Figuring Out Your Ideal Planner

Rose Gold Personal  (4)

If you’ve ever looked up planner video on YouTube or are a member of any of the planner Facebook groups, you have no doubt felt overwhelmed by all the options out there—and I’m just talking about the containment unit itself; not stickers, pens, inserts, washi tape, etc. There are many blog posts and YouTube videos to help get you started.

There are brands from all over the world and at a variety of price ranges: Filofax, Kikki K, Erin Condrin, Kate Spade, Day-Timer, Day Runner, Franklin Covey, At a Glance, Bullet Journaling, Midori Traveler’s Notebook, Fauxdori’s, homemade & DIY, and many more.

In my opinion, the easiest place to start is deciding whether or not you want a planner that you can add and move stuff around in OR something that is bound together. A move stuff around planner would be a ring one, disc bound, and arguably traveler’s notebooks. A bound together planner would be a bound book or spiral/coil bound book.

Personally, I like being able to change the guts of my planner around as I please, so I use a ring bound planner.

The next thing to do is figure out what you want your planner to do for you. Calendar? To Do lists? Notes? Projects? Address book? What do you want from your planner? And how will you need it to function.

Your answer needs to be more than “I want to get organized.” Let’s start with a relatively simply example: calendars. Monthly, weekly, daily, or some combination of 2 or all 3? If you take each section and really think about what you want from it, eventually the planner you need, as well as the one you want, will come together.

Other examples:

To Do lists>>>brain dump/catch all’s or categorized? (You can have both! I do!)

Projects>>>work or personal. A page for each project with notes, timelines, etc. Alphabetical or by deadline?

A to Z file>>>also known as the Address book. There is a trend to store quick reference notes here, like clothing sizes or book titles or important notes you don’t know where to keep.

The thing to remember is that just because a planner comes with certain sections and inserts, doesn’t mean you are stuck with them.

If all of this information was overwhelming, I apologize. The planner world can, ironically, be overwhelming. How about something simpler? Get a cheap planner from the dollar store. Start using it. As you go along, if you find yourself wanting something different, like wanting to be able to move stuff, make a note of it in your planner. What do you like, what don’t you like? Write it all down.

There is no one right formula to figuring out what planning system works for you. A system that works for one person won’t work for someone else. It’s all about finding out what works for you.

This is a process that can take some time and it came be frustrating. But eventually, you’ll figure it out.

© Cori Large April-December 2015


30 Comments (+add yours?)

  1. Jenny
    Jan 18, 2016 @ 09:50:28

    This is why I don’t have a planner. I’m totally overwhelmed when I start looking into them. Maybe I’ll do it one of these days 🙂


    • caendicott
      Jan 18, 2016 @ 16:35:05

      Completely understandable. I live and die by mine or else I have no idea what I’m supposed to be doing.


  2. Maya
    Jan 18, 2016 @ 10:17:52

    This is great, I found a awesome planner at Target that is by sugar paper. I am a strong believer in planning and definitely like it written down in an actual book rather than one on my phone or computer.


  3. Missy - Getting Fit to Find Myself
    Jan 18, 2016 @ 12:04:21

    I am on my way to Office Max after finishing up a few more things this morning to have my perfect planner printed and bound. I have used a few other planners to create one that will work for me in my everyday life and blogging. I cannot wait to see how it turns out!


    • caendicott
      Jan 18, 2016 @ 16:36:32

      That’s wonderful! I keep thinking about designing my own and using just that, but I don’t have the patience to date it.


  4. Laura
    Jan 18, 2016 @ 14:01:18

    This is near and dear to my heart! I must have spent days trying to find the perfect all in 1 planner. I couldn’t…and wound up going with one for my blog, one for work and my phone for my personal life events. I wish I had stuck with it and found the perfect one. I guess there is always next year!


    • caendicott
      Jan 18, 2016 @ 16:37:36

      That’s why I have a ringed one. I need to be able to move stuff around as I see fit. My needs vary from month to month, so I need to be able to rearrange.


