2016 Planner



Part of me thinks I’m jumping the gun by posting this; the other part reluctantly realizes that it is indeed that time of year to start talking about organization, and calendars/planners for the new year that begins in less than 2 months. Eeeek!

Two years ago I purchased my first big-girl, grown-up, old-school personal planner.

And I loved it.

When I was working full time, I felt organized professionally thanks to a kid-free office, notebooks, and Microsoft Outlook being auto-filled by colleagues and clients needing hours upon hours to sit in the conference room. Once I ventured out as a freelance marketer, blogger, and stay-at-home-mom though, I felt really lost on how to spend my time and plan my day.

When I first decided to go old-school with my planner, I wasn’t convinced I would use it. So I went to Target and purchased a $12 one by Blue Sky. It was 8.5×11, and a beautiful cranberry color with a whimsical font noting the days of the week, a generous amount of space lined for each day’s tasks, and a sizable section for “notes” at the top.

It was all I needed!

I kept track of meals, household tasks, calendar events, work schedules, etc. I also kept these on my phone’s calendar so that it could easily be shared and viewed on my husband’s phone; but it was empowering to have it written in front of me. And it made for a calmer week when I could sit down on Sunday night, and plan the week ahead of me.

After that first year, I felt I had “passed the test” and confirm I did in fact use my planner. So now I was willing to invest a little bit more into it.

I have friends who swear by top-line planners like those from ErinCondren.com. Yes, those planners are impressive. Yes, they’re colorful and personalized. Yes, they have inspirational quotes and a promise to improve your life. Yes, they have fun stickers. Yes, they have pop-in accessories like a dashboard for meal planning (I die.) But yes, they are priced high. When I considered one last year after a successful year with my cheap one, my friend let me flip through her beloved planner. I felt it lacked enough space for me to actually write out my to-do list in a general manner instead of during a specific chunks of time albeit broken out as Morning, Afternoon, and Noon, that still felt so restrictive to me! However, in my research for this very blog post, I just learned that Erin Condren now offers a horizontal weekly planning layout, which completely resolves my issues with the vertical layout my friend had, making this a viable option now (that price though…ugh.)

After feeling I had dodged the Erin Condren bullet, I ended up purchasing one by At-A-Glance that was around a much more palatable $25 and have loved it just as much as my Blue Sky, if not more. It has a section for “Notes” at the top of each week which I quickly transformed into a place to write my dedicated Scripture to focus on and apply to the week, as well as my overall goal for the week. I will definitely consider re-purchasing one like this for 2016!

Here’s a small compilation of recommended planners at various price points and sizes:

  1. Blue Sky 8.5×11 Wire-O Binding  ($10)  (same layout as my 2014 one!)
  2. At-A-Glance 8.5×11 Hollyhock ($18) (missing the “notes” section at top)
  3. At-A-Glance 8.5×11 Wild Washes ($24) (with “notes” section!!!)
  4. ErinCondren.com ($50-$80)  (oh I want so bad…)
  5. Kate Spade 16-Month Agenda 9×7 ($36)

What is your favorite planner? Do you go “old-school” with a written one, are you all about your smartphone, or do you do both? Let me know in the comment section below!

Meridith Oram
Meridith Oram is an ACE-Certified Health Coach at Below the Fork where she encourages women to love themselves towards healthy. She is married with two boys, and lives outside of Philadelphia. She earned a B.A. in Communications from Villanova University. Meridith writes about FASTer Way to Fat Loss, fitness, nutrition, Celiac Disease, and easy (but delicious!) gluten-free recipes at belowthefork.com. Follow her @belowthefork on all social channels.

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