How to Create a Unique Dashboard for your Filofax - The Filofancy Way!

TRUST me... This is going to be the most useful thing you create for your Filofax.  Have you ever heard of such a thing as a Filofax dashboard?  If you are an avid Filofax-fan blog-follower then you probably have because everybody is doing it.  Most people tend to use the sticky-notes insert as their dashboard.  Well, as usual I have an alternative and rather clever way of creating a dashboard for your Filofax that you will use forever!

Firstly though...
What is a Filofax Dashboard?

It's your first port of call.  You open your Filofax - and there is it - with everything you need to immediately be reminded of.

Why do most people use the sticky-note insert?

Quite simply because you can write some notes down, then tear it off and dispose of them when you are done.

You can also tear them off and then stick them elsewhere in your Filofax, but that is about as far as this dashboard will take you.

The Filofancy Dashboard...

It's simple, affordable and reusable...

Just purchase a Filofax cardholder insert - Then use a credit card for sizing and cut up a nice little pile of pretty coloured paper to slip into each pocket... as much as each pocket will hold!

And now you have a great little note-taking system.  You can dedicate each space to specific types of notes - ie. personal reminders, work-related mind-joggers, shopping lists etc.

When you have finished with the note, take it out to reveal a fresh sheet of notepaper.

I use my Filofax business card for sizing which came with my Aqua Chameleon A5 when I bought it.  It's ideal because I can either keep it attached to the rings in my filofax, or slip it into the dashboard itself, ready for when I need to cut up a few more slips of notepaper.

The great thing about the Filofancy dashboard is that you can choose coloured paper that suits your own preferences.  I don't know about you but I'm not so keen on the neon bright colours of the sticky-note insert dashboard variety.

You can use the dashboard pockets to keep reminders, to-do lists, or even slip folded up bits of paper like receipts if you need to remind yourself to file them later on for your expenses.

Or store your stickers and paper-clips, like I do.

But what makes the Filofancy dashboard ultimately versatile is that you can modify the Flex jot-pad like I have to attach to your dashboard for longer lists and notes you may need immediate access to!

I just took my Filofax sizing card and measured around it on the back cover of the flex jot-pad, and then I cut the back-cover so that it fits into the top card slot of the dashboard.

I use the underneath card slots to store my star-stickers - (Read about how you can design your own personalised stickers for your Filofax here) - and my little silver Waterstones bookmarks, which are very useful for marking pages in my Filofax when I don't want to forget where I have put them!  You can even make a mini index to remind you of what you have recently written and where in your Filofax you have filed your notes away.

I am forever losing or forgetting things I have written down and filed somewhere in my fat Filofax, so this system is such a godsend to me.  My dashboard is now the first thing I look at when I open my Filofax.  It is my memory jogger, and it also directs me to the things in my Filofax I may otherwise have forgotten about.

You can also use the back of the dashboard in the same way because the cards insert is double-sided.

I am sure you will find many other creative ways to make the dashboard your own!

A Filofax Moodboard Like Temperley's

Inspired by the sneak preview of Alice Temperley's moodboard for the new collection, I decided to create my own visual collages to express myself, and well basically just have some fun!

I really like the patterns that Alice is playing with.  I'll be interested to see what the final products look like. I think they are due to be ready for September Fashion Week, which will be just in time for my birthday... hint hint! 

Perhaps the most attractive thing about Temperley's previous limited edition Filofaxes are her use of fabrics. The lacy "Affair" oozes intimacy with that risqué undertone, and the brushed fur of the Guinea contrasted with the golden rim is pure edgy class.

I'm telling you it's all about the fabric!

So I routed around in my bedsit to find some fabrics of my own, and this is what I discovered...

Don't you just love this satin Japanese-print material I found in my closet?  I think it's quite effective when teamed with this lace and patterned silk.

Ooh wouldn't it be cool if Filofax designed a Kimono Filofax, combining the satin fabrics with luxurious leather, embossed with Japanese symbols?  I want one already!

They could design them with horizontal strips of patterned satin fabric and embossed leather so that it mimics the Japanese Kimono with a wide strip of contrasting fabric in the middle like a Kimono Sash.  Inside they could experiment with fan designs for the inserts.  Oh it's so exciting!

I think I should be on the Filofax design team.  What do you think?  Or at least on their promotions, marketing, or campaigning team.  What fun I'd have.

It's actually quite amazing how a bit of textured fabric can really set a plain leather filofax off.  My filofax is a battered old vintage personal organiser from the 80s.  (Its not even a 'Filofax' to be honest, just a nameless dark red leather organiser.)  But after setting against a backdrop of all these luscious fabrics I'm beginning to see my vintage beauty through renewed eyes. I think I'm falling in love all over again.  Move aside my adored A5 Chameleon... it's time for my anonymous 80s Personal to experience some TLC.

