I have been waiting for this moment since June. It’s time to pick the perfect planner for 2019. (I’m not kidding about June. Like, if you scroll through my Twitter history, you’ll definitely see a distraught Marisa back in June obsessing over what planner she should use in 2019.)

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The Perfect Planner for 2019 | As 2018 comes to a close, it's time to pick the perfect planner for 2019.

Original photo by STIL 

One of the reasons I love planners the way that I do is because it allows me to stay in control of the things I can control. I only have a finite amount of time in each day (as do you, by the way) and I need to be able to see how I’m using it. A lot of people tell me they think I’m super productive and have my shit together, but the thing is that I just have my planner together. Without time tracking and time blocking, I would be a mess.

So, if this is going to be the year that you finally start that blog or YouTube channel or write that novel, I’m going to recommend that you get a planner. I know a lot of people who believe the reminder app on their phone or Google Calendar is enough. And maybe it is. But if you find that you consistently can’t make time for the things you want to do, or you struggle to balance all the stuff life throws at you, it’s time for a paper planning system.

Here’s the thing with planners, though. They should evolve as your needs change. I used one type of planner when I was in college, and another kind when I was in grad school. Then, when I had a non-teaching day job, I used something that is completely different than what I use now. The perfect planner for 2019 has nothing to do with brand loyalty. In fact, as a planner, you can’t afford to be loyal to brands.

(I know this is planner blasphemy.)

The perfect planner for 2019 is one that covers all the bases you need covered. FULL STOP. So, with that in mind, I wanted to share some planners and planning systems that have worked for me over the years. Then, based on your needs, you can pick what will work best for you.

RELATED POST:  Bullet Journal Pages and How They Evolve

Also, if you’re worried about hte planner price point (they can get really expensive!) check out this post from Retro Housewife Goes Green about planners for every price point.

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The Perfect Planner for 2019

Flexible Planners

For this post, I’m defining flexible planners as anything that gives you control over the pages inside the actual planner. I will be using a combination of all these this year, because I’m trying to figure out the system that’s going to be best for me. Insert-Based Planners


One good thing about insert-based planners is that you shell out the dollars for the planner cover itself, and then you can use it for years to come. All you have to do is change the pages themselves when you need to. As we all know, I’m a traveler’s notebook girl, and probably will be until I die. I just like the size of the notebooks and how it enables me to have a bunch of separate inserts so I can plan and write at the same time. I’ll be using this notebook this year, with a ton of grid inserts.

RING-BOUND SYSTEMS: I’m also currently toying with the idea of shelling out some cash for an A5 ring binder, like the Filofax or Kikki K, to use for goal tracking and project tracking. It would be one that sat on my desk at home, and wouldn’t be used for time blocking or daily planning. Mostly, it would be how I tracked quarterly goals and such. And while Filofax and Kikki K are kind of the “planning industry standard” when it comes to ring-bound planning systems, best believe that mama ain’t too proud to use something off-brand and cheap like this one. And I’ve heard good things about Carpe Diem and Webster’s Pages.

HAPPY PLANNER: And finally, you can’t discount the Happy Planner. If you like a disc-bound system and don’t mind a cover that can’t take the level of abuse that I regularly give my planners, I think the Happy Planner is a good option. It’s relatively cheap, and it’s sold at Michael’s, so you know the accessories for it are basically always on sale. Plus, there are tons of different inserts depending on your needs. So they make them for health tracking or for moms or teachers or makers. Plus, there are tons of accessories you can buy for the seasons.

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Bullet Journal

If you know me in real life, then you know that I spend too much time watching bullet journal plan with me videos on YouTube. (You’ll also know that I’m probably going to unleash some of my own on the world very, very soon.) I’ll be bullet journaling in a traveler’s notebook this year, and I’m doing it because I want to test out a bunch of different layouts and see what I really need in a planner. I’ve been enjoying the Passion Planner, but now that I can no longer get it in the compact size, it’s time for a change. So, if you’re interested in seeing how my planning system evolves through 2019, make sure you subscribe to my YouTube channel.

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Static Planners

Static planners are the ones that you use just as they come. I used to really love me some static planners, but I’ve entered a phase of my life where I need something new from my planner. Know that all the planners listed here are ones that I have used and loved, and they served me well during the season of life I used them in. So, if you’re new to planning, I might recommend starting here just to get an idea of where you need to go with your planning.

PASSION PLANNER: I’ve got several YouTube videos and blog posts about how I’ve used this planner this year. I like that the compact size (no longer available) fit in an A5 traveler’s notebook, and I like that the weekly spread gives you a place to write your to do list for your personal stuff, as well as your day job. Each day is laid out in 30-minute increments, and it’s great for time blocking. If you’re interested in this one, here’s how I set up my Passion Planner in a traveler’s notebook, and here’s how I set up my Passion Planner in a traveler’s notebook.

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ERIN CONDREN: I think this planner is the best way to get into planners. I used the Erin Condren system for two years, and I had no complaints until I did. At the time I used it, there weren’t as many options as there are now. And the one thing I really needed from the layout was the ability to put appointments and deadlines at the right times, and that was the one thing it didn’t offer. Also, I just really hate that metal spiral. It snags on EVERYTHING.

BARNES AND NOBLE SOFTCOVER DESK DIARY: This is a really lovely little planner, and I’m sure you’ve seen it at Barnes and Noble. I used this planner for two years, and I really liked that it gave you places to write what was going on at different times. (I love me an hourly planner!) The one issue that I had with it is that it’s so big. It’s meant to sit on your desk so you can see what your appointments are at a glance, so if that’s how you want to use it, it’s going to be perfect. But know that it’s probably too big to put into the average bag/purse.

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What’s Your Perfect Planner for 2019?

What system are you going with this year? What’s the best planner you ever bought? What sort of things do you look for in a planner? Let me know in the comments! I love talking planners, and I can’t wait to see what everyone is going to be using next year.

4 Responses

  1. It may not be sexy or trendy, but I use a Franklin Planner two-page-a-day ring planner, in the Classic size. I’ve used it for a gazillion years, and it works for me. It stays at home (used to stay at work, when I had a fulltime job). It’s fountain pen friendly, which is a must. Last year I added a Hobonichi Weeks, because I wanted a way to have a prioritized task list for the week. I pull out tasks to put on my daily task lists in my Franklin Planner.

    A lot of my planner use is for recording what happened, and not just to plan what should happen. I often refer back to my planners for notes on phone calls, events, etc. I’m still bemused by the washi tape/stickers/stamps that seem to be the planner rage nowadays. I’ve dabbled in them, but they don’t seem to be my thing.

    1. Now that I know the Franklin Planner is fountain pen friendly, I may have to get one. And I’m in love with Hobonichi products, but haven’t ever purchased any myself.

      I know what you mean about washi tape—I have some, but forget to use it like 85% of the time.

  2. I’m going with the Simplified Planner by Emily Ley, the weekly version. I’m still kind of hemming and a hawing a bit though because something doesn’t quite feel right, but it could just be me being weird and/or suffering from FOMO. Whatevs.

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