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It’s time for a new year and new goals to be set. After spending 2017 writing everything down on separate sheets of papers, scrap pads, notebooks and basically anything I could get my hands on, it’s time to choose a planner and make 2018 a year to shine. While Google Docs and other online resources are helpful, I’m still an analog girl at heart and love to put pen to paper to visualize my thoughts.
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:
1. 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
2. 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!
3. 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.
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.
Free (or mostly free), user-friendly, mobile, easy to change if it’s not working out.
Need to have internet access, can suck the life out of your battery, may not be accessible in class for students (I’m looking at you high school kiddos)
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:
The Happy Planner
I have been researching planners for several months now and find 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. For 2018 I’m using “The Best Is Yet To Come” because it has a beachy theme that I just adore.
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.
If you need more resources and help to get on track this year, consider the Ultimate Bundle offer to help conquer clutter. Available through the end of January 2018, this super bundle has 38 tools to help you restore sanity to home, family, work, and life. It includes 5 eCourses, 15 PLANNERS!, and 18 eBooks for under $50. I don’t know about you, but I can drop that much on stickers and doodads at Michaels! This gives you way more bang for your buck and will help you make 2018 your year to shine!
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.
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