Friday, 5 April 2013

Filofax Adventure 3

The Little Black Filofax has been out for supper this week. I'm not a shellfish fan myself, it just feels like eating rubber bands to me but my dining companion likes a hearty bowl of mussels.

The other thing which happened, in a Filofaxy sort of way is that my 2013 Filofax met an 1813 File of Facts.

No card slots.
No pen loops.
No inserts.
No rings.

But Facts.
Oh yes, lots and lots of Facts. And definitely a File.

More soon.

Sunday, 31 March 2013

Project 333 - the list

I've decided to join in with Project 333.

It seems that everyone has problems when they start this challenge. It's a bit like the railways which can't run because of "the wrong kind of snow on the line".

We have too many clothes (or in my case, not enough).
They are the wrong colour, the wrong style or they don't co-ordinate.
We are between seasons. This afternoon I was out in the garden clearing the vegetable patch and they was mud, sunshine AND snow on the ground.
There may be a vacation in the middle of the three month period.

So I am sure there will be a number of us "bending the rules".

I am no exception.

My job involves painting and getting really messy in clothing which I could not use for any other purpose. I've decided to tackle this by treating my working clothes as a kind of safety uniform provided by my employer (who is me). And to make it fair, I'm going to allocate three "units" out of my 33 as Work Wear. There are more than three actual items, but the nature of what I do means that they can't be washed with the main household laundry, and it's simply impractical to run a washing machine every day with a single T shirt in it. In reality we are talking about four tattered T shirts, a pair of jogging pants and a very elderly and paint spattered pair of Birkenstocks. These items can't be mixed and matched with others in the list. I may also use them for gardening and for decorating the house. I think trading them as three "units" is fair.

My list so far is;

3 work-units
2 T shirts
3 smarter tops
3 trousers (one pair will be cropped to shorts when it gets warmer).
2 skirts
1 dress
1 cardigan
1 scarf
1 pair earrings
1 pair sunglasses
1 pair sandals
1 pair brown leather shoes
1 pair red leather shoes
1 thin waterproof outer jacket
1 fleece jacket
1 fleece waistcoat
1 travel (many pocketed) waistcoat
1 bag (this will be replaced next week as I've ordered a new one)

That makes 26 items, so I have bit of wiggle room.

I also have a combination of wellington boots/walking boots/old woollen sweater (with holes), necessary for digging the garden and doing outdoor work. Do these count as sports gear? I don't run or go to a gym. The garden will be my gym.
In the same way I have a bicycle helmet and cycling gloves. Do these count as sports kit? I'm not going to be wearing either on a trip to the supermarket.

When I look at the lists of other people I wonder what they wear to get mucky in the garden, to paint the kitchen, to oil the chain on a bicycle?

Friday, 29 March 2013

Filofax Adventure 2

This week, Little Black Filofax went to the dentist.
He's a nice man, if a little garlicky on occasion but given that his job is to look into other people's mouths with their peculiar smells I think I can forgive him for having hummus for lunch. The magazine selection is pretty good. I may well try "versatile grasses for more wow with less work" - the garden is a mud patch at the moment so anything would be an improvement.
Traveller is always a good read, but Grazia leaves me cold.

Yesterday LBFF and I went on a five hour round trip, driving. 
Sustenance was very definitely required as I dashed out of the house with not much breakfast and needed a meal en route. There is something almost wicked about eating a Hot Dog, burgers are tame and easy to consume but there certainly isn't a lady-like way to eat one of these. Little bits of crust are now sprinkled around the car, despite my best efforts with a paper napkin.

I'm considering trying to join in with The 333 Project. My problem is rather the reverse of many people because I don't have a huge wardrobe, but tend to wait until everything is nearly worn out before completely restocking, and buying three tops in the same style but different colours. 
I'm wondering if LBFF can help with this by keeping a note of the fabric yardages I have in the house and perhaps carrying some sort of swatch set up so that I don't buy things blindly, thinking that they will match when of course they don't.

In short, I am wondering about sewing a 333 wardrobe a piece at a time over three months.
I'll be back with swatch photos in a day or two.

Wednesday, 27 March 2013

2063 visitors in 14 days

I started this blog as a bit of fun.

Somewhere to have as a personal space away from the "day job". 
Somewhere to indulge the Filofax side of life.
Somewhere to play with Filofax photography and to record the adventures of a Little Black Filofax out in the wild.

I have a miniscule Twitter account - here, if you want to follow me, or just click on "follow" in the sidebar. 

I have a very tiny Pinterest account, here - and I don't mind photos being repinned.

I'm not on Facebook, can't stand the place.

So really, I thought that it would just be me on Little Black Filofax and perhaps the occasional visitor, but in a fortnight there have been more than two thousand folk dropping by which is just incredible. 
In less than two weeks, if you search for "little black filofax" this blog is fourth on the front page of google. 

