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William Campbell
William Campbell

Where To Buy A Good Planner

Paper planners are calendars that help you keep track of tasks, appointments, ideas, and so on. They let you see the week or month all at once, in a clear and legible way. No planner is one-size-fits-all. Picking one comes down to personal preference, whether you like to schedule things down to the minute or just jot a few weekly notes. Some people want a balance of enough space for their jottings but in a book that can easily fit in their bag.

where to buy a good planner


Planner styles get even more detailed, and we break down the ways to choose what's right for you at the end of this guide. We talked to two stationery store owners and a productivity expert to get their advice on how to pick a planner.

"There are lots of different, great planners, and it just kind of depends on thinking about how you want to plan your week and how you want to visualize your week," said Jeremy Crown, who co-owns Little Otsu, a paper store in Portland, Oregon. Whatever style of planner you prefer, you'll be able to find something in the list below.

The planner also comes with stickers to help you personalize your pages. With a sturdy cover in colors from black to rose gold to royal blue, it should be easy enough to find one that matches your style.

Compact yet rugged enough to toss in a backpack, Field Notes' 56-week planner is no-frills but fully functional. Each week gets two pages, with Saturday and Sunday sharing space. They're undated, so you can start anytime, miss a couple weeks, and pick back up without wasting pages. As the name suggests, you get space for over a year, with 112 pages total.

Bloom's planners are full of lists and charts for you to fill out and help you figure out how to schedule the year ahead. There are vision boards and habit-tracking options included. You can also sign up for additional, downloadable sheets for bill tracking, meal planning, and so on.

The nice thing about Bloom is that it has almost countless options for getting exactly what you want. The planners come in both softcover and hardcover options, and there are several planner layouts to choose from. For teachers, there are undated versions, as well as ones that start in July. If you have a wedding or new baby on the horizon, there are planners for that, too.

The classic version of the Panda Planner is undated, with room for three months of daily tracking. There are also weekly and monthly sections, and the planner is designed for those who need lots of on-page support, with boxes for morning and end-of-day reviews, habit tracking, and priorities. Each day gets an undated two-page spread, so you can skip weekends if you want something more work-focused.

For anyone interested in gratitude journaling, this planner is made for daily reflections, including short sections on things you're grateful for, goals you want to accomplish, and good deeds you did that day. It also has inspirational quotes and a habit tracker for more ambitious goal-setting.

There are a few styles to choose from, including undated, daily, and weekly layouts. On the website, you can also choose whether you want your planner's week to begin on Sunday or Monday. Small, medium, and large sizes are available, with the biggest being a bit larger than a standard sheet of paper.

This well-designed, pocket-sized planner from Quo Vadis has a textured, faux leather cover. It's helpful to go on the Quo Vadis website because it lays out all the options available for its planners: Academic or calendar year; daily, weekly, or monthly format; and small, medium, or large size.

The planner's weekly layout is vertical, with scheduling space from 8 a.m. to 9 p.m. There are large squares on the right page for extra notes. The cover comes in several colors, and you can also find the planner in faux suede or smooth faux leather options.

The planner features a simple calendar grid each month for jotting down quick reminders or plans, and has a section on the side for extra notes. Still, considering the small size, this notebook is best if you anticipate using it for bare-bones planning (such as dinner reservations or birthdays). It also has a separate section for writing down contact information and has a list of the year's holidays as a quick reference.

Happy Planner is all about making its products work for you, so there are quite a few ways to customize your planner. It offers vertical and dashboard layouts, as well as a few different sizes and undated options. You can also buy plenty of stickers to add more flair, and we also like the planner's disc-bound binding, which is like a three-ring binder you don't have to open and close.

Slim yet sturdy, Blue Sky's academic planner gives students weekly planning layouts for June through July of next year. Some layouts give equal space to Saturday and Sunday as the rest of the week, which is perfect for people whose study and work schedules don't end on Friday. There are also two sizes so you can decide whether you prefer more room to write or something a bit more portable. (A few more sizes are available, though the design choices are much more limited.)

The front has a section dedicated to chronicling yearly goals. There's also space for contacts and notes. The covers tend to lean toward the pastel and floral, but there are some more understated options. For between $10 and $20, it's hard to beat the style and functionality you get with this academic planner.

For many teachers, the new year really starts in the summer as they start to plan for back to school. The 4theloveofpi planners begin in July and run through June of the next year. You can opt for layouts based on the number of subjects you teach, from one to eight. Each planner comes with pages dedicated to checklists and student notes. Unlike some teacher planners, this one has space for weekend plans, too.

The covers come in a range of styles, including subject-specific options for science, math, special education, and more. Add-ons for seating charts, students' health information, professional development, and expense tracking are also available. This isn't the most budget-friendly teacher planner out there, but the thoughtful design and customizability are ideal for teachers with hectic schedules.

There are an overwhelming number of planner types. Chandra Greer, who owns Greer, a stationery store in Chicago, Illinois, prioritizes stocking her store with functional, quality options, knowing they might not be the right fit for everyone. "I'm more interested in the function," she said. "Is the layout useful? Is it something that is going to withstand being your daily friend for 365 days?"

For some people, a planner is merely a portable calendar, Cavoulacos said. Other people want to track projects and create to-do lists. The amount of detail per day will start to dictate how much space you need.

There are many reasons you might decide to buy an undated calendar. "People might decide on March 28th, they want a planner," said Greer. "But if a planner is dated, they're already three months through the year."

When someone comes into Little Otsu looking for a planner, co-owner Jeremy Crown first asks, "Are you more of a task-oriented planner?" He thinks people with detailed schedules or long to-do lists may prefer the column format of vertical layouts, while those who like making notes or doodling might prefer the horizontal layout.

Doctors, nurses, and chefs always want pocket-sized notebooks and planners, said Crown. You might want something big enough to hold your sprawling handwriting but small enough to carry around in your purse or messenger bag.

Both Greer and Cavoulacos point out that you can add your own quotes and personalizations to even the most minimalist planner, as long as there's space. "It could become more of a person's little command center," said Greer.

"I definitely gravitate towards manufacturers who have a background in paper," she said, recommending notebook or paper companies that have planners such as Midori, Paperways, High Tide, and Kokuyo Jibun Techo.

Even if you're not into paper, you'll want to pay attention to the cover's material. Hardcovers will stand up to more wear and tear than softcovers. "Sometimes people will trade that durability for something that doesn't cost very much, but definitely people are expecting [their planner] to get through the whole year and not look like it was run over by a truck," Greer said.

It's important that planners lie flat since you're writing in them. Many are spiral bound, but others are stitch bound. Either will let you write on them, but you can flip one side of the book behind the other with a spiral binding. "A lot of people are kind of indifferent between spiral and stitch bound now, as long as it lies flat because that's really what they're looking for," Greer said.

Another concern with the binding is whether it will keep the planner together for the whole year. Some glued-in pages might not hold out as well. "If you have something that's stitch-bound or spiral, it's very sturdy for the long haul," Greer said.

"I don't necessarily think a planner is for everybody, just like any particular productivity hack or tool," Cavoulacos said. There are plenty of people who prefer to keep their calendars and notes strictly digital, and getting a paper planner might not make sense for them.

The brighter the planner, the less likely it is to get lost in the shuffle. This undated planner by Clever Fox categorizes your day into five key areas: productivity, passion, motivation, happiness and focus. By being undated, it means you can start when you're ready, or pickup where you left off easily.