To Do lists vs. Ta Da lists

There has been quite some conversation going on in the new ‘Filo Focus’ group, and amongst other things we were talking about ‘hacks’ to keep your attention on your tasks and projects. I’m a classic case of non-DX’ed ADD (which gets A LOT better with taking omega 3-6-9 capsules… but only IF I DON’T FORGET TAKING THEM :p) so my life is based on To Do lists. If I don’t write it down, it doesn’t get done. The Post-It industry has profited a lot from my purchases over the last couple of years.

But, as I discovered many of you have experienced, I sometimes just can’t seem to start. I’ll be at home with a looong to do list but I get anxious at seeing all of those unfinished tasks (sometimes several pages, if I go all GTD and clear my hear on paper) and I just get, well, overwhelmed. At the end of the day I won’t have anything done.

At work, this happens to me too, sometimes. Luckily I have short deadlines (I work SO good under deadlines) and I get everything done just fine, but beginning, or planning my day, seems to be a struggle over and over again. I had two weeks off from work, at home with my son, and used that time to think things through before going back to work tomorrow.

So! I had to think of solutions. I started by analysing my problem. It all comes down to:

– being overwhelmed when seeing a large list of tasks, and not starting anything

– having the attention span of a mosquito

– feeling inadequate when I haven’t crossed EVERYTHING off in the evening, aka setting too high standards for myself

– loosing track of time

What have I tried the last week? Writing Ta Da lists next to my To Do lists.

Ta Da lists are a concept I use from the Flylady system. It’s a list of accomplishments. It really gets me motivated to see my Ta Da list in the evening and being happy with everything I’ve done. I still use my master To Do lists (in my A5 for work and in my Personal for, well, personal :p) but I write a task on my Ta Da list everytimes it is finished.

I started doing that at work a couple of weeks ago, on my Time Management inserts in my A5 Gillio planner: I write down what I’ve done, on what day, and what category it belongs to. That way I can see what project takes up most of my time.


That was working out great, so I’m now making Ta Da lists in my Filofax at home as well.



I also use a timer set to 15 minutes, because if I enter the bathroom to do some laundry, you can be sure I will discover something else that grabs my attention either on the way to the bathroom, or inside the bathroom. Like the shoe rack in the hall that could use some organisation or my ever growing stock of cosmetics that need re-arranging. The timer reminds me I was actually there for something else 😉

I can afterwards put this Ta Da list next to my master To Do list and cross off what has been done. The satisfaction of filling this little post-it is great, it encourages me not to leave it empty, and I try not to overthink: if I did it, it goes on the list. Not debating with myself over ‘is that really an accomplishment, taking out the trash?’. Yes. It goes on the list.

And I keep them in my planner for some days because I like how it reminds me I’m on track 🙂

Does anybody have other hacks to share?


Filofax Deco in Ivory

Beginning of this year, I stepped into Goldpen here in Wijnegem Shopping Center with my mom and asked the nice man there (aka Tom of Gillio) if they sold Deco’s. He totally lured me over to the dark side and Gillio-mania began, but I still wanted the Deco to serve as my diary, journal and on-the-go planner.

Last week, the wonderful Nati Zou sent me her personal sized Deco in Ivory after I’d been looking for one for quite a while. Here are some up close & personal (pun intended) pictures of the newest addition to my collection… I’m becoming quite the collector, although I’ve always screamed being a one-planner-girl… I guess that’s the influence Philofaxy-people are having on me! 🙂

As I still had the Croco Grey Compagna (before sending it out to the winner of my giveaway on YouTube), I thought I’d include some pictures comparing the two as they look a lot alike.

Picture heavy post!

First of all: here she is, my beautiful Deco. I’ve never been any good at naming my planners so I won’t 😉

It arrived in perfect condition with perfect rings, thanks Nati…

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The inside is lined with beautiful cream-coloured suède. It has one pen loop on the left but being right-handed, that’s not really a practical place for it to be – for me.

I keep my Swarovski pen in there but I usually carry a little pen bag around with Frixions so I only use it to scribble something on my post-it dashboard.

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On the left there are several credit card pockets, one large pocket and a zipped compartment, which is quite stiff – not suited for use as a wallet, I think. It would take me too long to get any cash out.

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The planner came stuffed with beautiful cotton cream inserts – I’ve never had these before but they are stunning, and so much easier to write on then the plain white ones… I wonder if they come in A5 too?

There is To Do-paper:

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Ruled note paper (ideal for journalling, with the little box at the top of the papers to write the date!)

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Plain note paper, more journalling-ideas coming up…

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Mileage-log paper (never seen those before!):

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And tabbed telephone papers – I think I might store some internet password clues in there.

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In the back, there is one large pocket, envelope-style, with a popper button. I’m storing keepsakes in there (cards, movie tickets, …)

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It’s also made of this wonderfully soft suède material, love how the colour slightly changes when you rub it!

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And finally, compared to the Gillio Medium Compagna in Croco Grey.

As you see, the colour is almost identical, I’d say the Deco has a more yellow-ish tone of beige then the Gillio.

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The strap of the Gillio is a lot wider (and the pen loop is on the correct side!), but… The Deco has that gorgeous lock!

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The Gillio has slightly larger rings, but I’m pleasantly surprised at how much the Deco can hold!

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By now, the Deco has been set up (more details on that later…) and the Gillio has been kissed, cuddled and sent off to a better home after my YouTube giveaway!

Any other Deco lovers out there?



