Recommend a Planner and Win a Free E-Book!

I see from the reminder in my datebook that it’s time to order my planner for 2010! As long as I can remember, I have loved calendars of all shapes and sizes, so this is a task I generally look forward to. However, as there seem to be more and more options every year, I could really use your help choosing one. In fact, I will give a free copy of my e-book, Organizing Your Life, Your Way to the person who suggests the planner that best meets my needs.

Weekly Planner

As background information, I’m currently using a Day Runner tabbed weekly calendar refill, inserted in a Day Timer black leather cover with my initials on the front. There are a lot of things I like about it:

  • It’s compact so I can easily slip it in my purse when I’m going out.
  • It holds a pad of notepaper, which I use to jot down my mileage when I use my car for business.
  • There’s a loop to hold my pencil, so it’s always there when I need it.
  • I love the leather cover! It looks elegant, feels nice, and I paid a lot of money for it shortly before I decided to switch to an electronic calendar, a phase that lasted about four years before I decided to take Marcia Francois‘ advice to “embrace my paper-ness” and bought my 2009 refill.

I chose the weekly format this year because I wasn’t entirely sure I’d be making a full transition from my Outlook calendar, so I wanted to keep it simple and inexpensive. Now that I’m convinced that paper works best for me, I’m prepared to spend more to get exactly what I need.

For the last few months, I’ve been using an Excel spreadsheet to plan my weekly activities, as shown below (click to view enlargement).

Excel Weekly Planning Worksheet

I have a master to-do list which I refer to when I’m filling out the time slots each week.

Although this works well for me, I could probably eliminate this step and streamline my planning process if my planner was laid out in a weekly grid format.

It would probably make sense for the master to-do list to be part of my planner as well, instead of on a separate sheet of paper.

Most of my activities are not scheduled for specific times, so the time slots aren’t really that important to me; I’d therefore prefer to have most of the daily section blank to write my daily tasks, with a smaller section for scheduled appointments.

I realize that to accommodate this format, I’ll probably have to move to a larger size, and I’m okay with that. As a virtual assistant, I rarely need my planner when I’m away from my office, so portability is not high on my priority list. I can still make use of my lovely leather cover by inserting a small notebook to use when I’m out and about.

I’d also like to have monthly views for reference purposes, as well as a place to jot down dates for the following year.

Coil bound is nice, but not essential.

In terms of function, that’s all I really need! My contacts are stored in my computer and cell phone, so I don’t need an address book or any other sections.

I’m pretty task-oriented, so function is much more important to me than esthetics, but I wouldn’t mind seeing some nice colors, artwork, and/or motivational quotes.

If you think you know just the product I’m looking for, please leave me a comment below. I’m open to a physical product or downloadable pages that I can print, or any other suggestion you may have. Feel free to include affiliate links or links to your own product – anything goes! And as I mentioned above, the person who suggests the planner that best meets my needs will receive a free copy of Organizing Your Life, Your Way!

Need more information to make a recommendation? Feel free to ask your question in the comment section or using the contact form.

A former professional organizer, I’m now a web designer and DIY marketing facilitator. I love helping others succeed by sharing the knowledge and insight I’ve gained through marketing my own business for over 15 years! When I’m away from my desk, I enjoy reading, photography, watching movies, and cooking.

Facebook Twitter LinkedIn Google+  

Comments

  1. Janet,

    I looked hard to find somethign that accommodated my need to ‘see’ my weekly to do list but also account for appointments and scheduling of my time for work and family.
    I finally found what I love – from Timanager @ http://www.bluelineinc.com the item # is CA5941.81T
    It’s an 8.5 by 11 book has a month at a glance and then each open double page has one week > 7 days on the left with time slots from 7am to 7pm and the right sight is the action items and a quick glance calendar. I use the action items for my weekly to do list and it has kept me more on top of it than ever.

    Hope this helps and good luck It is so hard to find one that works.

    Kathy
    .-= Kathy Colaiacovo´s last blog ..The other social media channel – Your Blog =-.

  2. Kathy, you definitely need a momAgenda or myAgenda planner. They are essentially the same on the inside, except for the fact that the momAgenda references children frequently, while the myAgenda does not.
    Both planners feature a weekly grid with the top half of the page devoted to your daily appointments (there are no time slots however). The lower half of the page features 4 separate spaces. If you have kids you can use those spaces to write in their activities. Other women use the spaces to write in things to do in other areas of their lives, such as work, school, exercise, social lives, pets, you name it. ou can see a sample of the grid here: http://tinyurl.com/mm29hj , scroll down to the first bullet and click on “week-at-a-view format.”
    There is space to keep your weekly to do list on the far left side of the grid, where it says “My Week.”
    In addition to the weekly views, in the front of the book there are monthly views for each month as well. The book has 2 ribbons so you can mark both the month and the week you are in.
    There are lots of fun colors, actually it is important to us to offer our products in beautiful fun colors because we feel that your day planner should be like a cute accessory; it should be something you are proud to carry with you and that puts a smile on your face when you see it.
    Hope this helps, and good luck! – Nina

  3. Janet, I love the 8-Days-a-Week planner from Bob’s Your Uncle: http://bobsyouruncle.com/planners-8dayjournal.html.

    It’s a two-page-per-week view with an 8th column called “Someday…”, which I use for taking notes, writing down clients’ addresses, and so on. The planner doesn’t have set dates (i.e., it doesn’t start on January 1), so you can start using it at any time. It takes a bit of effort to write in the months and days on each page, but for me, the flexibility makes it worth it.

