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Friday, April 27, 2012

Planner Pad

Several people have recommended I try a Planner Pad, and for some reason I'm only just now getting around to it!  It's an excellent system, especially if you are working on multiple things at once and need to prioritize your tasks.

I ordered the Personal size Planner Pad, which measures 6 3/4 by 8 1/2 inches. You can also get the Executive Size, which is 8 1/2 by 11 inches, or the Professional size which is 8 1/2 by 14 inches. The Personal and Executive sizes come in spiral bound (which is what I got) or loose-leaf hole punched to insert into the binder of your choice (PP sells binders too, or you can use another brand). The Professional size comes spiral-bound only.

You can choose which quarter you want your Planner Pad to start in, and it goes for a full 12 months. I chose January-December 2012.

The cover is very professional-looking, and I couldn't resist the optional personalization!

The first page has space for writing in your personal info, then there are several pages for important phone numbers. (Click on any of the photos for a larger view):

Next there is a three-year reference calendar:

Here is a feature I really love: there are monthly planning pages where the months blend together, so you can see each week intact per row. This format is genius for seeing the weeks uninterrupted for your monthly planning.
There are these types of monthly planners for all of 2012, all of 2013 AND all of 2014, with holidays printed on the day spaces for easy planning.

There is a reference page of holidays, and a time zones map for the US:

Next we get into the meat of the planner. At the beginning of each month there is a monthly calendar and a notes page. The months are embedded in the weeks, and you can buy month tabs to add on that will allow you to easily flip to each month.

Here is the weekly format. The idea is that it acts like a funnel. At the top you write your categorized lists, in the middle row you write to-dos for each day, and the bottom row is scheduled appointments for each day. Click here to see Planner Pad's details on How It Works.
This works well for anyone who is juggling a lot of different tasks. You just do your mental dump at the top of the page to get everything out in front of you. You can categorize your lists any way you want: by priority, by topic, by project etc.
Then for each day you look at your task lists and decide what can be done on particular days. You fill in those tasks in the day spaces.
Below the daily task lists is the timed schedule space, to see all of your daily appointments in chronological order. Also at the right of the page there are spaces for Notes and Expenses.

This is a great method for getting everything you need to do out on your weekly page so you can move it around and know what needs to be done every day.

In the back of the book there are a few pages for notes, then there are 12 numbered pages with a faint grid pattern on them and Sunday through Saturday in light print at the top of the page. You can use these pages to sketch out calendars, write your goals, take notes, or otherwise keep track of anything you need to.

The very last page of the book has quick reference calendars for last-this-next year.

There are various add-ons you can buy separately including the month tabs I mentioned above, and clear plastic pockets that stick into the inside of the cover for holding papers and loose ends.

My friend Rori has done an excellent review of her Planner Pad, with lots of details so be sure to check it out here.

I have to agree with Rori, the Planner Pad paper is fantastic and will stand up to any ink. Even my Sharpie pens don't bleed through.

One definite advantage of a Planner Pad is you can choose any quarter to start, and it goes for a full 12 months. Especially this time of year it's not easy to switch to a new planner, so this is a great option.

The Planner Pad was designed for business and professional use but it would be useful for any busy person. I think this would be especially useful for someone who is juggling multiple roles such as work, family, social, study etc. Having everything out on one spread lets you see everything you need to do and when you have time to do it.

You can see Planner Pad products on their website www.PlannerPads.com.

Do you use or have you used a Planner Pad? What is your experience with them?


  1. Thank you for posting this review! I've been looking at these, and after your review, ordered one this morning. The 2012 calendar year ones are on sale, and I found a discount code for 20% off -- PEI20. I can't wait to get it and start using it!

    1. Awesome! And thanks for the discount code!!

  2. But Laurie. Bottom line, would you use it?

    1. Hi Baz, I was just thinking while I was writing this review that I wish I'd found Planner Pad while I was working in my last corporate job where I was working on multiple projects at once. I was having trouble prioritizing what I should be doing and when. I had lists everywhere of what needed to be done on each project but hadn't figured out a way to put it all together on a daily basis. The Planner Pad would have been absolutely perfect for that.

      Right now I'm using a self-made planner of a different design that is working really well for me, so I don't think I'll be using the PP right now. But, I'm glad I got it because if I'm ever juggling multiple projects again or need help distilling all my tasks down to what I can do each day, this will be great for that.

  3. I love planner pads. I used them to get me through the dark days of grad school Kept me organized, on track, and it wasn't too bulky. I'd recommend them in a heart beat for anyone who needs a weekly / monthly format. Alas, my current job really needs a daily format and currently use the Quo Vadis ABP system.

  4. I love my Planner Pad! I'm a student and wouldn't have gotten through this semester without it. At the beginning of the semester, I took my syllabi and entered all the semester's work in the Planner Pad. Each class had its own column every week. The only thing I don't like is the black and white design. I would love some color but I'll live with it.

