Sitting around with a bunch of girlfriends this weekend, I discovered that all of us have ditched our phone organizers in favor of paper ones. Everyone agreed that that there's something about having a written agenda that keeps a person in line in a way that electronic reminders don't. In case you're also on the paper-planner bandwagon, here are five of my current favorite planners, along with a description of the features that make them unique and useful.
This spiral-bound beauty is what got me hooked on written planners again. Each page offers a column for hourly appointments, another column for to-do lists, and boxes for things like spending, dinner plans, and the like. My favorite feature, though, is the box for “Today’s Top Three.” In a generic to-do list, it can be difficult to prioritize, and having a separate space to list the three most important tasks of the day has really helped me boost my productivity. If you want to give it a shot, there are also free printables available on the Day Designer site .
This planner comes in a choice of two weekly layout styles, and both offer a ton of space for writing. It includes monthly goal-setting sheets called “Mission Boards" that help you focus on what you would like to achieve in various realms of your life—social, financial, etc.—and the color schemes are soft, beautiful, and cheerful.
The Passion Planner is great for people who like to brainstorm, create goals, and focus on self-improvement. It includes monthly check-in reflection questions to help you focus on progress, gratitude, and steps for improvement. Sections to write down “Good Things That Happened” help you remain positive, and dual personal and work to-do lists help you visualize the balance between the two.
This planner is slimmer than many of the other options, making it easier to tote around. I love its soft, calming color palette, and for being so thin, it manages to pack in a lot of features. It’s arranged in a weekly format, and the top of each page features a blank area for weekly activities. Each day is broken down into a checklist of generic “Things-To-Do,” while below, there is a space to note specific hourly appointments between 7 a.m. and 8 p.m. There are additional spaces for notes and expenses, and a small three-month overview calendar is in the bottom righthand corner.
This planner comes in a wide array of designs, all of which are cute and colorful. There are multiple format options, but the classic version has a column for each day, which is divided into morning, day, and night sections. There are margin spaces for longer-term goals, as well as extra pages in the front and back for notes, contacts, and reminders. A storage pocket in the back is perfect for holding miscellaneous loose materials.