Thursday, 25 April 2013

Internet Technology - How It Has Relaunched The Life Of A Filofaxer

Imagine it is 1994.

You are at work in a meeting and you are in a room with others much like yourself.
Professional. Organized. Directed.

As the meeting commences, you and your colleagues focus on the task at hand.
Many are writing on notepads.
A few have micro cassettes and taping.
You are surrounded by people who mean business.

In time, you casually glance over to an unfamiliar face.
They reach into their briefcase and place their Personal Leather Filofax on the desk.
They open it and start to write.
Your heart warms at your discovery.
You reach down to your bag

Case opened!

You retrieve your own binder and lay it on the table as well.
Hoping that they notice that you have one too.
But they are too engaged in their work.

You begin to write, although you really don’t need to.
You want to be seen as an organised sort of person.
You make yourself look busy with your Filofax in tow.
You try to meet the strangers glance but they never look up.

The meeting ends.

They put their binder away and leave the room before you have a chance to make a passing remark or compliment them on their diary.

A fellow Filofax user.

You have missed the moment
And feel a bit silly that you got so excited at seeing someone else with one.

You put yours away.

End of story.

Here was the life of a Filofax user only a few short decades ago.
If you ever saw someone with a Filofax out in public,
it was too awkward to go up to them to talk about their kit.
Besides, that would be a bit weird wouldn't it?

The life of a Filofaxer for many years was a solo journey.
At most, you gleamed snippets of information when you randomly stumbled across them.

A browse through a Filofax stockists shelves

a magazine article or ad on TV

the occasional stray appearance of one on the news or in a movie
(and who hasn't smiled with happiness when watching Working Girl or Taking care Of Business)

And that was it.

It was an isolated existence that you could share with very few.
It goes without saying that you personally realized from day one the enormous value of your Filofax and how it could transform your world.

But to others,

Even those close to you,

They mostly considered you to be at best, overly geeky
or at worst, a would-be yuppie.

And then

In the dawn of developing informatics and computer technology,
In our darkest hour,

A few of us set our beloved binders aside
Shelving our 6-ringed companions in favour of being just like everybody else -

We went electronic!

We entered our data
Printed our spread sheets
Squinted to read the screens.
Like blind sheep we tried to be ‘up-to-date’ and technological.
We tried to be happy
But we knew something was missing.

The world was changing.

In a few short years, we were juggling Outlook, Word, Notebooks, pagers, texting and chat rooms

Jobs launched the smartphone
Zuckerman launched Facebook
Google made it’s splash on the scene
YouTube was born.
Twitter and Instagram

And something strange began to happen.

It connected us.

Not just the world,


The Filofax people, new and old.

A few of the faithful began to put posts and blogs out into cyberspace.
Google searches led many of us to websites and twitter.
We began to see that there were others out there, all around the world who took Filofax use seriously.
We became voyeurs (in the nicest possible sense) and looked endlessly at pictures others were posting of their own organizers.
We tried to do the same – sometimes successfully!

We began to research other binders that perhaps, just perhaps were better than our own.
We began to aspire to doing different and creative things.
We posted blogs and photos and videos and Facebook comments
We discovered washi tape and purpley lives.
We embraced online buying and eBay bargains and Philofaxy.

We began to connect.


We were connected!

And what joy it has been to know that we are not alone in our love for the Filofax.

We are mostly strangers and yet we speak and write to each other as if we are family.

We are family!

We agree....

and agree to disagree.

We LOL and we share words of encouragement
From our own private homes
Our bedrooms, classrooms, cars, iPads and phones
We rejoice in the good news of others and comfort those in grief.

We are connected by the one thing that threatened to scatter and displace Filofax users forever.

The electronic world did not knock us down, but raised us up.

Some will say to you: 

“Why are you using that old method when the internet has so much to offer?”
“Surely technology has replaced that old thing?”
"That is sooo 90’s!”

And yet,

Just as the Kindle is being heralded as the modern replacement of retail of books,
It hasn’t replaced the experience books provide.

Just as email has made telegrams extinct and the art of letter-writing almost redundant,
The joy of receiving a letter or parcel in the mail and the emotions it can muster is irreplaceable.

For those of us who Filofaxed our way as lone rangers 
in the 80’s and 90’s

Regretfully rejecting our binders for technology
We are now back to our organizing roots once again

I say: At Last!

The use of Filofaxes in this present age is not superfluous
It is quality.
It is sensory.
It is relational.
It is an experience the cold and vigorous electronic age cannot provide.

Today, we do not need to wait in hope of finding someone who shares our passion for these organizers.

There are millions of us
Using both pen and ink AND technology in beautiful and organized and creative and successful ways.

