Planner Basics and Guide

No fluff, no useless information; just knowledge.

So it’s the year and you set some resolutions. One resolution you might have chosen is being more organized (or looking like it), or to stop forgetting things and start being on time. Whatever your resolutions maybe or even if you are looking at getting back to basics and away from technology; a paper planner is for you. Take the following information with a grain of salt. Every user experience is different.


Types of Planners


Coil Bound- Pages are bound together like your simple standard school notebook. Although, the coils are a little more heavy duty to withstand the trials and tribulations of adulting. Typically, pre-made coil planner guts are permeate. Meaning the pages can’t be removed. However, if your a more advanced planner boss (or gutsy and can follow a YouTube video), you can uncoil remove and add what pages you want and then recoil the planner. I’ve done this on occasion to remove already used or future months I don’t need yet out of a 12 or 18 month planner. These birches can get heavy!









Ring Bound- These planners work like Trapper Keepers. Remember those?! This is a great choice if you’ve got a control problem and want exactly what you want and where. The pages are repostional. Typically made from leather, they can come in a variety of sizes.

With a ring bound planner you will need to be able to punch holes in the inserts to places them in the rings and optionally a printer to print them off. Don’t worry if you don’t have either. A lot of business that sell insets also have a “already punched” or “printed” option. You can search for inserts on

However, if your pretty good at creating tables or working with computers and have a hole punch, you can easily make your own inserts that will just cost you paper and ink.

Lastly, you can purchase a specific 6 hole punch that will make things much easier if you foresee using the planner for a while. They usually run about $20.



Disk Bound- Similar to a ring bound planner where you can insert what pages you want and in what order. Additionally the front and back cover are usually made from paper laminated in a thick laminate and sizes can vary. The most popular sizes are 9 x 11 1/4, 8 1/2 x 11, and 5 1/4 x 7.5.

However, you don’t punch round holes in your pages. Instead you punch out tabs in the edges of your pages to hook onto the disks. This makes the pages repositional. The pages turn just as easily, except I have heard some users complain that the pages tend to slip off or fall out.










Travelers Notebook (TN)- Unlike the previous mentioned planners; this one has no mechanisms involved. Normally, they are made of leather or leather like material and elastic cording and can come in all sizes. These can also be made from a variety of materials (like cotton fabric) and the cords can come in many different colors to coordinate.

So what’s the deal with them? They are another type of planner you can have complete control over what type of inserts go in and where. Want a monthly insert first; done. Want a meal planning insert; done. Want a section for notes at the back; done. Options are limitless.


Hobonichi- Great if you are looking for one of the most simple planner possible. Usually they consist of one book that you can fill in any way you choose. Use it as a diary, sketchbook, memory book and more.









Additional Information

If you plan on printing your own inserts; I’d recommend not using normal printer/copy paper. It is super line which means you will get shadowing. You want to use thicker paper and higher brightness. I personally use 28-32 pound paper.

Basic Terms:

A5- 5.8 x 8.3 inches (it’s about half a sheet of paper)

Bleeding- Ink from one side bleed throughs or leaks onto the other side of the sheet. It is important because it can make it hard to see the printing or writing on the other side.

MO1P- Calendar layout format where a month is condensed to one page.

MO2P- Calendar layout format where a month is spread across two pages. This traditionally provides more room for tracking events.

Planner Insert or Insert- These are loose pages that are sometimes referred to as “printables”. Inserts can be anything from menu planners, blog planners, project planners, a weekly calendar spread and more. You can purchase them typically from from numerous sellers. Also, like I said before, if you know your way around digital art, you can easily make your own. No special program is needed.

Personal Size Planner- 3.7 x 6.7 inches

Pocket Size Planner- 3.2 x 4.7 inches (for Filofax planners. Other planner companies planner sizes might vary.)

Printables- Also referred to as “inserts”.

WO1P- This refers to a calendar layout format where it is a week on one page.

WO2P- This refers to a calendar layout format where a week spans two pages.

Shadowing/ghosting- Refers to when you see ink from the opposite side of of the page. In some cases it will make the page harder to read.


Planner Brands

(not a comprehensive list):

Bloom Daily Planner– Dated coil planners.

Blue Sky Planner– coiled and bound daily, weekly and monthly layouts in a variety of sizes. (pre-dated)

BuJo- Shorten term for a style of planner tracking called bullet journaling. You can use any type of planner you want. You track your categories based on using symbols and a key. Very concise, no fuss and very basic.

Color Crush/Webster’s Planner– This company makes TN and ring bound planners.

EC or ECLP– Erin Condren Life Planner brand (pre-dated)

Filofax / Filo / FF– Filofax brand ring bound planner.

Happy Planner or HP– Happy Planner disk bound planner brand. (pre-dated)

Hobonichi– Japanese style planner. Usually consists of thinner paper and daily calendar. (pre-dated)

Kate Spade or KS– Yup, that Kate Spade. She has planners too; both ring bound and coil bound. (some pre-dated)

Kikki K– Ring bound planner.

Leuchtturm– A hardbound and softbound blank notebooks that provides quality paper in a variety of formats (grid, lined, dotes and more). They also have a series of calendar formats.

Moleskine– Similar to Leuchtturm brand. They have a line of soft and hard bound notebooks with a variety of formats.

Passion Planner– Hardbound planner that helps you set your goals and stay on track to achieve them.

Plum Paper Planner– A customizable coiled planner brand. They also sell the same pages from their coiled planner as inserts.

Rosie Planner– Are you a military spouse? Then this is the planner for you. It includes a PCS checklist yo!

Simplified Planner– Daily and weekly coiled  and hardbound planner with hourly layout and more.



12 Replies to “Planners 101: Basic Information And Guide”

  1. YESS! This is the I love planners but I do agonize over choosing the right one ha ha- this is the perfect post to motivate me to get organized for 2018.

  2. Planners are sooo pretty. And I wish I could use them. But I cannot use paper planners!! I need everything to be digital, with programmed reminders. I *love* all the pretty paper though, and have tried so hard to use them. Inevitably, it gets lost. Right when I need it!

  3. This is a great list! I use Plum Planner’s coil bound planner and I really like it. I stay home and carry a pretty big bag or diaper bag when I’m out, so it’s easy to carry if I need it. I’m not a huge fan of the binder rings though because I don’t want to refill them!

    1. I love plum planner! I have used them before. They are great for mamas where you can customize the squares on the side. I believe they also sell inserts too.

  4. I love that this is so detailed! I love planners; I think I used 5 or 6 different ones last year throughout the course of the year. Currently seeing if I can stick to just 1 or 2. I learned the hard way your tip about not using regular printer paper to create your own inserts – whoops! Thanks for sharing this detailed info! 🙂

  5. Nice post! This is the first year in maybe about 15 to 20 years that I buy a planner. I thought it was necessary. I have a huge calendar where I note all of my food, influencer and blogging events. Although we have come far with technology and everything is on my iPhone I feel like I still need to see something visual in a book. I love it because if I pencil in different things, I hold myself accountable and I’m less likely to break a commitment or miss a deadline.

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