The point of planners may vary from one person to another, but the list below is my personal set of planner needs, along with my conclusions so far as I update and improve my planner use:

  • Calendar

All the planners I’ve been looking at include calendars. My Franklin Covey 5 Choices planner shows a week of days in a single spread, above spaces for weekly Tasks and Notes. This is the best arrangement for me. The others have a week of days in a single spread, with space to add notes and tasks for each day. All have monthly overview calendars.

  • Note-taking

Both the Franklin Covey planners have good amounts of note space, but I don’t use it well.

  • Goal setting and tracking

The Happy Planner has a monthly goals page and the 5 Choices planner has special pages for goals and a footer reminder.

  • To-do lists

5 Choices has a Master Tasks list and weekly Tasks space. The others have room for to-do lists and the checklist and checklist box stickers are good.

  • Habit-tracking

There are many good habit tracking stickers available and the Happy Planners and Planner Love have places for them.

  • Attractive binder

All of the planners I’ve been looking at are attractive.

I’ve been reading and watching things about the decorated planner craze, but they don’t focus on the effective use of planners. I think I need to improve my planner use in the following ways:

  • Incorporate habit tracking.
  • Keep a higher level of visual order so that information is more accessible.


  • Keep meeting notes and such in Notes section and index in some way, or immediately transfer to the company CRM.
  • Continue using GTD style to-do lists and using the GTD process, but also use daily to-do lists for highest priority items.
  • Include personal as well as work to-dos. Since I’ve been doing so, I am more likely to get housework, errands, and meal planning done. Obviously, I am not going into a meeting with “Clean bathrooms!” written in my planner.