October 02, 2018

Grocery lists? Appointments? Phone numbers? Goals and daily tasks? Your budget? While some people swear by using their phone for these, there is nothing like consolidating it all into a paper planner that can be a single-source of all the things you need to remember and juggle.  In today’s world, it can be a moment of mindfulness to sit down with a pen and paper and plan your week, and actively set goals and tasks to achieve.

For many people, using a planner is an essential part of our daily lives because it keeps us more organised to stay on top of the things that we need to do. Having a planner doesn’t limit us to use it only as a calendar and agenda tracker, which we buy at the beginning of the year.  A planner can also be used as a journal or as a memory-keeping tool where we can write the things we learn every day as well as quotes that motivate us. With the advent of portable photo printers it is easy to use our planners as a combination of looking forward to the future and keeping records of our days to look back on.

While there are many types of planners, this article focuses on two main styles known for their flexible setup options.

Ring-bound Planners

This is the classic type of planner. The rings allow customisation as the pages can be easily added or taken out.  There are many, many designs of “inserts” or refills available to add to your planner – including calendar pages, habit trackers, finance trackers, meal planning inserts and more.  You can buy pre-printed inserts or print your own easily at home.  This style of planner also lends itself to decorating with accessories such as paperclips, bookmarks, dividers and dashboards so your planner can be beautiful as well as decorative. 

Ring-bound planners typically come in three sizes – A5, Personal Size and Pocket Size.  The ring configuration is typically consistent across all planners in the same size – no matter the brand (except for a few brands that use a unique ring configuration) so you can easily swap your inserts between planners.   For example, inserts that fit an A5 Filofax will also fit most other A5 ring planners.

The only downside of ring planners is they can be a little bulky, as the cover and rings take up real estate in your handbag.

Travelers notebook

A Travelers Notebook is actually a cover, made from fabric, leather or another material with strings running down the middle.  You can then use these strings to hold notebooks in place.  These notebooks can be plain or lined paper or a range of inserts for whatever you want to track.  Like ring-bound planners, you can keep track of everything from appointments to health and fitness, finance, shopping, social media and more.  There are many different sizes of Travellers Notebook covers and inserts, so it is worth experimenting with different sizes to see what suits you best.

What size planner do I need?

Most people who choose a ring-planner choose either A5 or Personal Size.  The answer on which one is better depends on how much weight are you willing to carry and what are you going to use it for.

A5 size
Paper size: 140mm x 210mm or 5.83in x 8.27in
Planners measure approx. 19cm x 25cm but it depends on the brand.

A5 planners are perfect for your desk or kitchen bench.  They can certainly fit in a decent size handbag but may get heavy to carry around all day. The benefit is you can fit a lot of information in them and the page size is comfortable to write on.  If you want to print your own inserts, A5 is an easy size to print.  If you are a busy person with a lot to juggle or want space to record a lot of information in your week, A5 is the best size to choose.

Personal size
Paper size: 95mm x 171mm or 3.74in x 6.73in
Planners measure approx. 21cm x 14cm but it depends on the brand.

As the name suggests, this is a smaller, handy size and can fit in almost any bag. The pages are smaller and so can be a little more difficult to write in, especially if you have large handwriting.  If you have a lot to record each day but still want a portable planner size you may find that you require day-to-a-page inserts as this gives maximum writing space to record all your appointments and reminders. Personal size inserts are also quite difficult to print yourself at home due to the small paper size.

If you’re thinking of doing a new routine and starting your own planner, you can check out the gorgeous designs from Chasing Planner Peace. They have beautiful and functional planners and flexible insert options printed on luxurious paper.