‘Tis the time of year to buy a new diary, something of a sacred Smythson ritual in my household, for this is when my imagineering for the as yet squeaky clean year to come actually begins. Everything that needs to be completed before January 1 is neatly noted, as at this stage I still harbour sufficient optimism to believe there’s time enough left. Any outline plans, or goals, for next year are also committed to ink. Whether or not it’s all achieved is a moot point; I feel more ordered simply by writing it down. As such, I love the year-at-a-glance pages. Here, I record all significant birthdays, highlight fixed events such as furniture fairs, school and bank holidays, and pencil in proposed vacation dates (booking proper hols in advance being my first early resolution – never again the decorating staycation!). Finally, I add the print schedules and deadlines for the magazine and check it all fits.
In this way, a new diary is more than a mere passive volume of reminders: it’s a testament to optimism and a record of achievement. For this is where you mark the intention to not only be more organised but also use your days to more devastating effect, read more books, see better movies and arrange more life-affirming activities. It’s where you start to balance (on paper at least) work, home and life. And for me, it’s the first step to embedding any desired new habits into my consciousness (regular exercise, anyone?). After all, as former Montblanc CEO Norbert Platt once said, ‘The act of putting pen to paper encourages pause for thought. This in turn makes us think more deeply about life, which helps us regain our equilibrium.’ So you see, it’s not just a diary, it’s an annual manifesto in waiting!
First published as my Editor’s Letter in the January 2013 edition of ELLE Decoration UK