Is the Pricey Planner Worth It?

  Photo by  STIL  on  Unsplash

Photo by STIL on Unsplash

For most, choosing one planner for the whole year is overwhelming. If you’ve ever bought a planner (because it looked cool and you thought it would help you get more organized) but then it sat empty for the whole year….you are definitely not alone. 

When buying a planner FIRST, start thinking about how you’ll use it. Only after you've spent time thinking about how you'll realistically use it, should you go shopping for one. 

Think About How You’ll Use It:

  • Will you use the planner just for your day job? For a couple jobs and projects? Just personal day-to-day life? Or a mixture of everything - from work projects to grocery lists?
  • Do you see yourself primarily making lists, and checking items off? Or will you use it to track your big priorities for the day/week?
  • Will you want a space to take notes and track thoughts throughout the day?
  • Will you want it to serve as a place to store additional printed papers or flyers?
  • Do you like color coding and personalizing or do you see that as a waste of time?
  • Do you see yourself bringing this planner with you everywhere? Will it sit on your desk, and you’ll only look at it a couple times a day? Does your day involve lots of moving around or are you fairly stationary?
  • How will you maintain it? Will you look over your planner every morning? Will you plan for the week ahead once a week, and then update it as the week passes? Will you have any time to actually sit down and update it if any agenda items or priorities change? How frequently do you want to update it and

Think About What You Want:

  • Calendar Layout:
    • Do you want a page for every day? A week-view? Just a monthly pocket calendar? Do you want your week to start on Monday or Sunday?
  • Tasks Management:
    • Do you have what feels like a million tasks to accomplish during the day? Or does it feel more like you're working on a couple big priority projects and don’t need to be concerned with smaller tasks?
  • Agenda Management:
    • Is your day pretty open and meeting free or do you have a very specific agenda? How much detail do you need in your agenda? 
  • White Space:
    • Do you want a planner that also acts as a journal? Somewhere you can log a short gratitude list? A place where you can mark your progress towards different goals? Where you can do some quick journaling and lengthy note taking? Or even a little doodling?

Again: Only AFTER you’ve thought about how you will use your planner, should you start shopping around for one.

Here are five trendy planners, and the type of person they would be good for and not so good for.

Arc Customizable Notebook

Good For: Folks who already are very organized, and know exactly what they want in their planner. Since this notebook is customizable, you can essentially design your own planner. This is also good for people who have a handful of key reference papers they need to carry with them throughout the day.

Not So Good For: Folks who need more guidance, and who most likely won’t take the time to customize their planner from the start and maintain it each week. The freedom to customize your planner can be really crippling if you don’t know where to start.

Bullet Journal

Good For: Folks who primarily deal with task management on a daily basis and who appreciate a minimalist aesthetic.

Not So Good For: Folks who need white space to jot down meeting notes, and creative inspiration.

Day Designer

Good For: Folks who will enjoy updating their planner each day, and spend a lot of time with it throughout the day. There is a whole page dedicated to each day’s tasks and schedule.

Not So Good For: Folks who don’t want to spend lots of time writing and planning their day, especially if they have tons of meetings that would need to be re-written into each day’s page.

Passion Planner

Good For: Folks who enjoy reflecting on their week, and take a self-development approach to achieving their goals. Also good for people who need a little bit of white space for notes, doodles, reminders, and lists.

Not So Good For: Folks who just want to use their planner for the basics of planning out their week and staying on top of deadlines, but don’t see it as a tool to reflect, journal, or accomplish their goals. There is also very little space for daily tasks and deadlines.

Productivity Planner

Good For: Creatives, students, or entrepreneurs that don’t have many meetings or a tight schedule, but do have lots of varying buckets work that they need to prioritize each day.

Not So Good For: Folks who primarily deal with task management throughout their day, or who have busy daily schedules. The planner allows you to write down your top five priorities for the day, but does not have a way to view your schedule for the week, or manage tasks.

100% Electronic (Google Calendar & Google Tasks; TeuDeux; Trello List App )

Good For: People who are constantly on the go, with lots of meetings throughout the day. They don’t want to maintain and update a handwritten planner with all of their meetings, especially as plans change and are rescheduled throughout the week.

Not So Good For: Folks who don’t enjoy looking at their phone and enjoy using paper products as a way to prioritize their day’s tasks and agenda. Folks who process things and decide what work to prioritize through writing, journaling, and list-making.

So are the pricey planners worth it? It completely depends on what you want and how you'll use it.

In the past, my favorite planners have been free or super cheap. I just spent a lot of time thinking about what made most sense for me to track and manage first, before getting the planner.

What planners work best for you and how do you use them? Comment below to share your tips and tricks!