    1. FYI - don't know if you got the latest flier, but they have green and white lined pages, now. I'm looking forward to trying them again, as I think my notes will stand out a little easier.

  5. I've used these off and on for years but right now it is getting a very serious workout as am in a temporary management position with lots to prioritize and heavy deadlines. People with Blackberries look at me like I'm crazy but they've got multiple yellow pads with lists and notes scribbled all over the place while mine are all in one place right by my schedule. This planner can take some heavy use and the paper and binding are really up to it. And when this stint is over and done, I'll have a permanent (enough) record of what went down. And then I can customize it to another purpose! The flexibility is wondrous.

  6. I really like the planner pad. If you want to 'jazz up' the cover a bit, get some fabric glue and a piece of fabric you like, and cover it! Worked great for me. I tend to not think in terms of compartments of my life, so I chose to use the top portion for notes, and then the to-do's and appts went in the middle and bottom portions. Great layout. I have since moved to the MomAgenda (www.momagenda.com), which has a similar vertical format, but prettier colors/cover options. MomAgenda is an 18month bound version so can be a bit heavy to lug around, but they have a loose-leaf version too.

  7. I found the planner pad difficult to use. The month at a glance page should be a 2 page layout to give room to write on the days. The daily columns are also too small and I got the 8.5 x 11. I have 3 kids and there was just not enough room to keep track of my family's life in this planner in an effective way. I also found their customer service to be horrible. They have record of me calling 4 months after buying it to say i was unhappy with product and was going to return per their money back guarantee. In my disorganization, I did not get around to mailing for another 3 months and they refused to give me any money back and accused me of slander if I wrote a poor review of their product anywhere!!

    1. I've been using Planner Pad for several years and love it, and sure its not going to meet everyone's needs. I've had to use their customer service and found it to be top notch and very responsive.
      I also think that their 6 month money back guarantee is very generous, so trying to return it 7 months later and complaining about it???

  8. Love love LOVE my planner pad.
    I am a work from home mom, with three kids, a firefighter husband and I do a lot of volunteering including leadership with my MOPS group, PTA and SAC (Student Advisory Council).

    I LOVE the month at a glance so I can see who has what going on, at one time.

    Then, I use the planner pages with the columns divided up by;
    1. My business
    2. My home
    3. My kids - the TO DO's that need to be done for them.
    4. MOPS
    5. PTA/SAC
    6. My husband
    7. Myself

    I put all of the To Do's in. Then, of course I just drop them down into the day that it needs to be done.

    In the schedule section goes the details of who has to be at what and when.

    I have been using it for 2 years now and it's fantastic. I cannot say enough about it.

    LOVE IT!

  9. I think the planner pads are great. I just ordered the Professional Size (8 1/2 x 14) about 2 weeks ago because I thought I had a ton to do. However, because of my knack for writing extremely tiny (I only put 1 task per line every section) now I have almost a month's work on a single week and its still about 50% empty.

    I have been extremely efficient using it however, and have gotten a lot done with it. I may end up downgrading to an executive size and giving the huge one to my mother who is wildly disorganized and seeing what she can do with it.

    All in all it was worth the purchase price. I'm still not sure if I should even downgrade at all and just find more stuff to get done. I have four empty columns at the top to use and plenty of free time.I still have another 2 weeks to figure out if I want a smaller one, so oh well.

    If anyone is on the fence about one, definitely get it, but get the personal or the executive size unless you're running several businesses or something equally crazy.

  10. I loved my Planner Pad and ordered another for next year. I was very disappointed with the (lack of) customer service this time around. I sent 2 emails asking for assistance and finally got a rude response. I am sad to leave them, but I will not give them anymore money. I am going to try the plannerisims planner and try to modify it to the same concept. I wish someone at PP cared enough to contact me back, but I guess that's not going to happen. Oh well!

    I say give it a shot, but don't expect great customer service.

  11. I have used Planner Pads for about 20 years. Until this year, the pad seemed like an old friend. However, when I got ready to transfer some addresses, etc. to the new planner yesterday, I noticed that the font was much harder to read. They had changed the font everywhere, to the extent that, while I could read the old pad easily, the new one required that I use reading glasses! I called Customer Service to give some feedback and ask if they had some pads with the old font. The response was "We'll post this in your file, but we are not going to change the format or font back to the old one." Basically I was blown off. A tactful rep would have said "we'll forward your comments to the design team for review and get back to you." The result might have been the same but at least I would have felt that somebody heard me. When I asked to send the pad back for a refund, I was told that it had to be shipped in the original box. They are sending me one since I recycled the old one as soon as I unwrapped it. But at least I am getting a refund. As TiffanyRN said, customer service is rotten. I'm looking for an alternative.


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