When I have decided how I am going to put it to new use I will let you all know, with lots of glorious pics.  But until then, here are some to keep you going, and inspire you to dig out your neglected old Filofaxes...

More Planner Porn...

How is Flex by Filofax Better Than a Notebook?

First Edition Notebook Cover (Pocket Slate) | BUY IT NOW

What is Flex?

The Flex by Filofax is essentially a very versatile binder cover which allows for a range of notebook/diary solutions.  The Flex has been designed to offer a large variety of notebook combinations - Supposedly offering more than a million ways to make the Flex your own.

(Yes, according to the Filofax Website, Flex offers more than a million ways to make the Flex your own!  I thought I'd repeat that whole sentence, because I'm still trying to get my head around it.)

Why bother with a Flex binder when you can just pop a notebook in your bag?

Well I don't know about you, but before I discovered Flex by Filofax I had an ordinary notebook in which I kept my writer's notes, doodles, scribblings, and loose bits of paper.  One of the most annoying things was when I was out and about and a creative idea would seize me - I'd dive into my bag to grab my notebook and get the idea down as quickly as I could before it escaped me, and usually in the process most of my loose notes would fall out in my bag or all over the floor while I was standing on a rocky bus; and of course I could never find my pen!

Spontaneous note-taking was just a hassle.  I imagine it would be the same for an artist who spots something they quickly want to make a sketch of before it moves or disappears.

Now that I have my Flex though,  I don't have any of these problems because everything is kept neatly together in one place, and I can just pull the Flex out of my bag and know that I have everything I need on my lap without having to route through my bag for a pen or calculator.  The Flex is just the perfect little portable desk for bus or tube journeys to and from work.

Flex organises your note-taking habits

If you are anything like me a notebook means one notebook crammed with creative writing notes, fractured poetry, appointment reminders, shopping lists, random chapters for different novels I'm working on, menus, receipts I need to keep to claim back expenses for my self-employment - you know, basically absolute chaos.

Flex is the solution.  The flex allows for me to keep a number of separate notebooks bound together in one place.  This is useful if like me you have a notebook for your writing notes, and a notebook for your personal thoughts, because you can keep your writing notes and journal thoughts separate but also together, if you see what I mean?  It also works if you want to keep a notebook for factual snippets or info, and one for creative writing; or a lined notebook for written notes and a blank one for diagrams, sketches, brainstorming and flow-charts.

Many people find it useful to have their diary with them, or a yearly planner.  Flex have covered all diary options with Flex inserts.  You can create your own combined diary and note-taking system if you want, using the diaries and notepads designed specifically for flex.  Alternatively you can slip your Moleskine Diary into the Flex along with any pretty A5 Paperchase notebook of your choice. The options truly are never-ending.

At one point I think I had about 6 separate slim A5 notebooks in my Flex binder. You know the school exercise book kinds that come in different colours?  I had a different colour for each of my creative projects which I separated with coloured tabs, like you do in your Filofax.  When a notebook was full I could just replace it.

I do this now with my journal and writing notebooks.  Whenever I complete the A5 journal for instance, I replace it in the Flex with a brand new one from Muji, and the old one is taped to the journal previous to it, so that I can keep my old journals stored in chronological order.  This is a new concept though so I can't show you any pictures yet.
Nappa Leather Notebook Cover (Slim Black Leather) | SHOP FILOFAX NOTEBOOKS

Further reasons as to why the A5 Flex is better than a Notebook

  1. With the Flex pen-loop inserts you can keep up to four pens or pencils attached to your Flex Binder, ready for spontaneous note-taking, highlighting, and mark-making.  No fuss or searching or stress.
  2. There are slots for business cards inside the Flex.  Useful to pop your oyster in if you are in the habit of carrying your Flex under your arm like a clutch-bag.  Or you can use these slots to store stickers, sticky-notes, small bits of paper, page markers (I like to use hair grips!  Weird but discrete and they do the trick!) or clip extra pens.
  3. The larger pocket beneath the card-slots is perfect for your smartphone, calculator, highlighters, slim diary, packet of gum etc...
  4. The inside pockets can house your Kindle eReader if you use one.  
  5. You can also slip the front or back sleeve of a paperback book into any of the Flex pockets and carry your novel around with your notebook. This could be useful for students who need to take notes while they are reading.
  6. The Flex protects your notebooks and prevent them from getting all dog-eared.
  7. Loose bits of paper and receipts can be slipped into pockets rather than in-between pages where they are likely to fall out.
  8. Instead of having to keep buying expensive leather-bound journals you can have the same effect by replacing cheaper A5 notebooks in your Leather-look Flex but not have to spend all that money if you're a fast writer like me and get through notebooks like loo-roll.
  9. The Flex is smart. The black and grey versions look very professional and are great for work, conferences, meetings etc.
  10. Flex is just so much more FUN than having one notebook!  It makes complete sense.

