I’ve mentioned my use of the Filofax jot pads before, and now I’d like to share some ideas about how to use them. As a disclaimer, I bought these myself for my own usage, and indeed there’s no need for these to even use the Filofax brand ones! In fact, see below for some tips about how to make your own. 😉
- To-do lists during the week – I use a week on one page plus notes format now, but last year I used a week on two pages format. However, I often had to-dos to write down that didn’t need to be done a particular day, just at some point during the week (and having to flip to a separate section for me means that I won’t do them). Putting a full size sheet of note paper between the two halves of the week annoyed me, because I couldn’t see the whole week without flipping papers back and forth. The small jot pad pages are perfect, because they don’t cover much – and their size also prevents you from writing more to-dos than can realistically be accomplished. Put an extra sheet between the pages of the following week for the to-dos you know will trail over…
- Transferring information between binders – I currently use (regularly) a pocket, personal, and A5 binders. They are all for different purposes and I’m using them at different moments, but they are all in active use nevertheless. The jot pad pages, because of their holes, can fit in any of these three binders, so they are perfect for transferring to-dos and ideas between binders. I keep a pad in each binder, and if anything comes up while I’m using that binder that I might need to write in a different one (for example: out at dinner on the weekend with my pocket binder when I remember an email that I have to send for work), I write it down on a jot pad and transfer it to the rings of the appropriate binder when possible.
- 3. Shopping lists (etc.) – I only go full-out grocery shopping about once a month, so there are lots of little things that I need to buy between trips – cleaning supplies, toothpaste, things like that. As these things come up, I write them down on a jot pad page in my lists section. The paper is small and easy to take out to go into a store (sometimes I even slit the holes so I can take it in and out even more easily), and this way I remember all of those little things I have to buy. I do the same thing for things I have to print, and I can envision any number of such lists. When the paper is full on one side, I take it out and flip it over to use the other side (and cross out the already completed tasks with marker). Once all done, I recycle the paper.
- Before and after lists – Every once in a while, I find I have to make lists of things to do before and after some event – most commonly for me, some sort of vacation or other extended break where my business will be closed for a week or more. When one of these events is coming up, I put one page the week before the event, and one after. I then use these to list the things I need to do before and after the event on the appropriate pages. This could be useful for anything you have to plan – for example, a dinner party. On the before list: things to buy, people to call, things to defrost; on the after list: people to thank, things to clean up, ideas for the next party.
- Breaking down steps of a project – Similar to the previous idea. Sometimes when you’re creating a project, there are lots of different things to be done, and in different categories. I find it helpful to sort things out in different lists, so that it doesn’t become overwhelming (sometimes seeing everything together makes me not want to do anything!). So, I might make use one sheet for people to contact, another for things to send, another for things to do at the computer…etc.
- On your dashboard for notes – Now, don’t get me wrong: I love a good sticky note as much as the next person. But sometimes, sticky notes fall off. If I have a really important note, sometimes I’ll write it on a jot pad page and put it on the rings in front of my dashboard. It’s just as visible as a sticky note, but gives me that extra security that it won’t fall out in my bag.
- In your bag/pocket for note paper – Apart from the fact that they have conveniently spaced holes, the jot pads are actually just plain conveniently sized. I slip one in my bag or in my pocket sometimes if I’m running an errand without my planner – they’re great places to write down phone numbers, addresses, or to-dos that come up.
- Pen testing – I don’t personally use many different pens, but for those that do – these offer a nice small space to do some pen testing on paper that is identical to the rest of the Filofax inserts.
- Color coding key – If you color code, a small paper like this is perfect for keeping a key of the different colors you use. It’s small and doesn’t block too much other information, especially for when your system is new, you’re still learning the colors, and you need to have your key in front of you at all times!
- More info about a specific event – I typically don’t use a daily page because most of the things I have going on during the day are tracked in my teaching planner and a week on two pages or even on one page is plenty for my personal needs. However, sometimes you have something that requires a bit more information, and this is another place where these note pads come in handy. For instance, next week I’m attending a workshop at an elementary school in a nearby city. I have the event copied on the day of the week, but there’s no room for the address and other details. So, I’ve written the address, phone number, and other pertinent details on a jot pad page, which is then placed on the rings during the same week, so I have everything that I need in the same place.
Now, I mentioned at the start that while I’m talking about the specific Filofax-brand jot pads, this type of page is quite easy to make yourself. Here’s a size comparison so you can see how the jot pad pages compare to a normal personal-sized page:
To make your own, the first, and easiest, option is to take a peace of personal sized paper and cut it in half. This results in a bigger page than the jot pads, but it fits nicely in both personal and A5 binders (though there’s a bit of overhang on the bottom in a personal size if you place the page on the bottom rings).
To use it in a pocket, you would need to trim the page close to the holes. You can of course also just take some scrap paper and cut it down to size, then punch three holes in it (using a pre-punched page as a guide).
I’m sure there are tons of other possible uses, but I hope you were able to get a few ideas from this list! What else would you add?