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  • 2011 - 11 Trends to Come - No. 9: Dear Proper Paper Diary, good to have you back...

    I first sensed this trend when I visited a good friend one afternoon between Christmas and the New Year. At the slightest mention of any event in 2011 or indeed from 2010, a note was made or an anniversary marked in her new Filofax diary, which she gleefully leafed through looking for dates, grinning like a Cheshire cat as she found them.  Needless to say, this Filofax was a Christmas present and the first one she had ever had and she was very excited about organising the year ahead.  Recently married, she said it was about time she owned a grown-up diary. I couldn't agree more.

    I have not owned a proper diary in years and have instead relied on lists, bits of paper, notes in my phone and freestyle notebooks.  The fridge has also proved to be a very reliable PA.  A proper diary didn't do anything for me the last time I tried.  It was back in 2004 whilst in an in between phase with very little definite direction, I spent a small fortune on a beautiful lime green leather and suede organiser in The Designer's Guild on the Kings Road.  A very sensible old friend, who I lived with at the time, remarked with a dismissive laugh when she saw it "that's the sort of thing people like you buy to feel organised!"  I resolved to become people unlike me  and very organised with this diary but the wonderful feeling of organisation it gave me after the first few entries was shortlived and it soon became just another symbol of hope under a pile of unread books and magazines on my desk.  It was a few years later when the same friend's husband's cousin returned from his travels to find himself in a similar lost in between phase and he proudly announced at the dinner table that he had bought himself a proper diary organiser.   Knowing glances were exchanged between his cousin-in-law and myself and we laughed out loud, much to his dismay...  For we both knew (from her wisdom and my experience) that a diary merely marks an intention, it is no substitute for a plan of action if you don't have one in place already.  However, it certainly provides the scaffolding for such and if you are prepared to do the heavy lifting yourself, it is the perfect first step towards a year of plans that actually come true.

    And this is why a 2011 diary was the first thing I bought this year.  I didn't go for anything fancy as I don't want to be too precious about it. This is an everyday item to be used every day. After much deliberation in Ryman Stationers in South Kensington (where the staff are so helpful), I chose a classic Collins gilt-edged model (the Classic Compact Week) and there is so much to love about it!  The perfect size to write on, with a whole week of linear days spread out over two pages, mathematical tables, international telephone codes, year planners, address and notes pages, and my favourite thing of all - maps!  Fully comprehensive coloured maps of all the parts of the world at the back so whenever I'm bored, I can look at them and plan my dream voyages (some of which will definitely take place this year because they are written in the diary!).


    And while I was not originally after anything precious, this little diary has become very precious to me.  Already  it is full of dreams and  plans and ticked off to do lists.  It gives me a sense of order that nothing else can.  And being so proud of it of course I have been telling people about my new diary and you know the funny thing is so many people have told me that they too have just bought a proper diary organiser for the first time in years!  There is definitely something about 2011 and the conventional diary...

    Perhaps it is because this year marks the clean-slate beginning of a new decade simultaneously with a reminder of the fleeting nature of the past one.  Where did those ten years go?  How is it 2011 already?  Oh dear... I better start putting plans in order...  Is this the motivation behind the increasing use of paper diaries?  As convenient as telephone and computer calendar organisers can be, a digital screen is no match for the satisfaction one feels when putting pen to paper.  And there is the sense of old school homework journal ink on paper obligation that perhaps really forces plans into disciplined action. Telephones and computers can be switched off whenever you please but a diary is always awake, keeping tabs on your plans and appointments even when you are not.  Time is flying fast, take no chances!



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