Where are you all coming from?

Sunday, 24 March 2013

Filofax adventure 1

My Little Black Filofax and I have been on an Adventure.

On Saturday we decided to do a little exploring in a different place. I'm not much of a shopping fan, and in the end just two establishments were visited in a large million-person-city, but due to careful pre-shopping planning I bought something in each shop, and since one of them was the apple store, this was all very satisfactory.

After the shopping there was a visit to Starbucks and a pleasant hour in good company was spent people watching - accompanied by a very large mug of hot chocolate with frothy cream. There were no marshmallows which was a bit of a disappointment.

My iPhone actually fits inside the Mini. The non slip rubbery cover means it sits there quite securely with the press stud closed.

This was quite a tame Adventure, but you have to start small and build up, don't you?

Friday, 22 March 2013

Royal Mail prices, eBay, and Filofaxes.

This week I thought I would list a couple of Filofaxes on eBay.
I get rather bored reading endless basic descriptions so I try to tell a potential buyer more about the item, and why I am selling it.

This week is the last time you may get really cheap postage on eBay. It's not widely known but Royal Mail are changing the way parcels are priced so that it isn't just weight which is taken into account. From April 2nd, you'll have to consider volume as well.

They have sneaked this in under the wire and it's not at all easy to work out the details, but essentially a parcel which now costs £2.70 to send, First Class, for up to 750g will cost £3.00 for up to a Kilo. 
Not so bad, you may think. Sadly, that's not the end of the story.

Parcels will now be calibrated by size, and it's not a very big size!

You'll be fine for items which are flattish and thin. A parcel under 8cm high will fit into the new £3.00 price band. 

Step over that, up to 8.1cm and your parcel jumps to (I would sit down if you are of a nervous disposition) £5.65.

Five Pounds and Sixty Five Pence

It will be cheaper to send a parcel to new Zealand, airmail - £4.80 - than to send it up the road to the next town.

Even Second Class, your 8.1cm package will cost £5.20.


Out go the reused jiffy bags, the use-it-again-to-be-green boxes and in comes Very Carefully Trimmed Bubble Wrap (no more Christmas gift parcel type folded over ends) and squashing, lots and lots of squashing. 

Anyone selling clothing is going to have to get rather inventive because an item which starts out carefully folded as a flat parcel, may scrunch up in transit to a rather fatter item at one end of a slippery poly postal bag and incur excess postage (and potentially negative feedback). If you plan to sell shoes, or  toys, or anything bulky, I would forget ten day auctions and list them now for five days so they can be posted well before the change happens on the 2nd.

Box sellers (also on eBay) are already changing what they offer, and a number are selling 7.5cm or 3 inch boxes to allow for any slight bulging of the contents. I can see vacuum sealing becoming popular.

And for the record, a chocolate Weeto box is less than 8cm deep, just be careful of that bulge!

I'll introduce you to my new Filofax soon!

Monday, 18 March 2013

FF Pro Wo2P part 1

This is a review of the Filofax A5 Professional Week on 2 Pages set of inserts. I have scoured the internet and have not found a single blogpost about it. 

First, according to best GTD practice, it's recommended that you have a "Capture Tool". A place to write down every piece of information which does not immediately have a home. In my A5 I've decided to use normal Filofax Quadrille paper. I'll go out on a limb here and say that I actually LIKE Filofax paper. It reminds me of India Paper. I know there are many who hate it, who say that it's no good for fountain pens for example. To me they are missing the point. It's a lightweight smooth paper on purpose so that more pages can be fitted into a corpulent binder without making the rings pop. Mostly, I use pencil anyway and I save my fountain pen for things that really matter, like love letters!

This whole GTD malarkey is new to me, so I'm just doing what the book says, and setting up a place to dump random information and ideas without being interrupted by the problem of where to put it.

There are two Year Plans, one for 2013 and a second for 2014. these are trifold, like a concertina. For the moment I have stored these at the back of my binder. There are printed with the months in columns (this is significant as we will see later).

There are twelve folded sheets, one for each month, and these serve four purposes.
When you open the binder you see the right hand page above. which is headed Notes and Priority.
The other side of the folded sheet is the left above entitle Performance Objectives and it's divided into four columns; Key Area, Objective, Target Date and Achieved.
I'm not sure if these pages, which are side by side when opened out, are meant to be used as one continuous sheet, or if this is a nifty way of making this side of the sheet serve two purposes.

When you open up the sheet there is a double page spread with a month overview which is this time in horizontal format. It's timed with the 24 hour clock along the top from 08:00 (if you don't count the first untimed column) through to 20:00.
So, this could be used to plot planned appointments if you have the sort of job which needs that kind of day division, or you could colour code various clients' work for billing purposes.
On the other hand it could perhaps retrospectively plot how you spent the working day (and how much accidental internet browsing crept in). Or maybe just a day record, two hours in the garden, one hour making dinner, three hours doing grocery shopping.

