Ultimate Planner Roundup: Which is best for you?
Updated: Jan 12
When I was 9, I wanted to either be a doctor, a teacher, or a worker at Office Max. Quite the list.
It makes me happy to wander the aisles of home office supplies, organizational gadgets, paper, and pencils. I take great pride in my obsession of office supplies... in fact, it's become a very useful hobby, for myself and others!
When the 4th person within a day asked me what planner I recommended in 2020, I figured it was time to officially write this post.
The truth is I can't recommend ONE planner because we all need and want different things, but with the right planner, you can basically conquer the world. Especially you mommas and business owners out there who are keeping schedules and tasks for yourself and 32 other people.
Usually, I like to ask, "What are the top 2-3 things this planner needs to help you do?"
That's how I'm going to organize this list below. I'll give the pros (as I see them) to each planner and who I think that planner is NOT suited for (sometimes its easier to know what you DON'T need!) I'll share whether I've had personal experience with the planner or if I'm just evaluating from the interwebs.
Please note: I may have affiliate links to some of the planners below. These links do not cost any more to you, but help to support my blog. I will disclose these links.
Featured Planners (in alphabetical order):
The Desire Map Planner by Danielle LaPorte
Dream Planner by Horacio Printing
Erin Condren LifePlanner
Full Focus Planner
Golden Coil Planner
Plum Paper Planners
Simplified Planner by Emily Ley
The Desire Map Planner by Danielle LaPorte ($50)
If you love quotes, feeling inspired, creating "soul goals," reflection, core desired feelings - perhaps you consider yourself a little "woo" - you will like the Desire Map Planner. There are options for daily, weekly, or undated weekly. The 2020 collection is really stunning with different styles, yet all come in the same 9.5" x 7.5" format with a gold spiral.
There is a lot of heart and soul in this planner. It helps inspire and create a feeling with its use. There is ample space for writing to-dos and focusing on 3 items to complete each day. Each planner purchase also includes a Desire Map Planner Program ($45 value) for free.
This planner is not for you if you want simple and straight-forward. There are a lot of journaling and reflecting elements.
I have used the Desire Map Planner in the past and really enjoyed it! I decided I do not like spiral options as I'm usually throwing my planner in with my computer bag to go work and it was scratching.
Dream Planner by Horacio Printing (Start at $40)
"The best is yet to come" is the motto and cover design of the dream planner. Horacio Printing is a Christian brand that designs products to help connect you to God's purpose. I loved this description from their website: "Minimalist design and thick art paper is our love language. We believe in margin, white space and lots of spirit-led encouragement. Each page is designed with love and intention."
This planner comes in 1 spiral or 2 hardback options (1 hardback already sold out for 2020). There are some pages and activities for planning your year and reflecting after seasons. I think of this planner as a sophisticated, classic and timeless look.
In addition, 10% of every purchase is donated to A21.org which is a nonprofit organization fighting human trafficking globally.
The Dream Planner is what I chose for 2020 because I wanted to work on my spiritually and infuse it into my days. I loved the simple, minimal design and it also came with enough space for each week and a perfect-bound book (I prefer this to spiral). I also really liked the activities at the beginning. So far, I really like it, I just find that Murphy's hair does seem to be all over the cover.
This planner is not for you if you are not Christian or religious or are looking for a daily option. There are also no tabs to easily flip to past/future months in the lay-flat hardbound book, but 2 ribbons to mark your monthly and weekly spots. The spiral does have tabs.
Erin Condren LifePlanner (Most start at $55)
This planner is great for you if you want colorful, bright, fun, and playful. There are many ways that you can customize your Erin Condren LifePlanner, from spiral-bound, binders, softcovers, and more.
The coiled LifePlanner is their best seller, so let's look at that. There are 3 different layouts: horizontal, vertical, and hourly. There are a ton of covers to choose from and they can be customized to have your name, monogram, a quote, etc. The covers are also interchangeable, built-in stickers, and you can add a ton of accessories to your planner. If you love scrapbooking and consider yourself creative and artsy, you'll love this planner. Teachers do, too!
This planner is not for you if you want simple and minimalistic or if you don't want to have to make a lot of decisions. There are monthly planner options, but not daily. Most are spiral bound, except for newer 1 soft-cover planner (starts at $35). This is also a pricier option.
I had Erin Condren planners in the past and enjoyed the vertical layout. I prefer more of a basic black and white look than this option offers.
Full Focus Planner by Michael Hyatt (Start at $39.99)
The full focus planner is for serious goal-setters and goal-getters. Designed by Michael Hyatt, this option is all about setting a quarterly plan and laying out the details to get there. This is the planner to help you focus your to-do list and "win your day."
The planner is undated so you will start a new planner every quarter... meaning you'll need 4 books round out the entire year. There are subscriptions on the website. You can choose from a variety of colors, but all are the same size 6.25" x 9.25" and hardcover books.
