Hi everyone! So this is a post that I have been just dying to share with you all for quite some time now. As you all know by now, I recently got my very first Filofax to celebrate getting my very first job. And with my new Filofax, was the opportunity to setup a completely personalized planner, and to make myself some brand new printables. All of which will be available in my Etsy shop. After about a month of Filofax ownership, I finally have the preliminary setup finalized and ready to share with the world!
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On the inside cover are a few slots for credit cards and an elastic band for holding pens and such. Since I usually cart around my entire box of 20 Staedtler Triplus Fineliners with me, I don’t normally use the pen loops, but I do keep some page flags tucked in the middle of the elastic for scheduling tentative plans in my calendar. That way if plans change, I can just move the flag from one day to another.
In the front of the binder, I keep my dashboard and my color coding cheat sheet. The dashboard is a clear plastic page that serves to protect the front page. I plan on adding more to it, but for now it holds a single pad of small post-its for jotting down quick notes. I’m still figuring out exactly what else I will include on my dashboard, since I really only want to include what I will use on a regular basis.
To make my color coding cheat sheet I just punched holes in an index card, and drew on my code. I assigned a specific color to each major area of my life, so when I write an entry in that category, I’ll be able to easily pick it out. I have used color coding in my planners as long as I can remember. I love being able to glance at my schedule and easily pick out the schedules of different areas of my life.
To organize my planner, and divide it into the different sections I need, I made my own dividers. I did this by cutting pieces of craft cardstock (in pretty colors) down to personal size (3.75″x6.75″), and sticking on Martha Stewart divider tabs. I then labeled the divider tabs using my label maker and clear label tape. The sections I decided to include in this planner are calendar, lists, money, work, blog and classes.
My first section is my calendar. I use both monthly and weekly planning to stay on top of my schedule. First up is my month on two pages inserts. On the first of every month, I write down any major plans I have for the upcoming month. I write down both Melissa’s and my school and works schedules for the whole month. I’ll also mark birthdays, holidays or any pre-scheduled plans and commitments.
Then, each Sunday I plan the upcoming week. First I transfer anything I have on the monthly calendar onto my weekly pages. Then I add in any other plans, errands or goals for the week. This page helps to schedule my days in more detail than the monthly calendar pages allow.
The final piece in my calendar section are my daily to-do lists. When I’m planning out my week, I add in 4 pages from a small notebook. On the front and back of each page, I write the dates for the current week. Then I add in all my to-dos for the week. Usually I only fill up Monday’s list right away. There may be one or two to-dos I pre-schedule for days later in the week, but most of the time I wait to write a day’s to-do list the night before. I’ll constantly be adding to these lists, even throughout the current day.
Once I complete an item on my daily to-do list, I’ll put a green check in the box. If I get to the end of the day and haven’t completed something on my list, I’ll put a red arrow through the box and reschedule it to another day. This makes sure nothing gets forgotten. It also helps me feel less guilty when I don’t get everything done, because I know it’s still scheduled to get done.
The next section in my planner is my list section. I am a huge list girl. I’ll make a list every chance I get. They’re just so relaxing to me, it helps get all the mess out of my head and written down in a clear and concise way. Lists help me think, they help me organize, and they help manage my whole life!
I expect to have many more lists in this section, but for now it holds four main lists: master to-do, to buy, wishlist and blog to-do. My master to-do list is where I put bigger and more long term to-dos. Then when I have time, I can transfer them to a daily to-do page. Sometimes I’ll even tackle a master to-do if I finish all my dailies with some extra time on my hands. And don’t mind that white strip of paper, super secret bloggy stuff to be revealed soon!
Next up is my finance section. I plan on adding more to this section, but I want to get a little bit more of a feel for my finances before I make any decisions. Since this is my very first job, I want to be organized with my money right off the bat. I have a budget insert that I’ll print out each month to track my spending in major categories.
I plan to tweak my budget after a couple months to see if my estimates for the budget are accurate, or need to be readjusted. The column on the far right will help me decide this. If I go over my budget, I’ll write the difference between budgeted and actual amounts in red. If I come in under budget (yay!) I get to mark the difference in amounts in green. This will make it super easy to tell at a glance which categories I’m overspending in, so I can cut back in the future.
I also included monthly pages in my budget section. These pages help me track my bills and paychecks. Whenever I get a bill in the mail, I immediately write in the amount due on the day it’s due. Then, when the bill gets paid, I’ll check it off. This is to help make sure no bill gets forgotten! I also mark down the days that I get paid, mostly for my reference. Once I get my paycheck, I write in the exact amount on that day.
Finally I have an insert for blog income. I may be getting ahead of myself here (I have a grand total of $7 coming my way courtesy of AdSense!), but since I do hope to keep expanding Label Me Organized, I want to be prepared to stay on top of finances from the beginning.
Next I have my work section, but for confidentiality reasons (I work in a law office) I’m not going to show any pictures. But I only keep weekly calendar inserts in this section, and plan out any work related plans or to-dos on these pages.
After that I have my blogging section, but again no pictures. There isn’t much of anything to show in here yet. Up until now I’ve done all my blog planning in a 3 ring binder and a small weekly planner. Since I’ve started using my Filofax, I’ve just combined my weekly blog planning in with my regular calendar. I still do most of my major post planning and blog record keeping in my binder. Once I figure out what I want to transfer into my Filofax I will let you guys know!
My last section is for school. I also keep monthly calendars in this section. At the beginning of the semester, I go through my syllabuses and mark down any days off, tests and due dates. I also decided to outline the days that have something scheduled to help make them stand out a little more.
Finally I have week on two page inserts to write down homework and assignments and anything else I need to keep track of. I also use the check box system so whenever I complete something I can mark it as complete and not worry about it anymore.
I also use page flags up at the top for easy access to different pages. For example, each month in my calendar section gets a page flag. So do the current weeks in my work and school sections. This means I don’t have to flip through an entire section to find the page I need.
And just for fun, here is the cute little button on my closure strap :). I’ve read reviews saying the original Filofax is hard to close the strap if the binder is too full, so I’ve been being extra careful to only include what I need and nothing more. This means taking out and storing past calendars. I’ll be sharing how I store old planner pages in a future post!
There you have my completely organized and (mostly) setup Filofax! I am so excited to finally have a binder style planner again. The ability to customize and include exactly what I need is just so amazing to me. And like I said, all the inserts you saw in my Filofax will be available in my new Etsy shop, which I’m working on opening as soon as I can!
Update: You can find my Etsy shop here
What sections do you include in your binder? Do you like binder-style binders, or do you prefer pre-bound options? What do you find necessary to keep track of or plan in your planner? Let me know what pages you’d like to see available in my Etsy shop, I’m open to any and all ideas! I’d love to see all of your planners, leave links in the comments so we can all browse through some more planner goodness!
If you’d like to see how my planner currently looks, you can see an updated tour of my planner here