Is the Perfect Planner a Myth?

The irony. Last week, I wrote about my vision of what my “perfect planner pages” would be. Today, I’m asking whether the perfect planner is just a myth. I know. Fickle much, right?

Bear with me.


If you’ve been using a personal organizer for any length of time, this waffling shouldn’t be a surprise. Although, maybe even I will admit that a week is a short period of time for an about-face. 😉

But, after last week’s review, I read this post by Patty over on Homemakersdaily, where she gave a glimpse of how she decided on her planner setup for 2014. She described her past struggles with picking which planner to use, and how she might still change (again).

And I realized I’ve seen this over and over again (in my planner use and in others, as well).

I’ve watched so many YouTube videos of planner enthusiasts changing from one format to another. Whether it’s moving up or down in size, or changing inserts (daily, weekly, printable, pre-made, etc.), someone is always switching.

What may be surprising to some is that these same wonderful folks also have videos and blog posts extolling the virtues of their previous setup, and how it’s been working absolutely perfectly for them.

I can totally relate with these folks. In addition to a few bound planners, I’ve used both weekly and daily inserts in a variety of ring-bound formats. They all seemed to work “perfectly” for me.

Yet, at the end of the year, I almost always switched to something different. Sometimes, I’ve been tempted to switch as early as March.

Even while using a setup that functions well, I’ve obsessively poured over Franklin Planner catalogs, websites, and blogs. I’ve downloaded and printed DIY pages, made my own inserts, tweaked here and there.

Always looking for something that will work just a bit better.

The One Planner

Are we chasing rainbows in our search for the perfect planner? Is there really such a thing as THE ONE planner?

In the land of to-do lists, where chaos lies,
One planner to rule them all, one setup to find them,
One planner to bring them all, and in its pages bind them.

I’m starting to think, maybe not. If there is any pattern in the way I choose and use my planners, it’s this:

Whatever format or process I pick, it’s never a choice that’s set in stone.


It seems that I’m always tweaking. I’m taking pages out. Designing and printing new ones. Ogling how others use their planners, and getting ideas to incorporate into my own system.

This is the way it’s been. I think this is the way it will always be.

I use ring-bound planners precisely for this reason: they’re flexible and they allow me to tweak on a whim.

Not happy with an insert I raved about last month? I take it out.

Found something that looks like it will work to help me manage my tasks better? Add it in.

Something new came up in my life that needs a home in my planner? There’s an insert for that!

One of the wonderful things about a ring-bound system is that it evolves with my life. Life brings changes, and my time management tools must keep up with those changes. Otherwise, things fall apart.

A Personal Thing

For my life right now, this system, whatever it is, works perfectly for me. Until it doesn’t. Or until something comes along that has the potential to improve it.

We must always craft the tool to meet the need. [Tweet this]

This is also why planners are such a personal thing. Our needs are different. What works for me may not work for you.

A student planner will probably not work for an at-home mom. An executive may need 15-minute increments in his appointment scheduler, and will be left in chaos with a weekly format.

My life in a few months may look a bit different from my life today. Maybe I’ll have a big revelation about how to manage my time better. My planner must reflect that.

So when I say such-and-such is the perfect system, I mean it’s what I envision to be the perfect system for me for now.

Next week, things may change. I’m pretty sure my setup will be different at the end of this year. But that’s part of the planner addict’s life, isn’t it?

As life brings changes, our planners help us roll with the changes calmly and effectively. And that’s why we love them. In all their flexible, adaptable goodness.

How often do you change something in your “perfect” planner?

image credits:; Bigstock

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  1. Kriss says

    In the land of to-do lists, where chaos lies,
    One planner to rule them all, one setup to find them,
    One planner to bring them all, and in its pages bind them.

    I just started to read the return of the king today and laughted so hard on that phrase, you made my day 😀

    • Maricar says

      Hi Kriss,

      I was kind of waiting to see if anyone would call out the reference. 😉 I’m glad you enjoyed it! 🙂

  2. vamp says

    I change almost constantly. I make my own pages, so often it’s just a tweak to the layout, a few extra boxes on the to do list or a switch from page per day to two pages per day or something like that. I’ve learnt to print only a week ahead, because next week I’ll invariably need something more, or less. I never had any luck with bound planners because there was always too much space or too little, and I’d be juggling multiple notebooks as well (I’m a writer).

    This way all my things are in the same place, and it changes with me.

    • Maricar says

      Hi Vamp,

      Printing just what you need is a great idea! Do you have your DIY inserts posted somewhere? I’d love to see them!

      • vamp says

        I’m kinda newish to the planner community, so no, I haven’t posted much more than a couple instagram pics so far. The time I spend on making my inserts I’ve toyed with the idea of offering them for download, but 1) they’re a funny format (classic/desk size on A4 paper – half the reason I started making my own in the first place), and 2) I don’t have a plannerish blog (yet? I don’t know LOL).

        Maybe I should – now you’ve got me thinking 😉

  3. says

    Thanks for a great post.
    Ages ago, I considered trying out a Moleskine or a Midori, but it’s the flexibility of just being able to open the rings & change stuff around that means I couldn’t imagine not using a Filofax.

    I’ve tried using a slimline, personal & A5 as my sole binder, but none of them were perfect. I’ve found more recently that two filos (personal & A5) are working so well for me, but I reserve the right to change my mind in the future 🙂

    • Maricar says

      I have Moleskines and would love a Midori. But not for planning. The rings are absolutely key to making a planner work for me.

      “but I reserve the right to change my mind in the future :)” ===> absolutely! 😀

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