The Best of Both Worlds: My Digital/Paper-based System

I think with any Filofax blog, it’s important to understand how each person’s own system works so that you can do as I did, and take the relevant tips from different places and put them all together for yourself.

I’ve mentioned in my previous post that the system I use is both digital, and paper-based.  This is just how my organisational habits have developed over the last few years into something that works well for me in (let’s face it) the digital age.

For appointments, or tasks I need to complete on a specific day, I use iCal, either on my iPhone or MacBook (whatever’s handy).  Appointments get made in their appropriate time slots, and day-specific tasks get added as an all day appointment on their appropriate day:


At the top you can see they are all mainly tasks I want to complete on that day.  Some of them are repeating too, like the “daily chore” ones, and some are just notes of things I need to do that day, like the first one in dark blue is a task I added at the beginning of October to remind me I needed to speak to my colleague about something in a month’s time.

I use different colours for different aspects of my life.  They are all separate calendars setup within iCal that I have set to specific colours.  Work is dark blue, nail clients are light blue, home/life things are pink, anything to do with my kids and pets are yellow, and so on, and so forth.

Apple Reminders
For my basic to do list, I use Apple’s Reminders app.  This holds everything I need to get done and is all categorised in 5 different lists using the same colour coding as I use in iCal.


I like using both Apple Reminders, and iCal because they synch seamlessly between my iPhone, MacBook and I can even log into the iCloud website to access my info if I get desperate.

This is what I carry around my most relevant day-by-day information in.  I use my Filo to capture during the day, stay on track and help me work.


I don’t carry all my information in here, just things that are relevant TODAY.  Let me explain…

I have two ways of capturing the information I need to schedule or implement into my life.  For fixed on-the-spot appointments, such as booking clients or organising a coffee date when I see a friend in town, I use my iPhone.  The appointments then go directly into my iCal, so that I don’t over-book or double-book myself.  All my appointments stay in my iCal always.

The second, is my Filofax “capture list”.


I know it says To Do List, but I am ignoring that for now until I buy some plain post-its.  This simply consists of a sticky notepad stuck to the front cover of my Filofax which I open all throughout the day to “brain dump” any thoughts or tasks I need to plan as they pop into my head.  It’s much easier to jot a quick note down than to stop what I am doing and plan for the task then and there.  I process this list every night…

Pretty much every thing in my capture list is something I need to action in the future.  It might be a friend I want to catch up with, so I need to remind myself to organise it (these thoughts normally come to me when I am at work, so they go straight to capture so I don’t get distracted from my job).  Or it might be something I want to investigate,  or a new idea I want to try out.  These kinds of things normally pop into my head when I am already doing something else, so it’s good to still get the thoughts down without losing focus on the task at hand.

At the end of the day, I sit down with my Filofax and my MacBook or iPhone, and I move these notes into their appropriate places.

If it’s an appointment I need to set, or a day-specific task, I put that straight into my iCal in it’s appropriate day or time slot.  If it’s a task I need to do at some point, it goes into my Reminders app, directly into it’s relevant list.

After I have processed my capture list, I flip to the current day in my agenda section.  All the tasks I have checked off during the day in my Filofax, I check off in my Reminders app too.  I also remove any appointments in my iCal that were cancelled during the day so I have an up-to-date history of my life.

This takes around about 5 minutes, that’s all!

4.Getting things Done
Every morning, I wake up and my lovely partner brings me a coffee in bed.  After reading the morning news and blogs on my laptop, I then open my Filofax to the current week and am presented with a blank canvas of the day ahead.  I then open my iCal first, and enter all my appointments and day-specific tasks into my Filofax, using the very same colour code I have used in iCal.  After that, I open my Reminders app, and look through the lists for tasks I would like to get done that day, also using those same colours.  I then fill these out on the empty spaces of my day in my Filofax.

This step takes 5-10 minutes depending how decorative I’m feeling that morning.

I then have a completely fresh day ahead and everything I need to do is fresh in my mind.

My Filofax stays with me all day.  I use a section for work, so it’s at my side on my desk at all times and I often flip over to my agenda to remind me of what’s ahead, or flip to my capture section if I suddenly need to capture something.

So that’s pretty much it.  It might sound like a lot when reading it in a blog post, but it doesn’t take as long is it may seem, and gives me more time to actually get things done!



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