Last month we took a look at some of the apps available for planners who plan on the go with a mobile device in hand at all times. If this all sounds like way too much digital interference in the joy you experience when you cross something off a paper list, maybe you’re ready to return to the daily planner. Most people sort of gave those up as college went on, but they’ve made a come back in a big way. Customizable planners are big business now, with the spiral bound $8 high school model not quite footing the bill anymore. Some professionals have moved from digital back to paper after fears that a simple accidental deletion of an important meeting could change the course of a career.

For these planners, it’s again personal taste that will help you choose what works best for you. There is a variety in size and set up, and you may find that you need more room for notes than one gives you or you’ll looking for something more holistic than just a simple daily calendar that you can shove into your pocket, opting for weekly or monthly goals.

Again, we have no affiliation with any of these brands, these are just some options we’ve looked at and tried out to research the various features. Your mileage may vary, and just know that you might have to ‘date’ a lot of planners before you find the one.

A good place to start is the Panda Planner, which is broken up into a daily, weekly, and monthly section to let you build goals incrementally, focused on productivity. These planners typically last between 3 and 6 months, depending on frequency of use. Many users are huge fans of the heavy, durable paper and layout, however, this may be better suited to personal goals and daily tasks rather than keeping track of larger projects. Also, with daily use, you will go through the planner relatively quickly and need to purchase another one to keep going. At around $30, it’s not too badly priced, though that could add up over the course of the year.

If you’re looking to go classic, snap up a Moleskin Daily Diary/ Planner. This will give you a page for each day to write down your tasks and some brief notes in a neat, tidy little volume that’s exceedingly portable. However, this won’t give you a lot of options for larger projects or long-term goals, as each day is pretty separated from the rest. In the $20 range, it’s a very affordable option for keeping track of your days.

If really tackling goals is your focus for 2019, the $30 BestSelf Co. Self Journal may be the one you’re looking for. Each section allows you to break down everything at once, with daily goals, weekly priorities, big-picture goals, and then some features to smooth everything together, including space for you to write your own reflections. Because the pages are what you make them, you can identify 5 minute quick tasks or year-long goals. There are even some pro tips from performance optimizers to give you a little bit of inspo during the day.

All of these planners are what you make of them, really. With the rise of the life planner, it may not be that you’ll be just jotting down appointments. Some of these options let you choose more than the cover color; you may be choosing the size, the complimentary sticker pack, how the day is broken down, how your life is broken down into pieces. You may be writing in project steps and drawing a sunshine in the corner. Sometimes what all of these organizational items come down to are ways for humans to understand and work with the inner workings of our brain. Personally, I’m a fan of the Erin Condren Life Planner, which I plan to keep neat but which ends up looking like collage art by the end of the month.

And after all of these decisions, you’re always left with the biggest one: which is the best pen to use?

Stay tuned!

Mandy Szewczuk

More about the author: Mandy Szewczuk

Mandy works with advisors as the lead of Evolution Financial Advisor’s virtual assistant program and is part of the marketing and events team.