The 19 Best Planners of 2022 Because, Well, Good Riddance to 2021
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After yet another pandemic-imbued year, we had but one resolution for 2022: Get organized —and stay that way. You know, things like like finally having one cohesive shopping list and scheduling outdoor activities that we actually follow through with. But to make that happen, we’re gonna need some help. Enter: the best planners for 2022.
How to Choose a Planner
While picking out a planner may seem simple enough (read: look for one with "2022" on the cover), there are actually a few important details to pay attention to when making your purchase, which we've outlined for you below.
- Layout: To get the most out of a scheduler, you'll want to think about how you'll use it on a regular basis. Do you need a monthly planner to give you a bird's eye view of the next 30 days? Or are you someone who will do better with a more granular look at your daily, or even hourly, to-do lists? Your planner should be set up in a manner that will encourage you to use it just the way you intend to. You'll also want to look at whether it's dated or undated.
- Size: Take into account where you plan to use your new organizational tool. Will it go on your desk, where you'll have ample room to spread it out, or do you need something more portable that you can take on-the-go, like a pocket planner? The answer to these questions will help you narrow down your selection.
- Theme: If you're looking for something to help you with a specific focus or goal (there are planners for budgeting, meal prep, self care and more), it's best to go with a speciality planner that is specifically designed to fit your needs.
- Appearance: Last but not least, you'll want to take the cover of your planner into account, opting for one with a design that reflects your personality—even if that's a minimalistic solid color.
Where to Buy Planners
While you can pick up a planner from nearly any box store around (Amazon, Target and Michaels all come to mind), those looking for more specialized planners may want to go directly to the source—think Appointed, Papier, Passion Planner or Smythson. We've scoured the internet for the cream of the crop, so whether you’re looking to invest in one for yourself or gift one to a friend, you can’t go wrong with these 19 picks.
The Best Planners for 2022 at a Glance
- Best Overall Planner: Day Designer 2022 Daily Planner
- Best Task Planner: Appointed 2022 Year Task Planner
- Best Motivational Planner: Love Sweat Fitness 2022 Planner
- Best Undated Planner: The Happy Planner Bright Type Planner
- Best Daily Planner: Full Focus Planner by Michael Hyatt
- Best Weekly Planner: Bella Flora 2022 Planner
- Best Monthly Planner: 2022 Essential Daily Planner
- Best Reusable Planner: Rocketbook Fusion Smart Reusable Planner
- Best Meal Planner: Pretty Simple Press Weekly Meal Planner
- Best Designer Planner: Smythson 2022 Mara Soho Agenda
- Best Budget Planner: GoGirl Budget Planner
- Best Productivity Planner: Panda Planner
- Most Stylish Planner: Papier Demi 2022 Planner
- Best Wellness Planner: The Morning Sidekick Journal
- Best Pocket Planner: Rifle Paper Co. 2022 Pocket Planner
- Best Self-Care Planner : Silk and Sonder Subscription
- Best Fitness Planner: NewMe Fitness Planner
- Best Kids' Planner: Erin Condren Dreaming Has No Limits Kids' Planner
- Best Digital Planner: Passion Planner Digital Weekly 2022 Elite
5 Traits Super Organized People Have in Common
1. Day Designer Chambray Bookcloth Planner
Best Overall Planner
Day Designer has amassed quite a cult following—and for good reason. This planner devotes an entire page to each day of the week, leaving plenty of room to write down your activities down to the hour of the day, if you so choose. There's also spaces for your top three goals for the day, a to-do list, any work projects you might have due and what you’re planning to have for dinner. Not to mention, it’s also one of the chicest planners on this list!
2. Appointed Customizable Year Task Planner
Best Task Planner
If you’re the kind of person who uses sticky notes as to-do lists, you might want to consider a more practical system for 2022. And by “system,” we mean Appointed’s year task planner . It has a multi-view spread with a weekly overview and a full-page featuring each day of the week. There are also slots for list-making and note-taking, so you can still get the satisfaction of checking things off your list. Its additional features include yearly and monthly overviews (including key holidays), monthly goals, a conversion chart and laminated tabs for easy navigation. It’s bound in durable cotton book cloth and comes in five stylish colors, including sky and oxford blue, charcoal and lavender gray and fern green—our personal favorite. Oh, and did we mention that you can monogram it?
3. Love Sweat Fitness 2022 Planner
Best Motivational Planner
Want to get organized but lack the discipline you'll need to actually write in a planner on a regular basis? Not anymore! Love Sweat Fitness manages to make its 2022 planner fun , so you'll actually look forward to logging your day's schedule. Between its inspirational messages, which are sprinkled throughout the book, the three pages of included stickers and the ultra-spacious writing area, this 10-inch by 8-inch planner has everything you'll need stay focused and on track. It starts off with a goals and manifestation guide for the year—because you can't achieve goals you don't set—and there's a smaller, broken-down version to kick off each and every month. There's also a resources section at the back that's chock-full of all kinds of unique extras, like your horoscope, face mask and essential oil recipes, stretch suggestions, a manifestation guide, vision board instructions...need we go on?
4. Happy Planner: Every Season Classic
Best Undated Planner
Happy Planner’s agendas are so sought-after that its 2022 styles are selling out quickly on the site. But don’t worry, there's a few, like this sweet floral design , that are still in stock. If we had to guess, we’d say the inspirational quotes, pretty patterns, undated grid calendars and note sections on almost every page are what makes them so wildly popular. (Oh, and if you want to take your goal-setting to the next level, you can pair this with creator Stephanie Fleming’s beloved book, Plan a Happy Life .)
5. Full Focus Planner By Michael Hyatt
Best Work Planner
If you’re looking to revamp your time management, project planning and productivity skills in 2022, this goal-driven organizer is for you. Developed by productivity expert Michael Hyatt , the planner features a 90-day achievement cycle that keeps you focused on reaching the quarterly goals you've set out for yourself, so you don’t get overwhelmed planning and tracking everything 12 months in advance. It’s chock-full of extra features, too, from daily to-do lists and ideal week templates to plot out what your perfect week should look like to monthly calendars and weekly and quarterly reviews that can help you celebrate your wins You can even register for a free (!) live training course with Hyatt himself to learn how to increase productivity by going deeper into his Full Focus System.
6. Bella Flora 2022 Planner
Best Weekly Planner
Moms, this Bella Flora option is the planner of your dreams. It has both weekly and monthly pages, so you can use whatever scheduling method works best for you. There are clearly labeled stickers for things such as holidays, doctors' appointments, birthdays and school open houses, which will help to ensure that you never miss an important event again. Psst : It even has designated spaces for your to-dos and shopping lists.
7. Rocketbook Fusion Smart Reusable Notebook
Best Reusable Planner
Tech-junkies, this one is for you. This planner features 42 *reusable* pages that include seven different templates for planning, listing, goal setting, note-taking and sketching—all of which can be uploaded to your Google Drive, Dropbox, Slack, iCloud, email and more. All you have to do is use a special Pilot Frixion pen (included), marker or highlighter, and allow your writing 15 seconds to dry before wiping it clean with a damp cloth to start over. Basically? It's like the Holy Grail of reusable planners.
8. 2022 Essential Daily Planner
Best Monthly Planner
If the extra fields and complicated formatting of detailed planners induce anxiety for you, there's this monthly option, which is free of all that. As the name implies, this essential planner provides a no-frills approach to your weekly and monthly schedule that won’t overwhelm you. Beyond having dates and days of the week, it’s all yours to format exactly how you’d like.
9. Pretty Simple Press Meal Planner
Best Meal Planner
It’s easy to get stuck in a dinner-planning rut and just settle for spaghetti and meatballs for the third Friday in a row. Or, you could get this meal-prep planner to help you break out of that. It helps you schedule out your dinners for every night of the week (and breakfast and lunch too, if you want), then provides a convenient shopping list so you can make it happen. Takeout who?
