A few months ago, I wrote about the planners I’d purchased for 2017. Yes, you read that correctly, planners, as in more than one. I first purchased a Plum Paper Weekly Planner, and then a Late Night Quilter’s Planner. Sometime in the first quarter of this year, I ordered an Erin Condren LifePlanner. Half a year in to the experiment, I thought an update might be in order.
Let me start by saying that for many, many years, my favorite planner was the Franklin Covey Two Page Per Day planner. There’s lots of room for to-do lists, notes and appointments. I’ve never felt overly cramped or as if the space in the Franklin planner was skimpy. The challenge was that at most, I could only keep three months’ worth of planner pages in my binder, and it could be bulky and heavy to carry with me.
While browsing Pinterest one day a couple of years ago, I ran across the Bullet Journal. One of the most flexible “systems” I’ve ever seen, I thought it might work well for me, and it did. Or at least it worked well until I started my own business and need far reaching future planning capability. I know that a lot of people swear by the Bullet Journal and believe that it is the ONLY calendar they need, but I found it a little constricting for my own tastes. Don’t get me wrong – for a day to day record of what I’m doing, it’s GREAT. I love the simple-ness of it, and I’ve seen some great “spreads” on Pinterest. Spreads are a daily or weekly design, in case you’re unfamiliar. But I found the lack of preset planning pages to be a draw back.
Enter Weekly Planners
Then one day, a FaceBook friend mentioned that she had just ordered her first Erin Condren LifePlanner. Being a planner geek, I had no choice but to check it out. A simple Google search led me to their website, and I began browsing. I really liked the style choices and the colors. Some of them were a little too cutesy for me, but there were some that I really liked. But the price was crazy – $50 for a spiral bound planner?! One of the main reasons I was looking for a planner to replace my beloved Franklin Covey was because of the cost. Spending $50 for a planner, plus shipping, seemed ludicrous to me. A bigger concern was that this was a weekly planner, and I really wanted a daily planner – one page per day would be fine. I started to Google other planners.
Plum Paper Weekly Planner
During this search, I found the Plum Paper Weekly Planner. It was considerably less expensive – about $35. They offered only a weekly view as well, but I decided that for $35, I didn’t have a lot to lose. In June, I ordered an 18 month planner to begin July 2016 and take me through the end of December 2017. I chose the weekly horizontal view, which is basically just free space for each day. One thing I do like about the Plum planner is that one page of the weekly view is a two column open space for notes. But this layout proved to be far too constricting for me. I never had enough room to make to-do lists, take many notes, or even record appointments. It isn’t like I have a lot of appointments, but I want to be able to keep track of what I do have.
Erin Condren LifePlanner
Then, around the first of the year, I heard that Erin Condren was having a sale. The LifePlanner was 50% off, so again, I thought, what do I have to lose. Already knowing that I didn’t care for the horizontal view with the Plum Paper planner, I opted for the vertical view for my Erin Condren planner. I prayed that this would be the answer to my planning prayers and waited not so patiently for it to arrive.
Late Night Quilter’s Weekly Planner
I found this planner at the Houston Quilt Festival last November. It’s great for planning and tracking my sewing projects but that’s about it. I find the layout to be too constricting for business use myself. However, there are many ladies who really like it, and use it all the time. I like the inspiration I get from the pages of this planner, though.
Which one is for me?
The main thing I have to say is this – all of these planners are very nice. The paper is a nice heavyweight quality. They are easy to write in and they’re beautiful. The spirals on each are sturdy and not prone to bending, and the pages move easily on them both. Honestly, if you’re looking at any of these planners and aren’t sure which is “better,” it will probably come down to which of them you like aesthetically more than anything else. If these planners were offered side by side in a brick & mortar store, your choice would probably come down to style.
Sadly, none of these planners are really for me. Neither view offers me enough space to keep track of the things I want to manage on a daily basis. For me, weekly planning with these books is cramped and not very workable. Each book was used for three months, and neither work very well for me. It’s not a product of the planners themselves; I think it’s my own challenge. I like to write things down, and see my to-do list on a page. Checking things off as I do them makes me feel accomplished. And if I only had a few things to do each day, either of these books would be great. But I do a lot more than four things in a typical day. Without a doubt, these books would not have worked for me in my previous job, or any future job I can imagine.
Searching for a Solution
I even tried to use the Erin Condren LifePlanner in conjunction with the Bullet Journal. It was far too unwieldy, and annoying to boot. It’s obvious that any weekly layout is a bust for me. Most weeks, I am running at full throttle, with all sorts of things going on, plans being made, and general troublemaking that I need to track.
For now, I’m using several apps on my phone to track things, but this isn’t working well either. It deprives me of the ability to go back and look at what I’ve accomplished, and there isn’t a good way to take notes on the phone.
Before I even started this, I already knew the Franklin Covey planner works for me. I didn’t want to spend the money on a new Franklin Covey binder, but after buying two binders and a MoleSkine grid book for the Bullet Journal, I could have bought the new binder AND the one page per day planner that I know I like. It was a hard, somewhat costly lesson to learn.
I’ll be thinking about a 2018 planner before too much longer. OK, I’m already thinking about it. But I know where I’ll be buying it. And when I do, I know that I’ll slip right in to using it again. Really, when you think about it, there are some things that just don’t need to be improved upon, and my choice of planner is one of those things. Why did I even try to fix something that wasn’t even broken?!