Magical Journaling

Choose a Planner and Make Some Magic

Choosing a Planner

There are countless options available for all your planner needs but it really breaks down to four types of planners to choose from:

Basic Planners

Basic planners can be found everywhere office supplies are sold and include such recognized brands as AT-A-GLANCE and Mead. Most stores have a wide variety to choose from so you should be able to find one that suits your needs. These planners come with daily, weekly and/or monthly views along with other options. Most are designed for professionals so there is space to organize your workday flow.

Ranging from pocket to desk size and available in many different colors, these basic planners hit the mark for someone who is just looking for a simple organizer to help stay on track.


Inexpensive, straightforward, less bulky than designer planners, readily available


Limited space, no “extras” to customize, can have irrelevant design spreads

Designer Planners

Designer planners are made for people who adore organization for the sake of organizing. Examples include Erin Condren, Day Designer, Happy Planner, and Kate Spade. These planners come with monthly, weekly and/or daily spreads, along with tons of extra pages for special dates, notes, quotes, etc.  Considered the “pretty planners” you can easily find one that suits your personality and style. With different bindings, covers, and extras available, there is no end to the creative customization of your planner.

If you are the creative type or want to spend a lot of time decking out your planner to suit your personal style, these are the way to go.


Structured creativity, room to expand, lots of space, “extras” galore


Can be bulky (depending on what size you buy), expensive or a little too structured. All of the different boxes and areas to use can be intimidating or anxiety-inducing!


Bullet Journal

Oh, the Bullet Journal. To fully understand it, watch the video by Ryder Caroll, who created the system. It can be used in any blank notebook (examples include Moleskine, Leuchtturm1917 or travelers notebooks) and is basically created from your own imagination. This is my daughters go-to type of planner and it works beautifully to help manage her anxiety and gives her a creative outlet for expression. She has organized all of her tasks and events in a way that makes sense to her. It looks complicated, but it’s really quite simple. The BuJo community is committed to this type of planner and you can find hundreds of YouTube videos for inspiration on how to set up monthly spreads.

Our favorites are Amanda Rach Lee and Boho Berry and Sunshine and Stationary.


Totally customized, can be used for any purpose, inexpensive


Totally customized, so if you don’t have time to create your own spreads this is *not* for you. Also, it can get expensive with the number of pens, inks, stickers, and extras available for artistic expression!


These planners are for people who love technology and want to go digital with their organization. If you can’t live without your phone in your hand or constantly need to have digital reminders then check out some of the apps and software available such as Evernote, Google Calendar, iCal, OneNote, etc.  There is literally something for everyone and free apps with calendars, to do lists, habit trackers, and other features mean you can find just what you need.

I’ll include a RocketBook in this category as well. This is an “endlessly reusable notebook to last for years, if not a lifetime”.  With RocketBook you write on specialty paper that allows you to take a picture with your smartphone and upload it digitally then wipe down the surface and reuse it again. Perfect for extensive notetaking when bulky traditional notebooks would be too much.


Free (or mostly free), user-friendly, mobile, easy to change if it’s not working out, eco-friendly.


Need to have internet access, can suck the life out of your battery, may not be accessible in areas without Wi-Fi

Planner Sizes

Make sure when you are choosing your planner you are aware of the many different sizes out there, especially if you end up ordering it from online. Since I’m in the US and we are still mavericks as far as measuring goes, I scale everything according to inches. Standard letter size is 8.5″ x 11″ and it’s pretty close to A4 sizing everywhere else. I made a graphic to help visualize the different sized planner options:

Choose a Planner and Make 2018 Your Year to Shine | Wayward Inspiration Blog

Why I love the Happy Planner

After researching planners for several months I have found that the Create365 Happy Planner from me & my BIG ideas is both simple and functional. I found one in a Classic (medium) size that is just perfect.  The dimensions are 7″ x 9.5″ which makes it large enough to hold everything yet still small enough to carry with me if needed.  

The pages are held together with an ARC system so they are easy to add or remove. Plus, I am able to create my own inserts such as habit trackers and self-care reminders for full personalization. PRO TIP: print any full-size letter page at 84% and cut to fit. Then use the ARC punch to swap pages out with ease. I also like to punch regular envelopes to use for cash budgeting/savings plans and keep them right next to my monthly goal sheets.

The Ultimate Productivity Bundle

If you need more resources and help to get on track this year, consider the Ultimate Productivity Bundle for 2020. Available through the end of December, this super bundle has 68 products to help you restore sanity to home, family, work, and life. It includes 10 eBooks, 29 eCourses, 28 workbooks & printables, and a membership site. Together these are worth $2,743.08 but the Ultimate Bundles team has put them together for only $67. That’s $1 per item! Plus it comes with a 30-day guarantee so you can give it a try and if it’s not right for you, no worries! 


Do you have a favorite type of planner that works for your lifestyle? If so, I’d love to hear about it! Leave a comment and let me know.

36 thoughts on “Choose a Planner and Make Some Magic

  1. I used to live by my planner, but somehow kids have gotten me off track. I’ve got to get myself out of the chaos in my head and get things down in print (either analog or digital). Thanks for laying out the different options. I’m totally going to check things out to see what will work for me!

  2. I need to get a planner. My husband hates that i have post it notes all over and little pieces of paper with scribbles on it. It would help me be more organized.

    1. lol, we still use post-it notes to put up affirmations around the house, but having a planner definitely keeps everything else under wraps!

    1. I can easily see this happening to me! I’ve found myself wandering the aisles at Michaels looking for new planners this past week and had to reel it in!

    1. Check out the YouTube videos on bullet journaling for inspiration. My daughter swears by it and I’ve seen what a big impact it’s made on helping her stick to a self-care routine and accomplish her goals. Good luck!

  3. I use Google’s Products for just about all of my planning. At work and at home, we do our planning on Google Drive. I have purchased a few planners recently that allow me to write things down for quick reference.

    1. Thanks, Maggie. I was surprised by how many options there were and thought others might be, too. This felt like a good way to break it down. Hope it helps!

  4. I love planners and I hope I make it through the full year using one this 2018! hahah bc typically I am good for a while and then I just stop using it. I Definitely want to try out a fitness planner that I saw in Michaels!

    1. There’s something so satisfying about writing things down and literally crossing it off the list, right? I love working online all day but couldn’t keep it all straight without this new planner system!

    1. That’s fantastic Anitra! It’s such a stress-relief to have something that works for your lifestyle. I’m loving my planner for organizing the business and staying on budget.

  5. Great options and love the Pro tip! I am more focused with a traditional type planner vs. digital planner. They seem to be so much more effective.

    1. I agree, Deanna. I was so happy to find the printer dimensions for my size planner that I had to share. I’ll update as I research some more.

    1. That’s exactly what I did all last year and now that I’ve been using this Happy Planner it’s made keeping track of everything so much easier! You’ve got so much to keep track of on the farm I think a planner would be awesome for you!

  6. This is all new territory for me. I have been using notes on my phone. I need to get with the program. Thank you for the thorough overview of planners.

  7. Everyone makes fun of me because I still use a paper planner and not my phone. I don’t know what to say. I just like it better.

    1. Trello is a great one! I’ve really tried to use apps for getting organized but I guess the creative part of me needs to write, draw and decorate my old school planners.

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