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Monday, June 10, 2013

Pros and Cons of using a large day per page planner as daily planner + journal

After some switching around, I've been using a large day per page planner so far this year to plan and record each day and for journaling. I use my weekly Plannerisms planner to plan and set goals, and my large red Time Traveler day per page planner (which I reviewed here with lots of photos) as my daily planner/ record book/ journal. You can see my post here for more details on how I use my weekly and daily planners together.

You might remember that one of my planner fantasies is to write everything that happens to me each day in a large daily book. I've been using my large Time Traveler daily book pretty much that way. In general I do enjoy using my day per page book as the landing place for everything that happens every day. And the great news is, I do journal much more in it than I have done in the past couple of years, so that's a huge benefit. But as with everything, it has its pros and cons.

Large book

Pro: The Time Traveler daily book is big, I measure it at approximately 6 by 8 1/4 inches. This means the pages are nice and spacious so I can write a lot each day.

Con: The flip side of a large page size is a big and heavy book. I tend to leave the book at home sometimes due to the bulk and weight. I would rather use a book that I'm happy to carry everywhere so I can jot things down all day: things to remember, expenditures, notes etc. Of course in a smaller dated book I would have to make decisions about what is worthy of being written on the day's page, and would have to use a separate book as a journal.

Dated Day Per Page

Pro: One huge advantage of having a dated page for each day is that I don't have to journal in chronological order. Often the most eventful days are the ones where I have the least amount of time and energy to write. In a dated book I can go back a couple of days later and fill in the details.

Con: Of course the downside of a dated day per page is that I'm restricted to just one page every day. If I feel like writing more, there isn't room (unless I spill over to the adjacent page). If I write less that day, I'm wasting page space.

Carrying my journal with me everywhere

Pro: It's convenient to carry my journal book everywhere so I can jot things down before I forget (like wildlife sightings while I'm out for my walk or funny things my kids say).

Con:  It makes me nervous to take my journal containing my entire year to date out of the house. I would be devastated if I lost the book! Also see my first point, the large daily book is so big and heavy I often leave it at home which completely defeats the purpose of a carry-everywhere capture book.

Of course the obvious solution would be to use a smaller and more portable day per page diary as my carry-everywhere book for my daily schedule and record-book, and a separate undated notebook as my journal for unlimited and unrestricted memory-capturing. That of course would be logical.

But for some reason for the past few years I haven't been able to make myself write in a separate journal. I feel like I don't have time, or I put too much pressure on myself to be expansive. The chronology gets thrown off if I don't write things down immediately.

Also I capture little things in my carry-everywhere book that I wouldn't necessarily haul out a separate journal to write about like noting when the leaves came out on the trees (very late this year!), when the daffodils flowered, bird sightings at our feeder, and The Chicken Story Of The Day (we have 6 hens and their antics are often noteworthy! When I pick my kids up from school each day they ask to hear The Chicken Story Of The Day).

The bottom line is, I do journal in my large daily book much more than I have done in recent years. It is very convenient to carry it around as a landing place for everything I want to write, even though it weighs a ton. The large page means I usually have plenty of space to write every day. So I thought I would stick with it.

Then one day last week I finally got fed up with carrying it around. I was out for my walk in the beautiful forest, lugging this giant book in my bag! I decided it's silly to carry such a huge book everywhere. I wanted to lighten my load. After all, it's summertime! I should be footloose and fancy free! (Or something like that).

So, I decided to do what my friend Rori suggested back in November in a comment on my angsty post about figuring out my journaling situation: use an undated, smaller notebook as my take-everywhere daily book + journal. At first I was resistant to this idea because I thought I wouldn't be able to back-fill the non-dated pages. Then I realized, when I know I want to come back and finish writing something later I can just leave myself page space to fill in! Duh!

Once I realized that would work, I went straight for it. See my next post on my details of how I'm using my small undated notebook to plan and record each day, journal, and more. And the big reveal of which notebook I'm using!

***Update: Here is my post where I talk about the pocket size day per page notebook I used. But, I wrote in it less and less and after a couple of weeks I stopped writing in it altogether. It made me realize how much I back-fill in my dated day per page diary. I missed the large daily pages. So, I went back to my Time Traveler diary and I'm so glad! It's such an excellent record of each day, and I journal in it much more than I have in the past few years. And the weight of it in my bag doesn't even bother me any more. Love it!! My Time Traveler daily and my Plannerisms weekly are my mid-2013 Planner Winners!


  1. As a person who is terribly prone to breaking and/or losing things, I have a different survival tactic.

    I have duplicates of almost everything. If I get a cool tshirt for some reason, I try to score a backup. The first one will invariably get stained, torn, or otherwise damaged. We're talking in the first 60 days of ownership :( Otherwise, the cool shirt would not get worn at all.

    My journal and planner volumes have to be treated similarly. I buy them on sale, preferably 50% off. If one strikes my fancy, I get two of the same model. I can rotate them. If I dump coffee on one volume, the other is intact. If I rotate them weekly or daily, there is less to be lost. It's kinda like going to uni - Monday is "A", Tuesday is "B", Wednesday "A", Thursday "B".

    Setting it up might be a pain, but once it is established, it is nice.

    Dunno if this helps or not :)

  2. I carry around a sketchbook the way you carry a daily record/journal, and I have the same fear of losing it (but I don't want that fear to stop me from carrying/using it daily). My solution: Scan the page(s) at the end of the day. It takes only a minute. I would still be very sad if I lost the sketchbook, but not devastated.

  3. Have you considered doing a combination of both? I have my large daily moleskine diary at home and a smaller notebook / jotter that I carry everywhere with me. If I note things down during the day I will then stick / glue / tape that page in my diary, usually in such a way that I still have almost a full page to write on incase I have more to say. I'll try and get some photos to show you what I mean if you want.

    1. Yes I've tried a carry-around book and separate large daily with the intention of expanding on my writing later and it just never happens.

    2. Meant to add, but thank you for the idea! It does sound interesting and that's cool it works for you. I just know I would never get around to the additional steps of sticking in the pages and writing more.


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