Want to see some planner reviews?
Not too long ago, I told you to fill out your planner and then leave it in another room to stay focused and productive. The idea behind it (at least the way it worked for me) is, I had time to think through how I needed the next day to go. I’d write down everything the night before or the morning before I started my day.
Writing the list out allowed me to get all the information out of my head and onto paper, focus and remember my priorities, and allowed me to go through the day without interrupting myself to jot down each tiny little task that crossed my mind. I had to be intentional in how I spent my time. When I finished one task, I had to think, “Okay, what was the next thing I needed to get done today?” An actual priority would pop up, rather than a paralyzing list of things that didn’t matter.
So here are the pros and cons of what, in my opinion, are the best planners to leave lying around the house. 😉
Quick and Easy Planner Reviews
I’ll do the quick and easy planner reviews here, but in some cases, I have more thorough reviews.
I ended up sticking with the Commit 30 planner for most of last year and I really enjoyed using it. Confession: I buy more than one planner almost every year.
- The Deluxe size is perfect, in my opinion–large enough to write everything down, but not too big to take places. There’s an even smaller one available, as well.
- Options to buy stickers from Commit 30 to add color and make tracking and planning more fun.
- You get to choose between two sizes and five colors.
- The hourly strip is only at the beginning of the week, so it’s easy to ignore it if you want to. Each day is divided up into three sections you can label as you’d like–Morning, Afternoon, Evening; Home, Work, School…
- There’s plenty of room to write a general to-do list for all the things you know you need to get done but don’t want to assign a specific time/date to.
- There’s a Yearly Vision section that lets you map out 12 different categories of goals so you always have a list to pull from at the beginning of each new month.
- If you do like planning in hourly or half-hourly increments, not having that on every day could be annoying.
- This is only a con in comparison to the Passion Planner, which lets you map out your life for several years and up to lifetime goals, but Commit 30 stops with the goal-planning at a year.
Who It’s Best For
- People who want to work on changing their habits (there’s a section to track a new habit every 30 days)
- Students, moms, business owners, etc, who don’t necessarily need a lot of extra planning pages and want something just above a basic planner that will help them change their lives and achieve their goals while keeping up with the daily to-dos.
I’ve purchased three Passion Planners, so I guess it’s officially one of my favorites and definitely deserves a spot in this list of planner reviews. I bought a large one back when they had two sizes (I think they may just have the Pro size now, which is about the same size as the Commit 30 Deluxe planner, and also my favorite size).
The large felt too big, but I still bought an undated one later because it came in lavender. I have yet to use that one (it’s undated, so no big deal). I just have a hard time with the size.
The Pro, however, available this year, is big enough to write in but small enough to leave open on my desk or be tucked into a large purse. I’m currently using the rose gold one and one other planner.
- There’s a lot of space for notes and to-dos, plus a lot of blank pages at the back.
- There’s a big community of people who treat them like bullet journals and decorate the heck out of them. You can buy all kinds of stickers and other accessories for them on Etsy. People joke that buying a Passion Planner is like joining a cult. Lol
- There’s a personal to-do, work to-do, and room for notes.
- It makes setting goals for different amounts of time (three months to lifetime) easy.
- The inside is kind of “blah” if you don’t want to take the time to decorate it yourself. It’s all in black and white.
- I’m not a fan of planners with the times of day going down the side. It used to bother me that it was even there and I’d cover it with thin washi tape, but now I either ignore it or just kind of loosely use it when I break my schedule up into chunks.
- I don’t usually use up all the blank pages in the back. I’m glad they’re there, but I personally feel like I’m wasting paper when I haven’t done anything with those pages at the end of the year. Maybe I should start taking more notes there instead of in separate notebooks.
Who It’s Best For
- People who like to look at the big picture.
- People who want to set goals and map out a plan to achieve them, with smaller goals written down along the way.
- People who like to decorate their planner and love the idea of community, but aren’t quite ready to start from scratch the way bullet journalers do.
I used the Panda Planner (you can buy it here) in addition to my Commit 30 planner for part of last year (they only cover three months, so it’s not like I bought it for the year and abandoned it). I could’ve just used this one alone and been fine. It has extra features that help boost your mental health.
- It can improve your mental health by slowing you down and making you focus on gratitude, things to look forward to (a big deal if you struggle with anxiety or depression), and little wins.
- I love the turquoise one and the other colors look nice, too.
- It comes in a pretty compact size, but there’s plenty of room to write.
- It’s easy to track things monthly, weekly, and daily.
- It only covers three months at a time, and each one costs almost as much as some of the yearly planners I’ve had.
- I don’t really like that it’s undated, but since you have to buy them throughout the year, it makes sense to have it that way.
- The inside’s kind of boring. It’s just black and white and looks kind of faded. You can add your own color if it bothers you, though.
Who It’s Best For
- People who struggle with anxiety, depression, or general unhappiness
- People who don’t like the typical planner that feels more like a long to-do list, but still need some kind of help staying on task with their goals
- People looking to add more gratitude and celebrations of the little things in life
- People who like the idea of keeping a daily journal but don’t want an actual journal to write in every day (this one has room for notes, recording the day’s wins, and affirmations)
Plum Paper Planner
I’ve had more than one Plum Paper Planner. I really love how customizable it is.
