Prepping for 2015: Finding the Perfect Planner

Fall is in full swing, and, if you're an organized planner freak like me, November is the time to start looking for the PERFECT planner for 2015. Well, I actually started shopping around for a new planner back in October, because I'm too organized for my own good. Oh well. If you're also on the hunt for the perfect planner then this post might just be for you. I've used the Erin Condren life planner for the past two years, and while it worked well for me in college when my schedule was harum scarum, it hasn't been as useful in my post grad life. The Erin Condren planner doesn't provide an hourly schedule, but instead divides each day into Morning/Day/Night. The entire week is designed across a two page layout, so it's very helpful when you need to see your entire week at once. However, the professional world requires more attention to individual hours (ya know, cause you have at least two meetings every day, if not more), and it's time for me to say good bye to the life planner.

The Test

So I spent several weeks researching various planners and looking at page & cover designs. Both the Day Designer by Whitney English and the Simplified Planner by Emily Ley seemed promising and had example pages I could print out before committing. I tested out the Day Designer for four days and the Simplified Planner for five.

Day Designer Pros:
  1. The Day Designer page layout is completely organized and not an inch of space is wasted in frilly graphics.
  2. The hourly schedule is from 5 am to 9 pm, which is excellent for early birds, night owls, and the rare individuals that are both. I LOVE this. There's plenty of room to write in my (occasional) early morning workouts, work meetings, lunch plans, and evening plans.
  3. There are 17 lines in the "OTHER TO-DOS" section, and 3 in the "TODAY'S TOP THREE" section. This is huge for me, because I have plenty of room to write down both work tasks and everything else I have to do each day.
  4. The "TODAY'S TOP THREE" section really helped me hone in on my day, prioritize my tasks, and kept me focused. It's easy to get lost in your to-do lists, so this gives you a direction to follow.
  5. The Day Designer has a section called "DAILY GRATITUDE" for you to write down what you are thankful for that day. I think this is wonderful because it can remind you that your everyday life is about so much more than your to-do list and schedule.
Day Designer Cons:
  1. The schedule is hourly and only has one line for each hour, which can be problematic if you need to be somewhere or do something on the half hour mark. This isn't exactly a HUGE deal. It's certainly not a deciding factor, but I did have some trouble when I had a meeting at 2:00 and another meeting at 2:30.
  2. The "DON'T FORGET" section isn't necessary every single day. In the five days that I tested out the Day Designer, I didn't use it once.
Simplified Planner Pros:
  1. Each hour in the hourly schedule has a double line, so you can write in plans for the half hour mark.
  2. Like the schedule, the tasks section has double lines for each task. So you can write down long tasks without trying to cram everything into one line.
Simplified Planner: Cons
  1. The hourly schedule only goes from 7 am to 7 pm. This did not work for me at all. I had to write in my 6 am workout in the tiny space above 7 am, and my post 7pm plans in the empty half inch at the bottom. If you have a really long day, this just won't work for you.
  2. The To Do list, even though it has a double line, is only 6 items long. So there simply wasn't enough room for every single task. There is a large NOTES box below the To Do list, and that's where I ended up writing down the extra tasks.

The Verdict

Ultimately, the choice was easy for me. The Day Designer layout meets my needs and has plenty of room for me to write everything down. Not to mention the actual planner has several pages dedicated to helping you create focus in your life and your career. It provides more than a calendar. It also helps you grow and develop in your life. The Simplified Planner would be absolutely great for someone with a calmer day, or individuals who don't write down absolutely everything like I do. It could also be excellent if you wanted to use it solely for work.

I ran right out and bought my 2015 Day Designer from a local boutique (but you can also purchase them online), and now I am anxiously awaiting the new year so I can start using it.

Note: Header image found on Pinterest.