What’s the Best Planner?

What’s the Best Planner?

What is your Planner Personality type?

How to choose a planner you will actually use.

6 OPTIONS to customize your approach to getting organized in 2018.

Do you buy a planner at the beginning of every year? Are you so excited at the prospect of starting a new year with a renewed focus on organization.

But, the excitement quickly wears off and the habit doesn’t stick. Sadly, your new planner ends up in the planner graveyard with its counterparts from year’s past… 

The Planner Graveyard

A quick aside/story — You should see my planner graveyard from year’s past, before I really focused on what I would actually use, and not what looked the prettiest or had the most features. I think I have almost every planner ever made, starting with Franklin Covey around 1995.

Did you ever buy one of his planners – it had special pockets for business cards, tabs for months and weeks and days, lists for expenses….  You could basically buy a special page for anything you wanted to track. I remember buying it all, and being so excited to track everything. But, it quickly ended up collecting dust – an expensive resolution to become organized that I failed to execute.

Try a New Approach this Year

What if you tried a new approach this year? Don’t pick the planner with the prettiest cover or the planner that is the smallest because it will fit in your purse. Instead, look at your personality and decide what type you will actually use.

I’m here to help you choose the best planner, so you can get more organized and regain a little control.

  • Are you decisive and know exactly what you want – a full week’s view or a huge page per day to capture everything?
  • Or maybe you are indecisive and need to test drive a few options?
  • Perhaps you are opinionated and have decided you’re completely opposed to paper?

The first step is to find the right system for yourself, one that will match your planner personality.

Then, after you get the best planner to match the way you think, make a commitment to use it for at least 66 days (did you know that it takes 66 days to form a new habit?).

Let’s dive in to the options for you:

OPTION 1: You need to pack in as much as you can each day.  You just can’t live without space for your long daily to-do list and room for your busy schedule.

If you like to plan out each day, including your to-do list, detailed schedule, top three “must-do” priorities, notes, and gratitude for that day, I recommend the 8×10 DAILY Day Designer by Blue Sky.  It comes in several patterns – gold spots, blue stripes and flowers. 

Day Designer Daily Monthly Planner

The 8×10 DAILY Day Designer by Blue Sky is the planner I personally use and love. It has a monthly, tabbed calendar and one page for each day and has plenty of room to make lots of plans and take a lot of notes.

OPTION 2: You know what you want and you MUST see your whole week at a glance.

If you love seeing your entire week in one spread from a bird’s eye view, you need a weekly planner.  I recommend the Passion Planner.  

Passion Planner offers two options – compact and classic.  I highly recommend the classic as the compact is too small for most situations.

OPTION 3: You need a creative outlet and can’t live in the confines of someone else’s structure.

If you want to make your own plans each day without the confines of a predetermined design, you might love bullet journaling. Bullet journaling (bujo) is a ‘big thing’ with lots of raving fans. A quick search on Google or Pinterest will give you tons of inspiration.

To get started, all you need is a journal with dot grid pages. I think this Cactus Bullet Journal is really cute (and I love that it has some sample bullet journal pages inside to give you ideas to follow).

OPTION 4: You love to have the best, and will be excited to have something beautiful on your desk.

If you’re someone who loves a functional planner with a gorgeous hard-bound cover, then I recommend the original Day Designer. I’ve had several of them over the years and they are amazing. The cover choices are really fun.

The Day Designer has daily and weekly options that include a detailed schedule, top three “must-do” priorities, notes, and gratitude section. 

I love this planner and that’s why I bought the Blue Sky version (option 1 above). But, the hard-bound covers of the original Day Designer version are so tempting, I might need to buy one again this year!

Which cover do you like better – the blooms or the palm leaves or another one? I’m torn, but I think the blooms cover is amazing!

OPTION 5: You want a strictly electronic approach, paper is so 1999.

If you’re anti-paper and want to plan everything electronic, I recommend a combination of a Google calendar, which can be shared across multiple accounts such as family members and work, combined with a robust to-do tracking app like Toodledo.Easy way to track and manage your to do list

Here’s an recent post I wrote about tricks to optimize Toodledo – it might help you as well: 5 Simple Tips to Automate Your To-Do List.

TIP: I use Toodledo to keep my master list of action items and assign due dates to them. Then, each evening, I look through the next day’s to-do list and schedule them into my calendar. I use a paper calendar for this but you could schedule the time you need into your Google calendar just the same.


OPTION 6: You’re afraid to commit.

If you’re someone who likes to try before you commit, I recommend printing off a couple of options and using each for a week, to see which works best for you.

TIP: this is a great way to find a planner that you will actually use!

Here’s the free Day Designer printable download.  Try this for a daily option (options 1 or 4).

Here’s the free Passion Planner printable download. Try this for the weekly option (option 2).  (Note: Passion Planner makes you share their page before they’ll give you the download, but it’s worth a couple of extra steps if you think the weekly planner is your style).

Which of these six options is your planner personality? Please drop a comment below and let me know what you decide.

If you have questions or these options don’t quite match what you’re looking for, leave me a comment or send me an email (melisa@dev.crushingmotherhood.com) and I’ll be happy to help. I’ve tried so many planners in addition to the options I recommended above – Erin Condren, Emily Ley, Panda Planner, custom creations from Etsy, and even my own homemade versions. I know I will be able to help you find a planner you will actually use.


Note to my readers: Some of the links above are affiliate links (but not all of them). I use affiliate links to help keep Crushing Motherhood running and truly appreciate your support. I make a nominal fee when you buy from my link and it doesn’t cost you anything extra.

With that said, I would never link to a product I haven’t used personally and recommend. That’s why a few of the links above are direct to the website (they don’t have a referral program) while others are affiliate links. I want to give you only the best!

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