- Aside from designing your own, this is one of the most customizable options I’ve found.
- Color! The inside has color! There’s a neutral option, too, if that’s more your style.
- You can start whenever you want and choose how many months (up to 18, I believe) you want to cover in one planner.
- Add-on sections for bloggers, moms (including homeschooling moms), people who need help organizing household tasks and the budget, business owners, brides-to-be, people who want to track fitness, etc.
- Covers are interchangeable.
- You can buy accessories for them right on their site or Etsy.
- Available in different sizes and layouts (plus there are special ones for students and teachers)
- These can get pretty bulky and not fun to carry around.
- I’ve found that I’m not a huge fan of large, spiral-bound planners, and that’s what this is. The coil gets in my way when I’m writing.
- So many options can feel overwhelming.
Who It’s Best For
- People who wear a lot of hats and need customized sections
- People who can’t stand having organizational tools scattered around and really just want everything in one place
- Control freaks (LOL, I mean this in the best possible way…I am one, too) and designers at heart who want to have a say in how their cover looks, how their name looks on it, what sections are included on each day and/or in the back
Horacio Printing Planner
I don’t have a lot of experience using the Horacio Printing Planner (also called the Dream Planner) yet. It’s only January and I purchased it in December. That said, I like it so far. It has things others don’t have.
- The Praise Report section at the end of the month is a beautiful idea! It’s a nice way to reflect on God’s blessings over the past month.
- The planning section at the end lets you take a look at your whole life–not just work or school–to make sure you’re aware of the places you need to improve.
- I like having a master to-do list on one side and all the days on the other (horizontal layout) in the two-page weekly spread.
- I love the reminder, “The best is yet to come” every time I look at the cover.
- It has a sturdy design. As much as I dislike coils, this one is tough and doesn’t catch the cover or pages and make it a pain to turn to different sections.
- It comes in a dust bag.
- The paper is SO nice and thick. It’s dot-grid but lightly printed, so you can easily draw, write, make boxes and diagrams, etc.
- The Heart Check, Seasonal Refresh, and Generosity Planning sections are especially nice. You get to check in with who YOU are vs. what you’ve accomplished at work with God through prayer, journaling, reflection, and planning to focus more on who you’re becoming than the specific, measurable goals you’re checking off left and right.
- It walks you through a process of writing out your dreams and then breaking them down into smaller goals so you can stay on track.
- There are encouraging Bible verses throughout the planner.
- The spiral-bound one is kind of bulky. Again, I’m not a big fan of the big coils some planners had, but I knew that going into this one. I just liked it (and this cover) enough to deal with it. If coils don’t bother you, this won’t be a con for you.
- I feel like the horizontal layout could use more room per day. I do what Polly suggests and divide each day up into morning, afternoon, and evening, which helps a little. There’s still not a lot of room, but I’m breaking my to-do list up into manageable chunks.
- I kind of wish it had more room for notes on the weekly layouts. The vertical layout seems to have a little more than the horizontal one.
Who It’s Best For
- Christians who have a lot going on but want to work on their lives holistically. This isn’t just for moms or business owners.
- People who want to focus on personal growth as well as more tangible, trackable goals.
- People who don’t need a lot of extra room through the week (there are notes pages dispersed throughout the planner, near the Praise Report sections)
- People who want their planner to make them feel closer to God so they can work with Him to create their lives according to His will.
DIY Bullet Journal
This isn’t really a planner review since it’s something you create, but I wanted to include the reminder that this option is out there. Make your own planner with a Leuchtturm 1917 and The Bullet Journal Method.
- You get total control.
- You get to exercise your creativity, crafting skills, and play with different art supplies, washi tapes, etc.
- There’s a whole bullet journaling community out there.
- If you like art, you get built-in practice time because you’ll have to set it up each week or month.
- You can change themes, layouts, etc., as you go.
- You’ll have a nice keepsake at the end.
- Only use it when you need to. If there are some weeks you don’t really need a planner, don’t use the paper. Save it for the next week or month you need to plan, track a goal, etc. You may stretch the same notebook for a really long time, depending on your needs.
- It’s time-consuming and can be tricky to plan things well in advance (you can do a “future log” to keep track of things for pages you haven’t designed yet, but I don’t trust myself not to miss them).
- You can use any kind of notebook as a bullet journal, but a lot of people like the Leuchtturn 1917s and similar notebooks. That can be a little expensive if you find yourself wanting to track All the Things, journal, etc., in the same place.
- If you go all-in on it–and especially if you join a community–you can expect this to become an expensive (but fun!) hobby.
Who It’s Best For
- Creatives who want an outlet for their artistic and crafting skills
- Minimalists (you don’t need to do all the art in there and it can serve as a nice place to just jot your thoughts down, keep track of your appointments and to-dos, and more)
- People who like total control.
- People craving a community of like-minded creatives…the journal spreads you can find on Instagram and Facebook are absolutely breathtaking.
The Best Planner Options for Moms, Students, Entrepreneurs, Etc.
This planner review covers a lot of different styles because we’re all a combination of things. No one is “just” a mom or a student or an entrepreneur. We all have rich inner lives and things we want to work on for self-improvement and better habits. We’re all combinations of things and our needs and preferences will be different.
How do you like to plan your days, weeks, months, years, life? Which planner are you using or going to use next?