Guest Post: Georgecm’s Filofax Journey: Part 1: Introduction to Filofax

Today we have a very special guest post.  Many of you are familiar with Georgecm’s fabulous Flickr page where his Filo can often be found at the store, the car wash, working very hard to keep things in line, or indulging in a delicious cinnamon bun and “the addiction.”  George has agreed to do two guest posts for this blog—here is part 1:

Kanalt asked me to do a guest blog about my Filofax and Filofax journey for “Well Planned Life,” and I was happy and honored to do so.  What follows is my journey to using a Filo.  So here we go.

I started using a notebook many years ago when I first started my career as a Second Lieutenant in the United States Army.  My first Company Commander, who was an incredible role model and mentor for me, always used a basic notebook, where he wrote everything down.  He was one of the most professional, dedicated, loyal, organized, and resourceful officers that I ever met and had the privilege to serve with.  So I followed his example and started my first notebook, a basic 3-hole binder with lined paper, and a little larger size than a Franklin Covey Classic.  It was a pretty simple approach—write the date on the page, write a topic or subject, and write away. Writing everything down and keeping track of everything matched the normal, Type-A personality of most young Army Officers.  This basic notebook format served me well for so many years.  Over time, I added tabs and inserts as necessary.  It became my extended brain and saved my “bacon” so many times when I needed, accurate, specific, and timely information.  As the pages filled up, I would replace them with new paper and store all the filled pages away.  It was a very simple, but efficient and effective system.

In the late 80s, I purchased my first, true, pre-formatted planner/organizer—a classic-size, Franklin Quest, planner system. It replaced my basic notebook and became an indispensable tool.  It also was the next logical step up on the Type-A personality ladder (or disorder).  The Franklin Quest Planner evolved into the Franklin Covey (FC) Planner, and I evolved with it.  I was hooked.  I can still remember my first trip to a Franklin Covey Store, feeling like I was on a sacred pilgrimage to the planner shrine.  Yes, I know, get treatment for that OCD.  FC was the way for me.

When I was serving in a NATO assignment in Germany a few years later, I heard so many of the British Officers (about 60% of the staff) talking about and using their diaries.  The diary, that most of them used, was a Filofax. Many of them had actually been issued a Filofax, by the British Army, to use daily.  It looked like a nice little planner, but I was a solid FC user and saw no reason to change to this fancy, schmancy, British planner, diary thing.  So out of sight and out of mind… another glass of the FC Kool-Aid, please.

After I retired from the Army and started working in the corporate world and later again back in Government service, I still used my FC, but also toyed with Palm PDAs, Blackberries, and Outlook as electronic replacements for a paper based system.  However, as good as they were and fun to use, I always seemed to come back to paper and my FC.  About 3 or 4 years ago I read an article somewhere about planners and the article traced the story and history of planners back to Filofaxes that I saw so many British Officers using a few years before.  I was intrigued.  Did some more research and finally ordered my first Filofax—a black personal size Cross. I started using it for my personal life and have been using Filos since.  [A quick aside—there have been relapses back to FC, toying with electronic solutions, the battle between work life and personal life Filos, and other planner drama—maybe another blog post, and way too involved for this post.]

Anyway, here I am a dedicated Filo user.  Over the past 3 years, I have purchased a few, other personal size Filos—Maldens in black, gray, and brown; a Holborn in wine; a Cuban in brown; a Finsbury in brown; and a Steel in black.  The Maldens and Holborn are my favorite.  They have a great feel, nice leather, and they lay flat out of the box.  The Cuban and Cross are close seconds, but need laying flat training on a regular basis.  The Finsbury was a complete dud for me because it would never lay flat even with brutal “laying flat” training.  The Steel also was a dud because of its huge front clasp.

So, it has been an interesting journey from basic notebook, to Franklin Quest, to Franklin Covey, and finally to Filofax. Thank you for reliving this planner journey with me.

Thank you, George for a look into you Filofax journey.  We look forward to your follow-up post!


  1. What a great journey - I´ve just been over to Flickr for a nosey at the pics - they are great. I´ve never had Gigi´s cupcakes, but they look great - I need to travel more!!!

  2. Great post. Thank you for sharing. Do you have GTD in your planner? I'm thinking about giving that a shot.

  3. George, it's great to hear some more about you after seeing your wonderful photos! Looking forward to your next post :)

  4. This was such interesting reading! Looking forward to your next guest post(s)!

  5. George - I absolutely loved reading this! What a fabulous history! Thanks so much for sharing it with us. So...since you were a loyal FC user, have you ever used the FC inserts in your FF? I actually just made the switch to the FC diary inserts because I really like the layout.

  6. And another question - no blog George??? If you don't have a blog I want to officially request that you start one!!! I'd love to read it!

  7. Thank you for all the comments on my Guest Blog Post for Kanalt.

    Let me answer a few of your questions.

    HM-daily. I use GTD and have posted a few pictures of my process in my Flickr pictures. Most of the captured items are on the "Things" program on my MacBook, and I transfer stuff over to my Filo as I need it. I also keep lists in my Filo and on my iPhone.

    DEM - I really like the 2 day per page Filo format and never have used FC in my Filo. Just a personal choice really, no slam on FC.

    DEM and Kanalt - I never really thought a blog because I wondered about writing something, that anyone would really want to read. Also, don't know if I am disciplined enough to keep it going. It is worth some thought.

    LJ, Anita, and Claudia - Thanks for the kind words.


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