Pick a Planner that works for YOU

A few months ago, I realized I needed help keeping everything order. I used to keep track of everything in my head with no problems. I never need to write down appointments, events or anything of the like. I never forgot to pay bills and I never forgot a birthday. I was on top of everything with very little effort. 

When Life Gives You Lemons Make a Lemonade Planner

Then I got married, bought a house, had a baby, and decided to become an entrepreneur. I realized I needed to WRITE THINGS DOWN! Some days, I would have a hard time recalling my name! It was time to choose a planner, but there are so many on the market that I did not know where to start. Planners were also more expensive than I expected.

How to pick a planner?

The primary consideration when picking a planner is deciding how it will be used. Determine whether it will be used for Work, Projects, Family or Academic planning.  Decide if you want a dated or an undated planner, also decide what layout you need to use and what size of planner you will use.

When I started my search for a planner, I was overwhelmed by the number of options currently on the market and I was not sure which option to choose. I did the research and am sharing it with you so that you can decide what planner would work best for you. Some of the planners on the market can cost more than $50 so I wanted to make sure the one I purchased worked for my purpose.

Keep in mind that you may decide to use several planners. I started out with a family type planner, and am now considering investing in a project planner to keep track of content creations.

Decide on your planning goals before you pick a planner

Blue Planner notebook with text "My Secret Plan to Rule the World"

I’m a busy mom now, but my first encounter with planning was in High School. At the beginning of each year, the school provided us with an academic planner that had a weekly layout where we could jot down assignments from each class as we went throughout the day. It was great for high school, but as an adult, I found that I also needed to see my appointments, days off & events at a glance.  

How to pick a Family Planner

A family planner acts as command central. This is where you can plan anything related to home and family.  Keep track of field trips, school plays, bake sales and play dates for the kids. Keep track of salon appointments & coffee dates for mom. Write down doctor’s appointments.  Keep track of friend’s and family’s birthday. Keep track of service appointments for your car, or to track any repairs that are planned to be completed on your house.  This planner is truly a one stop shop for anything family related.

To pick a planner that will be used to keep your family organized, choose a planner that has sections for notes and to do lists.  I also like family planners that have a space for habit trackers & inspirational quotes.

How to Pick a Work Planner

Use a work planner to keep track of meetings, schedules and other work-related commitments. Use a work planner to break down a big project in to smaller more manageable tasks.   A Work planner can be used to plan meetings, schedule business lunches or events, & to keep track of other work-related events. A work planner should also have a section for note.

How to Pick a Planner for Projects

For projects pick a planner that allows you to track short- and long-term project goals. There are planners that have Quarterly, Monthly, and Weekly sections for goal planning.  A project plan can be planning content for a website or YouTube.  A project planner can be used to track expenses and spending to reach debt payoff goals or savings goal. See the video below for how Shay used project planner to payoff Credit Card debt.

How to Pick a School Planner

A school planner, also known as an academic planner is primarily used to track assignment due dates, exams and goals. A school planner can be used to keep track of your class schedules, study groups, and meetings to work on projects.

Consider the layout before you pick a planner.

Create your own Layout with a Bullet Journal

A bullet Journal is a dotted notebook that you can customize by creating your own spread.  If you are the creative type this is the perfect option for you. This is a good option for a school planner, or a project planner. I wouldn’t recommend a bullet journal as a family planner or a work planner. I ‘ve found that I need more structure to keep work tasks and family life organized.

I enjoy watching AmandaRachLee on setup her bullet Journal

Pick this Planner Layout to Keep Track of a lot of Short Tasks.

If you have a long list of short tasks, a vertical layout is a good option for you. A vertical layout is perfect for blogging or other types of content creations. You can write short notes about each task, such as create, edit, & post pieces of content.

Pick this Planner Layout to Keep Track of Longer Tasks

A Horizontal Planner is good if you need to write longer more descriptive tasks.  For example if you have more kids your tasks may be “Pick up Jack for a playdate with Ava at the Zoo”. These long descriptive tasks are ideal for the horizontal planner since they have more space to write than vertical planners.

Pick this Planner Layout to Schedule your Busy Days

Pick a planner with a hourly layout if you need to time block tasks. If you have a lot of tasks to be completed at a specific time then this is the planner for you. Maybe you need to be at the gym at 6am, meet with a client at 8am, business meeting at 10am and a lunch time salon appointment.

Should you pick a planner that is Dated or Undated?

A dated planner has the dates filled in the planner.  Dated Planers generally begin in January or July. If you start planning in January or July there go with the Dated Planner.

An undated planner provides flexibility.  I got bit by the planning bug in May, so I decided to use an undated planner. If I went with a dated planner that started in January, I would have wasted 4 months or about 1/3rd of the planner.  If I went with a planner that started in July, I would have had to wait two months to get started and I wanted to get started right away!  An undated planner was the best option for me.

The one downside of an undated planner is that you have to fill in the dates. If you don’t do this when you first start using the planner it makes it a little trickier to plan ahead. For example, in June I received a Wedding invite, but the Wedding was not scheduled until August. I only fill in the dates for the month that I am currently using, so it made it difficult to pencil the Wedding in two months in to the future.

Overall an Undated planner has worked out very well for me.

Still not Sure How to Pick a Planner?

Erin Condren makes life planners, academic planners, budget planners, and sells an array of planner accessories.  Erin Condren  has a quiz to help you decide on a planner. Visit Erin Condren’s website to take the quiz and help to pick a planner.

Related Questions

What is a Happy Planner?

The Happy planner is a planning system that allows you to be creative while staying organized.  The happy planner is disc bound which allows you to add or remove pages.  Visit the Happy Planner’s website to learn more about the Happy Planner.

What is a Passion Planner?

The Passion Planner is a type of planner that helps you break down your long-term and short-term goals.  The passion planner has sections for weekly quotes & challenges. There is also space to create a Passion Roadmap. The passion planner comes in both dated and undated versions.  Visit the Passion Planner website to learn more about the Passion Planner

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