Tabs, Tabs, Tabs!: What’s Behind Each

Recently, Filofax US had a free shipping special – spend $25 and get free shipping for your order. How could I resist (even though I had just spent about $20 there)? Among other items, I ordered 3 packs of blank tabs. I decided that using the Filofax pre-made tabs just weren’t cutting it. Upon arrival, I decided which sections to include.

Also, for those wondering if I’d continue using the personal size, I reverted back to my Slimline Filo as an on-the-go planner while using the Kendal Personal for everything else, which stays home. While I missed everything in my Kendal, I also started to miss the slimness and ease of the Slimline. Keeping everything with me is ideal, but honestly, I don’t need to refer to all of that all of the time and lugging it around when I don’t need it just doesn’t make sense.

So, after updating my 2 Filos, here’s what I’ve got, in detail (as per request – thanks Laurie!):

Slimline Guildford:

Numbers – A list of needed phone numbers while not at home – emergency contacts, doctors, and services (such as my car repair place, hotels, vet, etc.).

Lists – Various lists that I need while out and about or that are updated often – drug store shopping lists, media list (books to buy, music to download, etc – these are put onto a master list about once a month).

Writing – Something like this I might normally keep in my at-home planner, but this section is referred to a lot, whether writing away from home (in my journal) or being updated (often I come up with ideas for my blog while not at home). So this is where I keep a list of blog topic ideas and topics I want to cover in my own personal hand-written journal – since I usually don’t get to it more than once a week, I don’t want to forget things I want to write about.

Tab #4 – (For his privacy, I erased the tab name.) Information for/about my husband.

Projects – This section is for projects that I’m currently working on and need to access at any given time. Currently, it holds a list of things I need to do as maid of honor for my friend’s wedding.

Diary – This is where I keep my calendar information.
The first sheet is a to-do sheet with items that need to be done at a later date (more often than not, things that need to be done or will pop up after 2010), like when I have to complete my next civil service test for my job (it needs to be done in a few years).
I then have 6 months worth of monthly pages (so because it is now March, it includes March – August; each month I remove the past month and add the one that marks the six-month point). 

I also have 3 months worth of week-in-view pages (currently March – May). I have the monthly tabs here, separating each month. On each monthly tab is a sticky to-do list of items that need to be done during that month. At the beginning of each month, I designate a day or week to complete a task (if appropriate), so an item might get moved to a specific day. If an item doesn’t require a specific day, I might put it on my Day Timer Hot Sheet, which resides between the current week’s sheets behind my Today marker. If it doesn’t need to be done during a specific week, I’ll keep it on the monthly to-do sheet but mark the monthly tab with a Post-it flag, calling my attention to it. When all items on the monthly to-do sheet are completed or have found a new home, I remove the Post-it flag. 

Also between the week’s sheets and behind the Today marker and Hot Sheet is a Day Planner sheet. Each day I add one of these so I can keep track of specific information. Under the “Appointments” section, I add my appointments for the day. Under the “To Do” section, I put items that I have done that I want to keep track of – for example, if I ordered something I might write that down, or when I post a blog, I’ll write that down with the title of the blog. Under the “Don’t Forget” section I keep anything relating to health/exercise. So if I went for a run, I will write that down, plus the amount of time I spent doing it. On the back of the Day Planner sheet, I keep a food diary. I don’t keep track of calories or anything too specific like that, only a list of what I ate so I can see how often I feed my face. This also helps to keep track of the ratio between “good” foods and “bad” foods.

Clear Envelope – This is the last item in my Slimline. It has an opening at the top to put random items in. My envelope always holds two of my dad’s funeral cards, nothing else.

Personal Kendal

Numbers – Here I have phone numbers for all the people I might need to call if at home or away on vacation (when on vacation I take my personal size with me because it has everything I would need). However, in my personal Domino, used as a family planner, I have a full address book with addresses and phone numbers for everyone.

Lists – In this list section, I keep lists that need to be done someday but that I don’t need with me all of the time, things like long-term to-dos and household items to eventually buy.

Information – I keep random information here – items I have loaned to other people, information on the yoga studios I go to for many different types of classes, a list of things to do and places to go in New York City, a list of local coffee houses that I would like to visit, ideas for day trips, and a list of local bicycle trails to check out.

Notes – I haven’t fully developed what will go here, although right now I have a few items I’ve clipped from magazines – a picture I like that reminds me of my dream location in which to live, tips on how to eliminate anxiety, and a list of recommended pillows (I have issues with finding the perfect pillow, much like finding the perfect planner).

Projects – Here I keep lists of projects that have yet to begin or that I would not work on while not at home, thus eliminating the need to carry it with me all of the time. Included in this section is a list of resolutions and goals to work on throughout the year. For my projects, I use the colored note sheets from Filofax. Each project gets a different color, so in addition to my current projects I also keep additional colored sheets (one sheet in each color) here for any projects that might come up in the future. When all of the colors are in use and/or have been discarded (in the case that a project was finished), I add more sheets.

