08 January 2017

Reader Under The Spotlight - Graham

Today I would like to introduce you to Graham.
I'm Graham Rhind, currently living and working in Bad Bentheim, Germany, close to the Dutch border. I specialise in creating and disseminating specialist knowledge about international data, and I can stun a room into a coma within seconds by talking about it. So I won't. Describe me as a consultant, linguist, author, speaker, CEO, teaboy or chief-cook-and-bottle-washer - they all apply. http://www.grcdi.nl/author.htm

1. When did you buy your first organiser and what was it?

I think it was in the early eighties when we had to hide our Filofaxes away for fear of accusations of being a Yuppie. It was a Filofax, personal size and black …. I moved to using a PalmPilot in the nineties, but as smartphones became more complicated I found that I could be much faster and more efficient, at least for my diary, using pen and paper. These days I can make and note appointments and be gone whilst the next person is still trying to find the right app on their phones. And the looks on the faces of people as I uncap my fountain pen to note the appointment in my Filofax is just priceless …

2. Out of the organisers you own which is your current favourite (Style and Size)?

It’s a brown Filofax Cuban personal, because it has a zip and two pen loops.

3. How many Filofax or other brands of organisers do you own?

Currently being used (to any extent) are:
  • An orange A4 Filofax Metropol, zipped
  • A black A4 Filofax Domino
  • A black A5 Filofax Metropol, zipped
  • A red A5 Staples ARC-system
  • A black A5 Filofax Flex
  • A brown personal Filofax Cuban, zipped
  • A yellow compact personal Filofax Finsbury
  • A yellow compact personal Filofax Calipso
  • A yellow mini Filofax Finsbury
Currently awaiting re-deployment or an honourable retirement:
  • A grey A5 Filofax Graphic
  • A black personal Graphic Zip
  • A black personal Metropol Zip
  • A yellow A6 X47 Mind-Papers folder
That seems an awful lot, and there are bound to be a couple I missed :-o

4. What do you use your organisers for?

I use the A4 Metropol to take to any clients as a "clean slate" for recording any information for a new project. The A4 Domino contains codes, lists and references that I need to refer to in my work on a daily basis. The Cuban is my diary, the Calipso contains a printout backup copy of my digital address book, the Flex looks after current papers that are awaiting responses from others and the Staples ARC is a rough notebook. The mini Finchley is the only one I take with me everywhere and is used for notes and lists, and the compact Finsbury and A5 Metropol hold some papers that I don't have another place for at the moment, and await their turn as I get fed up with one folder and move on to the next :-)

5. How many sections do you have in your organiser and what is each section used for?

Mostly none. I find that I prefer to see everything at once in one big overview rather than paging between sections for information - that's an important reason why I use a week per page instead of a day per page layout for my diary. In my case it really is out of sight, out of mind. So I prefer one organiser per job rather than one organiser for every job. My desk is a cornucopia of organisers, and with each one open at the required place I get all I need to be organised in one glance.

6. If you could design your own Filofax what would it feature?

It's a fact of life that pens and papers belong together, so I find it hugely irritating that most organisers are designed with only paper in mind, and any pen features, such as loops, are added as an afterthought and are often badly designed and in the wrong place. I like disc systems (is it really lazy of me not to like to be opening and closing rings all the time?) and if somebody could design a disc system where it's as easy to write on one side of the page as the other, and where pen and paper are given equal billing, it would be a sure fire winner. And it should be available in yellow J

7. What's your favourite Filofax tip or hack?

I design and print my own diary inserts in a layout that suits me, on better quality paper than shop-bought inserts. It does require a bit of technical knowledge, but it increases an organiser's usability many fold, in my opinion.

8. Have you ever attended a Philofaxy meet-up? if not do you intend to one day?

No, and unlikely as I never seem to get even a single day off and I don't live near to any of the common meet-up locations.

9. What was the last movie you watched?

I'm not a big film watcher - I usually think I have better things to do. I think it was "Florence Foster Jenkins".

10. What was the last book you read?

Norman Mailer's "The Executioner's Song".

Thank you Graham.

As you know we are always looking for new people to appear in our 'Reader Under Spotlight feature, you don't have to be 'well known' or a long term user to be considered to appear in this 'spot'.So please contact Steve philofaxy at gmail dot com today. 

Thank you.


  1. Very nice to meet you!
    Great post. What size fountain pen (nib) works best for you, as a "daily carry?"

    1. I carry two with my diary, one with red ink, the other with black (hence the requirement for two pen loops). One's a Waterman, the other a slightly undersized Yard-o-Led. The latter is a little to small to write a lot with comfortably. Both have medium nibs.

  2. This was an interesting read thanks Graham. I was reassured, given your professional expertise, to hear about your use of multiple organisers, as I use many myself. And the article also indirectly helped me to appreciate that my own usage of organisers is essentially paper-based information management.

    1. You're welcome! I should add that I also use a multitude of computer programs to aid my organisation and information management. I can never find one program to do all I need just as I never find one folder layout/size to suit all my paper-based needs. I sometimes think I have too much in too many different places, but my customers think I'm unusually organised, so I must be doing something right :-)

    2. This is a great post Graham - really helpful! I'd love to know which digital tools you use and how you tie it all together :)

    3. Wow! That list would be as long as your arm, as I'm in the data business! The tools range from Outlook through various "organisation" packages such as Goalscape, Clibu, B-Folders, Connected Text, OneNote, Whizfolders, Personal Brain and Hyperplan, through to Word, various browsers and Visual FoxPro. Like my paper-based organisers, not all are in use all the time, and some just do one job. And as with paper-based organisers, I've given up trying to find one that does everything I need it to do and accepted that I need to use the best of each.

  3. Really great to read about your system. You are so very organized! I'm firmly rooted in the as-many-planners/binders-as-needed camp (or, as you said - cornucopia!). It is easier for me to stay organized and keep up with more projects and information this way. Thank you for sharing. : )


  4. Thanks Graham, this was a useful yet entertaining read. " I can stun a room into a coma within seconds by talking about it. So I won't. " Totally agree about the pen situation.

  5. Good to read about your setup and how you use your binders.

    Your approach of not relying upon multiple sections in your binders is a unique one.

    Thanks for sharing.


  6. I love this post! Not only entertaining to read, but some good points. While I have (way too) many organizers, I am always trying to whittle down how many are in use by using dividers. I like the idea of no dividers and using one organizer per subject. (And there goes my resolution to not change my setup this year!)

    Thanks for sharing.

    1. Thanks! Sorry to ruin your resolution so early in the new year ...


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