Tuesday, 29 May 2012

Some planning realisations

This summer I have no essays, just 2 giant projects: my 20,000 word MA dissertation, and my PhD application. I have barely any appointments, and my shifts at work will be straight-forward. Therefore, I was planning on using a simpler planning method for this summer. If I had so few appointments, surely a week on 2 page planner in my personal filofax, or even in my pocket filo, or EVEN a week on 1 page planner, would suffice?

Well, I'm finding the answer is no. In my boring, long summers, the days go very quickly and I find that I have done barely anything all day. Worse, all the days merge into 1, and I can't even remember what day of the week it is! Suddenly, the summer is over and I feel like I have wasted all that time, during which I had intended to do so many things I had never finished or even started. So just now I realised that I don't need a simpler planner- I need a complicated one!!

Imagine 2 types of planners: a week on 2 pages filofax insert, and a day on 2 pages insert. The first one is almost empty because I feel like I have nothing to write in it. So I don't realise I actually have things to do that day, and what's worse, because I feel like I have nothing to do, even if there are things to do in it, I don't actually check it! Then, imagine the day on 2 pages insert. It is full of to-dos, notes, reminders, and even though there are no appointments, I have structured my day. It is all colour-coded and organised, unlike the week on 2 pages which is so unstructured it is a huge muddle. Because I know there are lots of things written on it, I remember to check it a few times a day. Even though I don't get everything done on that page, I get some of them done, and that's more than I would have got done if I were using the week on 2 pages insert.

So this is my plan: switch to my A5 filo, which I am going to use for dissertation/PhD stuff anyway. Print out a few day's worth of Steve and Ray's day on 2 pages A5 insert. Test it out! If it doesn't work, no big deal, that's the beauty of filofax- I haven't wasted money on a whole planner. But I think it will work better for me than what I'm using now...

I'll keep you informed!!

Saturday, 26 May 2012

Filofax hack: Pen loop inside the rings!

Hi everyone!

I have finally finished my last essay of my MA, now I have to do my dissertation and apply for PhD, but for now I have no immediate deadlines, so I have some spare time to write blog posts again!!

On Philofaxy's Free For All Friday yesterday Shanananana asked if anyone had tried to make a pen loop that could fit inside the rings of a Filofax, so a pen could slot in there easily. I thought about this, and it shouldn't be too hard. This morning I had a go at it, and it's quite easy to make. At first I only used sellotape, because it's cheap and I already had some, but when you work out how to make it properly you can use something nicer like washi tape. That's what I used for the pen loop I'm going to show you now. Here's my step-by-step instructions:

1) Choose a pen (or pencil) that's not too thick. I found that a Lamy Safari was too thick and the pages in my filofax couldn't turn properly. However, my Coleto 4-colour multi pen worked, and so any pen around this size, like a Bic multi-pen would fit, and also any pen that's less thick. The easy way to work out if your pen will fit is to slot it inside the ring mechanism and try to turn the pages- if they don't turn easily, it's because the pen is too thick. Also, a pen with a rubber grip on the barrel might not work well because it doesn't slide easily into pen loops. I find that I don't need rubber grips on my pens- so if your favourite pen has a rubber grip, but you still want to slip it into a pen loop, you could use Tracy's trick of putting a piece of washi tape over the rubber.

2) Get a fly leaf, or divider, or today ruler. It needs to be positioned in the middle of the pages in your filofax. So if you have 200ish pages in your filofax, put it at about the position of pg 100. This doesn't have to be exact, but roughly in the middle- this means that the pages shouldn't get stuck on the rings because the pen is in the way.

3) Get some sellotape, washi tape, masking tape or thin duct tape. Sellotape is quite thin, but is clear so is good if don't want the pen loop to look obvious, this is a good material to use. You might have to use quite a few layers to strengthen it. Washi tape is a pretty and colourful alternative, although because it is basically masking tape, you should use a layer of sellotape over the top and bottom to strengthen it.

4) Cut a short piece of tape, about the circumference of your pen barrel plus a few millimetres. Then cut a bigger piece, about 5 cm. It doesn't have to be exact.

5) Lay the small piece of tape around the barrel of your pen, non-sticky side against your pen. Then, while it is still against the barrel, lay the bigger piece of tape over the smaller piece of tape, sticky side down so that they stick together. Then stick the sticky ends of the longer piece together, so that the loop of the tape fits neatly around the barrel of the pen, and the rest of the tape sticks out. Slide the pen in and out of the loop to make sure it fits.

