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!


  1. Kent ... just beautiful! You're a talented writer.
    And ... you're not alone in that journey. Thank you for sharing.
    Love the blog and your videos :)

  2. Wonderful. Keep writing and planning.

  3. that's awesome!! thanks for sharing!!

  4. Kent, this is a wonderfully written post.

    If ever we get to meet at an Australian Philofaxy get together, you and I could have quite the philosophical discussion, I think. Myself and my family have gone through what sound like similar trials to yourself (and are STILL going through... does it never end?!). I have come to admire people who retain their deep faith even after having the ground repeatedly disappear from underneath them.

    My filofax(es!) help me get through all the chaos. I guess they really are like a drug, because I've become dependant on them! The bonus is finding similarly obsessiveness-afflicted and passionate planner people!

  5. Excellent post and a lovely read. More people should view life as you would be a better world. You have a gift for writing, too...keep it up!

  6. lovely post Kent! I love your vids, as a fellow teacher they've given me heaps of inspiration ... keep up the writing, you have a talent ...

  7. That is a good story. The Lord does have it all under control.

  8. Oh my goodness I almost cried! So inspirational and I love your no-nonsense videos anyway so this was a bonus in my eyes. 'Why?' is not a question us filofaxers often ask but perhaps we have the most to learn from each other when we do wonder why.

  9. Thanks for sharing Kent. You have a beautiful writing style. Life's journey is indeed bumpy, uphill and down. I try to keep in mind that whatever life throws at me, I'll handle it.

  10. You are a talented man. Such great insight into your journey.

  11. I'm late with a comment, but this is lovely, a wonderfully sentiment. Thanks for sharing!

  12. I've just found one of your YouTube videos today, and I was immediately captivated--little could I imagine the story behind your wonderfully instructive video clips. Thank you so much for sharing all of your organizing ideas--and your writing. I'm looking forward to following your blog and reading/viewing all of our videos.