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Now that you’re out of college, your needs for a planner are different. As a young professional, I struggled to find the best planner that had everything I needed.
To help you decide which planner will be your perfect match, here are three of the best planners for young professionals and the pros and cons of each based on price, functionality, and customization:
Best planners for young professionals – Erin Condren*
This one will always have a special place in my heart. It was the first planner that I bought and I LOVED it. When I used the Deluxe Monthly Planner, they only had two layouts—horizontal and vertical. Since then, they’ve added a layout that will help you plan out your day by the hour.
Erin Condren – Pros
- The Vertical layout allows you to section out your day into three categories.
- Most people section out their day into morning, afternoon, and night.
- When I graduated from school, I used the three sections for each category in my life that was important – home ( bills, groceries, cleaning schedule) work (project deadlines, special events, etc), and relationships (family, friends, boyfriend, and myself). This helped me keep these three categories balanced.
- The inspirational quotes are fun and always seemed to be just what I needed.
- At the beginning of every month, there’s a section that will help you remember birthdays, important dates, and set monthly goals.
- At the end of the planner, there’s a two-page yearly spread of the following year with space to write down notes.
- This is especially helpful toward the end of the year. It allows you to add events to the following year without having to carry two planners.
- There’s a sticker packet at the back of the planner. If you’re into making your planner look pretty, it’s convenient to have stickers included with the planner for on-the-go planning sessions.
- You can choose:
- among three layouts — horizontal, vertical, and hourly
- whether you want a colorful or neutral color scheme
from one of the many covers
- to personalize it with your name and/or photos
Erin Condren – Cons
- You may still need to use other pieces of paper or notebooks to create to-do lists, grocery lists, or to plan out your day by the hour.
- If you like to journal, you’ll still need a separate notebook.
- The planner is heavy. If you use public transportation, it can weigh you down.
- The thickness and size can take up a large portion of your bag.
- It ranges from $55 (for a non-customized LifePlanner) – $75 (for a fully-customized LifePlanner)
Pro Tip: If you like the vertical or horizontal layouts of Erin Condren, consider either The Happy Planner or Create 365 planner at Michaels which both start at $30. If you like the hourly layouts, check out the Day Planner on Amazon for about $20.
Best Planners for Young Professionals – Erin Condren Overview
This planner is great if you are someone who doesn’t want to think of setting up a planner or set aside time to make a planner look pretty, but loves decorative planners. The bright colors and fun quotes make planning fun.
If you’re new to planning and aren’t sure if you’re going to stick with it, the price point of Erin Condren planners is high. But if you’re dedicated to using a planner and you like one of the three layouts offered, I highly recommend this planner.
Best planners for young professionals – Passion Planner*
This is similar to the daily planner for pros and cons. The main difference is that these have reflection questions which forced me to take a step back to reflect and optimize.
Passion Planner – Pros
- Ranging from $30-$35, it’s cheaper than the Erin Condren Planner
- When you purchase a planner, a planner is donated to individuals, organizations, and schools in need.
- You are able to block schedule.
- This is when you separate your time into blocks and put all of our focus on one topic at a time. Here’s a link to a YouTube video by Jordan Page if you want to learn more about block scheduling.
- Love the reflection questions! We often forget to take a step back to reflect and optimize
Passion Planner – Cons
- You’ll still need a separate piece of paper for to-do lists.
- If you work a job that isn’t the typical 9-5, you’ll have to rewrite times that work for you.
- The only thing you can customize is whether you want your weeks to start on Sunday or Monday
Best Planners for Young Professionals – Passion Planner Overview
This planner is great for someone who enjoys block planning, has a 9-5 job, and loves self-reflection. But doesn’t feel the need to customize their planner.
- You won’t need to carry a journal AND a planner
- $30 does seem pricey when you look at regular planners you can find at Target for half the price. But the layout of this planner is so unique that the price is worth it.
Best planners for young professionals – Digital Bullet Journal (BuJo)
This is what I am currently using. I have an iPad and use Notability to create my BUJO. I bought Notability a long time ago because I was a student and it was a top-ranked app for students. But a lot of people tend to use GoodNote. I’ve never tried it.
Digital BuJo – Pros
- If you already have a tablet, this is the cheapest planner option because it won’t cost you a thing (unless you decide to purchase an app)!
- Check out this blog post on the five best bullet journaling apps.
- Don’t worry if you don’t have a tablet though.
- You can also use a notebook lying around your house or snag a free journal from marketing events by brands.
- It’s fully customizable!
- There won’t be any unused pages or sections.
- It can include daily, weekly, monthly, and/or yearly layouts
- The layouts can change if you find one is not working for you (or maybe you like to change things up for the heck of it).
- Once you’ve set up your bullet journal and you’re happy with the layouts, you don’t ever have to start from scratch. You can just copy and paste pages or sections.
- Everything is editable.
- If you’ve messed up or something isn’t centered, it’s easy to just select it and move it.
- You can also change the size and color.
- You don’t have to carry around stickers or pens to make it look pretty.
Digital BuJo – Cons
- Setting up new layouts can take a bit of time.
- I set aside 30 minutes every week and when it’s a new month setting it up can take an hour or longer.
- You’ll find that there are some crazy, beautiful bullet journals out there, but if you’re not the creative type, don’t let that deter you. In fact, the creator of BUJO meant for the set up not to take long at all. You can take a look at his how-to here. I fall a little bit in the middle of wanting to make my BUJO look nice but also putting in multiple hours of making it look pretty makes me anxious.
- Counting the dots can get tedious.
- This makes new layouts not fun to set up.
- The biggest downside is that a digital bullet journal means more time spent staring at a screen. When you come home from work where you’ve spent the entire day staring at screens, the last thing you’ll want to do is look at another one.
Best Planners for Young Professionals – Digital BuJo Overview
I think the bullet journal is the best planner for someone just starting to use a planner.
- Price-wise, a bullet journal is the easiest on your wallet. Especially if you already have a tablet or unused notebook lying around. Before I got an iPad, I used a notebook that had empty pages toward the end just to test it out.
- And if you’re someone who doesn’t need their planner to look pretty, it doesn’t take up too much time to set up. The analog system (linked above) only takes a few minutes.
- If you are unsure of what planner layout works best for you and your schedule, the bullet journal is the best way to do some testing. Just search “Bullet journal layouts” on Pinterest for inspiration.
Which planner is the best for you?
I hope that these pros and cons were able to help you make a decision on which planner will be best for your needs. If you have any questions for me, feel free to comment below! And don’t forget to download the productive job-hunting cheat sheet to help you stay organized during your job hunt.