6) Next, take out of the rings the today ruler/fly leaf or whatever you are using and lay the loop between the 1st and 2nd holes and hanging over the edge of the ruler/fly leaf. It is positioned here so that the pen is easy to access from the top of the ring mechanism, and so that the pen fits inside the rings.

7) If the pen loop is wider than the gap between the rings, trim it to fit neatly in between the rings. This is so the pages turn properly, or else the tape will get caught on the rings and the rest of the pages won't move smoothly.

8) Take more tape and secure it to the fly leaf/ruler. Use enough tape to secure it so that the weight of the pen won't accidentally pull it off.

9) Put the fly leaf/ruler in your filofax.

10) Push the loop inside the rings, and close up the rest of the pages on top of it. It should hang neatly within the rings.

11) Slip your pen into the pen loop. Make sure the clasp (if your pen has one) goes outside the loop. This is so that the pen doesn't slip through the pen loop accidentally. Practice taking the pen out of the loop and slipping it back in. Then make sure all the pages in your filo move smoothly with the pen in the rings.

And there you have it!!

Sunday, 13 May 2012

The students' disease: End-of-term-itis

Hi everyone!

I just wanted to do a quick post to ask you something. I wonder if you get end-of-term-itis? It's like a condition where your brain just can't concentrate on school/uni/job work, because you are about to go on holiday or it's the end of term- all you want is for time to speed up, and your work to finish itself so you can have your break. Well, for me, I won't be having a holiday or anything, but still, it's going to be a struggle to keep my brain focussed. I have 2 big assignments due in this week- 1 essay and a big project, and so over the next few days I'm going to be working really hard on these to get them finished. Then, once these 2 are finished, I have another one due in for the next week. But whenever I hand my essays in, I suddenly lose all the adrenaline that kept me going over the last few days, and the lack of sleep (all-nighters!) and lack of food catch up on me. It's all I can do not to fall asleep as soon as I get home! But because I have very little time to finish the last assignment, I will have to start the whole essay-writing madness again on Friday morning! This is bad because I will be really tired from this week's work, and I procrastinate at the best of times, but I will really struggle to work because I know this is my last essay, and freedom is near. I know that is stupid, because I should keep telling myself "just a few more days' hard work and that's it", but I don't feel 'The Fear' during times like this. The Fear is that sudden realisation that you don't have enough time to finish doing what you need to do unless you work harder, and it pushes you to get on with it. I know it doesn't really hit me for the last essay of term, and this means end-of-term-itis infects me!

Well, anyway, I won't be having a summer holiday this year, but I will reward myself with a few days off at the end of my final essay.

Do you get end-of-term-itis? How do you combat it?

Friday, 11 May 2012

Yummy chocolate crunchie snacks

Cadbury make a product called 'Crunchie Rocks' which are yummy little mounds of corn flakes (or similar) and crunchie pieces smothered in chocolate :) But the little bag (which doesn't last longer than a couple of sittings) is very expensive for what it actually is! They look really simple to make, so I had a go!

All you need is a Crunchie bar, a medium size bar of chocolate (I got Tesco's cheapo version, it was about 30p), and some corn flakes/honey nut flakes etc. You could even do it with rice crispies!

It really easy: first just melt some chocolate. I did it in the microwave, but you could also do it on the stove. While that is melting, smash up your crunchie bar. I didn't have a mallet or anything, so I just hit it repeatedly against the edge of the worktop! Don't do it too much or the pieces will get too small.
When the chocolate has finished melting, sprinkle the crunchie pieces into the chocolate, and also a couple of handfuls of the cornflakes. Mix together well, and then dollop onto a plate or tin foil into equal sized little mounds. Then stick in the fridge to set. Mine were set within 1 hour 15 mins, but they may be done sooner than that, I didn't check.

This is what they look like! Not necessarily too appetising, but I blame it on the bad lighting! But they are really yummy!!

They are fun and easy to make, and kids would love to help make them! They would be brilliant for parties etc!!

Thursday, 10 May 2012

My Filofaxes: Videos

Hi guys!
I made 2 videos about my lovely filofax collection!! Enjoy xx

Part 1

Part 2