What is an undated diary?

Q&A: What Is An Undated Diary?

What is an undated diary?

What is an undated diary?

It might seem an odd question but it’s not immediately obvious to everyone what an undated diary is. Whilst most people are familiar with a diary that has the days pre-printed for you, an undated diary simply follows the same format but just leaves the dates out. So regardless of whether the layout is a daily diary, weekly or even monthly it will be the same, with days of the week but no dates.

Example layouts of undated diaries, showing daily, weekly and monthly formats

What is the point?

Whilst there is an obvious time-saving benefit to a diary with the dates already printed for you (not to mention the accuracy of having the right dates on the right days), a ‘normal’ diary also has a shelf-life. So your 2018 diary will be of no use until the day it starts, and of no use once the last day has passed. An undated diary frees you from needing to use it in that specific time-frame. So if you have a more relaxed approach to keeping time, or maybe don’t need a diary every week of the year then an undated diary will be ideal.

What else can an undated diary do?

Another great use is that if you need a diary outside of diary season then an undated diary is there, ready and waiting. Diary season means that frenzied couple of months towards the end of the year when diaries come and go very quickly, and come early January there’s nothing left. So if you decide in March you need a diary, you might well be waiting a long time.

You can also let your creative self go free and customise the pages, unrestricted by the printed format already there. In fact, many diaries are so format-heavy that there is little room left to add appointments, but an undated diary tends to be less cluttered. Because it has no dates.

How do I use one?

Customise your undated diary
Customise your undated diary as much as you want to - even use stamps to add the dates

The quickest and easiest way is to just use a pen and write the dates in as you need them. The longer way is to go crazy with different pens, stamps and washi tape to make something quite unique. And then use it like you would use any diary. But just don’t feel you have to do every day or week. It’s your diary.

Anything else I need to know?

One more great advantage is that normally a diary gives you one shot. Mess it up with too many changed appointments or just spill you coffee on that page and you’ve got a problem. Undated diary? No problem as even in the worst case you just tear it out and start that week again.

diary formats

Q&A: Diary Formats Explained

diary formats


If you are looking for a paper diary then it might seem daunting when faced with such choice but this short guide should help with explaining diary formats. And yes, despite the prevalence of online diaries and calendars there is still a big demand for a traditional paper diary. After all, a paper diary is there no matter what wi-fi is available, it’s simple to use and easy to flick from date to date. Just the mere addition of a pen or pencil and it works. Like it has always done, tried and trusted down the years.

As for deciding which of the available diary formats are right for you, the choice is actually quite simple. It essentially breaks down into one question – are you a daily or weekly person? And after that you choose your size and the rest is more cosmetic – choosing colour and cover.

The First Big Question - Calendar Year or Academic Diary?

This won’t affect the format but you might be unsure on what the difference is. Quite simply, most diaries cover a year from January to December with maybe the odd week either end to see you from year to year. These are calendar year diaries.

An academic diary is aimed at people involved in studying – teachers and students – because their year is based more around a mid-year to mid-year schedule. These diaries will start sometime around July and run to the following year. Oddly many of these run for 18-months but we have yet to understand the significance of this so please don’t ask!

The Second Big Question - Daily or Weekly Diary Formats?

So the really big question is whether you would want a daily or weekly diary format. And that may actually come down to the type of person you are. First, a quick explanation of what they are.

Daily Diary

Quite simply it means that each page in the diary is devoted to a single day.

Weekly Diary

This means that the week is spread out before you across the two pages when the diary is open. There are variations on this theme, such as two weeks over the spread, or different ways to show the week, but it’s all the same principal – a week at a glance.

What Type Of Person Are You?

You may find it easier to decide which is right for you by knowing whether you need to see slightly further ahead or not. Yes most diaries will have a monthly or yearly planner section, but the big difference is that a daily diary will only give you two days at a time to view, and will never break up your time into nice weekly sections. Some people like this, some can’t cope and need to see the week from Monday to Sunday.

