Friday, October 26, 2012

Press Review 2 : Louis Vuitton's stationery line

Another article I found that I thought you guys might like!

Louis Vuitton to diversify its activities into pens and stationery

Again, the article is in French, and I'm available to translate it if someone is interested in the details, but I'm not sure I'm allowed to publish a translation here.
Basically LV will be selling very high end pens and stationery before Christmas. They are talking about leather (alligator) pens, paper, colored inks stored in Baccarat crystal bottles, and leather notebooks and covers, and want to compete with Montblanc, Hermes, and S.T. Dupont. We should know more in a month apparently.

So, who is working on their Christmas list right now?...

Wednesday, October 24, 2012

Organization : home

As you may remember, we have just move into a new country. That meant we had a perfect opportunity to go through all the paperwork we accumulated over the past few years, and to set up a new system.
I went for something super simple, so I'm not sure it's any interest for you guys, but since it's working so well for me I thought, even if it only helps one reader, it was still good to describe it :)
I first divided everything in different categories : home (which contains rent information, insurance, appliances instructions booklets,...), car, bank, work (contracts, pay slips...), electricity, phones, etc.
I created an 'archive' binder for each category, which contains past years of data that I still need to keep (check online, but in my country you're supposed to keep the past 5 years for almost everything).
All these binders, I'm lucky enough to be able to store them in our basement, which is perfect : easily reachable should I need them, but not in the middle distracting me from every day business. In the past, having to pick up a huge and heavy binder just to put in the last bank statement for instance, meant I would wait 3-4 months to do it...
For all the current business, the past 6 months of statements and such, I bought a file for each of my categories. I haven't talked about it yet, but you know me, everything is color-coded :) So my Home archive binder is yellow, and the smaller file I keep upstairs is yellow too. These files are easy to grab, to identify, they make it easy to check something or file away something you just received in the mail. It's also very easy to take whatever is old enough (usually the back of the file) and archive it in the binder.
For whatever I have that need action, I leave it out on the counter and do it ASAP. It's the only way it's ever going to get done anyway...

Monday, October 22, 2012

Back to school time!

I'm so excited... I register for a new degree!
You guys may have picked up from my posts or my tweets that I'm not happy at all with my new job... I started it a month ago, and it took me forever to find a job in the first place... but I decided to react quickly this time.
I'm not able AT ALL to leave this job (because finding a new one takes forever, screw this economy), but if I continue like that I know I'm headed for a depression! So the idea is that I registered for a distance course in accounting. I liked the topic at school, and you always hear it said that accountants can always find a job, whatever the state of the economy is. It would complement well my resume. Focusing on learning something will improve my morale. I have a one-year contract right now, so I registered for 2 classes for the moment (you have to take 7 to get the final degree), and we'll see how it goes.
This opens up a new topic of consideration for me : how will I organize working full time, managing my finances and debts, being with my fiance, working out and feeling sane overall, and now studying for a Masters??
I know a bunch of you guys do it, or have done it. And the bigger part of you have done it using their Filos :)
Can you help me? Any sort of advice is more than welcome!
Organization, planning, following a learning plan... I need to know how to do all that so I can succeed :)

Saturday, October 20, 2012

Press Review 1 : Clairefontaine paper

Clairefontaine's manufacturing secrets

I stumbled across this slideshow the other day. I'm sorry, it's in French :( Basically it is a visit of Clairefontaine's plant in France. I was geeking out when I found it and thought you guys would be the only ones understanding my excitement!

It's a slideshow with comments, not an article, so I think it will be interesting even if you don't understand French, but let me know if you want me to translate something specific (if I'm allowed?...)

I learnt how energy consuming this industry is. I had never really thought about that before, but really our passion is not kind on the planet... I also learnt that almost all of Clairefontaine's operations are maintained in France, and that 60% of its revenue are made there. They also were very reluctant to start distributing their products in supermarkets, and still have different offers between supermarkets and small specialized retailers!

Sunday, October 14, 2012

My new set-up, part two

I've been reading about Getting Things Done for a few years now. I've always been an organizational geek, so when I discovered David Allen and his system, I was in heaven. I read everything I could find that was free, especially off the official website, because I'm poor thus cheap! That means that I only read the book this summer, when I had the opportunity to borrow it. I wasn't disappointed, and decided to include a bunch of GTD ideas in my set up. I won't explain the whole system here because I think you guys basically know the principles of GTD, but if anyone wants to talk about it please let me know in the comments!
So my new set-up is a balance between the cutesy I love, GTD ideas, being plain enough for work... perfectly adapted to me :)

As I was saying in my previous post, I now take this binder more or less all the time with me. It starts with the same cards as before in the cards slots, I only added my ID and some business cards, as well as a blue BIC pen in the pen loop. You'll see I try to color-code my entries, and blue is for the 'personal' stuff. I also have a pencil in the second one.
I have the fly leaf right at the beginning, with a variety of post-it notes on it. Right behind it there's a sheet protector and then some draft paper. I took the calendar pages I haven't used and turned them upside down. I did 'erase' the dates to make it less confusing... This part is basically my 'capture' area. I'm trying to make it easy for me to collect my ideas and thoughts, wherever I may be : small post-it notes to quickly jot down something, sheet protector to insert a note I might have taken from somewhere else, blank pages...

