Mind your mind: Planners to maximize your productivity

If you ask those who know me well, they’ll be the first ones to tell you how obsessed I am with notebooks, pens and school supplies. I take this whole stationery thing rather seriously, and every year before school starts, I begin to search for the perfect planner.

Since I’m very type-A and love office supplies, it’s no wonder that having a planner falls under my ‘must-have’ category. Over the years, I’ve tried different types of planners, including some of these!

Designer planners

First up, there are the pretty planners. These planners are usually massive in size and are filled with quotes, patterns and optional stickers. They most often have a monthly, weekly and daily spread, as well as a ton of space to doodle and take notes. The downside with these planners is that they are quite bulky, expensive and take up a lot of space in your backpack. Designer planners can be intimidating if you’re a first-time planner user, so you might want to opt for something that requires a little less commitment.

Basic planners

Regular planners are cheap, professional looking and minimalistic. They come in different sizes and are usually thinner than designer planners. On the flip side, they can sometimes be poorly designed, too “boring” and not offer enough space. You can’t go wrong with a basic planner, but I personally like it when my planner can be customized and reflect some aspect of my personality.

Bullet journals

A bullet journal is basically a journal that you can customize using coloured pencils, markers, washi tapes and stickers. Bullet journals are aesthetically pleasing and the calligraphy portion can be downright amazing. One summer, I kept a bullet journal and loved how it was both flexible and artsy. However, I don’t recommend a bullet journal if you’re a first-time user, or if you don’t have a lot of time to plan. Bullet journals are often popular with artists, but they require a time commitment. It is your own creation, but that also means you are responsible to design your spreads and organize your sections.

Technology planners

Lastly, for those of you who don’t like paper planners, there is always the option of organizing your schedules using online calendars. After years of owning a paper planner, I got tired of carrying it around in my backpack and switched to using Google Calendar. I love Google Calendar because it is free, portable, user-friendly and lets you colour code different items. The only downside is that you are most likely going to encounter technological difficulties at some point.

I’ve owned more than a dozen planners in my life, and I found that each one of them had its pros and cons. At times, I even ditched planners altogether and opted for a big fat calendar hung up on my wall. What works for one person may not work for another. However, when you shop for a planner, you want to ask yourself these questions. Am I looking for a thin, small planner, or a thick, bigger one? Do I want a fancy planner, or can I work with something more basic? Will I find it annoying to carry with me everywhere I go, or should I perhaps find an app instead? How much time can I dedicate to organizing this planner? And lastly, before purchasing it, you want to ask yourself: will this planner help me maximize my productivity?

Best of luck shopping for your planner!