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Master Your Time with Planners: A Roundup of Must-Have Features and Where to Buy

Master Your Time with Planners

Ah, the sweet scent of freshly sharpened pencils and the promise of a new chapter ahead. Whether you’re a proud parent waving goodbye at the school gates, an enthusiastic teacher preparing to inspire young minds, a determined student eager to conquer new academic heights, or simply someone using this time of year as a golden opportunity for a reset, there’s something undeniably invigorating about the start of a new school year. As we bid farewell to summer days and welcome the hustle and bustle of routine, take charge of your days! Wrangle those chaotic schedules into a smooth sailing machine of productivity. Let’s stop chasing after the never-ending to-do list like a caffeinated squirrel and make this academic year one for the books by finding a new planner that works for you.  


Why You Need a Planner


Picture this: You wake up on a Monday morning, ready to conquer the world. You’ve got a mental checklist of all the things you need to do, but by noon, it’s all gone haywire. Was it that important meeting you missed or that critical errand you forgot? Uh-oh! We’ve all been there, haven’t we?

Enter planners, your solution of organization is simple. These nifty little tools not only help you track your tasks and appointments but also lend you a sense of control over your life. No more drowning in a sea of post-it notes or missed phone reminders. It’s time to level up!


Cracking the Code: Choose the Perfect Planner for Your Life

Okay, so you realize you need a planner. You’ve bought some before and you used them for a few days and then it lay empty for the remainder of the weeks. This may be because of two reasons. One, you need to create a routine that includes referencing your planner. Maybe it is a Sunday night weekly planning session. Maybe it is a morning coffee 5 minute jot of top priorities. Try some methods and figure out what works best for your situation. Second, the planner needs the features suited to your life. With so many options in the planner space, there has to be the right one for you! 


Let’s take a look at some must-have features for planners:


  1. Task Management: A good planner should allow you to easily manage your tasks and to-do lists. Look for features like checkboxes, priority levels, and due dates.

  2. Customization: Everyone has different needs when it comes to planning and organization. Look for planners and calendars that allow you to customize layouts, add notes, and personalize with stickers or other decorations.

  3. Reminders and Alarms: Don’t let important tasks or appointments slip through the cracks. Look for planners and calendars that allow you to set reminders and alarms. Paper planners can have areas set aside for reminders or top priority of the month/week/day. Also, as we are going more digital these days, there are options for actual alarms with digital planners. We’re going to mainly focus on the paper planners though for this article. More on digital options later!

  4. Portability: Whether you prefer a digital or paper planner, it’s important to choose one that you can take with you on the go. Look for planners that are compact and easy to carry.

  5. Monthly, Weekly, and Daily Views: A good planner should let you see the big picture at a glance with a monthly view, zoom in on your week ahead, and delve into the nitty-gritty of each day. 

  6. Ample Writing Space: Let’s face it; you’ve got a lot going on. Look for planners and calendars with enough space for all your brilliant ideas, doodles, and maybe even a motivational quote or two.

  7. Durability: You could be taking your planner on adventures with you, so it better be sturdy enough to withstand the chaos of daily life.

  8. Goal-Setting Sections: Goal-setting is the secret sauce of productivity. Find a planner that dedicates space to help you define and track your goals. I personally love tracking all of the books I read in my planner. Check out this post for some reading inspiration.

  9. Time Blocking Options: Block out chunks of time for specific tasks. One of my favorite ideas comes from Gretchen Rubin in The Happiness Project and it is the concept of ‘The Power Hour’. A chunk of time set aside for those things you never seem to get to, always back-burnered. Like making a photo album, cleaning that closet, etc. You can even do a ‘Power 15 minutes’ if an hour is too much to fathom. 

  10. Happy Extras: Look out for extras like stickers, bookmarks, or pockets to keep you organized. 

Where to Find These Gems


Now that you know what features to look for, let’s talk about where to find these life-altering planners:


  • Papier – If you’re a fan of aesthetically pleasing and customizable planners, Papier has got your back. With a vast array of designs and layouts to choose from, you’ll find the perfect match for your personality.

  • Bullet Journaling Enthusiasts, Rejoice! – If you’re into a more hands-on approach and love to add a touch of creativity to your planning process, bullet journals are the way to go. You can grab dotted notebooks from brands like Leuchtturm1917 or my personal favorite Archer & Olive

  • Passion Planner – If you want to infuse some passion into your planning, this one’s for you. The Passion Planner helps you set goals, focus on personal growth, and achieve that elusive work-life balance. You can find them online but also at Barnes & Noble. 

  • Google Calendar – For all the tech-savvy folks out there, Google Calendar is the digital holy grail of time management. Accessible from any device with all the essential features, it’s hard to go wrong with this one.

  • Erin Condren – Colorful, vibrant, and oh-so-functional, Erin Condren’s planners are designed to add a splash of fun to your daily grind. She has amazing specialized planners for everyone! Teachers, students, brides, homeschool, home life, etc!

  • The Happy PlannerA popular creative planner system that allows users to customize their planners to fit their needs and styles. You can also find these at Michaels and Hobby Lobby among other local crafty stores.

  • Day Designer: This brand was recommended by Business Insider as the Best All-in-One on a Budget and the Best Daily Planner of 2023. Besides their website, you can also find them at Target.

Final Words of Wisdom

So, there you have it, friends! Embrace the power of planners and you’ll be reigning over your schedule like a pro. Remember, it’s not about being perfect, but about finding a system that works for you and helps you stay on top of your game. Now go forth and conquer with the knowledge of must-have features and where to find your perfect planning companions. Stay organized, stay witty, and rock your productivity like a boss!


Happy planning!


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