Tuesday, 14 January 2014

Filofax M2 modifications - a few pics and a brief explanation.

In last week's video, I declared my reluctance to "modify" my M2 but I have clearly, and irrevocably, changed my mind. If you haven't seen my Youtube channel, my vids tend to "ramble" and I can imagine viewers urging me to "get to the point", so I'm going to try to add a post, to accompany any video; a kind of online "belt and braces", as we say in the UK.

So, I removed the toggle, and the metal loop to which it was attached, with an old pair of secateurs. One side of the metal loop came off cleanly, but I had to file down the remaining "stump" with a file.  The zip still slides easily.

The A7 card, which I use at both ends of the paper stack, still rests on the zip, but the substantial reduction in profile is now much less of an irritation.

I've also removed the pen loop, but left sufficient leather to avoid cutting into the stitching. A serendipitous feature is that the remaining material keeps the card from moving around too much when the M2 is closed.

Monday, 6 January 2014

Filofax M2 - living with a discontinued format.

If I were to be invited to Filofax Towers I would, over my saccharine laced coffee, declare my undying enthusiasm for the late lamented M2.

I know, it's a guy thing, and we're kind of excluded from the Filofax party these days, although still hanging around in a haze of languid smoke and muffled banter at the side entrance, more in hope than expectation that something interesting will come along. In an era where marketing has often triumphed over functionality, we could be waiting until way past kicking out time. But for those lucky enough to own one, an M2 is a seriously good bit of kit, that makes the wait a little less depressing.

For me, I like the perceived anonymity of the thing, the understated design, the relatively superior construction, and the continued perfect ring alignment despite relentless use. 

My M2 currently contains one credit card (I tread some seriously mean streets at times so I'm careful), my driver's licence, a library card, some cash, and around sixty sheets of A7 paper, which I have cut down from A4 and use as a "day per page" diary. It's enough for me. Anything beyond that sixty day horizon (and frankly there isn't that much these days) goes into Google calendar via my iphone (as I write this, apart from recurring events that prompt me with an audible reminder, that are easily reconfigurable when Google Calendar throws a fit, there are just two entries beyond my self imposed 60 day paper based horizon).

The A7 size is a little bigger than the paper originally specified for this binder, but it is this fundamental shift in paper size that elevates the M2 from so much ineffectual "froufrou" into the functional hardball tool it should always have been.

Would I change the design? Well, yes; I'd dispense with the pen loop, since I don't use it, and the zip pull is a little pretentious but, other than that, no. It is, in my opinion, the best product that Filofax has ever produced - at least for us guys hanging around at the side entrance.

Sunday, 22 December 2013

A New Year's Resolution - My return to paper based productivity.

This year's indulgent forays into the complex world of electronically assisted productivity, seeking a happy hybrid synergy with pen and paper, have been interesting but, ultimately, in vain.

The much anticipated magic carpet ride with Apple's excellent "Reminders" app has been a little bumpy, Google Calendar has made me feel like I'm painting the Forth Bridge, and some gentle perambulations with Evernote and Omnifocus have left me feeling like I'm in the garage far too often, rather than heading down the highway.

There's nothing intrinsically wrong with any of these systems, commonly used in business or group environments, and I have enjoyed experimenting with them, but I have found that it has detracted from the subtle pleasure of laying ink onto paper and see my forthcoming early retirement as an opportunity to switch to a totally analogue productivity system, much of it Filofax based.

So, my new year's resolution is to return to paper; for projects, lists, reference, and even my calendar. No more compatibility issues, no more running out of battery power on the train, no more disapproving looks in meetings, and no more awkward "just let me put you on speakerphone whilst I check my diary" moments. But I may still use my iphone as an alarm clock a few times each day.

I'm back on the waggon this coming year, and I'm hauling paper.