Everything you need to know about all different types of planners
When it comes to organization and productivity, there’s no substitute for a comprehensive planner. You’ll find that planners come in all shapes and sizes, with many specialized features, each one tailored to a specific need.
But why bother with productivity planning? Research shows that you are much more likely to regret what you didn’t do (72%) than how you handled your actual responsibilities in life (28%).
Planners, whether digital or paper, can help you organize multiple aspects of your life to reach your goals. Creating good habits around productivity planning can literally change your life.
This guide aims to show you all the different types of planners and highlights their differences. We recommend one paper and a digital version for every kind of planner.
This guide includes
- What is a planner?
- Types of planners
- Paper Vs Digital Planners: Which Should You Choose?
What is a planner?
A planner is a digital or physical tool to help you plan, track and organize multiple aspects of your life.
12 Types of planners
1. Work planners
This is one of the most used types of planners, why? We’ll explain it to you.
Work planners help you stay on top of things and priorities and stay organized. With a work planner, you can note ideas, outline plans and strategies, and collaborate with your team.
It helps you track your day-to-day activities, client meetings, deadlines, and payments.
All these details will be organized in one place so that you don’t have to refer to different applications, notebooks, or e-mails.
Our picks as work planners:
- Digital: Asana. Great for collaborative work, Asana helps you to organize your work and your team’s tasks.
- Paper: Leuchtturm1917. Ideal as a personal work planner. It is perfect for streamlining your appointments and duties.
2. Bullet journal (BuJo)
BuJo is a simple journal where you use bullet points to plan your entire day, weeks, and months. Bullet journals don’t go into too much detail and are great for those who like to keep things simple and minimal.
This video from the official Bullet Journal account is an essential guide to learning how to keep a BuJo.
Our picks for BuJo:
- Digital: Bullet journal app for the ones who prefer to use the phone as a BuJo instead of a physical planner.
- Paper: The classic BuJo journal printed version is the best way to kick-start your Bullet Journal journey.
3. Personal planners
These planners are great for keeping your personal and professional lives separate. In the personal planner, you can note appointments, schedule important dates, plan date nights, and even plan meals.
Our picks for personal planners:
- Digital: Todoist. Great app for dropping all your to-dos and organizing per date, priority, and topic.
- Paper: JSTORY Weekly Planner 28. A colorful, funky personal planner that you can tailor to your weekly schedule.
4. Financial planners
Keeping your finances together may seem overwhelming. Financial planners help you to stay on top of your finances with ease.
Those planners allow you to centralize your bills, expenses, income, and investments.
Our picks for financial planners:
- Digital: Google sheets. A great tool to build your personal finance template and make calculations and projections.
- Paper: Clever Fox Budget Planner. A great template paper planner where you’ll have to write down your numbers.
5. Health and fitness planners
A dedicated type of planner can help you reach your health and fitness goals. Those planners allow you plan and track your daily workouts, meals, and journey.
Our picks for health and fitness planners:
- Digital: Peloton or Noom. Peloton is an awarded app for training and fun workouts. Noom functions as a journal to keep track of your meals and workouts.
- Paper: Fitlosophy Fitbook. A 12-week Fitness and Wellness Goal-Setting Journal will help you plan and track your workouts.
6. Travel planners
Travel planners help you to plan your holidays and travels. In the planner, you can collect all the info about your tickets, reservation codes, tips on where to go, tasks, and more.
Travel planners can also turn into great travel journals and store your memories.
Our picks for travel planners:
- Digital: Pilotplans. A fun and interactive travel planner that will keep together your reservations and itineraries.
- Paper: Travel Journal Duncan & Stone. A delightful paper travel planner that will serve as well as a journal for your trips.
7. Basic planners
Basic planners are a flexible solution for the ones who want to keep track of various activities.
Some planners report the day on the page and do not include all the details of the other types of planners we saw previously.
Our picks for basic planners:
- Digital: Notion. A note-taking app that can be turned into a planner thanks to its endless template options.