10. Smythson 2022 Mara Soho Agenda
Best Designer Planner
What makes a planner worth $375, you ask? Well, this one is made from insanely chic material: crocodile-embossed calf leather and Smythson’s signature gilt-edged paper. It breaks down each week onto one page with a to-do list on the opposite side. Reviewers also say that the Soho Agenda comes in a “just-right” size that won’t overtake your desk, but is still big enough to leave you room to actually plan out the week.
11. Gogirl Budget Planner
Best Budget Planner
This planner is a must-have for anyone who walks into Target just to buy batteries and walks out $100 poorer. It prompts you to write out your monthly financial goals and make a spending plan accordingly. From there, you can track your day-to-day habits throughout the month and spot trends. Plus, it prompts you with reminders of upcoming purchases, bills and payments due, and includes a monthly review for bad spending habits to help you think about how you can improve next month.
12. Panda Planner Pro
Best Productivity Planner
Each day, the Panda Planner Pro has you write down three things you’re grateful for, three things you’re excited about and an affirmation to get you in the right frame of mind for the day. You'll also be asked to write down your top five daily priorities and given a super-helpful hour-by-hour scheduling template, so you can map out how it’ll all get done. Nearly 8,000 people have collectively rated it as a useful tool in helping to improve time-management skills and reach goals. See ya, unproductive 2021!
13. Papier Demi 2022 Planner
Most Stylish Planner
Papier’s variety of cover styles and patterns is unmatched (seriously, check out all of the different designs ). But this elegant colorblock option just might be our favorite because you can personalize the front with your name, the year and any other info you’d like. Ahead of each month, there’s space to set goals and jot down any important dates and to-dos. Then, each week is broken down into two pages you can fill with all your must-dos.
14. The Morning Sidekick Journal
Best Wellness Planner
OK, so this journal won’t last you all of 2022 (it only has 66 days in it), but you can totally repurchase it to keep the planning magic going. Every day, you’ll be asked to record your sleep and wake times, your most important task for the day and several other elements. Then, in the evening, you’ll be prompted to reflect on the best parts of your day and plan your morning routine for tomorrow. According to the more than 1,600 5-star reviews on Amazon, you’ll soon be hooked.
15. Rifle Paper Co. Pocket Planner
Best Pocket Planner
Desktop space is precious, so we’re partial to this 5.5-by-3.5-inch datebook style planner . As long as you write small, the weekly spread will provide just enough room for you to log all of your most important tasks. Plus, it’s easy to stow in a work tote if you’re back to commuting to and from an office.
16. Silk And Sonder Subscription
Best Self-Care Planner
Need a reminder to practice self-care ? When you sign up for a Silk and Sonder subscription , you’ll get a new planner each month focused on a different intention, such as passion, vulnerability or admiration. Beyond the planner’s habit trackers, goal-setting exercises and self-care suggestions, you can also join virtual Sonder Circles , which are basically journaling workshops with other Silk and Sonder members.
17. Newme Fitness Planner
Best Fitness Planner
Sure, you can access all of your fitness data on your Apple Watch. But sometimes, it’s nice to put pen to paper and have a clear log of your progress toward your physical objectives. Enter the NewMe fitness planner . This exercise log was created by fitness experts and is designed to help you reach your goals. It allows you to log details about your workouts, like what you did, how long you worked out and how you felt on a daily basis. You can also write down specific fitness goals and the deadline for which you’d like to accomplish them.
18. Erin Condren Dreaming Has No Limits Kids' Planner
Best Kids' Planner
When it comes to time management, it’s best to start ‘em young, and this 12-month planner will help you do just that. Some of our favorite features include the reading logs and goal and allowance trackers. Plus, there are activities like word searches and “all about me” pages to keep them cracking it open. It’s a win-win!
19. Passion Planner Digital Weekly 2022 Elite
Best Digital Planner
No patience for pen and paper? You can’t go wrong with a digital Passion Planner —especially if you live your life on the computer. Its PDF files, which work with apps like GoodNotes, Notability and more, are designed to help you manage time effectively and learn to prioritize. There are sections to schedule appointments, deadlines, work and personal to-do lists. You'll even get digital stickers! It also has a place for you to jot down the good things that happened, a blank space for notes and doodles and monthly check-ins to reflect on the past, present and future. One PureWow editor raved of the paper version , “I’ve been buying this planner for five years now, and it never disappoints. I love the way it’s formatted so I can see my entire week at a glance, and it has great unique touches, like a monthly reflection section.” Need we say more?
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Our Favorite Paper Planners
You can find plenty of phone apps to help you keep track of your life, but stationery lovers know the power of writing it all down on paper.
You can’t beat the satisfaction of crossing something off your to-do list with a sharp pencil or a smooth pen—and shouldn’t everybody use their phone less anyway?
There are so many good planners that we can’t recommend a single standout; instead, we’ve found eight, in a range of styles, that people with different priorities will love.
We’ve researched 122 planners and tested 44 since 2017, and we’ve discovered that most (but not all) of the best planners cost $50 or less. We set out to satisfy a range of planning types—from simple scheduling to more artistic uses like journaling and sketching.
Our picks include an academic planner for students , a highly customizable traveler’s notebook , a simple book-bound planner , a minimalist calendar , a refillable ring-bound organizer , an option for memory keeping , a goal-tracking planner , and a bullet journal .
If you’re not sure which type of planner is for you, we cover how to choose the right planner ; you can also see how we made our picks .
Wherever possible we’ve chosen options that are widely available and come in different sizes and colors.
Why you should trust us, for the school year: blue sky academic student planner, most customizable: traveler’s notebook, a multitasking book-bound option: mochithings medium ardium planner, a stripped-down calendar: jstory large weekly planner, best ring-bound: filofax the original organizer, for memory keeping: erin condren lifeplanner, an inspirational goal planner: panda planner classic, best bullet journal: leuchtturm1917 bullet journal, other good planners, what about hobonichi planners, how to choose the right planner for yourself, how we picked and tested, the competition.
For advice on what to look for in a planner and insight into why paper planners are so popular in this digital age, we spoke to Shu Yao, co-founder of JetPens ; Erin Condren , creator of the hugely popular Erin Condren LifePlanner; Sarah McNally, owner of McNally Jackson Books and Goods for the Study ; and Kristin Damian, who runs the planner-sticker company Krissyanne Designs .
This guide builds on the extensive work of planner lover and senior staff writer Jackie Reeve, who also follows the online planner community—planner enthusiasts share photos and tips for setting up their planners, decorating their planners, or using their planners for more than simple scheduling. She uses nearly half a dozen planners, from various brands, to compartmentalize and organize facets of her life.
Senior staff writer Kaitlyn Wells considers her productivity style to be “organized chaos.” After college, she found it difficult to maintain a paper planner habit, and she favors reminders scattered across her mobile device, sticky notes, and reporter’s notebooks. In recent years, she’s moved away from paper planners entirely in favor of calendar apps for their convenience. Still, she went into this guide excited to explore several variations on hacking one’s to-do list. She found several planners she likes and is confident you’ll find one you enjoy using, too.
Blue Sky Academic Student Planner
An academic-year planner.
With an affordable price, space for seven classes a day plus extracurriculars and to-do lists, and a project tracker in the back, this is our favorite student planner.
Best used for: simple scheduling, goal planning
Why it’s great: The Blue Sky Academic Student Planner is the best out of the eight academic-year planners we’ve tested because it has the most useful features for middle school, high school, and college students, the cover is sturdy, and it’s inexpensive—at this writing, it’s the second-most affordable planner we recommend. It’s 8.5 by 11 inches and less than 0.5 inch thick, so it has plenty of space for writing and doesn’t add much bulk to a backpack, but it’s still big enough that it won’t get lost or squished surrounded by textbooks, notebooks, and folders on a desk. The front has space for a full class schedule, and each monthly page has lined space for each day, plus study tips and boxes for monthly goals and projects. The weekly pages are also lined (which helps keep everything visually organized) and divided into seven class subjects a day. It has room for extracurricular activities or jobs, weekly goals, and to-do lists, as well. The back of the planner offers a couple of project-tracker pages to help brainstorm and plan longer-term projects.
