6 planners for 2017

best 2017 planners

Frederik Fekkai once wrote that it is essential to choose a planner with a beautiful cover, as you’ll be looking at it every day. And I, being sixteen and endlessly impressionable at the time, memorised this line and made it my annual agonising mission to find such a thing, at a time when Paperchase stocked only rainbow hues and ladybug prints. 

It’s a task I’ve continued to undertake, each December – even when I worked for the NHS, and using a personal diary was technically against the rules. Over the years I’ve gradually come to appreciate that Frederik, while excellent at hair, perhaps doesn’t have the same planning requirements as me, especially as he is a celebrity hairdresser with probably approx 10 clients, and I’m a mother and entrepreneur running a portfolio business through a fog of perpetual sleep deprivation and gin. So while a pretty cover is nice, the layout inside came to be ten times more important, and so the momentous task of planner selection has really become, if anything, more arduous.

But oh, it’s a struggle I kind of adore!

The 2017 shortlist

Every year I whittle it down to 5 or 6 of the best planners, then agonise for weeks.
Here are 2017’s main contenders, and the ultimate winner in my book.*
* no pun intended.

1. Katie Leamon Batik Diary

Pros: The batik-inspired, monogrammed cover is super chic, as are the gold foiled page edges – this diary would definitely make Frederik proud. It’s also lightweight and a great handbag size. I’d feel super profesh whipping this baby out in an important meeting.

Cons: It’s an any-year diary, meaning you write your own dates/numbers in.  This should be no problem (I can recite that little days-of-the-month catchetism by heart), but I swear I have dyscalculia. It all just swims in front of me. I always always make some heinous mistake, and my lovely new diary is sullied with weeks’ worth of crossing out and error fixes. 

2. Seeso Graphics Andante Diary 

Pros: Minimal, chic, inspiring – there’s a bit of a Cereal-mag-meets-Instagram vibe to this baby. Big daily squares, and note space to the side for each week. 

Cons: Undated again, with all the issues that brings. I could enlist the help of my more laterally minded husband, but his handwriting is appalling, so it would need to be a dedicated team effort, which seems ever so slightly princes-ish. “Sit next to me and tell me what number to write, Rory!”. Also, the pictures are lovely, but they aren’t actually mine. Should they be mine? Should I make a diary with my photos in? Should I SELL  diary with my photos in?? This is a distracting train of thought.

3. Frankie Daily Journal

Pros: I LOVE the Frankie Planners for their fun and surprises – I was tempted to order this just to get a closer look at it! Also, RIBBON PAGE MARKER! More of this please, planner makers of the world! And take a look at the bonus stationery kit that comes with!

Cons: It is awfully colourful – perhaps a little bit too colourful for me, truth be told. Also, though the colourful margins allow for scribble room, it’s really more of a date book than a full-blown planner.

4. Simple Daily Planner

Pros: Simple! And it’s from Korea and a beautiful duck egg blue! I’m almost willing to overlook the any-year DIY-date issue for this, because I adore ICONIC’s minimal but classic approach to typography and design. It combines a leather-like cover with a spiral binding too, which is pretty genius, don’t you think?

Cons: A page a day sounds brilliant – there’s dedicated columns for dates and note space on each day, and the grid paper keeps me neat. The problem is the lack of weekly view this provides – and that heart sinking feeling when I turn a page and discover I’ve got a deadline in 12 hours and I’ve done nothing to prepare. I’m not disorganised, dammit – it’s the daily planner’s fault! πŸ˜‰

5. 2017 kraft planner

Pros: It’s oh so simple. A monthly page view shows all of your appointments, and then the rest of the space is dedicated to note space for the real nitty gritty. This makes sense for me, as most of my work is more deadline-based than appointment based, and I make a lot of lists and notes that are related to each month. Also, dot-grid is the future of note making for sure (except in the future we will all make notes using only our brainwaves and a smartphone apps obvs).

Cons: I’m not sure I love the typography. & kraft paper makes coloured ink look funky, and are the boxes really big enough for all my commitments and plans?

My choice for 2017: 

6. Get To Work Book

Pros: This is a Planner with a capital P – with project breakdown pages, daily to do lists, note space planned into every page and monthly review spreads to help you plan for the next four weeks. It’s also fat and chunky enough that in a pinch I can use it to rest my macbook on and raise it up a couple of inches, saving my back from extra slumping. 

Cons: It’s not pretty. In fairness, it isn’t striking to be – ‘distraction free’ is the aim, and it definitely delivers on this. It’s also heavy, and I’m always on the fence about whether I should take it with me on London trips and working holidays. It is also available in loose-leaf form for punching and using in a filofax-style binder, but the pages are smaller, and can you imagine the time and energy I would waste making pro-con lists whilst trying to choose a cover? Aint nobody got time for that.

planners 2017
So, the Get to Work book it is! I’m not a very neat or pretty planner (though I live in hope – I dream of becoming one of those instagram girls with the washi tape and pastel bullet journal spreads!). But if it’s useful, I might share a bit about how I use the pages in a month or two. What do you think?

What planner have you chosen for 2017? What are the most important elements for you when picking one out?

  • I choose jo and judy, last year one of riffle paper, but i found a little weird working with 18 months planners, so this year im going to try this one.

