I’ve received many emails from readers and customers over the years with questions about the best planners, pens, planner stickers, making printables, printing printables etc. So here are answers to 50 of the most common planner questions I’m asked!
(Apologies if you replied to my email asking for your planner questions and didn’t hear back from me, I was overwhelmed with responses!)
Getting the most out of your planner
1. What is the best planner layout: horizontal, vertical or hourly?
There is no planner style that is a perfect fit for everyone! I did a detailed comparison of planner layouts in this post: Choosing a planner: Horizontal versus Vertical versus Hourly planners (which is right for you?)
My personal favorite is horizontal. I don’t like planning by hour (too restricting) and the columns of vertical planners are too narrow. Plus horizontal planners tend to be lined – whenever I use unlined planners by writing ends up crooked.
2. What should I do with the monthly notes pages?
An often under-utilised space these pages are ideal for:
- Goal setting
- Cleaning routines
- Brain dumping everything you’d like to get done before scheduling it in the weekly and / or daily spread
- Monthly reflection
- Meal planning ideas
- Monthly bucket list
- Spending tracker
3. What is your weekly planning process?
4. Why do you use a paper planner?
I know there’s so many apps, digital calendars etc. available these days but I still prefer to use pen and paper.
I have too many internet tabs open in my browser, Photoshop and files open so by using a paper planner I can have everything right in front of me.
Plus, when you plan using paper you can use colored pens, highlighters, stickers, washi tape etc.!
5. I’ve spent a lot of money on my planner but it’s not working 🙁
See this post: What to do if your planner isn’t working
6. I want to color code my planner but I’m not sure how to go about it?
Color coding = fun and functional! However, don’t use too many colors. I recommend no more than 4 or 5.
Blog posts on color coding:
- Planner Organization: How to color-code your planner (so you’ll actually use it effectively)
- Favorite color coding planner supplies for less than $5
- Ultimate list of the best planner pen brands and how to choose colors for color coding
- 50 Category Ideas for Color Coding Your Planner
- How to organize and color code your notes for school, college or university
- Color coded monthly meal planning using sticky notes
- 6 Ways to color code your planner to increase productivity
- Color coding your planner: how to choose which colors to use
- How to color code your planner for school using pens
7. My planner is a disorganised mess. What should I do?!
You may want to take some pages out of your planner and create a household binder. Household binders are ideal for things you need, but don’t refer to all the time.
8. What is your favorite planner?
So many planners to choose from I could never pick just one! Most of the planners I review are ones I want to try out.
As for a planner brand, I’d say Plum Paper as there are so many planner options to choose from, they’re good quality, have reasonable international shipping and you can personalise the cover.
Another favorite is Agendio as you can customise the ENTIRE planner from the front cover, all of the inside pages right to the very back.
Also, Mi Goals have simple, functional and the best goal oriented planners (in my opinion!)
Do you see a pattern here? I can’t choose just 1 there’s so many nice one’s I feel bad not being able to list them all as the post would end up being too long!
9. How much should I spend on a planner?
I’m ok with paying up to $100 including shipping for a planner. I struggle to understand people who complain that planners are so expensive. There’s hundreds of planners out there to choose from these days. Each planner layout (horizontal, vertical, hourly etc.) is available at numerous price points. I’m someone who’ll only use something if it’s cute. Personalised covers aren’t necessary but it’s nice to have something that feels like it was made just for you! If these things cost extra but they make me want to actually use the planner, then I’d say that’s money well spent.
10. Help! I’m a total planner newbie
See this post: planning 101: Planner lingo (what does it all mean?)
11. I’m overwhelmed by all the planners out there, what should I pick?
See this post for 18 things to check before choosing a planner. My best advice: sketch a layout in a notebook and trial it, then find a planner that has a similar layout (or DIY your own!). This way you can experiment with different layouts and have a better idea of what layout suits you, before you invest in a planner that may not be the right fit.
12. What is the 52 planners in 52 weeks challenge?
This was a personal challenge I did in 2017 where I tried a different planner / planner system each week to help me find planner peace. I did in the end – planner peace for me is not sticking to just using one planner!
13. What page size should I get?
See this post with pros and cons of each size to help you decide!
I also shared a printable size reference sheet in this post: Ultimate planner page size guide (with printable reference cheat sheet)
14. What is the best type of binding for planners?
I love discbound systems as you can add, remove and rearrange pages as often as you please! Works great with printables 🙂
- ARC system by Staples (this is what I use however the cost has gotten quite expensive over the past couple of years)
- MAMBI Happy Planner
- We R Memory Keepers
- Guide to Discbound Planners & Frequently Asked Questions
- ARC by Staples versus MAMBI – Which discbound system is better?
15. What layout is best for students?
I’d go with a lined horizontal layout or a planner that has multiple sections to plan each day – that way you can keep all your subjects separate (as well as work, extracurricular, fitness etc.)
