2 years ago
Linda Nguyen
Blogger

In January, my very first blog post was about my 2015 planner picks. Unfortunately, most of the planners on my list had been sold out, and I was still new to the whole world of planners and planner decorating. I admit I’m still not at the point where I’m creating works of art in each of my planner page, but regardless, I’ve loved using my Simplified Planner this year, and I’m super excited to break out my Day Designer for the 2016 year.

I alluded to some of the reasons why I realized I liked the Day Designer layout more than the Simplified Planner layout in my blog post last year including the really short day (7 a.m. – 7 p.m.) and the much smaller to-do list area. Sure enough the 2016 Simplified Planner daily layout has been updated to include more hours and a longer to-do list. And I still love the minimalist feel of the Simplified Planner, but I realized the planner is too simple for me, so I still ended up picking the Day Designer for my 2016 planner, but here are my picks for planners for all types of students.

For the Fashionista: Kate Spade, Lily Pulitzer, ban.do
These are very simple planners that have weekly views great for jotting down homework assignments, appointments and meetings, but for people who are busy, but aren’t at the I-need-to-plan-out-my-day-hour-by-hour stage. The weekly layout is great for looking at your week all at once, and perfect for college students trying to keep track of upcoming due dates and exams. The downside is the layout is very simplistic and can be found in many free planners that schools often give out at the beginning of the year.

For the Type-A student: Simplified Planner, Day Designer
I now have had both of these planners, and I love their daily layouts. They are perfect for my type-A, I-have-a-million-things-to-do self. I’ve made it a point to try to spend a little bit of each morning with my cup of coffee and my planner and just brain dump all the things I have to do, and all of my commitments for that day — and if there are any for upcoming days. I sit at my desk with my planner next to me, open to today’s page. If something isn’t on my to-do list or I forget to refer back to my planner, it doesn’t get done. I love the hourly layouts and the long to do lists.

The Simplified Planner was the planner I used for 2015. I like the very minimalist layouts to remind you to focus on the important things, but I felt like the layout was too restricting with its 7 a.m. to 7 p.m. layouts. For the 2016 planner, Emily Ley converted to a 6 a.m. to 9 p.m. layout and moved the notes and dinner boxes to the bottom allowing room for a longer to-do list. I still love the planner, but it’s a little too simple for my preferences. The fun colors are worth noting as well.

The Day Designer is a little bit more guided than the Simplified Planner. Its 5 a.m. to 9 p.m. layout is perfect for most students, even though some of UTD’s classes do go until 10, and a lot of college students have plans well after that time. I love the daily top three at the top of the page, and I’ve actually been separating my to-do list in my Simplified Planner into a top three and other to-do in order to be more intentional about the goals that I set for myself. The Due/Dollars/Dinner/Don’t Forget boxes at the top of the page are helpful as well though I might buy some other stickers to replace the contents of the boxes. I’ve seen several planners that use one of the boxes as a hydration tracker. There is also a notes section and a daily gratitude section at the bottom.

For the Work/Life Balance student: Passion Planner
Passion Planner began as a Kickstarter campaign that quickly met its goal. My friends raved about the Passion Planner, and at $25, its price point is a bit more reasonable than some of the others. You can also download the planner for free online, which just adds to its appeal. It gives a lot of direction with a week’s focus as well as a daily focus. The day goes from 5 a.m. to 11 p.m. in 30 minute increments. Each week has a personal and work to-do list to promote work-life balance which is really great for ensuring that you’re not too focused on one thing or another. There is also some blank space at the bottom of each weekly layout for notes and brain dumping. Each month, there are pages for reflection as well as goal-setting for the upcoming month. The leather exterior of the planner makes it very sleek and professional and the embossed Passion Planner logo is a nice touch.

For the Monogram-lover: Erin Condren Life Planner, Plum Planner
These two planners are completely customizable with your name and often times even photos or cover designs. They both also have a variety of layouts to choose from when ordering your planner.

I’ve personally never had the Erin Condren Life Planner, but I know there’s kind of a cult following and there are several Erin Condren Life Planner groups on Facebook and Instagram where people post their weekly spreads. The reason I never did go with one is the lack of an hourly layout, but they recently released a weekly hourly layout that runs from 6 a.m. to 7 p.m. The great thing about the Erin Condren planner are the bright, vibrant colors and the plethora of stickers made for the planner. It’s one of the most customizable planners on the market.

The Plum Planner was the planner I had for most of my undergraduate career. It also has a variety of layouts to choose from including an hourly schedule and daily spaces for to-do lists. While I liked the hourly weekly layout, I always had more than three things I needed to accomplish each day, so it wasn’t enough room for me. The weekly to-do is fine, but it was also too small for what I needed, but it’s very simple and functional for what you need.

For the sporadic planner person: Today & To-Do Planner
The Today & To-Do planner is just like the Day Designer except it doesn’t have dates or monthly page spreads. It’s great for planning just by day or as a complement for a more simple planner for when you have certain days that are just beasts that need to be destroyed. The idea of having to carry around multiple planners is unattractive to me, but I know that one of the big downsides to any of the bigger planners is that they’re as big and as heavy as textbooks sometimes, so it might be more attractive to have a smaller planner that you use daily and a bigger one to use on the busier days.

For the all-in-one person: Filofax Planner
Filofax planners are great for people who want to keep everything in one place. It has places to hold credit cards and other odds and ends, and is also customizable. The cases are quite an investment, but I think ultimately the refills will help the planner pay for itself. Some also have places for pens and other odds and ends. I’ve thought about filofaxes and there is also a huge planner community dedicated for these planners, but I like the big daily views and I know filofaxes have the tendency to get cluttered.

For the goal-planner: Start Planner, liveWell Planner
While I haven’t ever physically looked through either of these planners, they seem full of valuable goal-setting sheets and tools to help you be more intentional with your life and help you reach your goals.

The Start Planner has the hourly layout that I love about the Day Designer as well as the top three and other to-do lists. It’s definitely a lot smaller and more portable than the Day Designer, but in my opinion, it isn’t as sleek as the Day Designer. It’s definitely perfect for those looking for more portability as well as sheets in their planner that are conducive to planning and managing the various aspects of their lives.

The liveWell Planner is similar to the Start Planner in it’s goal-oriented focus. It offers two different layouts: vertical and horizontal but it doesn’t have the hourly time table or built in to-do list. It’s great for flexibility in visually displaying the things you need to do, and the weekly view is always a plus in my opinion for students.

For the creative scrapbooker: Happy Planner
The Happy Planner is sold by Michaels (which always has coupons which brings down the costs a lot). There are a lot of printables and kits for customizing your planner, and it has a vertical daily view which I’ve typically preferred over the horizontal view. With the various accessories available, it’s perfect for scrapbookers who enjoy using stickers and letters to decorate.

For the Target lover: Day Designer for Blue Sky, Sugar Paper
I feel like I have to give a special mention to Target here. One of their designers teamed up with Day Designer to release a line of cute planners with a lot of variety, and it’s at the price point you would expect from Target. Several of my friends have said they’re going to switch to the Day Designer for Blue Sky because while they like the Day Designer layout, the $59 price tag is a little much. The 2016 version is only available online, but they have the academic versions in stores in August.

Sugar Paper also has a variety of very cute, and very affordable planners for 2016. They’re great if you just need to grab something really quick at the store, but you still want it to be cute.

Also worth mentioning, Target has recently updated its dollar spot to the Bullseye Playground with a lot of cute seasonal items. They also have washi tape and stickers which are great for adding some flair to any planner you buy.