How To Choose The Right Planner: Part 1 (Planner Options)


Looking for direction when it comes to planners?  There are so many in the market - this blog series will help break it down for you.

Planners have made a huge comeback recently!  I remember the excitement of Back-To-School Shopping for the sheer joy of buying my planner for the year. 

This flashback is courtesy of 1999 when I was a high school dork who loved to plan my days/weeks/months.  

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Now, I'm pretty sure I used a planner in college.  

In fact, I know I did.  I would have never made it through all those tests, study groups, Business Honors meetings, & internship schedules without one. 

Back then (boy I sound old), planners were pretty standard.  And pretty boring.  There was a divide in "cute" planners for girls like me, and "adult" planners for people like my mom.  

Fast forward to 2010 when I started a business (hooray), but ditched the paper planner for some odd reason.

Seriously, I'm over here scratching my head wondering why??

Probably because Google Calendars and iPhone Calendars were all the rage.  I mean the thought of having your calendar available to you at a fingertips notice was divine! 

I've used Google Calendar since and to be honest, I've never really fallen in love with it.

I've used it 5 different ways then 6 more then 2 divided 4 more ways.  I get there are a lot of options, but it lacks two things:

1. Paper

2. Pretty

So I've considered switching back to a paper planner for awhile now.  But my biggest hurdle has been which one.  There are SO many options!  If you suffer from analysis paralysis like I do, then this series is for you.

how to choose the right planner

Part 1 will focus on the different planner options.  I will not include the boring ones that are available at Walmart/Target/Office Supply Store. 

Instead I'm going to focus on choosing the right pretty planner that has all of your needs corraled into one spiral bound goodness (and I'm sure I've missed 375,689 ones out there in the market).

Let's dive in, shall we. 

simplified planner cover


It seems that Simplified & Day Designer compete toe-to-toe in the market.  They have a similar look & feel.  And a similar price tag. 

simplified planner daily spread

I've downloaded the Daily Planner for free to try it on for size.  

simplified planner daily spread free printable

So far so good - I like the hourly time slots combined with the to-do list.

day designer cover 

DAY DESIGNER PLANNER by Whitney English ($59)

Target sells a less fancy version of the Day Designer for $20.  I currently have one sitting on the floor.  I ordered another planner from Target & I'm awaiting it's arrival before fully diving in.  

day designer daily spread

Similar to the Simplified Planner, I downloaded the daily page to give it a whirl.  I like that the Day Designer has a few other daily boxes to fill in like


-Daily Gratitude:

-Today's Top Three:

erin condren life planner cover


Erin may have been one of the first to pioneer the pretty, more detailed planner. 

erin condren life planner spread

Her design doesn't speak to me as much as the Day Designer, but I do think she deserves a spot in the mix. 

start planner cover


The START Planner slid on my radar during an organizing session with a client.  Her design counterpart had this planner open on her desk and I couldn't stop admiring it.  Shortly after, the creator, Kristy, befriended me on Facebook.  Random coincidence perhaps. 

start planner daily spread

They sell a Business Edition and a Daily Edition.  I LOOOVE the business edition personally.  I wish the cover had a little more pizzazz but the inside more than makes up for it (IMO). 

start planner business spread

happy planner cover


Not quite what I'm looking for, but very cute and affordable.  I love they sell customized "packs" for the interior. These are available at Michaels as well. 

happy planner weekly spread

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I'm looking for a Daily Planner design with hours and to-do lists.  The Weekly Planner is great for someone who doesn't need to manage their time as precisely as I do.  In order to get 5,000 things done in one day, I really need to map it all out. ;) 

posy paper cover


Such a beautiful weekly planner!  Again, not the right fit for me but gracious I just love the look and feel!

posy paper weekly spread

For the price, I would purchase this one if I was a Weekly Planner kind-of-gal.

inkwell planner cover


The branding of this company and their planners just speaks to me.  Probably because I'm totally buying with my eyes and love the colors & font. 

inkwell planner spread

They offer two different layouts for the weekly page.  It feels a little tight for me personally (back to that whole 5,000 things to do in one day), but I like the design.

inkwell planner goals spread


What really gets me is the "extra" pages similar to the START Planner.  I'm big on having all this knowledge written down, in one place, near that place where I plan the weeks/days. 

I also love her Menu Planner book.  For $29, that could be money well spent! :) 

inkwell menu planner

So these are the options that I would consider top candidates in the planner department.  

Recollections (available at Michaels Stores) also sells planners that you can customize with "add-ons" as I like to call them.  I don't think they are the prettiest, and for me not that functional, but I do like the idea of purchasing exactly what you need to go in your planning binder.

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Part 2 will dive more into the funcationality of a planner.  

Feel free to email me any that I may have missed! :) This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it.  

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Until next time...