Hey Red! What is your favorite planner?

My favorite planner - A Side of Fabulous Blog

Hey Red!

I'm a person who ADORES planners and calendars-Franklin/Covey, Erin Condren, etc. I've taken Franklin/Covey's 7 Habits course and read several books on the topic. Is there one particular planner/organizing scheme you prefer? I realize needs are individualized and programs like 7 Habits can try to "force" people into a particular paradigm that may not fit. I searched your website for "planners" and got no response. Can you point me toward a particular organizing scheme/product you find helpful to "keep it all together?"

Thanks so much!

Planning Mission

P.S. I have spent lots of money on commercial planners, and realize it's not the book that keeps my shit together. I'm merely searching for a helpful tool.

Dear Planning,

Your question made me realize that though I've written about my favorite tool(s) here, I don’t call it a "planner" because it's not a paper planner. Sorry that made your search suck so thanks for asking!

I too looooooove planners, and have been devoted to lists and calendars since having to maintain an overwhelmingly packed schedule in undergrad. The tools have changed over the years as I've switched from paper to digital (as you can read in the post linked above), but the love has NEVER waned. I've also tried and tested a huge variety of planners, and the one I currently use and love is TickTick.

I've been devoted to them for a couple of years now. Predominantly because it's a really simple system that is immensely flexible so that as my needs change, it can easily change with me.

TickTick comes with a free and a paid plan. I use the paid plan and find it to be worth every penny. However, I also used the free plan for easily a year or more and found it to be useful as well. It syncs across all my devices, so it's handy for taking notes as well as managing all of my tasks. 

The simple, clean, outline-style design makes it super-easy to manipulate it to your particular needs, and it has several features to make life easier.

As a matter of fact, there's so much I love about TickTick, I'm going to write a separate post digging more into the features and how you can use it in my next blog


Pro Tip: If you're not used to digital, this will feel uncomfortable while you transition. The transition from paper to digital task management was for me too. However now that I'm fully digital, I appreciate the ease as well as not having to carry a giant planner with me everywhere.


Side note: I do still use a paper planner for planning marketing, product releases and such, because it's easier to plan when I can see the month and year in that format. But my day to day is all digital. If something isn't on my TickTick list, it probably won't get done.

How to choose the right planner for you:

  • Determine what your needs are. What are your "must haves" and "nice to haves?" Do you want it to keep track of EVERYTHING or only certain things? (Pro tip: I find that it's best to keep track of everything in one place. Life is one flowing unit so your to-do tracker should be the same.)
  • What extras do you want? Do you want it to inspire you? Do you want it to be pretty?
  • How do you work best? Digitally or pen/paper? If you find a planner of the opposite type, are you willing to live through the awkward phase until it feels natural?

Fit the planner to your needs, not your needs to the planner.

THIS is the key to making a planning system work for you long-term. As much as I love pen to paper, I couldn't find a paper planner that fit all my needs how I wanted it too. So I made the full switch to digital and TickTick fits my needs perfectly.

Most importantly, TAKE ACTION. It's so easy to get wrapped up in the learning, reading, and research that we lull ourselves into a false sense that we're doing something and being productive. When the truth is that at a certain point we cross from proper research to procrastination. Play with different systems. A number of paper planners have free PDF downloads to test them. If that doesn't work, try your hand at designing your own planning sheet that incorporates the elements you need and leaves out the ones that you don’t. Try something out for a while and if it works, fabulous! If not, try something else. Keep trying until you land on what works. I played with different systems for YEARS before I found TickTick and made it work for me.

An additional note: once you land on a system that works well enough, stick to it. Yes, it's important to have a tool to help you stay on top of everything you need to do, but at the end of the day what's more important is to actually DO the things you need to do rather than fuss and futz over if the planner is the right one or good enough or if there's something out there that's better. I too sometimes get lured into the siren song of a beautiful paper planner. Then I realize that my current system WORKS really well already, and I need to be focusing on getting shit done, rather than organizing and reorganizing the shit that needs to be done.

Have questions or a planner that you love? Leave it in the comments.

Melinda Massie - A Side of Fabulous

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