Whether you’re dealing with a busy work schedule, juggling a bunch of classes, or just trying to stay on the ball, a planner is essential for managing your time. And if you’ve never used one before, then you might as well start with the new decade. Here are eight great planners for 2020.
Which Planner Is Right for Me?
Have you ever bought a nice, well-reviewed planner, only to find it’s full of crap you don’t need? Well, we can avoid that frustration by clearing up some terms right now. Here are the main types of planners, along with some information on why they might (or might not) be useful to you.
- Monthly planners: In its most basic form, a monthly planner is just a portable calendar. They might have a few extra pages, but they’re usually pretty bare-bones (for many people, that’s a good thing).
- Weekly planners: Weekly planners are usually combined with monthly planners. They allow you to write out what you want to do each day of the week. In most cases, they squeeze three days onto each page.
- Daily planners: A daily planner splits each day of the month onto its own page. They’re great for busybodies, students, or anyone who needs to plan things in detail. Most daily planners have space for a detailed timetable, a to-do list, and some notes. But some of them are more like journals, with undated or totally blank pages.
- Business planner: A “business planner” is any planner that’s large, detailed, and straightforward. They’re easy to use on the fly, and they aren’t filled with any space for diary entries or creative writing.
- Bullet journals: If you hate the cookie-cutter structure of regular planners, then you should try using a bullet journal. They’re basically just notebooks with dot-grid pages, so you can create your own space for scheduling, reflecting, or doodling. Most bullet journals are undated, although some include dates and mini-calendars for the sake of structure.
- Refillable planners: Refillable planners are basically mini-binders. You can fill them with whatever paper you want, including calendar paper, loose-leaf paper, dot-grid paper, and musical manuscript paper.
Now that you know what you’re looking for, let’s jump right into it. Here are the best planners to kick off 2020.
Best Simple Monthly Planner: AT-A-GLANCE 14-Month Planner
The AT-A-GLANCE pocket planner is an exercise in simplicity and restraint. It’s just a small monthly planner. You could even call it a pocket calendar. There aren’t any unnecessary pages for taking notes or keeping hourly lists, just 14 months of calendar pages.
This particular planner is made of a faux leather and bleed-resistant paper. It’s soft and has a glued spine, so it should work well in anyone’s pants pocket, binder pocket, backpack, desk drawer, or bag.
AT-A-GLANCE 2020 Monthly Pocket Planner, DayMinder, 3-1/2" x 6", Pocket Calendar, Black (SK5300)
The AT-A-GLANCE monthly pocket planner is as simple as it gets. There's no unnecessary bells and whistles, just 14 months of calendar pages.
Best Business Planner: Blue Sky 12-Month Weekly Planner
Business planners are made to help you manage your monthly, weekly, and daily schedules. They’re great for anyone who has a busy life, a busy job, or a mountain of college classes to trudge through.
We like the Blue Sky 12-month Enterprise planner because it’s big and robust without being overwhelming. It gives you calendar pages for each month, along with a few planning pages for each day of the week, a contact list for the people in your life, and a few note pages for anything interesting you might need to jot down.
This Blue Sky planner is spiral-bound, and it’s the size of a standard sheet of loose-leaf paper. Sadly, it isn’t hole-punched, so you cant stick it into a binder.
Blue Sky 2020 Weekly & Monthly Planner, Flexible Cover, Twin-Wire Binding, 8.5" x 11", Enterprise
The Blue Sky 12-month enterprise planner helps to manage your daily, weekly, and monthly schedules. It's a good, robust option that's still straightforward and easy to use.
Best Daily Planner: TWONE 48-Page Daily Planner
The TWONE time management planner is made to help you navigate through the important days of your week. Each page has an hour-by-hour time table, along with space for a to-do list and a section for writing out memos. It’s a simple, affordable planner that’s great for anyone who needs to plan out their busy work or school days.
This TWONE daily planner is relatively small, at just 5.1 inches wide and 7.5 inches tall. Plus it only contains 48 pages, so it’s thin enough to fit in your bag without being intrusive. And while 48 pages doesn’t really sound like much, this planner isn’t meant to last you all year. Each page is undated, and it’s meant to be used on your busy school or work days.
TWONE Time Management Manual and Planner - 48 Sheets - 130 millimeters by 190 millimeters - Daily Planning - Get Your Life Organized
The TWONE time management planner is small, affordable, and undated. It's perfect for those school or work days that require an hour-by-hour schedule.
Best Bullet Journal: URSUNSHINE 128-Page Grid Notebook
Bullet journals give you the freedom to schedule your activities, reflect on your day, or create small pieces of personal art without restraint. They don’t have pre-determined sections for your plans and allow you to use as many pages as you want for each day of the week.