See more on diary formats below.

The Last Big Question - What About Diary Size?

Once you have decided on being a daily or weekly diary person, the next decision is the size. This can be broken down into three main size types – pocket/mini, mid-size and large/desk. Which of these diary formats will work for you will depend on how you intend you use your diary – on the move or on the desk?


These really are for those who want to make minimal notes and just have something small on them to carry round. You can even go down to micro-diary size if space is at a premium.


A good all rounder, large enough to write more than just the odd word, but small enough to carry round.


So called because that is where they usually live. On your desk. Generally seen as too big to carry round, a desk diary will likely be left on your desk, or similar, where you make appointments in it.

What Else Do I Need To Know About Diaries?

Once you have decided on a diary style and size, you may have the decision made for you, but assuming there is more than one diary to choose from, you may then need to consider the following.

Daily Diaries

There really isn’t much variation between daily diaries. They will devote the whole page to a day, probably with appointment times to help plan your day. Some might have space for notes as well.

diary formats - daily
Daily Diary Format

Weekly Diaries

The big choice here is whether to go vertical or horizontal. Oh dear, another choice. So what is the difference between a vertical diary and a horizontal diary?

Vertical Weekly Diaries

The vertical format is laid out across the page, Monday to Sunday, and each day will have a vertical column usually with timed appointments. Ideal if what you want is a rigid schedule of events.

diary formats - vertical weekly
Weekly Vertical Diary Format

Horizontal Weekly Diaries

The horizontal format has sections for each day, but without the timed appointments. They suit someone who wants to write something for each day but is less worried about their day being a series of events such as meetings. Less rigid, more relaxed.

diary formats - weekly horizontal
Weekly Horizontal Diary Format

Weekly Diary/Notebooks

A variation on this theme, and the most popular of diary formats is the diary/notebook. It is also known as a weekly notebook. It will have a horizontal style diary for the week on the left-hand page, and the facing page will be devoted to notes (usually a lined page). For many this is perfect as it gives them enough space for the diary whilst also allowing for free-format notes each week.

For some pople this is also enough to double up as their notebook, but you are limited to a page per week for notes.

diary formats - weekly notebook
Weekly Notebook Diary Format

Two-Week Diaries

A real planner diary, with a full fortnight of days across the two-page spread giving you the most of a longer-term view.

diary formats - 2 weeks
2 Week Diary Format

Monthly Diaries

Now we’re getting serious with our long-term view – a series of monthly planners. Really these are notebooks with a series of spreads that let you plan out each month. This kind of diary format serves someone who sees the big picture, not the daily detail!

diary formats - monthly
Monthly Diary Format

Undated Diaries

Unlike most other diaries, an undated diary follow one of the diary formats above, but without a pre-printed date. It means you can pick up and drop off keeping your diary without feeling like you have to complete each and every page. It does mean that you have to add the dates yourself though – some love this, some don’t.

diary formats - undated
Undated Diary Format
use a notepad to make a list

Q&A: Can Stationery Make You More Productive?

use a notepad to make a list

How stationery can help you get stuff done


Being effective. Getting stuff done. Doing the things that need to be done and not the tasks that don’t matter. These are possibly rated as amongst the most desired objectives for the majority of people. We are all overwhelmed with the need to get things done and technology is meant to have made our lives easier. So can stationery make you more productive?

Yes, undoubtedly technology has been a benefit to our efficiency but it has also very neatly put greater emphasis on us to manage our own lives – we now organise our own holidays online rather than get a travel agent to do the hard work for us; we have become our own financial experts with online banking but have to constantly juggle accounts and direct debits ourselves; we are tax experts as we have to submit our own tax returns. The list goes on and all technology seems to be doing is adding to the list of ‘things we have to do’.

rhodia goalbook
Rhodia Goalbook - a new way to set out your goals

Now I’m not saying that technology isn’t wonderful or that I don’t wonder how we survived when we had to use a travel agent or had no access to our bank accounts 24 hours a day. But in the midst of it all, we seem to have developed an increasing need to manage our lives. It is notable how the more technology drives our lives, the more we like to try and manage the problem with an analogue solution rather than using yet more technology.