When the pack arrives, these twelve folded papers are together in one stack.

The Week on 2 Pages sections also come in one stack, from January to December.
It's not a conventional Wo2P.
The right and left hand pages are quite different.

On the top of the left page are two simple calendars for the current month and the next.
Below this two thirds of the page is used for Notes/Action points for the week. Narrow columns on the right of the page are titled Who, When and Done.

The bottom third of the page is divided into three sections. The Personal Reminders section has a thin column on the left (possibly for priority setting) and a Done column for ticking items off.
The Expenses section uses the continuation of the columns in the section above which is quite clever. Money In, Money Out, perhaps?

The right hand page is equally well thought out.
At the very top (cut off in the photo) three lines are given over to Main Goals for the week.
The first big column is a Time Plan, a priority setting ABC column and then five spaces per weekday and two per weekend and a Done column running the length of the page.

I don't think I will use this column as a Time Plan, I think it will be for my Big Rocks.

If you subscribe to the Big Rocks theory of getting things done, five spaces is plenty.
Some organisational gurus say that we should not make massive To Do lists each day, but rather that we should pick three Big Rocks and focus on those, only doing the smaller things once the big ones are done. The analogy is derived from putting things in a bucket.

Imagine you have three equally sized piles of rocks, gravel and sand and a bucket.

If you try to do all the things on your list, then the temptation is to do the small things first so that you can tick them off, so you "add the sand" to the bucket. Next you add either gravel or rocks, but usually, for the same reason, human nature tells us to add the middle sized tasks, the gravel. Only then do we do the Big Tasks, but by this time the bucket is two thirds full and the rocks won't fit.

If we add the Big Rocks first, and only after this we add the gravel then the smaller stones can fit in the spaces around the Rocks. Repeat this with the sand and you have a full bucket in which everything fits.

So, three big tasks which are the priority can go in the daily five line space, providing focus.

In the other main column are Priority Activities (with another tick-able mini-column) and a Phone/Write/Fax/E-mail section.

The last part of the "kit" is a tri-fold Project Plan. Or rather two, one each for 2013 and 2014
It features a vertical column for activities, with plenty of space to write properly, and after that a series of boxes, one for each week.

Like the Year Plan, I haven't decided what to use these for.
I'm wondering if it could be used both to plan and record my vegetable garden development.

I really want One Binder, so there will inevitably be crossover on my daily pages. I will have "take books back to the library" on the same two page spread as "phone the bank". I have plenty of tabbed dividers so it's fairly easy to divide the Filofax up, if I decide to use the Project plan as a gardening planner then I can simply add it to the section with seed records, vegetable bed doodles on squared paper and reminders to chit the potatoes in March.

A side view.
I have approximately divided the stack of Wo2P into months, and partnered it up with the relevant folded monthly sheet, so a month of "diary" is enveloped inside a fold. You can sort of see them in the picture above. I can easily flick ahead if I need to, but I don't feel overwhelmed with masses of diary pages.
This is the whole year in an A5 binder, plus the Month to a View I was using before and a few bits and pieces, meal planners and the like.

I don't want to show actual pages in use for confidentiality reasons, but I'm going to mock up a couple of options for the weekly views to help me work out how best to use it. This is one HUGE advantage of buying a diary in March, you get January and February to play with!

Finally, this is my Filofax pile.

The One Binder, a pocket binder (the original Little Black Filofax) and a new member of the family. In fact I am planning to sell the pocket size Filofax because I'm moving into a Mini as a wallet. 

So, what do you think? 
Have you used this Professional Pack?
I can't be the only one, surely?

Thursday, 14 March 2013

new A5 insert set

The postman delivered the new Filofax inserts this morning. 
These are for my A5  which is really used for everything. The One Binder System is alive and well here. Until now I have been using a combination of the ordinary Week to a View Diary which comes as standard in a new Filofax, normal dividers, and an additional Month on Two Pages for an overview of life encompassing work and personal things, plus various blank sheets for GTD capture.

I had seen the 2PPD version of this set in Staples (along with the serious price tag which goes with it), but I don't think I need that much daily detail.

However, this rather slimmer version seems to tick all the boxes.
I haven't had time to look at it in detail, but it looks as though it will be a workable set up, with the addition of my MO2P which will probably become part of a new personal section.

Unfortunately, today I have to, you know, do Actual Work, so I haven't got time to play with it for a few hours set it up in an efficient manner. That pleasure may have to wait until the weekend.

I am not sure if I am talking to myself here on this blog because it's so new, but if there are any Pro WO2P users I would be glad of any advice.