- Paper: Field Notes is a minimalist blank paper planner with empty text fields for each week day
8. Blank planners
They’re like a blank canvas: you can fill them with whatever you like. For example, you can use an empty planner for just one aspect of your life, such as financial planning or work, and use them as one place where you plan everything.
Our picks for Black planners:
- Digital: Notion. We already mentioned this app previously. It’s an easy-to-use and customizable note-taking tool.
- Paper: Golden Coil Customizable Planner. A versatile paper planner can serve multiple purposes, from meal planning to social media calendars.
9. Daily planners
Daily planners are focused on each day of the week. In a paper version, for example, a full page would be devoted to a weekday.
Daily planners are the best choice for those with many everyday tasks or list-makers who need to focus on their day-to-day organization.
Our picks for daily planners:
- Digital: Motion. A great calendar and planner app that keeps track of all your daily tasks.
- Paper: The Time-Block Planner. We’re a great fan of the time-blocking method. Hence, this paper planner is an idea for the ones who need deeper focus in their daily lives.
10. Weekly planners
Weekly planners usually showcase an entire week in one single overview. Those planners are great for juggling many weekly meetings, events, and deadlines.
Our picks for weekly planners:
- Digital: Google Calendar. The calendar displays all your appointments and duties in one clean overview and can be integrated with most planning apps.
- Paper: Rhodia Large Weekly Desk Planner. This paper version allows you to see your week at a glance and comes in various delightful colors.
11. Monthly planners
A monthly or quarterly planner is ideal if you have long-term goals—it works best for big-picture thinkers with many large-scale projects on their plates.
Our picks for monthly planners:
- Digital: Asana is fantastic to manage your long term projects and plans because is simple and intuitive to use.
- Paper: BestSelf Co. the Self Journal. Productivity journal that helps to break down ambitious goals in 90 days chunks.
12. Annual planners
An annual planner collects your yearly goals and plans. It offers you a helicopter view of the whole year. An annual planner also serves as a daily compass to orient your present decisions that will lead to your design.
Our picks for annual planners:
- Digital: Miro. A collaborative tool that allows you to organize thoughts via vision boards.
- Paper: At a Glance two years planner. This is a professionally designed planner for year-round planning.
Paper vs digital planners: Which one to choose?
Now that we have covered the different types of planners, it’s time to decide: paper or online. Let’s break down the pro and cons of each choice.
Paper planners are part of the stationary category. They’re paper diaries, agendas, or binders to help you organize different aspects of your life.
They can include a paper calendar and dedicated sections to your to-dos, finances, or notes.
Pros of using paper planners:
- If you’re used to think on paper, paper planners are what you need paper planners don’t need an internet connection
- They don’t need a charged device to function
- Writing on paper increases brain activity
- You’ll have a physical object as a recollection of your past efforts
Cons of using paper planners:
- If you lose it, you don’t have a back-up
- They occupy a physical space
- You can’t drag and drop activities easily
- They lack a search function
- They are not suited for collaborative work
A digital planner is a virtual integration of a calendar and planning tools. These can be personalized for your productivity but can also be team-oriented collaboration tools.
Pros of using digital planners:
- You can access your planner on any device
- They don’t occupy physical space
- You collaborate with your team or your family members
- Allow you to attach images, links, and copy-paste text
- Easy drag and drop events and reminders
- They often integrate with multiple apps and calendars
Cons of using digital planners:
- They may have a monthly subscription
- They need a digital divide with connection and battery in order to run
- You have to be careful how you’re data are stored (especially if they are free software)
How to use a planner?
A planner serves multiple purposes. Usually, you note your appointments, projects, and to-dos. But there are planners dedicated to your finances and trips. If you want to know how to use a planner, you might be interested in our guide.
How to use a planner ADHD?
Some of the best tips about using a planner with an ADHD brain are: pick the planner that works for you specifically and not what others suggest; don’t be too rigid in writing down everything; set a reminder to fill the planner; have an accountability buddy.
What is the best type of planner for me?
Depending on your needs and organizational style, you’ll need different planners. If you enjoy paper planners, explore the options we offer in this article. Otherwise, online planners are also an excellent solution for those who are more tech-savvy.
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