In today’s marketplace, there is a massive amount of planners to choose from so the question really is – what planner would be the perfect one for you?
No matter if you already have a planner, are using them for quite some time, or you’re just starting out with this practice, the same goes for all.
If it’s not functional for what you’re looking for, it won’t be of benefit to you.
Every planner person gets the most out of its planner (and feels most comfortable with it) when using a planner that matches its needs and lifestyle the best.
But how to pick the right one?
Therefore, in this blog post, I’m laying out the elements you need to consider prior to making a decision about what planner will be the best choice for you.
Ready to see them?
Here they are!
Determine what you will use your planner for
When it’s time to choose your perfect planner this is something you need to consider first.
What will you use your planner for?
Will it be for only one specific thing or do you want to plan many different things in it?
There are a number of, if I may call them this way, specialized planners tailored to specific needs.
For example, you can find a productivity planner, goal planner, blog planner, social media planner, financial planner, self-care planner, meal planner… The titles themselves explain what they’re about. You can even consider a home management binder to belong to this category.
On the other hand, you might want to have a single place to plan and write down many different things. If that’s the case, there are also many planners available to choose from. Their structure is less specific and they all tend to share common spots, but this also helps you to customize it (to a certain extent) to your needs.
If you’re just starting out, and you’re not quite sure what will be the biggest focus of your plans, a good option would be to use an average, regular planner that can accommodate many different things – from your work tasks to the household and personal items.
(you can also give bullet journaling a try, it’s a highly flexible form of planning and organizing many different stuff…)
Over time you’ll get a clearer image of your preferences and the way of planning and you can, later on, switch to a different type of planner that will suit you better.
Know your type of organization and your way of time management
Depending on how you organize your time some planners would work better for you (and some not as good).
Think about how you like to plan out your days.
Maybe you like to organize your tasks in time blocks, do your work in batches, or maybe you’re a fan of the Pomodoro technique? If this is your thing, a planner with a daily schedule would work best for you.
On the other hand, maybe you like to look at the bigger picture and focus on your week instead of a single day? In that case, a planner with weekly pages that have enough space to put in the details you need or a large weekly to-do list would be a better option for you.
In either of these two cases, you can have a look at my printable Life Planner Set – it has both daily and weekly pages (and more!) that would fit these needs, plus a bunch of useful lists you can use on a regular basis.
(and if you’re not sure what type of planning would work the best for you and your lifestyle – a daily or a weekly one, check out this post)
When you choose your planner, determine what you want to track and note in it
Apart from planning your days (and weeks, months, even years…) there might be other things you want to note and track in your planner.
There are many other useful pieces of information you might like to keep in your planner such as contacts, passwords, important dates, different lists, or things you would like to track – habits, budget, working days, school attendance…
(and I must add – if you’re still not tracking your habits, consider starting with this practice because you can get so many benefits and insights from your habit tracker)
While most planners usually have a place dedicated to the first group of pages mentioned here, the latter is harder to find in a regular planner.
Therefore, if you’d really like to have those pages in your planner, you should either look for a specialized one or choose a planner that has enough blank pages in it (usually at the end) where you could create those pages by yourself.
Should you choose a premade or printable planner?
When talking about tangible planners, there are two routes you can follow.
One – go to a bookstore (or the internet, or any other place where you can shop for this item) and get an already-made planner that seems like the best fit for your needs.
Or you can follow the other route – browse online and look for printable planners that you can print out by yourself (at any time you need it!) and create a planner with the exact pages you want to have and use.
Both of these options have their pros and cons, and by weighing between them and choosing what seems the most important in (and from) a planner to you, you’ll come to the conclusion of what you should choose.
How much time do you want to spend on it?
We all have many different things to do in our day-to-day lives, but some people can find more time for planning and some may have very little.
Therefore, how much time you’d like to spend on your planner is another thing worth considering when looking for the right planner for your needs.
For instance, an undated planner will take you a bit more time compared to an already-dated one. (although this has its other pros)
The most drastic example of a planner in this category, to my mind, is a bullet journal.
