Planner 101: Which to buy and Why

Planners are important. To anyone who knows me they know they preach this down their throats. I was talking to my friend Jody about the study community on tumblr and she asked me the dreaded words that changed my life forever…

“Have you heard about the planner community?”

From there, we watched two youtube videos and rushed to Target (which we JUST came back from 10 minutes before) and I bought so many pens and sticky notes which would last a normal person about three years. The next day, we spent a few hours in Michaels and got more stickers and more sticky notes. The next week I bought a Happy Planner which caused me to buy so many Mambi Happy Planner products and stickers. An obsession to say the least.

I also have a bullet journal that I hold very near and dear to my heart. (I’m saying all these words and you might not have any idea what I’m talking about BUT you will know what I’m saying by the end of the post I promise)


So during the school year people used to ask me all the time why I was so organized or on top of my things. My answer is always the same thing: From planning and devoting more time into my planner than just simply writing things down.

So what is a planner? The simple definition of planners are that its a list or chart with information that is an aid to planning. Basic planners help make to-do lists, write down due dates, help you remember certain things and appointments.

These are the basic planners that everyone at one point in their life has had (i’m assuming)

Plain, simple and straight to the point.

Common approach in these planners is what the planner community calls “pen and paper planning” where the only objects needed is pen and paper, no stickers, no washi tape.

Now these planners are okay for doing the basics and writing your to dos and deadlines (if you actually have that about of commitment level) but some people aren’t satisfied with this method because they look for more direction, structure and guidance with planners. Most people write stuff down and never complete it, so people tend to give up on the ideas of planners altogether.



(i hate me!!)

(we will be going from most intense to least intense type of planning)

Everyone plans differently and it really is the manner of how much your commitment level is. Personally, I need to go FULL FORCE and dedicate a bunch of time to my planner to get things done (which caused me to buy a million stickers and an obsession).

Erin Condren planners


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A blank weekly spread (most popularly seen)
  • around $60-70
  • comes it vertical, horizontal and hourly versions
  • not as commonly used for pen and paper, more used with stickers and washi tape
  • well known Erin Condren planners on youtube: Scribble Prints Co
  • offer a lot of stickers and accessories on website
  • not offered in stores
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a decorated “no white space” look in weekly spread
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Screen Shot 2016-08-17 at 3.50.42 PM Horizontal spread
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Hourly spread

Mambi Happy Planners

Instagram: @the_happy_planner

  • at most $30
  • sold online, at Michaels or Hobby Lobby
  • basically a cheaper alternative from Erin Condren
  • Currently only the vertical option is available but they are releasing horizontal ones in the future
  • Can rip papers in and out without damaging them
  • have different inserts to add in like fitness planners, recipe planners, wedding planners or home planners etc.

Differences from Erin Condren:

  • cheaper!!
  • pages are removable (which helps a lot on Wednesday and Thursday)
  • no lines at the bottom but a quote instead
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Blank weekly spread in the 2016-2017 planners
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Happy planner stickers
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Another weekly spread

Passion Planners


  • around $25-$30, online only
  • made from UCLA grad student
  • week at a glance, hourly view
  • black and white spreads
  • philosophy is focused on goals and doing things everyday toward your 3 month, 1 year, 3 year and life time goals

Unique differences:

  • Daily focus at the top
  • has monthly reflections
  • big blank on the right page to put whatever you want
  • has to do’s and priority list on the bottom left
  • can choose whether you want the week for start on Monday or Sunday
  • can choose whether you want a undated calendar (for if you don’t use it every week) or dated
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The two different sizes offered

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In the beginning of the planner, they have two different road maps that are surrounded by the philosophy that you should do something each day that goes toward you long term goals

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Weekly spread


You can decorate the spreads with washi tape and stickers like Erin Condren or use sticky notes and highlighters to block of periods of time.

Bullet Journaling

  • can be done in ANY notebook/journal of your choice
  • often done with blank paper, graph paper or dotted paper (but lined works too!)
  • made to help compile all your lists you need into one book
  • great!! for goal setting and planning toward goals
  • you can literally do/put ANYTHING you want
  • If you want to implement something one week or month but don’t have to continue it every month.
  • You can make it your own!! Can make weekly spreads, daily spreads, monthly spreads and/or decorate however you want because its all blank pages.

Popular Spreads

  • habit trackers: make grid with each habit on the side and dates at the top and make check off if you complete that habit for that day
  • gratitude log: writing a thing you’re thankful for everyday
  • packing lists, exercise logs, books to read, tv shows to watch, cleaning schedule, memory tracker etc.

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spreads can be as decorative or plain as you want!

Above is samples from “Boho Berry” on youtube where she shows daily spreads, weekly spreads and also her habit tracker


  • up to about $120 (online only)
  • you’re classy as hell if you have one of these
  • binder methods with inserts
  • can choose to have SO many different types of layouts
  • ^basically anything you can think of

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A decorated spread

Happiness Planner

  • about $40-$60 online (also offered at Anthropologie)
  • offered in daily or weekly spreads
  • implements daily things and goals
  • has places for gratitude and sections off area for what to improve for next day
  • has monthly reflections
  • offer 100 day planner as well and printables on their website

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Cool things to note:

  • Good Things About Today
  • What I Hope For Tomorrow
  • A place for exercise and meals without it being in separate planner
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Content offered in the back of the planner

Moleskine planners

  • around $15-$30
  • daily/weekly/monthly/panoramic spreads available
  • can choose between pocket, large and extra large size (and choose if you want hard or soft cover)
  • very popular because of the simplicity and minimalist spreads


Planners above show the horizontal spread with a blank page offered for more notes. The planners on the right are daily spreads  (a page each day) which have hours listed on the left said (but I mean you could also cover them up or ignore them, my old roommate did that haha)

And those are the big planners in the planner community.

So lets recap:

Why planning is important:

  • With the up and coming planner community, people are able to use their planner to organize their life and goals, not just their schedules
  • Planners are great for highlighting what you want to work on and writing it down
  • Remember: You are more likely to do something if it’s written down

Suggestions for Planners:

  • If you are into the whole decorating and sticker thing: Erin Condren or Happy Planners
  • If you are more into simplicity of things and want more space but some structure: Passion Planner or Moleskine
  • If you feel like you never have enough in regulated structured planners and want to extend outside that structure: Bullet Journals
  • If you’re rich and classy but into the whole simple weekly and daily spread: Filofax
  • If you’re looking for a structured planner that you’re looking to put EVERYTHING in and structured goal setting: Happiness Planner

So go grab yourself a planner and be proddduuuccttivvvee!!


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