The URSUNSHINE dotted grid notebook is our favorite bullet journal, as it offers incredible quality at a relatively low price. Each of its 128 pages are bleed-resistant, with a pleasant off-white color that’s easy on the eyes and fun to write on. And since its only 5 inches wide and 8.25 inches tall, it’s small enough to fit in any bag or desk drawer.
URSUNSHINE Dotted Grid Notebook/Journal - Dot Grid Hard Cover Notebook, Premium Thick Paper with Fine Inner Pocket, Black Smooth Faux Leather, Pen Loop, 5''×8.25''
The URSUNSHINE dotted grid notebook is affordable, well-made, and perfect for creating a custom scheduling or journaling experience.
Best for Creatives: Hobonichi Techo 12-Month Daily Planner
The Hobonichi Techo is famous among artists and journal-keepers for its customizable covers, engaging design, and wonderful paper. With a dot-grid styled page for every day of the year, the Hobonichi Techo allows you to plan and reflect on your days in a creative, yet structured framework.
You’d think that the Hobonichi Techo would be kind of heavy, but its premium paper is incredibly lightweight and bleed-resistant. Plus, it’s sold with a variety of fun covers, including covers that tastefully reference Nintendo games and classic European stories.
Best for Setting and Achieving Goals: Panda 3-Month Planner
If you’re looking for a planner that can help you achieve your personal goals, then we suggest using the Panda daily planner. It’s built with all the things you’d expect from a daily planner, like monthly calendars and hourly timetables, along with some interesting prompts for morning reviews, monthly plans, monthly reflections, and long- or short-term goals.
This is an undated planner, but it’s built to last for about three months. It’s about 5 inches wide and 8.2 inches tall, so it’ll fit into just about any situation or routine. Plus, its paper is durable and bleed-free, so you can write with whatever utensil you like.
Black Daily Planner 2023 by Panda Planner - Organizer Planner for Goals, Gratitude & Focus - Weekly & Monthly Agenda Sections - Undated 90 Day Planner
The Panda Planner is built to help you set and achieve daily and monthly goals. It's a positive tool that encourages reflection and growth.
For Pomodoro Productivity: Intelligent Change 6-Month Planner
Planners are usually schedule-based, and force you to work within a monthly calendar or daily timetable. But the Intellligent Change planner takes the emphasis off scheduling and instead focuses on tasks. It’s based around the Pomodoro productivity system, and it’s a great option for anyone who works at a desk or without a set schedule.
Each day, the Intelligent change planner prompts you to write out your tasks in order of importance, along with how much time you expect to work on each task. As you complete the tasks, you write down how much time they took, and “score” yourself on your productivity. Then, at the end of your work day, you’re prompted to reflect on how well you did, and how you could become more productive in the future.
The Intellligent Change Productivity Planner is undated, and has enough pages for 6 months of use. Surprisingly, it’s only about 5 inches wide and 8 inches tall—about the size of a novel.
Intelligent Change - 3-Month Productivity Planner, Productivity Tools for Time-Management and Mindfulness, Daily To-Do List, A5 Undated Quarterly Planner, Beige (Black)
The Intelligent Change planner is based around the Pomodoro productivity method, and is a great option for anyone who works a loose work schedule.
Best Refillable Option: Kikki.K Personal Planner
Refillable planners are great for anybody in any situation. They can be customized to suit your needs, and filled with whatever paper you like to use (including dot grid paper or music manuscript paper). Plus, they’re refillable, so they can last for years.
If you’re interested in buying a refillable planner, we suggest going for the mighty Kikki.K personal planner. It’s a high-quality binder with tons of pockets, a pen-holder, and two notepad slots (so you don’t have to waste your planner paper on notes). It comes in a variety of styles and colors, it’s smaller than the average binder (about 8 inches by 9.5 inches), and it comes with a mess of starter materials, including a 12-month undated calendar, 52 weekly undated sheets, and tons of dividers and stickers. (And of course, you can buy refills through the Kikki.K website).
Best Digital Option: Google Calendar
If you can’t find a suitable paper planner, then maybe it’s time to turn to the digital world. Google Calendar is a fantastic scheduling tool that works across any device and easily pairs with apps like Gmail, Google Assistant, Google Keep (a sticky-note app), Google Tasks (a to-do app), and Google Messages (the SMS app). Plus, the Google Calendar app can send you notifications on your phone. There aren’t any paper planners that can do that, right?
We love Google Calendar, and we use it in conjunction with paper planners and calendars. But it’s worth noting that Microsoft Outlook is a great alternative that’s popular with many businesses. If your coworkers are already using Outlook, then it might be a better option for you tha Google Calendar.