Part 3 of 3
Over the past couple of weeks I have introduced you to the idea of planning, why you should consider it. how to start yourself off and how I plan. Now we are looking at how to choose a planner that will suit you. There are so many of different options out there – weekly planners, monthly planners, daily planners, spiral bound, disc bound, ring bound, traveler’s notebooks, bullet journal, and the list goes on! But which one is right for you?
There’s a few things you should remember before choosing your planner
1 – A planner is simply a tool to help you get organised, its not going to do it for you. It will help you plan your time more effectively, but its not going to give you more hours in the day. The better your skills become at planning the more you will get done with the time you have.
2 – Don’t wait until you find the perfect planner before getting started, there’s no such thing as the perfect planner for you – but you will find one that works for you now and which may be different from what will work for you in a year. Your planning needs will evolve and so will your planner.
3 – What do you want? Sit down with a pen and paper and figure out what you want to plan. Its easy to get caught up with ideas from Pinterest and blogs on things you should be or could be planning for but, what do you need.
4 – If you are using a planner already or used one in the past think about what worked well and what didn’t work so well.
5 – Now think about what would you like to be able to do with your planner…
- Size – do you want to carry it around with you, or leave it on your desk at home or work?
- Detail – do you what to plan out every aspect of your day, or would you like an over view of what you want to get done in your week/month – or is it a mix? Do you need to include your children’s and husband’s schedule as well, Do you need good page organisation and lots of space to accommodate everything.
- Permanent or removable – are you happy with a fixed layout, or would you prefer flexibility, and how flexible?
- Binding – Will it be strong enough to carry in a bag without getting damaged. For example if you want to carry a spiral planner you will probably need covered wire for durability.
- Extras – Most planners include extra things like pages for taking notes, birthday pages, etc. Think about which ones you will actually use and which you won’t, and know which ones you can’t live without. Do you need the option of adding extras?
- Design – apart from how pretty it is, Are there pockets for storage? Plenty of pages for notes?
- Timeline – some planners start in August and end December the following year, others are 12 months, January-December, others are undated and can start any time.
- Style – you are going to be looking at your planner a lot over the next 12 month, and if its something you love to own and use, it will keep you motivated to use it.
The planner size will depend ultimately on your preference and how much you want it to hold. But to give you an idea of sizes available, these are the sizes of paper inserts for ring bound planners, but most planners come in these standard sizes.
The next consideration is your preferred layout, the most common are monthly, weekly and daily.
If you like an overview of your month, a big picture view of appointments, activities and events and a place to write done a few key to do’s or goals, a monthly planner could be perfect for you.
The next level up is a weekly planner, giving you more scope to add details to your days and giving you space to add more daily tasks and goal setting. There are different options of layouts with horizontal, vertical or even hourly – find the style that suits your needs best.
When you really need to organise your day in detail, by hour or just have so much to plan for each day then you may need to move up to a daily planner, basically having a page for each day. Layouts can vary, with options of finding one that has the hours broken down for you to a blank page per day… find one that suits your needs
Types of Planners
6 Ring Binder
Probably the most popular type of planner, with so many fabulous designs and are reusable year on year. Examples include, Filofax and Carpe Diem. These aren’t cheap planners that you use for 12 months and throw out. They can be personalised and are designed to be reusable, and will last years when well maintained. There are lots of options to personalise them with many shops supplying different inserts.
It combines the personalisation of a binder system, but a lighter system. They can be folded back on themselves making them easy to write on. They are not as common as other types of planners.
Coil or Spiral Bound Planners
Coil/Spiral bound planner systems are also a very popular option. They are distinctly known for their heavy metal coil that are strong and durable. Now, these planners are not reusable, which is important to keep in mind, and many coil/spiral bound systems can run you the same price as a reusable binder.
Wire bound Planners
Like coil bound planners, wire bound planner systems are also not a reusable option because they are spiral bound, however, these planners are slightly different from coil bound planners because their binding is a cinch style wire, instead of the heavy duty coil. Generally speaking, these planners are less expensive because of the lower cost binding method used.
Book bound planners
As the name suggests, these planner systems are bound like books! Again, they are another non-reusable option, but generally speaking these planner systems are much more compact. So this is an option for those who prefer simplicity.
Traveler’s notebooks are a planner system that are becoming more and more popular. Based on a unique binding of a reusable cover with a string band system that holds a variety of small bound notebooks together within the cover. In part this is a reusable system because you can use one cover over and over again, and in part this is a non-reusable system because the bound notebooks inside tend to be smaller notebooks and are easily filled up and need to be replaced depending on the frequency of their use.
Planner Accessories and Refills
If you purchase a reusable style planner, your planner will either come with a selection of inserts to get you started or you will have the option to select your inserts. There are a number of shops online that sell an even greater variety of refills and other accessories comparable with many planner systems
Oh yeah … what is a Bullet Journal
A bullet journal is a method of journaling and note-taking that uses bullet points as the core structure. You can use any planner that takes your fancy, but usually you will see people using a book bound journal or planner or a travelers notebook. You can keep a daily log (stuff you need to do or have done today), monthly log (traditional calendar with list of stuff you need to get done that month), rapid logging (symbols to help you keep track) and a future log (year at a glance). The main idea behind bullet journaling is that you jot down quick notes instead of writing long sentences. Its like a diary, todo list and journal in one.
Over the next few weeks I’ll go into a little more detail about travelers notebooks and bullet journals, and if there is anything you would like to know about ask away.
I hope you found this useful in helping you choose your new planner.