How to Choose a Planner System That Is Best For You

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Hey guys! I have a post today that could be good for those who are new to planning and maybe even those who are not new but haven’t found that “planner peace” yet.

How to Choose a Planner System…

I’m going to break down the different planner systems that I know and give some pros and cons for each type and how to know if they’ll be right for you.

How to Choose a Planner System That Is Best For You

Okay, so these are the THREE planner systems I’ve used and I’ll share my experiences with a Binder system, a pre-bound planner such as the Erin Condren Life Planner, and the Staples Arc/Discbound system.

Here are the things you want to keep in mind when choosing a system-

-Which system fits your budget best? Do you want to spend the bulk up front with little “upkeep” or can you afford to pay a little bit for your planner regularly?
-Do you need your system to be smaller and more portable to take on the go?
-Are you okay with a planner that is set up and ready to go or do you want to customize your planner and put what you want inside it? For just planning,  a pre-bound planner is great, but if you want to organize things and keep track of things, a binder or Arc system may be the way to go.
-Do you want both?
-Do you need a lot of room to write?

There are definitely more questions you could ask yourself when considering planners, but these are the basics.

How to Choose a Planner System That Is Best For You

A Binder System

Okay, when I say “Binder System” I’m referring to products such as Filofax, kikki.K, etc… These products take the good old fashioned way of keeping things together (a standard binder) and make them portable and more fun! These products both normally come with their own set of basic planner inserts, but are totally customizable and you can purchase inserts- printed & ready to go OR printable to put into your system. With a system like this you can combine a planner and household binder. You can add any sections you want to keep things organized. The initial purchase of the binder can be pricey, but printables and replacement inserts from the company are usually inexpensive. I currently use this binder to keep track of different things, such as our budget, meal planning, my blog and business tracking, etc… These binders actually come in a few different sizes, so you have some flexibility there, but I prefer the A5 size so I have plenty of room to write.

How to Choose a Planner System That Is Best For You

A Pre-Bound Planner System

There are several companies now that sell pre-bound planner systems. These systems are fun and usually very functional, with cute designs. The leg work is done for you because the planner is set up and ready to go. However, they are not very customizable, you can insert some things in if you’d like but it can be difficult and you can’t add very much without bulking up the planner. Also, these systems are a little pricey and you’d need to buy a new one every year. For pre-bound systems, I recommend the Erin Condren Life Planner– her planner is so cute & you can even customize the cover to any design of hers you’d like + add your name. I’m planning to buy another this year when the new Life Planners launch in May. These are smaller than a standard notebook, so still decent for portability.

How to Choose a Planner System That Is Best For You

The Arc Notebook/Discbound Notebook systems are similar to binder systems, and totally customizable. The binders are not as expensive, but you do need a special punch to insert pages which is a little bit of an investment. Again with these systems, you can buy their planner inserts, but they’re usually pretty plain and boring. You can also purchase printables to put in your “notebook”. With most printables, they’re yours to keep and print as much as you need, so this would be a one time investment as well, and they’re pretty inexpensive. I used this system before I invested in my Filofax, and do strongly recommend it! I will probably use it again some day as I tend to change up planners. If you want to take your Arc Notebook with you on the go, I recommend the half size Arc Junior. A bonus with these is that you can purchase different sized rings so your planner can hold more or less depending on what you want!

If you are interested in exploring printables, I have a ton that are available in my shop if you’d like to check them out here!

Here’s what I do-

I use an Erin Condren to plan my weeks and then I use my Filofax to keep track of things! I use printables for my Filofax, so the cost of the Filofax was one investment up front and then minimal for paper and ink every few months, then I buy my new Erin Condren once a year as well. I like having both planners because I use the Erin Condren mostly for scheduling, time management and things like that. The filofax is more for keeping track of things so this system works perfectly for me. You could even purchase a printable planner to put into the Filofax so you could have it all in once place!

Check out my most recent planner organization posts-

January 2015 Planner Update
How I Plan in my Erin Condren Life Planner

My fellow planners- what other things do you think a person should keep in mind when choosing a planner? Share in the comments!

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19 Comments

  1. Love your tips on choosing the right planner! I have Happy Planner & Arc from Staples-wiring on a Carpe Diem. Such fun to use and play with!

  2. Great article for reference. I wish I knew this months ago but I have the right one. Thats some planner peace.☺
    Thanks for sharing.

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