These categorised layouts are also ideal for bloggers and if you’re tracking multiple people’s schedules and want to keep it all in the one planner.
16. I have lots of cute notebooks but I’m not sure what to do with them
#dailystruggle I’m a sucker for cute stationery!
17. None of my friends understand my planning addiction
Fret not – there are plenty of Facebook groups filled with fellow planner addicts!
18. I have a new planner and I’m not sure how to set it up
- First, write down all of the things you want to keep track of in your planner
- Then flick through the entire planner and start thinking about what you want to plan where (sticky notes are ideal for this)
- Decide if you want to color code your planner (and choose your colors)
- Add recurring tasks and things that aren’t going to change e.g. bill due dates and birthdays. See: Setting up a new planner: 70 Tasks to add
- Add printables and inserts. There’s some free one’s in the printables library
- You may also want to add a personalised DIY cover! Tutorial in this post: How to make a DIY Erin Condren Planner Cover for less than $2 (plus free printable cover)
19. Should I use multiple planners?
I do! I’ll be doing a post on my current setup but in the meantime, here’s a summary:
- The Plum Paper Horizontal lined with notes for pre-planning and journaling what actually got done
- Weekly planner
- Notebook for blog post ideas
- Project planner notebook
- Lists notebook
- Separate planner for budgeting
It really depends how much stuff you have to plan. If I was just doing personal life planning, I’d only need 1 planner. I’d only recommend using more than 1 planner if:
- You want to separate work and personal
- Personal and projects
- If you’re really detailed with your to do’s e.g. instead of just laundry ‘wash black work pants’ – things like that take up more space. So if you didn’t want to use a larger size planner you could use 2 smaller size planners, or take the day to day stuff out and put it in a household binder
Another option would be to combine digital planning tools with pen and paper.
20. How can I get rid of the white border on printables?
21. I want to print a printable at half page size
See this post for step by step printing tutorials: printing tips
More posts with printing tips and tutorials:
- 7 Ways to make colors POP when printing using an Inkjet printer
- Best Paper for Printing Printables
- How to clean your printer (prevent smudging, streaks and make the colors POP!)
- How to print any printable in black and white (greyscale) using your home printer
- How to easily print printables double sided (duplex printing tutorial)
- How to resize printables (how to print letter size onto half page, A5, Kikki K, Filofax, Erin Conden, Personal size or any other size you like!)
22. What printer do you use to print your printables?
I use a Canon printer.
23. What paper should I print printables on?
See this post: Best Paper for Printing Printables
I use cardstock for planner covers (and then laminate) and bright white copy paper for printing printables.
24. I want to print printables at a specific planner size
- How to print printables at MAMBI Happy Planner Size (step by step tutorial)
- How to print printables at Erin Condren planner size from your home printer (step by step tutorial)
- How to print printables at Plum Paper planner size from your home printer (step by step tutorial)
25. Help! I don’t own a printer
26. My printer doesn’t have a duplex function
If your printer can’t do duplex printing automatically, print onto one side, turn the page around and print on the back. Do a test print first so you know which way to face the page when you feed it back through as all printers are different.
27. Should I use CMYK or RGB color code?
I use RGB for all my printables (works best when printing on a home printer). I’ve only ever used CMYK for professional printing (for my business cards).
28. Half size or full page size printable
I personally prefer full page size. I’d rather have a bit of extra room to write than not enough (although you can always use a sticky note to create extra space). You can re-size any printable to half page size (or any other page size you like). I shared a tutorial in this post.
29. How do you make your printables?
30. Why do you use planners made by others when you can make your own?
I don’t think I’m ever going to find a planner made by someone else that suits my exact needs without tweaking it – but that’s part of the fun! I like getting creative and customising and visualising different ways to tweak planner layouts. It can get a bit boring just ‘filling in the blanks’ with the same layout or an inflexible layout.
I tend to stick to the same ‘style’ when making printables so it’s fun to mix it up and use planners made by different people.
31. What software do you use to make printables?
32. Why do you use photoshop to make printables?
A lot of readers email me to ask why I use a paid software when there are cheaper software out there (including free software).
Here are the main reasons:
- Quick to make minor changes
- Easy to align things
- Easier for making printables that use patterns and clipart
- Better image quality
- Easier to make non standard page size printables. You can create a template at any size you like
- Can do effects such as ombré which isn’t possible in other programs
- Can organize the design layers into folders. This way I can keep the one photoshop file then have a bunch of different patterns in that one Photoshop file making it easier to find things than having tons of Photoshop files (separate ones for each printables) which would also take up a lot of space on my hard-drives
- Photosohp has numerous tools that speed up your workflow – Snap to grid tool, ruler tool etc
I did a more detailed post here.
