Tips for Choosing a Diary or Planner you’ll be Happy With …

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Around about this time every year I start looking for a new diary for myself for next year. I like a good, old-fashioned diary that I can carry in my handbag to help me be organised and remind me of all the things I need to remember. I personally prefer this to using my phone as I find it easier being able to open it up and see everything laid out … and also because technology and I don’t always get along!


Before I head to the shops, the first thing I do is take a few minutes to consider the diary I’ve been using and think about what I like and don’t like. This helps me look for something that will hopefully be an improvement on what I’ve been using. So, here is my list of things that I consider when choosing a diary:


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  • Size … I want something that is just the perfect size to fit in my handbag so I can carry it with me anywhere … that makes an A5 size perfect for me. If, however, you have to schedule lots of meetings or appointments, if you have a large family and have to juggle sporting commitments, after school activities and school events or if you have to take lots of notes, you might choose something larger. Look at how much space is allocated to each day and make a judgement as to whether that will be enough. Even go so far as to consider the size of the lines to make sure you will have enough room to write, particularly if you have large handwriting.


  • Weight … my handbag can get quite heavy so I don’t want a large diary adding to the weight. Once again, a narrow A5 size diary is perfect for me as it’s not too heavy or bulky … the larger the diary, the more it will weigh and the more room it will take up in your bag.


  • Quality … I always give my diary a good going over before I leave the shop to make sure it won’t fall apart quickly and easily. Will the cover stay attached for the whole year? Consider how the pages are bound together and look at the thickness of the paper … I can’t stand it when the ink bleeds through to the other side of the page … drives me a little crazy!


  • Layout … this will largely depend on how much you need to record in your diary. I like one week spread across 2 pages so I can see the entire week at a glance. Depending on how much you need to record and how many family members you need to manage, you might prefer one whole day to a single page or 2 days to a page … it’s really about what works for you. You might also want to consider if you need blank pages for notes or a section to record contacts and their addresses.


  • Appearance … like most things, diaries come in all shapes and colours. I tend to go for a diary with a dark cover so it survives the perils of living in my handbag 24/7 and doesn’t end up looking too shabby … boring I know but, what can I say, I’m a practical kind of girl. Having said that, there are so many pretty designs around, so if you love a bit of colour, buy a gorgeous diary that appeals to you and you’ll be more likely to use it.


  • What is it made from? I usually like a diary with a plastic or vinyl cover as it tends to protect the inside pages a little better. These types of covers are also easier to clean and a damp cloth is usually enough to remove any marks or stains from spills or sticky fingers.


  • Cost … Like anything else, everyone’s budget is a personal choice. I don’t typically spend a lot on a diary and I’m happy to head to my local $2 shop or discount store to grab a bargain. The diary I’ve chosen for next year only cost me $3.00 … damn I love a bargain!


So to help you choose, give it a bit of thought before you hit the shops. Write down the things you like about your current diary and the things you don’t like and try to improve on those so that you end up with one that looks good, meets your budget and is functional, practical and efficient.


So tell me, have you bought your diary for next year and what’s the most important feature for you?