The Best Planners to Buy This Summer, According to Our Editors
We've rounded up the planners our staff swears by so you can get organized in style.
As I'm slowly settling in to a work-from-home routine, I'm more attached to my planner than I was before the pandemic started. It's been a sanity-saver as I balance virtual work meetings, pencil in Zoom happy hours, and schedule reminders to pay the electric bill. And while there are many calendar apps available for your phone, tablet, or computer, I've found that digital scheduling can't replace a paper planner when it comes to organizing meetings and mastering working from home.
Planners typically come in one of two formats: They follow the calendar year (January through December) or the academic year (August through July). I have an academic planner, so I've been looking for a replacement that will help keep me on track come August. With so many styles and patterns to choose from, it’s easy to pick out a planner that looks pretty. What’s not as easy to determine is which planner will be most functional for your everyday life.
Not to worry: Our editors have gathered the ultimate roundup of pretty and practical planners. Find one that matches your needs, or learn how you can create your own custom design. Plus, our favorite planners start at just $10, so you can organize your life without having to rethink your budget.
Plum Paper Planner
The customizable planners from Plum Paper are one of our favorite finds of 2020. Each personal planner is completely customizable, starting with more than 100 gorgeous cover designs and the ability to add custom text to the cover. You can also totally customize the inside layout and start the planner in any month of the year. The clean design has features you're used to, like monthly spreads and days broken out by the hour, but it also offers the option to customize the agenda with tasks specific to your job or school schedule.
Day Designer Original Daily Planner
The Day Designer is one of our favorite planners because of the add-ons, including free printables for holiday planning, weekly meal planning, bucket lists, and even daily planning pages for especially hectic days. This academic planner is dated July 2020 through June 2021, so it's a great choice for back-to-school time. We're also a big fan of how much writing space each page offers. Their hard-cover spiral-bound planners are 8.5 by 11 inches, with 10 blank lines per weekday and a corresponding daily to-do checklist with room for 10 tasks. "The design is gorgeous, and I like how detailed and broken down each day is— you can plan hour by hour if you want—so it's almost impossible to forget something," says Rachel Wermager, editorial associate at BHG.com. "I love the stickers for special occasions, and I also like that it has sections to set goals for the whole year." Day Designer planners are available at Office Depot, Target, Walmart and Amazon, so they're easily accessible too.
Rifle Paper Co. Classic Planner
This 2021 planner is available in the classic spiral-bound format, as well as with a hard cover that wraps around the spiral binding for extra protection. Planners by Rifle Paper Co. include monthly and weekly views, inspirational quotes, and a ruled pocket in the back that makes it easy to keep track of small things like notes or business cards. Plus, for the first time ever, they include sticker sheets. This 17-month planner spans from August 2020 to December 2021.
Emily Ley Simplified Planner
This Emily Ley planner is a must-have for anyone with a hectic schedule. Each page of the Simplified planner features one day with an hourly timeline from 6 a.m. through 9 p.m., a to-do list column with 16 spaces to check off tasks, along with a large blank section for notes. The daily planner is perfect for anyone who has several meetings or appointments throughout the day since the design makes it easy to schedule things down to the hour. The weekly design features seven days on a spread with a shortened version of each day’s notes and tasks along with space to check off weekly tasks like meal planning and tidying up for the week ahead. This version begins August 2020 and runs through July 2021. "I've been in love with The Simplified Planner for the last six years," says Rachel Haugo, BHG.com deputy editor. "I'm currently using the 12-month weekly version and love the format where each spread is a week at a glance. Another bonus: each sheet of paper is thick (which means my weeks don't blend together). It gives me enough space to keep track of my personal to-do lists, reminders, appointments, and even has a daily spot for dinners. If you like minimalist white design with a sprinkle of cheerful colors, this planner is for you!"
Target + Blue Sky Planner
This planner is one of the most functional and affordable planners available. It retails for just under $15 and has all the basic elements of planners with larger price points. The academic Blue Sky planner includes a durable cover in a variety of styles and patterns, as well as plenty of space to write. The design features one week per each two-page spread, meaning you can see the full week at once without sacrificing valuable writing space.
Weekly Planner Pad
If you have a small workspace or if you tend to have a lot of things on your desk at all times, a weekly planner pad can be more helpful than a large planner. This planner pad is easy to keep by your keyboard for jotting down notes or small tasks that don't necessarily need to go in a planner. "I use a weekly planner pad for work and find it more helpful than a traditional planner when I'm scheduling small work tasks," says Emily VanSchmus, assistant holidays editor at BHG.com. "I use my regular planner to keep track of meetings and large deadlines, but I like being able to keep a running list of daily tasks on my weekly planner pad right at my desk. I also love that it doesn't get in the way like a large fold-out planner can, which means my to-do list is always in sight." This planner pad includes 50 sheets without dates so you can start it any day (and you won't waste unused weeks!) and is pretty enough to showcase on your desk.
Lilly Pulitzer Agenda
Another functional and straightforward planner design is the agenda from Lilly Pulitzer. It holds weekly and monthly calendar pages, with each week laid out on a two-page spread. Weekdays have a large amount of writing space and weekends are slightly smaller. This 2020-2021 planner also comes with a notes section, sticker pages, and a place to record important dates throughout the year, making it super easy to transfer things like birthdays or anniversaries to the next year without having to flip through every single month. This year’s planners also come with a new pen loop feature, so you won’t risk losing your writing utensil on the way to a meeting or while you’re transporting your planner.
Berteau and Co. Planner
The daily planner from Berteau and Co. was originally designed for teachers, but their selection of GO Planners work for anyone who has meetings, classes, or deadlines to schedule. Run by Jose Cortez and his husband Shawn Pack, Berteau and Co. is a small business that excels in getting the details just right: Each order comes packaged with adorable stationery and fun stickers. If you're a teacher (or if you've become a temporary homeschool teacher amid pandemic-related school closings), this planner has everything you need to schedule lesson plans alongside meetings, dentist appointments, and life events.