2021 Diaries: Our Recommendations
Diaries are big business, never mind the advent of the smartphone and the calendar app, many of us prefer to have our life plans on paper rather than on a small screen. There is something about the ability to flick through the pages, keep notes and see a week laid out in front of you that offers a perspective lacking on a small screen. As with navigating by paper maps, you see the whole picture so much more easily and with many of us working from home now, portability is less of an issue.
Your choice of format says something about your way of working – do you need more space for appointments or notes? Do you like to see the whole week laid out? Or just a day at a time? The choice now is better than ever with lots of creative solutions – but which to choose?
Here is our guide to the best 2021 diaries that we have sourced for you.
This weekly notebook format is my favourite with the days of the week on the left and a page for notes on the right. It provides just enough space for a few appointments and reminders which are day-sensitive and then lots of room for to-do lists and general notes. Leuchtturm have a huge selection of different formats in lots of good colours including the Sage Green pictured, new for this year. Chose from hard or soft cover – the soft is my top choice.
Moleskine came along and revolutionised the sleepy diary market with their smart notebook approach. Did they kickstart the diary revival? Maybe, or perhaps it was just the resurgence of interest in all things analogue. Either way the Moleskine is the classic diary, available in all the main formats.
Mark + Fold
Short of just using a notebook, diary formats don’t come much simpler than this. Working on the principle that the designer should put less ink on the page than the user, these dairies have been carefully designed to have no ‘gumph’ or wasted space. The format is a week to view with vertical columns for each day. Their thread-sewn stitching allows them to lie completely flat, the paper is luxuriously smooth and thick enough even for the very inkiest pens and they come in numbered batches. You can even request a number.
If you prefer a bolder design then these colourful lie flat diaries from Peckham-based team The Completist are rather lovely. Their 2021 diaries have a week to view plus note page format which works so well but they also do an undated and unstructured daily version too. There are planning overview pages for each month as well as useful info charts, a ribbon marker and printed rulers. Plus it comes in a nice box so makes a smart gift.
Mark’s diaries have been around for years but still look like no other diary with their zip up covers into which you can stuff receipts, pens, keys, even a phone. They have a devoted following who wouldn’t use anything else but their weekly layout of vertical columns with time slots from early morning to late evening, monthly planning pages and tabbed sections. There are small and large sizes plus several smart designs and it starts early in September, so you can ease into your new diary without the sudden switchover.
The Uma undated planner is another week to view plus note page format but without any dates, so you start it when you like. This does mean you need to take care when adding the all-important days of the week – miss one out and you’ll be in trouble – but it allows you to skip wasting blank pages when you are on holiday and freeing yourself from the tyranny of the calendar year. The stripes look good too.
Papier 2021 diaries have a standard weekly layout but their USP is the personalised cover. They have lots of designs with everything from leopards and snakes through to patterns and simple smart graphics. You can add your name to the front or a photo if you prefer and they come so beautifully wrapped, they make a fantastic gift.
Remember the Filofax? Back in the 80’s no self-respecting yuppie would be without a personal organiser stuffed full of business cards (Raised lettering, pale nimbus..) but they are still around and still brilliant. The principle of a refillable diary is surely more relevant now than ever before and they are good value too. This one in ‘vegan leather’ comes with a weekly diary, notepaper, contacts pages, ruler and to-do lists plus you can add all your favourite extras like tube maps.
The MiGoals diary hails from Australia and whilst it ultimately follows the popular weekly diary and notebook format, it is highly prescriptive with features that prompt you to better organise your life. There are sections on setting and tracking goals, building a vision, to-do lists, managing your finances, monthly reviews and weekly wins and a daily habit tracker for every week. Sold as your personal life coach, the diary claims to help you achieve massive success through its clever motivational tools. Some people swear by them.
The Completist Mousepad
If you want to plan your week out on paper but don’t want a diary then how about this planner notepad? It has 52 pages, each with a week to view as well as spaces for to-do lists, notes and a section for the following week too. Keep it on your desk and it doubles up as a mousepad.