Your Favorite Planner?
February 14, 2017 1:10 PM   Subscribe

I'm getting into data collection for a research project that has events and observations schedules pretty much every day for a month. I'm looking for a physical planner I can record these into. I'm going with something paper/physical, because having a physical object helps me to commit better than digital reminders. Details below the jump.

I'd like space for notes, if possible.

It doesn't have to conform to a specific date range, and would actually probably be better if it was blank, and let me fill in dates myself.

Something about the size of a spiral notebook would be good, but I've found buying purpose-built stationary for stuff like this makes me take what I put into it more seriously, so something that's well constructed and looks nice would be preferable.

Price range is probably up to about ~30 bucks or so. Being available on Amazon is preferable.
posted by codacorolla to Work & Money (18 answers total) 5 users marked this as a favorite
Small note: having looked at a number of these, it seems like a lot of them have pre-rendered worksheets for goals, affirmations, dreams, gratitude statements, etc., which I really do not want. I'm looking for something that's fairly blank and open, but still has a calendar format for the pages.
posted by codacorolla at 1:13 PM on February 14, 2017

Maybe take a look into Bullet Journaling? It's more of a concept than a specific product , but the blogs give lots of recommendations for planners and journals. (Ignore the precious artsy crap)
posted by Green Eyed Monster at 1:23 PM on February 14, 2017 [1 favorite]

Seconding bullet journalling.

Original link here. Some useful stuff on the reddit as well (as well as some precious artsy stuff to be ignored),
posted by cacofonie at 1:43 PM on February 14, 2017

Thirding bullet journaling, but for similar freedom with a bit of the work done for you, how about a simple day-per-page planner, like an ~a5 moleskine?

Plenty of room for notes, but with the organizational extras of having month-per-page view for a high level look at your schedule.
posted by sazerac at 1:56 PM on February 14, 2017

Bullet journaling is totally DIY and it sounds like you want something that already has a printed calendar layout.

I really love the Staples Arc system which is a cross between a notebook and a binder. You can remove and reshuffle pages but you can also fold the cover back, and it stays slim. (It's like Levenger Circa but considerably less expensive). You could get a nice cover and some undated planner pages and maybe some ruled notetaking pages too.
posted by mama casserole at 2:35 PM on February 14, 2017 [1 favorite]

BuJo is by far the best planning method I have ever used. I made my own planner using Staples' cheapo disc binding system and some dot grid paper printed on #35 premium laser paper. I like being able to reorder pages.
posted by xyzzy at 2:36 PM on February 14, 2017 [1 favorite]

I've had the Moleskine page-a-day for years (the A5 size linked above). I put appointments into it, sure, but mostly use it for free-format journaling. When I'm disciplined.
posted by Emperor SnooKloze at 3:11 PM on February 14, 2017

Moleskine? Lots of different size and style options (month-per-page, week-per-page, day-per-page) depending on how much space you need.

I tried and disliked bullet journalling which everyone else seems to love -- too freeform. I bought an Arc planner and used it some, but more as a re-organizational notebook/fancy binder than a planner per se.
posted by basalganglia at 3:12 PM on February 14, 2017

I've been using an 5" x 8" Arc planner since 2013 and couldn't bear to be without it. I find it tremendously customizable. You can insert task lists or pages for notes. You can buy a calendar refill for it or fill it with lined pages and write your own dates on them.
posted by orange swan at 3:54 PM on February 14, 2017

I love these. These being Mead's limited action planner notebook. Room on the top to put the date, extra big sidebar and numbered lines. It's flexible enough I can switch between longform notes and 'to do' lists.

I also have a post-it to-do list pad. It's helpful to identify the big stuff and keep at my desk or move from page to page in my notebook.
posted by politikitty at 4:19 PM on February 14, 2017

I love my Leuchtturm1917, which is a moleskine-type notebook in A5 with dotted pages (the brand sells other variations but that's the main one). They are $20 on Amazon. It also has an index at the front (but you could obviously make an index in any other blank notebook too). The idea is that you create your own layout, so it's flexible from page to page. Dotted pages are really excellent for constructing your own layouts (like graph paper, but less prominent)-- for example, if you want a space for notes, draw a box on the side. I also recommend using a ruler if you want your layouts to look neat.
posted by acidic at 4:29 PM on February 14, 2017 [1 favorite]

Staples Arc is also Office DepMax Tul and Michaels/Craft Store/Walmart Happy Planner and Martha Stewart For Avery - they're all discbound, same sizes. I like the "junior" half-sheet size for being less floppy and bulky, but the full-size are fine.

Spend your money on the big holepunch and a moderately good papercutter (if you want junior size) and then make and print your own pages (I use a Lucidpress free account, but you may have design software you like; also Excel is actually fine) for your own needs. I do occasionally pick up a pad of note or graph paper at one of the above stores when I have a coupon or there's a sale, but mostly I just use good 28lb paper and my laser printer.

Rearrangeable/insertable pages are my dealbreaker, though, and that's why I use discbound.
posted by Lyn Never at 4:57 PM on February 14, 2017 [1 favorite]

I have this At-A-Glance Planner. It has both a weekly and also monthly calendars and places for notes. This line comes in different sizes, this is the largest.
posted by gudrun at 6:12 PM on February 14, 2017

I'm doing the basic level of bullet journaling in a Moleskine notebook: a six-month-at-a-glance 2-page spread, a more detailed spread as each month comes, and pages and pages of small dotted task that are Xed off or > to the next page. Occasionally, when something requires more than a simple dot for a task, I start a new page devoted to it.

For keeping track of future deadlines and upcoming tasks, it works well, but I had to get in the hang of always keeping it in the same room -- if I have to leave and go get my bag to write it down, I probably won't remember.

I still have my iPhone for recurring reminders and any "later today" type tasks, basically anything I need to be prompted to do at a specific time. But for "don't forget" type tasks of a larger scope, it's working out well.
posted by The Pluto Gangsta at 6:30 PM on February 14, 2017

Field Notes Weekly Planner
Moleskine (weekly vertical, monthly or 18mo)
MUJI Academic Diary 2016
Midori MD Notebook

JStory (weekly, monthly)
Seeso Graphics
Hobonichi Techo
Mochi Things (Planner or Scheduler)

Ashley G for Blue Sky
Leuchtturm1917 A5 2017 Academic Weekly Planner
posted by fritillary at 10:56 PM on February 14, 2017 [2 favorites]

You might be interested in the C. R. Gibson’s “Markings” notebook, which has all the dates of the year on the top of the page and you circle the relevant ones.

(Self-link, but I don't get anything from it.)
posted by The corpse in the library at 12:48 PM on February 15, 2017

To nth moleskine and add that I use their weekly/monthly because there is a year overview and each month at the front, then a sheet per week with a facing notes sheet. So plenty of room for putting stuff on specific days and adding in longterm notes. Plus a little pocket.
posted by slanket wizard at 3:45 PM on February 15, 2017

Bullet Journaling is awesome - thanks for pointing me (hah) to it. I went with this, which had a lot of what I was looking for, and a lot of what people pointed to in this thread (especially the dotted paper aspect). Thanks!
posted by codacorolla at 9:47 AM on February 17, 2017 [2 favorites]

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