By now you have a better understanding of what a planner is and how it can be used to improve your life. So, let’s get to the details of choosing a planner. This really is your first step, as it determines how you will set it up and ways you can fit it into your daily routine.
This little guide will help you choose the planner that is right for you – as there are many different types, styles, and sizes to choose from.
Remember that the planner is meant to improve YOUR life, so it should be perfect for YOU. Don’t choose a planner just because your friend, relative, co-worker, or next-door neighbour recommended it.
Your Guide to Choosing a Planner
Take a few minutes to shop around online or in person for planners. You’ll notice that there are a LOT of options out there. The reason is because everyone is different. This guide is meant to provide options, so that no matter who you are and what preferences you have, you can choose a planner that works for you.
In most cases, you can find a store-bought planner all ready to go that will work for you, but there are also a lot of benefits to using printable planner pages that allow you to customize your planner.
Questions to Ask Yourself Before Choosing a Planner
Here are some questions to ask yourself that can help guide you in the right direction.
- Where do you plan on using it? This is a good question for deciding on the right size.
- What do you intend to use your planner for? Decide if it is a daily planner or for something specific.
- Are you okay with printing pages? If so, printable planner pages are a great option for you.
- Do you want to start using it right away? This is when using a store-bought planner is the best option.
Should You Go Printable, Digital or Store-Bought?
The next decision to make when it comes to buying the right planner is to go store-bought, printable or fully digital. By digital, we mean using a planner on the computer or smart device. There are pros and cons of each, so here is a summary of each option:
A digital planner is a PDF document that can be used in a annotated reader app such as GoodNotes, Noteshelf, ZoomNotes, OneNote or XoDo. These apps are commonly used on iPads, iPhones and other smart devices, the most popular being the iPad combined with the Apple Pencil.
Benefits of a Digital Planner
- Minimalism. Apart from a device and stylus, other physical items are not required.
- Appearance. It’s easy to carry your iPad or tablet around, and appears professional in meetings.
- Ease of use. Keeping a planner on your smartphone or tablet means it’s there, at your fingertips at a moments notice.
Printable Planner Pages
This is becoming a really popular way to start a planner, though you can use either a store-bought planner binder, with added printed pages or print your own. So, that is something to consider as well.
With the printable pages, you have a little more control over how your planner looks and is set up. You can often customize the pages with different programs, where you change the layouts, colours, and add images to really make it unique. if you don’t feel like designing your own pages you can purchase printable files from Etsy, some of my designs can be found in my Store.
The drawback of printable pages is obviously that you need to print them. For double-sided pages, it would require a printer capable of duplex printing, or printing the front side, putting that paper back in the printer, then printing the back side. If you have a lot of pages it might get a little tedious.
Another option is to start with a store-bought planner. These tend to be more basic, though some of them are offering a lot more options. The main benefit is that everything is put together for you in a nice, compact package. There isn’t much customization you can do, but it is easier to get started.
It is really important that if you use one of these store-bought planners, you look for a few things:
- Check to see what pages and layouts it comes with.
- Is it a binder style or a book style? Book style planners have fixed layouts and little space for loose papers (usually just a pocket in the back) where as binder styles are more flexible (you can add pages more easily).
- If it’s a binder style, make sure the binder rings open easily and close smoothly, so you can add more pages.
- Find out if the store offers additional pages to add that don’t need to be printed, if you have no inclination to print your own inserts.
Different Types of Store Bought Planners
There are a wide range of types, sizes, colors and styles, and themes of planners. Here are just a few to know about:
Big and Small
The first option you will see when it comes to planners is choosing the size. You will find a few different sizes, which will depend on where and how you are using it. The smaller planners are great for when you want to use it on the go, such as fitting it in your purse or laptop case, or the glove box of your car.
The bigger planners are “desktop” planners, where they are best when kept on your home or work desk. These provide larger spaces to write, so they also have a lot of benefits.
The themed planners are more specific, instead of being for a general daily planner, they are meant for one sole purpose. For example, there are budget and savings planners, home planners, work and productivity planners, travel planners, and a lot more.
Daily/Personal Life Planners
The most basic type of planner is a daily planner. This is the kind people go for the most because you only need one planner for everything. They are often thicker since you are putting more into the planner. You can have sections for different areas of your life, often with room for adding more pages as needed. It is an ideal format for a beginner to try when choosing a planner.
Bullet Journal Planners
Some planners are built into a bullet journal so that you have the option to use both in one binder or book form. These are great because they tend to include more pages with a thicker binding, but also plenty of blank pages to use for whatever you want.
Customizable Binder Planners
Finally, you will have the binder with more room for customisation. Most planners come in binder form, but not all of them have room for more pages. If you are printing planner pages individually, look for a binder with lots of room for adding your own pages.
What works for one person may not work for you, but if one is recommended to you it’s worth taking a look. Remember, there is no right or wrong style of planner. These tips should help you in choosing a planner to help keep you organised. I hope you find one that works for you!