How much is perfect? Misc-Store considers 2020 agendas

Despite the supposed death of print, we’ve noticed a steady increase in people buying real pen-and-paper agendas in Amsterdam. In our conversations with customers – and amongst ourselves – we’ve found it funny to see people’s attitudes to their planners change over the years. One common narrative is the revivalist: someone who, having not used an agenda since their since their high school diary, returns for the grown-up version of what they used five, ten, or twenty years ago. Sometimes this works great, but sometimes the agenda is abandoned by March. After all, they’re not in high school any more, and the weekly format common to school agendas doesn’t work for everyone.

This has had us thinking about how an agenda (or a diary, a journal, a planner, even a simple wall calendar) asks a single, deeply important question: how will we spend our lives? How well your agenda fits you depends on the accuracy of your answer. It cuts to the core of who you are as a human being, asking you to be honest about your relationship with the world. A truthful answer is difficult, but also entertaining, and occasionally surprising.

We can’t tell you what’s important for you, but – as agenda aficionados – we thought we’d share our decisions for 2020 agendas , and the questions we asked to get there.

How do you feel?

Misc. Store Amsterdam staff

To be honest, I haven’t been very into using planners for years. I guess university was the last time I really used one, but since then I’ve had the luxury of having a routine. I like to have a mix of structured and unstructured time, so I have notes about – for example, if I go on holiday – the flights and hotel check-ins and all that. But then everything else is a to-do list, which will usually go over a whole week, and which I’ll work through as I’m ready.

A customer actually convinced me to buy a Jibun Techō planner for my 2020 diary. She showed me her, which was really pretty. She’d done colour-coding, and painted in it, and had pictures taped in nicely (I think you have to be a particular kind of person to keep up with that, because whenever I see one like that I’m just like, I wish I were you!) But I’m interested in it because the Jibun Techō can also be a reflective tool: it has spaces to mark the weather, sunrise and sunset, your mood, and so on. I’d like to document more everyday things, which means taking the time to notice things.

Which 2020 agenda will you buy?

The Kokuyo Slim Biz Jibun Techō – I think in black.

Kokuyo Jibun Techō, pictured at Miscellaneous Store

What can you manage?

Misc. Store Amsterdam staff

I don’t really enjoy digital calendars, but they’ve been hard to get rid of. They’re too intertwined with my life. There’s something so ephemeral about them, though, and lately I’ve found myself drawing out a week or a month on a piece of paper just to feel like I had a grip on it. Only on paper did I feel like I could see, ok, I should cancel this, or move this to Wednesday. My paper ‘planners’ complement the digital ones.

You know, I would love to be one of those people who uses a daily agenda – there’s something so charming about it. But I simply don’t have that much going on. All those blank pages make me feel guilty. I feel a bit skeptical about the cult of productivity that can come with it. Like those demonstration calendars you see on tester iPhones. They’ve always got so much going on: three meetings, a ten-kilometre run, taco night, a couch delivery. Who would actually enjoy this life? I get stressed thinking about it. But a sustainable pace looks depressing in a weekly agenda.

Which 2020 agenda will you buy?

I haven’t decided, but it’ll probably be a monthly one. It’s more valuable to me as a planning tool than as an appointment holder. [Ed.: We recommend Ari use the PostalCo Snap Pad with a monthly planner insert.]

postalco Snap Pad, pictured at Miscellaneous Store

How much information do you need?

Misc. Store owner

I’m planning to use a 2020 year calendar in combination with a weekly diary. I like working across two different scales, although the wall calendar is really my favourite. Planning the year is a really good way to de-stress, and when you have the whole overview – I think there’s something relaxing about being able to stand back and just see where things are.

Of course, you can’t go into that much detail, but I’m okay with that. I just like to have an outline, not a perfectly accurate prediction. I use a 2020 agenda for more precise notes. Going into too much detail can actually be more stressful, I think. Although my partner feels the opposite – he really prefers to have things precise!

Which 2020 agenda will you buy?

The PostalCo 2020 wall calendar and either a PRD-3 or a PRD-8 Weekly Agenda 2020. Postalco Wall Calendar, pictured at Miscellaneous Store

How long is a day?

Aidan writer

Like my colleagues, finding the right scale has been important. Writing typically involves sustained attention over the course of a few days, so I usually have to block out several days at a time; otherwise I never finish anything. Generally speaking, I like to give one thing my full attention, so I rarely make plans to do multiple things a day. At least, nothing more complicated than seeing a friend in the evening, for example. But I have to set an alarm for this sort of thing.

Essentially this has meant having a monthly agenda and using the iCal app to send me reminders. I try to make time to transfer tasks from one to the other, but increasingly, I’m preferring the paper agenda. It’s been repeatedly proven that writing notes by hand helps you to remember them, and when I make mistakes in my planning, it’s invariably the agenda that turns out to be right and never the app.

Which 2020 agenda will you buy?

Probably the PRD-10.

Midori PRD Diary range, pictured at Miscellaneous Store

What does life ask of you?

Daphne manager

Last year I used Notem's Uma planner, but this year I've switched to Hightide's Agenda de l'Année. They're both weekly planners, but the Uma is A4. I mostly used the Uma for project planning, but, since I moved further out of town and can't be so spontaneous any more, I wanted something that could combine project planning and my social life. 

I'm not actually sure it's right for me yet. I chose this diary because it had a calming look and feel. I don't like diaries to be too visually busy. But my social life isn't so difficult to manage, so I might just go back to a proper project planner next year. 

Which 2020 agenda will you buy?

I already bought the Agenda de l'Année in October. 

Agenda de l'année, available at Miscellaneous Store Amsterdam

Miscellaneous Store sells agendas, diaries, journals, and planners year-round, but our biggest selection is available in November and December each year. If you're look to buy a special diary for yourself – or someone else – you can buy your agenda in Amsterdam at our De Clerqstraat store or buy an agenda online.