This planner is not for you if you are not actively working on achieving very specific goals or needing more focus in your life. This is also not a great "time capsule" as it will not have a year in one spot. This is more geared towards a business-minded person. It is also not great if you enjoy a fun visual inside, this is all down to business.
I do not have personal experience with this option, but I have several Beautycounter colleagues who love this planner and I purchased 1 for my brother, husband, and brother-in-law for Christmas!
(affiliate link from Amazon)
Golden Coil Planner (Starts at $60)
Sophistication meets customization.
Golden Coil planners have several customizable features, including covers, pages on the inside: weekly double, weekly single, daily (and even more options for each of those), and more. You can actually add your contact information, event dates, contacts, and more -- it will all be printed right inside for you! All planners are the same size and are spiral bound.
This planner is not for you if you are looking to keep cost to a minimum. While completely customizable, this planner is a very simple black and white design and more sophisticated cover options compared to other brands.
I do not have personal experience with this option, but I've been eyeing it for years! I don't usually like spiral options, but every time I check this one out, I convince myself that maybe I should try it now!
Passion Planner (Starts at $35)
This planner was requested I review when I asked on my Instagram. Right off the bat, I notice how community-centric this brand is! They are really helping to build support around the Passion Planner.
This brand has many different options as well, except these are NOT spiral, they are softbound covers. The dated yearly has 4 different covers available in 3 different sizes (small, medium large) and can also start on a Sunday or Monday with weekly/hourly views. There are also undated, academic, and daily available.
The passion planner helps set goals and keep your eye on your passions. The format inside is all black and white, which makes color coding easy, and having hourly time slots in a weekly format allows you to see your schedule like you would on, let's say, a Google Calendar weekly view.
This planner is not for you if you don't need to worry about when specific items are happening in a day (i.e. you want white space for a daily versus writing in time-specific). It's not for you if you do not want to journal/reflect/plan for future goals and passions.
When I started looking up this option, I realized I had ordered this in the past, but quickly discovered that I am not the type of person that can block my days in time (i.e. half hours/hours). I need more freedom for creativity and flow.
(affiliate link from Amazon)
Plum Paper Planner (Starts at $29)
Customization meets fun! Similar to Erin Condren, there may be too many customizations to be able to list!
These planners are available in 3 different sizes, all with a spiral-bind (or bind yourself). There are a ton of different covers to choose from and personalize, as well as layouts (vertical, horizontal, daily, monthly, etc) plus options within layouts. You can choose what month you start with and there are endless add-ons: meal planning, business goal setting, blog, social media, teacher, self-care, fitness, coloring pages, notes and lists, etc. This is the cheapest option that is also customizable.
This planner is not for you if you do not want to sort through options and personalize to fit what you specifically need. Though the covers are fun and bright, the inside pages are more simple with black and white (some color), but you can even customize headers, etc. It may be overwhelming if you want something simple.
If you want to save 10% off your first order of $30, send me your email!
Simplified Planner by Emily Ley (Starts at $48)
Last but not least, let's check out the simplified planner which is exactly what it sounds like.. the simple, no-fuss option!
There are daily with spiral or weekly hardbound versions available. There are some rainbow colors in the planners, but they are tastefully done (and the signature of the Simplified/Emily Ley brand). Included is a 30-day simplify challenge for your home.
This option is not for you if you want to be able to customize your planner. It also does not "hold paper" well as it is smaller than a full size sheet of paper, so everything would have to be folded in half.
I used this planner for 2018 and I have to admit, I did really like it. I enjoyed its somewhat smaller size and feeling like a notebook since I cart mine around with me a lot.
Let's look at some needs and which planner I would recommend...
I want the most amount of space per day.
If you are worried about having space per day and do not care about seeing what I call "week at a glance," I suggest one of the daily options from either the Desire Map, Erin Condren, Golden Coil, Plum Paper, or Simplified.
I want simple.
The most simple insides are available are Dream Planner, Golden Coil, or Simplified.
I want to help get organized for my goals.
If you are using your planner to help you crush goals this year, go for the Full Focus planner. Others that may be helpful are The Desire Map, Dream Planner, or Passion Planner.
I don't want to spend a lot, but want more than just a month view.
To customize on a budget, I'd recommend the Plum Paper Planner. The Passion Planner is also a great price.
I want to customize my planner to suit my needs.
The best for customizing are Erin Condren, Golden Coil, or Plum Paper.
I want to see everything at a glance.
This is totally me. I need to at least have a weekly view, and I love the Dream Planner for this because 1 page is a to-do list and 1 page is set for the week's schedule. You could also customize one from the 3 mentioned above.
I get totally overwhelmed by options.
Go for basics! Check out the Dream Planner or Simplified Planner.
I hope this round-up helps you discover the right planner for you! Tell me what you use in the comments, I love hearing and I'd love to explore new options. If I missed one, drop it below and I'll add it to this post.