33. Why do you always use rainbow planner stickers?
Rainbow colors look pretty, add a pop of color to the page and are perfect for color coding. I have ‘analysis paralysis’ when presented with too many colors, patterns etc. and by using rainbow colors I don’t have to worry about it looking pretty as the point is to use a mix of colors and that’s what makes it look pretty 🙂
34. What software do you use to make planner stickers?
Silhouette Studio. I shared more about why I use it in this post: Silhouette Studio Software versus Photoshop: Which is better for making planner stickers?
In a nutshell, I use the Silhouette machine to cut the stickers (which are sold in my sister’s planner supplies store). Silhouette Studio is the software that’s compatible with the Silhouette Portrait or Cameo (both machines can be used to cut stickers).
35. Do you have any tutorials on how to make planner stickers?
- how to design planner stickers from start to finish (a sneak peak at my design process!)
- How to make planner stickers – creating perfectly proportioned shapes in Silhouette Studio (video tutorial)
- How to make planner stickers for free using Silhouette Studio (Introduction – Video Tutorial)
36. What is the best way to store planner stickers?
Depends on the type of stickers.
- For small icon sticker sheets I use mini photo albums
- For printable sticker sheets (full page size before I’ve cut them) I used A4 binders
- For cut out stickers (individual) I use pocket folders (see this post)
- Another option is to purchase discs (ARC by Staples or MAMBI discs) and use blue tack or glue to fix sticker sheets to cardstock to create a DIY sticker album
37. Where do you buy your label paper from?
See this post Where to buy label paper
38. Which planner company has the best stickers?
If you don’t want to purchase handmade stickers from Etsy shops I’d go with the MAMBI sticker books – they’re really good value and have a variety of sticker book themes, as well as a variety of stickers in each book. Plus they do foil stickers! <3
39. Why do you use stickers to plan?
If you want to try planning with stickers but aren’t sure, see which planner stickers are right for you?
40. What are your favorite pen brands?
Much like planners, there’s so many good ones to choose from!
If I had to narrow it down I’d say these are the pens I tend to gravitate towards the most:
- How to choose the right planner pens: what to look for when buying planner pens
- Ultimate list of the best planner pen brands and how to choose colors for color coding
- Cheap versus expensive pens: is there actually a difference in quality?
- What type of pens write best on correction tape? (gel pens vs. ballpoint vs. marker pens)
41. I’m left handed, what pens should I use?
I’m right handed so this question is a bit hard to answer. I’d avoid gel pens and stick to ballpoint pens as they don’t tend to smear like gel pens do (plus they’re cheaper!)
42. Ballpoint versus gel pens: which are better?
I’ve tried various ballpoint and gel pens from various pen brands. I’ve found I prefer gel pens as the ink is more prone to skipping in ballpoint pens and Gel pens tend to come in more colors.
43. Where did you get your acrylic drawers you store pens in?
These pretty acryclic drawers were from eBay. There’s tons of them on there so make sure you check the dimensions as some are really small (avoid the ones that say ‘makeup’ drawers).
44. Which planners have the best paper?
This will be an entire post on it’s own (coming soon!). In terms of ‘best’ paper I’d say no pen ghosting or bleed through, bright white, thick paperweight and smooth to write on.
Some of the best ones I’ve come across are:
- Penny Paperoni
- Passion Planner
- Day Designer
- Joyful Heart Planner
- Lorna Leigh Lane
- Clever Fox
- Inkwell Press
45. What are your favorite highlighters?
For normal highlighters, any will do. To be honest, most highlighters work the same to me regardless of the price – the only difference is how long the ink lasts before it dries out. Cheaper highlighters tend to have less vibrant colors than more expensive ones.
Related: Best highlighters for planning
46. Are there any pens you don’t recommend
47. Favorite sticky notes?
Definitely Post it Note 3M – they’re super sticky so I can re-use them and re-stick them down multiple times. They also come in various sizes so they can be used for page markers, tabs, shopping lists, blog post planning, meal planning etc. They also come in lots of bright colors!
48. I have a limited budget, what planner supplies should I buy?
I also did a roundup of: Best Weekly Planners For Under $50
49. Where did you get the ruler you use in your planner review videos?
I get asked this question at least once a week! The ruler I use to measure the dimensions of planners in my YouTube review videos is from Poppin. it comes in lots of colors, is completely flat so easy to rule lines with, has inches and cm and the numbers are big and easy to read <3
50. What is your favorite washi tape?
Rainbow thin Doodlebug washi tape – my all time favorite washi tape!
51. What are your all-time favorite planner supplies?
Too many too list! I shared a few in this post: 7 Planner supplies I don’t regret splurging on
52. Where do you get your planner supplies from?
I live in Australia so purchase my supplies from a lot of Aussie stationery shops (roundup in this post). My sister has a planner supplies shop, Carefully Crafted so she orders in a lot of products for me to try 🙂
Have a question that wasn’t covered in this post? Comment below 🙂
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