Based on the extras contained in this planner, it’s safe to say I am not fabulous enough or high-paid jetsetting business executive enough for this thing. My planner is cooler than I am. It’s ok. I accept this truth, much as I accepted this free sample from Daycraft many months ago. Of the planners I received, this one has emerged as my favorite. Many thanks to Daycraft for this sample.
The cover is slightly different from the Daycraft Signature standard—rather than soft, this cover is smooth, textured like some kind of metallic silver skin. That’s it, it’s obviously robot skin. Robot leather? Allegedly it’s fine Italian polyurethane, but it feels different. The cover is also, unlike the Signature Diary, a hardcover, with a neon pink elastic closure. The elastic band has held up well so far over these many months. The doorknob it loops over I go back and forth on—I like that it makes my planner look like a portal to some pocket-sized dimension; I’m annoyed at times that the little knob keeps the cover from sitting flat on the table.
Comes with a matching silver ribbon bookmark, a spacious back pocket big enough to perfectly fit spare checks and other odds & ends, and four pages divided into three sections each of little perforated blank notes. You can give someone a note without having to rip any paper out, and you get 10 lined pages titled “NOTES” for your own use.
For such a convenient size, this planner is chock-full of non-calendar bonus features. They’ve included all the extras I loved in the Signature Diary (such as the traveler’s cheat sheet of international guides with things like emergency phone numbers and what side of the road is driven on for 28 major countries), plus even more with an eye toward the world-travelling businessperson. You’ve got lists of international holidays, world time zones, international direct dialing codes, websites of governments, information on various Asian golf courses, measurement and size conversion tables, nutritional information, gift ideas, signs of the Zodiac, places to write out special dates for each month, venue lists (to keep track of the companies, shops, clinics, dentists, beauty salons, beauticians, hair salons, and hair stylists in your life), and contacts. And then there’s my favorite, the Vintage Chart: a two-page crash course in wine snobbery. For example, I would avoid the ’93 Northern Rhone, but the 2003 was an exceptional vintage. See? You too can sound almost passably knowledgeable.
The main body of the Executive Diary consists of week-to-view calendars. Each day has room for some general task planning, and each month has an overview page with a quote, a small month calendar, and some lines to plot out whatever major things you have in that month. There’s also year planner pages toward the front, and forward planner pages for 2014 toward the back. And some uselessly tiny calendars in the very front.
The paper isn’t winning any awards. The main problem seems to be feathering wherever most liquid inks are involved, with bleedthrough on the heavier inks and showthrough on everything that’s darker than orange. Normally, I argue that a notebook is nothing without its paper, but when it comes to planners there’s a higher calling of form and function involved. The primary purpose of a planner isn’t the writing, it’s the planning. If the format is good, this alone will trump mediocre paper. This is why I will use a tiny week-to-view Moleskine (yes, Moleskine! Of all crappy paper things!) to keep track of my hours worked. I have literally hundreds of pens. It doesn’t kill me to set my fountain pens and liquid inks aside, and pick up one of my numerous gel pens, pencils, or ballpoints to use in this notebook (my favorite to use: retractable Pilot FriXion ball pens).
It’s slim, it’s tall, it’s smooth. Big enough to be useful, small enough to be convenient, durable enough to survive all year still looking sharp. I’m not even close to being an executive, but I can still appreciate the 2013 Executive Diary by Daycraft.