If you are anything like me, you need a planner to help sort out your days, but which one do you pick? You’ve heard that you should get the best productivity planner for you that will help you reach your goals and dreams. But when you have no clue as to what this actually means let alone which one to pick it can all become a bit of a mess and frustrating.
How do you know which planner is going to work for you? What design is right, do you pick 90-day planners or the whole year planners?
There are so many questions as to the best planner you should buy it’s difficult to decide which one to go for.
What Planner Should I Buy?
You can stand in the shop or search online and still come up with the same questions, ‘What planner should I get’, or ‘What type of planner should I buy?’
It’s not an easy choice, there are so many planners out there that all claim to make your life easier, but do they actually work, and which is the best productivity planner for me?
Do Planners Actually Work?
Let’s start here, do planners work?
A paper planner can’t write down your appointments or schedule your time, you actually have to do this yourself, or hire someone to do it for you.
When you purchase any planner, you have to make a commitment to that planner.
You have to commit that you are going to open this planner at least daily and to input the information that you need.
The only way this planner will work is if you use it and treat it like part of you, everything needs to have a place in this planner. You need to know where things can and will go, you need to feel comfortable holding and using this planner every single day.
Finding Your Planner
Once you make that commitment to work with your planner, then it becomes easier to say that as long as you are doing the tasks that you’ve identified as important and you aren’t constantly having to move items, a sign you are planning too much into your day, then yes, a planner is a great tool to use to help boost your productivity.
You just need to pick one that meets your needs.
Things to think about before purchasing a productivity planner.
- The layout, is there enough space for you to write things down? Are you looking for more space each day or are you OK with a week on two pages?
- Are there any instructions on how to use the planner? Just because the designer of the planner can clearly see how to use the different pages, they need to pass this information on to those people who are going to use the planner.
- Are you looking for a dated planner or an undated version? This is something that you need to think about carefully, do you have the time to fill in the dates? You might think that you can date as you go but what about when you are trying to book appointments two months in advance, where do you put the appointment?
Different Types Of Planners
The different types of planners; this will help you choose something that meets your needs.
- Productivity planner – This type of planner is aimed at those people who want to increase their productivity. They do work but you have to be committed to sticking with the tasks you set out. It’s not easy, but then if it was easy you wouldn’t need a productivity planner.
- Bullet journal – These are just blank books and you create your own planner based on your needs. They do work but they also take time setting up and making sure you haven’t forgotten anything.
- Business planner – The idea of a business planner is to keep business and personal life separate, but also to tackle and keep track of all the important business information you need to keep track of.
- Personal planner – Is really what it sounds like it’s a planner that is meant for your personal life and not business related. This is something that I kept when I had small children and needed to keep track of basic things. I still have a personal planner that I use to track my home things as I don’t have space in my business planner for the personal things.
- Financial planner – Again this is very much what it sounds like, it’s a planner that you use to track your financial commitments and your budget, it’s not like a normal planner at all. You might have a monthly planner to keep track of bills but other than that it’s a completely different type of planner.
- Fitness planner – Some people like to keep track of their fitness, what classes they’ve taken and how many reps of an exercise they managed, that type of thing. It’s something that you can really make your own and it’s really only focused around your fitness goals and what you’ve achieved. It’s not going to be a place to remind you of your next class, it’s more of a record of how well you performed.
- Goal planner – A goal planner is a way to track the goals that you’ve made and the progress you’ve made towards those goals. It can contain a monthly overview but seldom contains a daily list. It’s more about setting goals and working with this planner along with your daily planner to track your goals and to ensure you are making progress in the right direction.
My PA Planner By Alex Stearn
I was gifted the My PA Planner by Alex Stearn the owner so I could see how it would work and help me as a business owner, these are my thoughts on the planner and how well it performs in my opinion.
It’s a mixture of a productivity planner and a business planner. It’s your personal assistant without having to spend the money on such a person.
I love the concept, the idea of being able to keep track of everything I need in one place and to have this information to hand in the form of a planner is amazing, let’s see how well it performs.
My first Impressions Of My PA
This is a substantial planner its thick and that can mean heavy, I don’t carry my planner around with me, but this would be a concern if I was carrying this to and from a place of work.
However, this is a planner that’s designed for bloggers, podcasters and influencers and most of these people work from home and that means you might need to take it room to room but seldom will you need to pop it in your bag and carry it around.
The paper quality is amazing I’ve not had any bleed through, which is a concern with people who use paper planners.