The Blue Sky Academic Student Planner’s cover is clear laminated plastic, and it’s tough. In our testing it didn’t bend or cut easily, and it was thicker and more durable than those of academic planners we tested from Erin Condren and The Happy Planner. It should survive a school year of getting tossed around (whether you’re going from classroom to classroom or shuffling around in your own room) and still maintain its shape. We found the coil binding sturdier and harder to dent than that of similarly priced planners from Mead and Five Star, and the book lies flat when opened, which makes it easier to read and easier for you to use every centimeter of the writing space. All that, and it costs only about 20 bucks.
If you’re not a student but prefer using a midyear to midyear planner, we like most Blue Sky academic-year planners we’ve tested, including the Blue Sky Day Designer Weekly and Monthly Planner . It’s a less-expensive, pared-down version of the original Day Designer planner we’ve tested and recommended in the past. The Stellar Blue Academic Student Planner is the only one that divides days up by class periods and includes room for class schedules and projects, but more cover designs and sizes are available if you don’t need those features.
Flaws but not dealbreakers
The paper quality on the Blue Sky planner is the worst of our picks. It’s thin, and Sharpies can bleed through or you can leave impressions on the back of the page if you’re a heavy-handed writer, but for the price and utility it does the job. It is frustrating to have just a single cover design, too, and we’re not sure how long the Academic Student Planner will remain in stock for the back-to-school season—if you like it, don’t hesitate to pick it up as soon as you can.
Sizes: 8.5 by 11 inches
Colors: one print
Traveler’s Company Traveler’s Notebook
The most customizable planner.
You can fill this cross between a simple calendar and a beautiful journal with a range of inserts for any type of planning. It’s the most versatile planner we’ve found.
Best used for: goal planning, artistic planning, bullet journaling, memory keeping, simple scheduling
Why it’s great: Of all the planners we considered, the Traveler’s Company Traveler’s Notebook was the most popular with our testers. The simple leather folio holds thin notebooks inside (secured with an elastic band), and you can invest in whatever notebook inserts fit your planning needs. It’s the only system we found that works for all types of planning. There are over a dozen options for inserts on their site .
This is the original Traveler’s Notebook, a style of planner often interchangeably called the Midori (the company’s name before 2015). You can find many other brands of this style inspired by the original (they’re sometimes called “fauxdori”), and some of them are great options if you like more colors and patterns—we mention a few of these alternatives in the Competition section . But the original Traveler’s Notebook is more widely available. It also has a large following in the online planner community, and the Instagram hashtag #midoritravelersnotebook is full of inspiration. While testing, we discovered that several Wirecutter staffers already own the Traveler’s Notebook and love it.
Long-term test notes
Senior staff writer Jackie Reeve has been using the Traveler’s Notebook since 2016 and says it just gets better with age. The leather is soft and beautifully worn in, plus it’s easy to throw in her bag without damaging it. Several of our staffers still use and love theirs, including Wirecutter’s Erin Moore, who says it’s simple to repair the enclosing elastic and inner strings if they wear out over time. “I’ve had mine for seven years, and it’s still going strong,” she says. “The leather’s buttery and still smells great.”
The leather, which looks pristine when new, quickly becomes worn with visible scuffs and scratches. (We think this just adds to the character of the planner.) One of our 10 staff testers thought the regular size was too big for the portability he wanted, but using the passport size , and keeping fewer notebooks inside, would address those concerns.
Sizes: regular, 4.9 by 8.7 inches; passport, 3.9 by 5.3 inches
Colors: black , brown , camel , blue
MochiThings Medium Ardium Planner
The planner that multitasks.
This design is a better choice if you want a slimmer planner that also works for drawing, bullet journaling, or making lists. The weekly, monthly, and yearly calendars offer plenty of space for writing and planning.
Best used for: goal planning, artistic planning, bullet journaling
Why it’s great: The MochiThings Medium Ardium Planner was almost as popular with our testers as the Traveler’s Notebook. This model is one of the best options if you like to plan your day and jot things down because it has plenty of room for extra notes and lists. Like the Traveler’s Notebook, it offers a minimalist design, and you can use its pages for a few different things—sketching, bullet journaling, or making lists—but it’s slimmer and less expensive. You also can’t add or swap out inserts as you can with the Traveler’s Notebook. It’s similar to a Moleskine planner, but our testers think its calendars and page layouts are more useful. The Ardium Planner also comes in a small weekly size and a large daily planner, but the medium size is just right for carrying in a bag or leaving out on a desk.
Wirecutter senior editor Kalee Thompson is on her sixth Ardium Planner this year (2023) and is still satisfied. “I really use this planner as my to-do list and a notebook,” she says, adding, “I like that it has so many pages at the back for general notes” plus a cloth built-in bookmark and an elastic bookmark. She also likes the pocket “for storing random little papers” and says the cover has a pleasing texture. Order early, though: Kalee notes that the colors often sell out quickly.
If you’re interested in drawing or painting in your planner, the Ardium Planner’s paper isn’t as creamy and doesn’t hold watercolor as well as the paper in some of our other picks (although it’s just as nice as the paper in the Traveler’s Notebook). One tester disliked the layout of the days of the week and the planner’s inability to lie flat.
Sizes: small, 4.5 by 6.1 inches; medium, 5.1 by 7.5 inches; large, 6.3 by 9.06 inches
Colors: gray, green, navy, red
Jstory Large Weekly Planner
Best for simple scheduling.
A bare-bones planner and our most inexpensive pick, this slim, cardboard-covered booklet has undated pages for each week in a year—and nothing else.
Best used for: simple scheduling
Why it’s great: If all you need is a slim calendar to keep track of weekly notes and appointments, the Jstory Large Weekly Planner looks modern and costs less than any other pick on our list. It’s a no-frills planner with simple boxes for each day on every page but no additional space for to-do lists or notes. The weekly planner is also available in medium and big sizes, so you should be able to find one that does the trick. The size we tested is thin and fits easily in a bag, but the layout still leaves plenty of room for writing, which also makes this planner a good option to keep on a desk.
Made by South Korean company Jstory , the Large Weekly Planner has dedicated weekly pages with a big, simple font. It’s undated, so you can start your year whenever you’d like, and it has two weeks on every open page layout. The book doesn’t lie quite flat when opened, but it comes close. You’ll find no bells and whistles here, but if you just want a weekly calendar (Jstory has monthly options in big , large , and medium , too) and don’t want to pay more than $10 or $15, this planner is as simple as it gets, and it has been more reliably stocked than our previous minimalist pick from Muji.
The card-stock cover is flimsier than those of any of our other picks, so it may not hold up to a year’s worth of aggressive tossing in a bag. We’ve also seen the available colors vary widely from retailer to retailer, but the brown kraft covers seem to be the most consistently available.
Sizes: big, 8.3 by 11.7 inches; large, 7.1 by 10 inches; medium, 5.9 by 8.3 inches
Colors: varies by retailer
Filofax The Original Organizer (personal size)
The best refillable planner.
Though expensive, this Filofax is the highest-quality leather planner we tested, and it’s small enough to fit in a bag. You can also purchase refills for it from multiple other brands.
Filofax The Original Organizer (A5 size)
A larger refillable planner.
This bigger, A5-size Filofax is just as good as the smaller version but has more writing space. It works with any A5 inserts, so you can purchase refills from whatever brand you like.
Best used for: goal planning
Why it’s great: We recommend Filofax’s The Original Organizer (still made by the English company that made the high-quality leather organizers iconic in the 1980s) if you want a high-quality refillable planner for business. The layouts are fairly simple (not filled with prompts or partitioned sections), they come with a good amount of writing space for each day, and the planner has plenty of plain paper in the back for notes and lists.
