If you’ve decided that a day to a page planner is the right fit for you, here are some things to consider before buying one.
First, I suggest you read this post to make sure! daily versus weekly planners: which is right for you?
How to choose a daily planner
1. What do you need it for?
If you’re thinking a daily planner is right for you, it’s time to make a list of all the things you want to use it for:
- Your partners and your schedule
- If you’re a direct sales consultant things like meetings, group calls etc.
- Cleaning routines
- Meal planning
- Top 3
- Daily review / rate the day
- Pomodoro Tracker
- Notes section
- Daily spending
- Hydrate tracker
- More than 30 ideas of things to track in your planner in this post
I’d also make a list of all the things you’re not going to put in your daily planner. Maybe you prefer to use a whiteboard for meal planning, or Excel for budgeting.
Something I don’t recommend is a ‘for tomorrow‘ type section. It’s a pointless waste of space. You can just flick to the next page and write it straight in there and if it’s an uncertain thing, just use a sticky note.
2. The layout
The most important thing!
Now that you know what you want to use it for, you can start to think about how much room you need for each section. Rank the items starting at 1 with 1 being the item you need the biggest space for. So if you prefer to work off a to do list like I do, I rank a to do list as #1. Your list might start with a scheduling section.
Go through the rest of the things you’re going to use your daily planner for, and rank each of them.
Next. think about what sort of space you need. For me, I prefer horizontal layouts. If I have a narrow to do list column there’s not enough room to write.
You might like the traditional 2 column layout most daily planners have, or perhaps you’d prefer 3 columns.
3. Do you need a scheduling section?
Most planners include a scheduling section which may work for some, but when I use a daily planner I prefer something a bit less structured and tend to lean towards AM, PM layouts.
If you want times pre printed times be sure to check the start time as there’s no ‘standard’ scheduling times. I typically see daily planners starting at 5am, 6am, 7am and 9am. Some run from 6am to 10pm, others from 9am to 5pm only.
The other thing to think about, is how you want the schedule laid out. Do you need 15 minute, 30 minute, 60 minute time blocks?
5. The price
… But for the price of a 12 month planner. It makes sense since there’s obviously more pages than for a weekly planner. But also consider this: are you choosing a 6 month planner that has a bunch of extras you only need 1 copy of and can use for an entire year, but which will be duplicated if you buy 2 copies. You might be better of choosing a ‘basic’ daily planner without extras, and then have a separate planner or notebook for everything else e.g. cleaning checklists, habit trackers etc.
The 6 month planners don’t always work out the same price as a 12 month weekly planner. There’s even some quarterly daily planners these days which can get pricey. Especially if you buy one each time you run out (extra shipping), instead of buying 4 copies at once.
6. Page size
I never plan using anything less than A5 page size as I find things get too crammed. I’d rather have too much space than not enough.
But don’t forget a bigger page size will mean a heavier planner.
7. Other elements
Some other things to consider are:
- Colorful versus neutral. Maybe you prefer to color code by day
- Lined versus unlined writing space. Most day to a page planners have lined writing space
- Line spacing – 7mm is my preferred line spacing which is around the norm for planners (e.g. Happy Planner). If you choose a planner in 15 minute or even 30 minute timeslots, note that the line spacing will probably be smaller than this
- Type of cover – while more expensive, I prefer hardcover to softcover as they hold up better over time
- Shipping – Daily planners are usually heavy so shipping can get expensive. If there’s a layout you like but you want to try it first, some companies offer free printable downloads
- Don’t forget you can use stickers if a planner doesn’t have exactly what you need e.g. hydrate stickers
- Maybe a daily notepad is the right fit for you, instead of a bound planner with monthly calendars etc. (especially if you’re using a daily planner in conjunction with a weekly planner)
- Undated versus dated – if you only need a daily planner occasionally, there are plenty of undated planners to choose from!
- Multiple pages – very few planners have 2 pages to plan each day – see this post for a roundup
Some daily planners are a bit extra and including a weekly planner as well as the daily spreads. Here are some planners that do this:
- Clever Fox Daily Planner
- Panda Planner Review
- Live Whale Daily Planner Review
- Tempus Daily Planner Review (no weekly planner but does have a weekly review section)
My Favorite Daily Planners
If you need a starting point for some daily planners, or if you’re still not exactly sure what you want, these are my favorite daily planners:
- Agendio Daily Planner
- Day Designer for Blue Sky Today and To Do Notebook
- Clever Fox Daily Planner Review
- Any of the daily planning printables in my shop! They can also be used with a digital planner, tutorial in this post.
More tips on choosing a planner
- How to choose the right habit tracker for your planner
- Choosing sections for your planner: what to keep in your weekly planner versus a household binder
- 7 Quick & Easy Ways to Personalise Your Planner
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