As December rolls in and we switch over to the final month of the year, now is a great time to begin thinking about your planner for 2009. Personal planners can also make great holiday gifts, as long as you can outline some specifications so that you receive one that works for you. Here are some considerations as you research and select the right planner for you. Planners come in all types of styles, sizes, and layouts - and it's important to find one that works with your style, rather than trying to force yourself to use one that isn't appropriate for your needs.
- Are you an electronically inclined person? Do you prefer to track appointments in Outlook and manage your tasks on the computer? In that case, a Palm or Treo device is probably more appropriate than a paper planner. But you may find you need to supplement with a paper-based system, even one that is fairly basic, to coordinate with other family appointments or on the go.
- How compact/mobile does your planner need to be? Will you be carrying it in a purse or briefcase, or only using it at home? This will impact what sizes you should consider.
- What types of appointments/commitments do you need to track? Do you have many meetings in a given day? The volume of appointments will dictate whether you need to view a page at a time, a week, or a month. For those who like to track tasks via written to-do lists, I often advocate a style that features a two-page layout for each day, with a monthly calendar behind. This way, you can add detail to your day while maintaining visibility on your monthly schedule at the same time. Travel to office supply stores and look at sample pages to see what appeals to you.
- Are you a visual or hands-on learner? If so, choose an attractive planner that appeals to your senses. You'll be more likely to enjoy using it (and therefore more consistent with your entries.)
- What is your budget to spend? Planners can range from very expensive to very inexpensive. In fact, you can even create your own by printing out calendars (monthly, daily, or weekly) and keeping them in a binder.
- Do you need space for business cards or frequently called numbers? Many planners offer accessory pages with various compartments and add-ons that may or may not be helpful to you.