Monday, January 5, 2015

The Best Planner of 2015 : Planner-ed Out Perfect, Part Two

Last time you all saw me talking about my need for a fully functional planner, I was riding off into the stationery sunset with a sturdy, reliable, black-and-boring Mead Planner that I had dug up at Target for ten dollars, and had every intention of decking out with stickers and Post-Its to my heart's content.

However, I just had one of the most intense quarters of my entire college career. Fall saw me change in the ways I write for my blog, spend more time developing my own writing, dedicate myself in a greater capacity to my studies, and earn a major role on the University of Washington's Panhellenic Executive Board.

All of these new opportunities mean a lot of cool stuff going on for the rest of the school year... but also a busier schedule. As in, a LOT busier schedule, something that would require a more extensive  and involved form of planner. So, once again, I took to the Internet, in order to find myself my ideal kind of agenda!

Some issues that came forward last time I was searching for a new planner: 

  • It had to be unique, or, in other words, not the kind of basic sorority staple touted by all the other Greek women on campus. Thus, the Lilly Pulitzer was ruled out, because it's essentially what everyone already has!
  • It had to be reasonably priced, not necessarily so that it was still affordable for a college kid, but more so that it was reasonably priced for the amount of time I was planning on using it. For instance, while the Filofax might be a little on the costly side, my planner would be something I use every day.
  • But the Filofax would still require a lot of time and effort to set up the way I'd want it, so that was still a no-go, for me. My ideal planner had to be easy to use, as well... who wants to be stressed about something that was supposed to reduce your stress?

However, that isn't all. I still had a couple more demands for my daily agenda... 

It would have to be sophisticated... not a colorful, whimsical thing, but staid and sturdy enough for me to make my own mark on it while not looking unprofessional at major meetings and events. This worked with the Mead planner, for sure, but there was also an additional problem: my lists, to-do sections, doodles, and more were cluttering up the pages to the breaking point. Which is why it would also need a more compartmentalized layout, with more room to break things down and plans things out all in one space, to better keep all the plates I have spinning in place on the same page. Additionally, this extends to other parts of the planner as well... I want room for lists, notes, a year-at-a-glance and monthly layouts, too!


My Big actually uses this planner system, as do many other busy women in my sorority, which is why I took the chance to glance through it at the University Bookstore. With many boxes, lined and unlined, ready for you to write in to-do lists and scheduling galore, there's plenty of space for every kind of list you could make in a week. On the flip side, it's way too compartmentalized, with an almost confusing amount of available paper real estate, and not enough room for daily needs, as opposed to weekly. Also, just looking at it is kind of daunting... it sure wouldn't do much to reduce my stress level.

My fave: Uncalendar Fullsize, $20.95


If the Uncalendar was confusing to me, then this planner was downright inscrutable. Incomprehensible. Impossible, even! It's plan is to make things easier for you, by whittling your life down to make time for whats most important, but I have no idea exactly how that process works. After I started to get a headache after looking at them for a little too long, I left the printouts I found on Pinterest alone, and quickly searched for something easier to understand and easier on the eyes than all those black boxes and arrows. 

My fave: Passion Academic Planner - Classic, $30.00 (preorder)


Cute, and kind of kitschy, like most of Kate Spade's other products, I know a couple girls who choose
to lug these around as well. A black and white planner, starkly organized in signature Kate Spade font, full of quips and quotes to keep you going, it's pretty simplistic, but that's kind of what you need in a planner. Still, it just had the regular weekly organization, and by the time I found these next couple of planners, I had already moved on...

My fave:  Mega Gold Dots 17-month agenda, $40.00


Honestly, I can't really talk about the merits and drawbacks of the Emily Ley Simplified Planner, without discussing the planner I really ended up falling in love with.

They're very similar, in terms of layout - with a daily view, instead of a weekly, and hour-by-hour breakdowns of the day, as well as room for taking notes on other aspects of daily living - however, my heart went to the one with more room and less hassle...


Funny enough, the planner I ended up choosing contained components in its layout that held quite similar to the way I designed my personal planner sheets to look like over the summer, with an hourly schedule on one side and plenty of room for a to-do list on the other, with additional spaces for other boxes to check off and more spaces to write in information. 

What it ended up coming down to, between the Simplified Planner and the Day Designer - being that they have a long-marked competitive streak, being that their interiors are so remarkably comparable, even down to the inspirational quote that went into the upper corner of each page - was that I felt that the Day Designer had just a more professional veneer, that the hours section had a range more tailored to what I would need, the to-do lists gave more available room, and just little special parts of the Day Designer that I really enjoyed, like sections dedicated to a daily "Top Three Tasks," "Dollars," "Dinners," "Due," and "Don't Forget," and even a box for a "Daily Gratitude" down at the bottom! 

I've been using it for four days now - two full days for the Thursday and Friday (1st and 2nd of the year), and one page for the Weekend (3rd and 4th) - and I couldn't be happier with the amount of space and organization I'm given with its layout. At first, I was a little confused as to how I was going to fill all the boxes, but honestly, I feel like it gives me a fair amount of stress relief when I see all the space I have left! 

I've also been using the "Download" section at the bottom - projected to be a kind of "brain dump" area - as a means by which I keep a sentence or two summarizing some of the main thoughts of the day. It has all the feel of keeping a journal - something I've done since the 6th grade! - but doesn't require the same kind of deliberation. It's just so much handier! 

Its cost was a little on the heavier side - about $60, including free shipping and handling at the time I ordered it - but since my planner is something I know I'll use every day, and something I now know I'll be hanging on to after I'm finished with it, it works out perfectly in my favor. 

While The Grommet - the innovations merchandiser where I purchased my Aqua Shell Day Designer - is currently restocking their stores of the product, Whitney English's Etsy shop for the Day Designer will be selling again the morning of tomorrow, Tuesday the 6th. However, if you want one that's ready to go right now, and has the added benefit of being rather exclusive, Belle and Blush has a very adorable Pink Ikat Day Designer only sold through their website, and it's currently in stock (truth: I almost bought this one!). 

So, there you have it: my new journal for 2K15! I can't wait to give it a little more use. and see how much this planner really improves my organization habits. 
How are you ringing in the new year? 

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