Figuring out a Planning Solution
Trying to figure out what planner to use for daily living can be a long process of trial and error. Many people ultimately find planners that suit a large majority of their needs, yet frequently lament that it can’t cover 100% of their time management needs. In this process, one of the most common questions asked in these situations is “Should I use multiple planners?”
Honestly, it’s a personal choice and there is no one right answer. Differing time management needs, life roles, budgets, and multitasking capability all affect whether it’s a good choice for you. So if you are asking this question and feel uncertain, take a look at some of the most relevant pros and cons of using more than one planner at a time.
Reasons It’s Better to Have Two (or more) Planners
For some, multiple planners are going to probably be a better solution. Typically people in this category tend to have:
- Busy, active lifestyles
- A full-time job
- Large amounts of their day away from home
- Responsibility for others (manager, teacher, etc)
While not everybody with those traits will enjoy using multiple planners, often these individuals find it easier to separate their time management tasks. Whether you do or do not possess the traits listed above, there are some other reasons you may find using multiple planners a better solution.
You Can Achieve Time Management For Different Areas of Life
Imagine this scenario: You work a full-time job, you have a house full of kids, and a plethora of activities to keep you busy on the daily. It would be SO difficult to use only one planner to manage your time between all the activities you juggle! Mentally task switching over the fact that your child has a dentist appointment right next to a meeting with an important CEO is challenging enough. You run the risk of missing important details if they are all jammed together in one space.
I mean, don’t they say to keep your work and home life separate, anyway?
You Can Separate Tasks
If you find it confusing to have everything in the same place and it makes it more challenging to organize your tasks, then you may find using two planners to be beneficial. For instance, I struggle to have my family tasks in the same places where I store my work and blog tasks. I also like to leave myself a bit of extra space, that way I can write things down that pop up at the last second.
You Don’t Lose Everything if One Goes Missing
If your only planner goes missing, you’ve potentially lost all your information. If only one of two planners goes missing, it is certainly not fun, but you can start again with one of the planners and still have the other going strong.
Reasons It’s Better to Have Only One Planner
If you aren’t as busy or active, struggle with multitasking, or tend to be neglectful with your planners in general, you may find that using only one planner is a better solution.
One Planner is Less Expensive
Unfortunately, some of the best planners are still relatively costly. While the per month cost of most planners is reasonable, you typically have to pay for the entire planner upfront. If you have two expensive planners, this can be a pain to handle financially.
It’s Less Juggling
With more than one book, you have more elements to focus on. In some ways, you now have twice the amount of work than if you had one planner. If you don’t think spending double the amount of time on multiple planners is worth it, you may find one planner is a better solution.
It’s Less Wasteful if You Are Forgetful
Let’s be realistic. We all forget to use our planners at times, and some of us more than others. If you frequently forget to use them, using two planners means you are wasting even more space that you will not be able to use as easily in the future.
There Are No Duplicate Spreads
I don’t believe there are any planners that are 100% different. Yes, the way they look may be completely different. But no matter which way you look at it, each planner still contains monthly calendars and weekly calendars. Beyond that, many calendars also create ‘extras’ such as “goal setting” and “mind maps” (not to mention countless others!). If you have multiple planners, you may find that some of these elements are not necessary for one or even both planners.
How to Successfully Maintain More Than One Planner
If you’ve chosen to take the leap and keep multiple planners, there are a few things you need to know. It can still be challenging bouncing between two planners, so it’s important you know how to manage more than one planner effectively. Here are a few techniques that prove helpful in using multiple planners.
Keep the planners as separate as possible
In situations where you have separate planners for work and home, try not to overlap using them together. For instance, I’d keep your work planner at your workstation and keep it removed from your personal planner as much as you can. Likewise, keep your personal planner at home or away from your work area when you are working.
Make sure to schedule time to manage each planner
You don’t have to schedule a lot of time with this task, but you may want to take five minutes daily to go through each planner and log necessary information. Make it part of your daily routine so it becomes a regular habit; that way you are much less likely to let tasks fall by the wayside.
Once per week, spend a little more time with each planner. Use this opportunity to go through the next week while reviewing the previous week.
Other Options to Consider For Comprehensive Planner Options
So it’s possible that you’ve read this entire post and still feel relatively uncertain which way to go. That’s perfectly OK, and thankfully there are a few other options to consider that you may not have thought about.
Consider a Custom Planner
Purchasing a custom planner can be expensive; however, they can be tailored to fit your needs entirely instead of trying to find hit or miss options to suit your needs.
There is one other option for a custom-made planner that is less expensive, which is using planner printables in a three-ring binder. The only downside is it’s entirely up to you to put together. You can find free planner printables in the Fox Den Resource Library, and you can always pay for printables on Etsy. You just have to look!
Try a Bullet Journal or Traveler’s Notebook
Bullet journals and traveler’s notebooks put the control of what you need for a planner directly in your hands. How can you accomplish this? By creating the exact structure you require for your time management needs. While this does involve more work initially with putting together, you can put together exactly the elements you need to succeed. Additionally, you can use printables in your bullet journal or traveler’s notebook to take some of the task work while creating your systems.
Use a Discbound Planner
Discbound planners, such as the Happy Planner, frequently offer many different systems that meet certain time management needs. The discs allow you to easily interchange the systems you need to use in your planner, thus letting you create a customized planner. The other benefit of the discbound systems is that many of them offer accessories to take some of the extra work off your shoulders. If the brands do not directly offer accessories that suit your needs, there are many custom options on sites like Etsy.
I love going digital for some of my planning needs, especially when it comes to sharing calendars! I often rely on digital tools such as Trello or Google Calendars with my husband. If you’re really feeling up to it you can go all in with a full digital planner.
Beyond sharing, digital has other benefits. If keeping two planners proves to be a challenge but you need a quick, reliable place to jot down information when your planner isn’t available, you may find a digital app to suit your needs. I mean, let’s face it, we always have our phones nearby!
My current favorites are:
- Trello for task management and task breakdown.
- Workflowy for working out long-term goals (in addition to breaking them down into smaller steps)
My Current Planner Lineup
- Scribbles That Matter Dotted Notebook
- Leuchtturm1917 Hardcover Dotted Notebook
- 12 Month Happy Planner Mini
- Inchiostro Planner
- The Happy Planner 12 Month Fitness Edition Box Kit
Many Choices, No Clear Winner
As we all have differing schedules, time management capabilities, activities, and free time, it can be really difficult to present a one size fits all solution for planners. When you step back and really look at it, finding the perfect planner system can be as challenging as finding the perfect set of jeans. But once you find it, the search will have been worth it!
Finding the right number of planners to suit your time management needs is a journey and a process. But if you’re willing to take the time to try out different options and be patient since you may not find the right solution immediately, you will eventually find the right planner combination for your life.