Overall Rating: 4 out of 5 stars
- money back guarantee (6 month)
- nice layout – monthly & weekly
- good division of schedule & to-do lists
- focuses on a “funnel down” prioritizing
- size constraints
- spiral or binder in middle of weekly view; can get in way of writing things
When I was in high school, my father insisted I start using the Franklin Covey organizers. I continued to use these organizers through college and for many years after. It wasn’t until my shoulder and back started giving me troubles that I began to reconsider what I wanted to use – I always carried a purse big enough to hold the classic size organizer. Although this was the breaking point for me, I was struggling with the system – it was no longer as helpful.
From other professional organizers, I heard about Planner Pads and was definitely intrigued with their layout. I even set up a spreadsheet that replicated their design; I was still too frugal to order one. This turned out to be a good decision since I won a Planner Pad in a contest – and have had the chance to actively use the executive spiral organizer. This organizer has a monthly view as well as a weekly view. I’ve come to value the weekly view – it provides a great way to review your week and track your tasks and appointments.
One of the things I like about this particular organizer is the layout – the top section, spanning the two pages of the weekly view – is for you to list your categories of projects or type of activities. For me these were things like: Business-usual, Business-client, Business-other, Household, Volunteering, Personal. I could then identify my priorities and tasks according to these categories – not worrying about putting them into specific days. One of the strengths of this area is the limited amount of space – the thing I see most often, even with myself, is thinking and trying to do more than what is realistic – so this helps to control that inclination. 🙂
The second section, below the first section, has the days of the week for your daily to-dos. This is where you can put in the tasks you absolutely must do on specific days. I also would record what I did from the above section on the corresponding day. I appreciate the openness since I sometimes feel limited by trying to decide when I will do certain things. It’s also easy to see how I am coming with my tasks as the week progresses.
The final section is for your appointments – with the executive size, showing time from 7 until 9 with lines for the hour. Ideally, you want to use this area for the time specific appointments – whether meeting with someone or time chunks for dealing with tasks.
Along the right side is a column they’ve divided for “Notes/Calls” and “Expenses” as well as 3 small month views for the prior, current, and future month. There are also pages in the front and back of the organizer for some of the more typical things you’d like to have with you – address book, future year planning, notes, and goals/projects/calendar. The pages throughout the planner have a dotted line along the upper page corners, which I would cut off to help me get the pages I needed more easily.
If I were to purchase one at this point, I would lean towards the smaller, personal size. I do have concerns that it would be too small to be as useful. I also would prefer the spiral, as the binder lends itself to the temptation for overfilling. It then can become heavy and cumbersome. The spiral occasionally makes writing in things near it more challenging – not enough that I would not use it.
Although my primary calendar is electronic, I find it useful to have a physical list of my current activities, even including calendar events. An organizer is meant for planning – this is extremely challenging to do with a digital device. I haven’t yet decided whether I want to carry around a paper organizer, although I’m seriously considering it. Next month, I will be reviewing another planner system.