “paper versus electronics” debate!

As I said in my last post on the Filofax, I stripped it of everything I didn’t need, including the large calendar. I definitely don’t want to go down the 100% paper route and replicate information easily available elsewhere. So for me, the Filofax is a work-centred GTD “capture device” not the “file of facts” as used by most other people.

I’ve set it up as follows:

1 – A section containing static data, like a year planner, personal information and so on. Yes, I don’t maintain a calendar in it, but the fold out planner allows me to see six months at a time and I’ve just added Bank Holidays and major dates in it. I won’t be adding anything else. I’ve also got my favourite GTD flowchart here.

2 – A section for noting to-do’s. This is a mix of Filofax brand to-do sheets and some I picked up a couple of years ago in Amsterdam. The idea here is that, when it’s not appropriate to access OmniFocus on my iPhone or iPad, I can quickly jot notes in a specific section to revisit later. I don’t want to develop reams of paper-based actions, so it’s basically a holding pen for content that will eventually make its way into my core GTD system in OmniFocus.

3 – I then have a ‘Projects’ section, mainly used for brainstorming and creative writing. This has been “cleaned out” several times this week, and anything vaguely useful has been scanned into Evernote.

4 – This section covers “intensive” notes, like outputs from meetings, interviews. Again, anything from this that I want to keep, I scan.

This is all in an effort to keep the binder as light as possible.

I’ve also got a zipped plastic envelope which hold my passport and foreign currency. I have an annoying habit of accumulating euros in my desk drawer and forgetting to take them with me when I travel for business.

I’m not one for lots of specially-created Filofax inserts, but I have picked up a few pads of paper and meeting planner templates. As for the rest, I’m sure some structure will emerge with more use.

It’s working well so far.

2 comments on “Return to paper, week one

  1. How do you like omnifocus? I’ve been curious about it but don’t know anyone who has actually used it. Is it worth the price tag? I downgraded my filofax from a personal to a FranklinCovey pocket and am trying to do the digital/paper hybrid thing with my ipad mini as well!


    • Thanks Tammy – I Love OmniFocus!! It’s definitely worth the investment and is really fantastic on the iPad. I recommend it to everyone I work with.

      It can seem daunting at first but it’s worth persevering.


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