This year for Christmas, my husband bought me a new planner- best gift ever! I love things that give me the illusion of control of my life- planners, colored pens, stickers, to-do lists…a stationery store is my dream! Still, heading into 2021, after the, shall we say, unique year that was 2020, I will handle this planner a bit differently. My new planner is undated, which means if I have a week with not much going on, I don’t have to waste a week’s double-page spread and feel guilty. I’m also going to make more time for notating things I am grateful for, and for focusing on long-term goals- as well as keeping up with my kids’ virtual learning schedules, meeting codes, and passwords! Here are the best planners for 2021!

Check out this comparison photo I took from 2019 to 2020…slight difference, yes?

One of the best things I took out of 2020 was an appreciation for down-time and more boundaries.  I will no longer be filling my calendar with obligations and unnecessary things, but I will be utilizing my planner to stay focused and goal oriented. 

If you want to begin 2021 with an organized, intentional bang, then check out the following planners.  Whether you are extremely precise and organized, or more creative and carefree, there’s something for everyone.

The Simple Elephant Weekly Planner, $30

The Simple Elephant Planner

This is my newest planner, and I can’t wait to dive in.  This undated planner is simple and concise, comes with a pen and pocket holder, and a page of stickers.  It has goal planning pages, a mind-map, and a vision board. The months of the year are clustered together at the front, which actually makes it easier to track upcoming events, and the rest of the book is set up for your weeks.  My favorite feature is that an elephant icon is scattered throughout the book, and when you find it  you are supposed to flip back to your long term goal page so that you can revisit and remind yourself of your true goals and stay focused.

Panda Planner, $24

Panda Planner

This planner is undated (meaning you can start using it at any time), and has monthly, weekly, and daily pages, with a divider between them. It has a habit tracker within the monthly pages, goal planning, and goal review sections. This planner is all about DAYS, with two pages to plan each day.  It also has some really cool areas for projects, passions, insights, and distractions to avoid. It is pretty simple and small, but features great page layouts.  Since so many pages are devoted to daily planning, this planner lasts for ninety days, not a full year. Some people convert the daily pages to weekly, though, and make it last longer.

The Happy Planner, starting at $21.99

The Happy Planner

The Happy Planner is usually my go-to planner.  It is designed for people who love their planners to be customized and decorated, and thanks to the many coordinating accessories, it is so flexible. It comes in three sizes, the mini, classic, or big. It comes with a year’s worth of pages, divided into monthly and weekly spreads. A unique feature of the Happy Planner is that it is bound by plastic discs, so you can remove or add pages and accessories easily.  One of the biggest perks of this planner is that it is so gosh darn pretty, and there are styles and options to suit almost anyone.  As a busy mom, a feature I loved is that the weekly spreads are divided into three chunks- morning, day, and evening. This made it easier for me to divide up what was happening and when in our crazy days.

Erin Condren Life Planner, starting at $55

Erin Condren Life Planner

Erin Condren, based out of Austin, offers a hugely popular planner line. The Life Planner is customizable with your name and you can even choose a photo for the cover.  It is a high quality, beautiful product with two-page weekly spreads.  If a weekly spread isn’t for you, Erin Condren also offers daily and monthly planners.  The customization options are so plentiful, and you can choose it all online while previewing the layouts before you order.  The Life Planner even has a vegan leather cover option.  The downfall of this planner is its high cost, but many people believe that the customization and the high quality are worth the cost.

Grid Dot Journal, $24

Leuchtturm 1917 dot grid planner

The dot grid journal has a lot of appeal for creatives.  So much flexibility- the pages can be almost anything, and Pinterest and Instagram offer SO. MUCH. INSPIRATION. I had high hopes for my dot grid journal, and while I did love being able to doodle and draw in it, the lack of clear structure meant I had to put a lot of work in to turn my empty journal into a functional planner. For people with a bit more tenacity and creativity, or who are more free-flow, the Leuchtturm 1917 dot grid journal is one of the best.  It offers thick, ink-proof paper, a gusseted pocket and elastic strap, and can be embossed.  This type of planner is a blank slate, and you can fill it with as many trackers and vision boards as you can think of. 

What planners would you add to this list? What are your favorite must-have planner accessories? Let us know!


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