Filofax series 1: Five must have sections for a functional binder

Ring binders are my favorite kind of planner because of the infinite options and possibilities to customize it to your life style. With them, you can create your own planning system and change it as your life changes. Filofax is only one of the MANY brands out there that makes ring binders, and even though it is not the only one, it is definitely one of my favorite brands for so many reasons, mostly because of the quality of the binders – although I am yet to try a van der Spek, and because usually the rings are in good state.

If you are new to the planner community or to binders for that matter but want to learn more, I created this new series where I will break down section by section the different components that can be carried in one single binder and that can become part of your planning system. I hope that this series will help you and many others to understand better how you can create a system that will help you be more efficient, manage your projects and waste your time wisely.

Let’s begin then!

For a binder to become a functional planner, it needs to host the sections that will help you manage your life, know your to dos, your priorities, give you an overview of your month, weeks and days and also be the place where you can consult to remember something, guide you to manage your time better and where you can get an idea of the things that you need to adjust in your life to be more efficient and reach your goals or dreams, or simply, have a less stressful life.

There are hundreds of videos out there and also blogs where you can learn more about the different planning systems that can help us figure out what system will work for us. From my experience after many years of using a planner, I know what works for me and what doesn’t. I also learned that planners change and planning systems change, just as life also changes. Our system needs to be functional and host the different areas of our lives at a particular moment in our lives. For example, my system is not the same now as it was when I was in high school or college. It has changed and my binders now look completely different from 10 years ago. However, there are a few sections that I always carry with me because I know how my brain works and I know what I need to have with me in my binders.

I would say that for a binder to be functional, it has to host sections that will be useful as you navigate life’s needs, for example, if you are a stay at home mom, your binder will probably have different sections that will serve your needs. My binder will probably look a little more complex than someone who only works as a stay at home mom. Whatever you do, I think the following sections will still help you remember things, plan better and establish your own vision of where you want to be and help you get there.

In this series in my blog I will break down the sections that I think are basic to a binder for an efficient planning system, regardless of what you do for work. These sections are:

1. A dashboard

2. A calendar – yearly, monthly weekly and daily

3. A notes section

4. A brain-dump

5. A lists section

These different sections I believe, are the core of a planning system. Together they will help you move forward and take actionable steps on a monthly, weekly and daily basis so that you get things done, manage your time better and make your projects happen. MOST importantly, they will keep you up to speed so that you avoid procrastination.

Do you have another section in mind? Am I missing anything that you think a planning system should have? What works for you?

Please let me know in the comments section. In Part 2 of the filofax series we will talk about the dashboard and how to make it functional and what role it has in a planning system.

For now, happy plans and stay tuned for the next episode of this series.

Em Jorden



5 thoughts on “Filofax series 1: Five must have sections for a functional binder”

  1. May be a reference section? I have a few contact pages that I’ve been carrying from planner to planner for almost 6 years now. They contain a few emergency telephone numbers, few reference numbers like frequent flyer numbers for the family, hospital file numbers, and some work reference info like accounting ratios etc. Things I would need always.


    1. Good idea! For me, i use an electronic tool for that, thinking that i change planners all the time but it’s a great idea to add it to the planner, you never know when your phone will die!

      Liked by 1 person

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