5 Questions to Ask Yourself Before Purchasing a Planner

February 13, 2017
Happy As Annie 5 Questions to Ask Yourself Before Buying a Planner, whether a Filofax, Michaels Recollections Planner, Erin Condren Life Planner or Happy Planner

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what’s the right planner for you?

finding the right planner for you can be more difficult than you think! trust me. i’ve had (and still have) various sized filofax planners, an erin condren life planner or two, a happy planner, the new mini-happy planner, a purposeful planner, a day designer, and more!

if you saw my happy planner update video on youtube, you know that just because a planner is GORGEOUS and you are head-over-heels in love with how it looks doesn’t mean it’s going to be the most useful tool for planning your life.

maybe you’re in the same boat. or maybe you are overwhelmed by all the planners out there! if so, here are 5 questions you’ve got to answer if you are ever going to reach planner peace: 

{this post contains affiliate links to some of my favorite products. this means i earn a small commission if you follow a link and end up making a purchase.}

1. what kinds of things do you find yourself needing to plan out?

think back to the moment that made you say, “i just need a place to write all this down!” if there wasn’t this sort of a-ha moment, grab a pen and paper and jot down everything you need to keep track of. answering this question should take more time than you think.

i’ll use myself as an example. ready? well, i teach english at a couple of local colleges, so first and foremost i need to mark down the starts and ends of semesters, what time i need to be teaching what class on what campus, and when i have days off for breaks and federal holidays. that creates the basic framework i work around in my day-to-day, week-to-week, even month-to-month.

but i also need a place to plan lessons and jot down notes and reminders. of course, then i have to be able to brainstorm and plan blog posts, promotions, giveaways, monthly theme ideas for Planner Girl Provisions, track some analytics and social media goals, etc.

if you’re a regular on my blog, you’ll know i am a to-do list queen. so i need lots of room for all of my lists. all of that stuff is on top of the basic stuff like keeping track of birthdays, social events, appointments, and payment due dates. phew!

Filofax A5 Original in Nude with List of Restaurant Recommendations

2. based on your answer above, do you need a calendar, note paper for lists, or both?

so what does all this mean? for me, it means that i can’t just have a calendar. my planner system needs to have room for my GTD lists, notes, checklists, and stuff like that.

this also means, sadly, that my erin condren, no matter how much i love dressing her up in flamingo covers and sugar skull covers and full boxes and half boxes, wouldn’t be optimal for me because you can’t add note pages to a coiled planner. this leaves me with disc-bound and binder planners as viable options.

3. how important is size and portability? 

Black Pocket Filofax Finsbury in Lilac Purse with Pouf Keychain

so when i was in my erin condren planner, i had to also carry a notebook with me for all my lists. this duo worked fine most days because i was in grad school and had a big book bag with me anyway. but as soon as i had to meet with a caterer or florist for my wedding or go to a friend’s house after running errands, this system just did not work.

i can’t take a backpack with me everywhere i go. so the erin condren went onto the shelf and i moved back into my trustee filofax in the personal size. calendars and note paper galore fit in that baby. and that baby fit into my handbag just fine.

4. how important is creativity and decoration in your planner?

Erin Condren Life Planner Weekly Spread with Floral Sticker Kit

i’ll do an updated youtube video of my planner setup in my filofax malden to show you how minimal my decor has gotten for the sake of functionality. and this was a difficult decision to make because, like i said before, i LOVE a gorgeous #eclifeplanner or #happyplanner spread as much as the next girl. but it just doesn’t work for me if i am being completely honest and realistic.

5. how big is your budget?

last, but not least, how much are you willing to spend on a planner? for me, having decided i’m a ring bound girl, here are just some of my options: my malden ran about $100, and it was a christmas present from my husband. the gilio campagna runs about double or triple that, and i have yet to justify making that splurge. at the other end of the spectrum, you could pick up 2 or 3 different colored recollections planners for the price of 1 filofax with all the promo codes available at michaels all the time.

if you decided your primary need is a calendar that you can fill to the max with appointments and stickers, you can spend just under $100 for a totally personalized erin condren life planner or less than half of that for the michaels recollections version. and now that the mini happy planner exists to make our lives even more complicated better, you don’t have to give up portability!

Display of Recollections Planners and Accessories at Michaels
Shop at Michaels

if this post helped you decide on a planner, let me know! and if you have additional tips and advice on how to find the perfect planner for you, please leave them in the comments below.



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  • Reply Beth February 16, 2017 at 11:58 am

    I have yet to jump on the planner bandwagon. Confession? I probably should, but I haven’t gotten there. This does help put it into perspective, though!

    • Reply HappyAsAnnie February 18, 2017 at 11:18 am

      thanks beth! let me know if you ever take the plunge! xo

  • Reply 5 planner essentials every planner girl needs - Happy as Annie March 6, 2017 at 6:01 am

    […] least for me, a planner must have lots of room for notes. you need plenty of room to write out to-do lists, grocery lists, questions for your professor, […]

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