We looked at several other business planners in stores, including synthetic-leather versions of the Day-Timer and Day Runner planners, and we tested leather and synthetic-leather planners from Franklin, Levenger, and Quo Vadis. The quality of the Filofax planner stood out—the leather looked and felt exceptional, and the stitching was neater. We also prefer the Filofax planner’s look, layout, and color choices.
Filofax’s The Original Organizer comes in fewer sizes than other three-ring planners (only two for the model we tested), but it offers more insert options , including dated and undated calendars. Most people will probably want the dated calendar, but owners with unpredictable schedules (such as freelancers) may prefer an undated calendar so that they don’t waste pages if they don’t use the planner every day. Third-party companies on Etsy also sell inserts specifically designed to fit Filofax planners. We tested the Personal size, which would be good for carrying in a handbag. The Original Organizer is also available in a larger A5 size, which works with any A5 paper insert. Be cautious with the Filofax Personal-size inserts—some planner brands change the size slightly so that it doesn’t fit a Filofax, or they call it something else, even if the paper fits.
Senior staff writer Jackie Reeve, who has owned and used the Original Personal Organizer in the Union Jack print since 2016, notes that “the leather itself is in great shape, and there’s no real fraying at the stitching or along the edges.” One Wirecutter staffer has had problems with the rings misaligning on her Filofax organizers, but that hasn’t been a universal experience.
Our testers thought Filofax’s The Original Organizer was austere and expensive for a planner. But once you purchase the cover, you only need to buy inserts in subsequent years. If you’re looking for a more affordable ring-bound planner, or if you’d prefer faux leather to real leather, you might like the Simple Stories Carpe Diem A5 Planner (a former also-great pick). It comes in the same personal and A5 sizes as well as several bright colors, and it’s typically less than half the price of the Filofax planner. Jackie has had a Filofax planner since 2016, and it still looks new.
Sizes : ring-bound personal, 5.38 by 7.38 inches; ring-bound A5, 7.8 by 9.2 inches
Colors: 17 colors, including the classic leather, patent leather , and Union Jack print
Erin Condren LifePlanner
The best planner for memory keeping.
This pick is a hybrid planner, journal, and album, with a big online community to help you find decorating inspiration and ideas.
Best used for: memory keeping, goal planning
Why it’s great: If you’re interested in using a planner for memory keeping—to document your days and motivate yourself with inspirational quotes and fun stickers—you’ll have the most options with the Erin Condren LifePlanner . At 7 by 9 inches, it’s bigger than most of our other picks, with more writing space per day than in any other weekly planner we picked. Our testers liked that it comes in a choice of weekly vertical, weekly horizontal, or hourly layouts—it’s the only planner we tested with all of those options.
We tested the classic spiral-bound planner, which you can customize with a wide range of removable, interchangeable laminated covers . The planner is sold through the Erin Condren site but also at Staples if you just want to pick one up in a store. The high-quality coil binding allows the pages to move smoothly, so when the planner is open, it sits flat on a desk.
What really separates the LifePlanner from other memory-keeping planners is the sheer number of accessories—covers, stickers, sticky notes, pens—available for decorating it. An Etsy search for “Erin Condren stickers” alone yields more than 125,000 results at the time of publication, and Erin Condren’s site offers plenty of other accessories . If you’re interested in the planner community, the LifePlanner has the most active posters on Instagram , in Facebook groups, and on YouTube channels . The LifePlanner isn’t refillable, but many fans hold on to their old LifePlanners, as one would a personal journal.
Senior staff writer Jackie Reeve has been using Erin Condren planners off and on since 2015, and she still enjoys their durability, layout, and range of available third-party accessories. She found the LifePlanner to be an ideal planner for PTA meetings. Her one function-related complaint is that in 2019 the company changed the layout of its pages slightly, so the perfectly sized stickers she had stockpiled from various Etsy sellers no longer fit.
In June 2020, founder Erin Condren took a leave of absence from the company after she helped her daughter plan a high school graduation march that skirted the school’s decision not to hold an in-person graduation during the pandemic. It coincided with the nationwide Black Lives Matter protests, and many people saw it as taking advantage of that movement, since the organizers clearly understood that having a “protest” instead of a gathering would allow them to get around their town’s social distancing rules . Many Erin Condren fans and customers saw the stunt as racist because most of the students involved were white and wealthy, and they boycotted the company on social media as a result. Since then, the company has released planners celebrating identity, including Pride Month and Black History Month collections, and donated some of the proceeds to charity. This is still the best planner for memory keeping, but if you don’t want to shop from Erin Condren, we recommend The Happy Planner or the weekly or daily planners from the Black-owned Ivory Paper Company .
As for the planner itself, in our initial testing some of our testers wanted something more portable. It also doesn’t appeal to minimalists, as the pages are a bit decorated and precious, with inspirational quotes and motivational sayings on floral backgrounds—but this is true of most of the memory-keeping planners we researched and tested.
Sizes: coil-bound , 7 by 9 inches; coil-bound, A5 5.8 by 8.3 inches
Colors: 80-plus prints for coil-bound
Panda Planner Classic
The best planner for personal accountability.
This is a good planner for helping you stick to your tasks and goals, particularly if you respond well to prompts. The cover and layouts are nicer than those of other inspirational goal planners we considered.
Why it’s great: The Panda Planner Classic has the most structured layout of all our planner picks. With prompts and partitioned sections such as “Today’s Priorities,” “Morning Review,” and “Things I Will Do to Make This Week Great,” it’s designed to answer the question, “What do I want to accomplish with my time?”—which is the heart of goal planning.
Testers who wanted something for goal planning really liked the prompts and the feeling of accountability that the Panda Planner Classic gave them. “It says ‘Exercise’ here, so I feel like I would have to exercise so I could fill it in,” one tester told us. They also preferred the layout, overall look, and cover quality of the Panda Planner over that of the Passion Planner, which also focuses on accountability. The company makes several other planners, too, including a larger, 8.5-by-11-inch version, the Panda Planner Pro , plus a weekly version (we haven’t tested either yet) for those who like to plan more than a day at a time. In 2018, we tested the original size against the Full Focus Planner, the Productivity Planner, and the Day Designer planner; the Panda Planner Classic was the best for its streamlined format, small size, and ease of use. The calendars are undated, with months, weeks, and days grouped together in different sections. This is by design , so if you miss a week you don’t end up with wasted dated pages and the guilt that comes with them. Planning isn’t perfect.
Senior staff writer Jackie Reeve tried the Panda Planner Classic for a year, and it completely changed the way she approached her to-do lists and goal planning. She eventually found it too small for everything she needed, so she moved to the bigger Day Designer . In that year, though, she turned several friends onto the Panda Planner Classic, and most have stuck with it because it’s so portable.
This is a busy-looking planner, and some people may be overwhelmed by the prompts. It also holds only three months’ worth of space in one book, so you’ll have to buy more than one each year. This planner isn’t for everyone, but it could be fantastic for someone who wants a planner that will also guide them. If you want a roomier goal planner that looks less hectic, we recommend the Day Designer , a former pick. For a more businesslike, task-focused goal planner, you might consider the Planner Pad , another former pick.
Sizes: classic , 5.25 by 8.25 inches; full size , 8.5 by 11 inches (holds six months instead of three); weekly , 8.5 by 11 inches (full year)
Colors: black, orange, cyan, purple
Leuchtturm1917 Bullet Journal
The best bullet journal.
Designed in collaboration with the creator of bullet journaling, this planner is perfect for getting started or if you’re looking for a better BuJo.
Best used for: bullet journaling, artistic planning
Why it’s great: Leuchtturm1917’s Bullet Journal is a collaboration with Ryder Carroll, the creator of bullet journaling—it’s the only bullet journal offered on his website . The front and back pages of this notebook have some instructions and tips on how to use a bullet journal. The other bullet journal we tested, Rhodia’s Goalbook, offers no tips, and our testers preferred a little direction for getting started. They also preferred the stiffer cover of the Leuchtturm1917 Bullet Journal and the pale color of the grid dots on the page, which are more pleasing to the eyes than standard grid paper.