Forget Kindle Covers, Use a Flex Filofax instead!

I use my A5 Flex by Filofax as a portable writer's desk which houses my writer's notebook, my personal journal, and my Kindle eReader. 

You can read more about my portable writer's Flex-desk in my previous post - How I use my Flex by Filofax

I like to keep my Kindle with my writer's notebook because I always forward articles from the web straight to my Kindle using a Kindle 'push' extension on my Chrome toolbar.  I also email all of my edited manuscripts straight to my Kindle so that I can read through them as if they are eBooks, which is a much nicer experience than reading a word doc on my laptop.

It's so useful to have access to all of my research and written work while I am out and about, taking notes on buses and in coffee shops.

I would suggest always storing your Kindle eReader in one of the inside pockets of the Flex, to make sure it doesn't accidentally slip out and fall to the ground when you are carrying it about with you or taking it out of your bag.

If you are contemplating getting yourself an eReader I would definitely suggest getting a Kindle.
You can Browse Kindle Devices here, and find out which device suits your needs best.  And instead of purchasing a Kindle cover, why not consider trying something a little more versatile, and so much cooler, like a Flex by Filofax!

Click on this link for a fun post on how I would like to improve the Flex by Filofax design

Filofolios - How to Make Your Own Portable Mini Portfolio Using a Filofax and Moo Business Cards

I've had a crazy idea!

Are you an artist, a designer or an illustrator?  Do you create or sell your own products or services? Are you a cupcake artist or do you design and make your own hand-crafted purses? Most importantly, do you have too many Filofaxes, or are you trying to find an excuse to purchase yet another?  Well, I think I may have the answer to your dilemma, and a creative solution for all you Filofax lovin' Freelancers.

I'm always trying to think of new ways to use my Filofaxes.  I have four of them and  keeping four diaries of various sizes would be a sure route to madness and insanity - believe me, I've tried!

I've recently gone self-employed and I am currently making hand-crafted jewellery to put pennies in my pocket, but I needed a way to keep with me samples of my jewellery when I am out and about in case I happened to pass by potential clients or shops I could potentially supply to.

Well how about this for a stroke of genius...

  • Get yourself a beautiful Filofax of your choice - Go for pocket-sized or slimline to fit nicely into your handbag
  • Buy lots of clear card-holder inserts
  • Order a set of personalised business cards from - Each with a different product printed on them
  • Put is all together and what do you get? A very cool, very portable, mini-image portfolio or product catalogue!

I know, I know... You can thank me later :)

Basically provide this GREAT Business Card Service where you can have a set of very attractive and professional business cards made for you, but the difference is that you can order a set of 50 cards and each card can have a different design of your choice printed on it!

This means that you can essentially create a mini-portfolio of your products to take around with you. You will never be unprepared when it comes to promoting your business and products again. have already initiated this idea on their website. You can go and have a look for inspiration and more creative ideas on how to use moo business cards.  But my unique, and if I may say so - totally genius idea is combining it with Filofax products to create a truly personal and attractive little portfolio or product catalogue to take about with you in your handbag!  And you can also keep your standard business cards in there too, ready to hand out to your new clients once they have fallen in love with every image in your Filofolio.

Improving the Flex by Filofax

Wouldn't it be great if Filofax did a bespoke service and you could literally design the ultimate personalised Filofax to work for you, exactly how you want it to?  Its nice to dream...

We all use our organisers in different ways so you may not agree with all of my points.  But these are just the little alterations and improvements that would make the Flex work better for me!

  • I know they designed the Flex to be simple and universal, but they had better start thinking of some new cover designs soon!  I mean, there are endless possibilities - it hurts my head just to think about them.  I would personally like to see something classy and feminine.  I love the lace and leopard-print on the Temperley for example, it would be lovely to have some similar fabric options for the Flex... That don't cost a fortune.  Real leather would be great too.

  • The jot-pad is soooooo in the wrong place for me.  I need it at the front on the left-hand side where I can have easy access to it.  I don't want to have to search for it behind all of my notebooks, do I? There should have been slits on both the right and the left hand-side so that we can choose what works best.

  • The pen-loops are rubbish.  Mine snapped in the first week of purchasing my Flex.  I was very upset and I haven't gotten round to buying a new pen insert because my Flex originally came with a black one to match the cover, but the replacements all seem to be grey!  I don't like the grey - That's why I bought black.

  • I wish there was a zip pocket somewhere.  Just a small one for loose change, perhaps on the front or back of the binder.

  • Sometimes I wish there was a built in or attachable concertina-style pencil case on the front, you know, for a rubber and pencil sharpener, sticky notes and other loose bits and pieces.

