Keeping work at work

For the longest time my work life had been fully integrated into my personal life. Working in a client facing role meant being called in the evenings and on the weekends. It also meant I was one of those people who constantly checked my Blackberry because replying to work emails instantly seemed to be paramount. But, after 12-hour work days and not leaving work even after leaving work, I started to get burned out. It was bound to happen at some point.

I started to feel perpetually exhausted, moody and even started to get sick more often. So I made a decision to “curb my enthusiasm” when it came to work. I realized that while is work is important, so am I. Being unhappy and tired will not make me a good worker.

While I still work 12-hour days, on occasion, I’ve decided to make sure not bring work home. I’m trying my best never to check work emails in the evening unless I know I will expect an important email. I’ve started to keep my work planner and personal planner separate. I still maintain one diary but at least I don’t have to look my list of work to-do’s, meeting notes, etc..

I’m making a conscious effort to read more, relax more and just spend time with family and friends. I’ve put my extra time to good use as well. I’ve managed to pass two levels of my professional certification and I’ve started drawing / painting again. I have to say, while I still get stressed out occasionally, I do feel that I’m a happier person.

Filofax A5 Compact – Heritage – Quick review


I received my A5 Compact Heritage from Filofax today. There’s a nice detailed review done by Steve on Philofaxy which you can view there. But I thought I’d do a quick review on some of the issues I noticed. fullsizerender

  • NO pockets, not even a secretarial flap. This could probably help with those of us who have an overstuffing problem but still, none?! There is a leather flyleaf with a top opening which is slit in half at the back to slip in scraps of paper but it’s not big enough to carry an A5 size (or folded A4). This is a bit of a problem since I’m sure we’re all prone to having additional pages that we just want to stick in there.
  • No closure. This makes it essentially a ring-bound notebook. While it adds to the sleekness of the binder, it also means just throwing it in your bag or car may not be the best idea. I would always be worried of the book flying open.This also means again, it won’t hold loose paper like binder with snap closure or a zipper would.
  • It’s quite floppy. There’s no stiffener. While I love binders without stiffeners because the leather feels softer, this one seems to be a bit too floppy. Probably best used on a desk. I guess I’ll know better once I use it in full force.
  • The leather feels very nice and the color is simply superb. The cotton cream inserts lend a beautiful touch to it. It’s got a great look. Sleek, stylish, minimalistic. Makes it great for an upsize everyday carry. 

I’m glad I bought it. I wanted to grab it up before it got sold out or discontinued. I know I would’ve regretted it later if I had missed it.

Interesting new options from Filofax

I have to say, Filofax has come up with a number of interesting new options for their binders. When I say options, I mainly mean size. Over the years Filofax has brought us many beloved binders with different kinds of leathers and inside pocket layouts. But this time, in a very short span of time, they decided to bring out some options that I’ve been longing for:

  • A simple compact layout for the A5 – The new Heritage Binders. While I loved the freedom of the A5 size, carrying it around always seemed like a horrific pain in my neck, literally. They had the Boston which was pretty popular, never could find one when I wanted to buy it and then they had the Clipbooks which I used for a while but rings were still way too big. The Heritage seems perfect now.
  • A full length back pocket on the Personal / Personal Compact  – The Classic Croc – One of the main reasons I struggled between A5 and Personal was the need to carry loose A4 paper. With the A5, it was simple to fold it in half and stuff into the pocket. While this feature of the full length back pocket was always there on the Pocket size binders, I don’t think I’ve ever come across one on the Filofax Personal size. The Classic Croc has a luxurious leather and the Personal Compact size has quickly become my favourite because its seems to cater to all my needs.
  • Finally the slims – Personal Slim and Pocket Slim – While not exactly my preference, I can see how they can appeal to people who want to carry lightweight while travelling or even for people who don’t carry bags. This is so convenient to be stuffed into a pocket. I know FF did make Personal Slims in the past but, these look way better and the color options on the Lockwoodare superb. The pocket slim is also a welcome edition and I might just end up buying one.

I would seem that Filofax may be following the comments and posts made by the Philofaxy community. We finally have options that we have been wishing for. Also, by the way, there are some great reviews of the Heritage A5 and the Slim on the website worth checking out. 

*Disclaimer: I am not affiliated with Filofax in any way. I just happen to love their products for many years now.*

Win by making you weaker

Today I came across a few sentences in a book that seemed so appropriate for some people I know. I know the words are said in a different context in the book but, they still seem to apply.

Seen ’em all over the country and in the homes – people who try to make you weak so they can get you to toe the line, to follow their rules, to live like they want you to. And the best way to do this, to get you to knuckle under, is to weaken you by gettin’ you where it hurts the worst. … you’re up against a guy who wants to win by making you weaker instead of making himself stronger

~Ken Kesey “One Flew Over the Cuckoo’s Nest”

It got me thinking of so many people who I work with. In the corporate world and probably in other settings too, this is a common phenomenon I’ve come across.

People seem to want to put you down, instead of building themselves up. I would think that it would be easier to actually better yourself to look good instead of trying to look good at someone else’s expense. But sadly, the reality is that this world is full of insecure people. People who think that the best way to get ahead is by blaming others or making others seem inadequate, when it’s actually them who are inadequate themselves. People fear the unknown and the insecurities give rise to bad behaviour and you end up working with a bunch of toxic people.