What Diary Am I Going To Use In 2021?

Filofax Malden in Ochre and two Filofax refillable notebooks


It's that time of year when I start mulling over which diary format is going to work best for me next year. 


For the majority of this year I have used an A6 size Hobonichi Techo with an yearly spread, a monthly section and a 'page on one day' for the main diary part.  And I started out with all good intentions but most of the diary has gone unused for obvious reasons. I have found out that I like space to plan ahead (birthdays, appointments, events) but I have noticed that I'm jotting down more reminders on post-it notes - not because my aged brain is forgetting things but more research notes for my weekly radio show. 


First, a couple of recommendations.  These are old favourites that have been tried and tested and I hop in and out of from time to time.  

1.  A Travellers Notebook system.  These are brilliant! It is generally a soft leather cover with elastic inside designed to hold multiple notebooks.  You choose which notebooks go inside but I've usually carry a diary, a jotter and pocket or zipper envelope for additional items.  I wrote about my first attempt at using a travellers notebook system here and then moved back into another one in 2019 for a while.  

2.  A Dodo Pad. Every year I use a Dodo Pad for one of my planning methods and I am LOVING their green and purple theme for 2021 (they used one of my pictures on their social media earlier this year to help promote their colour scheme).  My purchase this year will be the Dodo Pad desk diary (slightly bigger than A5) for work. It's such a great quality diary/notes system and I like to keep my day job and my personal diary separate so this is an ideal way to split the two. 


So, what will I actually be using as a personal diary in 2021? I must explain that a diary has to be more to me than a place to write notable dates in.  It needs to be a planner, a journal and a notebook,  I call it my BOAT (my Book Of All Things) because it's easier for me to have everything in one place. 


Filofax Malden with printed pages for WO1P with notes from Etsy
I have revisited my Filofax (a Personal Malden) in the last few weeks to see if this would work for me with some "week on one page (WO1P) with notes" inserts from Etsy and I've set this up ready because I think it will something I return to if my other system fails me! 

Next, I have made a conscious decision to change tack slightly and use a refillable notebook from Filofax.  I fell in love with the pastel Union Jack design on their website and just decided to purchase one on a whim.  I reviewed this product a few years ago and these notebooks do come with lots of pages however they are just lined, plain or grid/dot. This version comes with section dividers too and you can buy additional inserts in the form of annual/monthly planners but currently there are no WO1P or WO2P inserts.


self designed layout for planning in a Filofax refillable notebook
I decided that I could get a bit creative and design some pages that would help me keep my BOAT system on a "week to view".  I spent a STUPID amount of time drawing out layouts that I might use (thanks YouTube rabbit hole...) but eventually decided to keep it simple by dividing my page into three sections; one for bullet journal entries and tasks, one for notes and one for radio research. 

(aside : there is an opening here for a designer to get something uploaded to Etsy because there is literally no-one selling designed punched pages for Filofax refillable notebooks at the moment although some A5 digital downloads may work and you can buy the specific hole-punch on the Filofax website)

I'm going to use the divided sections of the notebook for forward planning, weekly planning, personal information that I need to reference regularly and radio show planning.  I'm currently using a separate notebook for the radio show but it's 2 years old and it's almost at the end of its life.  I did consider using my other refillable notebook for radio notes (see the original picture at the top of this blog post) but wanted to see if I really could keep everything in one BOAT.  If this idea doesn't work, at least the pages are movable and I can just slot them into the other notebook and continue that way.  


Pastel Union Jack refillable notebook from Filofax
I know I sound weird and a bit anal when it comes to planning but I have so many things going on that I need to ensure that I'm fully prepared for everything and that all tasks are completed effectively. I'm very much glued to my phone and have reminders and alerts set up on my Google Calendar but I will always return to my 'analogue method' of planning.


How do you choose a diary for the year?  What type of layout do you prefer? Do you use a notebook and a diary separately or just rely on your phone for reminders and notes now? Let me know! 



Typecast | What Diary Am I Going To Use In 2021 |  Diary selection for 2021 plus some recommendations


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