In my circle of family and friends, I’ve become a bit of a planner match-maker. Although sometimes it may seem like I’m making the search more complicated than it needs to be, there are a lot of things to consider when finding a planner that meets your planning needs! I’ve found that I go through a similar set of questions when a friend approaches me with the “Which planner should I get?” dilemma. And so, I thought I’d share them here on WBT in case you too are searching for a new planner!
So here we go:
- Which kind of binding do you prefer? Do you like a spiral-bound planner that can be neatly folded back? Do you love being able to add pages and pockets into a binder-style planner? Or do you like a hard or soft-bound planner that keeps everything neatly in place? Things to consider: If you’re planning to throw your planner in and out of a purse or backpack, a spiral-bound planner tends to catch on zippers and your keys can get caught in the rings too. BUT, if you like being able to fold the planner back on itself, a spiral-bound planner might be ideal for you.
- Which pages are a must for your schedule? Do you need a monthly view, a weekly view, a daily view, or a combination of the three? Do you need “notes” pages, “contact” pages, or a monthly reflection or goal-setting sheet? Consider your schedule and your planning needs – some people find that a hourly-schedule helps them stay on task, while others like to just plan the big-picture on a monthly spread. Things to consider: If you know that all you need is a weekly view, many bound planners will do just fine. But if you like to have an assortment of pages or a personalized format, there are many inserts available for binder-style planners in all sizes.
- Vertical layout or horizontal layout? Chances are, if you’re a planner person you’re also a visual person. The difference between a vertical and horizontal layout might seem trivial, but it can actually make a huge difference in the way you prioritize and plan your week! A horizontal layout is great for people who like to take things one day at a time – there’s plenty of space to write on each day. A vertical layout is great for people who like to block out portions of time for specific activities, as each day is a slim column. Things to consider: If you’re a sticker person, there are far more options for vertical planners than for horizontal planners. But, if you want more freedom in decorating, a horizontal layout gives you more width to work with.
- Colorful or minimal inserts? Do you want your pages to be colorful and pre-decorated, or simple and black-and-white? Does having some design and color already on the pages inspire you, or distract you? Things to consider: If you’re going to be decorating your planner, consider whether you’d like some pre-existing design to work off of, or if you’d like a blank slate to completely personalize. And if you’re not going to be decorating your planner, do you still want the pages to be bright and colorful, or would you rather them be simple and allow your plans to be the focus?
- Which size planner suits your needs? There are SO many planner sizes out there – from the tiny pocket-sized planners (which are so cute!) to the large, A4 size planners. Things to consider: will your planner sit on your desk, or will it travel with you to and from work, the grocery store, or on vacation? How busy is your schedule or how detailed of a to-do list do you like to make? Obviously, a larger planner allows more room for writing and planning, but some people find that empty spaces distract them from the plans themselves.
- What do you want the cover to look like? If you’re using your planner for business, you probably want a professional-looking cover. But if you work at home, a bright pattern might encourage you to actually use your planner more. Things to consider: Some ring-bound planners – like the Happy Planner – allow you to switch out your cover or even make your own. While others – like the Erin Condren planners – have many options to personalize the cover before you purchase.
- What’s your planner budget? The price range of planners is a bit ridiculous – you can get a planner for under ten dollars (such as the planner binders & inserts at Target in the Dollar Spot) or you can get a designer planner for much, MUCH more. And if you want to personalize your planner – such as buying insert designs off of Etsy and printing them at home, or subscribing to a planner kit – the cost can add up quite quickly. Things to consider: Which elements are worth investing in? For some, a leather binder is as special as a new purse, while what goes inside really doesn’t matter. For others, a Target One Spot Binder will work just fine, and they’d rather spend their money on unique stickers, stamps, and washi tape to decorate the inside.
And that’s it! Those are the seven main questions to consider when looking for the perfect planner. If you’d like to take the quiz I made – which takes your answers to these questions and matches you with a planner – click here or the image below!
Consider this the E-Harmony for Planners.
Have a bright weekend 🙂
P.S. If you take the quiz, be sure to let me know which planner you get “matched” with in the comments below!