Consumption, Life in Paris, Reflection

My Essentials : A Filofax

“I’m late because of who I am as a person”

One of my favourites quotes is also something I’m trying to engineer out of my life. I was scheduled almost down to the minute while living in the US, and especially while balancing school, work, leadership positions and memberships in clubs, volunteering, and friendships.

France is… different… I’m not necessarily doing less, but I’m trying to leave myself more time to do things. The pace of life is a little slower here, and some things just take more time. The changing frequency was a little challenging at first. I found myself arriving promptly to things that meant I was actually 20 minutes early, or arriving 20 minutes late when I should have arrived on time.

I don’t like to arrive at the wrong times. Late, early, or on-time, there’s a right time to do things and I like being right. I’ve used a planner (with great enthusiasm) for as long as I’ve been in school. I thought I was the most particular planner user in my family, until I wandered into my old room at Christmas (now my little brother’s) and saw his planner situation. He codes assignments, work, and activities in 8 colours that correspond to his notebooks and files, which truly inspired me to step up my game.

I began looking into sustainable options for planners, but the idea of replacing a paper product every year bothered me. I understand that there’s no 100% OK way to go through a ream of paper every year, and that the best I can do is work with a company that limits its negative environmental impact to the best of its ability.

I liked the idea of having one product that I could renew, and I started looking into a Filofax system. The leather planners are made from byproducts of the food industry, and the paper inserts are Forest Stewardship Council certified. This means that both the forest from which the paper is sourced are inspected to ensure that they’re able to maintain their ecological functions and biodiversity, and that the chain of custody of the paper is ensured at each step of the production process.

I went down to the BHV in the Marais to check out the different sizes and colours of Filofax, and eventually settled on the Original Filofax, size A5, in “Dark Aqua,” a teal/turquoise colour.

I’m nearly 3 months into using the Filofax as a planner, note-taker, mini-journal, overall paper-keeper, and I’m really enjoying the experience. I didn’t realise it would be so different from a planner, but I’m able to keep lists of goals, dreams, and schemes all in the same place as my schedule. I can move around the months and generally change the organisation as it suits me.

I’ve resisted ordering a bunch of accessories for the Filofax from a very healthy and enthusiastic online community of planners, but I definitely understand the impulse: this is a really easy organisational system to customise to the nth degree, and that’s been very, very fun.

There’s a degree of emotional security that comes from deciding to simply get one product and to refresh it, but not change it, year after year. This Filofax comes with me to school and to my internship, it can hold my notes for my thesis defence, or copies of my resume when I apply for jobs. It’ll be on my new desk, wherever and whenever that day arrives.

I really like the idea of establishing an organisation system that will be the same from year to year. With less to think about when it comes to keeping track of my to-dos and to-bes, I can focus on the future and transforming my dreams and schemes into reality.

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