048: Searching For a New Planner? Find the Right One For You


Usually this time of year is spent searching the aisles at Target or HomeGoods or spending way too much time on Amazon looking for a new planner. One that’s going to be so much better than last year – it will blow all the others out of the water – you too? And I feel like planners are getting more and more expensive for something that usually doubles as a paper weight a quarter through the year.
But, not this year. I have finally figured out which one works for me and if you are still in the “what works for me” stage that just ends with you having 3 different types of planners by the end of the year, this episode is for you.

In This Episode:

  • What to look for in a planner
  • What to look for if you are detail oriented
  • Why size matters
  • Planner suggestions

Mentioned in this episode:

Related blog posts:

Other Helpful links:


Welcome to Coffee Powered Systems, equipping women with actionable steps to overcome, overwhelm and streamline business and life. So grab your favorite drink and come hang out with me. I'm your host, Miranda Merten. Welcome back to Coffee Powered Systems.


We are exactly one week away from Christmas.


I cannot believe it. It's already here. And that means we're two weeks away from the new year and we're going to be leaving 20 20 behind. Thank goodness. I know it's not going to wave a magic wand and immediately twenty, twenty one is going to be the greatest year of all time. But twenty twenty has been hard for a lot of us. And it's time to wipe the slate clean and this time of year. Speaking of wiping the slate clean, this time of year is usually spent finishing up our Christmas shopping and our holiday shopping.


And by now you've probably purchased most of the gifts that you're going to buy for other people. And this is the time that we usually start searching for new paper planners. You know, we go through the aisles at Target or HomeGoods or spend way too much time on Amazon looking for a new planner, one that's going to be so much better than last year. It's going to blow all the others out of the water. Right. And I feel like planners are getting more and more expensive and more and more robust with what is actually inside the planner.


And let's be serious. For a lot of people, sometimes it usually ends up doubling as a paperweight about a quarter of the way through the year. We jump on the bandwagon at the new year and get our fancy new planner and everything's crisp and clean and you fill it out for the first couple of weeks, every single square, every single line, you do all the intentions. And about week three or four, you might start to see some pages slipped in there.


Some things start to trickle off. Let's be real by about one three. You're looking at that planner and it's just sitting on your desk and it tends to sit there for the rest of the year, especially if you're also using, you know, multiple planners or digital planner or Google calendar. But I think the main reason that the nice planners don't get used is because you're not getting the correct one that works just for you right now. This episode is going to walk you through about ten things that you can look for in a planner that's going to help you really utilize it this year.


Really take that. Forty dollars or however much you're planning on spending on your new planner, take that forty dollars and really make it work for you. So what are you going to look for in your planner? First things first you want to think about do you like dated or undated. So there are two categories of people. Either you religiously fill out your planners, you use each and every page or you go for weeks on end without opening the book.


If you tend to skip days, go for the updated planner, that's going to give you a little more flexibility. If you can't focus that way and you need to see the Monday the 4th, then you're going to need a dated planner. If you're the type of person that prefers to have a dated planner, then you're just going to waste that extra step filling in all of the dates because you're going to use every single one of them. On the other hand, if you tend to skip a day, maybe you don't work on weekends and you don't really fill out the planner on the weekends, then you are going to be one of the ones that wants an updated planner, because then you can just use the five days, skip the Saturday and Sunday and then pick it back up on Monday through Friday again.


Number two, do you need the reflection and motivation section? A lot of the new planners have that beginning of the year reflection and motivation section where you walk through your goals, you walk through your intentions, and they could be like 10 to 20 pages before you even jump into the planner. Are you the type of person that's going to sit down and fill that out the week before the New Year starts? Also, they will typically have at the beginning and the end of the week the reflection and the projections as well.