Right after that I have my registration page, personal information page, and my 2012 goals mind map.

The next section is my 'next actions' and 'waiting for'. Like last time, I used washi tape to mark my tabs, this way I can reuse the section page easily. In this section I have, again, a bunch of blank pages. The context is written at the top of the page, and actions and waiting fors are separated by these pretty postcards, on which I put Tracy's Martha Steward for Staples tabs :)

The next section after that is the calendar itself. I start with a year calendar I printed off the internet, and then monthly calendars I made and printed. They have a section at the bottom that uses Ray's monthly planner main parts. I decorated them with the tape Tracy sent me. Here I write the main events of the day, like trips for instance. I also use them to track my weight.

Then I have my week on two pages calendar. I try to color-code my week so it is more readable. Black ink is for work, blue for personal, pink for sport, brown for blog, and purple, bright blue, green, orange for everything nice :)

I write down the appointments in the time slots, use the remaining of the column for to do list and a summary of my day. Most of my to-dos are on the next actions lists, so in the calendar you'll only find things to do on a specific day.

After the calendar I have a 'Projects' section. It starts with a list of all the projects inside, and then the main ones are identified with Tracy's tabs. I have Finances (I designed my Finance sheets, so I could follow my budget), Sport (with my C25K training plan, list of workout, etc.), everything about our move here (budget, plan of the apartment with dimensions, shopping list, infos...), Next summer vacation... There are a few more blank pages here as well so I can insert them where I need.

Then I have my 'Someday/Maybe' section. For the moment it's just a list of things I may or may not pursue... This section feels very liberating, I must say! It allows me to think about things I may not have the time or money to do for the moment without feeling guilty.

And finally, my 'References' section, of which I am most proud. I decided to organize my references with my alphabetical tabs. I have a first sheet here on which I have my access codes to a bunch of sites, written with a code of course. Right behind that I have a 'work' page where I put all the important contacts from work + my MS exchange access to Outlook. And then, I have a summary of what is behind each tab. For instance, under 'EF', you'll find a page about Filofaxes :) (more specifically, ideas about set-ups). So behind these tabs I have the corresponding contacts, and then a few references. Under 'OP', with my organisation-related notes, I have my GTD notes.

And then, we have some business cards, and my beloved notepad.

Here you go, my new set-up! I really like it, it's easy to use, and to find everything I need. The only thing is that it's quite heavy...
What do you think? Did you see any ideas you liked? Do you use GTD? Have you solved the 'I need all this with me but my back is breaking' problem?

Friday, October 12, 2012

My new set-up, part one

Every year, I feel like September is the best 'good resolutions' time for me, and that it's truly my beginning of the year, much more than January. This year it's even more so, as we had a true back to school period! We left our previous jobs around June, moved out, moved in with my parents for the summer, then both started new jobs in a new country we had to move to early in September. And just like when I used to start school, I found myself in need of a new planner with a new system. I actually did call it back in June in my first set-up post)

As you may recall from this post, I used to carry my Malden Pocket in Vintage Pink around with me all the time, using it as my wallet and writing everything in it. Then my Chameleon A5 in Aqua Blue was my stay at home Filo, where I would detail my day and think more long term.
With the move and then a new job beginning, it became more and more difficult to sync both my 'stay home' A5 and my 'always with me/wallet' pocket. Also, I needed something much bigger for work. Not necessarily because I've lots of work that I want organized, but because I need a place to vent and something to use that will make me feel better and a little excited about my job. But more on that later!

So I decided to transform my stay home A5 into my one and only Filo. My beautiful Pocket Malden is being retired for the moment, and it breaks my heart because I love it so much, with its delicate leather and wonderful smell... I miss stroking absentmindedly at the cash register. I'm glad my wallet is leather too :)
So now I'm only with my Leon. My blank pages and archives are all in my A5 Finsbury. I adapted the Getting Things Done system into this binder (a little bit), so I'll tell you more about that in a different post. In a third one, I'll tell you how exactly is the binder set up and drown you in pictures! I bet you can't wait :)

Friday, October 5, 2012

Long time no blog...

But I did use my Filos!
I've missed our wonderful community quite a lot this summer. I tried to read your posts and your tweets from time to time, but it's just not the same!
I'm almost ready to go back to my routine. Our move is more or less done, and I'm (very slowly) getting settled at my new job (thanks for your help with that!!) We still don't have the internet though, so I don't know how much posting I'll be able to do from my phone...
Anyway, I need to tell you about my new set-up (September will do that to you...) and inserts, so watch this space!
Ah... I've missed you guys!