I have a confession, I bought not one, but two planners this year, the Plum Paper Planner and the Get to Work Book. The planner I had before was based on an academic year (it was the Day Designer by Whitney English Day Designer & Erin Condren links are affiliate links. PPP and GTW are not affiliate links). About two months before it ended, I needed a new planner for future meetings that were already being scheduled.
There weren’t many options available at that point because it wasn’t even summer yet. I had my eye on the solid stand bys: the new Day Designer and Erin Condren. But I figured I’d search the internet to see if there were any other options that might be a better fit for me in 2016. I didn’t like that the official Day Designer was so plain (the blue sky version I used 2015-2016 was colorful), and I really liked the hard back style, so I wasn’t sure I wanted a soft cover Erin Condren. To the internet I went.
I learned about the Plum Paper Planner on a blog that had a ton of planner reviews. Unfortunately, this was like 6 months ago and now I don’t remember the link. Sorry!
The Plum Paper Planner has many customizable options. Are you working on tracking your fitness, meal plans, direct sales business, blog, baby, wedding or cleaning schedule? You can have that add-on tacked onto the end of your planner so it’s handy every time you look at your schedule. I added the blog planning section because I used to use a paper planner for my blog and thought it would be really helpful. I also added the budget planning section, because obviously. Then I made it a 15 month planner to get me off of the academic planner cycle.
The site tells you to limit how many add-ons you include so that the planner isn’t too big. I followed their advice, but it was still too large. I would suggest only including an add-on if you’re limiting the planner to 12 months, you won’t have to carry it around a lot of places, or if you’re CERTAIN you will use the add-on.
After about two months, I still hadn’t connected to my Plum Paper Planner. I know that probably sounds silly, but I take my planners very seriously. If there isn’t a connection, I won’t use it, which makes the whole thing pointless. Also, as a lawyer I need to have a paper planner for work so that if there’s a computer crash, my calendar isn’t lost in space. I need something I’m actually going to use.
So I started doing some more research. I listen to Elise’s Let’s Get Crafty podcast. She’s talked about her Get to Work Book over the last year or so. I was interested in it, but I didn’t buy it in time. When I learned that she was releasing an academic planner, I decided to try it out. Editor’s Note: Elise released the 2017 Calendar Year planner last week. So if you want that layout, hurry on over to her site! Also, when I went to get that link, I saw the academic planner is on sale for less than $40!
I had been hesitant about buying it because it is in black and white, which I didn’t think would grab my attention well enough, and there are not hour markers for each day. After talking to Elise and another user on Instagram about this, I decided to bite the bullet and see if I could overcome that in the way I use the planner. I am really glad I did!
I wanted to compare the two side-by-side so that if you’re trying to decide which planner is the best choice for you, you can make a slightly more informed decision.
Both planners have nice paper. The Plum Paper planner is a little slicker and thinner. I use the G2 Pilot pens (usually in purple), and often blew on the writing to dry it before turning the page. The Get to Work Book has thick pages, a la nice quality graph paper, and has not ever smeared. Each monthly encouraging quote is on thick, perforated card stock.
Cover Quality & Options
The Plum Paper Planner comes with GORGEOUS color options! I spent like an hour picking mine out and getting second opinions from friends. They have a wide variety of print and photo options with personalization in whatever way you’d like in the name portion. The Get to Work Book comes in black or brown, and brown was sold out when I bought mine. So I bought black.
The monthly layouts are similar in that they run Sunday to Saturday and have goal planning sheets in the start of each one. They also both have a place to write a to-do list or notes on the monthly view. In the Plum Paper Planner it’s on the left. In the Get to Work Book, it’s on the bottom. The PPP has the holidays written into the monthly calendar, while the GTW book leaves it crisp and clean. I have now written their names out too many times to keep doing so :). For the rest of the post, they will be abbreviated.
Because my job requires the utmost confidentiality, I can’t show you how I use the weekly layout. But here is what they look like. As you can see, the PPP has the checklist on the bottom of the day. GTW puts it as a priority at the top of the day. It’s interesting because I used these differently because of that. In the PPP I mostly wrote dinner ideas or personal tasks because it was located where my personal activities are done, the evening. In the GTW book, aside from reminders to buy birthday presents, my to-do list items are exclusively work-related. Any personal tasks I have to do are in the Action Items box or just listed out in the Saturday and Sunday Section.
As I said above, I was concerned that there aren’t hourly markers on the days. This actually hasn’t bothered me at all. Yes, I have to write the time next to my appointment, but now if my first meeting is at 9:30 AM, I can write it at the top of the day rather than wasting the space that those first few hours take up. I was REALLY skeptical about not needing the hourly markers, but I will admit that I was wrong. The freedom really is nice.
Both planners have to-do lists incorporated in creative ways throughout the planners. You can see examples in the photos above. I really appreciate a good to-do list and have a habit of making a large to-do list each week on a legal pad at work, and updating my todoist app when I remember and start feeling tech-savvy. I also make sure to set three (max) top priorities in a day and both planners have this capability. Both get an A+ in this department!
I think both planners rank high on usability. They’ve obviously spent a lot of time researching what people need in a planner. There are a lot of similarities, but they’re done differently. So I would suggest looking at the photos and doing your research on each website to determine which one you’d like better.
One of the really easy to use add-ons in the budget section was listing out the bills. This was how I first started budgeting and it helped me so much! However, I have been using the monthly calendar to show my bills for about 4 years. I just couldn’t get back into the habit of this kind of bill list. But I would say the budget add-on was very usable.
Like I said above, it was my own fault that the PPP was so large. I would not put in too many add-ons if you’re doing any more than 12 months. I paid extra to get a GTW Book rubber band and I love it. I’m so glad I did. The cover on the PPP is flexible which didn’t do well in my purse. The GTW Book stays compact and easy to tote around thanks to the tough cover and thick spiral. One important thing that the PPP has that GTW doesn’t is a pocket. That pocket is so helpful to carry around receipts or papers!
I listed the add-ons for PPP in the beginning of this post, so I won’t repeat myself here. There are a ton of them. The GTW doesn’t have add-ons that get incorporated into the planner itself, but you can buy extra accessory type items. Likewise, many of the extra pages incorporated into the planner can be purchased in their own notepads.
For example, I have used the project planning page to layout our trip to San Diego and also outline my plan for an upcoming arbitration. They’re very versatile. I don’t foresee myself needing more than one a month, but if you’re in a job that has a lot of planning or ongoing projects, I bet it would be helpful to buy the whole pad. If you really like this layout, you could even just buy the pad without buying a planner. It’s $10 for 50 sheets.
I also purchased the Today Ruler and the Rubber band to keep it closed. There are a ton of extras available on the GTW site, including washi tape, clothing pins and coasters with encouraging phrases on them.
The Blog Planner section of my PPP was a waste of space for me because I use CoSchedule and an excel spreadsheet to keep my editorial calendar and blog opportunities. Even though I liked the idea of having everything in writing too, I just don’t need the paper tracking options. It made the planner unnecessarily heavy.
Overall, these are both great planner options. It really just depends on which one fits your needs and personality the best. I can confidently recommend both, even though personally I fell in love with the Get to Work Book and my PPP is just sitting in my home office with all of the rest of my old planners.
What planner do you use? What do you think about the two listed here? Are you in the market for a planner but not right this second, don’t forget to pin this post on Pinterest, or heart it on Bloglovin’!