When I was in high school, the planners we were accustomed to seemed rather stuffy and boring. Filofaxes were usually used by corporate workers doing important things and it didn’t cross my mind that it can be used as a creative outlet or journal.
I started working around the mid 90s. I always had a pen and paper on me but they were never used to decorate or create fun pages. I would often take down notes and was quite serious about it as it helped keep me organised. But work got rather overwhelming and I was losing track of my handwritten notes because I didn’t really have a system.
When I got my first smartphone, I relied on it heavily to organise my time. I kept almost everything on it and whilst several apps helped, I became immune to the reminders and started ignoring the notes I took down because they were buried within an app. Same goes for the notes I entered into my computer. They were usually amongst different files and folders that they easily got lost and forgotten too. Also, there wasn’t anything visual or cute to keep me interested.
After leaving my job a few weeks ago, I discovered I miss putting things down on paper. It’s rather strange because I hardly wrote anything by hand in the last 6 years. I honestly do not know what prompted me to look through Pinterest and type in the word “filofax“. Lo and behold, a whole bunch of colourful images popped out! Filofaxes have evolved from the last time I saw one. The pages were decorated with washi tape, stickers, multi-hued pens and pencils, and people were drawing on them, creating little artworks. This was all quite new and exciting, and it appealed to both the structured and creative side of me.
I went to Kinokuniya, so far the only bookstore in Malaysia that carries Filofax, and got myself a personal Saffiano and a bunch of colourful pens. It is a good size and I love the bright raspberry-purple shade. I wanted something a bit slimmer and lighter and got a Patent Compact shortly after. I have been switching between the two but I will likely use one of them as an expense tracker and housekeeping planner. I am about three weeks into using a Filofax daily and am thoroughly enjoying the process.
A Filofax may not have a beeper or alarm to remind you of day-to-day tasks but I find myself remembering what I need to do when I jot it down. If I were still working, I’d probably need a day-on-one-page format because I usually have various tasks, meetings and conference calls from day to night. As a housewife, a week-on-two-pages is sufficient. I write down to-dos, reminders and events on the daily sections. I began to decorate the pages with a bit more colour because the cuteness factor is important to me.
So this was how I started using a paper planner. I’m still learning a system that works for me and will cover the different sections of my Filofax in a future post. I opted for a ring-bound planner as I like the flexibility of moving things around. And I like having a well-planned day because it makes me feel more productive. If you’re new to paper planners or journals, I’d highly recommend doing a bit of research to find something that will work and fit your lifestyle.