by: E.B. Johnson
We are facing the end of a year that has been daunting, to say the least. If you’re anything like me, that means you’re winding up to the biggest planning period of the year. It’s time to look ahead and get motivated about all the new opportunities we have coming our way. With vaccines on the horizon, we are looking at a return to a new kind of normalcy. How are we going to keep it altogether? Grabbing the right planner is a great place to start.
Paper planners are a great way to get organized if you’re new to the world of “getting your life together”. There’s something powerful about writing down our goals and our tasks, and it enables us to stay focused and motivated. Whether you’re looking to organize a new business endeavor, or you just need to keep your family schedule together in one place that isn’t your phone — finding the perfect planner is a process that isn’t always easy.
Planners can make all the difference.
Believe it or not, there are a number of reasons you should be using a daily or weekly planner whatever your goals are for 2021. Planners can make all the difference between getting ourselves organized and falling back into the same old slumps. There are a number of psychological reasons behind this, and a plethora of evidence to support the fact that (for some of us) writing things down is the best way for us to get everything back together.
Planners help us with time management and help us to better see where we can prioritize ourselves and the tasks we need to accomplish. When you use a planner to schedule each event, you know what to expect and can better block out your time. It also helps to improve your productivity, and can even provide stress relief by clearing your brain of its constant tick-over of tasks.
Beyond that, a planner can help you to be more creative, and has even been shown to help you stay physically healthy. You can keep track of exercises, water intake, and even your diet — as well as doctor’s appointments or symptom patterns you may be experiencing with a new illness. It’s a place to keep records too, and to look back over your year to see how you not only performed, but connected with the world around you.
The planners you will actually want to use in 2021.
So what planner can you get your organizing journey started with? You can look to all the big name affiliate articles if you want, but this is the most realistic one that you’re going to get. These have all been personally vetted or tested by me, and either top my list as my own personal planners, or as top contenders that almost made the cut for my busy writing and coaching life.(No affiliate links or spam included. Enjoy.)
1. The Lifestyled Planner (£45)
“Simple, clean and elegant, and based on the foundation of ‘fewer distractions, more space for business’, the planners are a real game-changer…because, let’s be honest, running a business is not easy.”
This is my go-to master planner and the one I used to keep up with all my home and work schedules in one place. Each day gets its own page, so there’s lots of room to keep track of to-do’s, appointments, and even things like water intake, priorities, and household chores. It also comes in a beautiful bag and luxury packaging that makes it feel extra exclusive.
2. The Positive Planner (£20)
“We created The Positive Planner to encourage you to make journaling and mindfulness an everyday practice. You’ll find sections dedicated to daily intentions and reflections, a mood checker and gratitude as well as loads of useful tools designed to enhance positivity and manage your wellbeing.”
I use the Positive Planner Wellness Journal every day. It’s a great way to get started with mindfulness and positivity, and it really helps you to create effective intentions for the day. It’s also filled with great art and lots of exercises which help you to ground, prioritize, and re-center around the things which matter most to us.
3. The Ban.dō Academic Planner ($14.99)
“ban.do planners are made to do more than just remind you of your next appointment. These new planners cover August 2020 to December 2021 and were designed full of Intention. Each month has a theme for you to focus on (like Mindfulness or Empathy), complete with a new page for intention-setting at the beginning of the month and a new reflection page at the end.”
This is the planner I rely on to organize all my writing and all my social media scheduling. It’s got a really basic design that’s visually easy to organize, and it comes with some cool art and a great set of stickers. I opt for the horizontal layout, which gives me more freedom to customize the space for the various activities and tasks I have to schedule throughout the day. It’s also got a ton of note pages which come in handy for brainstorming and goal-tracking. Even though the company went through some turmoil earlier this year, they’re really working hard to make it right.
4. CEO of My Own Life Planner (£35.99)
“Stay on top of your work and business to-dos, organize your home life, set and track your fitness and health goals as well as personal pursuits. With our well structured annual, quarterly, monthly, weekly and daily goal setting worksheets, habit trackers, financial planning pages and self-reflection projects, this 2021 weekly planner will become your best personal assistant in 2021.”
While I haven’t personally used this planner, it’s been high up on my “almost” list for 2 years now. It’s a pretty planner with a lot of oomph, and it helps you organize far more than just your daily schedule and your water intake. The CEO of My Own Life Planner is the life planner that it promises. It’s sleek, savvy, and helps you attack your goals with breakdowns and how-to’s that help on your overall personal wellness journey.
5. The Erin Condren Life Planner ($55.00)
“The signature 7"x9" coiled LifePlanner™ is the perfect canvas for your busy life! Build your own book & choose your cover design, coordinate your coil, select your interior weekly layout and finish it off by opting for a colorful or neutral color scheme! Proven to increase time management and productivity…”
For years, I was a dedicated Erin Condren LifePlanner™ user. And (being totally honest) I still would be if it wasn’t for their total collapse in shipping and handling. If you’re an international user, it’s not very practical to pay so much for a planner and then pay just as much in shipping and customs…all to receive a banged up product (with missing pages — yikes!). If you’re a US planning addict, though, this is a great planner that’s fully customizable and ever-expanding. There’s also great customer service stateside and extra fast delivery.
6. The Hello Day Planner (£46)
“The Hello Day Planner reminds us that each day is an opportunity to turn over a new leaf, start afresh, and take one step closer to our dreams and goals. It’s designed for the modern, stylish woman who wants to keep herself on track with the aide of her sassy little accessory that’s not only fab to look at but also helps to keep her in check on a daily basis.”
This is an ideal planner for minimalists and those who still want a bit more room to spread out and plan. It’s also got a selection of gorgeous covers and comes with both the metallic bound corners and matching metal spiraling. If you’re someone who really loves having a collectible piece of art or decor for your desk and workspace — this is one of the best planners you can get.
7. The Dailygreatness Business Planner ($49.95)
“With a unique combination of a dated yearly planner, finance and budget worksheets, goal, action and appointment planners, and the best personal development tools distilled down into a simple daily, weekly and quarterly structure, this powerful tool supports you in creating the habits of a highly effective entrepreneur.”
If you’re going into 2021 with business and money on your mind (let’s face it, everyone should be) then this is the planner that you need. Dailygreatness has been growing in the planning market for years, and their planners just keep getting better and better. Whether you’re just starting out in a new endeavor, or you’re getting ready to scale up and grow — the Dailygreatness Business Planner can effectively help you get organized to get where you need to go.
Putting it all together…
Don’t wait until the new year to get started on your planning journey. Help yourself get focused and organized now by finding the perfect paper companion to accompany you. Weekly and Daily planners are not just a great way to get focused. They also help us to improve our health, our mental clarity, and even in the inner peace we feel (or the amount of time we have to spend with our families).
Spend some time browsing the above planners and use them as a starting point. There is a planner out there for you that will call to you every day. Find the right system and you’ll be able to build a routine that improves your life — and the lives of your friends and family — in so many ways. Paper planners aren’t just for CEOs and sorority sisters. They are for anyone who is juggling the chaos and business of modern life. Get a planner that works for you and stop letting life hold you back.