The 10 Best 2021 Diaries

top 10 2021 diaries

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.

The Best

Leuchtturm1917

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.

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top 10 2021 diaries leuchtturm1917

The Original

Moleskine

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.

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top 10 2021 diaries moleskine

The Simplest

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.

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top 10 2021 diaries mark + fold

The Eye-Catching

The Completist

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.

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top 10 2021 diaries completist

The Coolest

Mark's

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.

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top 10 2021 diaries mark's

The Unstructured

Notem

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.

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top 10 2021 diaries notem

The Personalised

Papier

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.

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top 10 2021 diaries papier

The Sustainable

Filofax

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.

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top 10 2021 diaries filofax

The Structured

MiGoals

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.

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top 10 2021 diaries migoals

The Alternative

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.

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top 10 2021 diaries completist

What’s your favourite diary? Are you a daily or weekly person? Pocket or desk? Did we miss anything for 2021 that you would like to suggest? Please leave us a comment below.

14 Comments
  1. Mark’s Colors.

    An outfit called BureauDirect 🙂 used to stock Rhodia diaries with QuoVadis paper; when they stopped I thought I’d never find a replacement, but I love the Mark’s ones – on my third now.

  2. I’d prefer to see the inside immediately along with the size. That is the main decision. Covers come later. Do any of these have a lined, dated, page a day? I get fed up of having to click and open up everything to find out and so I give up.

    1. Fair point Linda, we did look at having the inside image too but so many have multiple formats anyway (Leuchtturm, Moleskine) and some have no pictures on their website of the inside for us to use. Often there are several different formats within the same diary – weekly and monthly planning pages for example. I tried to describe the basic format in the text, as most diary reviews do concentrate on the cover as you say, and then I guess you need to check and see if it has the finer details you are after. Size – they are all A5, some have a pocket version too, should have said that somewhere, sorry.

  3. Hah. All nice but none of them I’m using. A Midori page-a-day is it for me. Undated pages. Hefty block of MD cream paper A5 that can stand a beating. Loads of space to jot down appointments and doodles and daily habits with room to spare!

  4. I’m a bullet journal user now (I use Leuchtturm dot notebooks rather than their dedicated bullet journal books), but before that I used weekly notebook diaries and was endlessly frustrated in my attempts to find one that allowed the same amount of space for weekend days as week days.
    When I worked in an office all my work related appointments were on the electronic calendar system, so I mainly used the diary for personal appointments and events, and I had far more of those at weekends than in the week!
    Even though I no longer use such diaries, I still look to see whether anyone has addressed my problem!

    1. If you look at the Top Ten, you will see that both the Mark+Fold and the Notem Uma give equal weight to the weekends. Someone was listening to you it seems …

  5. I’m incredibly fussy when it comes to a diary/planner. It’s taken me years to discover my favourite, Erin Condren! They’re US based and are expensive but well worth it in my opinion. You can even get interchangeable covers, they bring out new ones throughout the year including themed, holidays, seasons plus you can even have a cover with your own photos on and just switch it to your new planner each year. They have a variety of formats and loads of cool accessories!

  6. I like castelli – made in Italy so not shipped from China, with lovely paper and colours – orange for me for 2021!

    1. Hi Paul – You may suggest it, and I love that style of stationery. It is tempting just because it looks so smart. Not sure it works well enough for me, although I am tempted. I am guessing it has a day for weekends, and I also like the weekly view as it helps keep me on track over a week. But it might be the best solution to buy for me. Love how it has daily inspirational quotes…in Japanese

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