It’s a good-size book (A5), and the paper is excellent quality. In our tests, it held ink and watercolor well, so this planner also works for artistic planning (if you don’t need blank white paper, calendars, or other types of formatting). It’s also reasonably priced.
Wirecutter’s Erin Moore appreciates that the pages lie flat and the paper accepts fountain-pen ink well. “The page numbering is the highlight of this notebook,” she says. After hand-numbering a lot of journals over the years, “it’s nice to have the work done for you.” Erin notes that these books hold up over time and adds, “The archival stickers that come with it are a big help in sorting through my pile of identical black books.”
Almost all of our testers were overwhelmed by a true bullet journal with zero formatting. If you’re new to paper planners, bullet journaling might be an ambitious place to start.
Sizes: A5, 8.2 by 5.8 inches
Colors: black, blue, teal
If you like the idea of the Leuchtturm1917 Bullet Journal but are intimidated by its complete lack of structure: Consider the AmandaRachLee Doodle Planner , which features unique monthly themes and weekly spreads with line-drawing artwork that journalers can color in or build upon without the added work of freehand drawing in a traditional bullet journal. But though we like the fun, lighthearted design, this planner is more than an inch thick—comparable to a hardcover novel—making it one of the heftiest we’ve tested. Additionally, its weekly spreads start on Mondays rather than Sundays, and none of the monthly spreads have the holidays pre-written on them. That can be annoying for people who prefer to see a snapshot of what’s to come.
If you want an academic planner that’s more sophisticated than the Blue Sky Academic Student Planner : Consider the Appointed Year Task Planner , which has organizational features that place a premium on scheduling and events. Its 7-by-9.5-inch size and minimalist design look more professional next to the brightly colored and large Blue Sky 8.5-by-11-inch planner, and it features tabs dividing each month, making it easy to flip to the right section. But since the January section actually begins on December 26, the end of January’s calendar can be found on the start of February’s section—causing a cascading effect for the entire year. And like the AmandaRachLee planner, the Appointed planner starts each week on a Monday rather than a Sunday.
If you’ve researched options for artistic planning, goal tracking, or bullet journaling, you might be familiar with Hobonichi planners. This Japanese brand is known for its Tomoe River Paper , which is ultrathin (almost half the thickness of a piece of copy paper) and known for its bleed and feathering resistance with many different pens (even fountain pens). This paper keeps the Hobonichi planners slim and lightweight even though they are packed with a page for every day, and it makes them very appealing for artists and journalers who like portability.
Several Wirecutter staffers use Hobonichi planners and love them, and in our tests the Hobonichi Techo Original and the Hobonichi Techo Cousin fared quite well. We’re not featuring them as main picks because their availability is limited. JetPens stocks Hobonichi planners, and Hobonichi has an Amazon storefront . Several of the covers we looked at on Amazon had low stock. But shipping time is much shorter on Amazon, and you’ll have a a better user experience on Amazon than ordering from the Japanese site, which one staffer noted was very basic. If you find a planner and a cover you like in stock on Amazon or JetPens, or if you can find these planners locally at a stationery shop or bookstore, they’re worth a look.
Planners are for anyone who likes writing things down on paper, and they can be a particularly good tool if you’re unhappy with digital options for tracking your time and your task lists. As Sarah McNally, owner of McNally Jackson Books, told us, “You can approach it on your own terms. It’s calm and still, it doesn’t beep out reminders.”
For tracking appointments, you might be happy with a sparse calendar. If you take a lot of notes or want room to journal or draw, you may need a format with more blank space. Here’s a breakdown of the different types of planners. Some work for multiple types of planning.
If you just want to keep track of your appointments and deadlines, if you don’t use a planner to take notes, or if you’re a minimalist, you might prefer a simple agenda. Planners come in monthly, weekly, daily, or hourly formats, but a slim monthly or weekly appointment format—like a paper version of Google Calendar—is probably all that most people need. Other planners, with more pages for notes, tend to be thicker, and most people probably don’t need those extra pages if they just want to keep a calendar.
Goal planning is about asking yourself, “What do I want to accomplish with my time?” Consider this process to encompass everything from writing down your to-do list for the day to mapping out your five-year plan. It’s a different way of thinking about your time than simple scheduling, which is mainly about where you need to be when. Some planners use prompts to spark ideas and help you stick to your goals.
If you like the idea of a planner, sketchbook, and journal all in one, you might be an artistic planner. The online planner community—a collective of people who often call themselves “planners” and talk about the act of “planning”—is active on YouTube (video) and Instagram . Artistic planners are one part of this community. This style of planning is a creative outlet and a form of self-expression.
The craftier side of the planner community, which is highly active on social media, likes to embellish the pages of planners with stickers, stamps, and photos. This type of planning is essentially a hybrid of scheduling and scrapbooking, as it involves going back and documenting the day that has happened, not just planning the day ahead. “It has become like ‘real-time scrapbooking,’” Erin Condren told us, noting that the largely female community is elevating boring, everyday tasks. “They use their planners to create a memory album of appointments, special events, and day-to-day activities.”
Bullet journaling , or BuJo for short, is another way to use a planner, and some of the planners that work for BuJo also work for goal planning and artistic planning. With this technique, you use a method of shorthand called rapid logging to keep track of your schedule and tasks. With BuJo, you employ short bulleted lists—typically on grid paper, in a daily format—to take notes about the day and track appointments and to-do lists. It’s an alternative to traditional journaling.
Paper planners encompass a broad range of options, from minimal, undated books with little formatting to neatly partitioned pages that give you space to flesh out your day, week, and year in detail. Some of the planners we looked at had no adornments or decorations inside, while others had pretty themes and swirly fonts with cheerful, motivational messages throughout. We looked at the whole spectrum and decided to make several picks in different categories.
We researched dozens of brands to narrow down our testing picks, and we asked Wirecutter staffers what they would want to pay for a new planner. You can generally expect to pay less than $50 for a good planner, with a few exceptions. A planner should fit your specific needs, and you may discover that a simple, inexpensive planner you find at a big-box store works better for you than our picks.
We knew of several brands through the planner community and what we personally used; we also talked to several staffers about what they used. Articles from BuzzFeed , Refinery29 , and The Spruce helped us broaden our search, as did the JetPens planner guide . Our interviewed experts and reader comments pointed us toward several brands we hadn’t previously thought of. The experts also helped us determine our criteria for picking planners to test. The following features are the ones to look for:
Plenty of space for writing: We wanted planners that had enough room for us to jot down tasks, appointments, and notes. We looked for tall, well-spaced lines or boxes wide enough to fit two or three words in a row.
A sturdy and low-frustration binding: JetPens’s Shu Yao noted, “Many planners are meant to last the entire year or academic year, so it needs to survive daily wear.” Coil bindings allow for smoother page turning than disc bindings, which have individual, disconnected discs that don’t move fluidly together. A ring-bound, refillable planner is especially useful if it holds a standard, easy-to-find paper size. Book-bound or hardbound covers are less bulky than the other types. We preferred planners that let the book lie flat when open.
High-quality materials: We wanted planner covers that held up to wear, paper that was pleasant to write on, and sturdy tabs that didn’t bend when flipped. Sarah McNally of McNally Jackson Books told us, “A planner is a physical relationship you are embarking on. You will touch it as much as a wallet for the next year.” Laminated, leather, or hard covers last longer than cardboard or card-stock covers. And the paper should be creamy and sturdy; Yao told us this is key when JetPens looks for planners to carry. You don’t want paper so flimsy that it tears when you turn the pages or lets ink bleed through to the next page.
Customization: We looked for planners that offered different covers, in various colors and designs. For ring-bound planners, we wanted a standard paper size so that we could swap in any inserts from any compatible brand.
