The Perfect Planner
October 3, 2018 9:37 AM   Subscribe

I'm currently using an Erin Condren Life Planner, but I'm looking for a more streamlined planner without all the "fluff," but want to stay away from a super "corporate" feel.

- For personal life, nothing too "corporate."
- Must have a weekly spread with spaces for each day and a monthly spread for each month.
- Not a fan of cutesy goal-setting prompts, inspirational quotes, coloring pages etc.
- Hate ECLP's coil binding, would prefer a softbound book type binding or smaller coil.
- I do like the tabbed dividers for each month on the ECLP.

Does my perfect planner exist?? I realize I could make my own "bullet journal" style but I do need some structure.

All I want to do with my planner is keep track of appointments and a bit of bullet point journalling.
posted by jschu to Shopping (11 answers total) 32 users marked this as a favorite
Check out the Plum Paper personalized planners. You choose your calendar type and size, which includes tabbed months, and then at checkout you choose any add-ons that you want (note pages, to do lists, etc). There's only cutesy stuff if you choose to add it.

They don't have a softbound option, just spiral-bound or you can choose unbound so you can punch/bind yourself.
posted by dayintoday at 9:55 AM on October 3, 2018 [4 favorites]

I use an >Agendio planner, which is.... spendy, but about perfect for someone picky like me. There is a softbound leather book-type binding in several colors available in addition to spiral binding, but more importantly, I got to custom-control everything about what went into my agenda ahead of time right down to the font.

Downside: did I mention they are spendy? I think I paid like $60 for mine. (My next one will be cheaper, because I have learned about what I do and don't use and will be leaving those features off.) But it's been worth it: I can focus on just the things I actually use, not deal with anything cutesy (which annoys me), and make just the right weekly spreads for my purposes. And tabbed monthly dividers are something you can also have if you want them--or not, otherwise.

I really like the customization and will be ordering another this fall.
posted by sciatrix at 10:05 AM on October 3, 2018 [3 favorites]

If you're willing to forego the monthly spread, Peter Pauper press makes some amazing bound lay-flat planner books that I have been using for years. They accommodate the nice pens people use for bullet journals without bleeding through the paper. Lots of space for daily tasks, organized by week. One quirk, though, is that the weeks start on Mondays, and go through Sunday. I love this because I think of my weeks as starting on Mondays and then have the two weekend days together without having the turn a page, but YMMV. It comes with a ribbon bookmark and an elastic to keep it closed, plus a pocket in the back.
posted by juniperesque at 10:12 AM on October 3, 2018 [1 favorite]

I've been using this basic Blue Sky one for years. It ticks all your boxes. It comes in other colors/designs.
posted by something something at 10:27 AM on October 3, 2018 [2 favorites]

I have used the Gallery Leather Weekly Desk Planner for years. It's very sturdy, has great paper, and is very streamlined with no corny quotes or design elements. It comes in a number of colors, but they're listed in separate categories on the site.
posted by quince at 11:11 AM on October 3, 2018 [1 favorite]

My Leuchtturm feels minimalist, but not corporate. Monthly spreads are all together at the front of the book.
posted by fast ein Maedchen at 11:55 AM on October 3, 2018 [1 favorite]

Have you considered a traveler's notebook? They come in a variety of sizes, and a popular size is B6, which takes inserts that are 5inx7in (feels quite square in the hand). The standard traveler's notebook size takes inserts that are 4.33inx8.25in (so tall and skinny), which were initially made by a Japanese company called Midori; you will see lots of notebook makers call their products fauxdoris (which is an irritating bit of nomenclature, but whatevs).

The traveler's notebook system is comprised of an outer cover (made of leather, fabric, pleather...lots of options from $15 up to well over $100. The covers are reusable, but the inner notebooks are fully customizable and can be monthly, weekly, daily, listing inserts, whatever. Traveler's notebooks are HUGE in the planning world and there are a lot of people that have lots of frippery in their TNs, but that's not at all what you have stated you want, and there are many clean/simple setups to be found. I have one sitting on my desk that is black leather, in the B6 size, and it's dignified and honestly, sexy (to me). You can buy inserts from The Traveler's Company (which is what the company Midori now calls itself) from them or on Amazon. You can print and cut your own (which sounds complicated but isn't, especially if you have a duplex printer). And then there's Etsy. So many fancy places to buy inserts, printed and printable, on Etsy and other standalone sites.

Some YT vids to check out, if you're so inclined:
Traveler's Notebook Intro
Simple Set Up

I can talk about this all day (clearly), and they come in lots of different sizes, from Micro (which takes inserts that are 3inx4in) all the way up to B5 (6.9inx9.8in, bigger than your EC). Memail me with questions!
posted by heathergirl at 3:22 PM on October 3, 2018 [1 favorite]

Planners! I have a lot of the same planner preferences that you do, and have found that I usually have the best luck with European stationary brands. They'll have Monday-start weeks, and tend to have more minimalist/functional layouts. My go-to brands for this would probably be Quo Vadis, Leuchtturm, or Moleskine.

Quo Vadis has a variety of weekly calendars most of which are refills that go into nice covers, which is great if you like to stick with the same planner style for a few years. The Plan & Note is a nice horizontal week layout with almost no extras stuff on the page. Their paper is usually fairly high-quality, but does bleed some. Leuchtturm is generally a good reliable source for sturdy notebooks in a nice selection of colors, and they have a variety of weekly planners, but I can't tell for sure from their website whether they include monthly spreads as well. They use nice, heavy-weight paper that's good with for fountain pens, if that's a concern for you. Moleskine has a pretty similar selection to Leuchtturm, but with some cute branded or themed covers if that's your thing, although those tend to be limited to the "week plus notes" layout, that has 7 days on the left of the spread and a page for notes on the right. Their paper is a little thinner, but not bad. Another similar week + notes option is Rhodia who generally use very nice paper, although I haven't tried the planner specifically.

If you're considering branching out a bit, my absolute favorite planner that's currently being made is the Hobonichi Techo. It's a page-per-day layout in a very convenient size, and keeps from being too bulky by using incredibly thin but amazingly high-quality paper. The black cover on the English-language version is sturdy enough to carry around on its own, but there's also a fun selection of covers if you want to have little pockets and pen holders and such. It includes a really thoughtful set of features with some unusual but very useful layouts — I especially like the yearly index, which shows four month at a time, with a column for each month, and the blank "Coming up!" page at the beginning of each month, which I usually use to list out birthdays for that month, or as a placeholder for things I want to start thinking about when some month rolls around.
posted by duien at 5:12 PM on October 3, 2018 [3 favorites]

Check out the Russell + Hazel binder system. Not expensive, cutesy ot corporate. Can be used with a variety of mix and match inserts including weekly/monthly, blank, lined, grid, checkbox, etc so you can have exactly as many pages of each as you like. You can also get sticky pockets of various sizes.
posted by mrmurbles at 7:24 PM on October 3, 2018

Please check out the wonderful universe of Hobonichi.

It comes in 3 main sizes, Weeks, A6 (Techo/Planner), and A5 (Cousin).

The only thing it doesn't exactly have that you mention is tabs, although they sell accessories that fill that need. I've been completely obsessed with my Hobos for years now and think they're the bees knees.

On review I see duien mentioned the Techo. I heartily second this!
posted by rabidsegue at 11:49 AM on October 4, 2018 [1 favorite]

My friend Becky Mollenkamp does an annual planner roundup. Here's this year's.
posted by The Almighty Mommy Goddess at 8:53 PM on October 4, 2018

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