So are you the type of person to sit down at the end of the week and look back on your previous week and reflect on the good things and the bad things? Or do you tend to just skip those pages and jump right into the next week? It's OK if you skip them. It's not a good thing or a bad thing. It's just how some people prefer to work. Yes, it's definitely helpful to look back on your previous week or look forward on the next week to know exactly what is working and what's not working and to set your intentions for what's coming up.


But if you don't do that and if you don't. Utilize those sections. They're kind of useless and you're just paying for the extra paper at that point. The third thing you're going to want to look at is how do you prefer your days to be organized? So planners are either split up by monthly overviews, weekly or reviews, daily overviews, or maybe they just have some plain pages for notes as well.


Are the monthly boxes enough for you? Maybe you just want the paper portion to give you an overview of the month so where you can put in days of vacation, birthdays, conferences. And if you're the type of person that's just using the paper planner for the monthly review, you're probably using your Google calendar or some other planner to do your daily planning. So they do have planners that just have the monthly overview and weekly as well. So you can jot down on the weekly lines.


You'll see. Here's what I'm doing this week and you can list some things or you can have the daily sections. Now, some pages will have three days all on one page.


So they'll have like maybe seven to 10 lines for Monday, seven to 10 lines for Tuesday and on and on. Or some planners will have a full day for the page and they're separated by time. So you'll have the actual hours labeled on there and it's more like an agenda. So if you like to sit down at the end of the day or the beginning of the day and write out your agenda for what you're doing and maybe you time block your exact days and fill those in, that's going to be super helpful for you as well.


What I have found, I do like the agenda planner options, and I have found that if the boxes are too small for the dailies, for me to fill in exactly what I want to do, then I tend to not use it. If that was my intention with that planner that happened to me one year, I got a really great planner as a gift. Unfortunately, it had not a lot of lines for the days and I found myself wanting to write more in the days and I ended up not using it because of that reason.


And I think I actually ended up buying just a different planner that ended up working better for that year. All right.


Number for small additions like habits and wins. You'll see some planners do have nice little sections for your habit tracking. So they'll either have tracking your water or tracking your sleep, or they might even give you the option to write in your habits that you're tracking personally and include two or three or four different habits that you can add to your planner. If you are looking for something that you can track your habits in, you want to make sure to see if that is there.


Also, some planners will have a section for your winds. What was good this week, what happened this week or your intentions for the week? Like what is your biggest goal for the week? You will see those at the beginning of the weekly planner or at the top of the daily planner as well. If those are important to you, if those help motivate you, then you definitely want to have those in there. Number five is super important the size of your planner.


What size planner do you need? Are you going to need a pocket planner now? Pocket planner is just going to be. It's exactly what it sounds like. It's a little notebook could fit. It's like the size of your hand, a little smaller than the size of your hand. If you're looking for a more robust plan or a pocket planner is not going to work for you if you're looking for something that you can carry around and jot down notes or when you talk to people, when you meet people jot down notes really quickly.


A pocket planner will work. You might want to grab one of those anyways just to have it in your purse or in your car. The next size planner is going to be a small one, which is in a five size. That is like if you took a regular sheet of printer paper and folded it in half, that's what those look like. Think about the Moleskine planners. That's a typical Moleskin size planner, which are great because those you can definitely fit in your purse, you can carry it around, check it in your car and go with it.


Super portable. Those are probably the most popular size. I created a planner last year, my 12 week planner. The printed version is that a five version? And it is really handy. It's really portable. I love that size. The last size is large, which is a if you had just a regular sheet of paper, a eight and a half by eleven, that size is the A4 size. Usually that's the type of planner you want to keep on your desk or keep it at home.


Maybe if you need a planner to travel with you, you could keep it in your car. But it's not one that you're going to be walking around with all the time. You're not going to be taking that one to the grocery store. So just keep that in mind. How are you going to use your planner? Are you planning on keeping it at your desk? Do you need some? More room to ride in some more space, or do you want to be traveling with your planner?


