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Choosing a Planner

by Brandy Burke
choosing a planner

You don’t have to wait until the first of the year to choose a planner to keep you on-track, but since it’s the first of the year and this blog loves to talk about planners, we’ll cover a few of my best steps on choosing a planner that you will love.

Now I’ve gone through a lot of planners – I’m easily tempted in to trying something new – several years later, I’m still not sure I understand what planners like to call “planner peace” – there are just too many awesome options and I want to play with them all.

But this might be your first time choosing a planner – and if it is, welcome to the fun world of planning. This blog post is part of Planning 101 where I’ll take you through planners, accessories, types of planning and the best shops and groups for your new addiction.

Lets get to the heart of planning and find a planner you’ll love.

choosing a planner


Steps for Choosing a planner

Decide it’s Use

When choosing a planner the first question to as yourself is “How will I use this planner”?
If you need a planner to track a lot of detail in your life or to keep you on task hourly, you’d want an hourly planner or maybe a planner where each day has its own page. Or maybe you want to also track fitness and finance goals, so you’ll need one with the ability to add and remove inserts- check out my Health Tracker planner printable – this is why it’s important to know when going in to the process of choosing a planner exactly how you plan to use it.

Set your budget:

Planners come in all costs – set your budget parameters early on so that you’re only looking at things you can afford and use coupons and sales to help with the costs. If you’re brand new to planning, you might want to consider something less expensive such as the Recollections spiral bound mini planner or a mini happy planner to make sure that a planner is something that you will definitely use before making a larger investment into a plum paper planner or an Erin Condren.

Choosing a Planner Size:

Planners come in a variety of sizes but the most common are mini/personal, classic and large. The mini/personal sized planners are excellent roadies – the classic sized planner is the most popular planner size and can be a part-time roadie (depending on the size of your tote) or be a stationary schedule goddess – it’s versatile like that which is one of the many reasons it’s the most popular. The large sized planners are meant to be desk planners – their over-sized existence just won’t fit in a purse and they’re rather heavy – but they do offer large boxes for bigger handwriting or more information.

Choosing a planner layout

Choosing a planner layout:

If you need help staying on task each day then an hourly or daily layout may be your best friend but if you don’t need to record that much detail each day, you could opt for a full weekly view – this shows you a full week, usually on two pages at a time but the customization doesn’t stop there – on your weekly views you also have the option for a horizontal view which gives you a chunk of horizontal space to plan your days or a vertical view which often breaks your days in to three sections, typically used for morning, afternoon, evening but could also be used to break off your day in to things like work, school, home or home, fitness, finance – you get the picture.

Choosing a Planner Binding System:

Use your planner

Binding actually does matter. Here’s why –

Disc Bound Planners

The Happy Planners are disc bound systems – which makes it super easy to add and remove pages or special inserts in your planner, especially if you have the Happy Planner punch – you don’t have to have this punch to make additions, but it does make it super easy. You can easily add bigger rings to your planner if you’re a chunky planner type or like to keep more pages together at one time. The covers are also extremely easy to change out with this system but the downfall is that the discs aren’t always the strongest and if a page rips from it, it’s not easy to get it to fit back in – still that’s rare.

Choosing a planner happy planner discs

Spiral Bound Planners

The spiral bound system is the sturdiest binding of any planner, but it’s not a simple to add pages to your spiral planner. It’s not impossible, but disc bound systems are ultimately easier in my opinion.

Ring Bound Planners

There’s also the ring bound planners. Ring bound planners come in multiple sizes outside of the ones we’ve discussed and are super easy to add or remove pages and sections, add accessories, and because of the way the ring system works, they always have a protective outer case automatically so you have folders and pockets and a lot of protection for your pages. Now you can get covers for just about any planner out there but they come at an additional expense.

my planner unicorn

Book Bound Planners

Finally, we have the book bound style planner which isn’t as popular but does exist on the market – I don’t have a lot to say about why you might want to choose one like this – but I’m just showing you that they do exist out there and they probably are something very useful for students or someone who doesn’t really need to customize their planner.


Once you’ve selected your planner you can really begin to customize it with inserts and sparkly accessories – advance warning my friends, this is super addictive. Next time we’ll discuss planner accessories – their uses and where you can find the best deals on them.

Check out this video on choosing a planner where I touch on each type of planner mentioned in this post.


 Up Next: Planning 101 Part 2: Planner Sticker Options 

Choosing a planner from @goodstuffmama - great tips and video


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