I am a planner addict. There, I said it. Here’s the thing though: dated planners stress me out. I SO much prefer undated planners! I prefer that kind so much that I’m going to share my Favorite Five!
Undated Planners vs Dated Planners (for folks like me)
I’ve been a planner addict since WAY before it was cool! I still have my Daytimer leather covers circa 1986.
Back in the oooolllddddd days, it was mostly business folk who used planners but they were mostly just appointment books and contacts. We owned a business so that’s how I used it. A place for phone/fax numbers – we were the first business to get a fax machine in our town (oh, 1988) so folks used to come use it all the time so a place for fax numbers was actually handy back then.
There were no undated planners back then that I knew of – if there were I didn’t know because it was pre-internet. You had to order from a catalog. In fact, they weren’t even referred to as ‘planners’.
Oh, a catalog is like a magazine of nothing but products from a company with an order form included. You could call them to order or fill out the order form and mail it with a check. In case you were wondering.
A check is a piece of paper with your bank name and account number on it. You gave it to a person and they took it to the bank and deposited it in exchange for money. (True story – I LITERALLY had to explain that to a cashier in Kohls. The lady behind me almost wet her pants laughing.)
Ok, back to planners …
I loved feeling so ‘businessy’ with my beautiful leather appointment book but it mostly collected dust. I didn’t have appointments because I didn’t meet with clients and nobody had dreamed up the term ‘time blocking’ yet. But something was missing. Actually not ‘missing’ – more like ‘added but not wanted’. It took me YEARS to figure it out.
Dated planners stress me out. Especially the ones with appointment times. Why?
They don’t fit my personality.
I feel like planners with the dates and times listed hem me into a corner. I like more freeform planners because I feel like a failure if I don’t write anything down for a month because I’m on vacation (or my brain went on vacation without me). Then I have that blank month flashing at me like a neon Eat at Joe’s sign.
I really love that I can start an undated planner anytime during the year. If you’ve ever had difficulty finding planner peace, you’ll know that speaks your language. No waiting until July for an 18 month or academic, of January for a yearly!
Basic Things I like in Undated Planners
- First thing – month on 2 pages, followed by enough undated week-on-two-page pages for a month.
- Second – tabs on the monthly page
- Third – a way to mark said tabs as I go along
- Fourth – plenty of room for notes and lists in a freeform fashion
- Fifth – a way to add pages
Extras for my Undated Planners That Make it More Useable for me as a Complete Planner
- Goal planning sheets
- Meal Planning sheets
- Habit tracking sheets
- Financial Planning sheets
It’s rare that I find all those things in one planner so I tend to create a lot of printables for my own use that ‘fit’ me.
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Let’s Take a Look at my 5 Favorite Undated Planners – Pros and Cons
This planner is a great size to stick in your purse and carry around. If you see it for under $30, it’s a great deal!
Size: A5 (5.8” x 8.3”)
Color: Black, Orange, or Pink
Layout: Weekly – horizontal
Space for notes a la Bullet Journal style
Vision Board and Mindmap
Bright colors (pink or orange) so it’s hard to misplace in a stack of books or on your desk!
It’s bound, so you can’t add pages
Monthly and Weekly are not together but it has sweet little ribbon bookmarks to keep your places in both
This planner really focuses on mindset. It doesn’t plan the week out on a weekly day-by-day plan. Instead, it looks at the week as a whole instead. It includes a daily sheet that really breaks the whole day down – which is one of the reasons it’s so great as a goal planner. It’s one of the best under $35 planners I’ve seen!
Size: A5 (5.8” x 8.3”)
Color: Black, Cyan, Purple, or Orange
6-months undated (16 weeks, 90 days)
Detailed Daily page
Habit tracker on the monthly calendar – doesn’t take up space on a daily/weekly page
Weekly reflections on the prior week – what went well and what didn’t
It’s bound, so you can’t add pages
No traditional Weekly pages
They also have the Panda Planner Pro version available – same content, more space (US letter size).
This planner is a little larger than the first two but can still fit into a larger bag. It really focuses on priorities and reflecting on how well you met your goals.
Size: 10” x 7” (186 pages)
Color: Black or Lotus Flower
Layout: Weekly – vertical
Spiral bound so it can lay flat – cannot move pages around but adhesive strips are available to add pages
Made in the USA
Hourly blocks (7 AM to 9 PM) are small
No Daily pages
The monthly pages are separate from the weekly pages
This planner and others in this line are very popular due to the ability to decorate them. They are very colorful to start with so I have never decorated any of mine. I tend to use mine in a very utilitarian fashion – I don’t even take the time to write nicely. Mine always look like an earthworm stole my pen. There is also a larger letter-size planner as well.
Size: 10” x 14.5”
Color: Several options – photo shown above is Best Year Ever
Disc-bound – good for left-handed or right-handed folks
Can move, add, and remove pages
Month on 2 pages followed by weekly on 2 pages
The vertical layout makes my tasks appear cramped (I prefer horizontal and lined)
No daily pages
I was first introduced to the Passion lanner when they did their first Kickstarter campaign. I really like it for the ability to be more freeform with it for tasks and notes.
Size: Compact (5.83″ x 8.27″) or Classic (8.27″ x 11.69″)
Color: Several options
Start Day: Choice of Sunday or Monday start
Weekly Task lists divide Work tasks from Home tasks
Work Projects/Home Projects
Bound – cannot add or remove pages
Appointment times listed
Vertical layout – for appointments/time blocking – negated by the room for freeform notes and lists
So which one do I use?
None of the above.
Why is that?
I prefer a disc-bound so I use this cover for my personal (small) planner.
For the business planner that stays on my desk, I use the same one but in letter size.
The inserts? I use purchased printables (vertical/no times) in my business planner and a hodge-podge of free undated planner printables in my small one.
I’m still struggling to find planner peace myself.
Do you have any favorites?
I’d love if you’d share so please click the image below to pin it! Thanks!