One Thing: The Original Filofax


Although my trusty Blackberry is always within easy reach, I have to say that I’m equally, if not more devoted to my Filofax. Though many have sounded the death knell of paper planners, nothing really engenders the same emotional reaction as a loose leaf planner filled with a calendar, note pages and To-Do lists.

My particular organiser has seen service on and off for the better part of a dozen years.  Readers may recall that last year I was trying out a Moleskine weekly planner. I liked it, but the style and format were too limited for my needs.  I turned to my elegant and trusty black Filofax personal size planner. It is a buttery soft lambskin that wears its age well.

I’ve added the Filofax to my One Thing list because, as you know, personal accessories are an important part of any man’s life. The things we carry and keep tell others what we value and how we think. Paper planners are tactile and personal in a way that electronic organizers – no matter how advanced – can never be. You can jot and note, doodle and make a list; turn a page or stash a newly acquired business card. They are tactile.

They are also reliable and portable. My computer may crash, but not my Filofax, and I can tuck that soft binder into any bag. And when that leather starts to show more wear and more scuff, I will be glad for the personality it imparts. Not so with a computer or Blackberry.

To me, like a flat leather folio, a worn-in Filofax is an elegant and incredibly personal item. It imparts a sense of intellectual anachronism, of curiosity and an appreciation for classics. The Filofax fits in nicely when going to meetings, can substitute for a notebook and is the perfect place for those loose scraps of paper currently cluttering up your bag.

These remarkably resilient tools have been around since 1921 and hold a certain cache due to the many elegantly constructed covers from which one can choose. An endless supply of refill pages, forms and calendar formats allows one to customize a Filofax to his exact needs.

Though my electronic tools have their place, I am constantly drawn back to this arguably old-fashioned method of organization. But, for me at least, that is the attraction. A beautiful pen and leather-bound agenda, notebook and planner make life’s daily tasks seem a little more special. And that is “one thing” everyone can use.


Chris Hogan, an association executive based in Washington, D.C., blogs at A lifelong interest in style and clothing led to sales and management positions at several Ralph Lauren stores and an active wardrobe consulting practice


  1. Chris,

    I must agree. I match mine with my father’s fountain pen and find it a great pleasure to use everyday. I enjoy the touch feel and look a fully used planner imparts. To me, it’s the difference between an e-mail and a handwritten note. An e-mail will NEVER replace a note written by hand.