Jonesing for the Deco

I’m sure all of you FF lovers out there will understand me. Sometimes, out of nowhere, a sudden urge emerges. A want, a need, a craving, a desire, whatever you want to call it: you suddenly feel that you *must* have something. In our cases, mostly a specific type of planner, whether it be a size you don’t have yet, a colour you fell in love with (Aqua Malden anyone?), or just some crazy Belgian chick showing you Gillio goodies online (sorry!). But that feeling emerges out of nowhere and takes over your mind completely.

When that happens to me, I can usually satisfy the sensation by overgoogling the specific item, watching YouTube videos, reading online reviews and then going to bed. The next days are then crucial in the process: were my itches scratched with all of the googling and YouTubing, or has that only ignited a bigger flame?

In the first case, I’m happy I didn’t act in the moment and have not ordered it right away. Because in this ‘I WANT’ buzz, you are sure to get buyer’s remorse if you don’t think it through. Money does not grow on trees so if you are watching your budget like me, you don’t want to spend the money you saved for Happy Shopping on something you’ll regret buying later.

But in the second case, after hours of googling, pinteresting, instagramming and iWanting, you decide to get it. New, second-hand, swap, whatever. I was very lucky yesterday that after jonesing the Personal Deco for several months (interrupted by the whole Gillio craze) I decided yesterday that I wanted to get it after all. Not as a planner, because personal size does NOT work for me, but as a journal. My gorgeous A5 green Gillio Amica is superstuffed with life and work, but has no room left for journaling, storing keepsakes, drawing and collecting memories. And in my mind, a journal has a very big lock/clasp 😉

So after googling and annoying you guys with my ranting that I wanted, no NEEDED to find a Personal Deco (in whatever colour but preferable Ivory), the lovely Nati Zou messaged me that she would sell me hers. It should be here beginning of next week, so my vacation can start with some lovely crafty journaling!

And if you don’t know what all the fuss is about, check out these beautiful pictures from Laurie!

DIY A4 organiser

A while back, I was looking for an A4 organiser. The Filofaxes available were all dull in colour, or just too expensive. Plus: I didn’t know if the big size would work for me. So spening over €200 on a ‘try’ was too much for me. I decided to make one myself with some left-over fabric, an A4 4-ring-folder and my mom to show me how to operate her sewing machine 😉

It’s not perfect, the stitching needs work and after using it for some time I can think of other pockets and functions it would need if I ever made another one. But it works!

I use it for the FM Academy that I teach: it holds all of my course materials, the course schedule, adresses of all of the venues my trainings take place and also the attendee lists. I only carry it when I’m on the road for trainings, and the participants are always very curious to see what that folder is all about 🙂

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NIAS – stationery shop in Brussels

Hello lovelies,

when I went to another meeting at Gillio beginning of June, Tom was so kind to point out that there was actually a HUGE stationery shop just around their corner! I don’t visit Brussels often and I’s never heard of it, it’s called NIAS. They have Filofax and Gillio and soooooooo many other things.

I’m not going to waste your time writing about it, it’s stationery walhalla, I will let the many many many pictures speak for themselves! Enjoy!

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Superficial Sunday: my Vuittons

I adore Vuitton. OK, not as much as I adore FIlofaxes and GIllio’s and washi tape… But it’s a close call. I also think they are greatly overpriced. I mean, it’s not even leather! But still. I adore them.

I wanted a real Vuitton for ages. I’d buy a fake one on holiday in Turkey, only to throw it away after two or three months: the stitching undone, the handles dirty beyond repair… Those fakes are not meant to last forever.

One of the clients of my little beauty salon owned 3 Vuitton bags, a wallet and a credit card holder. And also a lot of nice bags from Delvaux, which is (if I recall it correctly) a Belgian designer brand that is even more expensive than Vuitton, but all leather. I envied her bags every time she would come for her appointment. But then one day, she asked me: would you like to buy one of them? It was the Delightful MM in monogram. It looked like new. And guess what? She would sell it to me for only 100€. What a bargain! Of course I said yes.

And… this story went on and on in the weeks and months after that first purchase. She wanted to go ‘all Delvaux’ and ended up selling her entire collection to me! OK, it cost me all of my savings, haha, but what an investment: I now own a Delightful MM in monogram, a Neverful MM in damier azur, and… A Speedy 35 in damier ebene!! My dream purse!

Besides those 3 bags (one in each print, how lucky am I?), I bought her wallet and her credit card holder too. Twose five things together cost me, I think, about 600€ (spread out over the course of half a year). But they are worth well over 2000€! So I like to see it as a very good investment 😉

Like with my Filofaxes, I’ve never been very loyal to my purses or handbags. But since the Vuitton’s, I’ve only used them! So all of my other purses are just lying around, lonely… I should try to sell them online, I think. There is just nothing compared to a real Vuitton!

Sorry but I don’t have my camera with me, I’ll post some pictures later on. 

What are your superficial addictions?

xoxo M.

The two-calendar setup!

Hi guys!

For all of you that saw my last video about the Gillio and the Filofax, thanks for all of the lovely responses! I received some questions about my two-calendar Gillio setup so here are two pictures to clarify!

First of all, I use a week per page as a general overview. I colour-code everything: pink for personal (did I mention I am a pink freak?), purple for my home based business and extra courses, blue for work, green for my son.


On this overview I just note, well, where I am and any major appointments I have. Just to have two weeks at a glance, and since I have a co-parenting agreement with my ex, it’s easy to see when my son is with me or not, etcetera.

Then, I use a day per page for an overview of my day. I try to fill it out the night before. I divide the pages in half so I put appointments on the left and to do’s and reminders on the right.


I’ve used an A5 for years and I think this is the only way to make the smaller size work for me!

I have a year fold-out page in my A5 and I’m tempted to put one in my personal as well… But I haven’t so far 😉

xoxo M.