Welcome to my 2016 Planner Review: A Year’s Worth of Planning! It’s December, the time of year I frantically recall all the beautiful planners I’ve seen announced over the past 6 months and ask myself, how will I stay organized in the following year? It’s a difficult decision, and with many planners running upwards of $50, not a cheap one either.
This last year I went a little planner crazy. Even though I *thought* I did good research, you never really know how useful a thing will be until you bring it into your life. Read on to see what it was like to use these planners and my final conclusion on these 3 options:
The 100-Day Happiness Planner, $30
I purchased this planner from Anthropologie mid-year. It’s not a typical 12-month planner, although they do make those as well. Like many of Anthro’s wares, I was drawn to this planner quite unassumingly. I loved it’s pretty pink cover & matching sleeve with shiny gold lettering. Not only was it beautiful, I thought it would be a good trial run for their more expensive 12-month planner.
If you’re unfamiliar with The Happiness Planner, it is what I would call a self-improvement planner. With daily use, it boasts the ability to discover yourself, focus on what makes you happy, set goals and focus on what you need to change in your life, and generally inspire you with positive daily quotes. Sounds like a life changer.
Except it wasn’t. I liked the idea of the planner, the inspirational quotes, and the color. I thought that sitting down to fill in my weekly plan would provide me with time to plan and make real changes in my life. Instead, I quickly began to dread using it. Firstly, the paper feels rough & cheap. It’s not possible to use many different pens & markers with this planner so it wasn’t a joy to write on. It was difficult for the book to sit flat due to it’s tight binding. In fact, many pages near the beginning creased over on the binding thread, leaving unsightly gaps.
Beyond the physical flaws, I found the daily pages to be underwhelming. The space to write in my schedule and to-dos wasn’t very large. I didn’t find the tiny box for “Meals” to be useful. I love to cook, but couldn’t have jotted more than 1 small sentence in the space. The purpose of each daily page was to first write what I was excited about and to choose a focus, yet it didn’t leave enough room to really flush out those ideas. The cramped daily pages left me frustrated and wanting more.
I never consistently used the 100-Day Planner for these reasons. Eventually, I accepted the fact that I was becoming more stressed trying to make this planner work for me. I thanked it for it’s use and moved on.
This planner may be good for you if you aren’t picky about construction & paper quality and seriously want to make or break a specific habit in 100 days.
2016 Birch Floral 17-month Planner by Rifle Paper Co., $34
This was my first planner of 2016. I purchased it in August of 2015 directly from Rifle Paper Co. I thought it was a great price for a stunning planner. This was especially true because it spanned 17 months!
Rifle Paper Company makes some of the most beautiful paper products such as cards and notepads to wallpaper! I’m drawn to their floral motifs and sense of vintage charm.
I bought this planner not only because it was a good value, but based on the organization of it. I liked the month at a glance with individual tabs. The weekly layout was attractive as well with inspirational quotes and simple checklist boxes under each day. The hidden coil in the sleek sturdy cover was a nice touch and calmed my fear of a bent or chipped coil. The elastic band was a useful feature as well.
Ultimately, I didn’t really end up using this planner because I didn’t have a goal to use it. I liked the to-do list feel of the weekly layout at first, but often I wanted the freedom to write short reminders or full sentences in them. I found that they were rather limiting and small when it came down to it. I’m not a 9-5 business person, but I found it difficult to keep track of scheduled appointments with the given layout.
The Rifle Planner was fairly compact, measuring 6.75 x 8.25″. It was small enough to slip into a work bag or even a larger purse. However, fitting a whole 17 months into a binder that size does end up costing valuable page space. And once months were up, I found the flimsy tabs weren’t cut out for fast and efficiently skipping to the desired future month. Previous months overlapped on future months in a cascade of neutral-colored month tabs. I tried a number of remedies involving varying paperclips, but nothing really worked cleanly.
It also ended up being harder to write on the daily pages due to the hidden coil. It’s not possible to flip the pages under each other because of the hard illustrated cover.
This planner may be good for you if you use it as a desk planner. You wouldn’t be stuck with constantly rifling through the month tabs to find your corresponding week.
Lilly Pulitzer 2016 12-Month Agenda, $35
I picked up this Lilly Pulitzer 12-Month Agenda on sale at TJ Maxx in January. It was one of those impulse buys. I *literally* already had a planner. I loved the bright patterned leatherette cover and the fairly compact size. It’s 9″ x 6 3/4″ and easy to take in your carry-on or larger purse. This planner spoke to my love of travel and having fun. There was a full page of beautiful stickers and of course, a map of Palm Beach, FL. The monthly tabs were brightly colored which made flipping between them a breeze.
The interesting thing about this planner was the addition of a section to view all the months of 2016 together. This was in addition to the monthly plus weekly breakdown in the latter tabs. I imagine this would make planning a breeze as you wouldn’t have to flip between all those month + week sections. There were also tabs for Dates to Celebrate, Travel (with packing lists), and Important Addresses and Numbers.
I ended up using this planner the most! In large part, I loved the way it looked and performed. The weekly layout had enough room to write small to-do lists or appointments. The graphics were beautiful. The book actually laid flat without a struggle and the paper was smooth and easy to write on.
The main thing that I would have liked was some area for goal setting or projects, but this is clearly not that type of planner. It’s bright, fun while being practical, and just the right size. It’s eye-catching pattern makes it easy to find in your bag and look pretty on any desk or table.
This planner may be good for you if you enjoy beautiful Lilly Pulitzer prints! I think it would make a good agenda for a young women or a lady who loves to travel.