The dawn of technology has not killed the Filofax,

It has provided a means to raise it on a pedestal.

To a new level.
One, the world never quite expected.

When people see us and our binder,
They stop and admire, ask questions, show praise and appreciation.
With envious eyes they may be tempted to buy one for their own use.
We supply so much information to help them – free of charge!
We tell them of the blogs and websites and the get-togethers on both Skype and in person.
We tell them of the specials, the pitfalls, the best postal rates and share our most recent haul.

We offer them advice and even give them away as gifts...

We are like that.


The Filofax Community.

No, technology has not made it's way to over take the Filofax,
it has launched it to a whole new generation and audience.

It is a discovery like some long-lost secret to some.
It is a coming-home for others.

It is a lifestyle that will never fade away.

Just today,
in a meeting,
while others laptopped and iPadded and Smartphoned and typed,
I reached into my briefcase and quietly took out my Filofax.

I opened it

the click of the clasp caught some notice.

I began to write.

My colleagues made numerous admirations and praise-filled comments...

I said nothing.
I thanked them for their kind words
Closed my binder

My smile said it all.

Case closed!

Monday, 22 April 2013

Organizing - Filofax Lessons From The Heart

For many years, I held the belief that I could do everything I set my mind to.
As a young man, this was mostly true.
I had a thriving business, a respected career, a beautiful wife, lovely home, great friends and four very high-maintenance and beautiful and talented children.

Each day was exhausting, but I got through it with a quick and creative mind, a lot of energy, and being purely blessed.

In the summer of 2000, everything began to change.

Within a short series of months, I suffered some unexpected health problems and a series of medical issues which literally knocked the wind out of me.

It seemed that every three or so months over a period of three years, my wife and I endured some fairly major health, family and financial issues which tried very hard to destroy us.

Interspersed with all of these unpleasant and devastating events was 
the 9-11 tragedy which seemed to burst our bubble of innocence and plunge the world into a mood of fear, hate and suspicion.

When we are young, we can 'conquer the world', but as the years creep by, our mortality reminds us in sobering ways that we are fragile, weak and temporary custodians of our own lives.

Within a few short years, I had nearly lost it all.

Throughout all the hardship, the unfair circumstances and the sheer physical exhaustion of getting through each day, I began to realize that there were only five things to do with living that were true in my life:

Life is hard
I am not that important
My life is not about me
I am not in control
One day I am going to die

Now, please do not suspect I was going to end it all. Far from it.
Life had dealt me some incredible blows - but I still had hope.
I had a wife who loved me and a faith that was deep and strong.

I began to realize that I could not control all aspects of my life and that I needed help.

Just as one seeks a doctor's advice for health issues, I began to seek out ways to retrieve and order my world.

The journey for me for the next 10 years was bumpy to say the least.
In some ways, the things I lost, never to regain, were never really mine.
and those things I used to curse - well they began to transform into blessings for me and my family.

In a sense - I started over again.

In recent months, I have gone back to something I used religiously in my early days.
As a man who is getting older (as we all do) I found my mind was not as sharp and the remembering of facts was slightly dimming.
It was then that I turned again to organizing my world with paper and ink.
I found my leather planner - casually thrown aside during the tough times and it welcomed me back just like an old friend.
I cautiously opened it and began to write.
I wrote everything
Lists, journaling, timetables, diagrams plans, 
dreams, notes, notes about notes, 
tallies, ideas and words.
Just words.
pages and pages of words

I was home.

I began to see that I was not so proud to rely on a day planner 
to get my world in some semblance of order.
I researched how to use one again.
My appetite for all things Filofax was voracious.
I watched hundreds of hours of videos online to get the ideas flowing.
I had little time for myself, but I kept on writing

and thinking

and dreaming.

The time I spent looking over this funny little leather book with rings and lines and pens and stickers and post-it notes was not so much as a journey to be organised, but a process of making sense of my world.

Over the next few months I began to see my life getting richer
my work and family - more ordered and free
I felt the need to share the things I learned and was learning.
So I made my own videos to share my ideas.
I joined online groups and found fellow organizers;
people who spoke my language.
Who shared my love of organizing and filofaxes.
I saw the future in my leather bound friend
and it was good.

My journey is far from over
My task in life is not complete.
I am older, and wiser (and older)
but I am moving forward.

I am here
I write
I plan
I share
I enjoy
I am here!

Tuesday, 16 April 2013

FiloFax Topical Videos

Here are my other videos which are not tips but contain various topics and views.


FiloFax Tips Nos 1 - 40

Here are all of my YouTube videos in the FiloFax Tips Series (videos 1 - 40)

I hope you will like them and please SUBSCRIBE to my YouTube channel or better still, leave a comment here or on the video comment area.