I think the key to making a Filofax work for you is getting a system that, well, works for you. Filofax typically set up their Filofaxes with a week on two pages, often plain. There are a couple of things I really dislike about about Filofax inserts – namely the thinness of the paper and the fact you can’t use a fountain pen with it, the split weekend, I use to work on the weekends AND go to unversity, so my weekends were just as busy as my week. Yet I’d have no space to write on the weekend. Plus what was up with that let’s stick a calender in your Sunday slot – which gives you even less room!
I know they’ve since changed the format, but I’m still not liking filofax inserts. So in June I discovered all about personalising your planner and stamps and things like that. So I decided I would have a go at making my own layout. At the time, I was getting over a particularly unpleasant bound of depression. I had barely been out of bed, let alone out of the house in months. I couldn’t motivate myself to do anything. So I decided I would work on making diary pages and do something positive.
The problem at the time was that I didn’t have anything to write in a diary. So I decided to do a week on one page and track my main meal for the day, my water intake and try to do one or two tasks a day to get me motivated to do stuff. I also had a list of one letters – which were daily prompts of things I had to do everyday – such as taking vitamins. These worked ok, but after a while I had started to get myself up and doing more things. Quickly a week on one page in that setup wasn’t working.
I decided to switch back to a week on two pages and have equal spaced days. However, as there are only 7 days in a week it can be difficult to equal space. I added a daily task checker into the 8th day slot. This is the layout that is in my make your own weekly layout, which you can find here. This setup was much better, but it still wasn’t brilliant. I ran of space and that daily tracker was just too big and I felt like I was wasting space in that corner and the rings got in the way, which was annoying.
So I decided to switch and my current set up will get me to the end of the year. I went back to a week on one page, but added a piece of graph paper in between. I now use a form of bullet journalling. I think the system works really well for me. I’m just annoyed that I have filofax graph paper, but now I am happy with the system I will print off my own graph paper.
I am really in love with the Erin Condren style vertical planners. You can fit two of the same width on a personal sized page. I am quite tempted to maybe try them in January…but if you have a good system – why mess with it? We’ll see.
Right, now to the bit that you are interested in…how to find the perfect layout for YOU! I would suggest firstly ditching buying pre-made inserts. After all you have them for a year and if you really don’t like them, you either force yourself to use them for the whole year, try something else which you may not like and be committed for a year etc. Or you give up and buy a new set of inserts – wasting the ones you bought and probably some more if you don’t like your new set. Just don’t buy them. Make your own. Give yourself at least 4 weeks in the layout – so you can test whether you truly can use it. If you don’t like it. Figure out why. Is it too small? Do you need to go for a week on three pages? Do you need a full day for during the week but then a day on two pages at the weekend? Write a list of the pros and cons. As you evolve to find a system that suits you it’s great. Maybe you like to see your week to view – but just don’t have the space options with that – why not try a monthly calender that will give you a week to view…but a streamlined version of it, which you can use as a springboard to fill in your weekly? Maybe a separate weekly meal planner would be better for you to save up space.
The trick to finding your right layout…is to experiment and try different layouts. Googling images and watching youtube videos about other Filofax setups will also give you an idea of what other people are using…and importantly how they are using them. If you find you need a daily page for some days but not others, stick with a week on two pages and then get an undated daily page for when you need it. Or just use a blank piece of paper and jot your day down on that. Once you’ve found a system that works…you can look to find it in a premade format it you want. Then you’ll know you can buy it and use it and importantly be happy with it.