Thursday, 11 October 2012

The Paradox of [Planner] Choice

I'm starting to see a really strong theme emerging in many segments of the filofax fandom community: a lot of choices in terms of what can be used to organise our lives (bound/spiral/rings/size/colour), but the increasing opinion that none of these offers the perfect  solution for YOU.

...even when you find something good for you, which for a brief while you adore, maybe you start to wonder if ‘that other one' could have been better. And it’s a really distressing trend because I’m seeing a lot of frustration on ‘the boards’ and less solutions.

If you feel that this is you, that you are stuck in a 'planner bog' and can see no way out (except perhaps to spend hundreds of dollars on new planner alternatives in the quest for 'the one') then I invite you to watch BarrySchwartz (there’s a key excerpt below):
And then ask yourself: is the planner set up that you have right now ‘enough’? 
Does it work, OCD aside? 

OCD is an overused term...fact is, some people just have the expectation that what they've bought should be perfect and are deeply annoyed when they realise that it has something (little or big) 'wrong' with it. Removing the expectation for "planner perfection" could make your life a lot simpler, happier, and cheaper ^_^

“Escalation of expectations.
This hit me when I went to replace my jeans I wear jeans almost all the time, and there was a time when jeans came in one flavor, and you bought ‘em, and they fit like crap, and they were incredibly uncomfortable, and if you wore them long enough and washed them enough times, they started to fit- feel OK. So I went to replace my jeans after years and years of wearing these old ones, and I said, you know, I want a pair of jeans, here’s my size, and the shopkeeper  said do you want slim fit, easy fit, relaxed fit? You want button fly or zipper fly? You want stone washed or acid washed? Do you want ‘em distressed? You want boot cut, you want tapered, blah blah blah… on and on he went. My jaw dropped, and after I recovered I said- I want the kind that used to be the only kind.
He had no idea what that was, so I spent an hour trying on all these damn jeans, and I walked out of the store - true - with the best fitting jeans I had ever had. I did better. All this choice made it possible for me to do better. But- I felt worse.
Why? I wrote a whole book to try to explain this to myself. The reason is- The reason I felt worse is that with all of these options available, my expectations about how good a pair of jeans should be went up. I had very low expectations- I had no particular expectations when they only came in one flavor. When they came in 100 flavors, dammit, one of them should’ve been perfect. And what I got was good, but it wasn’t perfect. And so I compared what I got to what I expected, and what I got was disappointing in comparison to what I expected.
Adding options to people’s lives can’t help but increase the expectations people have about how good those options will be. And what that’s gonna produce is less satisfaction with results, even when they’re good results. -- Barry Schwartz, in a TED talk on the Paradox of Choice.

Tuesday, 29 May 2012

Filofax Apex Hack

So much for not making regular blog posts...what can I say but that Filofax has a certain effect on me and I can't go a day without thinking about 'em - hah!

This one's quick.

I love the Apex (eek! Did I just say that?) for the material's resistance to otherwise potentially damaging alcohol wipes (I work in a hospital and like to disinfect it regularly to prevent the possible spread of infection)...but, I got really sick of the super-long elastic.

Hack: shorten the damn elastic. 

You can easily access the elastic end from behind the inner pocket, it turns out. A permanent solution could be to use pliers and move the metal clip, then trim the elastic. For the sake of speed (and the fact that I may want to return the elastic to normal one day) I knotted it, and it does the treat spectacularly.

Domino-esque, no?

Monday, 28 May 2012

Ring-Mech Penloop

This post is due to sheer procrastination. I noticed on TPS' blog that she's having planner issues due to her time being freed up without appointments. I had a similar thought last week and have temporarily changed my WO2P for a WO1P & DPP combo as my classes have finished but I still have essays and exams. I'd also wanted to start colour coding my system but didn't have the pen loops (my siena has two, one large the other small, and the large is perfect for my 4-colour pen.

...but then where would my Tombow eraser go???

Cue the earlier discussions on Philofaxy of in-ring pen loops. I tried the washi tape experiment proposed by TPS but it was a bit too flimsy for my liking. Then a lightbulb went off.

I had a spare Leuchtturm1917 pen loop...the only thing holding me back was a strong hole puncher. So, with great hesitation and gritted teeth I pulled out my trusty one-hole punch and had a go...

Lo and behold!  a totally flexible in-ring penloop! (Flexible because I haven't stuck it down; the small size of the square means very limited movement without permanently fixing it to a divider -- this also lets me quickly move the penloop to the centre of my pages - as TPS figured out - if my content undergoes any drastic changes.)

I'm astounded and thrilled!! The tombow eraser is very thin and easy to slot in; the clip at the top is a fraction larger than ideal but my Filofax isn't very full so I don't notice it.
Huzzah! Now back to real work ;)

Wednesday, 16 May 2012

Goodbye my dear Malden...and Hello Siena!

