Don’t think of this as a strict checklist of things your planner has to include, it is merely guidance of things that you may want to consider when you are buying a planner to increase your productivity.
The factors we have included are based on what we have found through our research regarding what other people consider important in a productivity planner. The most important thing is that it suits you.
This is a very important factor to take into consideration, especially as your planner is likely to travel everywhere with you.
You won’t want something too big and bulky that will weigh down your bag or backpack.
We would recommend choosing a planner that is around A5 sized, but no more than A4. This way it will be able to easily slot into your everyday bag without taking up too much room, and won’t overcrowd your desk when you use it.
To date or not to date
Consider whether you want a dated planner or one that you can write the date into yourself.
There is no right or wrong when it comes to dated planners.
Some people like the idea of buying a planner every year or every few years that has every day listed on its own page (or half a page). Other people prefer pages without dates that they can have a little more freedom over, particularly if you want to use your planner just for work, therefore not needing it at the weekend.
Having it undated means that weekend pages will not get wasted and you can just write in your planner on weekdays.
Some planners come with the option of purchasing a separate calendar page that can be inserted in the front of the book.
Day, week, month, or even a year
Linked to the factors above, you should also consider how long you would like your planner to run for.
There are options to buy daily, weekly, monthly, and even yearly planners. Some options even include 90-day planners.
It depends on how much detail you would like to put into each day, and whether you want to dedicate a whole page to one day or a week.
Consider what materials you would like your planner to be made from.
There are countless amounts of choices for planner material, including leather, vegan leather, strong card, plastic, and even paper.
Our recommendation is to find a durable planner made from something that will withstand being moved about in a handbag or backpack and can handle constant daily handling.
For this reason, paper and card may not be the best choice. Our favorite options are leatherbound, vegan leather, and plastic.
That being said, paper and card are perhaps a little more environmentally friendly, so if you did want to choose these materials, go ahead, just ensure that they are kept safe, perhaps in a protective wallet or covering.
Color and appearance
This may not be the most important factor for some people, but for others, it will be key.
Having a planner that looks good makes us want to write in them more – or is that just us?
You could perhaps choose a planner that matches your other important productivity tool such as your laptop, journal, pens, pencils, and pencil cases.
You could choose a planner in your favorite color or print.
You could get a plain planner with the view of decorating it with your favorite stickers.
The only limit is your imagination because when it comes to planner appearance the choice is huge!
Prompts and lists
Lots of planners these days come with prompts and lists already in them.
We love these types of planners as sometimes it can be overwhelming just starting out.
Having prompts in place helps us organize our planner far easier, in turn helping us organize our days.
For this reason, you may want to look for planners that have daily ‘to-do list’ sections, as well as having sections for mini timetables, water trackers, exercise trackers, mood trackers, and much more.
Of course, this is all subjective and it fully depends on what you want out of a planner.
You know best what will help you be more productive so consider what prompts and lists you would like.
Frequently Asked Questions
Do planners increase productivity?
Many studies have been done to work out whether planning helps productivity and the evidence overwhelmingly agrees with it.
The act of physically writing down goals has long been used as a form of self-help and even therapy to increase productivity.
As Brian Tracy says, “Every minute you spend planning saves 10 minutes in execution”.
In fact, even as far back as the 1920s, scientists were exploring whether writing things down affected our ability to finish tasks.
So yes, planners do, in theory, increase productivity, but we always say that you get out of them what you put into them.
You can’t expect to have results if you barely use your planner or write the bare minimum!
What can I do with an old planner?
We have to admit, we keep all of our old planners because they can be really good to look back on overtime.
They are great for helping to solve future problems as you can often look back and see exactly how you achieved certain goals.
They are also a source of pride because it lists all of the goals you have achieved purely through being productive.
If this still hasn’t convinced you to keep them we would recommend recycling the paper pages and checking with your local trash collectors to see if the covers can be recycled too.