Stationery – much maligned over recent years, scoffed at for its days being numbered, yet actually a means to sorting out the very problems that the digital age, its supposed nemesis, has created. So this post is about how stationery can be used to make our lives a little bit easier.


Use a notepad to make a list
Use a notepad to make a list

At its most basic, stationery is simple, efficient and effective. A pen and some paper get the job done with minimal fuss, and the very act of writing in itself has been shown to aid the process of memory. And let’s not get to issues of battery life, lack of wifi, upgrades and more. A simple to-do list is easy to create, easy to amend, easy to use and easy to complete. Whether it is a shopping list when nipping to Tesco’s or a quick to-do list, having pen and paper handy at all times will make you more efficient.

Bullet Journaling

bullet journaling
Bullet Journaling - The ultimate in list making

Yes, I have mentioned the whole BuJo process. Apologies to Ryder Carroll but it is essentially an advanced form of list-making – he quite rightly argues that the act of writing out daily to-do lists and migrating tasks makes you more focused on what you are actually tasking yourself with doing, and so you also feel more readily inclined to remove tasks. Bullet Journals are far too big a topic to cover here (start reading more here and then see where it takes you) but it is one of the most obvious examples of people using stationery to complement or even replace technology.


sketch out ideas
Visualise it - sketch out your ideas on paper

Many people find that sketching out an idea on paper is so much easier. It helps you visualise an idea or problem. It’s quick, immediate and easy to start again. Visually having something laid out over a page or even both pages as your idea grows makes it easier to understand the whole thing.


diary planning
Use a diary to plan your time

Another topic for another day is how we keep a diary – online, on paper or not at all? Maybe it is a combination of digital and paper, but however you decide to keep track of your time a diary may well be the cornerstone of keeping yourself afloat – just the act of knowing what you have agreed to do at what time. We are seeing an increasing demand for ‘traditional’ diaries (i.e. paper based), as well as a much bigger range of diaries being made compared to say 10 years ago.

The Pleasure

The mere act of writing can help as well as be enjoyable

There is also something tangible that a pen with some ink on paper can provide that can’t be provided by a computer screen. Some people will lose themselves down that rabbit hole and in doing so efficiency will be lost by becoming a hobby. That’s fine, but even if you stick to writing as a means of being more productive, there is still a pleasure to be had from using a pen you know, writing in a colour you like and writing on paper that works for you. Maybe it handles wet ink well, maybe it has micro-perforated sheets that tear out neatly leaving no trace, maybe it is punched ready to be filed. Go find your ideal pen, ink and paper and see how being efficient can also be a pleasure.

Digital vs Analogue

There is no getting away from the fact that there will be some who say that to reject or even blame technology is being a luddite or burying your head in the sand to progress. On the contrary I am someone who loves their technology as much (well, almost as much) as anyone, and I have an unfulfilled desire to find the perfect app that will deliver untold efficiency. I won’t find it and it will never exist, but I can still go looking. However I also know when to use pen and paper, when it will be more efficient and effective and making me get through everything. The secret is all in the balance between the two, and that balance will vary from person to person. Hmmm…I feel another post coming up on that very subject.


Product of the Month – update

Limited edition Moleskine Pac Man and Peanuts diaries

Sadly the new range of 2012 diaries featuring the classic Pac Man arcade game, or the Peanuts strip cartoon of Snoopy and Charlie Brown, have been delayed. We had been promised them by now but it appears that they have been delayed until sometime in July. We don’t have a date as yet, so the only option is to watch this space. If you go on our website you can ask to be emailed when they do arrive back in stock. Sorry for any disappointment – we’re pretty disappointed too! I was looking forward to seeing them today.

Moleskine Pac Man
Moleskine Pac Man

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