3 Aug 2012

Using Your Filofax for University

With my first degree done and dusted, I thought it'd be good to do a post on utilising your Filofax for university. This is aimed mainly at students who are school leavers embarking on a Bachelor's degree (because I have had no experience of being a Master's student or a phD student).

1) Choosing the Size

What you have to consider here are these following questions:

- are you planning on taking your planner everywhere with you?

- what kind of degree are you doing? One with a lot of structure or one without? For instance, I did a science degree and so I had more labs and lectures (and therefore, more structure) than someone I knew who was doing an English Literature degree.

- do you only want to put a planner in your Filofax, or do you want to put in other sheets of information essential to you too?

With all this in mind, you should be able to deduce which size is the best one for you. An A5 is ideal for someone with a lot of appointments or busy days; but it is less portable whereas the personal size is smaller and lighter in size and weight. The personal also has larger page sizes than the pocket and mini but it is also slightly heavier. There is a size guide available on the Filofax website but it might be worth going down to your local Filofax stockist to get a feel for each size.

Credit: Filofax Buyers Guide
Next, you might consider the ring size too. Most personals have 23mm rings but you might opt to just have your diary in the Filofax - and so, a Compact size will offer a larger page size but smaller rings, so it will be lighter.

2) Diary Layout

Options include 'week on two pages', 'week on one page', 'day per page', 'two days per page' as well as monthly and year views too. The most commonly used for university are probably 'week on one page' or 'week on two pages'. Again, what layout you need wil ultimately depend on what you are planning to write into your Filofax and also how busy your days will be.

3) Extra Notepaper

This, of course, is optional. It is well worth considering if you want to lug around some essential information with you; such as course information which you may need from time to time, or local area information if you are moving to an unfamiliar place for university.

4) Card Slots

The number of card slots and also orientation of them may be worth thinking about if you want your Filofax to double as a purse. You will want enough slots for your university ID card (if you have one), your credit or debit card and also any other ones which may accompany you on any trips.

5) Zipped or Unzipped

This will depend on whether or not you will be carrying around loose pieces of paper or not. Also, this is also down to personal preference as some people will be tempted by the allure of a zip but others won't be.

6) Style

This is probably more important for the girls but may also be relevant for fashion conscious guys too!

Colour, leather or non-leather and texture are also something to uhm and ah over. Some models will have more colour options than others; and your budget will also come into this too. Not all of us can afford the Deco but most of us will be able to afford the Domino or the Metropol at the very least (but the latter two are non-leather).

With all this in mind, you should be able to figure out what you need vs what you want. Weigh these up against the organisers you have shortlisted and one should stick out as the one you will love the most! Remember, Philofaxy is a good place to seek advice, and the Adspot page is one definitely worth looking at. Plus, eBay is a very good place to look for bargains too!

I hope this brief guide has been of some use and any questions, feel free to ask as I'm sure that either I, or a reader, will be able to answer it.


  1. Such a helpful post! I've used a mini in the past, now currently using a pocket finchley in teal, but I feel I may have to upgrade to a personal size very soon :/ My days are getting busier and with job hunting they're *hopefully* going to gets even busier!

    1. Glad you found it useful! The Finchley in teal is a lovely binder :) x

    2. I love how soft the leather is especially :D I'm looking to see if there is a personal sized one in either mustard or jade on ebay for sale :') x

  2. These are just the questions I've been pondering as I go to Uni (as a very mature student!)to do the PGDE Primary teaching course. As it's a one year course, it's very intensive and I anticipate that I will need to note down a lot of assignments/lectures etc etc. At the moment I have a pocket domino and have just bought a personal size domino from a very nice lady on Adspot, which I think will do just fine for Uni. It should be big enough to house a Wo2p diary, extra lined paper and a year planner. I'm not sure what else I will need but I am definitely thinking a zippered plastic envelope to keep money in so I can use it as a purse like you mentioned. I will have plenty books to lug around, so I don't want to be carrying a filo and a purse as well!

    When I finish Uni, I think I'll treat myself to a Malden as a graduation present!

    Thanks for a great post :)

    1. Glad you found this post useful! Good luck for your PGDE :) Equipped with a personal Domino, I am sure you will do brilliantly x

  3. Very useful, thank you! I've just bought a Metropol Zipped A4 binder. I went with A4 because I wanted to be able to use it to write notes in lectures, keep my dissertation notes in, pens, cards, flash cards, my actual diary and personal info (my uni is about 3 hours on the train from home so having it all in one binder is much better and easier for me than having different folders etc.) I'm going into my final year of psychology and alongside my dissertation I only have about five hours of lectures so I didn't want a massive ringbinder and notebook again.

    Plus I know I'm lazy and having everything in one place that I can just pick up and run to my lectures to with is going to be very useful! x

    1. Glad this was useful for you :)

      I totally get what you mean about having everything in one place! I hate not having everything neat though so I always copy up my notes after; hence why I couldn't use my Filofax for lectures :p x

  4. It's been a while since I visited your site and I just spent the past couple of hours catching up on your posts and ogling your pretty agenda pictures :P Couldn't have asked for a more helpful post: With uni less than a month away, it's time to ditch the Moleskine and pick up--er, order--a Filofax once and for all.

    1. Glad you found this post useful :) and welcome back hehe x

  5. Being a filofax newbie I was just casually skimming on google to find inspiration on how to maximise use of my new metropol personal to keep my life from falling to pieces in my last year of uni and I came across your blog. I looove how you've made everything so cute and quirky! Totally get what you mean about putting the effort in to 'prettify' everything, it makes it a pleasure to keep on using your planner! Before I knew it I had scrolled all the way down to your first post in 2010 and I thought aawwww that's it?! I want more.. LOL. One of my fave posts was the one about depression in uni as I experienced exactly that, probably a little worse. Instead of seeking help like you did, I ran scared, totally just lost control and got demotivated overall, real uni stuff (lectures/workshops/tutorials etc) became something to do during the day to pass the time and when night came that's when I actually started my day. It got so bad that by Jan I ended up not going to lectures and I went/did the bare minimum of what was compulsory (labs lol). In fresher year I went to a total of 2 tutorials which was awful as I do chemistry and we had at least 1 each week. Missed/late deadlines were a no-biggie in my eyes, almost like I was in denial. My idea was that everything was gonna be fine if I just lock myself in my room a week before exams. Though I passed first year, there were so many gaps in my knowledge that I seriously struggled in second year and ended up having to do resits. I've never felt so mediocre in my life..
    I realised something needed to be done and this summer I sat myself down and covered year 1 AND 2 topics before the start of third year. It was like a clean slate for me, I forgave myself for getting in that situation and focused my energy on bettering my study/learning technique as I'd never had one before (like you, I sorta sailed through A Levels doing minimal work i.e. just cramming everything the day before.. I lived for revision guides haha)
    I feel so much better and feel like I will be just fine if I put the work in and stay organised unlike before! Sowwy for such a longgg message but your posts seriously help people out, so keep 'em coming girl!
    Much love! <3

    1. Welcome to my blog :) Hope you found the university series useful. Also, it's good to hear that you're back on the right track now - I can fully sympathise with how you felt and what you went through. Good luck for your third year at university and thanks for your lovely comments :) x

  6. In terms of inserts, what size does the Paperchase smallest version line up with? (I think that Paperchase call it a Pocket). Thanks much! xx

    1. I presume it would be Filofax pocket size - but don't quote me on this; I'm not a big user of the pocket size, sorry! x