What type of planner should I buy? The short answer to this question is “the one that works best for you.” So you may have to try two or three different ones during the year to see how they work.
The long answer is “a planner that accommodates the essential time management techniques, such as scheduling tasks, while allowing flexibility.” Flexibility is important since the ideal time management system for you is one that you develop yourself or adapt to your own needs.
You are unique. Your personality, management style, priorities, habits and circumstances differ from others. Regardless of what time management experts may tell you, there is no one best way to manage time. There is a best way for you to manage your time, and you’ll need a planner that provides the freedom to do just that.
For example, the planner I use allows scheduling from 7 AM because I happen to be an early person and complete the majority of my priority tasks in the early morning hours. But it also breaks each day into half hour segments until 10 PM at night, seven days per week because my day doesn’t end at 5 o’clock!
I also like “year at a glance” pages that are presented in both columnar and monthly formats. This helps when I want a “birds eye view” of the month or year. I also like weekly “To Do” lists as well as space for daily items; directory pages for jotting down important contacts directly into my planner in the event I am without my smartphone as well as “Assignment Records” at the back of the planner for keeping track of projects and assignments.
Planners should contain features that will accommodate your needs, along with the time management essentials, such as a prominent place to record annual goals so they are a constant reminder of where you are heading, and space each day to schedule those goal-related priorities as well as other specific tasks, activities and appointments. This includes evenings and weekends so people can schedule personal and family activities as well. Beware of planners that only have space for scheduling the work day or limit Sundays to little squares at the bottom of the pages. To maintain life balance it is important to be in control of your personal time as well. Of course it’s also important that the planner contains instructions so you know the purpose of the various features.
It’s not important what the planner is called; but it is important that it includes the features you need. Don’t try to fit into someone else’s system. Develop your own time management system that works best for you, and then select a planner that will accommodate that system.