The 10 Best Day Planners

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This wiki has been updated 30 times since it was first published in March of 2016. We're not saying that a solar flare is going to imminently knock out all electronic gadgets but, just in case, you may want to consider using one of these day planners to keep your life organized. Of course, some people prefer the classic pen and paper approach, Armageddon notwithstanding, and these are ideal for managing all of your appointments, activities, and goals in an easy-to-see format. When users buy our independently chosen editorial choices, we may earn commissions to help fund the Wiki.

1. The Original by Filofax

2. Tools4Wisdom Hardcover

3. Lemome Academic

Editor's Notes

April 15, 2020:

To accommodate a variety of users, we've kept a range of both dated and undated day planners, ultimately removing the Maps Code City Skyline due to availability issues. We also removed the Blue Sky Orchid, which is attractive but isn't known for having the strongest binding.

Those looking for an option that arrives already dated might consider the PlanAhead Medium, the Lemome Academic, or the Moleskine Classic Daily. Of the three, the Moleskine option is probably the strongest, which is not surprising to fans of the brand. It also offers tons of room for daily jottings, as it dedicates a full page to each day. There's also the Tools4Wisdom Hardcover, a cheery, colorful choice complete with stickers. As you might guess, this styling may make it inappropriate for serious business contexts; nevertheless, those who are looking for a fun option with inspirational quotes may find it just right.

As for undated choices, The Original by Filofax is a tough choice to top. It uses a common six-ring binder size, making it easily refillable. You can choose day-by-day planners, or turn it into a monthly planner if/when your needs change. This is also largely true of the Day-Timer Distressed, which comes with three months each of three page formats so you can find the one that suits you best. But because it doesn't include enough for a full year, you'll need to purchase extra pages. If you'd like a non-refillable option, consider the Action Day Undated. Unfortunately, it isn't offered in many colors, but it has plenty of touches that make it a worthwhile choice, including a lay-flat cover and 30 dot-grid pages for journaling, drawing, or note-taking.

Special Honors

Traveler's Company Notebook The Traveler's Company Notebook can quickly become expensive, as the covers and paper inserts are sold separately. Of course, this also makes it easily refillable and customizable, so you can switch between monthly and daily planning or add space for sketching and extended note-taking.

Smythson Soho Agenda The embossed calf leather used for the Smythson Soho Agenda has a crocodile-print finish with rich coloring that is exceedingly eye-catching. When combined with the gilt-edged, pale blue paper, the overall effect is luxurious — with the considerable price tag that you might expect.

Things 3 If you simply can't make the transition to paper, you might try Things 3, a personal task manager for Apple computers and smartphones. It offers a simple layout that lets you get a handle on all the things you need to accomplish each day, but also includes an area for tasks that need to be done "someday," which allows for some flexibility.

4. Papercode Simple Elephant

5. Moleskine Classic Daily

6. Action Day Undated

7. Day-Timer Distressed

8. Panda Planner Pro

9. Tri-Coastal Design Stay Focused

10. PlanAhead Medium

The Benefits Of Staying Organized

I may not keep much of a tidy bedroom or work station, but I have made an investment in my time, and that, as they say, has made all the difference.

I’ll be the first one to admit that I’m not the most organized person. Some argue that this is a sign of greater intelligence, but even if that’s true, it definitely comes at the expense of emotional and psychological stability. Sure, my behavior would seem to imply that I prefer things a little more cluttered, as I spend the majority of my time amidst it, but the opposite is actually the case. On those rare instances when I actually get around to cleaning and organizing my space, I feel immensely better. My mood is vastly improved, and I generally feel more peaceful, focused, and empathetic than when I’m wrapped up in all that disaster.

This would come as no surprise to many psychologists and other doctors. From a psychological perspective, there may be a connection between cleanliness and happiness. A study from 2010 in the Personality and Social Psychology Bulletin revealed that the majority of participants who described their spaces as more cluttered also reported increased levels of fatigue and depression. More practically, a cluttered space is harder to keep free of dust and other forms of filth that can lead to illness, respiratory issues, and even heart disease.

