bound diary vs ring organisers

You may have noticed before that I love to think and talk and write about diaries and organisers. Today I want to show you a little experiment I did with a bound planner. I think there are a few reasons why a bound diary might be better than a ring organiser. The first, slightly obvious, reason is that a bound diary has more space on each day relative to the size of the book, because of the absence of rings. This also means that it is often less heavy to carry around.  The larger page size with less weight was my main reason to try out the quo vadis space24 planner. For size comparison see the picture above. This planner is the one recommended by Sarah from the shu box.

There are also drawbacks of course. In a ring organiser you can add other pages for lists and addresses, as well as carry business cards and other items around. In the case of a bound book you are restricted to what the manufacturer put into it. This might mean having to carry an extra notebook around with the diary to write wishlists and todos.  Also, with a ring binder you can just continue to use the same organiser year after year, without having to rewrite any information, while with a bound diary you have to buy a new one and start again. This can be a pro or a con, depending on preference.

The quo vadis planner I had to order from the US, as it is not available in Europe. This was not a problem, I ordered from writer’s bloc and apart from the high shipping cost it was a very good experience. I have the club cover in powdered pink. The reason I decided on this particular planner for my experiment was the layout. Here is a picture of the layout:

The two great points about it are the times printed on the daily spaces and the large empty space for lists. Also the paper is nice and smooth, but this is only a bonus point for me. I use the empty space for tasks lists for the week. The times are very handy for carving out larger chunks of time for big projects, and designating travel time to and from appointments. I can easiliy forget these with regular diary layouts. Here is the layout from last week:

As you can see, the many lines on the right page are more than enough for my lists. So was this experiment a succes?

I would have to say, no. There is absolutely nothing wrong with this diary. But I miss having space for all types of lists and notes, like blog post ideas, book wish lists, client contact information, books to get from the library and so on. The other thing that I really like to have is some place to put business cards and post-it notes. I found a partial solution:

But sticking in my business cards would not work, would it? What I learned though is that a diary layout for my filo that has the same type of daily space as this one has would be lovely. They have on in French, that I might try for next year. So it was an interesting experiment, and I learned something more about what I like and need to have for planning and organising. But I will have to accept the fact that I cannot function without having room for all types of things after having had that for four years now. I will show one more picture, because the planner is so nice:

This is with a small notebook and pen on top. Do you have a preference for ring organisers or bound diaries? And why?



  1. Interesting post. I have used both. When I was working and had a million tasks I tended to prefer a ring binder for many of the reasons you mentioned. Since I have retired I’m halfway into pocket calendar and half into my EVO for scheduling. I have an art journal for, duh, art notes. And a spiritual journal for all my profound insights LOL….or rather things I hear others say that wow me.

  2. I love having a ringed filofax. Sometimes I find my ideas to be scattered and I find that a filofax allows me to organize them. I don’t think a bound planner would allow me to do that as well. I will have to check out that planner you mentioned though if only because I still love all planners regardless.

  3. Very interesting post indeed. I have the same dilemma myself. I always used bound diaries and I was happy with them but then I decided to switch to a Filofax which is super cute with lots more functions but I find myself using it exactly like my previous bound diaries. I guess I’m a creature of routines and habits 🙂

  4. oh NO! i feel partially responsible!! i hope you find a good use for it 🙂

  5. You know I love my ring organisers! I prefer the flexibility.

  6. I prefer bound organisers! With them, I can remove and insert pages without any hassle, I can change around the order/organisation without any hassle, and I like to have a space for post-it notes and cards and odd bits of paper too!

  7. I’m constantly going back and forth between the convenience of ring-bound planners and the portability and larger page size of bound planners. In my frustration with not being able to choose, I wrote a post about it:

    My problem with ring binders is that the page size is too small and the book is too big. I have to have a large weekly spread, at least A5 size (or slightly larger). But an A5 Filofax binder is too big and heavy to carry around. So I usually go back to a bound book, despite not having the flexibility of adding/ moving around pages.

    I’ve been thinking a lot lately about the Space 24 and wondering if it would be my perfect planner– I like the layout and the monthly calendars! It might be a future possibility. 😉

  8. Terrific post!

    I love the cool factor of the bound book and it IS easier to slip into the odd spaces of a bag. But I also love the equal cool-ness of snapping open my Filofax to look something up or take a note. I get teased about it all the time, but it does make people sit up and pay attention! LOL.

    Maybe I’ll blog about this soon since it’s really been on my mind as I search for that elusive perfect planner. I bought the 18-month Moleskine planner for 2010-11, but immediately found out that I had too many daily appointments to make the week on one page work. It quickly became a jumble!

    Because I didn’t want the Moleskine – which wasn’t cheap! – to go to waste, I just started using it as a journal-journal (instead of a planner). I never feel badly about jotting down a little something because it’s just packed with unused space. (Plus, it fits in the odd corners of my bag and it’s kind of cool!)

  9. I stick with the bound planners for the simple reason that they take less space in my bag. I had used a Filofax for a number of years until I discovered Moleskine notebooks. Since then I am hooked on those.
    The disadvantage the Filofax had for me was the fact the that pages are never on the same level (unless when you are have way through). Mostly, especially in the planner section the left page is further “down” than the right page which made it awkward to write. The bound planners are always flat which is a great plus for me.

  10. Great post, I seriously need a better organizer!


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