Thursday, September 2, 2010

Chic Habits: Using a Diary/Planner

When I used to work as an office administrator I had my work planner, and I had my own personal A5-size diary, quite slim-line which I used to carry everywhere with me. It organised my life. My personal diary had a week-to-an-opening so I could see the entire week at a glance.

I wrote in everything:

- personal expenditure to track my budget.
- recurring appointments like the doctor or leg-waxing (the thrifty me now shaves my legs).
- birthdays: at the beginning of a new year I went through my diary and wrote in every birthday for family and close friends. That way I never forgot a birthday or was surprised and at the last minute had to rush out and find a gift.
- Personal care I wanted to do regularly, so for example I made a note when six weeks was to book a haircut or 13 weeks to have my highlights redone. I also had a note twice a week to exfoliate and apply a mask after dinner.
- Errands I wanted to run on a certain day.
- Plans for a day off.
- I noted things after the fact too - when my fridge was serviced in case there was further problems, and also when I met my husband - I wouldn't have remembered the exact date otherwise and I like knowing those sorts of things.
- Due dates of bill payments.
- Exercise planned.

You get the drift. Just like a list, it was satisfying to tick off items actioned. If they weren't I could shift them to the next day if it was appropriate.

When I left this job and started working with my husband in our own small retail business, I stopped using a diary. I relied on a big wall-planner at work and little notes for myself. I thought it seemed pointless copying down appointments we had on our wall-planner into my diary. More than five years later I am wondering why I'm not as organised as I used to be.

So I've decided to go back to what I know works for me. September isn't the best time to buy a diary so I have ruled up some pages in an exercise book to tide me over until the end of the year and get back into the habit of tracking myself with a diary.

Instead of feeling restricted, using a diary so much is actually very freeing. Once it is written down I am released from remembering it and it is there waiting for me when I open the page to that week.

I will be out hunting for a new 2011 diary as soon as they become available. I will get the same style that has always been useful to me - not too big because then I won't slip it into my bag to take home or to work, and not too small as to be useless.

I really think good organisation is a key to being chic. How can you feel serene and in control if you're late paying a bill or you've forgotten your brother's birthday?


  1. I've done this since 1979 and have kept all of these books! I even write down what I serve for dinner every I think I am abit compulsive actually confessing this here!

  2. Oh, I like that idea Leslie. I don't think it's compulsive at all (some may beg to differ though).

  3. Fiona, I do feel so much better and get much more done when I use a planner. I went to an electronic device for a while but came back to the paper style. I try to sit down with my planner every morning and on Sunday to get my day and week organized. The times when I don't use a planner, I feel a bit frazzled. So, yes, it is a chic thing to do!

  4. Sitting at my desk at work is a buttery leather day planner that is practically empty. I used to use it and don't anymore, but i'm digging it out tomorrow and putting it to use. I am so much more organized when I have a list of things that need to be done and reminders. I use my computer calendar for birthdays and such but the day to day stuff is where I get lost. Great post and thanks for the reminder. I like your ideas of what you write down too. Hair appointments are important!

  5. I have probably used every size and style of planner ever invented. Since I'm a "stay-at-homer" now, Ive made my own.

    There is a link in that post to the Planner Pad Co. You would probably like the Planner Pad and they have one that starts in the middle of the year as well as undated...

  6. I couldn't agree with you more, but I never realized the extra benefits with regards to being so chic. Beautifully shared. Thanks for sharing your list as well of what you would include in your journal.
    I can't imagine living without my PDA to do list.I live by it so I can turn my brain off. It really does put my mind at ease and let me focus on other things.
    Also, I wanted to thank you for your lovely comments on the blog today. I really appreciate it. I'm happy to have met you and look forward to visiting your blog as I love your premise.
    Enjoy the rest of your week. :)

  7. My husband and I have each already picked up lovely leather 2011 planners, mine larger in purple, his a smaller black one. I am nearly giddy imagining writing in it come January!

  8. Oh - I have met a kindred soul who also loves the therapeutic act of journaling daily snippets of life.
    Show us your chic journal.
    Right now I am using the Kate Spade journal, a spiral ring, great size and I love that it fits in my bag, just the right size.

  9. I have been using a paper diary since college and couldn't exist without it! Well...not with any real peace of mind anyway! I think my friend's actually see it as my signature since I always have it with me! And nothing is more exciting than the blank pages of a fresh new year!

  10. I am always enthralled by paper planners, but I have to admit that going electronic helped me a lot. I have a Google calendar for work and my personal life, and it's really easy to find anything I've entered in the past - like if I search for "haircut" I can see every haircut I've gotten since 2006! It's really helpful for doctors appointments, etc.

  11. I have used a Moleskine pocket weekly diary for at least 15 years now. I only use pencil in it, as every time I have used ink, I need to cancel the appointment or it gets cancelled for me! I love it and I keep the old ones (they are small like 3x5) as I find I always need something, whether it is for legal, accounting or simply to remember how life was "this time last (or that) year. Great post!

  12. Cherie, I've never tried an electronic planner before, but I do really love a paper planner. Actually writing things down cements them in your brain I think.

    Stephanie, your leather organiser sounds gorgeous. I love it when something you realise you need, you already have. Just a few days so far of writing things down I have achieved more and feel more in control.

    Adrienne, your custom planner is such a good idea, and thanks for the link.

    Simply Luxurious, thanks for visiting. Your blog is so beautiful. I agree, write it down or type it in and then you can forget about it. Makes your face more serene if you're not trying to remember everything you want to do.

    Marie, your planners sound divine!

    PVE, I love reading back in older planners. Of course I don't have any from the past five years, more's the pity.

    Eurochic, thank you for visiting. I love that a planner is your signature.

    Anon, thanks for the tip on google calendar. I'll have a look at that.

    Debra, another Moleskine devotee! Maybe I can look into a Moleskine planner for 2011. Pencil's a great idea - I may do that too.

  13. Hi Fiona,

    I just heard about the big earthquake in NZ and am thinking about you, your husband and family. I hope all of you are okay and that your home and your business suffered no damages. Living in California, I know how terrifying earthquakes can be and I'm sure you must be traumatized. They say it was a very long one. Yikes!
    I'll be sending positive thoughts to you and yours and hope things are restored to normal soon.



  14. Adrienne, you are such a doll. Thank you so much for your concern. We live in the North Island and so are not affected, but I have family right where it happened. Thankfully they are OK and it seems that because it was the middle of the night there were minimal casualties. Not the same can be said for the housing and infrastructure though. It's just awful, and a huge financial cost for a small country.

  15. Fiona, I'm so glad to hear that you and your family are fine. Coming on the heels of the small plane crash, it was dreadful to hear of the earthquake. Best to you all.

  16. Patricia, thank you so much for your concern. The plane crash was terrible news as well. It's not a good weekend for New Zealand.

  17. OMG, I'm totally obsessive about my planner and would be lost without it! I'm glad I'm not the only one. "Analog" planners work best for me too. That way, if I drop it, get it wet, or sit on it, the info is still there! (Plus, the batteries never die.) Technology isn't always better.
    I like that you decided to "do what works" for yourself.

  18. Lyn, it feels more 'permanent' when it's put down on paper, I agree. Finding something you wrote long ago in a notebook is quite different to opening an old Word document!


Merci for your comment. Wishing you a chic day!

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