The cover is a matt finish and I love it, I do wonder how it will fair by the end of the year as it has a crease in the cover already but to me that’s a sign that I’m using the planner.
The beginning part of the planner is looking back and then looking forward and actually making some plans for your business.
Then you get a monthly spread and each week has 4 pages, you get a timed week spread out on two pages and a review and note section on the other two. I’m loving the space to write things down.
Things That I Would Change
These are a list of things that I would change to improve the planner:
- I’ve gone through the planner and added tabs for the months, I need to be able to turn to a month in advance and write in notes or appointments and I felt there needed to be a way to do this quickly. Which is why I have added post-it-note flags to the beginning of each month to highlight the starting point.
- I want more connection with the plans that you create in the beginning and the work you are doing each month, how to connect your goals and dreams to the current month you are working on. You do have a goals and project planner each month but no real direction as to how to connect this with what you’ve worked out in the beginning. Maybe I want more handholding connecting the overall picture and breaking it down into a monthly action plan.
- There’s a social media planning page, but the page isn’t explained on how to use it to the best. While it might be simple in the process without knowing the intentions, it can seem confusing as there aren’t enough days for a whole month, so I’m confused as to how best to use it.
It’s now available as a full digital version and it looks amazing.
My honest opinion at the moment is I’m totally in love with the My PA Planner, but it’s not the only planner I’m using this year.
The reason as to why I have multiple planners is simple, I have a lot of information and I don’t want to forget something, and one planner just doesn’t cover everything I need.
The Productivity Planner By Intelligent Change
I was given the Productivity Planner as a gift last year, it’s small and undated but I just felt there wasn’t enough room for me to write and take notes down.
I do like to write things down; I need space to write and I felt it was lacking in this planner.
As it’s undated I might give it another go, but in conjunction with another planner, but sometimes I think it can make things too complicated because that would mean 3 planners on the go at anyone time and that is just asking for trouble.
Why I’m Using Two Planners
I’m also using a personal planner, this helps me to make notes, jot down appointments and things I need to remember that aren’t business related.
This year I’m trying to keep these two things separate, sometimes I forget things and it’s simply because there is too much on one page / day and I can’t always see what’s there in front of me.
I just don’t want to lose the personal stuff with all the business information that I need to control too.
I looked for something that was about A5 size and is more portable.
I choose an undated planner because I needed it to start before the end of the year and this gave me the flexibility to get the things I needed moved before the New Year and allows me to keep track of things easier rather than doing a complete planner move on the first day of the year.
I chose the Little More Planner. It comes with stickers so you can add the months and start the year from any point, and I love that.
In this planner I’m just keeping things for my family that I need to remember, like appointments and birthdays so they are not in my business planner.
It gives me the space I need to have my thoughts too, it’s big enough to write how I’m feeling or what’s going on that I just need to write down.
I’ve come across one more planner option that I want you to think about.
That’s a print your own version.
You can tweak it to how you like, you can change your design each and every week or you can go ahead and print up enough copies to see you through the entire year, you might even want to get it bounded, you can do this in a number of different places or you can get your own binding machine to do at home. (I have one similar to this model.)
I think this is a great way to perhaps to do something in your style and if you don’t like it you can easily change it up each week.
The software that you use is what I use in my business to create the designs and graphics for all of my social media channels.
However, it is going to be time consuming if you are printing something off each week, you will need some way of keeping notes of future dates and ideas, this is where I hold my brain, a place to remind me what I need to do and when.
But, it’s certainly an option to consider, I’ve made my own planners before and loved it, I just don’t have the time to do that currently, but who knows in the future it might be an option I would consider.
Using A Planner
Any planner no-matter what it’s called will fail if you fail to use it.
You can’t expect a planner to do the work for you, you have to use the planner and use it every single day to make it an effective tool that helps you manage your time and what you need to do.
It can’t pick up a pen and make notes, it can’t take make appointments or set your schedule for you, you have to do these for yourself.
This is the difference between making a planner work for you and just letting it sit there and collecting dust.
If you are looking for the best productivity planner than you need to be prepared to put in the work.
A productivity planner is great if you are committed to taking the time to actually use the planner daily.
You have to find a productivity planner that fits with how you work. If you like to write a lot of stuff down, then make sure there is space to do that.
Know what you are going to use the planner for, I’ve separated out my home and business life so that it allows me to use to planners. I know what goes in each one and I think that’s important.
Find your perfect productivity 2020 planner now.