(and I have a handy guide on how to start a bullet journal for beginners if you’re interested in trying out this way of planning)
Although it has many advantages (and I mean, really many!), time-saving is often not among them.
(and it can become very time-consuming if you want it to be picture-perfect)
Of course, there are workarounds in this case.
You can find many printable bullet journal pages that you can easily print off and add to your journal, and this can help you speed up its setup time and get a beautiful bullet journal at the same moment.
However, that brings us to another question…
How much money do you want to spend on it?
It’s almost impossible to avoid the money talk no matter what the discussion is about, so it has to be brought up as a subject here, as well.
It’s obvious you have to get a new planner once you use the one you have. (I’m talking about tangible planners here)
And, of course, how frequently you need a new planner adds up to the expenses.
Let’s not forget all other cute, fun planner goodies like stickers, different pens, stamps, washi tapes… that clearly add to the budget, or better say take away from it.
And believe me, I know how hard it is, if not even impossible, to say no to these things! 😀
To cut some of the expenses, I suggest you use an undated planner unless you’re starting your planning journey at the beginning of the calendar or school year.
In these two cases, you can easily find a dated planner that you will be able to fully use all year round (in some cases even 18 months).
Also, consider the difference between buying a premade planner and a printable one, it might be a factor worth your consideration.
You might discover that one out of those two options would work better for you.
(in terms of budget, at least)
Depending on how much a pre-made planner costs compared to printing out a planner by yourself (in which case you can be certain it will have all the pages you will actually use) you will decide what option would work better for you.
Consider the size of a planner
Where do you expect to use your planner and how much do you plan to write in it?
Will you carry it with you wherever you go (and how often)?
Will you write in detail or make only short notes?
These are all the things worth considering prior to making a decision about your next (or first) planner, because in this case – the size does matter.
I must admit, although A4 or letter-size planners are generously spacious and offer plenty of room to write things down, they are good only for your desk – either at work or at home and carrying them back and forth might be a pain.
Some may even find planners of these sizes too big when they open their pages to look around and search for what they need.
(just like you can’t see the entire screen at the movies when you’re in the first few rows)
Of course, there are people who don’t mind this at all.
On the other side of the spectrum are small planners – in sizes A6, B6, or even smaller (yes, believe it or not!). Although they are super functional for carrying around, if you’re a fan of detailed planning there’s obviously not much space in them to write everything down.
If you ask me, my vote goes to planners in A5 or B5 sizes – not too big, and not too small. (I follow the Goldilocks’ principle here! 😀 )
At the end of the day, it’s up to you and your personal preferences.
Should you choose an analog or a digital planner?
Although I’m a big fan of paper (and at the same time still feel concerned about forests!), the technology today opened the door to a new way of planning. You’ve guessed it – I’m talking about digital planners.
So you have another option available for your planner – tangible or digital?
If you’re new to planning and have the option to use either one of these two possibilities, there’s probably no difference whether you’ll use a digital planner or not.
On the other hand, it might be a bit harder to switch to this new way of planning if you’re accustomed to writing things down on paper, although that’s not always the case.
As with any other thing in life, each of these ways of planning has its pros and cons and what you will choose is up to you.
Although choosing a planner is not some crucial thing that will make or break your entire organization system, having a planner that suits you does make a difference in organizing your day-to-day tasks.
With so many options available these days it can be hard to find a planner that will meet your every need.
To be honest, hardly any premade planner will stand up to that demand – something will either be missing, or you’ll get an unwanted extra.
If you would like to have a planner that will perfectly reflect what you need, and at the same time don’t want to spend time doing it by yourself, you can even consider getting custom planner pages.
Finally, you must not forget this, a planner is the right one for you at a specific moment in time.
As you change and evolve, your planning style needs to adapt and change too, so you can be pretty sure you’ll use more than one type of planner throughout your life.
That, among other things, is the beauty of planners and planning.
Now that you know how to choose the perfect planner, take a look at how to use your planner to be super-productive.