I have a mild obsession with calendars, planners and organizers… and by mild, I mean obsessive to the point where I need to mask it by always insisting it’s not that bad. Every year before school, I visit at least four or five stores and compare planners. It’s a process that takes about an hour or two… or three… or sometimes spans several days of shopping trips. Why am I so neurotic? Well, because a planner can make or break a successful year… and there are so many options! Do I need a weekly planner? Or should I go with a daily planner so I can have times written in for everything? Do I go with the spiral bound or the one that looks like a notebook? Should it be as big as a journal or small enough to fit into a purse? Blue or black? Plastic or leather? Refillable or not? Wide rule or college rule? And yes, every decision matters- if you don’t like your planner, you’re not going to use it… then you end up missing that late night meeting with your editor… then everyone blacklists you because you’re forgetful… then you’ve lost internship opportunities… then you can’t get a job… then you’re poor and homeless and even your parents are disappointed in you. Okay, not really… but hey, every meeting counts.
So to all of you out there who are trying to navigate this overwhelming sea of options when choosing the perfect planner (I can’t possibly be the only crazy person out there), here is a list of tips I’ve gathered over my 8+ years in search of the perfect planner.
1. Weekly/Monthly is the way to go: Let’s be real, you’re not important enough to need a daily planner. A whole page for one single day is overkill. Find a weekly planner that has columns for each day and each column is broken down by time. These planners almost always have monthly calendars too to separate the different months so it’s like getting two for one!
2. Bigger is probably better: Maybe it won’t fit in your clutch, but a journal-sized planner gives you more room to write and the columns generally span a longer period of time (if you’re the type of person that makes no plans after 7 p.m., disregard this piece of advice).
3. Spirals: Are you really going to need the months of May, June or July in your planner when you bought it mid-August? No. Spiral binding makes it easier to tear our irrelevant pages and that can save you from feeling like you’re carrying around a large-print Bible.
4. You’re not that decisive: Chances are you’ll be too lazy to bother getting refill pages for a planner and your needs will probably change. Don’t bother looking for refillable planners (they’re usually bulky binders anyways).
5. You don’t have the handwriting of a third grader: Wide-rule was made for little school boys with poor handwriting. Grow up and use something with adult-sized line spacing.
6. Make the most out of it: Having the perfect planner will do you no good if you don’t know how to use it! Try sitting down once a week and filling out your appointments, meetings, etc. neatly. Use a paperclip or a binder clip to bookmark the current day. Keep a sticky note attached to the front of your planner for the moments where you’ve got to jot down a time, date or place quickly.
That’s my happy face after I found a truly perfect planner at Target. And it was only $9.99!!! Find it online here.