    I also love how colorful it is–so much more interesting than many plain-vanilla planners.

    I’ve stuck plastic sleeves inside the front and back covers to hold business cards and loose papers so I don’t need to carry another paper collection gadget.

    I’ve been using these planners for the past 3 years and can’t imagine switching to anything else!

    Good luck in your search.

    Emily

  4. Janet,
    Once we get a system in our mind that works it can be a challenge to find it in printed form. For this reason, I’ve found that it’s easier (and cost effective) to create a simple form in Word or Excel that can be printed and hole punched to fit the current ringer binder you’re using or in a 6×9 binder.

    As the needs change, the form can be modified. Looking at the expenses year after year of purchasing a new planner and contending with the possibility of it being discontinued verses printing out some pages, often two up on a page, the printing can bring some long term savings.

    Hope you find the perfect solution to your planner needs.
    ~Ruth

  5. Check out our weekly organizeME desk planner – one week view with columns for today & someday; sections for “special events”, errands, to-do’s, meal planning, grocery shopping, fitness tracking & me-time….you can leave it on your desk or hanging up or tear off the weekly sheet and carry it around with you!

    http://www.LobotoME.com {goods to keep ME sane}

    Cheers,
    Jenny 🙂
    .-= LobotoME {goods to keep ME sane}´s last blog ..{ bite ME } =-.

  6. I am the creator of ListPlanIt.com where as a member you have access to over 400 printable/downloadable lists & planning pages including calendars, daily & weekly to do lists, and so much more. Once you are a member, you have access to the pages for 1 year and can print as often as you would like. If you purchase a Download membership, then you are able to downlaod the pages to your own computer and then type right into the page as a .pdf. Store it to your computer or print it.

    Jennifer Tankersley
    http://ListPlanIt.com
    .-= Jennifer Tankersley´s last blog ..list of things to do once kids start school =-.

  7. I use and recommend the FranklinCovey system. For appointments and meetings, I use the week-on-two-pages format, which comes with a month-on-two-pages. I like to see what I have going for the both the current week and the entire month. In addition, I use ACT! for my electronic calendar, which is more detailed, with phone calls and tasks. You could use Outlook for the same purpose.

    I need the portable calendar, as do most of my clients; having daily to-do details in the computerized calendar works well because I only do those things when I’m actually in the office.

  8. I love the momAgenda personal portfolio- so many uses and they are super pretty!! They have several others too, but that one is my fav!
    .-= eve lester´s last blog ..Hospital Visits… Delayed posts… sick baby…. =-.

  9. Hi Janet! I use a Filofax system for my purse which includes addresses/telephone info & the insert is a week on 2 pages. However, for my office I use a Planner I can’t live without & have been using for about 10 years. Actually I buy two of them each year as my office has several work stations & I utilize half for home and half for biz so choose to use a separate planner for each.

    Its called the ‘DayMinder’ by Hilroy. It is a spiral bound Dec-Jan Professional Monthly Planner. Item # SK2-00 and the sku/barcode for the 2009 version was 38576 13189. I know the first five numbers stay the same each year but the last five on the sku change with each year. I purchase it from Staples and it runs about $11-12.

    This is a thin Planner with approx 16 pages. When opened it sits flat and looks and functions like a blotter but with the advantage it can be closed and stored on corner of desk or overhead shelf out of the way, unlike a cumbersome blotter that gets in the way of the work surface. Size is approx 8 x 12 closed, and 8 x 16 opened flat.

    Each page provides the days of the month at a glance and each day is lined. The margin show 6 months at a glance – one month prior and four months ahead of the current. There is a Time Zone page, 3 year at a glance page, and a monthly Future Planning page. There are spaces for notes on each page though space is limited for that. I still do a separate to-do list (as I use various types of printable pages for to-do lists) and tuck or clip it to the inside back cover and I like that as I can take the list anywhere w/o taking the planner. Another feature I like about this planner is it has a leatherette feel in that the covers are sturdy but flexible. You won’t find it pretty as it’s all function.

    For home or biz if I have tickets for a something or seminar I print off page of info and clip tickets and info inside back cover so anytime I am looking for further details for something in planner I will always find it inside back cover. I simply couldn’t live w/o this planner!

    Hope a suggestion one of us has left helps you in your search!