Selecting the perfect planner–the right format, size, layout–can be a fraught experience. Here to simplify the process is Laurie Huff, the guru behind plannerisms.com. In this 3-part series, she’ll walk us through how to choose the best planner for you.
In my previous posts in this series I helped you decide which format of planner will work best for you, and what size planner you need. In this post I will focus on different formats of weekly planners, since weeklies are the most popular planner style. I will also discuss different types of covers and how to decide what to choose.
The Horizontal Weekly format is the most basic weekly format. It has the day spaces across the page with Monday through Wednesday or Thursday on the left page, and the rest of the week on the right page. These formats sometimes have a space for notes on the weekly page to add symmetry to the layout. Some examples of the horizontal weekly format are the Quo Vadis Hebdo, Moleskine Horizontal and the Cavallini weekly planner.
The Horizontal Weekly format is very popular because it is so flexible in its use. There is no dictated way to use it. You can use the daily spaces for your appointments, tasks, notes, or even sketches. You could also use the planner as a daily diary. The smaller daily spaces are less intimidating than a full daily page, and if you miss a day or two it’s easy to go back and fill in later. Shop all our Horizontal Weekly Planners here.
The Vertical Weekly format has days as columns, which is useful for seeing your day chronologically down the column. Some planners have timed columns, some lined without times, and some blank. Vertical columns are especially useful for planning how long activities will take, seeing how much time you have between events, or for blocking out periods of time. Another useful feature of days as vertical columns is that undone tasks can be arrowed over to the next day without re-writing. Some examples of the vertical weekly format are the Moleskine Vertical Weekly planner and the Exacompta Club Visual planner.
The Vertical Weekly format is highly structured and is excellent for very busy people who need to map out their day by the hour. This is especially useful for families managing multiple schedules or students who work a job. The vertical chronological format allows you to see exactly what hours are taken up by classes and work, so you can schedule your study time to make sure you keep up on everything. Similarly, working parents can benefit from seeing the hours of their days so they can meet deadlines and still make it to after-school activities on time. Shop all our Vertical Weekly Planners here.
The Week + Notes format is great because it allows lists and notes to be written alongside the weekly schedule. This lets you see what you need to do (on your lists) and when you have time to do it (in your schedule). Week + Notes planners can combine notes and lists with either a horizontal or vertical weekly format. Shop all our Week + Notes datebooks here.
The Week + Notes Horizontal format is extremely popular, because there are so many ways to use it. The traditional way to use it is with your schedule in the weekly page and lists and notes in the opposite page. But I’ve seen many different uses for this format including uses as a blog planner, a weekly (as opposed to daily) diary/ journal, a fashion diary with pictures stuck into the pages, baby book (recording all those little events in a baby’s first year), etc. There really is no limit to the possible uses. Examples of Week + Notes Horizontal planners are the Leuchtturm Weekly Planner, Rhodia weekly planner, Moleskine Weekly Planner + Notes and the Exacompta Space 17.
The Week + Notes Vertical format is my personal favorite. I function best with the structure of the vertical daily columns showing me my schedule by the hour, combined with space below or to the side for my prioritized lists (Must Do, Could Do, Ongoing/ Non-Urgent). Seeing my tasks along with my schedule allows me to see where I can work tasks into my schedule and helps me prioritize my time. Examples of Week + Notes Vertical planners are the Quo Vadis Trinote and extra-large Quo Vadis Prenote #24.
A final consideration in choosing your planner is the cover. Here, too, you have multiple options, from basic black to vacation turquoise. Perhaps more importantly, however, is whether to select a refillable cover or not. A refillable cover, such as those by Quo Vadis or Exacompta, allows the economic and environmentally-friendly option of reusing your cover and simply swapping out refill each year. This is especially nice when you have a cover you love and can enjoy using year after year (alternatively, you can purchase multiple covers and change up your planner look seasonally or according to mood!) On the other hand, an entirely new cover and planner may simplify your planner archives.
With all of these planner options, you are sure to find the planner that works best for you!
Meet the Writer: Laurie Huff tests, reviews and designs planners at Plannerisms.com. Over the years she has tried dozens (hundreds?) of planners in search of the “Perfect Planner,” and on Plannerisms she helps others find planners that work well for them. When she’s not writing about planners, she spends every moment she can in the forests of Scotland. Laurie enjoys science and nature, hikes with her family, and reading books by the fireplace.