CPO – This is a particular project that I’m working on. The reason it gets its own tab is because it’s something that will take a long time to complete (if ever) and will require a lot of steps and lists and notes. And because I made these tabs myself, if this project ever completely finishes or if I decide to no longer work on it, I can easily take off the label and use the tab for something else.

Exercise – For about the last 9 months, I have been working with a personal trainer. Each time we meet she gives me a list of the things we worked on together. I then type it up, print it out, cut it down to size, punch holes in it, and put it behind this tab. Each time I do one of these circuits I bring my Filo with me and work from my lists.

Financial – I don’t keep a lot of financial information here, mainly just a list of what I’ve put on my credit cards in any given month. This helps me keep track of how much I spend (so I don’t overspend) in a month. For that I use old note pages that I have used for something else but that still have more room on them. This way I’m not wasting any notes sheets. And since no one sees those pages, I don’t care what they look like – they just get thrown out at the end of the month anyway. However, when needed, I will also use the Filofax Financial sheets and/or Bank Account sheets to keep track of how much I spend or save for a particular purpose. For example, my husband and I have started putting money away for our annual vacation; I have a sheet where I keep track of how much I put towards that at a time.

Diary – As a base, for the first half of the year, I will keep all of 2010 pages in here. Any calendar pages that are not currently in my Slimline are kept here. Since I keep 6 months worth of monthly pages and 3 months worth of week-on-two-pages in my Slimline, the rest of the year is kept here in my personal Kendal. Being that it’s now March, I have my used January and February sheets here and everything after August in the monthly sheets and everything after June for the weekly sheets. I also have a month’s worth of Day Planner pages – both past and future – here. When the month is done, I will move the past Day Planner sheets to my “past” Filo and add the next month’s worth of Day Planner pages to the Kendal. When I order my next year’s diary sheets (in this case, 2011), January through June 2010 will move to my “past” planner, January – June 2011 sheets will move into my in-use personal Filo (the Kendal), and July – December 2011 pages will go in my “future” Filo. (I have so many Filos that when not in active use, they need to hold something.)

Maps – At the back of my personal planner is where I keep my Long Island Road Map which can and would be used at any given time. My other maps (NYC Transit, Manhattan Road Map, and Philadelphia Road Map) are kept in my Classic Slimline. These will come out and be put into a planner when needed.

Using two planners at once may seem a bit overdone and unnecessary but it seems to work for me. It’s the best of both worlds – I can keep everything I need and use in one place (the personal) but only carry those things I truly need with me at all times (the Slimline). It’s funny how I never thought I’d be able to pare down what I carry with me and fit it all within ½ inch rings. But having done that, I don’t know that I could comfortably go back to carrying everything that I don’t need – it’s extra weight, bulky compared to the Slimline, and basically unnecessary for me. Plus the soft leather of the Slimline Guildford is enough to make it work for me – I just love it. For a while I thought it was too confusing having different items in different places. But with my new tabs and organization, I feel that everything now has a clear and specific home which makes everything work better for me. Hopefully I can keep up with this system for a long time (assuming Filofax doesn’t come up with a new personal binder that I just have to have).


  1. I just read your planner envy post and this one as well and I, too, love to look at other people's planners. I can spend hours looking through the posted pictures on line of planners, etc.! So the thing I struggle with is what is really necessary to carry on a daily basis. I travel in my work and the less I have to schlep through airports the better! And then there is the purse thing--I like those crossbody purses, but you can't find them with a planner/wallet mix. So, thanks for your tab lists. I am going to use your ideas to help in consolidating my planner to get more targeted use of it!

  2. Ally, good luck! Let us know how it works out.

  3. kanalt, thanks for the rundown of your tabs! I love hearing how other people do it, helps me think of ways to tweak my own system.

    Ally, I too travel fairly often, and that's what I love so much about Filofaxes: I don't have to carry everything with me all the time. Whatever I need particularly for my trip, I stick into my Filo, and take out anything that's not necessary during that time. Love the flexibility of Filofax!

  4. kanalt, I just read this post again, really taking my time with it. I really like your system. Using the 2 Filos this way makes perfect sense to me. It's nice to have the slimline with things you need while out and about and the personal at home as the "mother ship."

    I also like how you've organized your diary pages. It sounds like a great combination of forward planning and record-keeping.

    I'm fascinated by the way you do your monthly to-dos. I read that a few times and I feel like I should take notes on how you do it!

    Thanks again for sharing this with us! :D

  5. Thanks Laurie! I'm so glad you read it again and "took your time with it." =) I hope my monthly to-dos explanation wasn't too confusing - while I try to be as thorough and clear as possible, I tend to prattle on too much. Let me know if I can be of anymore help with my intricate system. ;)


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