After years of frustration, help me find the planner I really want.
June 19, 2009 9:22 AM   Subscribe

Daily Planner Question: need a two-page-per-day, "classic" (5 1/2 x 8 1/2) size. Have used DayTimer and Franklin (Covey) alternately for years. Standard packages from both either have extraneous materials that I don't need renewed each year or force me to order a base package that is insufficient and supplement it with specific things a la carte, driving up the price. Details inside. Suggestions?

(Note: this is not so much about exploring different formats for better organization. I know what I want. Just need help actually finding it. Print-your-own materials are not feasible for me.)

Format: 2 page per day

Size: 5 1/2" x 8 1/2" ("half-page")

Monthly tabbed dividers must be two-page (one-page is too tiny to write in)

Do not need more contact pages (have many left over from previous years of ordering)

Do not need more "goal setting" and "mission writing" materials; no more pages of hotel and rental car numbers, mileage/expense forms, etc. Have plenty left over from past years if I want them.

Do not need another binder. My real leather binder is still in great shape after 10+ years.

Only need one year of filler with two-page monthly dividers. My layout is:


Prefer a long "to do" column on the left page

Prefer an "appointment" column on the left page

Prefer a "phone numbers" section for calls to be made each day

Prefer another "expense" or such section each day (I personally use this to list additional items I need to bring with me each day, a "don't forget this" list)

The right-hand page is usually exclusively "diary". I would entertain the notion of moving some of the smaller sections I want to that side. I don't usually use even half of the diary side, and when I would, I have supplementary lined pages I can insert for special needs.

The products I have used include DayTimer's Reference edition and also Covey's Leadership edition.

The Covey does not include the phone number and expense ("don't forget this") sections, But, two-page monthly tabs are stock for this edition. Trouble is, it includes all the crap I don't need (about a fourth of the package)

Daytimer has a good layout, but the monthly tabs are one-page only and I have to order the two-page separately. Plus, it too includes a bunch of extraneous stuff.

Every year I tell myself that there must be something out there that has just what I want, but I don't find it in time to order. I hereby beseech the Hive Mind for suggestions to settle this conundrum once and for all.
posted by skypieces to Work & Money (6 answers total) 3 users marked this as a favorite
Have you thought of making your own, since you have such specific requirements?
You can buy "stick on" tabs at the office supply store for your monthly dividers.
Also, The DIY Planner Website has a large assortment of templates for printing your own. May not be quite as elegant as a preprinted page, but you'd get exactly what you want.
posted by sarajane at 10:13 AM on June 19, 2009

Be even more DIY and make your own using Excel. It shades, it outlines, you control the sizes and colors! Why settle for someone else's idea of a good planner page?

5 1/2 x 8 1/2? That's 8 1/2 x 11 in landscape format, cut in half.
posted by codswallop at 12:03 PM on June 19, 2009

Is there a Muji near where you live? Muji sells half-size paper with different designs, and they also sell half-size binders, tabs, inserts, all kinds of stuff like that, and its cheap and you can piece it together how you like. They probably don't have exactly the design you want, but you can buy the paper and then just run it through your computer printer to print that stuff on there.

Before I switched to Muji stuff, I used to just use a half-size three ring binder and I'd buy a stack of graph paper, cut it in half on a big paper slicer, three hole punch it, and then print whatever on it. I also like to print mini month-long calendar pages, for instance. For half-size dividers with tabs, you can slice down a file folder.

Anyway, Muji is the jam. Maybe you can order from Muji online?
posted by jeb at 12:58 PM on June 19, 2009

have you tried the design your own section from covey?
posted by nadawi at 1:01 PM on June 19, 2009

Response by poster: codswallop remarked, "Why settle for someone else's idea of a good planner page?"

Well, in short, because it means printing, cutting, and hole-punching 365+ pages. I have "rolled my own" before and am aware of the templates easily available online. But, it is a major pain in the ass. (Thus, my "Print-your-own materials are not feasible for me" note in the original post.)

Although my specs may seem, well, specific, they are a very common layout available from both Covey and DayTimer. The problem is the value of the package. Both providers make you pay for a huge packet of materials included that you do not need, or else buy a "base packet" that is inadequate, forcing you to buy the missing pieces a la carte.

Covey's Design-Your-Own ends up running about $99 (more than double the usual price) and is not as flexible in its design as you would think. (e.g. You can move columns, but not change their length.) And I am not interested in more than doubling the price of a package just to have birthdays and anniversaries pre-printed in the planner.

I could just buy the same package that I have gotten for years and be done with it. But, that bent-over feeling I get when I see all that printed material that is totally useless to me getting tossed out... well, there should be a better way to purchase a stock *refill* without getting screwed in the process with what is being pushed as "value added" material (lists of phone numbers, expense tracker pages, lists of "leadership principles" -- things I have gotten every year and do not need multiple copies of).

All I want to know is if there is a company out there that provides just such a value.
posted by skypieces at 7:23 AM on June 20, 2009

You might check out Time Design. I used to buy their program but ended up rolling my own after I got tired of paying their prices. They sell their system as individual parts as well so you can pick and choose what you want to use.
posted by diode at 8:00 AM on June 20, 2009

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