Updated on August 28, 2020
We have kicked off the Project Organize Challenge in our Creative Community this week! We chatted about using a master list and using a planner. I have found in order to get organized and fight all the overwhelm and chaos in my life, I have to start with the basics. This means getting all those thoughts, ideas, appointments, schedules, and more out of my brain and onto paper. Today, I am going to share the best paper planners I have found for getting organized.
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The Best Paper Planners
Currently, I am using the daily edition of the Simplified planners by Emily Ley. I switched over to a daily in January and I LOVE it! I have found over the years I need to keep everything in one place. I also prefer to have lines in my planner rather than blank spaces. My writing gets really messy without the lines.
I have tried in the past to keep my work and personal life in separate planners, but things were getting missed and overlooked. And because I choose to keep everything in one planner I need the space to write it all down. I have plenty of space to keep track of my to-dos. On the list portion, I work from the top down for personal tasks and the bottom up for work tasks. This allows me to keep them separate but on the same page without worrying about how many tasks I have for each. I use the “My Day” section to keep track of appointments and to stay on task throughout the day. In the bottom section, I write out any notes and my dinner meal plan for the night.
- 7 x 9 inches with 70lb. pure white Mohawk Via paper
- One day per page which includes a space for schedules (hourly 6 am – 9 pm), to-dos, and notes
- Full monthly views on two pages
- Gold wire-o binding
- Hard Cover
- Colorful mylar tabs
- Simplified Prep-Work and Monthly Simplicity Tips
- Storage Pocket and Sticker Sheet
- Cost: $58.00
- 2018-2019 Academic Edition launches May 2
There is also a weekly edition available and a Dapperdesk® version. The weekly version has many of the same features as the daily, however, instead of a page for each day, you get one week on a two-page spread. It is a little smaller – 6 x 8 inches and lay flat book binding instead of the wire-o binding. You also get 36 note pages in the back of the planner. Cost: $48.00
DISCOUNT: First-time buyers: save $10 off a $50 purchase
The Erin Condren Coiled LifePlanner™ was the first more expensive planner I purchased. I used to use inserts I could find at the office supply store, or the inexpensive planners found at Walmart and Target. It was a big splurge, but I really loved using it for many years. There is a colorful and a neutral version available now. One of the things that drew me to the planner in the first place was how fun it was! There are so many amazing designs to choose from, and you can even change out your covers throughout the year if you want!
- 7 x 9 inches
- 3 Weekly Layouts – Horizontal, Vertical, or Hourly (Colorful or Neutral Color Theme)
- Full Monthly View on Two Pages
- Coiled by Hand
- Heavy Duty Laminated Interchangeable Cover
- Colorful or Neutral Laminated Tabs
- Includes Folder, Storage Pouch, 4 Sticker Sheets, Bookmark
- Cost: Starting at $55.00
- 2018-2019 Edition launches May 3
There are also Hardbound LifePlanners™, Deluxe Monthly, Monthly, Academic, Teacher, and Wedding Planners available. I use a deluxe monthly planner to track my finances. I use the monthly spread to write down paydays, when bills are due, and our debt payoffs. There are plenty of note pages to create budgets and track everything related to finances.
DISCOUNT: First-time buyers: save $10 on your first purchase
I used an Inkwell Press planner last year. If you want help with goal setting and productivity, this is the planner to get. Tonya Dalton, the owner of Inkwell Press does an amazing job of teaching you how to set goals and be more productive. She even has a podcast about productivity called Productivity Paradox.
I chose the A5 inserts version of the planner in a Carpe Diem planner binder. The inserts worked so well for me and I loved the monthly and yearly goal-setting aspect of the planner. My biggest problem was not having enough space to write all of my to-dos. She does have a daily version, but it only includes 184 daily pages, and I want one planner for the entire year.
- 9 x 7 inches with 140 GSM Paper
- Classic: Vertical Weekly Layout or Flex: Horizontal Weekly Layout
- Fully Monthly View on Two Pages
- Gold Wire-O Binding
- Hard Cover with Premium Texture and Matte Laminate Coating
- Mylar Coated Tabs
- Yearly and Monthly Tracking Sheets for Goal Setting, plus Project Tracker, Travel Organizer, Bill Tracking and More
- 32 Gridded and Dot Matrix Note Pages
- Cost: Starting at $44.00
Other options include a coil free version, daily edition, A5 inserts, and quarterly planners.
DISCOUNT: save $10 off a $50 purchase
The Happy Planner is an affordable option if you don’t want to purchase one of the other systems above. I used one of the large Happy Planners for blogging a couple years ago before I figured out I really need one planner for everything. They offer a ton of colorful options in a variety of sizes. You can purchase them online or at many of your local craft stores (which means you can use a coupon!).
- 9.25 x 7 inches
- Vertical or Horizontal Weekly Layouts
- Full monthly views on two pages
- Disc Binding
- Laminated Cover
- Colorful Tabs and Dividers
- Cost: Starting at $19.99
The Happy Planner comes in mini, classic, and big sizes. One of the features of The Happy Planner that I think is really great is the option to be able to add and remove pages. This allows you to customize your planner in a way the others do not.
Webster’s Pages has binder style planners that come in A5 and personal sizes. I love having the personal size one for lists and tracking different things like health and fitness. I can throw it in my purse and it doesn’t take up a lot of room. Like the disc bound system, you can add and remove pages to help you customize your planner for your own use.
- Insert Size: 3.75 x 6.75 inches, Binder Size: 5.25 x 8 inches
- Weekly View on Two Pages
- Full Monthly Views on Two Pages
- 6-Hole Rings
- Faux Leather Cover
- Patterned Dividers, Cover Design with Vellum, Page Marker
- Cost: Starting at $25.00
Webster’s Pages offers spiral planners, pocket travelers, composition, A5 Color Crush, Personal Color Crush planners, and traveler’s notebooks. There is really something for everyone.
My favorite shop for purchasing personal and A5 inserts for my ring binders is Peanuts Planner Co.
Below are some of my favorite planner accessories to use when I am planning.
- Simplified Sticker Book
- Happy Stripe, Pilot Precise, V5 Pen Set
- The Happy Planner Value Pack Stickers
- Washi Tape
- Papermate Inkjoy Gel Pens
- Planner Punch Board
Whatever planner you choose, I think the most important thing, is to actually use it. Get messy, enjoy the process, and feel a sense of calm as you become more productive and less overwhelmed. So tell me, do you use a paper planner? If you do, which one is your favorite?
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