Any planner can
help keep your schedule organized, but the best productivity planners have the potential to help you track tasks and meet goals with efficiency, optimism, and purpose. These planners aim to help you translate your goals into weekly and daily to-dos — that way, when life gets busy, you can keep a handle on smaller action items without losing sight of the bigger picture.
Before you buy a productivity planner, you’ll need to decide how you intend to use the planner and whether you primarily need it for personal, business, or academic use. Most planners can be adapted in a variety of ways, but some have terminology and frameworks that might be best suited for a particular use case. For example, a planner that builds goals based on “quarters” might be better for an entrepreneur than someone planning personal projects. Also consider whether you want your
planner to focus on daily tasks or extended goal-setting. Planners that span a full calendar year are typically better for tracking long-term goals and accomplishments; but if you’re looking for a more intensive planner that will help you get into the day-to-day nitty gritty of your busy schedule, a three-month option might be a better fit.
Look at how the daily schedules, or timelines, are laid out in each planner. Some of the timelines are centered around a 9-to-5 work schedule, but there’s one option with a 24-hour daily timeline, which might be
best for students or people who work night shifts. Finally, take into consideration whether you’ll want to leave your planner at home or the office, or carry it around with you — some planners are smaller and more portable than others.
These are the
best productivity planners to help you accomplish your goals, both large and small. All of these options are undated, which means they’re as useful and effective in April or October as they are in January. 1 The Best Overall Productivity Planner: Panda Planner Weekly
Panda Planner is best known for its daily planners, but the newer
Panda Planner Weekly is great for anyone who needs to add structure to their days without getting caught in the weeds. Like the daily Panda Planner (which is available in small and large versions), this weekly planner reiterates your priorities across weekly and monthly sections. I’ve used Panda Planners before and find that the repetition of goals can really keep you on track. There’s room to set positive habit goals over time as well.
The Panda Planner Weekly includes 52 weekly planning pages and 12 monthly planning pages, which means it's a productivity planner that can last you an entire year. Even though it’s a weekly planner, it builds daily positivity-focused morning and evening routines into the weekly planning pages so you'll refer to it at least twice a day — chances are, though, you’ll want to keep it on hand all day if you use the daily timeline, which spans from 7 a.m. to 8 p.m., for scheduling.
The weekly Panda Planner is 8.5 inches by 11 inches and not the easiest planner to carry around; if you're looking for something more portable, consider the
5.25-inch-by-8.25-inch daily Panda Planner or one of the smaller planners below instead. According to one reviewer: “Hands down, my fave planner is the Panda Planner Weekly. Believe me, I've tried a few and looked through many. What drew me to this planner was a place to see my week at large while providing a journal/reflection page and also a page to keep track of goals, boxes for my projects, wins and improvements.
The concept of starting with gratitude and reviewing my week in advance really help bring peace to my brain. I need a place to dump my brain, a place to map out my steps, and a place to put my ‘atta girl!’ wins. I look forward to re-ordering every year. Thanks team Panda Planner!”
2 Editor’s Choice: Roterunner Undated Purpose Planner
While each person’s needs vary, I will say: I’ve tried many planners, and this is the one I’ve gotten the most out of. I’m on my fourth
Roterunner planner, and at this point I can’t imagine not having one on hand anymore. I really love the weekly layout and its emphasis on looking at all aspects of your daily routine, both work and personal. It has space to do everything from track how much water you drink each day to examine the various roles you play in different areas of your life. Plus, monthly and annual views help you zoom out and look at the big picture, and grid pages between each weekly spread give you plenty of room to jot down notes, make lists, or simply doodle.
The Roterunner planner spans six-month spans and measures 7.8 by 9.8 inches. This version has a soft faux-leather cover, but you can also snag it in a hardcover version.
According to one reviewer: “This planner has helped me to juggle many different things during this season of my life. It has definitely increased my productivity and I will keep using this system. Great investment and good quality.” 3 The Best Budget Productivity Planner: Papercode Simple Elephant Daily Planner
If you're on a budget and/or you've never used a productivity planner, the
Papercode Daily Planner is a fantastic place to start. It's essentially a pared-down version of a productivity planner that offers the opportunity to try out setting goals and reflecting on your week before committing to a pricier, more involved planner. It doesn't contain a daily timeline, so you can't precisely schedule out each hour of your day, but its 52 weekly pages and 12 monthly pages provide plenty of space to plot out monthly and weekly goals, celebrate personal wins, and identify areas of improvement. It even has separate sections to create a mind map or vision board to keep you inspired.
