The Crazy Suburban Mom: Consistently gobsmacked

Thursday, March 14, 2013

Consistently gobsmacked

I've had a lot of people comment on how consistent I am with my Filofax recently.  How I use the  same binder for ages without changing, and for that matter stick with the same set up, and try to use up my office supplies before buying more.   It's got me thinking...

Why do I do that?  

I've come up with a few reasons besides the obvious one (financial) but the whys aren't really that important when I look at the result of being consistent.   First,  consistency isn't a natural skill for me; I love change!  Just sticking with one thing (...Anything!)  over time is a major life goal.  Knowing I've made some headway with consistency in at least one part of my life (I still rearrange my furniture way too often) is a major coup.

Filofax a5 compared with a Midori Traveler's Notebook

Second, staying with the same planning system over time keeps the inflow of stuff at bay which is an enormous help.  I'm no where near clutter-free despite my constant  attempts.  Clutter is a daily frustration  but it was worse when I purchased every magic organizing pill that promised peace from my scattered existence    I have more  stickers then I can use in a year, more Post-It notes then I could use in five years, and more colored pencils then I could use up in a lifetime!  It's gobsmackking to realize my magic organizing pills have become part of the problem.


And third, maintaining the same planning system for a period of time allows me to know what works and what doesn't. The keys to an ordered life ( and staying there ) elude me, my brain doesn't speak ordered....   The only thing that works is trial and error.   But because the whole concept is so foreign to my way of thinking,  no matter what I do it feels wrong, at first.


 I default to the 'error' half of that equation before I ever gave it a 'trial'.  I've  planned and made set ups galore but when I tried to implement each perfect system it was like looking in a fun house mirror; disordered and nonsensical.

car filofax

So for all these reasons, I have to stick with something beyond the knee-jerk initial reaction of,  I hate it!  Committing to  something for a set period of time (even a short one) is crucial because it gets  me past, I hate it!  It takes me at least a week before I can look at a new set up and see anything other then scribble-scrabble...  And sometimes much longer.


 Ultimately some things end up working, others... Not so much, but without giving all of the ideas a chance to root I'll never be able to find the gems.

personal portland filofax


Josh LaPorte 3/14/13, 11:36 AM  

I've become frustrated with changing up my planner setup and agree, for many reasons it's probably best to stick with what you currently have if it is working reasonably well for you.

I do commit to using a certain setup for a set period to really feel it out. I did have one setup really fail on me so significantly and so quickly I needed to bail out early. I wanted the DodoPad insert to work but it was massively lacking in capacity for my needs during January, which is probably the busiest month of the year for me and this past one was particularly busy with both of my rentals turning over at the same time.

I think that the basic setup I'm using now works well enough for me during busy times and is not overly excessive during quiet times, so I will plan to stick with it. I also just sold off ALL of my unused filofax binders; I now own only one, my beloved red Winchester. Clearing the clutter was a nice clean break from my previous life as a planner whore.

Love this post!

Tracy Reinhardt 3/14/13, 12:33 PM  

I'm happy with what I'm doing now in fact, I may simplify it even more. I recently realized there were some things in there I never look at, and somethings that would work better in another form....

But I'm still considering what to do. When I make changes it's all very disorienting. So I really want to consider before I do anything.

some days I wish I bought tons of filofaxes, other days I'm just happy to have something that works. There are a lot of things I struggl with getting rid of and the planning stuff is really difficult to let go of.... I'm a little grateful I don't have to make those kinds of decisions

Carla H. 3/16/13, 2:26 AM  

This post couldn't have been written at a better time! I've been giving a real look at all my Filofaxes (which isn't really a lot compared to others AND since I did sell/return a few already) and having a hard time deciding which ones to let go of (as they're not being used) and which ones to keep. My goal is to keep only a handful (or less if I can manage it) and stick to them and really, really use them. Like you, I've accumulated countless of stickers and stickies and pens and all sorts of "Filofax Treasures" that need to actually be used before getting anymore. So, thanks for this wonderfully written piece of inspiration. As always, I love reading your blog. :)

Majokie 3/16/13, 6:35 PM  

I love your blog. I totally agree with you that organizational tools can often bring more chaos and clutter. Nothing will magically organize our lives for us. We can only have so many post-its and pens and stickers (did I just type that!?). I think because we like to accumulate "organizational" tools, it doesn't always occur to us that we still may be hoarding in some way.

I think it's totally natural to have to try a few systems before finding one that is workable. But there is never going to be a perfect system for every situation, and if life changes in a major way, your system may require revisiting. However, I think committing to something that works for the most part is really the most effective way to actually keep everything in one place, stay organized, and avoid clutter.

I've tried a small pocket week-on-two-pages calendar, a small Uncalendar, a Dodo Pad, a Quo Vadis month-on-two-pages, and the Woman's Success Choice Planner. I've wanted to buy a Filofax forever just because they look awesome, and all the cool kids have them. However, after investing in all of these systems, I can't justify another purchase to myself when I can really mold the Success Choice planner to my needs. I'm not always happy with it because I get bored or it doesn't feel exciting, but I've used it so long that my husband has started referring to it and writing things in it, as well. He knows that's our information hub; I can't justify changing what works just because I want to buy something else planner-y.

I've definitely got an office supply, stationery, pen, etc. addiction. I've committed myself to using up my entire stashes of different items (especially any paper/stationery/sticker products) before I will allow myself to buy more. When is enough enough? I have stationery and stickers that are old... like decades old... that I'm just now using. That's ridiculous. Even though my tastes have changed dramatically (I'm so over Hello Kitty), I will use these up to remind myself that buying in excess isn't always the best method and of course, waste not want not.

I have made wishlists of things I would like to gradually acquire after the existing stash is gone: a wax sealing set, some classy stationery (a small set), etc. But those are rewards for clearing out the clutter.

I know I'm totally rambling at this point, but I had a realization last week when I was scouring Ebay for Filofaxes, Midor notebooks, stationery, and wax seals. I need to work with what I have until it's gone before bringing more in. Just because it falls under a functional category, like "organization" or "office productivity," doesn't mean that's how it's being used in my life. Anyway, I appreciate your posts and love your videos. Thanks for sharing. Your dogs are awesome, and I love your green carpet. :)

Andrea M. 3/17/13, 8:59 AM  
This comment has been removed by the author.
Anonymous,  3/17/13, 9:07 AM  

What are the coincidences that we ended up writing about being consistent on our blogs on the same day!

Also, it's interesting, being a follower of the Philofaxy community for several years, to see the trend of how many of us built up this slight obsession with buying Filofaxes and stationary and now many of us are working to use up or get rid of the extra stuff we've accumulated. Maybe this is some positive enabling we have going on.

Mommy to Ander and Loki 3/17/13, 4:05 PM  

I was going through my box of planners (a beautiful, decorative box for planners - how's that for obsessive) and realized that I change way too often. It's an addiction.

paperscribe 3/18/13, 10:46 PM  

I identify with enduring the growing pains, perceived imperfections, and awkwardness accompanying change...difficult for me to do with something that touches almost every aspect of my daily and not-so-daily life such as my planner. I'm working with a second 2013 planner calender setup and have decided to make this one work. It is March, after all. And I must say, I am enjoying the creative process of "make it work," and making it my own. I'm staying tuned.

  © Blog Design by Simply Fabulous Blogger Templates

Back to TOP