  5. Emily
    Jan 18, 2016 @ 14:09:10

    I’ve bought planners in the past and they usually sit on my desk looking super cute but being completely empty. I just prefer to use my phone I guess!


  6. Angela Tolsma
    Jan 18, 2016 @ 14:30:13

    I have a paper planner, but I tend to use it for blogging and otherwise everything else is digitalized. I love having my phone do it all for me and be simple and consistent!


  7. Dia @ All The Things I Do
    Jan 18, 2016 @ 18:25:12

    I have 2 planners, one for my blog and one for my bills, birthdays and appointments. I try to stay out of all the other stuff because it’s too much. I keep my blog schedule and blog biz appointments in the first and in the second I keep track of life stuff. As far as notes and to do lists they are constantly changing and are better for me electronically.


    • caendicott
      Jan 19, 2016 @ 08:33:17

      Your set up sounds like it’s working. I’ve added a notebook alongside my planner, because I need something bigger than a personal size for notes.


  8. Ariel @ Keys to My Life
    Jan 18, 2016 @ 23:52:42

    I love this post! For initial planner people, this covers basically every type out there.


    • caendicott
      Jan 19, 2016 @ 08:33:49

      Thank you! There are a lot of videos and blog posts on this subject, but I feel everyone can bring a little bit of knowledge to the table.


  9. Whitney
    Jan 19, 2016 @ 00:25:08

    What a great post! Having a planner is overwhelming for sure, but so is life! That’s why I LOVE my planner! Lol


    • caendicott
      Jan 19, 2016 @ 08:34:28

      Tell me about it! This spring is super crazy for me, and I’m so glad I have my planner to help keep me on track.


  10. angie Scheie
    Jan 19, 2016 @ 02:14:30

    I love planners, but you are right, it can be so overwhelming! I am in between two right now, and trying to figure it all out. I haven’t gotten serious enough yet to join a FB group 😉


    • caendicott
      Jan 19, 2016 @ 08:35:20

      Word of caution, if you’re undecided now, the FB group may make that work. They’re partially to blame for why I spent 2015 trading up and trying to figure out what would work for me.


  11. Becki S
    Jan 19, 2016 @ 08:51:25

    Good tips. I can’t seem to find a planner that I’ll stick with all the time because everything is so tied to my google calendar and it seems silly to transpose everything onto paper only to have it change. I like my Erin C. for blogging stuff so far so that has been one consistent.


    • caendicott
      Jan 20, 2016 @ 08:47:12

      If your Google calendar is what’s working for you, don’t try to force yourself to use paper if it’s going to drive you nuts. It’s better to use what works than to frustrate yourself trying to force yourself to use something else.


  12. emma
    Jan 19, 2016 @ 10:18:56

    What sort of planner is that? looks so pretty.
    I use a varied amount of planners and depending on my needs I have soiled, Fauxdori and ringbound. 🙂
    Great Post:)


    • caendicott
      Jan 20, 2016 @ 08:48:17

      The planner in the picture is a Day-Timer portable size Malibu in Rose Gold. It’s still available from the Day-Timer website. Thanks for stopping by!


  13. Jess
    Jan 19, 2016 @ 11:17:39

    I used an Erin Condren last year and loved it. Unfortunately, I skimped this year and I’m just not feeling my planner. Maybe I need to bite the bullet and just buy another ECLP, lol!


  14. Victoria Stacey
    Jan 19, 2016 @ 12:24:44

    I’d love to think I’d use a planner, but everytime I get one, it gets nelgected! They are so cute though.


    • caendicott
      Jan 20, 2016 @ 08:52:36

      Maybe you haven’t found the right one yet, or it’s just not for you. As much as I love the idea of everyone finding their ideal planner, I recognize that it just isn’t for some people (like my husband, who says I’m his planner).


  15. Kusum
    Jan 20, 2016 @ 10:51:45

    I am always so overwhelmed by planners, just too many options out there. This post makes me want to start giving them a second thought 😉
    xx, Kusum |


    • caendicott
      Jan 20, 2016 @ 12:49:07

      Take it slow! And there’s no point in investing large amounts of money, try to find used or cheaper versions if you can. That way my mistake.


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