We’re approaching a new year and that means a fresh start. There’s nothing quite like the first page of a clean journal or planner (that can’t just be me, right?). Staring at that first, clean page is enough to give you butterflies; it represents all of the possibility of a fresh new year. Of course, if you want to make the most of that fresh, new year, it can certainly help to have a little help in the organization department, lest all of your big plans get jumbled into chaos until you’re so stressed that, by February, you’ve decided to just scrap everything until 2017.
The personal planner market is flooded with options promising to help you make the most of your time, plow through your to-do list and organize just about every aspect of your life. But different people have different organizational styles and will thrive with different planners, which is why finding a good (or even great) planner is only part of the battle. The real trick is finding the best planner for you. We took a look at three fantastic planners to help make the process a little easier.
The Day Designer
Perfect for: Type A list-lovers with busy schedules and clearly-mapped out goals.
Designed by Whitney English, the Day Designer is an intense planner for an intense kind of person — but I don’t mean that in a bad way (I’m probably that kind of intense myself). The Day Designer is perfect for driven goal-setters who just need a little structural help in mapping out those big picture goals to make them a reality. One of my favorite pages in the Day Designer is the vision page, which provides a worksheet to help you map out your vision for the next 12 months, and narrow your passions, interests, goals down to three primary areas of focus. If you feel like you have more things you want to do than time to do them all, Day Designer might just be for you.
The other thing about the Day Designer that really makes it special is the fact that it dedicates a full page to each weekday throughout the year (weekends share a page each week). The daily pages feature a column for scheduling side-by-side with a column for your to-do list, as well as other handy spaces for things like your financial goals and top tasks of the day.
tl;dr: The Day Designer is great for highly-organized people with a lot on their plate who just need help sorting through the daily clutter to get everything done. It could be a little overwhelming (or just unnecessary) for people who prefer a little less structure in their day (and, by extension, their planner).
Cost: $59 for the the Flagship, $49 for the Flagship Mini (which feels like a full-sized planner itself)
Get To Work Book
Perfect for: Free-thinking creatives with open-ended goals who value simplicity over style.
The Get To Work Book, the brain child of blogger Elise Blaha Cripe, is a wonderful and still relatively new addition to the world of planners (it launched in 2015). It’s a simple, but functional book with tons of room for customization, but still with plenty of inspiration to help get you motivated and organized. One of my favorite features of the Get To Work Book are the project planning pages, which offer an adaptable framework for mapping out just about any project you could conceive. The graph paper on the opposite page is a nice touch, inviting not just note-taking, but doodling, sketching, and problem-solving as well.
Unlike Day Designer, the Get To Work Book offers weekly, rather than daily, planning pages. But, with slots for the top three goals for each day, it captures the same spirit in much less space.
tl;dr: The Get To Work Book offers a great balance of helpful planning and motivation with tons of flexibility to adapt the planner to your specific needs. If you’re looking to micro-manage your time and hyper-plan your day, the Get To Work Book might not be your top choice (the planner itself is a weekly, rather than daily, planner), but if you’re a creative type with a schedule or work style that doesn’t fit the confines of a typical planner, the Get To Work Book is likely customizable enough to meet your needs without sacrificing the most helpful aspects of a structured planner.
The Rifle Paper Co. Planner
Perfect for: People looking for a stylish, sophisticated and classic planner.
The Rifle Paper Co. Planner is beautiful, with a clean design and classic tools. It’s perfect for anyone who wants a quality planner for managing scheduling and contacts and keeping track of tasks, without additional worksheets or life planning tools. While the extra tools included in some planners, like the Day Designer and Get To Work Book mentioned above, can be great for people who plan to use them, they also add unnecessary bulk for people who don’t.
Rifle Paper Co.’s planner is clean and simple in the best way. It comes equipped with space for your daily to-do list, calendar pages for tracking important dates and plenty of space for note-taking throughout the year. Its weekly planning pages are styled for list-making more than precise schedule-keeping, which is great for people with more tasks than meetings to keep track of.
tl;dr: Go for the Rifle Paper Co. planner if you’re looking for a perfect adult update to the classic planners you used in school, with plenty of space for tracking your to-do list, minus the extra bulk of specialized life planning pages.
(Image via Day Designer.)