How to choose your 2017 diary/ planner

I’m using a hybrid system next year and I can’t wait to show you how I’ll be using it. I’m currently waiting for my big box of goodness to arrive here in Johannesburg before I post some pretty pics… although I did print out some pages from my digital downloads so I wouldn’t feel like I was missing out 🙂

I said that as a disclaimer because as you all know (especially if you follow Organising Queen on Instagram), I do love stationery.

So I went looking to see what’s out and about this year in terms of planners.

There’s plenty…..big, small, colourful, boring :), but the one thing I haven’t seen this year is my absolute favourite – the 2017 softcover Legami weekly diary.


The interesting thing is that we are more connected to our phones than ever before and yet (or maybe because of it?) people seem to be more interested in paper planners than ever before. There are many, many beautiful planners to choose from on the internet, especially if you live in the US.

I remember years ago when I asked if you wore a watch – I still do 5 years later – there was a mixed bag of responses. Do you wear a watch?

Back to the topic.

There’s such a wide selection in the shops that the choice can get really overwhelming.

  • page a day daily planner?
  • vertical weekly or horizontal weekly?
  • notes pages or not?
  • filofax sized, A5, A4?

So how do you choose the best one?

Here are a couple of factors to consider:


1. Paper or electronic?
Do you prefer paper or electronic? Don’t feel pressured to use an electronic diary just to keep up with your friends if you’re actually a paper gal.

I love Outlook as much as the next person but I need a paper planner for 95% of my planning.

That said, if you are techno-savvy, use it happily. Please just remember to back up your data regularly.

2. Size
Your planner has to be portable if you’re going to use it most effectively.

Decide on a comfortable size and stick to that. If your planner is HUGE, no matter how cute it is, you’re not going to use it unless you’re strong!

However, don’t go for a small size especially if you have big handwriting. Ahem 😉


3. Space per day
Do you like a week-at-a-glance or a page-a-day format?

I like the weekly format because I do weekly planning. And there’s just enough space to jot down your 3 – 5 Eat the Frog tasks every day.

But more than that, I like space for notes, not just appointments.

My husband loves a page a day, even if some pages have nothing on it. He isn’t bothered by the empty page (waste of space to me :)) but tells me that he wants the space there when he needs it.

4. Monthly tools
Do you need a monthly event calendar and a budget form? What about a monthly goals form?

Do you need a pen flap, a ribbon to mark your place or a pocket for bits and pieces of paper?

I like a goals page between months or a page for notes that I use for goals. I also like a monthly view at the start of every month.


5. Other tools
Do you need lots of name and address pages? Or note paper at the back?

My advice to you is decide on your non-negotiables and make peace with the rest.

Make sure you love your diary so that you want to use it. If that means you need to get yourself a hot pink flexible cover, then get it.

A few more important notes:

If you don’t absolutely love the diary in the shops, don’t get it. Your enthusiasm level will drop further as you start using it.

Open the plastic covering (check with the sales assistants) so that you check everything out carefully. It’s beyond me how the retailers expect one to invest in a diary when you can’t even look through the pages. You’re not just going to look at the cover; you need to use it so make sure you’re happy.

Happy shopping!

PS If you want to buy the Shining Life diary (physical or digital download), you can print multiple pages of the sections you use most often

PPS Please tag me on Instagram so I can see your diary for next year

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  1. I wear a watch, everyday. I feel naked without it on. I love the month at glance things, but just can’t find the right mix of it to space for weekly/when I feel like it diary bits.

    • Marcia Francois says:

      You need to start bullet journalling, Cassey! But I’m thinking a nice monthly page with goals or a page for to-dos with a weekly spread would be good for you.

      Have a look at Moleskine’s weekly notebook style diaries.

  2. Never, ever, ever wear a watch… ever!!! I like my internal clock to match with my day, I wont wake up to an alarm clock (I believe you never finish sleeping if you are woken)… which is why our entire house is about a two hour shift out from the actual time… we go to bed two hours later, have meals two hours later, get up… (do the math!!!)… Basically if we lived in Iceland we would be in the right time zone, which is fine with me!!!
    The actual reason I am commenting is about planners for 2017… I am floundering around in August ( I won’t mention which year) and you are already up and at 2017… Love your energy!!!

    • Marcia Francois says:

      Are you in Dec yet? or still floundering in Sept? 🙂


      Here’s your permission slip to just do some reflecting on 2016 while you’re out for an amble, write some notes in your Let’s Do This guide (which you have downloaded from my website ;)) and start 2017 fresh!

  3. I moved over to a full paper diary when I lost my notebook. The page a day works for me. I have space to schedule appointments, notes, checklists and I love the ribbon bookmark.
    The notes for the month sheet I use to jot the budget and it also has a month planner which I hardly use. It has worked brilliantly for me. The Outlook is only so that I can receive and send meeting requests, because some people function exclusively on digital diaries. I then transfer that to my paper diary.
    I use coloured pens to separate tasks. Or to make me feel better. Never wear a watch. I hate being awoken by an alarm, so I have trained my internal clock pretty good.

    • Marcia Francois says:

      My husband likes the page a day too! That is the most common one because NO-ONE has a weekly spread which is very frustrating for me (post coming later this week!)

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