Organizing a system - how do you do it???

Hello I am a pocket filofax user at the moment (HAHA!) and I am having difficulty organizing it as I have a day to two pages diary which works for me because I have rarely got any "solid appointments" (stay at home mum - part time student) but I do have lots of things I need to remember about certain topics - more reminders really rather than set things I guess - My question is I want my system to be more effective and more of a second brain - without bulking it up so much it breaks lol. I like the fact that it is small and that i can take out used pages and add other pages etc but havent quite got organized with it yet. I hope this all makes sense and if anyone else has been in this situation can they offer advice? I want to keep the filofax system by that I mean the filofax itself I print my own stuff naturally - i just want to have it work better for me if that makes sense? Thanks in advance for any comments or replies. I dont want ppl to feel they should come up with a solution for me - just hearing how people utilize their organizers would be a great inspiration I am sure! :-) happy planning!! x

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Organizers are like diets

There is no One Magic Solution That Works For Everyone.
You need to find what works for you and then go with it

I recommend two books:
GTD - Getting Things Done (David Allen)
FTF - First Things First (Stephen Covey & Merrill's)

In a nutshell, I believe GTD helps you plan from the bottom up and that FTF helps you plan from the top down.
I believe both are important and I believe the two systems can be followed at the same time.
I try to use GTD on a daily basis, and then FTF about once a week to keep track of The Big Picture.

That's my opinion. I hope it helps in some way. Good luck.
"I think the surest sign that there is intelligent life out there in the universe is that none of it has tried to contact us." (Calvin and Hobbes/Bill Waterson)

Thanks for your reply -I am

Thanks for your reply -I am ordering the books as I type this :-)

The key here is that you

The key here is that you find a system that works for you, and not that you change the way you organize because of he system. The system you use must emerge organically from the way you think and work, otherwise it will not work for you.

Julie Morgenstern & the SHE's


On the subject of having your organization be an outgrowth of your life, rather than changing your life to fit an arbitrary organization, check out Julie Morgenstern's books.

She describes a few different strategies that even 'creatives' and other 'flexible-schedule' type people can use to get a handle on time. She's got two books on Time Management, but for your situation I'd recommend Time Management from the Inside Out. The other one, Never Check Your Email in the Morning, is more about the business world, I think.

The other one that's a really good discussion of a particular method of organizing things to do and time to do it is Sidetracked Home Executives: From Pigpen to Paradise. These are the SHE's. That one's more about organizing housework, but the method they use is thoroughly discussed and they lead you through it step by step.

Fundamentally with all the 'systems', though, you have to figure out what it is that you're organizing, gauge the size and shape of the things (or actions), and then figure out how they fit into the space (time) that you have.

If you have less schedule and more things to remember, you may find a series of reference books to be more useful. The Flylady (Marla Cilley) gets into that concept on her website with the Control Journal, and so does David Allen with his reference files.. If you have a series of to-dos that you'd like to do regularly on a scheduled basis, the SHE's tackle that one really well.

Anyway, the paper you use needs to fit how you live and organize, not vice versa.


Thanks for the comments

Thanks for the comments guys! I fell of the GTD bandwagon awhile back when I didnt have a particularly busy period in my life but having looked back at the GTD stuff I made maybe it makes sense to go back to what I started and think about why i stopped using it when it did work at the time. I guess life changes and within that your roles and priorities in life change and I just have to think about what my main projects are right now. I never read the book only read summaries of it etc to get the drift of it and the point of the system btw lol

Flylady system

I, too, would recommend Flylady especially if (or at home, WHEN) many of the tasks are recurring. I am using it myself - I have daily, weekly and monthly lists. Saves me from writing them down again and again. Even better, the daily tasks are mostly routine already, done without much thinking.

For non-recurring tasks I used GTD. The combinations works quite well, especially as the routines are giving me more time to do other things.

- customizing Filofax Personal -

Thanks Milja - thanks all

Thanks Milja - thanks all you guys I am thinking of going with some pre-printed forms for my "To-Today" - a dialy hitlist which'll change each day obviously (as some days I have alot to do others not so much!) then an Inbox for all reminders of what needs to sorted out/looked at broken down into stages etc then just the ordinary calender of a week to page just for scheduled appointments. I will see how I get on with this for now - I also just treated myself to a couple of moleskines as I have seen so much about them on flckr etc and how customizing them really works for some ppl so I will let you know how I get on with that. I think I am just one of those ppl where if it doesnt get written down it doesnt get crossed off - if you guys know what I mean lol. Thats why having a system which works is so important - talk about absentminded professor! Anyways thanks for the comments will go with that for now and let you all know if it works! Thanks again tho - this place - you guys -it all rocks! xxx