Three best daily planners
A good daily planner can work wonders for your productivity and punctuality. Today, you've got more options for planners than ever before, from academic planners to goal-oriented planners with mood trackers. It really comes down to your planning needs. We've compiled this shopping guide so you can get an idea of what features to look for in a daily planner to keep your life organized. For the easiest shopping, we've also included our top product recommendations for the best daily planners available.
Considerations when choosing daily planners
The most important thing to consider is the type of daily planner you need.
Academic daily planners are ideal for students and typically follow the academic year, from August to July. They include pages and areas to track classes, homework, and due dates.
Professional daily planners are intended to manage the demands of a busy work schedule. The daily pages have plenty of room for jotting down meetings, deadlines, and projects. Some include monthly calendars for an overview of upcoming deadlines and goal reminders.
Personal development daily planners have space for appointments and tasks, but they often include areas for reflection. Gratitude or mood trackers are fairly common in these planners.
If you're not sure what you'll need to record in your planner, a general daily planner is probably the best choice. They usually have calendars and weekly pages to track appointments and meetings. Some may also include blank spaces or pages to take notes or track anything else that comes up.
The sections in a daily planner can be basic calendar grids or quite intricate in the case of planners that track goals and gratitude and include daily creative prompts. You'll need to decide which sections you need, including daily pages, weekly pages, and monthly pages.
Most daily planners are designed for one year of use, but some may cover only six months, while others extend to 18 months. Planners with undated pages offer more flexibility, especially if you only periodically use a planner. However, you'll have to write the dates in yourself, which takes more time.
The cover and binding largely determine the durability of a daily planner. Hardcover planners last the longest, especially if you keep the planner in a purse or backpack. Planners with soft covers are lighter and less expensive but don't offer as much protection.
Daily planners are either spiral-bound or glued to the spine in a technique called perfect bound. Perfect bound planners typically last longer and look neater.
Basic daily planners with soft covers cost between $5 and $10. They include monthly calendars and weekly pages with writing space for each day, and that's about it.
Between $10 and $20, your options increase exponentially. You can find some good-quality hardcover daily planners in this range. You'll see some personal development planners along with more academic planners and a few professional designs. These planners will have more sections like hourly breakdowns or blank pages for notes.
Professional planners and personal development planners often cost over $20, and some may cost $50 or more. These planners usually extend to 18 months. Their covers are highly durable, and they feature thicker pages and tough bindings.
Q. I have a very full schedule. Are there daily planners that break down days by the hour?
A. Most professional daily planners break down days by the hour or even the half-hour. If meetings and appointments fill your day, a high-quality professional planner is your best choice.
Q. What's the difference between a daily planner and a bullet journal?
A. Daily planners come with calendars, weekly pages, and daily pages already printed in the planner. There might be some space for freeform planning or drawing on blank pages, but the purpose of a daily planner is more limited. Bullet journals begin in blank journals or notebooks. With a bullet journal, you draw and design each page yourself, which lets you get creative but takes a lot more time and effort. If you like the idea of a bullet journal but have limited time, some personal development daily planners offer freedom of design with more blank pages.
Daily planners we recommend
Best of the best: Panda Planner Pro
Our take: This all-inclusive daily planner is ideal for those who want to visually track and plan the steps toward their goals.
What we like: You track more than appointments and tasks. This planner lets you review goals, record gratitude, and work on all aspects of your life. The daily sections let you plan down to the hour, and the weekly layouts let you see all your projects in a comprehensive view.
What we dislike: This planner has everything, which can be too much for some people.
Best bang for your buck: Bloom Daily Planners Academic Year Day Planner
Our take: A daily planner that students will love with an affordable price and storage pockets.
What we like: It's got the basic monthly and weekly calendars for tracking appointments and assignments. We also like the handy to-do lists and pre-planning pages, which let you get a jumpstart on the week ahead.
What we dislike: The cover and pages aren't as sturdy as other planners.
Our take: This is the daily planner for goal-oriented people who want to examine their goals from every angle.
What we like: The pages of this planner break down your long-term goals into digestible steps that really make goals manageable. Daily pages keep you moving forward, while monthly reflection pages let you get an overall view of your progress.
What we dislike: The spacing can be tight if you have large handwriting.
Stacey L. Nash is a writer for BestReviews. BestReviews is a product review company with a singular mission: to help simplify your purchasing decisions and save you time and money. BestReviews never accepts free products from manufacturers and purchases every product it reviews with its own funds.
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