The behaviors of better organization go hand-in-hand with day planning, as do the benefits. This has a lot to do with lowering your stress. When you’re running late or struggling to remember all you had wanted to accomplish on a given day, your stress is liable to go through the roof. That’s going to increase your blood pressure and put you at risk for a whole host of diseases. If you spend a lot of your day behind the wheel, that combination of stress and rushing can lead to potentially devastating car accidents.

When your day is planned and well executed, it feels as though you have more time. Your stress levels will be lower, and you’ll generally be safer. What’s more, the people you interact with will appreciate you more, as you arrive early for appointments and complete more tasks than others can.

A good day planner can give you all of this. It’s a lesson I’ve taken a long time to learn, even though they gave out day planners to all the kids in my public school days. I may not keep much of a tidy bedroom or work station, but I have made an investment in my time, and that, as they say, has made all the difference.

How To Choose The Perfect Day Planner

Day planners are largely designed to do one thing: to help you plan your day. When it comes down to it, though, we all want to plan our days a little differently, and no two of us have days that look alike. If you work from home and eat out a lot, you probably are not going to need a day planner with as much space per day, nor will you make use of a section devoted to daily grocery shopping excursions. All of this is to say that there are a few things to ask yourself that will narrow down our list to one or two great options.

While I hope that an investment in a day planner helps lead you to greater success in life, this scenario actually seems like more of a nightmare than anything else.

The most important question you could ask yourself? How busy is your average day? There are some people out there who have enough money and few enough responsibilities that their days consist of little more than waking, eating, lounging, and sleeping. While I hope that an investment in a day planner helps lead you to greater success in life, this scenario actually seems like more of a nightmare than anything else.

For the rest of us, our days must feel packed. Try to write out what you’ve had to do over the past few days to get a sense of how much space you’ll need a given day planner to devote to each calendar day. Then, go for a planer that gives you a little more space than you think you need. Trust me — as you use your planner on a regular basis, you’ll find yourself getting more done in less time, and you’ll want that extra space to schedule unexpected activities. If you often have tasks that span several days, see if you can find a planner with monthly or weekly sections, as well.

Also, ask yourself if there’s anything you do on a regular basis with which your day planner can help you. I mentioned groceries before, and if you’re the usual shopper in your household, a space in your planner for a shopping list is invaluable.

A final consideration is a bit more personal. Day planners come in just about any shape and size you could desire. Try to find something that feels right, as you’re going to have this thing on you for the majority of your year.

Other Ways To Maximize Your Time

Getting organized may start with a good day planner, but it doesn’t have to stop there. There are any number of devices you can use to make you life easier, to keep you running on time, and feeling great. The more you can maximize the way you spend your time, the better you’re going to feel.

The more you can maximize the way you spend your time, the better you’re going to feel.

Feeling good starts with a good night’s sleep, and you can’t start your day off right if you sleep through your first appointment. Getting yourself a high-quality alarm clock, especially one that can simulate the sunrise, is a great way to wake up on the right side of the bed — and at the right time.

Don’t underestimate the power of a good watch, either. Taking out your phone to check the time while enjoying lunch with a friend or colleague would seem awfully rude. It’s much easier to steal a glance at your watch to keep you on schedule. And if your phone happens to die, you’ll have your watch to keep you punctual.

That phone is probably an important part of your day, though. To keep it from dying in the first place, you can invest in a portable power pack that can recharge your phone or any other USB enabled device whenever you need.

Christopher Thomas
Last updated by Christopher Thomas

Building PCs, remodeling, and cooking since he was young, quasi-renowned trumpeter Christopher Thomas traveled the USA performing at and organizing shows from an early age. His work experiences led him to open a catering company, eventually becoming a sous chef in several fine LA restaurants. He enjoys all sorts of barely necessary gadgets, specialty computing, cutting-edge video games, and modern social policy. He has given talks on debunking pseudoscience, the Dunning-Kruger effect, culinary technique, and traveling. After two decades of product and market research, Chris has a keen sense of what people want to know and how to explain it clearly. He delights in parsing complex subjects for anyone who will listen -- because teaching is the best way to ensure that you understand things yourself.

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