Friday, June 10, 2011

Planner Pad Review

Here is my long overdue Planner Pad review. This should be part of a planner review series of about 3 or 4, so stay tuned! More to come!!

I first started using Planner Pads a few years ago. I read "Take Back Your Time" by Jan Jasper (one of the best time management books ever), and Planner Pad was one of her suggested planners because it has a good week to view set-up:
The first year I used them, I used the personal size, and that was ok, but I didn't have much success the first year. Not Planner Pad's fault though, I just didn't know what I wanted in a planner, and I had a hard time figuring out how to use all the blank space at the top. I ordered one again for the next year; again epic fail.

Then I moved on to other things, namely FC or just generic Wal-Mart offerings. Then about a year ago I saw this video. I immediately ordered the personal size Planner Pad, decorated it, and proceeded to use it until my Granny died. After that, I couldn't use it any more because it made me sad, so I ordered the Executive size to start January 2011. I decorated it, and had every intention of using it...but I had also gotten interested in Filofax by that time, and I've waffled between the two ever since.

Planner Pad, however, has many virtues, and I've really begun to like using it. It comes with a black cover that you can have imprinted with your name for an extra fee.  To me, the black cover is super boring, and I really prefer decorating mine.  (Right now it also houses a quote, a picture of Colin Firth [yummy], and some info I cut out of a magazine about financial stuff).  I seal both covers with packing tape when I'm done decorating.

 Inside on the second page (first page is Planner Pad company info), there is a page for Personal Information, that holds the standard name, address, and ICE space for that information.
Then there are eight pages of Important Phone Number pages, broken down alphabetically, with a varying amount of lines according to the letter. (For instance, more G's than Z's). 

After that there is the current year dates, next year and the year after that, all in regular calendar format on one page. Then there are 3 annual planners, again for this year, next and 2013. Then there is one page of holidays (only American and some Canadian, unfortunately), then a page of USA time zones. Sadly, this planner does not have world times zones, which would be REALLY useful!

After that, there are the Notes page and month page that are standard every month. Then, the week pages start.  On the week pages you have space at the top for categories/to-do's or whatever you want to use it for, then under that you have spaces for to-do's for each day, then at the bottom are the appt. times for each day. Here is the way Planner Pad suggests you use their system, but I use mine a little differently because I don't have many time specific tasks.  I still use the top for categories, and I link a couple of the top spaces to use more space for fewer categories.  I use from left to right "Dreams" this takes up two spaces; "MIT's" most important tasks, this takes one space' "Work On" one space; "Research" for online stuff, two spaces; and "Blog" one space. 

Under the Notes/Calls space at the far right I put extra notes or reminders, then I put my weekly Gratitude List under that and above the Expenses section.  I use the Expenses section for extra notes. Right now, I'm using the appointment space at the bottom as a journal of sorts for daily events as they happen. It works ok, but this space is not really optimum for me, and may be the deal breaker with Planner Pad. :O(

After the week pages for the year, there are 3 yellow note pages, and then 12 yellow pages that Planner Pad lists to be used for Goals/Projects/Calendar, but which can be used for anything.  There are the days of the week printed really lightly at the top of the page, and then horizontal and vertical lines, but of course those can be written or drawn over however you wish.  I use these pages usually to tape/glue in other stuff I want to keep or be reminded of.  The very last page is a yearly calendar with last year, this year and next year on it.  You can also buy "Insta Pockets" from Planner Pad for the front and back so you can stash other stuff in your planner. I always buy these; this year I only bought the back one because I don't like having junk in the front. 

