Thursday, January 8, 2015

Organize My Life: Switching to Filofax

{Organize My Life is a multi-post series all about (you guessed it) organization! Make sure you check out the other posts listed at the end of each entry (as most of these posts will reference one another), as well as the coinciding video!}

If you follow me on Instagram, you might know that I have recently made the switch from my beloved Erin Condren Life Planner to a Personal Filofax Cover Story in the Floral Burst Design. That means it's time I give you guys and inside look of how I've set it up and why I made the switch!

As the fall semester began, I started looking for a new planner. I was pretty convinced that I was going to buy another ECLP for 2015 and had my cover picked out and everything! However, as the semester wore on, I found myself not really loving the space that the Life Planner provided. It had plenty of room to write down my schedule for the week, but not much room for the long list of to-do's I would have each day. This fall, I started to find that having a to-do list for each day instead of having a long, running to-do prompts me to actually check things off throughout the day. I was craving a way to track my daily to-do list in a way that didn't muddle up the layout of my schedule.

Enter, the Filofax:

I did a lot of planner comparison with the main goal in mind to find the best mix between a day on a page and customization. There are quite a few systems out there that offer a day on a page layout, but I was really interested in using a binder system where I could create sections that I find important in a planner, such as fitness and finance. It came down to the Kikki-K system (which is SO ADORABLE and I would really like to use it, but I need to do more research), and the Filofax, because they both had a binder system that I could order day on a page layouts for, and offered the customization of the binder system. 

I chose the Filofax over the Kikki-K, because I wasn't sure if the Kikki-K inserts would include U.S. holidays, as it's an Australian based company and did not indicate what countries were included on the calendar prints. Very minor detail, I know, but it's something that probably would have bothered me over time. Like I said, I need to do a bit more research on the Kikki-K. If anyof you use a Kikki-K or know anything about their planner inserts, please let me know in the comments what it's like to use them. Their products are so cute and I'm definitely still interested!

Alright, enough blabbing about why I chose a Filofax. Time to show you the inside! The outside cover is made of a canvas material, and has a metal button and elastic closure. The elastic is pretty sturdy and anchored by two rivets in the back, and looks like it would hold up throughout the year, even with my already super bulky planner!

As you can see, my planner has already gotten quite thick. Day on a page layouts obviously take up more space than any other layout, simply because it calls for more pages. If I were to carry only my calendar in this organizer without adding additional sections or pages, I would probably be able to carry a full year in the organizers with me. However, because I want to utilize different sections in my daily life, I can only carry a few months at a time. I'm not a huge fan of this (being part of the event planning world, being able to plan far in advance is an inherent need, so having a year at hand would be my dream!), which makes me believe I will eventually graduate to an A5 size, but on the other hand, I may end up growing into it.

Front Matter

Dashboard: The inside of the Cover Story has five "card holder" pockets and a larger inside pocket that is made of leather. I keep post it notes, paper clips, and business cards in this section, as well as a glittery gift tag that came with a gift I received this past Christmas for some decoration. I made the front divider (as well as all of my monthly dividers) from scrapbook paper I found in my bedroom at my family's house!

If found...: It's always important to have these types of pages when you depend on your planner so much! I made this with a blank sheet of Filofax paper, threw some cute Washi tape on the top and bottom, and stamped out the words with some alphabet stamps that I bought from the Target dollar spot.

Color Code: I have this color code basically memorized, but it's good to have it for reference. This one is the same as the one I used for my ECLP as well. Soon some of my responsibilities are going to change, so with that, I'm sure my color code is going to change as well!

Weekly Schedule: This is just a friendly reference as to where I am during the week and when. My schedule is pretty set, so this page won't vary until the end of the academic year!


Quote: This quote really speaks to me at this point in my life. I'm at a point where there's a lot of unknowns. I don't have a clue where I'm going to be even 5 months from now, and that can be scary! However, I need to remember that just because things aren't figured out quite yet, doesn't mean I'm not making positive, forward movements in my life. It's hard to remember this sometimes, so it's nice to have it right in front of my calendar to remind me!

Monthly View: The Filofax did not have a monthly spread that came standard with the organizer, so I found this cute, free printable on Pinterest. I love how colorful it is, especially after using the colorful ECLP! The boxes are a little small and hard to write in, but that forces me to be very selective of what I include in the monthly view, instead of muddling it up with unnecessary details. I decorated the edges with some Washi as well.

Special Dates: This is an idea that I stole from the ECLP's perpetual calendar for birthdays and anniversaries. I created a page for each month of the year and put it right in the front of each month section. This is also useful because it can be used in any future planner I may have as well, and I won't have to re-write it every time a new year rolls around.

Blog Posts: **Spoiler alert for the rest of my January blog posts ;)** I wrote about planning out my blog posts a few months ago, and it has been so helpful that I knew I wanted to incorporate a place in my Filofax to continue that practice. I dedicated a sheet that is similar to the perpetual calendar, and so far it's acted as a worksheet of sorts to figure out the best days during the month to cover certain topics. 

Due Dates: On the opposite side of my blog post sheets I made a space to put all of my due dates in terms of graduate school work for each month. I haven't tried this system yet, but I thought it would be helpful to break up my assignments by month and keep them right at the front, as they may end up getting a bit lost in the craziness of the daily calendar.

Day on a Page: This part of my planner will be the most used part of my planner. As you can see in the photos, the day on a page layout offers room to write your schedule for the day, as well as a section for whatever you need to use it for. You can see that I've been utilizing the extra section for my daily to-do lists. This has been very helpful to me in terms of accomplishing tasks by the time I want to accomplish them, and has also been a great help in short-term future planning as well (for example, if I know there's something that I need to get done when I return to my office on Monday, I'll put what needs to get done right on my Monday to-do list).

