Pick the Perfect Planner


Planning to Purchase a Planner?datebook

I don’t know about you but I can spend hours looking for the right planner. I search and I search and I might pick one, only to use it and find out, there’s something about it I don’t like. If you’re still looking for a new planner or thinking about creating your own, I’ve corralled a few tips to help you make a better decision.

If you’re unsure, BUY CHEAP, Generic

If you really don’t know what you like or what to use at all, go for something cheap. You’ll be less disappointed if it doesn’t work out. Purchase one (that are all still very nice and quite functional) at places like  Target, Ross, Michael’s or any kind of discount store.

Are you a Daily, Weekly only, Monthly Only or a little bit of all of those?

I know that I am a Monthly ONLY type. I have found that I like a monthly view usually across two-page layout with big roomy, UNLINED boxes to write what’s happening in. I’m also a to-do list note taker type, so I like blank pages in the back or I usually use a separate notepad for projects ideas/list elsewhere and NOT in the actual calendar. I hate lines even in my journals because I never write in them and find them too confining. Here’s a thought, if you’re super frugal and saving money trumps everything for you, monthly ONLY calendars are cheaper because there is less paper involved. IKR!

I have tried weekly monthly and found I just don’t fill out the weekly pages AND I like to know what’s on the horizon and be able to prepare for things that upcoming.


Next to the buy cheap option, I’ve seen a lot of new planners on the  market now offering you a free week to print. You can get the upcoming week to try and test it out. The iBloom Planner is one example of this. I downloaded a one week layout to see if I liked their set up. You can’t write in this electronically, what you will do is to print it out and either hole punch it for your planner or three ring binder depending on the size they have available.

Minimalist or Scrapbooker at Heart?

Planners are becoming more like scrapbooks. If you like this style and have time to do all that embellishment to your pages (usually you’re a daily/weekly if you do), then planners like the Create 365 Happy Planner and Erin Condren will appeal to you but, note, they will also be pricier. Like stickers and you’ll love the time spent fixing this and drawing that and “decorating” your planner.

If you want to be more of an executive type, and other colleagues and professionals will see your planner – this is also a consideration. Obviously there is NOTHING wrong with being artsy and decorating your planner, you just also have to consider whether or not you have a message you need to put forward for the type of world you work in. Simpler (no fuss) planners include those that are made by At-A-Glance, DayTimer and DayMinder.

Note: while I say these last three planner companies listed above are considered less whimsical and more “professional” they are coming out with more artist-themed types of planners to stay current/relevant and competitive with the planners considered to have more personality and pizzaz.

Go Custom

Next, in just recent years has come about the ability to play around with the settings, the size, and the layout of your planner. You can even add your own dates (birthdays and special events) to the planner, have it printed and sent to you. It will take a little more time but once you are done creating your own pages, you can have it printed and sent to you and everything will be set up just the way you have designed. Agendio and Personal Planner are examples of companies offering you the ability to customize your layouts/size, etc. DO start early, it will take some time to put it together and up to three weeks to have it printed by the company and then sent to you in the mail.

What kinds of things will you NEED to record?

This is a really important question and honestly, it probably should be first. What are you going to use the planner for? Yes, appointments, that is correct. BUT, what else? Are you doing goals each month or yearly and tracking them here – you’ll need a task pad or more pages for this? Are you keeping track of an entire family -kids, your husband/wife AND your parents’ schedule?

I do not have my projects in the planner. I’m monthly and I may use a project planner pad, good old list pad or even an old fashioned notebook for the extra stuff I need to do and am planning and working on. If you need to keep it ALL together, and have access to it all the time in ONE place, you will simply need to figure that out before you commit.

Secondly, will you take this out or keep it home central? Even if I lose my monthly planner, I do not keep personal information and documents in it that can compromise my identity. For families, a large wall calendar that everyone can see can and keep track of appointments on may be better and for the tech types who aren’t paper planner prone at all, then the Google calendar/outlook and other calendars you can sync across family members is the way to go. Good for you, this post isn’t for electronic calendar types. IF you keep it all IN the planner, you can  keep more details in your desk top or carry around planner but should try to refrain from putting in Personally Identifiable Information.

Finally, there are so many more things to consider and for some, all of this is just silliness but if you’re a serious planner type, these tips will help you narrow down your selections and get on with planning your day and reaching your goals. Narrow it down to three or four and then consider the thoughts above. One (fingers crossed) WILL stand out. And guess what, if the planner you’ve selected does not work out, you have next year to choose something completely different.

Please also see the time when I Made My Own Planner , an older blog post from 2016. It was fun. Enjoy!


Disclaimer: Listing any company or any links above do not constitute endorsement of any group, service or individual and NONE of the links are affiliate links. I receive NO compensation by listing.

2 thoughts on “Pick the Perfect Planner

  1. You and I are so alike! I never use the weekly pages in a monthly planner. I, too, prefer seeing entire month in large blocks layed out across open binder. I wait until Oct/Nov and buy clearance 16-month academic calenders. I buy two sizes, standard school spiral notebook size and smaller 5×7-ish I can put in my purse.
    Since I have more doctor appointments than most, I Only put appointments and travel details in this smaller book.
    I write notes and reminders in margins and empty boxes in larger calendar. When the standard 12-month calendars go on clearance (end Jan/early Feb) I buy my replacement book since academic planners stop at June 31. I then start using that replacement July 1.

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