Art, Homemaking

Master Planning 101: The Ultimate Guide to Paper Planning

Types of Planners

Now it’s time to talk about different kinds of planners!

This is where it gets fun…and maaaaybe a bit overwhelming! Here’s also where planner loyalties can run deep. Some people are faithful users of one planner system and swear by them. Others like to try different books and switch from one to another depending on their life season or even their mood! This is where you can exercise creativity.

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There are so many different ways to organize your life on paper. You’re probably already familiar with a few, if not, several different books, brands and sizes. But before I get into all of that, there is something very important that I must point out first:

A planner isn’t necessarily an agenda or calendar like the kind you might buy at the beginning of the year or before school starts. A planner can be anything you want it to be. In the planner community, you’ll see both the words journals and notebooks¬†used the same as planner. That’s because journals and notebooks are often used as planners. It all depends on a person’s preference and style.¬†

Okay now back to the show ūüėČ



I haven’t researched this or anything but I would consider the ring-bound planner to be classic. Depending on the size or brand of your cover or binder, your looking at 3, 6, or 7 rings. The rings, of course, facilitate high customization which is extremely important for lots of planners. The other feature of ring-bound planners is changing out your binder. Some women collect them the way one might collect shoes or bags. It can be a great style piece if your into that kind of thing (and if your pocketbook can handle it!).

Here are a few popular ring-bound book brands (in alphabetical order):

Carpe Diem

Day Timer


Franklin Covey


Webster’s Pages


The disc-bound system allows for a lot of customization like the ring-bound book. The construction is much different but they have some similarities in function, mainly the ability to add and remove pages.

Because of the build of a binder, a ring-bound planner can take a bit more wear and tear than disc-bound but the disc bound lays perfectly flat, isn’t as bulky and makes a great desk planner. It can also be potentially less expensive to switch out covers for a design change!

Here are a few popular disc-bound book brands (in alphabetical order):

Levenger Circa

Me and My Big Ideas (my favorite disc-bound planner)

Staples Arc


This might be what you think of when you think of a planner. Coil or spiral-bound are super straightforward, simple planners. They don’t allow for much customization since the paper is bound as is.¬†You would have to take it apart and re-bind it to take anything out or add anything in (which is time consuming but possible if you have the right tools!).

These are great for on the go as they come in various sizes and many of them are slim and easy to slip into a bag.

Here are a few popular coil/spiral-bound book brands (in alphabetical order):


Blue Sky

Erin Condren

Inkwell Press



Perfect-bound books are one of my favorites. They are compact, easy to carry around and lots of fun to use.

With this kind of book you’re either at one end or the other of the customization spectrum. Either your book is already set up¬†as is or it’s completely blank and you have full control of the set up.

Here are a few perfect bound book brands (in alphabetical order):

Action Day

Leuchtturm 1917 (blank)

Moleskine (blank)

Panda Planner


Passion Planner


Of all the planner choices, this is the most unique. The idea of the Traveler’s Notebook is you have a piece of leather as your cover and multiple book inserts inside. The brand of notebook you choose¬†determines the size and how many notebooks you can put in your cover.



Here are a few traveler’s notebook book¬†brands (in alphabetical order):

Chic Sparrow

Midori Traveler’s Notebook¬†(original)

Webster’s Pages

I’ve only scratched the surface! There are so many other functional and beautiful options out there!

This is also a good time to see what other people are doing. I highly recommend starting with these YouTubers:

Remember, you’re still in try out mode so don’t get too distracted by all the accessories. And don’t drop a ton of money on an expensive planner yet. ALWAYS go for the least expensive option before committing to a higher price tag.

Now that you know the different kinds of planners at your disposal, let’s talk about how to use them in your system!

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