Almost two years ago I wrote my first day planner post. At the time, I was trying to choose between three awesome planners. I’m sure there were more on the market at the time, but none as popular as those I was trying to decide between. Fast-forward a couple of years and it was time, once again, to choose a new planner. When I started looking into my options, I was surprised at how many great planners there are out there these days!
It was pretty hard to make my choice, but I finally did it. Here I’ll give you a snapshot of all the planners I looked at before I tell you which one I ultimately chose.
Layout Options: Vertical, Horizontal and Hourly
Cover Options: Ring-bound plastic cover or a hard, leather-like permanent cover
Other Details: The inner pages come in either a neutral or colorful color theme and you have the option of choosing a 12-month or 18-month planner. The classic (plastic) covers are customizable and you have the option to personalize it. The coil binding the classic planners come in four colors: gold, rose gold, platinum and black.
Layout Options: Weekly (full week view every two pages) or Daily (one page per weekday and a shared page for the weekend)
Cover Options: Four hard cover, spiral bound designs and four leather bound options
Other Details: The Simplified Planner is sold in three editions: The Academic Daily Edition (dated August through July), the Calendar Year Daily Edition (dated January through December) and the Weekly Edition (dated a full 17 months from August through the following December). Each planner includes a space for schedule, to-do, notes and dinner, full month views, a pocket on the inside cover and mylar tabs for each month. The Daily layout features hourly schedule spots from 6am – 9pm.
Size: 9X9.75 (Flagship Edition), 6.625X8.3 (Mini Edition), or 7.5X9.375 (A5 Leather Binder)
Layout Options: One day per page and full month views
Cover Options: Hard, spiral bound covers in various designs and two leather binder options
Other Details: Each Flagship and Mini Edition planner features daily planning pages with scheduling from 5am to 9pm. There is also a space on each page for Today, To-Do, Dinner, Gratitude, Top 3 To-Do Prompts, and Notes. The each have a pocket on the front cover. The A5 Leather Binder has interior rings to hold separately sold planner inserts.
Layout Options: Vertical week on two pages and monthly views
Cover Options: One cover option (as seen)
Other Details: Each planner includes 300 activity and appointment stickers, tear-off lists for shopping and to-dos, and a handy storage pocket.
Layout Options: None (make your own!)
Cover Options: Leather or leather-like bound books
Other Details: The Bullet Journal features blank dot grid paper that allows you to make your own calendar and planner pages. There is a pocket in the front cover and an elastic enclosure band. The thread-bound book opens flat and the paper is ink-proof.
Size: 9X7 (Desk) or 5X7 (Mini)
Layout Options: Weekly (desk version) or daily (mini version) layout with space for mom and up to four children and monthly views
Cover Options: Leather-like bound book with several color options
Other Details: 12-month (Mini) or 17-month (Desk) calendar. Includes the momEssentials address book, with space for phone numbers and other permanent information, that can be removed and reused from year to year. Personalization is available.
Layout Options: Vertical and Horizontal two-page weekly spreads
Cover Options: Several colorful, geometric designs on hard covers
Other Details: Each planner features a monthly and weekly Top Priorities section and yearly and monthly goal tracking sheets. Planners come with an attached elastic band closure, mylar coated tabs, accordion pocket on one cover and a double sided pocket folder.
Size: 7X9 or 8.5X11
Layout Options: Three vertical options and two horizontal options, one week on two pages and monthly views
Cover Options: Tear proof & water resistant cover with a clear plastic protective sheet that comes in several attractive designs
Other Details: You can start using the planner in any month and you can choose from 12-18 months. Each planner features a monthly highlights page and a monthly notes page. It also includes a double sided pocket folder and mylar coated tabs. Plum Paper also offers a variety of accessories and add-ons.
Layout Options: month-at-a-time planner made of two components that work together: Weekly Pilot Plans and Daily Action Plans
Cover Options: one design in several color options
Other Details: Each Action Planner includes instructions to guide you, 4 weeks of weekly pilot plan tabs and 31 days of daily action planning pages. It also includes extra pages for notes.
Can you see why I had trouble picking my planner this year? They’re all so unique and offer so many different (and really great) options. The only way I was able to make my choice is by narrowing it down by things I didn’t like.
For instance, I really wanted a pretty cover, but I didn’t necessarily care whether I could personalize it or not, so I eliminated the Do-It-All Mom Planner. I also didn’t want a leather bound book, so I eliminated the Bullet Journal and MomAgenda.
Although I was very intrigued by the idea of the Daily Action Planner, I wasn’t sure if I wanted to break up all my planning into a book for each month. I really like to have my whole year at my fingertips. So, I crossed that one of my list.
Next, I had to decide if I wanted a Daily or Weekly layout. This was the hardest decision for me. In all my years of buying planners I’ve always used a weekly layout and it has worked fine. These days, I have so many things going on all at once, I have felt the need to be able to plan out my days pretty precisely so that I can stay on task and keep track of what time I actually have in a day. For that reason, I chose to go with a Daily (or hourly) layout, so that eliminated Plum Paper Designs and the LiveWell Planner.
Finally, I was down to three choices: Erin Condren’s Lifeplanner, Emily Ley’s Simplified Planner and Whitney English’s Day Designer. I have used Erin Condren’s Lifeplanner in the past (she hasn’t offered a daily layout until recently) and I liked it, but I found that all the colorful, fun pages and bright designs were not really my style. I wanted something simpler and more sleek and chic. Thus, my real decision came down to the Simplified Planner and the Day Designer.
I have to say, these planners are so similar to each other, you really can’t go wrong with either one. In the end, there were just a few things about the Day Designer that I preferred over the Simplified Planner, so that is the one I chose. I got the Mini Edition in pink blush stripes (it was a limited edition and I think they’ve run out of my particular cover design) and I absolutely love it! I love the simple but elegant pages, the hourly layout and the tabbed monthly pages. It is beautifully made and looks gorgeous on my desk (because that’s what really matters, right?)!
Have you found a planner you love? Tell me about it!