I've been in search of a planner that works for me. I've tried a couple of different planners and found them to be just too much for me. Planners for non-students tend to fall into four categories:
- Planners that appeal to Type As (or wanna-be Type As): planners that are supposed to help you make goals and stuff; e.g. Passion Planner. I'm not that goal oriented. Maybe I should be, but... well, I'm not. These seem to appeal to people who are building businesses or trying to become social media influencers. So, not me.
- Busy Mom Planners: Um... I'm not a mom, so...
- Business planners: I'm talking the old-school planners like Franklin-Covey. I've used these in the past, but ended up tossing out at least 1/3 of the pages that just didn't apply to me.
- Basic planners: you know... just a spiral-bound calendar that you'd buy at Target or something.
None of these work for me. As a teacher, I use a teacher planner for work, so I don't need a planner with an hour-by-hour layout. I do, however, require an academic year option since to me a year runs from August through June (with that happy month of "No School" in there somewhere). As a single person w/out kids, I don't need the mom stuff. As an ex-pat, I don't have a lot of the planning needs that I'd have in the States. As a Latter-day Saint, I want a planner I can use for church stuff, but without the family stuff.
Because I couldn't find anything that fit me, I've been using an A5 dotted notebook to create my own. Last year, I used Scribbles That Matter--I liked the paper, but the cover got pretty scuffed up--and the year before, I used the Rhodia Notebook, which was okay, but only available in black or orange and had some ghosting.
The benefit to a dotted notebook was that I could play around with layouts to see what really worked for me. I tried a few, and landed most recently on this one:
The problem with a dotted notebook is the time it takes to draw out the layout every month. I prefer to have something already printed out for me (i.e. I'm lazy!). I tried customizing a Plum Paper Planner again, but it was going to be way too big, rather expensive, and doesn't give me room for CFM notetaking or journaling.
Finally, I stumbled on one I hadn't seen before: Personal Planner. Based in Sweden, Personal Planner has a variety of sizes and customizable layouts. I was able to create a layout similar to what I'd be doing in my dotted notebooks, but--and I can't emphasize this enough--I didn't have to draw it every month! YESSS!
I ordered about a week ago and my planner came today, and I'm already liking it.
Here's what I ended up with:
So, Pros & Cons:
- Lots of customization options: size, color, layouts, add-ons, etc. Really ideal when you don't want to waste a bunch of pages that don't apply to you
- Paper is nice and thick... no ghosting with two different pens (Staedler and Sharpie Pen) and just a teensy bit of ghosting & slow to dry with a highlighter
- Size--I got the A5 and it's perfect! Not too thick like the PPP or EC
- Plastic cover seems really durable
- At around $40, it's more reasonably priced than PPP or EC
- I'm not in love with the spiral. I think it'll bend easily (it's already getting a little bent out of shape). I wish there was an unbound option so I could do disks. I might just remove the spiral myself and go get some disks before I head to China for the school year.
- The options for the squares at the bottom of the weekly spread are limited. I mean, there are quite a few options, but there's no option for you to create your own category. I want a section for gratitude and another one for ministering, but that's not an option.
- No option to add note pages at the end of each month. I use these quite a lot for meetings and stuff, especially if I end up with church callings (I'll be in a branch. 100% I'll have at least one calling).
- The elastic closure is SUPER tight. I probably won't use it.
- The last page: whatever component you choose to go last, the last page will be the front of the back cover, making it glossy and kind of plasticy and not really all that useful.
It's not perfect, but I think it'll work for this year.