When I posted recently about my time management process, I mentioned the invite.L planner that I was using as my bullet journal. However, I was nearing the last page of that planner and I seemed to be having trouble tracking down another one. I realized I was going to have to find another planner to use.
I looked at a bunch of different planners. One of the most popular planners, from Erin Condren was a little expensive at $50, and I didn’t like the layout all that much. Others, like Simplified Planner, Day Designer, and Lilly Pullitzer were sold out of 2015 planners. I didn’t like that those seemed to have very limited production and I also didn’t really want to start a 2015 planner in April and have three wasted months. As I looked around, I decided that I would either have to find another blank notebook that would require that I do a lot of hand-written customization, or find a printed customizable planner.
I came across Personal Planner and loved the concept. I was a little reluctant because I had never heard of them and they were overseas (Sweden). But I looked around and found a few positive reviews, so I decided to go ahead and try them.
They have four different sizes. I chose the A5, as it was most similar in size and shape to my current bullet journal, but I was really tempted by the wide (landscape) and square planners as well. There is also a mini, but I knew I would need more space than that.
Their planners range in price from $30 to $40, which includes tax and shipping. At first I thought $40 was more than I wanted to spend. My previous bullet journal was around $20. But it was only thick enough for five or six months, which meant that I would have to buy at least two per year, making the cost the same. In addition, the fact that Personal-Planner is so customizable was appealing to me and I have some extra money coming in from consulting right now. So I decided to indulge myself, especially since they allow you to start the planner with any month you choose, meaning no wasted pages.
I actually found the customization process quite fun. At first I thought I could only choose a solid color cover with custom text on the front, but later when I went back to look at the covers again, I noticed tabs for Patterns and Design Themes at the top too. I found that there was actually a cover that matched the design theme that I had already chosen for my inside pages, so I selected that and put my initials and the date on that cover. If you want, you can even upload one of your own pictures for the cover.
On the inside, there is a ton of customization you can do, including choosing between English and several other European languages. Although the basic layout is the same (one week across two pages), there are several different ways you can design the writing space. You can also create your own list of important dates, which is really nice. So now I’ve got birthdays and anniversaries in my calendar as well. In addition to the writing space for each day there are three modules across the bottom that you can customize for the week, including a meal plan, workout schedule, to do list, and a lot more options.
Finally, there are three sections of back pages, which can also be customized. I chose an overview of 2015 and 2016 (3 months per page) and a mixture of lined and graph pages. If you are a teacher, they have some options for lesson planning.
If you want a more detailed step-by-step overview of customizing a planner, Ms. Wenduhh has a great review on her blog with lots of pictures.
The website says it takes about three weeks for the planner to arrive. I got mine in exactly two weeks.
What I liked:
- You can start the planner with any month
- It has heavy clear plastic covers over the paper covers
- It seems very sturdy
- It comes with a plastic pocket and a ruler that can be moved around in the planner wherever you need them
- The months are color coded on the edge of the pages – I don’t want tabs sticking out so this is a nice feature.
What I didn’t like:
- I’m used to having a whole page per day, so it will be interesting to see how it works to squeeze my to-do lists into the narrow columns
- I couldn’t change the colors for the modules at the bottom of each page, so I have one orange box that looks a little weird
Obviously, I had trouble coming up with things I didn’t like. It’s a great planner and I think I am going to like using it a lot.