Regular readers will know that Iâ€™m a big user of my Filofax, and while itâ€™s great for day to day stuff and some basic GTD techniques, it really comes into its own with large events, such as SXSW or the Edinburgh Fringe (and subsequent podcast).
I tend to have half an eye on the Filofax website for new twists and ideas, and while most of the time I just go there for new paper refills and to look at the many new designs of Filofax they keep coming out with, sometimes I stop and go â€œoh thatâ€™s a nice idea.â€
One such moment was the recent launch of the Lifestyle Packs; Family, City and Traveller.
The easiest way to describe these packs is they are 250-350 page booster packs for an empty Filofax. With a wide selection of pages and content these are perfect to rejuvenate an older Filofax that the fanatics may have lying around. For the rest of the world it shouldnâ€™t be too difficult to find at least one Filofax you like from the collection.
To cut a long story short, the Filofax PR Team seem to be pretty well switched on to Social media, and a review copy of the Family Lifestyle pack was soon in my hands. I have to say that Iâ€™m impressed.
Thereâ€™s a wide range of pages, but the core is the 18 month diary (good through till December 2010), which allows entries not just for the owner of the Filofax but for four other family members, and a space for meals and memories to be noted down. Very ncie, and a good way to keep track of everyoneâ€™s appointments and dates.
The rest of the pages are made up of specialist pages, mostly newly created for the lifestyle packs. Alongside more traditional pages for addresses, budgeting and shopping lists there are pages for Babysitters (to have relevant information, and to make sure you donâ€™t forget to mention anything), school contact details, party planning pages, holiday travel itineraries, and a bundle more. All very worthwhile and useful in their own way.
I only have two real concerns over this new range of products, and theyâ€™re not showstoppers by any stretch. The first is refills. Filofax have one of the greatest â€˜razors and bladesâ€™ models out there, with a nice initial purchase (of the folder) and then the continuing revenue from the sale of paper refills, diaries, dividers and specialist pages.
As yet there are no refills available for the pages in the lifestyle packs, which seems an oversight. For example, there are only ten pages in the Addresses section, which seems a little bit small for a full household. While the new design of blue/gray boxes looks smart and swish, the pages available online are the more traditional lined paper/black outlines on white. So if you do go buying refills, theyâ€™re not going to match. That might be enough to set the compulsive people off buying.
The second is the perceived cost. Buying just the family pack to refill a personal diary is Â£17, while buying an A5 family pack with a bundled Domino Filofax is Â£40. Itâ€™s a big ask to make this your first Filofax purchase. The packs are also missing a decent number of dividers (six of them, and some twenty different t
To be honest though I donâ€™t see this as a â€˜new to the filofax worldâ€™ product. Youâ€™d need a lot of confidence that this is what you need, and it takes time to get into a good organiser frame of mind â€“ thatâ€™s an area that could be addressed before the Christmas season â€“ essentially these are here for the faithful to bring the family on board, to organise more than one person in a folder, and to bring the same level of order to chaos in many people as they can to one person.
Would I recommend them? To people who already use Filofaxes and need something more that the lifestyle packs offer, then yes. If someone has strayed from the fold and is ready to return, this is a great way to get going again. I think it would be heavy going (but not impossible) for someone completely new to not get daunted by the 300 pages and many sections.
These are the first â€˜bundlesâ€™ from Filofax, and could well be the start of a new line â€“ in the world of digital Iâ€™m still convinced thereâ€™s a place for paper, and the lifestyle packs are proof of that I hope Filofax now look at a way to bring people into the fold with some nice and not too scary introductory / primer packs.
The Filofax Lifestyle packs can be found online at www.filofax.co.uk.