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Choosing A Planner for the New Year

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Choosing a planner for the new year takes some focus on how you want to use it. Check out my tips and thoughts on so calendars and planners for the new year. 


Choosing a planner for the new year

Day Planners and Calendars are such a personal thing. I surveyed OI readers on social media a while back and 90 percent indicated that they use a combination of an online and paper planner. I too used both. In the old days, the planners were all the same, functional, but not very exciting and definitely not very decorative.

The older planners offered basic sections with a monthly calendar, daily or weekly view and an address and phone section. Now there are so many to choose from that are designed for the user to customize and personalize and thanks to cell phones, we really don’t need the address book anymore.

I looked at several types of planners to share with you today, in hopes of assisting you in choosing a planner for the new year. I like to keep all of my activities in a single planner because it works better for me.

I need to mention that some of the planners were provided to me at a reduced rate or complementary to facilitate this review, however, all opinions are my own. See my full disclosure policy here.


What to Look For When Choosing a Planner

When choosing  a planner there are several things to consider in order to find one that will suit your needs and your style:

  • View – Do you want a daily view or weekly view, in addition to a monthly view?
  • Size of the planner. Big, small or somewhere in-between?
  • Goals – Do you want an area for goal-setting and strategy formulation?
  • Space – Is an area for creativity, drawing, stickers, and doodles important to you?
  • Purpose – Is it for work, home, school, all of the above?
  • Style – Is color and design important? 
  • Design – Will binding or spiral-bound work? Do you want the ability to insert pages?
  • Inspiration – Do you want your planner to be inspiring?
  • Goal Setting – Do you need or want a space for goal setting?
  • The span of Binder – Academic year or calendar year, or either?


Each of the planners honestly has something special to offer and finding one to fit your personality and planning style is key. What works best for one person is great, but you will want to find the one that works best for you and your needs.

I did not include prices here because many of these are offering specials, which you can find in the corresponding product pages that I have linked.

planners and clanedars

Happy Planner


You may have seen this planner if you frequent crafting stores as I do. The Happy Planner is a fun and inspiring planner that allows you to be really creative.

It is great to use as is, but it also offers plenty of space for the user to decorate with pens, washi tape and stickers. It offers both a month at a glance and a weekly view.


A look at several features to consider when choosing a planner for 2017

Each month, there is an opportunity to journal thoughts, current favorite things, and notes and to-do lists. The planner comes in several sizes and also allows for personal page additions if you have the special punch for that particular size.


The Happy Planner also serves as a creative journal that many planners love to share their pages in Facebook planner communities.  There are a number of embellishments, stickers and clips that are also available online and at craft stores.

Emily Ley Simplified Planner

The Emily Ley Simplified Planner is purposely designed to be simple and minimal, While I have not personally seen one of these, I have some photos of the planner.

The planner comes in two styles. The Daily version presents each weekday with a full page with places to record your schedule, to-do, notes, and plans. The Weekly features each week in a two-day spread.  

Each day offers plenty of space to record notes, to-dos and plans for dinner that night.

From what I have seen on Instagram, this is a very clean and simple calendar. Here is a sample of the pages of the weekly version.


Passion Planner


The Passion Planner helps people break down their long and short terms goals into more actionable objectives and gives them a place to incorporate these steps into their daily lives.


The first few pages of the planner help you to formulate and document goals you have for your personal and professional life. The company started on Kickstarter and is now a very popular planner choice.


A look at several features to consider when choosing a planner for 2017


Each week, there is an area to document your priorities, errands, inspirations, brain dumps, and achievements or thoughts. The calendar offers both a month at a glance and a week at a glance format. The detailed calendar includes time segments for daily meetings and time blocks.

The format of the week at a glance format is really great if you desire to track and control your time. Time blocking would be easily scheduled using the planner. The inspirational quotes and time management tips are very helpful and motivating you towards your goals.

A nice feature that you rarely see in planners is an end of the month reflection area. These two pages offer questions and prompts to help you assess what went well and what didn’t go as planned to help document achievements and identify future priorities.


A look at several paper planners and their features.


The Passion Planner comes in several sizes, including updated and the cover is soft and flexible. The planner is bound and contains several blank pages in the back.

There are some other unique features I love about this planner that most other planners do not offer. The Passion Planner Website offers several great tips to use the planner to fit your style.

The other thing I love about this is that for every Passion Planner they sell, they give one away to someone who cannot afford it. If you want to test it, you can also check out a free PDF of this planner here.


Blue Sky Day Designer

This slim and pretty planner is nice if you are looking for a more standard day planner. Offering month and week and a glance perspectives, it also offers a section in the front of the planner to list goals for the year.  The weekly view offers an area for noting your top three goals, areas of gratitude and also offers a notable quote.


A look at several features to consider when choosing a planner for 2017

Each day offers a blank area and to do list. The planner is spiral bound and flexible. The one I used is 11” x 9”. The calendar is set up on the academic year and goes from July through June.



The Blue Sky Day Designer comes in several styles and sizes and is available here


Mastering Your Morning Sidekick Journal


This is really more of a journal than a planner, but a really good tool for those that have difficulty or need a little push in using a planner habitually. This out of the box journal started a couple of years ago on Indiegogo.

The Sidekick Journal to Master Your Mornings uses 3 key elements to help you ingrain a morning routine into your DNA. With prompts to help you stay focused each day, the journal also offers actionable tips to get you up and moving forward.

The journal was developed based on behavioral psychology findings to help you actually form new habits. It is a soft-bound book that fits neatly into a purse or messenger bag.


A look at several features to consider when choosing a planner for 2017

The journal offers a daily accountability section will keep you consistent in developing discipline and formulating habits. There is also a private Facebook community to help with accountability.

day planner

Whatever planner you choose, pick one that best suits your needs and your planning style. For more planning tips, recipes and more, e sure to subscribe to my weekly newsletter here. What planner did you use this year? Will you use it again?

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Want to streamline your weekly meals? Check out my Beginner’s Guide to Meal Planning book on Amazon.



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Wednesday 2nd of January 2019

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Tamara Bowman

Friday 14th of December 2018

I had heard about Tabitha’s planner. Sure enough, it’s inpressive! I think there are more people that will always need physical planners. Like me!


Thursday 13th of December 2018

The Happy Planner is my favorite, Racquel! :) I always choose HAPPY! :) Cheers, Jessica


Thursday 13th of December 2018

Yes! Happiness is a choice and I choose it too! Thanks for stopping by! :)


Wednesday 12th of December 2018

I love planners! I bought a Plum Paper planner for 2019 :)