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This Is It: The Planner That Will Change My Life 

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It’s Saturday, and the planner I spent hours agonizing over buying has just arrived in the mailbox. Would it be better than the other one that was cuter? But I need cute. It has to be functional too though. This is the one though, I can feel it in my bones. 

It’s been six hours, and I’ve almost finished adding everything important ever to this planner. I know exactly how I’m going to fix my life, with the checklists and stickers and markered affirmations to prove it. 

Monday though, cuz it has to start on a fresh week. 

It’s Sunday, and I’m so excited for my last day as a sloth before this new planner changes my life! Monday morning, bright and early. I’m ready with my pens and dopamine. Let’s do this! 

Monday evening — that went OK. I forgot about it by 10 a.m., but I’ll do better tomorrow. 

Tuesday morning — I forgot about it when I woke up, but it’s 11 a.m. now and I’m getting caught up. I’m going to make it work this time. 

Thursday — Shit. OK OK, here we go. It’s working, see? I’m using it, my life is already getting better. 

Friday — Yeah, I can do this. 

Three weeks later… wait, where did my planner go? 


Rinse. Repeat.

The above was originally a joke I wrote to a Mighty teammate almost a year ago, but in the months since, it has continued to be true. What I’ve learned is that I reach for a shiny new planner when I feel overwhelmed, and also when my brain is being a jerk and telling me to just get it together already. 

I’ve tried all the things — digital planners, ADHD planners, bullet journaling, desire mapping, passion planning, horizontal and vertical layouts, daily vs. weekly vs. “maybe I just need a monthly spread!”… none of them have worked long-term for me. 

I’m doing better these days at breathing through the need to reach for a new planner — or letting myself look, but not purchase, because I desperately don’t want or need another pretty stack of paper laying around collecting dust. “Think of the trees!” I tell myself. In what feels like a sign of progress, I even returned a planner I bought a few months ago as soon as it arrived!

Instead, I’m leaning into the stack of systems that do work for me, and coming to terms with the fact that I’m a systems person, not a planner person. And simple systems that include reminders and checkboxes on my phone tend to be 10x more effective for me. Even if they aren’t as satisfying to look at. 

Turns out, I’m not alone in the search for that perfect planner. Here are some Mighty staffer picks:

Digital Planner Options

  1. Notion
  2. ToDoIst
  3. Google Cal + Tasks (included with your Gmail address)
  4. Digital planner like this one from Passion Planner

Paper Planner Options

  1. Blue Sky
  2. Sugar Paper
  3. Day Minder
  5. Papier 
  6. Golden Coil
  7. Balance Bound

How do you feel about planners? Sound off in the comments.

Getty image by Johner Images

Originally published: August 1, 2023
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