The start of each year is definitely planner season. It’s that magical time when people who love planning around the world get a fresh start with a new book and blank pages waiting to be filled. For those who desire a more organized life, a planner is nearly an essential tool. The question isn’t whether or not you should buy a planner for yourself, but rather, what sort of one should you get? If you haven’t stumbled upon your favorite planner product yet, here are some tips on picking the perfect planner for the new year.
When it comes to investing in a planner for the year, there are a ridiculous number of options. Due to the personal nature of planning, many creators have designed planners that fit their needs and styles which gives consumers many, many choices. There are, quite possibly, an overwhelming number of planners to pick from. Where do you start?
Define Your Planner’s Purpose
First, you’ll need to be intentional about the purpose of your planner. The number one question to ask yourself is, “How do you plan?” Are you a professional that is good with only a monthly calendar? Will weekly sheets be enough to get you through or will you need a more detailed, daily calendar?
Are you keeping track of appointments, habits, to-do lists? Are you a big-picture planner or do you need a down-in-the-weeds, detail-oriented approach? Is your planner for home, office, or for on the road?
Defining your purpose first will help you eliminate a great many planners on your quest for the perfect product for you.
Choose Your Design
There are planners for every type of personality and organizational style. You will want to choose a product that speaks to you – whether that means a simple, black cover or a bold, colorful design with an inspirational quote – you know your personal style better than anyone.
Also, portability is important. The size of your planner should be chosen based on where you will use it. If you are a ‘take it with you everywhere’ type, then you’ll definitely need one that is not too heavy and will fit in your everyday bag. If it’s going to have an honored space on your desk, then a larger planner could work fine – giving you more room to jot down important notes and ideas.
Also, people tend to drift towards planners with varying degrees of structure. If you need the layout of specific pages for calendars, notes, goal-setting, or anything else – that’s vital to know before shopping. However, some people like the less pre-planned option of something like a bullet journal with blank pages that allows them to build what they need, based on their own vision.
Picking the Perfect Product
If you love the feel of a planner in your hands, chances are you will be picky about the paper quality. It’s easy enough to do your research online and pick a planner with paper that appeals to you. Color and quality mean a lot to someone who appreciates good paper.
Also, if you like to use markers or colorful pens, you’ll want to know whether or not the paper bleeds through. If you are okay with a pencil or pen, this is less of a concern.
Lines or no lines? If you like to doodle, draw, create and have absolute freedom you may want to pick up a nice journal instead of a dedicated planner. Many organizers convert blank journals into planners so they have more control over the layout and functionality of their planners. This isn’t for everyone, however. If you have limited time (or artistic ability), picking up a planner that has the layout created for you already is the better plan.
Selecting Your Planner Extras
Many planner products on the market are concerned only with calendar pages and, perhaps, a few blank note pages. However, as the popularity of planners increase, the selection improves. Today, your planner could have all sorts of extras including additional pages for notes, habit trackers, goal-setting exercises, reflection pages, to-do lists, and more. Some come in kits with decorative tape and stickers and others are more practical. Do you want the fun bells and whistles that could come with your planner or just the book you need to organize your life in the new year? The choices are many and you are in control of the outcome!
The fact that you are reading this means you are seriously taking into consideration purchasing a planning tool to help you stay on track and motivated to get things done in the new year and that’s amazing! When getting a planner for the new year, do some research, ask for recommendations for trusted friends or co-workers, and have some fun with it. There is no shortage of options available for planners and this process could become a fun end of year tradition for you.
As a professional organizer, what's my recommendation? I recommend disc-bound planners. Below is a free downloadable PDF guide to shopping for this style of planner. Personally, I do not use a paper planner, I use a digital calendar and have that synching across all my devices (computer, phone, watch, tablet). I do, however, use the disc-bound "planner" as a notebook. I LOVE that you can remove and insert pages and that you can customize these planners to suite your needs. They come in multiple sizes, fitting anyone's needs.
Click the below image to download the free disc-bound planner guide.
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