I’ve heard from a lot of you that 2020 can’t be gone soon enough. Well, 2021 is almost here, and if you haven’t already done so, it’s time to get your 2021 planner in play.
If you have a favorite planner, cool. If you struggle with deciding on the right planner for you, here are some thoughts.
Decision #1: Learning style
Choosing the correct planner for how you take in information is critical. I suggest people start with identifying their learning style:
If you are a visual learner, either an electronic or paper planner may work equally well.
If you are an auditory learner, you may want to find an electronic planner that will offer various audible reminders and alerts.
If you are a tactile learner, a paper calendar may fit your learning style a bit better.
Deciding on your learning style is vital. Imagine you are asking someone for directions. Do you prefer they write the instructions for you (visual)? Or, do you do well hearing and remembering directions (auditory)? Or, do you want to write the directions yourself (tactile)?
Decision #2: Electronic or Paper?
If you are an electronic planner type and want to research something other than the app that comes with your phone, here are the top 3 according to Zapier:
“Much of Google Calendar’s popularity comes from the fact that you can create multiple calendars in one place using a Google account, and then port those entries to almost any other online calendar. Google Calendar also works with nearly everything else on the market. You can connect your Google Calendar not only to other calendar apps but also to business apps and services that have calendars as part of their features, such as Trello and Asana.”
“The most stalwart of calendar apps, Microsoft Outlook Calendar is more of a personal information manager than a place to see your next appointment. The desktop app unifies your calendar, email, notes, tasks, and contacts into one view. Outlook’s mobile apps aren’t quite so ambitious, but they do at least combine your calendar and email.”
“It’s hard to think of a simpler name for a calendar than Calendar.com, but fortunately, that’s not all this app has to offer. Everything you need to manage your appointments is here, on a site with modern design and full support for collaboration. This is a well-thought-out app.”
Although it’s not in the top three in Tom’s Guide, I’ve heard rave reviews from friends and family members about Cozi. If you are looking to coordinate family activities, Cozi may be your ticket. “Cozi’s color-coded calendar lets you see the whole family at once or filter by an individual. Reminders keep everyone on track, so no one misses an important appointment or event.”
If you prefer putting pencil to paper, here are some considerations:
- Does it need to be portable?
- Does it need to fit in a small space, i.e., a handbag or suit pocket?
- What level of detail do you need? Monthly? Weekly? Daily? Broken down by hour or 15-minute increments?
- Would it be helpful to have a daily task list built-in?
Once these determinations are complete, here are some suggestions:
At-A-Glance Weekly/Monthly: I use this planner personally and love the functionality. It gives a great overall view of the month, allows for a clear picture of the week, and breaks the day down into manageable time blocks. I use the 8-1/2 “x11” size, but it comes in various sizes.
Some of my clients have had great success with the Planner Pad system. This Planner Pad system incorporates “to do” lists by day into the format. It comes in spiral bound and loose-leaf designs and comes in multiple sizes. Planner Pad offers a 6-month money-back guarantee; if it doesn’t work out for you, you get a full refund. No risk there.
I’ve not personally used it, but the Panda Planner is very highly rated on Amazon (4.5 stars with over 6,000 reviews!). This planner incorporates not only calendar features, but the “scientifically-designed tools empower you to take back control of your life and flourish in every way.” Note: This is a generic planner; 2021 dates have not been filled in.
Although we are several months into the academic school year, some students may have a renewed interest in getting their calendars organized after the new year. If that’s the case, I always suggest the Order out of Chaos Academic Planner. Several of my students have used them and find them extremely helpful, “giving students an easy way to see time so they can learn to manage it.”
And, if you know what you need, you might want to try Agendio. With Agendio, you can customize and personalize to your heart’s content, making your planner specific to you and your needs.
Life is busy, so no matter what planner format you are most comfortable with, it’s essential to have some way to capture our ever-increasing commitments.
Are you looking for more planner pros/cons? Check out the New York Times Best Planners for 2021 planner comparison.
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