So what have I learned after 3 years and more than 30 planners?
1) I like variety.
2) I have a short attention span.
Yes yes, but what about the PLANNERS?!? Okay:
3) I love the idea of using a day per page planner, and when I do use one I love how much space I have each day to record lots of details. But every time I try to use it, the daily format falls down on me in the planning department. I learn and remember things visually, so I have to see an entire week at a time or else I forget upcoming events.
4) Similarly, I am very out of sight, out of mind so I have to have my to-do lists for the week on the weekly pages. Therefore I have to use some form of week + notes format.
5) I like to write a lot each day. Tasks, appointments, things to remember all go in today's space. Lots of weekly planners have failed me because the day spaces aren't big enough.
I started comparing failed weekly planners with ones I've had success with, and noticed a trend with day space sizes. So I did a little math. Below are measurements of day spaces in planners that have failed me mainly because of too-small daily spaces, and ones that I've had success with.
Moleskine large weekly notebook day spaces (weekdays): 39 square centimeters. Weekend days half that.
Life Book day spaces: 41 sq cm (all days).
Filofax week on 2 pages (personal size) weekday spaces: 45.25 sq cm. Weekend days half that.
Quo Vadis Minister: 67.2 sq cm (all days except Sunday).
Quo Vadis Trinote: 87.4 sq cm (all days except Sunday).
Both of these planners have been very successful for me. Whenever I've stopped using these, it's not due to the day size (except for once last year with the Minister during an extremely busy time), it's due to some other reason.
The next planner contender is the Moleskine Extra Large weekly notebook which starts in July. Its weekday spaces measure 68.4 sq cm (weekends half that). That's well within my successful day size range. And having the entire opposite page for overflow, lists and notes will be beneficial too.
I'm looking to move over into an academic-year planner this summer, so if the Extra Large Moleskine weekly notebook fails for whatever reason, I plan to go to the Quo Vadis Septanote, which is the academic year version of my biggest planner success so far, the Trinote (with only a few variations, read my comparison of the two here).
It feels good to finally have some hard facts on what works for me and what doesn't! I think it's safe to say that the smallest day size that will work for me is probably 65 sq cm. And I have to have space for lists on the weekly pages. I also have to have monthly calendars, and if my planner lacks them I put them in (like I did with my Minister and my Trinote).
My planner has to have a pretty cover, and if it doesn't I'll hack one for it (like I did with my Moleskine/ Dodo Pad cover combo which you can read about in this post).
I do realize that large day spaces in a weekly format with notes means a large page size and therefore a large book. I have come to accept that. Luckily I carry a large bag.
I feel like I'm closing in on Planner Perfection! Or, as close as is possible for me.