For the modern man, life can be a juggling act: appointments, board meetings, memos—to say nothing of the all-important Thursday happy hour and Saturday hike. And sure, digital planners are a great way to organize your life. You can keep track of appointments, set reminders, write lists, and maintain your contacts list, all in one place—but smartphones fail. Batteries die. Calendars sometimes don’t sync. So what better way to maintain your all-important schedule than with pen and paper?
There’s something romantic about writing down dates and appointments—the scratch of pen against page, the smell of a nice, acid-free paper, the feel of thumbing through pages of appointments and dates to remember. The physical act of writing has also been linked to higher memory retention, to boot. So going analog has its very real benefits.
A lot of daily planners, however, seem to adhere to the Chevron-and-inspirational-quote aesthetic—definitely not notebooks Manual readers would carry around. There are a lot of great, understated planners out there. So we’ve gathered a list of simple and stylish daily planners that every enterprising dude will want to get his hands on.
Based on their sit-flat Steno design, with a stiff cardboard cover and wire binding, Field Notes’ 56-week planner is everything you need to keep track of meetings and mountain time alike. The design is minimalist, and the planner, at only 7 by 4 inches, is small enough to fit into any bag or interior jacket pocket. Following Field Notes tradition, this planner is durable enough to take everywhere you go. Each spread covers a week, giving you plenty of room to write down everything and anything you might need to remember.
Aesthetically, Shinola’s journals are similar to journal juggernaut Moleskine’s hard-cover varieties, but their covers are made from high quality linen, so they’ll outlast other sub-$20 notebooks. The Runwell Planner is, in some ways, your run-of-the-mill planner, with both monthly and weekly spreads. But instead of the days of the week running vertically—Monday on top of Tuesday and Wednesday, then Thursday on top of Friday and tiny little boxes for Saturday and Sunday—the Runwell design relies on a left-to-right grid system that gives equal room to all seven days a week. No more trying to squeeze all of your weekend plans into the paltry space given in most planners.
Moleskine’s 12-Month Planner (Soft Cover) or, For The Maverick, The Professional Notebook
What better way to plan your day than with the same brand of notebook that Ernest Hemingway loved? The buttery leather and creamy, acid-free paper feel decadent, but Moleskine’s journals are highly functional. Take, for instance, the 12-month planner: each week gets an entire spread, and there’s an accordion pocket in the back of the book so you can hold any and all papers you might need.
Two pages not enough for an entire week of work? Try the professional notebook. You get a page a day, which you can dedicate to meeting notes, to-do lists, task planning and idle doodles. Both the planner and the professional notebook include sections for note taking and project planning, and they both come with handy adhesive tabs in order to color-code and mark your tasks to more easily access them.
$19.50 for the planner, $22.95 for the professional notebook
This is one of the more unique planners on the market. Without sacrificing looks, this one has it all. Baron Fig journals are geared toward writers, not illustrators, so the paper is high quality but thin, ensuring that there are plenty of pages for you to include notes to self, like, “Stop at store after work to pick up lamb chops” or “Idea: wallet-hat hybrid.” This planner has two-page spreads for each month, week and day views for all the nitty-gritty, and a dot-grid note-taking section in the back. These books open flat, so you won’t have to fight back one half of the book while trying to write things down. And did we mention that they’re handsome?
A highly customizable journal that you can fill with any pages you like—blank pages, graph paper, or, dated pages to keep track of your plans. Hell, you could even put construction paper in one of these if you wanted to. (Not that you would.) Midori Traveler’s notebooks are essentially just high quality leather flaps—that you’ll want to hold against your face because they’re so soft. These supple leather beauties will outlast your children. You can buy refills from a number of websites, and you can add as many pages as will fit. So if your run-of-the-mill planner doesn’t cut it, and you need graph paper for crunching numbers and blank paper for doodling during meetings, this might be the notebook for you.
$57.00 for the leather cover, $12.60 for the paper