Number six, check the binding. There are three different types of planner spiral binding. It's exactly how it sounds. It's a spiral edge. And those are good because they can fold over. They lay flat when you open them. So if that is important to you, if you want to have a flat planner or if you just liked your planner to lay open all the time easily, the spiral version works. The next one is going to be a soft or a hardcover just with the spine on it.


Those, I think, are the prettiest looking planners. But again, if you it doesn't lay flat when you open it unless, you know, it gets worn in and you start to bend it a bit, then it's going to start to lay flat. And then the last version is the refillable planner. So you can actually add pages, you can purchase new pages, you just buy the outside cover and then you reuse it every year. So if you're looking to maybe reuse it every year, that's probably a good option for you.


If you find the cover that you really love and you find a style of planner pages that you really love, then you can either print them or get them printed out like a Office Depot or FedEx store, then that would be a good option for you as well. Number seven, do you want a planner that is more crafty and pretty and beautiful, or are you looking for something more simple? So if you're the crafty type, maybe you want to look for a bullet journal that has options with, like, the dotted pages or blank pages to where you can write and create the art and create everything in it.


Or you want a planner that maybe is beautiful on the outside, or does the look of the planner not really matter to you and you just want something simple a nice Moleskine will do that's going to be a personal preference. So that's going to effect which type of planner you get as well. Number nine, the price, of course. Right. What is your planner budget? So make note of the price. Some planners are quarterly or six months, which is going to make a difference because sometimes you see a lovely planner and then you realize that planner is only a 90 day planner or six month planner.


That means you're going to have to buy three more or one more at some point during the year. So if that 90 day planner is thirty dollars, then you're going to spend one hundred and twenty dollars for the whole year with the planner, assuming that you like it and you want to reorder. So keep that in mind when making your purchases, you always want to check. Is it a 90 day planner, a six month planner or a one year planner?


Some of them are real convenient now and give you the extra month or two at the end. So that is a bonus.


And the last thing I want you to do to determine which planner is right for you, number 10 is look back at previous years and journals and take note of the ones that you actually filled out. So go through all those journals and planners that you have piled up in your drawer. I know you do, because I do. And take a look at the ones you actually used. Which ones are the most filled in and which ones did you stop using after a couple of weeks?


Find the similarities and the patterns for the ones that worked and then look for those in your new journal. If you do not have any past journals to look at, maybe this is your first time really getting into paper planners and you want to finally give it a try, then take a look at your calendar, like your Google calendar, your digital task managers or previous plain old notebooks. And look at the ways that you tend to organize your data.


If you tend to write everything out in your day, if you tend to time block, maybe one of the planners with a daily breakdown of the pages is going to work for you. If you tend to just jot down the big overall picture, then the weekly and the monthly planner style might work better for you. So look for those patterns in your next journal and then next year you'll be able to see what worked and what didn't. So that is the roundup of how you can determine which planner is right for you.


I'm going to leave the links down in the show notes for this episode. I have a simple planner that is a free download at, say, twelve weeks planner. You can download that while you are making decisions on whether or not you would like a paper planner. You can print out a few pages, give it a try. And then the one I used last year is the Freedom Mastery Planner. So I'll leave the link so you can take a look at that.


That one is actually one of the agenda styles. It has a lot of pages. It has all of the goals and the reflections and all of those extras in it. The ninety X planner was given to me as a gift that. It's a fantastic one as well, so I will drop that, and I believe that one is an undated planner. So that link will be down in the show notes, as well as a few other ones that are available on Amazon.


That I think gives you a nice range for you to look at. And if you already have a wonderful planner that you love and you reuse every year. Hit me up on Instagram at Miranda Merten. Tell me what it is. I would love to take a look at it. Next week is Christmas Day. I will have a new episode for you. But until then, that is all for today. I will see you next time.


Thanks for listening to Coffee Powered Systems. You can find links to everything mentioned in the episode. Down in the show. Notes are on the website at mirandamerten.com. If you enjoyed this episode, share it with another bestie who would love it too. And join me here next time.


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