  • I'd rather like to have the option of having a slim ring-binger insert that you could slip into one of the slots and use the Flex like a normal Filofax as well.  but I guess it would make it too bulky. A slim optional insert wouldn't hurt would it?

  • Filofax need to work on its insert collections for both the normal Filofax and the Flex.  I think this needs a dedicated post all to itself though.

  • It needs an elastic band around it to keep everything together!  Then you could slip loose pieces of paper inbetween pages and not worry about them falling out when you take it out of your bag.

  • Wouldn't it be cool if there was a way to slot or clip two or three Flex binders together to make an ultimate FAT one with lots and lots and lots of options!  Perhaps not very portable, but fun for an option all the same.

  • It might be nice to design a Flex with clear pockets on the front and back so that you could slip your own images, photos, paper or material in and transform the look of your Flex whenever you feel like it!  (This is perhaps my most genius idea so far, and if Flex by Filofax design something like this in the future I want my cut of the profits!)

How I use my Flex by Filofax

I'm quite surprised at how little blogging coverage the Flex Filofaxes get. I mean, they're pretty cool. I love mine. Not as much as my beautiful A5 Chameleon mind you, but the Flex does seem to make a lot more sense to me. My Chameleon continues to baffle me, and I still haven't figured out a system I am happy with.

I chose a black A5 Flex because I wanted something smart that would compliment my writing journal. My writing journal is a big fat A5 notebook I bought from Paperchase a while back. It has a soft bendy black faux-leather cover and lots and lots of tiny-squared paper for all my notes and scribblings. It fits perfectly into the A5 Flex.

I like to place it in the middle with the front and back cover of the notebook slipping into the slots of the Flex to give it complete support. It's such a fat book that it needs to be in the middle. When I want to take some notes down on the bus, or do a bit of creative writing while I am sitting in a coffee shop, the Flex would fall to pieces in my lap if the main notebook wasn't placed and held firmly in the centre of the Flex binder.

Conveniently the Flex is also the perfect size for my Kindle eReader which I like to slot into the inside left hand pocket.

I used to slot it into the left outside pocket but then I had a horrifying experience one day where my Kindle fell out! Okay, it wasn't that horrifying because it happened while I was indoors and it fell onto my sofa, but it was horrifying in theory.

Kindles are dreadfully delicate because of the screen which will bleed at the slightest knock.  When I first purchased my Kindle I had it in my coat pocket with my keys, and in the five minutes it took me to walk home from the tube station somehow the keys had pressed into the screen and caused the ink to bleed underneath it.  I was mortified.  Luckily the kind Kindle people sent me a brand new one - Phew! The Flex protects my Kindle wonderfully as long as I keep it in the inside pocket where it can't accidentally escape.

Because I use my A5 Flex as my portable writing and reading desk I also like to keep a journal of personal thoughts that are separate from my creative writing notes. It's always good to have the journal with me to unload my mind in moments of clarity or confusion.

Yay for all the pockets! I slip an A5 lined Notebook from Muji (also black, in-keeping with my smart theme, and pleasingly affordable) into the outside right pocket so that it closes inwards and slips in behind my main Notebook. Underneath I have the jot-pad hidden away because I rarely use it, but you just never know... (see the main diagram at the top of this post.)

Personally I would prefer to have a slot for the jot-pad on the inside left where all the card slots are.  I don't really find these useful, although one or two wouldn't go amiss. But I don't see the point in having the jot-pad slot at the back of the binder where it is hidden.  Surely it should be placed at the front for easy access?  Very annoying and such a waste.

The remaining outside slot on the left hand side I usually keep blank to stuff loose papers, flyers, notes or whatever I find when I am out and about. Sometimes I use it to hold my Moleskine diary if I know that I might need it while I am out. But generally my Moleskine stays at home with my ridiculously heavy but very beautiful A5 Chameleon Filofax. You can see how I use those two together here.

I have begrudgingly come to the conclusion that there is simply no point in doing my back in every time I go out by carrying my A5 Chameleon Filofax around with me. So my compromise is that I transfer my slim Moleskine diary, which has all my info and appointments to my Flex when I am out and about  It doesn't look quite as interesting when I pull out my black Flex as opposed to my aqua A5 Chameleon, but it does make me look very professional and less frivolous, which suits me fine.

The Flex is small, less bulky, and lighter than normal A5 Filofaxes, and can probably fit a lot more inside because its so versatile. For instance, sometimes I pop my smartphone into the deeper slot below the card slots.

Don't you have a Flex by Filofax yet?  Don't you think you should get one?  They're so affordable and versatile, you're bound to find a use for it!  Personally I don't think you're a true Filofax Lover if you haven't shown appreciation for the Filofax offspring yet... show it some love and get yourself a little one for your handbag.

Don't forget they have lots of cool inserts to experiment with too.