I have used so many types of planners that I thought it might be helpful for me to share my planner roundup and review of what I’ve learned over the years. This is only a review of planners I have personally used or used with clients. Each of us needs to use a system that supports productivity and keeping track of scheduled appointments and sometimes tasks. If you have tried and failed or are not sure what to try, this will give you some ideas of where to start. And remember, if you’re not using a planner of some sort you’re using your brain as a storage device.
Your Brain is Not a Storage Device!I use my planner for appointments, tasks and goals. Some of you may only use a planner for appointments or may use a combination of two systems. Using more than one planner system can work for some people, just like using a paper planner may be best for some and digital works better for others. There are a lot of options to choose from so hang in there as I run through some of my favorite Planners in review here.
Paper vs Digital, I’ve used both and still do to some degree. I am finding a return to paper planners all over these days. There are a lot of tech savvy people who love paper planners and there are others who don’t want to carry anything additional around with them. Making a decision about paper or digital is personal and should be based on several factors including:
- How tech savvy are you?
- What’s your lifestyle and schedule…do you forget things easily?
- Do you love the feel of a paper book and love writing by hand?
- Who do you need to share events with (family members, work team etc)?
- Did you learn any planner techniques that have stuck with you? If so can you build on those systems?
My Planner Use Timeline…A Planner Roundup and Review of 6 Systems
I started using the Franklin Covey system when I was in High School and learned some pretty awesome skills for productivity, setting goals and planning my time. The Franklin system was developed by Stephen Covey author of The 7 Habits of Highly Effective People. I primarily used this system in my later years of High School and college in an effort to become a better student and develop leadership skills and many of these skills and techniques have stuck with me! There are several sizes and styles of Franklin planners and they are beautifully made and can be specifically tailored to your needs. Take the quiz to learn your Franklin planner style here. I honestly think all planners in a way were born from the Franklin system…but that’s not based on scientific study:)
I eventually downsized from the Franklin system (I found it a bit too bulky) and incorporated a more simplified and some may say Sexy version of goal setting and time management with my Filofax. I confess that a good part of my choice to switch had to do with the aesthetics of the simple and sophisticated looking Filofax. I used this system from college into early professional years and this system, like the Franklin predated digital calendars and planners. I incorporated some of the goal setting skills and time management skills I learned from Franklin Covey into my Filofax use…I had a good foundation in place and felt I could easily create my own goals without as many specific prompts.
Along comes the digital world…I flirted with, tried and used Outlook, Google Calendars and other calendars for awhile (probably a good 10 year period) but found that with digital calendar systems I was not capturing my goals as well as I did when I used a paper planner. What I love about digital systems is that they can be entered and shared via multiple devices or people and are available anywhere via access to that digital account. I still use Google calendars for certain things…I’ll explain in more detail below.
I finally returned to a paper planner in the past 7 or so years because I felt the need to see my goals broken down into specific measurable tasks that I could assign daily, weekly, monthly alongside my appointments…on paper. I tried to use the Filofax system but didn’t like how bulky it felt, it was more than I needed. I downsized to a small Moleskine and started learning about Bullet Journaling since there is little structure to the Moleskine system. I don’t feel the need for as much guided structure now since I have years of experience using more other systems.
A few years ago I decided to try Danielle LaPorte’s Desire Map Planner which at that time was similar in size and structure to a medium size Moleskine but with some of her wisdom about Core Desired Feelings and Truth Bombs sprinkled through to keep my goals focused on the bigger picture of how I want to live my life with intention. I eventually went back to the Moleskine system two years ago and will probably stick with that again next year BUT I will be giving away two Desire Map Planners between October and December! Her new planners are beautiful, spiral bound, full of inspiring and motivating prompts and a wonderful tool for anyone who doesn’t need to take their planner everywhere or doesn’t mind something a bit more bulky (the primary reasons I won’t be using them but wish I could!). Follow me over on my Facebook Page and Instagram to learn more about the planner giveaway and share with your friends!
A hybrid system that works for me…I am currently and plan to continue to use a bit of a hybrid system with both my Moleskine (week at a glance medium size) and Google Calendars. I use digital calendars for shared and recurring events and I use my paper planner, with PENCIL-always pencil, for appointments and personal/business goals. I incorporate some Bullet Journal techniques (some of the symbols and color coding) because I like the creative aspect of the system. Some people create works of art with their Bullet Journals! I don’t quite go that far:)
A last note about using digital calendars. I love the color coding and sharing features of Google Calendars and have pretty much used this digital system exclusively. I use the digital format whenever I purchase event tickets and want the info to be available on my device. I also jot a note of the time in my paper calendar-some people might not want to do this duplication! I use color coding to keep track of larger goals for my business like blog themes, newsletter publication and recurring volunteer/meetings. The format is pretty intuitive to use, there are lots of tutorials available and it’s an app that can be downloaded to almost any device. It’s also compatible with iCal (which has some similar features). I’ve worked with clients to use iCal but in my opinion it’s not the best tool for goal setting or tasks, only for setting appointments and events.
So, currently a hybrid system (mostly paper with recurring events digtal) is what works for me! I have shared this technique with others and they have adopted their own variation of a hybrid system. I’ve long wished that someone would come out with a paper calendar that captures everything digitally and it seems that Moleskin will be doing this in 2018, I’ll be giving that a try!
What planner systems have you used, what’s worked and what has not? Please tell me your favorites and don’t forget to follow me on Facebook and Instagram to learn more about the Desire Map Planner Giveaway’s!