It’s always exciting to choose a new dayplanner at the beginning of the year.* Like a set of New Year’s resolutions, the blank canvas of a new planner holds so much promise for the experiences of your year to come. But it’s also an important purchase that requires some careful thought — because ultimately this book is meant to keep your life organized!
To ensure you make the right purchase, read on for 5 factors to consider for picking out the right dayplanner for your needs.
* We’ll disregard electronic daily planners. They may serve the same purpose — but they’re just not as fun to shop for!
1. Interior Format
Dayplanners are typically available in two interior formats: Week-at-a-Time or Day-at-a-Time, while monthly overviews are often available as a supplemental feature. Monthly overviews are good for people who like to plan in advance and are best for seeing overviews for travel, holidays, and important deadlines.
Day-at-a-Time planners typically have a page for every day of the year and are ideal for the detail-obsessed person. Allowing you to focus on each day, these are excellent for people who have a lot of appointments or who want to record more detailed information about their days like phone calls, expenses or tasks. For anyone else, however, Week-at-a-Time planners will probably be a better fit. Often, this is the most popular interior format because visually it shows its user an entire week at a glance (with every week of the year fitting on a single two-page spread), making it easier to see how their schedule will look for that week. This gives a much better overview than with a Day-at-a-Time planner.
If the Week-at-a-Time format is your ultimate choice, you would then have to decide on a Horizontal, Vertical or Verso format. This decision ultimately comes down to personal preference. The benefits of each:
- Horizontal: The most common format, with horizontal spaces for each day
- Vertical: Each day has a long vertical column. This allows for long lists or for a full chronological list of a day’s events.
- Verso (or Week + Notes): Typically has a horizontal week on one page and space for notes beside it on the opposite page. This allows for a list of tasks and events to go on one page with a schedule for them on the other.
2. Size Of Dayplanner
The dayplanner size that best fits your needs will depend on a number of factors: how portable you need it to be and how much writing space you need.
Sizes (and their approximate dimensions) include, from smallest to largest:
- Micro: 70 x 90 mm | 2.75″ x 3.625″
- Mini: 95 x 140 mm | 4″ x 5.5″
- Midi: 120 x 170 mm | 5″ x 7″
- Slim: 90 x 180 mm | 3.75″ x 7″
- Ultra: 180 x 230 mm | 7″ x 9″
- Grande: 210 x 300 mm | 8.25″ x 11.75″
Click on the chart on the right for size comparisons.
If you like to take your diary everywhere you go than it needs to be small enough to fit in your purse, or, smaller still, to fit in your pocket. Micros, Minis, Midis and Slims may work best. However, it might be advisable to go bigger if you have a lot to write and your writing tends to be on the bigger end of the spectrum. Ultra- and Grande-size dayplanners are good if the planner never leaves you desk.
3. Supplemental Features
The amount of extra pages and supplemental features may be important as well. These features — everything from maps, conversion charts, holiday lists and address book inserts — can transform a typical dayplanner into so much more than just being an agenda. Examples include:
- Monthly planners for for the year
- National and international holidays & celebrations summary
- Useful telephone numbers and websites
- International dialing codes and emergency numbers
- Clothing sizes, measurements, and temperature conversion tables
- World time zone chart
- Travel planning memo page
- Birthdays page
- Important dates memo page
- Lined notes pages
- Year planner for the following year
- Holidays & celebrations for the year
- Convenient, removable address book insert
Some of these features may be more useful or important to you than others. Create a list of preferred supplemental features and, when choosing your dayplanner for the year, check if it has them.
4. Quality of Book
Something else to consider is how nice or high-quality you’d like your dayplanner to be. Typically the nicer the book the more expensive it will be. Factors to look at: binding, paper quality, and additional features (closures, pouches, ribbon markers).
Your choice in binding depends on how well-built you want or need the planner to be. Do you need a finely-constructed book that can weather any storm or is your book generally always going to be in a safe place (like on your desk)? If you’re carrying your planner everywhere or the thought of pages falling out horrifies you, you may want to bypass that cheap dollar-store planner and spend a little extra on a finely-bound one.
Paper Quality: You may be fine with any kind of paper or you may specifically like something higher-grade. Higher-grade paper will have a smooth finish, a high opacity (the extent to which printing on one side of the paper will be visible on the reverse side) and minimal to no feathering. Feathering occurs when the ink spreads out on the page (go here for an example.)
Finally there are the additional features you might look out for: ribbon markers, memento pouches, closures (elastic bands, metal clasps, magnetic wraps, etc.) But again, the nicer the book the more you may have to spend!
5. Cover Design
Even the cover design of a dayplanner can be important. A nice cover design could inspire the user to bring it out more. But also, the environment you’re using it in may be important too. If you’re using it in a conservative workplace, you might want to go with something more subtle (think Paperblanks’ Old Leather or Pocket Companions covers) or elegant (ex. Baroque Ventaglio Collection), as opposed to a more colorful or lively design (ex. Laurel Burch Collections).
Have We Missed Anything?
If we’ve missed anything important feel free to tell us in the comments section below!
About Paperblanks: We have been producing superb writing journals for nearly twenty years. We are book people, and we believe that the written word matters and that our blank books have a critical role to play in the art and continued practice of writing itself. For more about Paperblanks, go to our website at paperblanks.com.