How to choose a 2021 yearly planner, what I look for in my personal planner, & how to actually utilize a yearly planner effectively!
Picking out my yearly planner is a decision I take VERY seriously. I stand in Barnes & Noble for way longer than I should, browsing the available planners, before deciding on one I like! Using a yearly planner has been something that I’ve sworn by since my freshman year of college & now years later, I use my planner every single day without fail! I love the feeling of writing things down, checking things off, & just the overall feeling of seeing tasks laid out in an organized & specific way! With that said, today I wanted to walk you through how to choose a 2021 yearly planner, what I look for in a planner, & how to actually use it – because that’s the whole point!
How to Choose A Yearly Planner
1. Determine a budget
There’s no need to spend a lot of money on a planner that you might not ever use or use enough, so think of a price that makes sense for you & for how much you’ll use it! The past two years, I’ve kept my planner budget under $35 since I had a pretty good idea what that price could get me! I also feel comfortable spending that amount because I know how much I do use my planner, so it’s definitely a worth-while investment! My planner for 2021 ended up being $28.99!
2. Decide what you do & don’t like
I’ve been consistently using a planner since my freshman year of college, so over the years, I have definitely found what I do & don’t like when it comes to my planners! Do you like a loud print? Are you looking for your days to have hourly time slots? Do you like having a place to take notes? Do you need a monthly calendar? Are you looking for something small to just throw in your purse, or do you like having a larger planner? Do you lean towards a soft or hard cover? Etc! These are all things you become familiar with once you start exploring the many different types of planners out there!
3. Choose a layout style that best fits your needs
Layout is key for me when it comes time to choosing a yearly planner. I like to have a monthly calendar overview at the start of every month but then, I like my pages to be broken down into a weekly format with ample space to plan out my tasks for each day. Although I prefer a weekly planner format, others may benefit from having a more specific daily/hourly format, but for me personally, that isn’t a necessity! The planner layout you choose, will depend on the tasks you need it for!
4. Determine a binding preference
The first few planners I used while in college did not lay flat & while that didn’t bother me at the time, I use my planner a lot more now & it’s an absolute necessity that my planner has the ability to lay flat on a desk! But as you begin to look for planners you’ll see different binding styles: three ring, spiral-bound, disc-bound, hard-bound, soft-bound, ring binders, etc!
5. Consider any extra requirements you might be looking for
I personally like to have space at the beginning of every month to jot down goals, list out monthly expenses, & take note of things I have to get done that month! I also like having an area in the front of my planner to list out birthdays & special dates that I need to keep track of! An area in the front to take notes is also very important for me as well! I list out a variety of important information that I reference all year round, including 2 pages of passwords & usernames that help me stay organized! Maybe you might prefer having a section that focuses specifically on budgeting or an area to list out your weekly grocery list…just to name a few planner add ons!
What I looked for in my 2021 yearly planner…
- Around the $35 price range
- I personally need a spiral-bound planner that will lay flat on a desk
- Medium in size, but not too big! Last year, I had a very large Lilly Pulitzer planner & although I liked it, it was a bit difficult to carry with me with I traveled!
- I like to have a monthly view before each month, & then each week broken down, giving me ample space to plan out my days!
- I prefer to write on lines and I like having boxes next to the lines to check off my tasks!
- Having a monthly roundup page with places to write down goals, project planning, must do’s, notes, somewhere to keep track of my monthly bills is also crucial for me!
- Not an absolute must, but I do like having a folder in the front or back to hold loose documents or things I like to keep with me!
- Again, not a must, but planner stickers are fun too!
For 2021, I went with a 17-Month Deluxe Hardcover Planner by a brand called High Note!
Tips for using a yearly planner!
A yearly planner is to be used as a organization tool BUT it won’t do the work for you! I think too many planners go unused because people lose interest. When used properly, having a planner is truly the best for remembering, staying organized, staying on track with goals, keeping track of finances, appointments, to-do lists, & more! Believe me when I say I would be lost without mine, but that’s because I use it – RELIGIOUSLY! Over the years, I’ve developed the habit of using my yearly planner every single day, & because of that, I’ve established how to utilize planning to set me up for monthly success!
- Pick out a planner that meets YOUR needs or else you won’t have any use for it!
- Get in the habit of checking & updating it daily!
- Carve out time at the beginning of each month & each week to update it according to what you have planned/what’s going on that month or week! I always do this on the first of the month & every Sunday or Monday!
- Write everything down – that’s the whole point!
- Focus on jotting down attainable tasks so you’ll actually feel motivated to accomplish them!
- When you do accomplish something, be sure to check off your task! Checking things off is the BEST feeling!
- Use highlighters to color code & stay organized! I love using a good highlighter haha!
There you have it! I hope that these tips assist you in choosing a planner for this coming year OR if you already have picked one out & were looking for ways to utilize it in a more effective way, I hope my tips on how to use a yearly planner helped!
Are you getting a 2021 yearly planner? Let me know in the comments below!
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