It's getting close to the end of the year, and that means it's time to choose a planner for 2015. There are tons of different options out there – weekly planners, monthly planners, daily planners, spiral bound, coil bound, discbound, Erin Condren, Plum Paper, Simplified Planner, Day Designer, and the list goes on! How do you know which one is right for you? I'll show you how to choose a planner that's right for you.
Here are a few things you need to keep in mind when choosing a planner:
- A planner is simply a tool, not a solution. While I'm a HUGE fan of planning, no planner is going to magically give you more time, make you more disciplined, or inject loads of energy into your life. YOU are the one who will use the planner as a tool to help you get more done. So many times in my life I thought what I needed was the perfect planner or planning system to MAKE me more productive instead of the other way around. When you look at it that way, it really helps you to make the best choice.
- On that note, there is no such thing as a perfect planning system. Don't do what I've done, and wait to get started until you find the absolutely perfect planner. There is no such thing and your needs are likely constantly changing. I go more into depth about this in the first lesson of my free Get Organized Once and For All ecourse, so I won't repeat myself here.
- Think about what you want your planner to accomplish. Ideally, do this before you even start looking at planners. It's easy to quickly get caught up in seeing all the nice features of a planner or seeing how other people use their planners before you even really consider what you need your planner to do for you. Do you just need to keep track of appointments so you do not forget them? Do you need help staying motivated and on top of mundane daily tasks like house cleaning or errands? It might even help to write that down.
- What is or isn't working in your current planner (or lack thereof). Think about what has or hasn't worked well for you in the past and use that information to help you decide what planner you should use.
- Decide what major features you'd like in your planner:
- Portability – Do you need to carry it around with you everywhere or will it just sit on your desk? Obviously if you want to carry it around, you wouldn't choose something huge and heavy.
- Granularity – Do you want a monthly planner, weekly planner, or detailed day-per-page planner? At various times, I've even used two types of planners (a weekly planner and detailed day-per-page planner).
- Binding Style (permanent or removable) – Do you want a complete coil bound planner that you can alter or would you rather make your own planner using something like a discbound style or 3 ring binder?
- Consider the design. You'll likely be looking at your planner a lot throughout the year, so you definitely want a style that you really love! It may seem frivolous, but I've found that it makes such a difference in how motivated I am to keep using my planner.
Here's a video where I explain things you might want to consider when choosing a planner:
In the rest of this series I'll be reviewing and comparing several different planners, which might help you make a choice. I will end the series by showing you exactly how I plan my days (which has changed quite a bit from the last time I posted about it now that my days caring for a newborn are much less structured). What is your favorite planner? Are there any planners you are hoping that I review?