I’ve been meaning to do a review of the Top Down Planner for years.. literally. When I bought the planner it was dated for 2020. The Top Down company appears to have stopped selling paper planners now, but I still wanted to post this review as it has a unique approach to the weekly spread and monthly planning page, which you could replicate in your bullet journal or if you’re making your own printables.
I’m not affiliated with Top Down, I purchased the planner myself and all opinions are my own.
- Size: 6.25″ wide x 9.25″ high
- Hardcover (3 different cover designs to choose from)
- Sewn binding (also available in wire bound and digital formats)
- 2 page goal planner x 5 goals
- Dates at a glance page
- 2 page Monthly calendar (starts on Monday)
- 2 page weekly spread (starts on Monday)
- Neutral color (Navy blue, white and yellow)
- Plenty of extra pages – mind maps, meeting notes, bucket list, gratitude log, lined, graph, blank
Price: $25 USD + shipping for the bookbound version when I purchased during Black Friday sales. The normal retail price is $50 USD
Update: Top Down appear to have stopped selling paper planners but a digital download version is still available on their website.
This planner has a very sturdy hardcover. I really like the scallop pattern I chose!
Just over 1″ thick (approx. 2.7cm thick)
The pages with the blue edge are the daily, weekly, monthly pages. The pages with a white edges are all of the add on pages – there are far more extra pages than most planners include.
Inside the cover is a coupon code to get the Top Down Digital Toolkit… but it’s just exactly the same pages that are in the back of the planner. Extremely basic and they charge $30 USD for this normally (I don’t think it’s worth that much!)
I don’t think they chose the right type of binding for the planner. Because there are so many pages – the pages don’t flat and want to close on their own.
Dates at a glance
How to Guide
Which clearly outlines how they suggest you use the monthly and weekly spreads.
At the front of the planner are the goal pages.
The layout is a different take to the usual 1 page or 1 box per goal category. I like the idea of looking ahead beyond just the current year to 3 years, 10 years and lifetime.. but I’m going to need a lot more space to plan that out! Maybe that’s why they put a recommended time of 15 minutes to fill this out so you don’t go too detailed…
There are 5 goal planners with 2 pages for each goal. This page is really thought out with a progress tracker %, huge to do list and a section that forces you to work out when you’re going to fit this into your schedule.
There are mindmap pages at the back of the planner.
While the planner is a portable page size (6.25″ wide x 9.25″ high) it’s quite heavy. I think this planner should have been discbound. Then you can rearrange the pages so that all of the goal pages are clustered together, not split between the front and back of the planner. The pages would lay flat too. And then you could remove pages you don’t need all the time to make the planner more portable. At least there’s a digital download version on the Top Down planner website so you can choose how many copies to print (or not print) for each page. You could do a 6 month planner to reduce the weight.
There are no tabs in this planner but there is a pattern divider page to split up sections. While tabs are always my preference, I really like that the contents are printed on the divider. By placing it in the bottom right corner it’s easy to find when flicking through the planner.
Starts Monday (which is consistent with the weekly spread).
Unfortunately, the weekends have split boxes so aren’t really useable. 1.7cm high x 4.3cm wide.
You can transfer tasks from the 5 goals you planned out at the start of planner into the spreads for each week. For me, those goal pages would be for big picture projects. I probably wouldn’t be working on all of them all at the same time, every week. I’d modify the top lists to add some regular day to day life admin tasks as well, as the weekly spread doesn’t really give you any space for that. I think it’d make more sense to use 2 – 3 lists for goals and the other 2 for maybe work or school and then a home to do list.
The schedule is hourly from 6am to 10pm. Weekends are combined with no schedule section.
I like the concept of an organized list style brain dump for the week, but rarely allocate tasks to a particular day so would probably only use the top section of this planner.
The line spacing is 6mm.
The blue boxes on the left page say ‘this week’s success will be’ and ‘I will enjoy myself by’
- Mind map (1 example page plus 5 blank templates / pages)
- Meeting notes (11 pages)
- Bucket list (2 pages)
- Gratitude log (4 pages)
- Lined (10 pages)
- Graph (5 pages)
- Blank (5 pages)
Line spacing is 5mm.
Graph is 4mm, I wish they’d kept it consistent with the lined pages and use 5mm boxes.
I didn’t do a pen test as I ended up giving this planner away. However there was some show through between the pages where you could faintly see a shadow of what was printed on the other side. The paper is smooth, bright white and reminds me of the feel of presentation paper.
Pros of the Planner
- Compact page size while still allowing enough room to write
- Rare weekly layout – not many planners have separate lists for goals (or whatever else you want to use the lists for), they usually force you to allocate tasks to a specific day
- Paper feels smooth
- Digital version of the weekly spread is available (but expensive – $10 for just a 4 page template)
Cons of the Planner
- No tabs
- Book binding and amount of pages in the planner means it does not lay flat no matter where you open the planner (doesn’t even lay flat in the middle)
- No space to decorate. If you want to color code, the colors could clash with the planner
- Top Down Digital Toolkit is not an extra – it’s just a printable version of exactly the same pages that are in the back of the planner
- Shadowing of the printing on the back side of the pages
- Inconsistent sizing on weekly spread, lined notes and graph pages – it switches between 4mm, 5mm and 6mm
- Digital download version of the entire planner is only available in pre-dated option (and has not been updated or a new version released since 2021), there is no undated version
- Weekly spreads’ Saturday and Sunday planning space are small, you may want to use some of the blank lists for more weekend planning
- Split boxes on the monthly calendar don’t leave much space to write
Would I use this planner?
Using bookbinding for a planner this thick is completely impractical, the pages do not lay flat at all. I also don’t use timed planners so won’t be using this one. However, I think the layout would work well for students, someone with a side hustle or if you like (or need to!) plan your week in detail.
More planner reviews:
- Power Planner (& Comparison with the Passion Planner)
- Curation Weekly Planner Review
- Plum Paper versus SHP Planners Comparison
- The best time saving row and column stencils for bullet journaling
- 10 best planner supplies investments I’ve made
- ARC by Staples versus MAMBI – Which discbound system is better?
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