An Abundance of Riches: Planner Edition
Get ready to rev those organizational engines, friends!
Dames Nation, we have a special treat for you this week. Beloved Friend of The Newsletter and noted calendar-and-planner enthusiast Lizzie Sandercock very kindly agreed to round up her in-depth knowledge of the planner landscape to bring us the best of what’s out there. We apologize in advance for any damage your bank account sustains as a result of this incredibly tempting guide, but we really do think the knowledge is worth the risk. Take it away, Lizzie!
Over the last four months, I feel like my work life has been back in full force for the first time since things shut down in March 2020 due to Covid. Meetings are no longer virtual and the understanding that we’re all struggling and just trying to do our best has fallen by the wayside. So what do I do with these feelings? Buy a new notebook! Or a planner! Because this one is the one that will definitely change my life.
Okay, that’s not going to happen, but hopefully one of these will intrigue you and solve some of your life organizational woes as we get ready to start another trip around the sun.
Why should you wait until January to get organized?! As someone who feels the urge to buy a new planner or notebook whenever it feels like life is getting out of control, these are ideal impulse purchases. Also, if you get off track and forget to use it for a month, that’s fine! You can always start again!
As soon as the Moo Perpetual Planner crossed my browser, I texted it to Sophie immediately and I can’t believe I haven’t purchased it for myself yet. There’s a weekly layout where you fill in the dates so you can jot down appointments or to-dos, but there’s also an assortment of grid and lined sections throughout the planner so that you can keep notes or make extended project lists. The Moo notebooks also lay flat which is incredibly handy for writing!
The Uncalendar was helpfully served up to me by the Pinterest algorithm, and I find it really intriguing! You fill in the months and weeks as you go along so you can start whenever you want, it also provides sections for general notes, goal setting and other information that you want to keep track of, which might be appealing if you’re interested in something like bullet journaling, but don’t want to set up a whole notebook yourself.
If you’re interested in a planner that allows you to keep track of your goals and fill in the calendar sections when you’re ready to use it, the Purpose Planner is great! I love the monthly and weekly set up here. Sometimes planners like these don’t give you a good weekly layout, but this one looks like it would be great for keeping track of the little, everyday details you need to remember while also keeping you connected to your overall goals and direction.
I can’t tell if the Rocketbook Panda Planner is genius or a disaster waiting to happen. Please order it and report back. Like the Rocketbook Notebooks, you write in the planner using a Pilot Frixion Pen, and then can save what you’ve written online and erase and start over next month. I’m not sure I’m looking for a planner where I can’t easily refer back to what i’ve recorded, but if you’re someone who loves digital copies and just wants something minimal to get pen to paper, this might be for you!
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Maybe you are loyal to your paper goods and don’t have a limited attention span. In that case, may I direct you to a more classic set of planners to choose from.
The Bonk Planner, unlike the Rocketbook one, is unquestionably, actually a genius idea. These are designed in half year increments which I think could be great for testing the waters and seeing if it’s for you or if you’re a student or just don’t plan your year in full calendar year increments. They also have a very fun, composition book 90’s appeal, and would probably make a great gift for any of the youths in your life.
Yes, this planner is kind of boring. This is the planner that you gift yourself if you’re having trouble keeping track of things and you just want something simple to get you started. It’s a great mid-size that makes it easy to write in, but doesn’t weigh down your bag too much. I bought this planner for myself in September 2020 when I started feeling the creeping pressures of working during a global pandemic and felt like I could never get anything started or finished, and while it’s not the most inspiring and I didn’t buy another, it really helped in the moment.
I might have to buy myself a Golden Coil planner for Christmas. These are beautiful and you can completely customize them so you have everything you want in a planner. You can decide when you want it to start, how you’d like your weeks laid out and add in additional sections for notes and things like that!
Etsy is also a great place to look for planners that you customize yourself. I love this one and I’m sure it will appeal to many in the Two Bossy Dames community.
The Get to Work Book Planner is so cool that it gives me impostor syndrome. Creative people seem to swear by this and I always want to buy it, but I feel like I’m not going to get the best value from it. I love the clean graphics and how much space it gives you to write in though.
Not a planner, but I have to mention that I love these post-it notes that Elise Blaha Cripe also makes. They’re such a joy to look at and they actually help me keep daily to-do lists to a manageable size.
Also, her giant calendars are amazing! I bought one last year and promptly spilled coffee on it. This year, I’m going to hang it on my office wall to avoid that from happening. Do not underestimate the value of a giant calendar to hang on your wall!
I love the pretty, minimal aesthetics of these Zero Waste planners. They’re not fussy or too big and look perfect if you just want a small planner to keep you on track.
If you want to jam on your planner with some stickers, I think you want the Happy Planner. These look so fun and if you need to inject some joy into your life in 2023, get yourself one of these beauties. They have so many variations and I just wanted to buy so many of them while I was putting this list together, but I loved these two in particular.
This planner is specially laid out so you don’t lose sight of your monthly layout while looking at your weekly layout, which is such a cool feature if you struggle with staying on top of anything that’s “out of sight.” As I heard on TikTok, “if my brain can’t sees it, it deletes it.” Not to mention, it’s absolutely adorable with its Liberty-esque aesthetic!
Some Great Non-Planner Notebooks
Maybe you’re just looking for a notebook to jot some lists in, start journaling like you said you were going to, or work on that book you’ve been meaning to write. First, let me tell you what I have to remind myself every time–it’s only paper; you don’t have to write something brilliant to justify using it. You can just appreciate the nice paper or pretty cover while making your grocery list or writing down the things you need to get done today!
My mom brought a Clairefontaine notebook home with her one night as a little treat for me and that might have been the day I fell in love with stationery. Their paper is just so smooth and I might need to order myself one as soon as I’m done writing this. My only quibble is that the staple-bound notebooks are not the easiest to write in, but you can easily solve that problem by picking up one of their spiral-bound numbers. These would make a fun back to school treat if you know any kids that need some motivation after the New Year.
Speaking of great notebooks for school, I love all of the covers that Decomposition Notebooks makes. Their paper might not be as smooth as Clairefontaine, but they’re good for the environment and they have lined, graph paper and dot grid versions to choose from. Plus, their name is fun! I generally prefer their spiral-bound version, but this California Poppies notebook might persuade me otherwise.
If you find yourself writing on the go, Rollbahn has a nice, solid cardstock cover which gives you a good surface even if you can’t sit down at a desk. Plus, they have a bunch of fun colors to choose from and the paper quality is great.
You know how some things are beautiful just because they’re simple and well-made? That’s the Write Notepads & Co. notebooks. I bought my Dad their Engineer Notebook for Christmas last year and I think it’s been a great receptacle for his many work notes.
They also make these great Meeting Notebooks, if you’re interested in the Cornell notetaking method.
Every so often, I find myself scrolling through the endless designs of the Papier notebooks and planners and I’ve never been able to pick just one because they’re too beautiful. They make lined, grid and blank notebooks so you can definitely find something that works for you. The Koyo design struck my fancy this time, but definitely spend some time perusing the options because they are gorgeous and endless.
I could keep writing this round up for days; I tried to do a last minute search to see whether there was anything else I wanted to include and ended up down an early morning “faux-dori” rabbit hole with 30 new tabs open. Don’t google it unless you’re prepared to get very invested in leather notebook covers on Etsy. However, I’m going to leave you here. I hope you found something great for yourself or some gifts for the holidays! Did I forget the best notebook or planner of all time? Tell me about it!
I love using excel as a planner & a simple notebook for journaling. The list sounds tempting however & I might invest once my business takes off! Thanks for the detailed list!