A variety of sizes: We looked for brands that offered both smaller, portable sizes and larger desk sizes. Especially for refillable planners, which are often a more expensive initial purchase, we liked size options that were standardized across a few brands of planners and inserts (such as the A5 size, which fits 5.83-by-8.27-inch paper).
Availability: We decided to focus on brands that were readily available online and preferably in at least some physical stores. Our interviewed experts gave us some great suggestions for smaller planner companies, but many of those could be difficult to source and were too niche for this guide.
In our original testing in 2017, we had nine Wirecutter staffers help us test 19 different planners to make our original picks, then in 2018 we tested a new batch of 10 planners. In 2020, we tested eight academic-year planners. In 2023, we tested six additional planners against our existing picks, including weeklies, ring-bound options, and multitasking journals.
Our testers were a mix of paper-planner owners, people who wanted to get a paper planner, and those who had tried paper planners and been dissatisfied. They gave us notes on what they would personally look for in a paper planner (size, writing space, fonts, the feel of the materials) and how they wanted to use one (simple scheduling, goal planning, and so on). Our testers looked at each blank new planner and gave their feedback, and in some cases they changed their criteria after examining a planner in person. This is what happens to a lot of people—they buy a planner and realize later that it isn’t right for them—so we tried to make picks that worked for what people actually wanted, not what they thought they wanted.
On all the planners we tested, we paid close attention to the paper quality and how well the sheets held ink from Sharpies and Uni-ball gel pens. We looked at the construction of the bindings and how sturdy the covers were, and we considered how useful the layouts were and how much writing space they offered. For the planners that could work for BuJo and artistic planning, we tried painting on them with basic children’s watercolors to see how the paper held water and color. In 2017 we also sent a few planners home with Wirecutter’s Kim Ku to draw and paint in (you can see examples of her sketches and paintings throughout this guide).
The Simple Stories Carpe Diem A5 Planner is a former also-great pick, and if you don’t like leather or want something less expensive than a Filofax planner, it’s a great choice. It comes in fewer colors than Filofax’s The Original Organizer, and most binders and inserts have a feminine design. In stores we’ve seen these only at Hobby Lobby, but they’re still easier to get than many of the imported planners we’ve tested and recommended. It’s also available in a personal size.
The Kikki.K Leather Personal Planner was very popular with our staff, and this brand is a hit on social media, especially with fashion bloggers. Kikki.K is an Australian company with long shipping times and only some US availability at Nordstrom (mainly of the company’s hardbound designer planners, not the classic leather version). If you don’t mind the shipping wait, these planners offer fantastic quality.
The Happy Planner from Me & My Big Ideas is another affordable memory-keeping planner. We didn’t like its disc-bound binding—opening it all the way around to look at one page at a time wasn’t as smooth as with a coil-bound planner. However, one of our staffers long-term tested one for a year and told us the format really worked for her, and she didn’t mind the discs. In summer 2020 we tested the Classic Student Happy Planner ; although we loved the bright, rainbow colors and useful pages, it was bulkier than the Blue Sky Academic Student Planner, and we thought the design might not be as universally appealing. You can technically refill both of these planners, swap covers, or add inserts, but they’re so often on sale at craft stores that most people just buy a new one each year.
The Levenger Circa Weekly smartPlanner felt more useful than the Franklin planner we tested, but it’s expensive (a leather cover is sold separately) and doesn’t have many options for customization, since it doesn’t give you the flexibility to swap out inserts.
We reconsidered the classic Franklin Original Weekly Ring-bound Planner in 2018 after initially dismissing other versions we saw in office supply stores. More cover options are available online than we saw in stores. We tested the compact and classic sizes and found the Franklin inserts to be especially cramped for writing space compared with what you’d get with the Filofax, Levenger, or Quo Vadis planners. The format works for simple scheduling if you’re only keeping track of your working hours and don’t need to include evenings, weekends, or any real notes or lists. Considering the size and bulk of a ring-bound planner, though, you have better options if you just need a calendar.
The Day Designer planner is a former pick, and it’s senior staff writer Jackie Reeve’s personal favorite for everyday use, but it’s bigger and bulkier than the Panda Planner Classic. If you like a weighty planner you can leave on your desk, this one has a hard-board cover, sturdy spiral binding, and daily page layouts with space for appointments, to-do lists, and notes.
The Planner Pad is another former pick, and we recommend it if you’re looking for a goal planner with more task-focused prompts. It’s simpler than the Panda Planner Classic and the Day Designer planner, and it cuts out some of the more inspirational prompts those two offer—there’s no space for daily gratitude here, for example.
Our testers weren’t wild about the layouts of the Blue Sky Weekly and Monthly Planner , which have a pattern on every page. But Blue Sky offers endless print options, so you may find one you like. And we tested the Blue Sky Day Designer academic-year planner in summer 2020 and liked the extra functionality compared with regular Blue Sky options.
The Erin Condren Academic Planner had many of the features we were looking for in a student planner, including space for class schedules and exams, plus room for several subjects each day. But it’s almost twice the price of the Blue Sky Academic Student Planner, and it’s much heavier and bulkier. It would be awkward to carry in a full backpack.
We tested the Black-owned Ivory Paper Company’s 12 Month Daily Planner , which is similar to the Day Designer planner. It was a nice book with a pleasing cover, but the paper felt like copy paper, and the page layouts were less sophisticated—it was hard to see how this planner cost more than a Day Designer, which isn’t cheap. Our biggest issue, though, involved Ivory Paper Company’s order fulfillment. You can personalize the planner and specify the start month—both features we like—but as a result your order takes a couple of weeks to arrive (not unlike the situation with other planners we’ve tested, such as the Kikki.K planner). When we finally received our order, it was the wrong planner: We had ordered the weekly planner, with vertical boxes similar to those of the Erin Condren and Happy Planner, but we received a daily version instead. We haven’t tested the company’s customer service yet by asking for a replacement, though, and overall it’s not a bad option at all if you want to support a smaller, Black-owned business.
We tested the small-size Five Star academic planner , and the cover was sturdy. The layout was also more detailed than that of the Mead Academic Planner, but the fabric covering the spine (to add a pen holder to the book) kept it from opening as flat as we’d like. Overall the Blue Sky Academic Student Planner was more functional.
The Mead Academic Weekly Monthly Planner we tried in 2020 arrived with a dented coil that made it hard to open smoothly, and the design was plain and basic. For a few dollars more, we preferred the organization of the Blue Sky Academic Student Planner.
The At-A-Glance weekly appointment book is a classic business planner available at office supply stores, but it was a bit too big, too businesslike, and too narrow for us to write in the hourly format.
We recommend Field Notes notebooks as our pick for the best pocket notebook for jotting things down, but our testers didn’t like the Field Notes 56-Week Planner . They said the look of it was less appealing than that of other models, and they noted the lines on the paper were too dark for what they wanted in a planner. They also thought the cardboard cover would show too much wear after minimal use. One tester who liked the size did not want a planner with a coil binding.
The Mood Tracker Planner features goal and habit trackers like our Panda Planner pick, but its three-column layout is too narrow for jotting down notes.
We tested the Lemome Weekly & Monthly Planner in summer 2020 after seeing it rise in popularity over the past year. It has a 1950s prep-school charm to it, with a black cover, gold lettering, and a pen holder. After the MochiThings Ardium Planner, it’s the next-best book-bound planner we’ve tried. It’s not very expensive, but the layout is notably basic, and it comes in only one color.
We looked at regular-size Moleskine planners in a store but didn’t test them because some of our staff testers, who have owned them in the past, told us that the writing space was too small. We did test the smaller, pocket-size weekly version (now discontinued) just to see if it worked as an especially portable planner, but our testers said it was unusably small.
The Passion Planner was unpopular in testing because of the inside page design, the cramped writing space, and a cover that showed greasy thumbprints. One staffer liked the visual design of the layouts, but we preferred the Panda Planner Classic and the Planner Pad for goal tracking.
