Blogmas Day 4: Planner Comparison and Gift Guide

Hello guys! Welcome to Blogmas Day 4! I hope you’ve been having a lovely weekend. Mine has been nice and low key. Today my parents visited and we decorated the house a bit more for Christmas. Except for the lack of snow, it’s looking more and more festive around here!

I’m comparing planners here today, because they make brilliant functional gifts. Although many people use their mobiles for planning and scheduling, there’s nothing quite like writing things out on paper. It’s really helped me with both organization and motivation this past year. Christmas is also the perfect time to give (or receive) a new planner for 2017. I’ve already picked up a favorite one for someone on my list!

Now I am in a good position to do this comparison because I went a little planner-crazy-happy earlier this year (understatement). I couldn’t decide what sort of planner would be right for me, and ended up acquiring way to many! I hope this post will help you learn from my mistakes, because no one needs to end up with six of them!

I actually see merits in all of them, but different planners certainly cater to different lifestyles. As an attorney, I usually have many work tasks/deadlines that I need to diary each day. Some of these planners simply don’t have enough room for that, but would be great for someone who needs to be able to glance at a whole month on two pages or schedule no more than a few tasks a day.

So, let’s get to it, here are the planners I’ve used/tried in 2016:

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From left to right: Happy Planner (cover purchased separately); Filofax personal size in burnt orange; The Happiness Planner; Kikki-K Vanskap personal size (top)–sorry guys looks like this version’s sold out, but Kikki-K has more cute planners here; Erin Condren Life Planner; and Kikki-K Wellness Planner. I know, guys, that’s a lot of planners!

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As you can see, the page formats, sizes, and covers vary considerably. Some things to consider when choosing the perfect planner as a gift:

1.) What will the recipient be using it for? Like I mentioned, if planning lots of daily tasks is a priority, the day on a page format might be your best option. The Kikki-K Wellness Planner and The Happiness Planner fall into this category. The Day Designer also has a wonderful day on one page format. I’ve actually purchased Day Designer pages to use in my A5 sized Wellness Planner, because that’s the format I prefer.

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Here’s a look inside my Wellness Planner. On the left is the Wellness insert that was included, (quite nice except they didn’t give you enough for more than a few months). On the right is a Day Designer A5 insert. As you can see, it has room to list more tasks. Both include a “top three” area to list the most important goals of the day, which I’ve found to be quite useful. 

For someone who would rather see the whole week at a glance, pick a planner with the week on two pages format. I actually use two planners regularly. One day on one page for daily tasks and one week on two pages for scheduling deadlines and reminders. If the planner will be used primarily to schedule dates, meetings, or even blog posts, a week on two pages style is best. Filofax, the Happy Planner, and the Erin Condren Life Planner all use this format.

2.) Where will the planner be kept? The A5 sized (Erin Condren, Happy Planner, Happiness Planner, and Wellness Planner) are bulky and really best used as desk planners. Toting them around in a work bag wouldn’t be too bad, but they’re just too large to be handbag friendly! If the planner is intended to be used as a portable datebook, get the personal size. Even smaller sizes are  available, but I’m not sure how functional they would be. Remember, the recipient will actually have to write things down in them!

Durability is also a factor. If the planner is intended to be carted about in a work bag, you may want to go with the sturdier (and refillable) binder style. Some ring planners are also sturdier than others. I started off using the Happy Planner, which uses a disk system. It’s a cool concept–you can remove, reorganize, or add in pages (with the right sort of paper punch). It does, however, have its down side. After taking the planner to and from the office for a month, the pages started to loosen and threaten to fall out. Now, the paper quality of the Happy Planner is really nice, but even with the thicker paper, the disk system couldn’t stand up to the wear of regular travel. That’s when I bought the Erin Condren, which, while having frayed a little, hasn’t shown any signs of falling apart.

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The Happiness Planner is also a sturdier ring-bound choice. I love how it includes a motivational quote-of-the-day.

3.) Personal style. You can find planners fit for loads of different interests and styles. For instance, the Kikki-K planners are perfect for that person on your list who loves all things cute. (: If you’re looking for more of a fitness/mindfulness planner, the Wellness Planner and Happiness Planner are great for tracking goals. fullsizeoutput_6297

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Yes, those are cat sticky notes and bookmarks! Kikki-K still has some of the Vanskap accessories available (and they’re on sale!)

Many designers/fashion houses also have a selection of (quite pricy) planners. If you’re looking for a sophisticated, luxury gift, and counting on spending some pennies, Louis Vuitton and Hermés have selections of agendas.

I realize this was a pretty quick run through of the different planner styles. If you would like me to post a more in-depth comparison (especially between the more similar planner styles, i.e. Erin Condren and Happy Planner) let me know in the comments below.

Talk to you again tomorrow for Blogmas Day 5!

-Cate

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Busy lawyer and parent. I enjoy blogging about this and that–generally in the wee hours of morning–in order to: (A) enable insomnia, and/or (B) not dream about the legal brief I’m currently obsessing over.

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