It’s larger than the other options listed at 5.9 inches wide and 8.3 inches tall, and is replete with paper that reviewers have attested takes well to pens and markers alike. One reviewer wrote, “The paper is thick and will not bleed through.” Shop it in four different colors, including this cobalt blue.
According to one reviewer: “This planner is everything I wanted it to be. Great quality for an amazing price! I love that [it] is undated so I can make it what I need it to be. I didn’t realize when I ordered that it had so many pages for notes in the back either.” 4 The Best Productivity Planner For Daily Goals: BestSelf Co. Self Journal
BestSelf Co. Self Journal is the ideal option for setting goals and recording notes on a daily basis. In addition to weekly and monthly planning pages, the 90-day planner contains daily pages with a 6 a.m. to 9 p.m. timeline. It is designed to be used in a 13-week sprint, working toward one overarching goal (which can be anything you want), but it's as useful for daily planning as it is for achieving larger goals.
The Self Journal is a bit more focused on inspiration than many other planners and includes elements such as motivational quotes, gratitude journaling, reflection on joyful moments, and goal and habit trackers. Measuring 5.8 by 8.5 inches, it is relatively small in size and very portable.
According to one reviewer: “This journal is AMAZING! Just in the week or so I've had it, it has really helped keep me accountable to my goals and what I need to do each day. Love that it has a habit tracker where you can check off if you completed a task that day. Really helps you visualize your progress and where you can improve. Would highly recommend this to anyone looking to improve their productivity and reach their goals!” 5 The Best Productivity Planner For Long-Term Goals: Legend Planner
Legend Planner can help you translate your longest-term goals into achievable weekly to-dos. It’s designed with a section dedicated to your one-year goals, which you can break down into actionable steps in the quarterly, monthly, and weekly planning pages in the 12-month planner. There’s also plenty of room to list your daily to-dos and schedule within the same pages. At the end of each month, you’ll find a page where you can reflect on wins and points of improvement. The planner also includes a section to list down your life goals and dreams, and another with reflective prompts that help you develop a deeper sense of self-awareness and gain crystal clarity on your vision. At 5.5 by 8.3 inches, the Legend Planner is very portable yet still provides ample room to jot down your goals and dreams. Plus, it comes in 19 different colors. According to one reviewer: “There are so many pages and places for building your life through identifying values, dreaming, setting goals, and listing tactics to accomplish those goals. I love that it is thorough in organizing the mind and that it fits in my purse!” 6 The Best Business Productivity Planner: Full Focus Planner By Michael Hyatt
Created by an entrepreneur and former CEO, the 90-day
Full Focus Planner by Michael Hyatt is rooted in fiscal quarters, making it a good option for entrepreneurs and business-minded people. In addition to goal-planning and accomplishment recaps, it includes daily Workday Startup (and Shutdown) Rituals and weekly Action Reviews for you to designate the specific status of your projects. Its two-page daily spreads give you lots of space to break down your busy day — you'll find a 6 a.m. to 8 p.m. daily timeline with space on either side for other commitments — and write notes. And you'll be sure to keep your eye on the prize with the end-of-quarter countdown on each daily planning page.
This planner is undated, but you'll get the most out of it if you start it at the beginning of a quarter. It is 6.3 inches by 9.3 inches.
According to one reviewer: “I love this planner! Its format is very clear and organized while at the same time incorporating many ways to record and track different things. I also love the quotes on every page! Some are inspiring, some are heartwarming, and some just make me laugh! [...] I'm on my 3rd Full Focus Planner and it has definitely helped me become more organized, get more things done, and move toward my goals with more ease. I recommend this planner 100%” 7 The Best Academic Productivity Planner: Power Place Non-Dated Personal Daily Planner
undated daily planner will appeal to students who want to squeeze the most out of their hectic, inconsistent schedules. Its layout is uncluttered and offers users plenty of space to customize the planner. It includes daily, weekly, monthly, and yearly planning pages, and the 24-hour daily timeline easily organizes changing class schedules, extracurriculars, and social commitments.
It comes in five different colors and its small size (5.5 inches by 8.5 inches) makes it easy to carry to class and back home again. The planner will last for over four months if used every day of the week, so you may need to get one planner per semester if you're using it Monday through Sunday.
It's also a good fit for people who work night shifts or have unpredictable hours and need a full 24-hour timeline in their planners, according to one Amazon reviewer.
According to one reviewer: “I’m using this for my senior year of college and for student teaching! I have so much going on and this planner is perfect! Theres a level of personalization that makes it super easy to add my own spin to it. Also its is compact and easy to carry in my bag. However the unique way there is a weekly and a daily part gives A TON of room to right everything down!!! So happy with this planner!!!”
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This article was originally published on
November 17, 2019