Our testers thought that the cover of the Rhodia’s Goalbook bullet journal was too fragile (it was already dented at one corner from shipping) and that the grid dots on the pages were too dark. On top of that, it contains only grid dot paper, with no instructions or tips, and our testers found that design to be too freeform.
The Full Focus Planner is another option similar to the Panda Planner Classic and the Planner Pad, with prompts to help keep you accountable and productive. In our tests, it wasn’t as intuitive to learn to use, and that might be a barrier for people to stay with it.
The Productivity Planner is also laid out with prompts and involves a system for tracking your time and output, but of all the planners we’ve tested, it’s the most complicated to use—it has 34 pages of instructions at the start of the book. It also lacks simple calendar layouts to track appointments or to plan ahead for projects and goals. If you like the idea of daily accountability to help you manage your time, without traditional planner features like monthly calendars, this option may work for you, but it doesn’t work for most people.
Poketo’s Project Planner is a larger planner designed for mapping out long-term projects, with more writing space and the ability to look at yearly, monthly, and weekly project goals. It’s available in a few colors, but it had a flimsy cover (a problem for something that might get tossed around in a work bag). The paper quality also wasn’t as good as that of other planners we tested—the pens we used showed signs of ghosting and bleeding on the page.
Our former pick for simple scheduling, the Muji Kraft Paper Monthly Planner has been continuously plagued with stock problems and surprise redesigns for the past three years. Though it’s now back in stock, we haven’t tested the latest version, so we can’t recommend it.
The Leuchtturm1917 Week Planner features the same cream-color paper as our Leuchtturm1917 Bullet Journal pick, but the dark ink used to print its weekly spreads is slightly visible through the page, which can be distracting. Plus, the four-column layout design is narrow and difficult to write in.
The Ohh Deer Daily Planner , roughly $20, offers only enough room for four months’ worth of entries, so you’d have to get three per year, making it one of the most expensive planners we’ve tested. And though this planner is sold in several cover designs, each one features a slightly different interior layout that isn’t disclosed on its product page.
The Papier Planner works well for big-picture weekly and monthly goals but lacks sufficient room for jotting down daily to-do lists and notes.
Planners we considered but didn’t test
There are so many planners, we couldn’t test them all. Our interviewed experts recommended several intriguing planners for us to test, but most of them were produced by particularly small, niche companies or imported from overseas, which made their availability even tougher than for Kikki.K and Hobonichi planners. For example, Sarah McNally raved about the Treuleben and Bindewerk planners, but they were hard to find in the US or had limited stock when we were working on this guide.
We looked at three alternative traveler’s notebooks: The Chic Sparrow , Freckled Fawn , and Foxy Fix traveler’s notebooks looked nice, but we were concerned about stock availability.
Shu Yao recommended several planners from JetPens that would work for simple scheduling—the discontinued Maruman Mnemosyne N163 Memo Pad, the Raymay Notebook Refill , and the Kokuyo Campus Diary Free Schedule —but they were out of stock at the time of our research or they were too simplified. Yao also recommended the Stalogy Editor’s Series 365Days Notebook for bullet journaling, but it didn’t look as nice as the ones we tested.
We looked at the Day-Timer and Day Runner planners, as well as the Franklin Covey Ava leather planner ; we passed on testing them because the quality and design weren’t very good.
We passed on a range of memory-keeping planners. The Happiness Planner , Purposeful Planners (with some faith-based sections), Get to Work Book , and Simplified Planner offerings are all coil-bound and about the same size as the Erin Condren LifePlanner but have goal-tracking features like the Panda Planner Classic. All of these companies are smaller, so we were worried about stock.
Inkwell Press and Ink+Volt make some hardbound planners that we didn’t test due to the same concerns about stock availability, and in working on our 2018 update we found that Inkwell Press no longer sold hardbound planners.
Ban.do planners don’t cover a wide-enough appeal, and although they’ve been stocked previously at Nordstrom, they no longer appear to be.
Since we’ve been writing this guide, we’ve taken into account reader comments and researched other planners that were new (or new to us). In addition to the above, we’ve considered planners from Action Publishing , BestSelf , Brepols , Clairefontaine , Dodo Pad , Fabriano Boutique , Gallery Leather , Shinola , Unbound , and Uncalendar . We also researched planners from The Apollo Planner , Clever Fox , Jibun Techo , Nolty , September Leather , and The Simple Elephant . We passed on testing all of them because the planners were either hard to get (due to limited stock or overseas shipping) or didn’t surpass our current picks—or the new test models we chose—in meeting our criteria.
This article was edited by Ben Keough and Erica Ogg.
Erin Condren, founder of Erin Condren , email interview , September 18, 2017
Kristin Damian, founder of Krissyanne Designs , email interview , September 20, 2017
Shu Yao, co-founder of JetPens , email interview , October 6, 2017
Sarah McNally, owner of McNally Jackson Books and Goods for the Study , email interview , October 9, 2017
How to Choose a Planner& Planning Strategies , JetPens , September 9, 2021
Treye Green, 11 Awesome Planners That Will Get You Organized , BuzzFeed , October 9, 2016
Meet your guides
Jackie Reeve is a senior staff writer covering bedding, organization, and home goods at Wirecutter since 2015. Previously she was a school librarian, and she’s been a quilter for about 15 years. Her quilt patterns and her other written work have appeared in various publications. She moderates Wirecutter’s staff book club and makes her bed every morning.
Kaitlyn Wells is a senior staff writer who advocates for greater work flexibility by showing you how to work smarter remotely without losing yourself. Previously, she covered pets and style for Wirecutter. She's never met a pet she didn’t like, although she can’t say the same thing about productivity apps. Her first picture book, A Family Looks Like Love , follows a pup who learns that love, rather than how you look, is what makes a family.
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The Best Dated Planners, According to Productivity Experts and Stationery Lovers
Every new year means a new planner . While choosing the right one can be a surprisingly personal decision, there are characteristics that all the best dated planners share. They should be sturdy, able to withstand a year’s worth of daily use without falling apart. They should have enough room for you to write down your calendar appointments or to-do lists , as well as notes. And, of course, they should be dated — whether they come stamped with individual dates on pages or have spaces for you to write dates in yourself — so you can easily look ahead and make plans for months in the future. (If you’re more of an undated planner kind of person, we’ve written about some of our favorites here ).
Beyond those basic criteria for a dated planner, there are countless other features and style choices you can make, from the type of binding to the amount of instruction your planner provides. To help you find the best dated planner for your organizing style, we talked to four experts, including productivity experts and stationery aficionados, and took a closer look at some planners we’ve written about before, including dated planners of our editors and writers swear by. Since the choice will likely come down to personal preference, we forewent declaring a best overall planner and instead organized the recommendations into daily and weekly dated planners, so you can find the right one based on how granular your schedule-keeping is.
Best weekly dated planners
While dated planners come in many shapes and sizes, the ones we heard about are all generally the size of a medium or small notebook — all are compact enough to tuck into a bag, but some have more space to write than others, depending on how much information you like to jot down. We were first tipped off to this weekly planner from German stationery company Leuchtturm1917 by self-described “planner power user” Perrin Drumm. As she writes, the planner’s “hardback is perfect for planning on the go or taking notes in your lap; and the layout is my ideal: days on one side, spaces for notes on the other.” Cindy Thompson , the blogger and planner behind Instagram’s Plan Another Day , also loves the Leuchtturm1917 for its “quality paper, binding,” and two ribbon bookmarks. She adds that it “features a simple weekly layout that can be utilized in many ways.” The two-year planner runs all the way through January 2022, and if you like the sound of this but want something smaller, Leuchtturm1917 makes a more compact style of the same planner, too.
This Rhodia weekly planner , which comes recommended by Strategist senior writer Karen Iorio Adelson, features a similar layout, with the days of the week on one side and a gridded page for notes on the other. What makes the Rhodia planner a little different, however, is its compact, hourly layout for each day. And instead of a ribbon to mark pages, this planner has tearaway corners to help you keep your place. The planner runs through December 2020.
