Productivity

Every planner I’ve ever used – and mini reviews

I think I’ve been planning now for around five years or so.

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In that time, I’ve used lots of different planners in the search for ‘planner peace’. I counted up and have used 13 different planning systems since I started my planning journey. These are just the planners that I’ve used to do weekly planning in. There’s also planners such as A5 Filofaxes and Kikki K’s that I’ve used for other things (see my home planner post for an idea). After all those planners I think I’ve finally found a set up that really works – my Hobonichi Cousin and Weeks.

Because I’ve gone through so many, I thought it would be fun to take a trip down memory lane and do a mini review of each of them.

Grandeluxe Executive Portfolio Planner

Look how old this picture is!

This was my first planner back in the planning world after uni. I’d seen it after reading a review online and ordered one. It was a fairly standard coiled planner with a faux leather cover.

It was a great introduction back into planning and had everything I needed to keep on top of life and work. In this planner, I kept both areas together.

This was also the first planner I ever decorated.

Cringe! Look how messy this looks!

This was a nice planner but it was a bit boring looking and also pretty overpriced for what it was (around $70). Once I got into the planning community proper, I found a whole world of planners I could try.

Livework planner

For my next planner, I went for something a bit more fun looking after discovering the wonders of Korean stationery.

I loved this planner. With lots of yearly and monthly planning space, along with some note pages at the back, this was lovely to plan in. With one week to a page it was more than enough space for me to plan.

Ban.Do Planner*

Despite not really needing much more space I decided to upgrade to a Ban.Do planner. I was drawn in by the beautiful design and cool branding. This thing was huge and I really couldn’t fill it each week.

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Last week in my Ban.do planner! It was all about the pandas…

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It made me sad how empty it looked each week! I also struggle to write neatly without lines and so my writing always looked a bit iffy in this.

Erin Condren

I finally succumbed to the Erin Condren phase after I gave up on the Ban.Do planner. Erin Condren is a planning rite of passage, everyone needs to try it at least once! I didn’t really plan in this for too long. It was mainly purchased so I could create sticker kits for it really.

I didn’t like the lack of lines, and the three blocks for each day. Also, there wasn’t really any space at the back for any other kind of planning. I began to realise that a coiled/bound planner wasn’t really for me. I needed something with a bit more flexibility (and a little less space).

Personal Filofax*

My first Filofax was a Personal Fuchsia Original*. I absolutely loved this planner. The colour, the size, the flexibility of inserts. I put Just So Stationery inserts in there which were perfect (and a much better paper quality than the Filofax ones). This was the first planner that I think I really felt organised using.

Over time I’ve added more personals to my collection. I now have a Nude Original and Burnt Orange Original. I’ve also bought a few that I then sold on – a zipped Kate Spade (the zip really annoyed me), some Kikki K’s (as pretty as they are, the quality just isn’t good enough for me) and a Webster’s Pages (very cheap feeling).

Despite my love of the Hobonichi, I do feel like I’ll come back to a personal one day.

Standard Traveler’s Notebook

I spent ages debating purchasing the beautiful blue Midori. First, I tried some bullet journaling in it.

I actually really enjoyed using this as a bullet journal of sorts. It was also my first time trying bullet journalling. I’ve also tried using pre-printed inserts in this, so I could do some decorative planning in it.

Ultimately though, I don’t enjoy using TNs. I really hate that the booklets don’t lay flat and the fact that they feel a little loose in the strings. Writing in them also doesn’t seem as easy as in other set ups.

Happy Planner Classic

So despite not really liking the Erin Condren, I decided to try the Happy Planner. 

My first Happy Planner I used as a health and fitness planner. I actually quite liked the layout of this planner. You could buy add on pages meaning you had a bit more flexibility with it. The design itself also just seemed a bit sleeker than the EC.

Mini Happy Planner

When they released the Mini, I had to purchase one to give it a try. I liked the small size and lined pages.

In the end, it was actually the lines that stopped me using this. They were a bit too thick and noticeable. This ended up going to work as a work planner. It actually worked really nicely as one too.

Leuchtturm A5*

This was my next stab at bullet journaling, with the OG bullet journal, the Leuchtturm Bullet Journal Edition*. 

I really liked using this, though I wasn’t a fan of how thin the paper was. I loved basically being able to put my whole life in this one notebook. Monthly and weekly plans, long term goal planning and anything else I could think of. The only reason I stopped using this though was the effort of setting it up each week and month. Also, as is often the case with bullet journals, I felt a lot of pressure to make it look pretty. I’m not the most artistic and I felt I was putting myself under necessary pressure to make this look good. Planning is supposed to be fun, not a chore.

Pocket Filofax

I liked the idea of an everyday carry planner. I never used to take my main planner out with me, so if I needed to know any future plans while I was out of the house, I was kind of stuffed. So I purchased a Pocket Finsbury to turn into an EDC.

But this was way too small for me. It also wouldn’t lay flat which meant writing in it was a massive pain.

Big Happy Planner

There was a good deal on Big Happy Planners that I came across and as it was the final size I hadn’t tried, I thought ‘why not?’

I didn’t stay in this for too long. It was a bit large and I’d just ordered my first Hobonichi – the Cousin!

Hobonichi Cousin

This arrived first and while I couldn’t use it until Jan 2018 I already knew I loved the style of these planners and so ordered its baby brother, the Weeks. 

I’ve been using this for over a year now and I think it’s the longest I’ve stayed in a planner consecutively. The weekly and monthly pages are perfect and the daily pages can be used for so many different things. It’s basically a hybrid bullet journal for me and I love it.

Hobonichi Weeks

I actually started using this before the Cousin, despite ordering after because this starts at the beginning of December, not January. I haven’t always got on well with this planner though, due to it’s small size. I’ve been using it as an EDC and this year I purchased a Hobonichi Ane pouch to keep it in, which I also now use as a purse. 

That’s a lot of planners!

That doesn’t even include others that I’ve purchased, quickly realised weren’t for me and sold on. Interestingly the two main ones were both A6 – the original Hobonichi and an A6 TN.

I’d like to say that I’ll stay in Hobonichi and although I do think I’ll use them in my planning for a long time to come, I’m not sure it’ll be exclusively. Both personal size ring planners and bullet journalling attract me from time to time. I’m not someone who can use a different planner every week though, as I like to keep everything all in one place. So if I do go back to either of those planning styles, it’ll be for a prolonged period of time.

How many planners have you tried since you’ve been planning? I’d love to know if my number of just under three a year is the average? Let me know in the comments!

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