Your perfect planner
a note from eLLf Christmas's sponsor, Lauren Layne
So as most of you know, eLLf Christmas is all about two things:
romance & the holidays
Annnnnnd …. today’s theme (Your Perfect Planner) has nothing to do with either of those 😉
Well okay, that’s not true. We can make this work. See, eLLf Christmas takes place in December, and December gets one thinking about the end of the year, which gets one started thinking about the upcoming year, which means …
That talking about planners is totally an eLLf Christmas phenomenon? Right? We’re going with it.
Today I’ll be doing an overview of four popular planner styles so that you can decide which one will help you build an amazing 2017.
Already have a planner, or not really your thing? Read on anyway, because these make great gift ideas for that person in your life who’s always doing all the things or just wants to get more organized.
- Erin Condren Life Planner
- Day Designer
the Christmas eLLf
erin condren life planner
Best for ::"at a glance” weekly planning and personalization options
The Erin Condren Life Planner is the only one of the list not reviewed in the video below. Why? Well, not because it’s not a great planner. It is. It's amazing. I used it for 2 years, I’ve recommended it to dozens of people, and I stand by the recommendation. But the Erin Condren Life planner is a weekly planner (unlike the the Day Designer and KitLife planner) which are daily planners. I go into more of what that actually means in the video below, but with a day planner, each day gets an entire page (except for weekends). With a weekly planner, like Erin Condren, Mon-Wednesday share a page, as do Thursday-Sunday.
The benefits of a weekly planner (Erin Condren and Tools4Wisdom below) is that there are fewer pages, which makes for a smaller, more portable planner. It’s also great for people who need to quickly see what’s coming in the week ahead (i.e., kids’ activities, dinner plans, deadlines, doctors’ appointments, and so on). The downside is that it doesn’t give you much room for each individual day. It’s the main reason I quit using it. I simply couldn’t fit all the things I wanted to track each day into the tiny column the EC Planner allots for each day. Think of it this way: if you want an “overview” planner to jot down all the places you have to be, the things you absolutely can’t miss, there’s no better planner. This is also the best planner if you want a personalized cover, although note that it can take a lonnnnnnnng time for personalized prodcuts to get to you.
Best for :: work from home types who want a planner where they can write down everything
The Day Designer’s what I used for all of 2016, and generally speaking I’ve loved it. My biggest complaint is the lack of a dedicated weekend page (Saturday/Sunday share a page), but every single planner I’ve ever used (including all the ones on this page) assume that you have less going on on the weekends, and give you less room for Saturday/Sunday. It’s also a pretty bulky planner—not a big deal for me, since I work from home and rarely need to put my planner in my bag, but if you’re on the go a lot, you’ll either want to explore Day Designer’s smaller planners or look elsewhere.
So, what is great about it? For starters, it’s classy as heck. If the Erin Condren planner mentioned above is “fun,” this one is “sophisticated.” The pages are clean and streamlined, and have dedicated sections for things like due dates, dinner, “don’t forget,” etc. The layout of their pages just works for me. I like the way they have their “top three” (your daily high-priority items) at the top of the page, I like the way the hourly schedule lines up neatly beside the “to do” list.
Best for :: busy, on-the-go women who are focused on living their best life
At first glance the KitLife planner’s very similar to Day Designer. It’s got the same sophisticated vibe, similar page layouts. The biggest difference? It’s smaller. If you love the idea of the Day Designer, but it’s just too bulky for your needs, definitely check out KitLife. So what do you give up in the name of portability? Well, there’s a little less room to write, obviously. They’ve still got a daily schedule, the top 3, and a room for your to-do list, but there aren’t dedicated spaces for due dates, dinner, notes, etc, although admittedly I only use those boxes about 1/3 of the time.
KitLife also has a wellness box, which is a big part of their brand, and as a proponent of healthy living, I personally love this. As with Day Designer, the weekend days get treated like second-class citizens, although whereas the Day Designer abbreviates the weekends by only giving you room of your schedule (no to-do list), Kit Life prioritizes the other way, giving you room for your to do list, but not your daily schedule. I like KitLife’s approach a bit better, although I still wish one of the planners would give weekend days the full treatment!