If you are a dedicated bullet journaler, Thompson recommends this “minimalist” six-month planner that she has been using for task management, telling us it is “ a wonderful option to round out the second half of the year.” She loves the “smooth paper, delicate lines, and optimized weekly layouts.” The six-month dated planner, which runs through December 2020 , also has extra lined pages that are “perfect for making lists and taking notes,” she adds, along with printed tabs for keeping your place. Appointed also makes a notebook-sized full-year dated planner , which Thompson notes has no lined pages, “but does feature tabs for easy navigation” (the full-year planner runs from August 2020 through July 2021.)
Neha Gandhi, the CEO and editor-in-chief of Girlboss , says she likes this particular Lemome planner “because it doesn’t waste real estate on huge day-by-day calendars, and instead gives only high-level monthly and note-taking weekly views.” A single week takes up two pages of the planner, with enough lines to keep track of each day’s do-to lists, and there are 88 additional lined pages for note-taking spread out evenly between months. This layout, she explains, allows her to “organize meeting notes by the day they were taken (and then cross reference the date to the meeting the notes came from in my digital cal), so that I’m not flipping endlessly through a notebook to find one nugget of information that’s somehow always just out of reach.” The planner has ribbon bookmarks for place-keeping and runs from July 2020 through June 2021.
If you want a weekly dated planner that invites you to journal a bit as well, try this MiGoals option that made the list of our wellness, gratitude, and happiness journals . “It breaks down long-term and short-term goals that you write out each week and month, then you check in every day with what you’re grateful for, how you’re feeling, and how you’re working to accomplish your goals,” explains Strategist junior writer Chloe Anello. When opened, the left pages are broken down into the days of the week, while the right pages have space to write your gratitude lists, to-do lists, habits, and larger weekly goals. Asia Milia Ware , an editorial assistant at Teen Vogue, says, “I’m all about my goals and having a strategic plan for each of them, and this book really has a way of breaking everything down to make them measurable and make sure you’re taking daily steps to your goals.” The planner has two ribbons for place-keeping and runs through December 2020.
While content creator Zoë Bright says that Paper Source has a “huge selection of journals,” she is particularly fond of their reasonably priced custom planner, which allows you to design one of your very own. “Paper Source really nails it when it comes to customization, functionality, and aesthetics,” Bright says, noting you can design your planner’s cover down to the font choice and imagery. Pages are designed to show both monthly and weekly views for any given month, and there are pages for note-taking in the front and the back of the planner, which doesn’t include ribbons or tear-off corners for place-keeping. Paper Source’s planner runs from January 2021 through December 2021.
If you want to splurge, Strategist writer Louis Cheslaw , as well as contributor Leah Bhabha, both use and love the elegant Smythson Soho Agenda , which is bound in cross-grain lambskin and features gilt-edged, featherweight paper and two ribbon bookmarks. According to Bhabha, it is “the ideal size — larger than a pocket calendar, which affords little writing space, and smaller than a desk diary, which is like lugging around a textbook.” She likes the formatting, too. “The weekly agenda devotes a sizable square to each day, and there’s a weekly to-do list on the opposite page.” Cheslaw agrees: “The pages are balanced between a to-do page and the days of the week.” While he admits that there are less-expensive planners with similar layouts, Cheslaw promises this is the only one that will make you feel like a “1950s Italian banker” when you use it. This midyear option runs through August 2021.
For roughly a third of the price of the Smythson Soho planner, you can get this smaller Smythson dated planner that Strategist senior editor Anthony Rotunno has used on and off for the last decade. Like the Soho Agenda, it has pages with a full week’s worth of dates opposite lined pages for notes or to-do lists. While the pages are smaller, Rotunno says they still offer plenty of space to jot down basic appointments or plans for any given day. “The size makes it even easier to carry and write in on the go, for those you like to keep their schedule close at hand,” Rotunno adds of the planner, which has a ribbon and tear-off edges to help keep your place. Like the larger Smythson planner, this midyear option runs through August 2021.
Gridded pages, like those in the Rhodia, are actually quite common in Japanese planners like the Jibun Techo , which comes recommended by Wakako Takagi, a co-founder of Los Angeles–based stationery store Baum-kuchen . As she explains, “The design of the layouts is structured enough to track what is important to our lives but open enough to be flexible.” Though it lacks a bookmark, the tightly gridded pages make it easy to keep everything organized, with the days of each week stacked vertically on a page, instead of shown horizontally. This planner runs through December 2020.
Best daily dated planners
If you want a daily diary, rather than a weekly one, brand-building expert Richard Janes recommend the Full Focus Planner in our overall best planners post , which covers 90 days at a time. “The reason it works so well for me is that the layout provides clear focus on what is important, while still enabling me to empty my head of all the other tasks that are lurking around,” he says. “But it doesn’t go overboard so that I can easily get to the actual planning of my day, week, and month.” While you would need to buy four of them to plan an entire year, he says it’s a great option for those picking up a new planner midyear. Each day of the week gets two full pages: The left side is broken down into sections that include your “big three” tasks of the day, lined space for “other tasks,” as well as a lined column organized by the hour. The right side has dedicated space for note-taking. The planner also has two ribbon bookmarks and additional pages for goal-tracking.
We heard about Emily Ley’s Simplified Planner from Julie Solomon , a business coach and the host of The Influencer Podcast , who loves its clean layout. It’s divided by months (every month has a tab, making it easy to find), and each month has individual dated pages for every weekday (weekends have a shared page), with space for both to-do lists and notes. Other than those two lists, there’s little guidance, so it’s a nice option for those who don’t need so many prompts to organize their days or thoughts. The planner also has wire binding, making it easy to fold in half, and an interior pocket to hold loose documents. It runs from August 2020 to July 2021.
The Hobonichi Techo is a perennial Strategist favorite, used by two of our editors. As Strategist editor Alexis Swerdloff wrote in her initial ode to the cult Japanese notebook, “The leather-bound book is hefty and feels like I’m actually holding something substantial (unlike a Moleskine ), while still being incredibly compact: It’s little bit taller than my iPhone 6, and about the width of a Kit Kat.” While there’s no ribbon to keep your place, each page is clearly dated for a different day and has light gridding, which suggests order but doesn’t demand it. It runs through December 2020.
Organizing expert and business consultant Jane Stoller told us she buys this Moleskin daily planner for her father every year for Christmas, so he can document “his daily activities, the weather, and plans for the next day.” Each day gets an entire lined page, which offers plenty of real estate to write whatever you’d like. She notes that Moleskin also makes a weekly version that is “slightly less thick.” The planner contains both a ribbon bookmark to keep your place, as well as an elastic band to keep the notebook closed. It runs from July 2020 to December 2021.
If you want to go old-school, or you need a planner that’s exceptionally sturdy, you can always go for a Day-Timer planner. The main advantages of the Day-Timer is that you can use the same binder for years — you just swap out the pages — and it can withstand a lot of wear and tear, according to Christy Whitman , a life coach and the author of The Art of Having It All: A Woman’s Guide to Unlimited Abundance. “I love this planner because each day is on two pages and the layout of the pages allows me to have a place for the items to be done today, a schedule, and also a page for writing and taking notes,” says Whitman, who told us she’s been using the Day-Timer for more than 20 years. “If I have an appointment scheduled, I can write notes next to the appointment and remind myself of call-in information, the name of the person, or any other important information,” she adds of its convenience. The pages feature monthly tabs to help you find your place, and the set of pages above runs through December 2020.
Bright told us that this planner “allows space for mindfulness and gratitude in your daily planning.” The planner has a full page for each day — including a blank space where users can write in the date, meaning you can start using it at any time of year — is broken down by the hour. Each day’s page also includes a section for daily intentions and action items. The pages are perforated for easy removal, and the planner comes with two ribbon bookmarks for keeping your place.
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