Choosing a planner can be daunting. Do you know which one is best for your brain?

Cindy JobsADHD In The Workplace, Health and Well-Being, Organization

NOTE:  Although this blog is about calendars and planners, I highly encourage everyone to have a large wall calendar within sight of where they spend their time. Whether it’s the kitchen or the office, a well-placed wall calendar offers a different visual perspective on the passage of time.


Where did this year go? Amazingly, 2023 will be here in the blink of an eye, and if you are trying to figure out the best planner for all those critical upcoming commitments, now’s the time. 

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

Deciding on your learning style is vital. For example, imagine you are asking someone for directions. Do you prefer they draw a map for you (visual)? Or, do you do well hearing and remembering directions (auditory)? Or, do you want them to write them down step-by-step (reading/writing)? Or, do you want to write the directions yourself (kinesthetic)? If there is still a question as to your learning style, this short exercise provided by Neumann University may help.

Choosing the correct planner for how you take in information is critical. I suggest people start by identifying their learning style:

  • Visual
  • Auditory
  • Reading/Writing
  • Kinesthetic

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 reading/writing or kinesthetic learner, a paper calendar may fit your learning style a bit better.

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 seven planners according to

  1. Google Calendar
  2. Zoho Calendar
  3. Microsoft Outlook
  4. TimeTree
  5. Calendly
  6. Jorte Calendar
  7. DigiCal

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 into the planner?

Once these determinations are complete, here are some suggestions:

Office Depot 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 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. The Planner Pad system incorporates prioritized “to-do” lists by day into the weekly/daily format. It comes in spiral-bound and loose-leaf designs and comes in multiple sizes. In addition, planner Pad offers a 6-month money-back guarantee; you get a full refund if it doesn’t work out for you. 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 former student clients 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 information? Check out the TIMEULAR recommendations for the best productivity planners for 2023.  

Cindy Jobs, PCAC, ACC

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