Raise your hand if you get overwhelmed with the amount of planner options! I’m convinced that the sheer amount of options is the reason why it’s hard to find the right planner for you.
When I first joined the planner community full-time (September 2018), I was distracted by all the options! I started off using coil-bound planners from Erin Condren, but then realized that I needed some flexibility. So, I switched to Happy Planners. (I started going to Michael’s and Joann’s every week to look for sticker books. Obsessed is an understatement.) I quickly realized that I prefer a neutral planning palette. So I bought an Emily Ley Simplified Planner. Now, why would I do that when I should have remembered and known that I need more flexibility than a coil-bound planner!?
I was clearly distracted by all the options in the planner community. Instagram and other social media platforms don’t help either. I love seeing how other planner accounts on IG use their planners, but it’s easy (for me at least) to get caught up in the pretty photos.
Don’t be like me. I wasted a lot of time, energy, and money (a lot of money) on buying planner supplies and materials that ultimately did not work for me. If I’d simply took some time to consider my needs and research planner companies, I would have found planner peace much sooner. (And yes, I found planner peace. I want to scream it from the mountain tops. I love planning in my A5 and half-letter agendas!)
Here are a few factors you should consider to find the planner that meets your needs:
Portability is an important, but often forgotten, consideration. Think about where you will use your planner. If you are searching for a work planner that will stay at your work desk. then maybe a 8.5 x 11 planner would be the best fit for your planner needs. The size provides you with enough space to organize your work tasks, meetings, and appointments, but you won’t have to worry about carrying it home.
Maybe you are searching for a meal planner that will also carry your grocery lists. An 8.5 x 11 planner would likely be too large to carry in the grocery store. You could search for something smaller, like the HP mini, personal, or pocket size.
What’s your planning style? Do you like bursts of color, or do you prefer a neutral palette? Here are some style factors to think about:
Binding (Coil, Bound, Rings, Discs)
If you want some flexibility with your planner, you should probably avoid bound and coil-bound planners. There are definitely brave souls who coil and uncoil their planners. Try rings and discs planners if you don’t want the headache.
Paper Texture (Smooth vs. textured)
Planner Size (A million sizes. 7 x 9, 8.5 x 11, 4 x 6, just to name a few.)
Themes (Colorful vs. neutral)
Now is probably a good time to consider your planner’s purpose as well. I love the planner industry because there are neutral and versatile planners that you can use for any purpose. But there are also “themed” planners to suit specific needs. Think about whether you want a neutral, non-themed versatile planner or if a specific planner would be best for you.
Here’s what I mean: if you’re looking for a meal planner, perhaps you can repurpose weekly inserts from a planner company to meal plan to add to your disc or ring planner. But you also have the option to buy a planner dedicated to meal planning.
here are also several finance planners on the market, but I prefer to use A5-size finance inserts in my A5 agenda rather than buying a separate planner for my finances.
Regardless, think about what and how you want to plan.
Planner supplies and accessories can add up very quickly. Decide on a budget that works for you and your current circumstances BEFORE looking. Trust me — you don’t want to hurt your feelings looking at a planner and falling in love with it to only realize it’s out of your budget. Budget first, look later.
Budgeting for a new planner is not an easy task. Perhaps you love Happy Planners and the products are in your budget. The stickers can be addicting (trust me, I know) and you can easily exceed your budget buying sticker books and other accessories. I love my ring and disc-bound planners, but buying inserts for two planners with different sizes can add up. Luckily there are a lot of coupons and coupon codes floating around on IG.
You should think about how much you want to spend on your planner and planner supplies before you start searching. You don’t want to find the right planner for you but later realize it is way out of your budget.
4) Miscellaneous Needs
By the time you got this far, you’re probably tired of thinking and analyzing your needs. I get it. I’d be annoyed too. BUT this last factor/step is all about you. It’s a chance for you to figure out what’s really important to you.
One factor I recommend that you consider is accessibility. Accessibility is important to me. Back in my Happy Planner days, I loved that I could get in my car and drive to Michael’s and leave with everything I need to plan. Now that I am ordering inserts and other accessories online, I need to plan ahead if I need or want something. So the business’s location is important to me. (To be honest I have to love — and feel like I can’t live without — a product if I am going to buy it from another country. So I typically don’t buy from planner shops out of the country.)
Here are other factors to consider: (1) Black and women-owned business, (2) quality of products (this is obvious), and (3) aesthetics.
What am I missing? What else should a potential buyer consider?