I haven’t used the KitLife planner yet (I’m kicking it off in January), but first impressions are very promising. One more difference to note between Day Designer and Kit Planner: Day Designer starts its daily schedule at 5am. KitDesigner, being a bit smaller, needed to give up space somewhere, and they start their day at 6am. As an early riser who starts her day at 5am, this is a downside of the KitPlanner for me. But I suspect for most people, the 6am start works just fine.
Best for :: goal-oriented rockstars who want to kick the ___ out of 2017 (also, this if you’re looking for a “guy-appropriate” planner, this is the ONLY one that has an even somewhat masculine option)
If you’re looking for a planner that will keep you on task, and help you DO the things rather than just think about them, then this is the one for you. While both the Day Designer and the KitLife planner have “annual planning” pages, the Tools4Wisdom planner takes the cake in terms of goal setting. Not do they have an entire section devoted to annual goal planning, they also have monthly and weekly goals, which … I’m not going to lie, I sort of swooned over!
Now, like the Erin Condren planner, this is a weekly planner, meaning that instead of each day getting its own page, M-W share a page, as do Thur-Sunday (again, abbreviated weekends! ARGH!) But one thing I prefer about this one over Erin Condren is that it has a space for daily-to items and an hourly schedule. With the Erin Condren layout options, you really end up having to choose between hourly and to-do. The other thing I’m LOVING about Tools4Wisdom is that it divides the to-do section into Priority, Secondary and Other. As someone who needs a little help not simply doing “the easy tasks first,” this is brilliant.
Any drawbacks? Well, as mentioned, it’s a weekly planner, not daily, so there’s less room dedicated for each day, which for me, isn't ideal. I’m also not crazy about the monthly view. Too much room is given to the days of the week/date and quotes/notes section, leaving very little room to write what’s actually happening each day. But since I don’t actually use the monthly view for much other than deadlines and travel, this isn’t a deal breaker for me. Also, this daily schedule starts at 7am. For most people this probably works just fine, but my fellow early-birds should be aware.
Now, some of you are probably thinking, “So which one should I get! Tell me!”
Everyone’s got different priorities. For some, size will be a factor (go with Erin Condren or LifeKit). For others, they like to write down every possible thing (go with DayDesigner). Others want help shaping their day, to live more deliberate, purposeful lives (Tools4Wisdom). If you’re looking for something that’s focused on work/life balance, go with Day Designer or LifeKit as they both have “gratitude” sections. If you’re shopping for a productivity nut or someone working in the corporate world, go with Tools4Wisdom. If personalization’s important to you, you want Erin Condren, which lets you design your own cover. If you’re like me and start your day at 5am, you want Day Designer. If you’re trying to live more healthfully you want KitLife. Is a guy on shopping list? It's got to be Tools4Wisdom. And so on.
See? It really just depends.
Need more help deciding? Check out the below video where I actually show you three out of the four planners!
(I’ll be doing another video round up in March, after I’ve had a chance to KitLife and Tools4Wisdom and can better compare them to Erin Condren and Day Designer (which I've already used).
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in full disclosure ... I’m an affiliate member with both Erin Condren and Day Designer, which means that if you purchase either planner using one of the links I provide on this page, I get a little somethin’ back. I’m not an affiliate with KitLife or Tools4Wisdom, but I was given a version of each planner in exchange for an honest review. And lest you think any of this sounds dodgy, you should know that I won’t just review or recommend any ol’ thing in exchange for free stuff. I got requests to review LOTS of planners for free, and only accepted the ones that I was truly excited about.
lauren layne previews three 2017 planners
The unboxing of the Day Designer, KitLife and Tools4Widsom along with first impressions!
You guys, this is a LONG video. It's just me, opening the various planners, giving you first impressions. If you're looking for a tidy, organized review, this isn't it. If you're looking for someone passionate about planners, talking about planners ... watch :)
which planner are you feeling?!
Join the Facebook group to discuss which planner has you most excited!
On the fifth day of romance, eLLf Christmas gave to me ...
a 2017 planner
(winner chooses among Erin Condren, Day Designer, KitLife & Tools4Wisdom, and receives a gift card for the amount of the planner, excluding shipping & taxes)
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(closed on December 10th with the launch of The Sixth Day of Christmas)
To be eligible to win, all you have to do is be signed up to the eLLf Christmas community! (note, if you've signed up previously, you're all set! You're automatically eligible for each day's prize!
The Fine Print
Open to US & international entries. Winner must have a valid email address, as giveaway will be awarded in form of electronic gift card.