How to Choose Your Perfect Planner

How to Choose Your Perfect Planner

The holidays have arrived and that means that 2018 is just around the corner.

And that means it is Planner Season!  Yes, that time of the year when it is time decide what planner you are going to use for the following year.

Are you as excited as I am?  No.  Okay, maybe I am a little OCD and enjoy organizing a little too much.

In my last post 5 Steps to Reducing Mental Clutter, I talked about reducing mental clutter in order to minimize anxiety and overwhelm.  One of the steps I talked about is using a planner.  If you feel a little lost when it comes to choosing a planner check out the following steps.

How to Choose a Your Perfect Planner

1.  Decide what style of planner you prefer.

Physical Planner –

Physical planners are great because they are so easy to use.  All you have to do is write down your appointment or what your goal is.

And studies suggest that writing down information with pen and paper, rather than a digital device, leads to better quality learning or remembering.  This applies to learning and scheduling.

Physical planners are also great if you want to cut the strings to your phone and other devices.

Another great thing about choosing a physical planner is that there are infinite styles available.  At the end of this post, I list a bunch.

Printable Planner –

Printable planners are great if you are on a budget.  Numerous styles are available online for either free or relatively cheap compared to physical planners.  They can be found on Etsy and numerous blogs.

This is also a great choice for you if you haven’t quite decided what style or system you prefer. 

Digital Planners –

One great aspect of digital planners is that they can typically be accessed through your smartphone…which let’s face it – we never leave at home.

Digital planners are also great if you are interested in reducing paper clutter.

And because this type of task manager is digital – information can be easily deleted, edited or moved.  And if you set up syncing to be automatic if you lose or damage a device your information is not lost.

Examples – Cozi, Asana, Trello

Bullet Journal –

Bullet journals are kind of a cross between a diary and a planner that uses bullet points as the main structure.

This type of planning is really great if you are creative.  It is also really great because all you need is a journal and a pen or pencil to start.  Even a composition notebook will do.

Of course, you can go crazy with colored pencils, markers, washi tape or whatever your heart desires.

You can even use cutouts from magazines or scrapbook paper to make it your own.

For our purposes, the following steps are for people who have chosen to use a physical or printable planner.

2.  Decide if you want a refillable or a pre-bound planner.

Physical planners come either already dated and bound or they come as binders with refillable inserts that can be put into ringed binders.

You might want to choose a planner that is already printed, bound, and dated.  One less task or project to work on.  Find one you like and you are done.

Or you might want to choose a planner that you can personalize and customize by picking different inserts.  You can even find inserts for menu planning, coloring pages, goal planning, meeting notes, address and contact pages, and even check register inserts.

Another great thing is that there is a HUGE amount of planner refillables available in online stores like Etsy.

Examples – Franklin Original Ring-bound Daily Planner, Openquote Designs Printer Planner Inserts

3.  Decide what size you want your planner to be.

Physical planners come in a variety of sizes.  Typically they fall into one the following categories although sometimes designers do stray from these standards.

Printable planners typically are US Letter size, which is perfect for printing and putting in a Binder that fits your style.

Standard Physical Planner Sizes

US Letter – 8.5in by 11in

A4 – 8.27in x 11.7in

A5 – 5.83in x 8.27in (This is my personal fav size because it is big enough to hold a lot of info and small enough to throw in my purse)

Personal – 3.74in x 6.73in

Pocket – 3.19in x 4.72in

Mini – 2.64in x 4.13in

This is a decision that really just comes down to what do you prefer.

  • Do you want a large planner that can fit a lot of info from a lot of categories and lay open on your desk?
  • Do you want a small planner that you can throw in your purse or slip into your pocket?

If you are deciding to use a Bullet Journal or print one from online you can choose whatever size your heart desires.

4.  Decide if you want a weekly or daily planner.

Weekly planners are great because you can see your whole week in front of you at once.

They also tend to weigh less than daily planners, which is great if you are carrying it around in your purse.  Every ounce counts when it comes to aching shoulders!

One thing that can be a negative is that they have less space to write in than daily planners.  It just depends on how busy your day to day schedule is.

Weekly Planner Examples – J. Lynn Designery Refresh Weekly Planner, Kitlife Weekly Planner, inkWELL liveWELL

Daily planners are great for people who regularly have multiple appointments or classes during an average day.

They can also be great for people who want to include meal planning, fitness goals, and tracking water intake.  Daily planners can also be used to track finances and although this can be done in a weekly planner your pages might get a little cluttered and confusing.

This style of planner typically has time slots which makes them great for people with busy, chaotic schedules to get organized.

Daily Planner Examples – Emily Ley Daily Simplified Planner

5.  Decide if you want categories and dates to be already included in the planner.

Would you prefer a planner that has areas for topics like meal planning, weekly goals, and keeping track of your water intake?

Or would you prefer a planner that lets you create your own categories and just fill in your appointments for the day?

This all just depends on your personal preferences.  The best way to figure this out is just to look at a variety of planners and see which one appeals to you visually.

It also helps to experiment and see which style or system of planning suits your personality the best.

Also, if you try one and you don’t like it next year try another one.  No harm no foul.

Undated Planner Examples – Planner Pad Undated Spiral Bound Organizer,


Perfect Planner Options –

If you have a planner that you love please share what it is in the comments and even share a picture if you would like!

And if you do not have a planner that you love yet check out the following:

1.  Datebook Planner

2.  LifePlanner by Erin Condren

3.  J. Lynn Designery Refresh Weekly Planner

4.  Emily Ley Simplified Planners

5.  Planner Pad

6.  Kitlife Weekly Planner

7.  ProtoPreneur Planner

8.  Plum Paper Planner

9.  Happy Planner

10.  Panda Planner

11.  liveWELL Planner by inkWELL

12.  Franklin Planners


how to pick the perfect planner

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