Anyone in the mood for a review of the Siena personal Filofax? Alright then.

I have accidentally fallen head-over-heels in love with the Siena personal in Espresso. 

I had up until now been a Malden girl – I have an ochre and a crimson in Personal, an ochre in A5 and a crimson in Pocket. No other binder I’d ever tried could sway me from its flopsy leathery goodness with that beautiful contrast stitching and practical pocket layout...


Not long ago I espied a Siena espresso on eBay, as new, listed with an auction price and an higher buy it now price…I was happy to place the opening auction bid to get rid of the buy it now option, mainly just to see what price it would bid to (hence the accidental nature of my new obsession). 8 days later and...(!) My jaw dropped when I realised no one else had bid. Yes the title of the Filofax was incorrect (Serena instead of Siena) but the box and pictures (and the non-existence of a Serena binder) would tell anyone that this was an expensive (retail) binder! I was especially gobsmacked as I had been promising myself that I wouldn’t buy any more binders. Oh well. 

Now, two days after it arrived, I could not be happier, and I honestly can’t believe that there isn’t more on the web about this little beauty of a binder. I know there is a review over here by Denise, and it is part of the reason why I placed the opening bid...just, you know, in case the unthinkable could happen and I could win it. ^_^

It is buttery soft (honestly I find it softer and smoother than the Malden), it is SUPER flexible (Lay flat?! The covers on this baby droop when I hold it by the rings!), and yet the covers are much sturdier than the Malden's, without the obvious cardboard-insert feel of the Finsbury. The full leather interior is the key, I believe. Oh, and the leathery goodness of its smell...yummy.
 I’ve also been surprised by how much I like the pocket layout, and the cover zip pocket is far more subtle than I would have thought (dare I admit that I’d previously thought the outer pocket was unattractive?).

So this wouldn't be a true Philofancier's review if I didn't throw in some photos (apologies for some cropped corners)

I've managed to get a fairly accurate colour capture in all photos.
The Greeting :)

I'm a fan of Transformers comics, and as I open my FF I always smile when I see this home made 'divider' - I didn't create the picture...found it floating around the wilds of the 'net. I have my basic contact details on the back, in the *gasp* event that I let this puppy out of my grip for 5 seconds. On the left I have my Parker mechanical pencil. I have a sentimental ballpoint version that I dare not take out of my house for fear of losing it (I've lost the odd pen or two in my time...) so I bought this incredible lookalike. The fact that it's in pencil is perfect - I never loved the Frixion so I prefer to stick with erasable pencil. I use the Tombow Mono 2.3mm eraser simply because it's narrow and not completely hideous like other pen-shaped erasers. I'm always so frustrated at the limited availability of refill erasers for mech pencils. Could just be a local issue, though.

Front 'Dash'

 The front of my Dash divider...which also marks the start of my diary inserts. I've made a pocket sleeve out of a simple cardboard spiced up with the inevitable Washi tape. Had to work very hard not to start a new obsession with that stuff... I'm very pleasased with it, especially as I can clip my Verbatim slim USB drive in there. Less obvious (and thus more secure?) than the front cover.

Rear of the Dash
On the rear I have a few post-it notes. I've thrown in some pocket month-per-page inserts and a year-ahead planner because I'm still working out which I find easier to use. (The pocket inserts are from Poco Profile - an Aussie insert manufacturer.)

This is an example of my diary lay out. I use a cream WO2P with a single sheet of randomly coloured notepaper in-between to capture the TM sort of design I've seen on Philofaxy - it's been a new addition but I'm LOVING it, as I hate when my diary pages become too messy - I lose myself and miss tasks.

Rear internal cover

I don't put too many cards in my FF - I use a lovely small Malden purse in ochre - but on the run I frequently stuff things into the FF quickly so I like a few empty pockets here and there. I'm very happy my credit-card sized Swiss Army tool (scissors, pen, toothpick, nail file, little blade) fits in perfectly to any of the credit card slots.

I’d promised myself that I wouldn’t use it this year; I’m still a uni student (albeit postgrad) and I admit that I feel a bit odd jotting dates and notes in an “expensive” Filofax when surrounded by the inevitably budget-focused student crowd – at least the Malden had that trace of casual charm to it. But... I just couldn’t stop pulling it off the shelf and fondling it. So now the Malden is on the shelf and all contents quickly transferred. ^_^ I do in fact believe that this is now MY binder – not just my NEW binder.

Hope you enjoyed the look through my FF - but tell me, ever had that moment when you think you've found The One?

PS - I won't make many blog posts (at all) as I just don't have the time right now, but I just needed to spread the word about how lovely this binder is.