2013 Planner Pad – One Professional Organizer’s Review
I love planners. I always have, really. Mine was the color-coded highlighted one in high school, and I maintained a paper calendar throughout college and all the way up until last year when I switched my appointments to Google Calendar. I made it about 8 months before I integrated a paper planner back into my life. And while I still schedule my appointments electronically, I believe that my paper-based system of managing to-dos and non-time-specific errands is here to stay. In April, Cris attended the 2013 NAPO Conference, and received/traded free Planner Pads for the Organizing Maniacs team to try out. We were so excited, and for me, the excitement hasn’t died down yet. Here are some notes on my experience with the Planner Pad that may help you decide which system of time management is best for you.
The Planner Pad comes in a variety of sizes. I’ve been using the 8.5”x11” size. This is generally not my prefered size for a planner and I was initially hesitant about this aspect. I generally use planners that are about half this size so I can easily carry them in a medium sized bag. However, I am really enjoying the full size version of the Planner Pad. It is big enough for me to write comfortably (although I tend to write in a smaller size, so if you have a large print, the lines may be a bit small for you) and allows for many more lines than I am used to. There are 14 free spaces a day for activities, 10 spaces for to-dos, and a 7am-9pm schedule, all on one page!
Ease of Use –
I tend not to use products in the exact way they are meant to be used, and the Planner Pad for me was no exception. I have developed a system whereby I use the top “Activities” section for major weekly goals, then break down each day in the “To-Do” section with each individual task. I like that there is a pre-printed space to check off when it is complete. I feel that it pushes me forward and is oh so rewarding when I get to put a big check mark next to a task.
My major beef, if you will, with the setup is that the date range for each page is printed fairly small and off to the corner of each page. I have to really pay attention to make sure I haven’t skipped any weeks when turning pages and when doing any task management in the future. I am very visual when it comes to time management, so for me it is a big annoyance each week to not be able to see easily where I am at any given time in the month. However, I’ve talked about this to my team members at Organizing Maniacs, and they are not bothered by it like I am.
Schedule Keeping –
Each month has a one page (full sized) calendar at the beginning of the week with a full page of a lined note section right before it. This can be used to strategize goals or big events for the upcoming month. Each week has a very small reprint of the current month, previous, and next month to serve as a reference.
The appointments section for each day has a one hour blocks for hours 7am-9pm. It appears to have enough space to plan for an individual’s or perhaps a couple’s activities, but it looks to me like it would be too tight to fit a full family’s worth of activities into the scheduling sections. Again, I don’t keep my master schedule here, so I found this to be a bit of wasted space. I did use it for unusual appointments such as dentist appointments or grooming appointments for my very spoiled dog. This was a nice visual reminder that something different was happening on those days when I was planning my tasks.
Special Features –
The corner of each page has a preprinted line across it to remind you to cut or fold it down as you turn to the next week. This makes it easy to open up to the current week without a hassle. I tend to leave mine open to the current week anyway. I know I shouldn’t, as it leaves it vulnerable to unwanted folding and creasing, but sometimes I just can’t be bothered to close and open it up each time. Yes, even professional organizers sometimes use short cuts!
I do wish that the Planner Pad had a built in pocket of some kind. I often stick a receipt or other pieces of paper that are in limbo in my calendar for safe transport. I have modified my with an envelope and binder clip, but it would be nicer to have a nice sturdy one either in the front or the back for this purpose.
The Planner Pad has the usual sections for phone numbers, a map of the US, and some goal planning pages in the back. There’s no section for emails in the contacts portion which annoys me, but since I don’t use it anyway, I shouldn’t gripe.
My favorite part of the special features section is that there is a really cool two page spread of the entire 2013 calendar year, plus 2014 and 2015. You can look at the whole year at a glance to plan big trips, projects, or other life events. While it makes me feel like a year is really not a lot of time at all, I appreciate that I can plan out of town visitors, big work deadlines, and special events all together, rather than having to only look at them during the month they happen.
For more information on Planner Pad: https://plannerpads.com/index.asp