You'll also notice I've been doing quite a bit of doodling in this section. I see so many amazingly beautiful decorated planner pages on Facebook and Instagram, and while I don't have the time to sit down to meticulously decorate my pages with stickers and Washi tape, these wonderfully talented planner people have inspired me to be more creative with my planning! I've also been trying to write down little memories of things that happen throughout the day, almost like a mini journal or scrapbook, in addition to what my appointments are for the day. I'm loving it so far, and it's been making me feel so inspired!


As you probably know by now, fitness is a pretty big part of my life. One of my favorite things to do after a workout is to track what I did in my planner. It makes me feel so accomplished to be able to see it in ink! So, of course, I had to create a fitness section for my Filofax.

Quote: To me, this quote is a friendly reminder that I am extremely blessed to have the ability to get out there and run, and I should take advantage of that whenever I can. (Also, I think it's hilarious when instead of getting inspired by this quote, you can also imagine yourself saying it in a horror movie setting... XD)

Monthly Mileage: Because I'll have to eventually change the pages of my Filofax out to accommodate for other months, I'm not going to be able to reference back to switched-out months on the fly. I really enjoy being able to see all of my running accomplishments throughout the year (something I've been able to do in my past two planners), so I thought it would be good to dedicate a page to all of my monthly miles. That way, even if the month I want to reference is switched out, I can still see how far I ran!

Push-up Challenge: I'm currently doing this push-up challenge that I found on Pinterest in hopes of increasing my upper-body strength, and I thought it would be good to keep a quick reference page in my Filofax!

Headaches By Month: You might know by now that I sometimes suffer from pretty terrible headaches, and it can often be helpful to track when those headaches occur in order to figure out what may have caused them (diet, stress, or other factors). I also dedicated a page to tracking my headaches so I can always reference the year, even if a particular month is switched out of my planner. I go into more detail regarding my tracking system in my Filofax video below!

Calendar: I decided to use the week on two pages layout that came with this organizer to write down in more detail what I did for each work out. It's often helpful for me to write down what I did, so if I liked a particular work out I can revisit it, or I can track what muscles I have exercised lately and what could use more attention. I also plan on marking headaches in this section, noting their severity and any symptoms that went along with them.


I've never utilized a finance section in my planner before, but because I am hoping to save more money this year and try to cut out some of the unnecessary expenses in my life, I thought dedicating a portion of my planner to budget and finance would be helpful!

Quote: I love this quote. To me, utilizing your money well will ultimately bring you a bit more freedom, which is something I definitely want to accomplish.

52-Week Money Saving Challenge: Many planner videos that I watched while researching Filofax had this little gem in it. I feel like I see this pinned and posted all over the internet, and because I'm trying to save a bit more money, I thought it couldn't hurt to try! I hope to make it through the whole year, but we'll see!

Expenses: This was the main reason why I wanted to add this section into my planner. I really want to see where my money is going and where I can halt some of my bad spending habits, like shopping, getting coffee at Dunks, or buying take-out when I have plenty of food in the kitchen. It's not fun to write down when you spent money on things you know you shouldn't have, but I think it will kind of remind me where my money is supposed to be going.


This section isn't being utilized too much quite yet, but I imagine that as the year goes on, I'll find more uses for it, such as Christmas shopping lists, wish lists of my own, or anything that I really need to keep on hand.

25 Before 25: My first list is my 25 Before 25 list, which I'm sure you are all familiar with! I like to have a hard copy on me. It's so satisfying to physically check things off of the list!

Books Finished: Of course, because it's so early into the year, this list is quite short, but I really love being able to see how many books I have finished at the end of each year. I kept a list running at the back of my ECLP and I really enjoyed being able to reflect on what I read throughout the year(though the number of books I read for fun in 2014 was frighteningly low).

Reference & Extra Pages

These last two sections I'm not going to show you because...

a.) one of them has extremely confidential information, and
b.) the other one is pretty boring and there isn't a need for a photograph. (I do, however, show you in the video below, if you're REALLY interested!)

My fifth section is my Reference section. This is where I put things like my contacts list and my passwords for the hundreds of thousands of websites and wifi networks I have accounts for. I like to have these handy just in case I don't have my phone on me, can't use my phone for whatever reason, or have likely forgotten one of the hundreds of thousands of passwords I have that all just NEED uppercaselowercasenumberssymbolsacatandyourfirstbornchild in order to meet the security requirements. #oy


And there you have it! My first Filofax. I know I referenced it a few times that I really wish I could carry a full year with me. I'm wondering if moving up to the A5 size will allow me to carry a full year of the day on a page layout in addition to adding other sections. If any of you have some insight into this, please let me know in the comments!

I also have made a video that shows you all of the details of my Filofax, including a few details that I did not write about or show in this blog post. I also compare this Filofax with my ECLP, and even give you a peak into the planning tool-kit that is my pencil case. It is quite long, and I may say "uhm" 80,000 times (UGH, filler words are my weakness!), but if you're interested, check it out!

What planner do you use? What system has worked best for you?
Leave me some tips in the comments! :)
Previous Organize My Life Posts: Email & Electronic CalendarsWhat I Take in My Bag | School Work Organization | Erin Condren Life Planner 6 Month Update


  1. wooow that looks great! now i want one too. i love how you begin each section with a beautiful quote and color coded your schedule. a planner like that makes you want to work, right? as soon as i have enough money for a filofax, i'm buying it!

    1. D,

      Keeping my schedule and to-dos organized makes getting things done so much easier! I don't know where I would be without my planner, haha.

      I would definitely recommend getting a Filofax. They're a bit pricey, but they're very durable and you can order refills for each year so you don't have to buy a new organizer each time! :)