This is a topic I've touched on a little bit here on Plannerisms and also over at Philofaxy. I don't want to get picky about semantics, I'm just fascinated by the cultural differences in how we use our planners/ diaries.
In the US, your planner (or daily planner, or agenda, or whatever; there is no standard definition) is where you schedule appointments. Your journal is where you write about your experiences, thoughts and feelings. Sometimes people combine the two into one book, but the ideas are distinct.
In the US the word "diary" conjures up an image of a 13 year old girl, alone in her room writing in a pink book, "Dear Diary, today Todd talked to me! EEEEEEEEE!!!" If you make a reference to your "diary" in the US you will probably get a smirk at the least, or maybe even a "Dear Diary" comment.
I love the British version of a diary, where people schedule upcoming events and appointments, and also record what happened. (Correct me if I'm wrong please my British friends!) This is what I want. I need to plan, and I need to keep a record of my days. In the past when I've kept a journal, I rarely ever look back at it. But I do find a diary, a record, to be very useful.
An excellent example of using a diary as a record is Austin Kleon's logbook. Okay follow me here: I was looking around Notebook Stories (I love that blog) and discovered a link to Austin Kleon's website, which is great. (Austin Kleon is an artist, poet and author of the book Newspaper Blackout.) I discovered his very inspirational post How To Steal Like An Artist, which I immediately bookmarked before I even finished reading the post.
I was especially interested in "9. Be boring. It's the only way to get work done." His advice is to get a calendar, and a logbook. If you want to go directly to a post specifically about his calendar click here. His calendar is not a traditional one that I think of, it's not about scheduling appointments by time, but more about tracking his work.
I was even more intrigued by his logbook, which he keeps in a Moleskine day per page planner. Click here to see his post all about his logbook. It's a not-too-detailed record of what he did each day. This is the type of thing I like, to have a record of my days and to remember what I did.
I tend to use my planner to plan things and to record them too, to see what I intended to do each day/ week and then what I actually did. It helps me get better at budgeting my time, and also serves as an excellent reference of when I paid bills, made phone calls, or whatever else I need a record of.
Do you use a planner (to schedule upcoming appointments and events), a logbook (to record what you did), or a diary (both combined)?