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Wednesday, October 2, 2013

The Showdown, Part 2: Day Per Page Diary Vs. Undated Notebook update, plus Hobonichi Planner thoughts

So you knew this was inevitable, right?

First, let me bring you up to speed. All year I've had an on-off love affair with my Time Traveler day per page diary.

Which I use in addition to my weekly Plannerisms planner.

The two work very well together, planning ahead in my weekly Plannerisms planner and mapping out and recording each day's details in my day per page diary. But there were some Pros and Cons of using a large day per page diary.

So I decided to try using an undated notebook instead, and the Showdown ensued.

Now I've been using the notebook for a month, and it works well for me. I never have to wonder where to write something, and I can look things up easily.

Then, I read this: http://pingmag.jp/2013/08/30/hobonichi-planner/

Which of course made me pine for my Time Traveler day per page diary again. In the interview he really hit the nail on the head about the charms of a day per page diary. There's something special about a dated page. What you write on that page happened THAT DAY. It's a little time capsule. There's a permanence about dated pages that encourages commitment in writing each day. That is your record.

So I put together some pros of using a dated day per page diary, and an undated notebook as my daily record and capture device.

Dated day per page pros:

1) I adore my Time Traveler. I haven't loved a day per page diary this much since the last time I used a Time Traveler diary. I don't know what it is about it, the soft cover, the page layout, the features etc. I just love it. And when I don't use it, I miss it.

2) The dated day per page encourages me to fill up the page each day with whatever, leaving an excellent record.

3) The page layout and times help me map out my day better than in the blank notebook.

4) I like having the maps, information and other things in my book.
5) Superior archival system. The date is on the front of the book, my entire year is in one book, and I can archive it along with my Plannerisms planner at the end of the year. I never have to wonder which notebook I wrote some detail into, I know I can always find it within that year's book.

6) Looking back through my notebook I've been using for the past month, I discovered there were only two times when I wrote more than one page per day, and there was plenty of room on the next day's page to overflow onto. But there were several times when I got lazy and wrote only half a page or less, where if I had been using a designated page each day it would have compelled me to write more.

7) And did I mention I adore my Time Traveler?

Undated notebook pros:

1) I'm never limited in my writing. I can use as many pages as I want each day.

2) There's always a place for my lists.

3) At my current rate I would use up my notebook in another month or two, which means I would be able to use up the stack of awesome notebooks on my shelf at a pretty good rate. This is probably the biggest draw, finally a use for all my notebooks!

4) It's lighter in my bag than my day per page book.

I know I'm not the only one debating the values of a dated vs nondated daily book right now. There are definite benefits to each.

I haven't completely made up my mind yet, but I think this is what I'll do: I'll finish the year in my dated Time Traveler. There's only less than three months left in the year, and I know I'll have enormous satisfaction in having my entire year in one book (including writing in the past month for completeness). After the year is up, I'll re-evaluate and decide whether to start a new dated DPP or move on to an undated notebook.

Historically, my favorite books to look through have always been my dated day per page diaries, so I naturally tend to lean toward those. They have a personality and mystique that an empty notebook just doesn't have. And for me the bottom line is, I end up using the book I LIKE more, even if it's not necessarily the one that is the most perfectly functional.

So what do you think? Have you been through the personal debate of dated vs non? What did you decide works best for you?


  1. Dated. I tried the undated, but then I could have one day or three days on a single page-I loose track of "on this day I did/thought" and everything jumbles together.

  2. I can see the appeal of dated pages and how much easier it would be to find info. But I have never had success with a dated-page journal -- it has always felt too rigid. Although I almost always wrote daily, I occasionally didn't want to, yet I didn't like the feeling of a blank page, so I wrote a lot of blah-blah that was better left unwritten. I am much more comfortable with an undated, freeform, ongoing volume. (Once I even tried using a dated daily planner as a sketchbook to reinforce the habit of daily sketching. It lasted about a week because it felt like a "requirement" that I rebelled against! Now I make several sketches a day in a free-flowing sketchbook. )

    Although I don't do this, it's probably important to make an index if you use an undated book (since retrieving info easily is important to you). Will look forward to your ongoing exploration!

    1. You're definitely right, I numbered the pages of my notebook and made an Index in the back, and it was essential for finding information later.

      Very interesting that you rebelled against the daily requirement! I completely understand though. When it feels like an obligation it takes all the joy out of it.

  3. I just found a beautiful spiral (1.5 inch rings) 5.5 x 8.5 Mead Monthly/Daily planner. It has red hard non logo plastic front and back cover, firts two pages are small monthly calendars from 2012-2016. Then vertical planning for 2013-2014, then MO2P tabbed beginning at May 2013, then DPP dated and lined for the entire month, then one or two Note Pages. I can easily white out the date on the daily pages,it does feel constrictive and I really like the layout for note taking during meetings. I just saw a YT video about making your own planner and how to take a spiral bound planner apart to add or rearrange sections to fit your needs. I may have to do that because with just a few adjusments; addition of a pocket, add a divider tab or two for specific categories and extending the MO2P calendar beyond June 2014, this will be my 'everything' in one place notebook/planner for work :-)

  4. I so agree that in the end, you use the book that you like! It reminds me of how I have a fitness class that I love and go to three times a week, but I KNOW that there is a class way closer to my house that is harder thus better for me. Every time I try to switch to a different class that is better in theory or better for me, I slowly stop going, avoid it, feel guilty, and eventually go back to the original one I love. In the end, I get better results because I actually like it and use it consistently. Maybe it's the same with planners haha

    1. Stephanie that's a great analogy! I think that's true for anything, really. If something is "perfect" but you don't like it well enough to use/ do it consistently, it's useless. In the end, whatever you actually use/ do is what's effective.

      I had a realization that neither (dated day per page vs undated notebook) is completely perfect. What I like and dislike about each system is the same: the structure/ limitation of one page per day vs the freedom/ lack of structure of the undated notebook. They are both good, and bad, in opposite ways. In the end, whichever I like better and use consistently will be the one for me.

      My analogy is driving the kids to school vs them riding the bus. Last year I drove my kids to school, because it was our first year here and they had never ridden the bus before so they preferred me driving them. I liked driving them because I saw friends in the schoolyard for a chat, and after I dropped them at school I went to the nearby forest path for a walk, which I loved. But it required me scraping snow and ice off my car early in the morning, and when I got back home at nearly lunchtime I felt behind on emails and other work. So now they get on the bus and I get straight to work with emails and such, so I feel productive earlier in the day. But I don't see my friends in the morning, and I rarely make it over to the forest for a walk now that it requires a special trip to go there.

      Both driving and bus-riding have their advantages (not to mention the "greener" option of not taking a separate car trip). Now they are on the bus it's irrelevant which one I prefer. But to be honest I would rather drive them! To me there are more enjoyable aspects to that option. Which do I enjoy more, a dated day per page or an undated notebook? Hard to say, since what I enjoy about them are opposite things.Often I can only tell in retrospect which is better. So, I will use my undated notebook for awhile yet, then compare and evaluate.

    2. Wow I didn't intend for that reply to be so long!

  5. Where Do I Get This One For 2015?

  6. I Should Mention The.Red One. ;)

    1. Celeste that's a Time Traveler day per page diary. Their website is here: http://stores.timetravelerusa.com/medium-daily-diaries/


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