There are literally thousands of different kinds of planners out there to choose from. The variety can be overwhelming for sure. I can’t tell you which one to buy, as every person and family has their own set of unique circumstances, however asking yourself a few questions first before grabbing the first one you see might help you narrow down the selection and avoid disappointment. I also know there are many different kinds of electronic calendars and planners out there as well but since I don’t personally use any of those, today’s post is all about the paper kind :)
7 Things to Consider When Choosing a Planner:
You want to choose a planner that fits your lifestyle and needs and thankfully with all the selection out there the chances of you finding one that does is pretty high. Do you require a planner for home or office use or both? Will multiple members of the family need to access it? If so it will need to reside somewhere central where it’s visible and can remain open. In that case a family calendar may be more appropriate. Do you want to track and log additional things in your planner such as exercise, lists, etc. There are planners that provide space for these things. Do you require extensive planning space (hour by hour) or just a few details about your day?
Make a list of all your planning needs and take that list with you to the store.
Size is important for a number of reasons. Where will you use it? Does it need to fit in your purse so you can take it places? If so you might want to consider a lighter one to avoid back strain. Will it need to sit out on your counter or desk? If so what kind of space do you have there? Make sure you have enough room to leave it open so you will be more likely to check it.
3. Inside Space
Big squares, small squares, lined squares or blank? It all comes down to how much information you need to record and how you want to record it. Then there’s weekly planners vs. monthly planners. Weekly planners often provide more daily space so it’s important to really think about how much information you need to keep track of. Some planners include both which is a great compromise.
Are you the type that’s inspired by pretty? If so don’t buy an ugly planner, I’m just saying. You’ll be using this thing all year round so why not buy one that makes you happy every time you see it.
I’m including this one because I do know a few ladies who are particular about how their planners feel in their hands. Consider the texture if this is something that matters to you.
What is your price limit? Planners exist for all price points. The dollar store even carries them however you may have to sacrifice on some of your considerations at this price point. It may help to prioritize your list of needs BEFORE going planner shopping in order to remain within your budget :)
I highly recommend a coil binding that lays flat when open. This may seem obvious but believe me I’ve seen many a planner that doesn’t. Watch for this.
What I’ve found extremely helpful is purchasing a few in January when prices are much lower and taking them for a wee test drive. I think you’ll know fairly quickly which one is for you and which one isn’t. Or how about having a planner party with your friends where everyone compares the planners they use and what they do and don’t like about them.
As you become more aware of your individual needs you’ll easily be able to recognize if a planner is going to work for you or not.
I currently don’t use a planner myself as I use a central fridge calendar instead for managing my family activities. Last year I started using the Mom’s Ultimate Family Fridge Calendar and it is awesome!
I do however use a planner for my business activities. Here are a few that I have used over the years and liked:
The Womans Day Planner
The Womans Day Planner is designed by a Canadian woman living in the same province as I do. What makes this planner special is the unique split page layout that allows you to flip through the weekly pages while still having the month view remain constant at the bottom of the page. It’s brilliant and I’ve never seen another one quite like it. It really makes me happy. This picture will give you a better idea of what I’m talking about:
The 2011 Womans Planner has many new features consisting of;
-pockets between each month for bills etc.
-five year forecast (to plan out your families next 5 year goals)
-planning pages galore . . . appliance tracking, yearly budget planning, wish lists and even holiday planning
Also be sure to check out the lovely Girls Planner she has available as well.
Corrie is offering a special right now…..take 10% off your order using code OJ2011, good through to Feb 28, 2011.
Blue Sky Planners
I had the opportunity to try these Blue Sky Planners out as well even though they are only available in the US online and at Office Depot. These delightful and simple planners come in a variety of fun colors: Raspberry Bloom, Periwinkle Cornflower and Green Vines. They also come in a variety of sizes and are lightweight, both nice features. My hands down favorite feature of these planners though are the tabs that help you quickly find the month you need. Love, love, love that!
Right now you can save 20-30% off selected planners. Promotion ends January 30, 2011.
The BusyBodyBook planner has a very different layout inside that consists of a weekly grid format with five vertical columns accommodating up to five family members or other activities such as meal planning or household chores.. Check it out:
This is the one I’m currently using for my blogging activities. I designate the columns as follows: Advertising, Posts, To Do, Reviews, Ideas. It works really well!
Select planners now on for 15% off.
Polestar Family Planner
I’ve used the Polestar weekly planner for a number of years in the past. This daily planning guide, also designed in Canada, has columns for family appointments, meals/kitchen and home and to-do. The spaces are very generous for each and the price is excellent right now at the reduced price of $10.00.
Dotmine Day Planners
Very similar to the Polestar planner, the familytime.mine planner also features large weekly squares but also includes master schedule guides in the back. Also has a place for notes and tear-out lists. I especially love all the fun cover designs on this one and the wipeable durable plastic cover. In addition to the family planner they also have a planner that combines work & family life and one for active individuals. Available online and at Borders. Size: 8.5×11
Do you have a favorite planner?