Let's Make A Date!

I am going to show my age now by admitting that I am one of the Filofax generation, I started work in the 1980’s when they were the thing to have that showed you had a ‘proper’job and had to plan because you were so busy and needed to be organised. Then it was electronic organisers, Blackberrys and the rest, and we were told that paper diaries were going to be a thing of the past! 

But here we are in 2018 and there are still racks and racks of diaries in WH Smith and Paperchase and Calendar Club’s whole business model is based on selling hundreds of thousands of paper calendars and diaries. So it is fair to say the sector is still thriving! Having said that, it has changed significantly over the last 30 years...

One of the big changes is who is buying diaries, why and what for. When I started work it was normal to be given a diary by your company, it would have been blue, black or red and probably a week to view format. It might even have been personalised with the company’s name, logo and some specific content may have been added. This corporate sector of the market has all but disappeared, as has the corporate gift sector where companies would send huge amounts on their ‘special company diaries' to give away to their most important customers or prospective customers. I can remember feeling that I had really arrived the first year I received one with my initials on. When I was a buyer at WHSmith I was the largest purchaser of Filofaxes in the UK and as such they were always keen for me to use the latest size, new leather, colour etc and the most beautiful products would arrive for me to use. I had to get approval to accept them so that it wasn’t seen as bribery, but they were lovely… and those were the days!

Now if you want a diary for work it is likely that you will supply your own as diaries have become seen as a fashion accessory and the design on it is a reflection of your individual style and personality. There are some wonderful products to chose, from well established brands like Letts, Collins and Charfleet Book Bindery or newer publishers like Go Stationery, Busy B and Graphique. (Examples below: Busy B Perfect Planner and Charfleet Book Bindery).

Our employers like us to keep all of our appointments on our computers so that we can invite one another to meetings, see when people are free and book rooms etc, etc... which is all very well but what about our personal lives? I have multiple calendars and diaries for work and home, and then I put key dates in my phone which sync to my laptop. I use a week to view diary with notes in which I record detailed times and notes of points I need to remember, as well as a Family Organiser at home with a column for each of us so we can see where one another will be, who will be in for supper or away at weekends. Busy B have a very clever product aimed at those co-ordinating busy home and work lives shown here.

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But conventional dated diary products are not the only ones being used to help us to be organised. Bullet Journaling is a growing trend in the market and Leuchtturrm are leading the way. Tracey Schotness tells us that ‘The Bullet Journal c is the analogue system for the digital age. It allows you to easily track the past, organize the present and plan for the future. It provides a simple way to learn modular framework that allow users to infinitely customise their Bullet Journal to their needs. Backed by a growing global community of hundreds of thousands, Bullet Journal c sits at the intersection between productivity and mindfulness. This is the only notebook in the world designed for Bullet Journaling.

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Journaling is one of the latest and biggest trends in the stationery market and retailers like Kikki K are making it the focus of their product offer. While it not centred around specific dates it is all about setting personal goals in the future and helping us improve our work life balance.

Brown Trout also have several new ranges of stationery available this year including the stunning Pantone Planners and an organisational system called Franklin Covey - an American system widely used as a management tool which has some useful features, including daily, weekly and monthly planning pages as well as space for flexible scheduling, prioritising, important dates and notes, and monthly calendars for planning.

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And then there are organisers for specific events like weddings where it is not just about having a planning tool but something that becomes a really precious memory too. I mentioned in my previous article on Weddings and Anniversaries that one of the knock-on effects of the current economic climate and social uncertainty is an increased focus on celebrating special occasions -and products linked to those occasions are becoming more and more popular, like this Wedding Organiser form Busy B.

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The good news is that if planning and being organised is important to you, then there are plenty of great products available for you to use and new and innovative products are being developed all the time... I'll be sure to let you know of any new to market trends that might help!