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My 2018 Planner Review

I love planners.

I started using them back when Franklin Covey was new, which is a LONG time ago.

I was working a job I hated, an engineer at Boeing. Every day I had to be there at 7:30 AM and couldn’t leave before 4 PM. I felt trapped. Was this all there was?

Boeing gave us Franklin Covey planners and training from the book, 7 Habits of Highly Effective People. While I continued to slave away as a design engineer for the 737/757, I started my weekly and daily planning.

My planner provided me a way to come back home to myself. I identified my values, my big rocks, what mattered most to me. I got to identify what was important and schedule it in. I added phrases, quotes, and pictures that would anchor me back to me.

Within Boeing, I joined a cross-functional team that asked me, a junior engineer, to lead the team. We revolutionized how Boeing built airplanes, using the computer-aided-design on the computer versus building a life-sized version of the plane.

Then I moved to the training department, teaching computer-aided design software to other engineers. Boeing was downsizing and I knew I wanted out. I applied to go back to get my MBA. Boeing agreed to pay for it and I left the company. I was free!

You could say planning changed my life.

Then there was the advent of the electronic calendar. In the new era, I’d let my paper journal go as it seemed too redundant.

Then last year, we were a part of Susan Hyatt’s Mastermind group. She generously sent both Susan and me each a Day Designer.

It was like coming home. I grabbed ahold of it and enjoyed using it. However, while it was good, it was also gigantic. I wasn’t about to pack it when I traveled. Too heavy.

This year I started a thread on Facebook asking people about their favorite planners. There were a lot of responses. I finally decided on one, but then thought, how do I know which one is best unless I have them in my hands?

Soooo….I got a bunch!

Below I’ll give you a brief description of the ones I ordered, as well as what I think are the pros and cons of each one. Here we go:

Emily Ley

Price: $58

This one was recommended to me by our marketing consultant, Rachel Starr, who even made her own line of planners previously.

The planner starts with a bucket list page. It has a two-page, month-at-a-glance with a note section on that page, along with easily colorful monthly tabs.

I purchased the daily version, where each day has a page. One half of the page is the daily schedule and the other half is the To-Do List. Below those two columns, on the bottom third of the page, are two boxes, Meals and Notes. I wondered why it had meals, then I realized if I had kids and was cooking every night I’d need it, but I don’t.

This book has a high quality, colorful cover and pretty gold spiral binding. (I got the rainbow color stripes, which are sold out now.)

What I don’t like is that I’m adrift without any annual, monthly, or even weekly, big-picture strategic sections. It’s not for me. I have one to sell if you’re interested! (It’s only missing one page January 2nd.)

Erin Condren

Price: $55

I see why SOOOO many people like this planner.

Can you say customizable? OMG!

You get to pick:

  • Cover: from over 30 designs! You can personalize the cover with your name! (I got CrisMarie)

  • Inside weekly orientation: horizontal, vertical, or hourly (I chose vertical)

  • Color scheme: neutral or colorful (Hello, colorful!!)

  • Spiral color: silver, gold, black and rose gold (Rose gold went best with the cover.)

It has three pages of planning in the front. It has two-page monthly spread with colorful tabs. It has an extra page at the end of the month for notes.

This planner is by far the most colorful and fun planner to engage with. It is SOO pretty! However, it’s not for me. I really want a big-picture, annual, monthly, and weekly process with space to plan. Plus, I’d like the option to have a daily planning page.

Danielle LaPorte, Desire Map Planner

Price: $44 (but you can get it as low as $31 on Amazon)

Daily and Weekly Versions


It starts with a two-page annual area to list your Core Desired Feelings, Major Intentions and Goals for the Year. For each month, it has a two-page month at-a-glance with easy to find cutouts and inspirational words. Each week has a two-page horizontal spread with a top area for three big picture things to get done this week. In addition, each week has a two-page notes spread with Soul Prompts, Stop Doing, Want to Change, and Gratitude areas.

I’m currently using this planner. It’s still not my favorite.


Very similar to the weekly planner, but bigger and thicker in size.

Differences between the weekly and the daily planner:

After the month at-a-glance, you also have a two-page note spread with My Core Desired Feelings, Major Intentions and Goal and an Ideas, Desires, Wisdom page. Each day has an integrated page with: Schedule, Soul Prompt, 3 Things, To-Do’s, Stop Doing, Want to Change, and Gratitude.

Bullet Journal

Price: $24.95

This is a process, not a physical planner book.

When you do buy a physical “the bullet journal,” you’re buying a blank book with page numbers. The pages have a grid of dots, which helps you lay out things. It has four pages with the header of Index and four pages with the header for Future Log, but everything else is blank. (Except the directions for the process in the back.)

I watched the four-minute video, but I have to admit — I got overwhelmed. I may grow into this process, but for right now it’s too complicated for me. What is appealing is that it’s completely customizable. So, it may be what I wind up going with.


So, I’m a fan of planning. I do think it helps you identify your big what’s most important to you, and stay connected to it, even in the chaos of the competing priorities of life. It’s a place you can come back home to yourself.

Whatever planner you choose, make sure it works for you. Make modifications if there isn’t an exact fit.

I haven’t found my holy grail yet. In fact, late in this process, I got wind of the Panda Journal, which I already know I’m gonna like, The Law of Attraction Journal, and the Happy Journal. I have put in orders. This may be the first of many planner reviews! I’m determined to find one that really fits for me. I’ll let you know.



P.S. Want to make sure your priorities are aligned with your heart and soul? Join us for Get Unstuck, starting January 30th. It’s a six-week class aimed at helping you break through your action blocks and move forward on what matters most to you.

P.P.S. Then you can use your planner to stay on course!

CrisMarie Campbell and Susan Clarke are Master certified life coaches, business consultants, speakers and authors of The Beauty of Conflict. They believe real relationships are the key to creating great business results. They’ll take your team from mediocre to great.

Interested in coaching? Check out CrisMarie’s executive coaching and personal coaching, or Susan’s personal coaching and equus coaching.

Want to take a class? Sign up for one of their virtual classes: Get Unstuck, Relationship Mojo or come to their signature retreat Find Your Mojo in Montana. Click here to check out all their service offerings.

Click here to contact them to coach with you, consult with your team, or speak at your next event.


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