“Hi, I’m Barb, and I’m a planner-holic.”

Here we are in July, and yes, I have been beginning to obsess about planners. Which is really sort of ironic in that I am more of the flying-by-the-seat-of-my-pants type of person. But as I get busier in my advanced age, I find myself needing a bit of structure: I am the Children and Youth director at my Bible study, launching 2 new businesses, need to keep two different school schedules for the boys, my hubby’s work schedule at yet another school, what days I watch MAG (Most Adorable Grandboy, in case you’re new around here), and a writing/book release schedule. I’m a bit tired and confused just reading all of that. I love anything (and I do mean ANYthing) to do with paper, notebooks, pens, Sharpies and writing, so I suppose it’s not all that unnatural for me to love planners.

My continuing mission to find the planner that is perfect for ME has landed a few good choices, a few yucky choices and, below, this year’s crop of choices. Past ones have been the $2 Walmart bargain bin options to the customized Erin Condren.  So, here are my opinions on what I have been using this past year and what I’m looking at for next, which I’ll purchase around November unless a really great deal pops up in the meantime. Or, I get impatient, but I won’t mention that possibility. Nope. Not. At. All.

Happy Planner: fun but totally not functional for me; in fact, I haven’t touched it but to move it from my table since April. These are available at craft stores (Hobby Lobby, Michael’s) or online

~ I do NOT like disc bound anything

~ I do like the size

~ Layout is okay, I suppose

~ TOO many extra bells and whistles

~ Price range: $25 for the basic planner, and you can use your Hobby Lobby 40% off coupon

Spark Notebook (which is changing names to InkVolt) which I’ve been using for work…I might like it better if I had a bound one, I’m using the sample that I was able to download from Kickstarter for supporting their campaign. Available online.

~ I like the layout

~ I like the monthly goal list, I think

~ Not crazy about their “inspirational” quotes and stuff

~ Price range: $40

Traveler’s Notebooks from YellowPaperHouse on Etsy. You can spend hours (and hours and hours) scanning all the choices of these Midori take-offs, and I like to support home grown businesses if possible. You need a few essentials with this type of system: a cover, bands and the inserts.

~ Too small, but that was my own fault; I didn’t accurately judge the sizes available

~ I like the daily tracker one, but don’t want to buy one every month or two (it’s probably 3, actually)

~ I hardly use the weekly or monthly ones

~ Price range: $3-$10 for each insert, depending on size chosen

What I concluded from using these is that I like having it all in one book, and definitely a BOOK, not anything disc bound, or 3 ring binder. I think I prefer spiral to bound. It needs to be that A5 size. 8×11 is too big and anything smaller than A5 isn’t useful for me. I like washi tape, and maybe a sticker or two, but I don’t want to, nor do I have time to create a special layout for each month. I don’t want to “create” one, I want it all there. Also, buying an 18 month planner was a bad choice for me.

I’ve been playing with the personal-planner, a UK company. Very easy to create your planner.

~ It’s way easier to design than the Plum Paper Planner, popular on Etsy (I’ve tried several times, I just don’t get it)

~ I like the little modules on the bottom of the pages

~ I love that you can upload something for the cover, and I like their choices

~ I like the extras you can add to the back

~ Nice size ranges

~ Option to add personalized dates/address

~ Price range: $30-$40

Ah! Just when I thought I had it settled, a friend posted about this nifty planner on my Facebook page:

The Hustle Planner and , wow, oh, WOW, does it have some neat features. It’s almost a better version of the Spark, with some extras that would be beneficial and not all that extra inspirational stuff that I didn’t want. It’s a hefty price tag, though, at $60. They do have a fancy ring bound edition (at $84, gulp) and a student version (affordable-ish at $38)


Brilliant Business Moms has a fabulous planner, with almost everything I wanted in mine, plus extras that I would absolutely use! Oh. My. Goodness! It’s a good thing I did that free webinar about Pintrest for Business 😉 This beauty runs about $50, and you can download the 2016 one now for $25 to see if you’d use it. They also offer free printables to add to the planner. Now, from the way it looked, unless Beth Anne is very tiny, it’s an 8×11 size. But…it’s another option.

I think I’m going to try the personal-planner for 2017. Unless I get the Hustle. Or the BBM. Or maybe…


4 thoughts on “Planner-paloosa

  1. I used the vertical Erin Condren for 18 months and now I have the 12-month horizontal version. I like to embellish it, but now that we have moved, I don’t have a good workspace for that. (Yes, I know I could use the kitchen table. I miss my amazing sewing room.) Also, I really don’t have anything to put in it. 🙂 I could track my writing, of course, or what is in bloom in the garden!

    I did this article a while ago, about the horizontal one –
    and this one a year ago –

    I appreciate your reviews of the planners you listed. I’m not familiar with most of them!
    Do you like a big planner?
    Is it okay if I link this article on my own blog?


  2. Sure, share away! 🙂 I used to think I liked an 8×11, but now I think I’m used to that A5 size (8.5×5.5, I think) It’s a bit bigger than a book, and it’s a comfortable size. I’ll have to take a peek at you posts!


    1. You are welcome! I “attended” your free Pintrest webinar and snagged the Time Management Mama book. Lots of terrific info! I am enjoying reading through it. It’s my first marketing book 😉


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