    • Oh I love Jo & Judy! Should have included them. Let me know how you get on with it!

  • Cariemay

    For me it has to be pretty and it has to fit in my work handbag because if it can’t travel it isn’t getting used. It’s on its way as we speak – and I clearly share your views on the pretty duck egg – an Inspire Weekly Diary from Kikki K

    • Oh, Kikki K! Occasionally I stumble across their instagram feed and have to run away quickly before I spend thousands of pounds on all the beautiful pastel paper goods! Duck egg is a classic choice, and perfect for every season. Pretty jealous actually!

  • Paula Solar

    I don’t have a planner for 2017 yet… I’ve been looking all over the place and save for the covers, they are all the same, so it’s either one of those or Moleskine… which I’ve ended up using every year. Weekly planners to write birthdays, dates, appointments, travels, etc… the bigger notes go to my personal notebook which I’m writing month by month… why do all the planners in the market look the same? oh yes, because they’re mainly for kids… adult planners look like doctors’ books or cook books… and that is why the new year is nigh and I don’t have a planner.

    • It’s SO true! We need a planner revolution. You might like the Get To Work book, which is the most innovative I’ve found, but I still think there’s room for a total rethink on how we organise ourselves on paper. Project for the future?

  • I got the Erin Condren planner for this year (still waiting for it to arrive which is frustrating!). I’ve had the Frankie one in the past which I liked but I couldn’t keep it up.

    Erin | beingerin.com

    • Interestingly you’re the second person to comment saying they bought a planner with the same first name as them. Maybe I need to find a Sara planner?? Or start one! ?

      • How funny is that! I’ve never had anything by Erin Condren before so it will be interesting to see how I get on with it. There’s a whole community around that planner lol.

        Definitely start your own planner if you want to!! πŸ™‚

  • Emma Lavelle

    Oh no! You posted about planners AFTER I’d bought one!

    I got this one in the end, fingers crossed it’s good! (I’m so fussy about the space I have to write in/ having a weekly view)

    • Wahh sorry – and you were totally the inspo for this post! Yours looks beautiful and is *totally* from Korea, so it gets a big thumbs up in my book. (You can always tell be the titles they give use!)

  • RoseElizabethT

    Definitely think you should design your own diary! Then you can create whatever system you need, and make it as pretty/functional as you would like! (I’m doing a similar thing for my wedding present for my fiancΓ© and designing him a personalised cookbook with all his favourite recipes/photos!)

  • Heidi

    I was very bold…. I got the heidi swapp memory planner with the gold stripes. Plus all the stickers and all the other bits that go with it. Now I do intend to use this one as more of a diary than a planner. I did also get a little gold striped diary in tesco to throw in my bag. How coordinated am I, eh? I’m hoping all this will I spire me to be more organised. Yeeeesss and pigs might fly ?

    • You know I’m going to go and google this and get terrible planner envy now, don’t you? ? I always buy planners hoping to be transformed into an organised person. It hasn’t happened yet, but that simply shows that I still haven’t found me the ultimate planner…

      • Heidi

        Haha! Here’s your sister! I currently have that fancy heidi swapp one, the daily tesco one for boring stuff, I started a bullet journal to track the bits I need to track (like when I go to the gym, or keep track of my rainy day fund), etc, etc. Don’t Google bullet journalling if you haven’t heard from it. It’s like a new obsession! And then I’m also trying to keep my project life albums up to date (I’m ashamed to say I’m 2 years behind! I think I need to let this one go?)

  • Juliana Bermingham

    Which planner is featured in your photos? (with the clip holding the pages) I love the layout!

    • That’s the Katie Leamon! And it’s SO so pretty!

      • Juliana Bermingham

        Thank you! It’s stunning – I love it!

  • I’m naturally drawn to the simple daily planner….but I hear you on needing to see the week in one place. Nothing worse than turning that page to see something hideous ahead!

    • YES exactly this! Usually on Monday morning, and then falling into a flap! x

  • thereadinghausfrau

    “She stopped in front of the rack marked ‘Diaries’ and prepared to enjoy herself.”
    Mrs. Miniver is, of course, the ultimate authority on choosing planners. ‘The New Engagement Book’ is one of my favorite chapters.

    • WHY haven’t I heard of Mrs Miniver before? Do I start with the book or the movie??

      • thereadinghausfrau

        The book! “Prepare to enjoy yourself!”

  • Fi Cooper

    I am a confirmed Bullet Journal-er now, the only system I’ve never given up on by 1st March! But a tidy pastel and washi tape version it is not (think more crazy librarian held together with rubber bands…). Even so, I still have to spend stupid amounts of time finding the Correct Notebook for the task.

  • Caroline Bozas McDonnell

    I love the get to work book and I love it because it isn’t fussy. I have a Simple Stories Carpe Diem planner for pretty and to use as a memory planner but my GTWB is just for keeping me on track. I fail with distraction so this is perfect.

  • thesundaygirluk

    I so wish I had saw this post before handing over a silly amount in paperchase on products that I’m not really sure are fit for the purpose I have in mind – I blame NYE rush. Do you bullet journal or do you find it to be a distraction?

  • Kate

    Hiya Sara!
    Love your work. I would definitely buy a planner with your photos in it – I’m a Yorkshire expat living in Australia and your photos make my mum and I super nostalgic ? Lots of love xx