The end of the year is drawing near and for a planner lover like me, it simply can’t get here soon enough. There’s something about opening the crisp, new pages of planner that really gets my blood pumping. I feel like I’m getting a clean slate. A chance to start over and make this year count like any other. This post contains some affiliate links. Click here to read my full disclosure policy.
I actually didn’t start using a planner until a few years ago. While I’ve always been one to plan out my life and set goals, I didn’t write them down. I simply kept all the information stored in my head. At some point I realized that even though my method was working, I really could be much more productive if I used a tool to guide me. A trip to the store (well, maybe a few) later and I’m now the planning queen.
Buying a planner really was one of the best decisions I made to keep myself organized and help me be more productive. Especially once I started this blog and began working from home. But let me tell you…I had the hardest time finding the right planner for me. It can be a stressful experience! I know I spent hours in stores flipping through various planners before actually purchasing one. I went through several different kinds and even made my own before finding the right planner for me. While others would recommend their favorite planner to me, it wasn’t until I actually began using it that I’d find out it wasn’t a good fit for me.
So, how do you pick the perfect planner that’s best for you? The trick is to find out that makes your life easier, not harder. If you’re in the market for a new planner, here are some tips to help you make the wisest pick.
Be willing to experiment.
Sometimes the only way to find out if you like a planner is to start using one. Once you use a planner for awhile you’ll discover what you like and don’t like. This will make your next planner purchase much easier. These days you can find some very affordable planners at retail stores, but if you’re interested in more expensive planners the cost could add up. Some companies offer printable pages on their website so you can give it a try before committing to a purchase, so be sure to check them out first. Day Designer is one company with a page you can try for free.
Remember a planner is a tool that must be used.
A planner isn’t going to solve all your problems, especially if you don’t use it like you should. What good is writing everything down only to never look at it again? Recognize that you are going to have to put forth some effort to use a planner to organize your life and commit to it so you’ll see results. You can read my tips on using a planner effectively here.
Choose your layout and planner size.
Do you need to plan your days down to the hour or do you simply need a space to keep track of appointments? Decide on whether you need a monthly, weekly or daily planner first. Also make note on the size planner you need. Will you need something portable to take with you on the go, or do you need a big planner with lots of rooms for notes? Keep in mind that daily planners usually are bigger and heavier to carry around with you while weekly planners tend to be more portable. Making these decisions ahead of time will make the hunt for a planner go by a lot quicker! I like that some planner companies like Emily Ley’s Simplified Planner come in both weekly and daily editions so you choose your preference.
Choose your style.
If you want to use a planner for the year, you want it to be something you like. No, that you LOVE. There’s something about a pretty planner that keeps me motivated to use it, so make sure the style fits your taste. Decide whether you want something colorful or minimalist in design. I like that you can choose your style, colorful or neutral, for the Erin Condren LifePlanner depending on your taste.
Decide which extras you need for your planner.
Do you need extras for your planner, like goal setting or budget pages? Which planners offer those options? Do your research to find the planner with the options you need so you can have everything at your fingertips. I love that The Living Well Planner has goal and budget pages to keep you on track.
Choose your binding preference.
Do you like a spiral bound planner, or do you want to use a 3 ring binder or discbound system so you can add your own pages or move things around? The Happy Planner is the perfect choice for easy customization.
Determine your budget.
While some may have $60 to spend on a planner, not every one does. Decide how much money you can spend on a planner so you can find something that works in your budget. Don’t waste time researching something you can’t afford in the first place.
I hope these tips help you pick out the perfect planner to keep you organized this year. Since I’m sort of a planner loving freak and I’ve tried a lot of them, I’ve decided to list some of my favorites for you to check out. I hope one works for you!
- Erin Condren LifePlanner
- Day Designer
- Create 365 The Happy Planner
- Simply Yours Day Planner
- Simplified Planner
- The Living Well Planner