Planner Pads are very durable, and hold up well to a year's worth of abuse easily. Planner Pad paper quality is outstanding, and can hold up to everything but Sharpie markers (although Sharpie pens work fine).  I use a lot of Le Pens for the colored stuff and boxes and highlights that I draw around my random writings, and they work beautifully with absolutely no bleed through. Also, the Planner Pad can't be beat for the ability to attach ephemera! There is plenty of space, and the pages hold up well to glue sticks, rubber cement, staples, washi tape, and paper and binder clips.  In many ways, this planner works really well for me EXCEPT:

1. Appointment times are useless for me, and a waste of space
2. No pen loop (but not a deal breaker, really)
3. Not really conducive for those "listy" items like Books to Read, Internet usernames/passwords, Bucket List, and the like (although I did start keeping the things I need/want to buy on the Notes page that is opposite the Monthly blocks page, and that works well)
4. I use the Executive Size, and it's a bit bulky to carry around
5. There is not enough daily "journaling" space, although that is easily remedied by using a Moleskine or other notebook for that purpose

Any way, hope you like the review. Kimberly Wilson recently tweeted me, and said she would do a "How I Use My Planner Pad" blog post, so I will let you know when that comes out; it should be fab just like her! I can't wait...

As always, I'd love to hear your thoughts and suggestions!!


PS: All pictures are cut out of magazines by me, and added to my PERSONAL PLANNER! None have been sold or used in any way so as to violate any Copyright! Picture on back inside page is of Angelina Jolie, because I think she rocks.


  1. Love the setup of the Planner Pad... It makes me wanna go out and buy one right now. But I can't be unfaithful to my beloved Filofax...

  2. oh no. Just when I was really digging my Malden, now I'm being tempted back to a bound book format. The Planner Pad looks awesome. Thanks, Rori :-) Now I don't know what to do!!

  3. okay, I just went and ordered the executive size. I see they also have looseleaf format, too. Hmmm.

  4. @Kathiza I know! I felt the same way, but I just ran out of room in the Filofax.

    @terriknits OH NO! Are you going to give up on Filofax? Would love to hear from you when you get it! Will you blog about it?

  5. Another Colin Firth lover - yay!

    I like the look of this planner, but it seems to have a lot of space to fill in. I could probably do it without issue, but I'd also feel like I HAD to fill in the blank spaces. So probably not for me. But I can see the draw to it!

  6. Great review, Rori! I love how you personalized the cover! Colin Firth is such a cutie - I loved him as Mr. Darcy in 'Pride & Prejudice. movie (A&E production, 1996) and of course, everything else since!

    Is this the planner in which you will finish out the year? Seems to have lots of room for your very creative/artistic personality!

  7. @Kanalt The space ends up getting filled in with random thoughts, ideas, to-do's, quotes etc. It usually takes me all week to fill it up with notes.

    @AspireToBe Thanks! The covers are fun to design. <3 Colin Firth :O)

    I don't think I'll finish the year with it, because shortly after I wrote this, I stumbled upon a method that is working really well for me. I'll blog about it this week.
    I am SO not artistic/creative! More like spastic and random...

  8. Thanks for this excellent review Rori! It's great to see the inner workings of the Planner Pad. So many people have recommended this to me but for some reason I've never tried it.

    I too think Angelina Jolie rocks. I saw her in person once (a presentation she did at the State Dept in DC against child trafficking) and she is so incredibly beautiful she made every other woman in the room look like a dog's ass, not to put too fine a point on it.

  9. @Laurie, Thank you! The Planner Pad is really set up well and has great features, especially if you use the appointment time slots.

    Well, of course she did. *sob*

    My favorite thing about her (aside from the fact that she is heart-stoppingly beautiful)is that she does what she wants and if people don't like it, OH WELL! I think that confident attitude is sexy.

    I'd be that confident too if I looked like that! haha

  10. LOL Rori I agree, it's probably easy to be confident when you're gorgeous and awesome!

    I love that she has channeled her intensity into her family and her causes around the world. The woman must have superhuman amounts of energy.

  11. I have that pre-Fall itch of getting organized. While I love my Iphone for calendar appts. I have been through FiloFax to PlannerPad and am considering going back to FF. Even the smallest PP is too big to carry with me daily so I write everything down on SUndays and then leave it on my desk - having to look at it every morning! It's not working for me... so I am hoping to find a layout like PP but for FF. If anyone finds one let me know. Guess I can always make my own...but really I am sure someone has come up with something.

  12. I do too, Gracie! BUT! I just got a black Filofax Malden as a replacement for my beloved Topaz, and I think I'll be sticking with Filofax for a while!! It is GORGEOUS :D
    That being said, I would LOVE to have a PP format for my FF also :o(
    Thanks for visiting!!!