The Best Planners for 2017
Staying organized isn’t as simple as writing to-dos on a calendar. A great daily planner is easy to use, inspires you to be organized, and maybe most importantly, matches your personal style.
To pick the best planner of 2017, we created a focus group of eight highly-organized marketing agency teammates who rely heavily on their planners to hit weekly deadlines for their clients. We had them rank and give notes on 11 different planners they each picked for themselves, which were ultimately chosen after comparing 50+ other great ones.
Using those rankings, we created averages for each to create a final score. The best overall planner, as well as the highest rated planner by men, was the Get to Work book. Despite being a little on the expensive side, it features several great layouts and a pleasing aesthetic that exudes personality at the same time. The highest ranked planner by women was the Rifle Paper 17 Month Planner, which drew rave reviews for its lovely design, both inside and out.
Highest Rated by Women: Rifle Paper
A beautiful floral aesthetic, big writing areas and several inspirational easter eggs make the Rifle Paper the best overall planner for women.
Best Overall/Highest Rated by Men: Get to Work Book
Ranking 2nd on average from men and 4.25 on average from women, the Get to Work Book got high scores from everyone who used it.
Table of contents
- How we tested the planners
- The best overall planner
- The top pick from men
- Another highly rated planner by men
- The top pick from women
- Another highly rated planner by women
- The other planners we tested
- The bottom line
How we tested the planners
We had a group of 11 people at our content marketing agency (that also runs Your Best Digs) pick a new weekly planner for 2017. The group in total compared over 50 planners in order to pick their preferred choice for the year. Where applicable (such as with the planners that started in 2016, or when planning early 2017 work), they used the planners for a week or two in order to get some solid first impressions of the model they chose.
We took those planners and laid out all 11 in our conference room. We had a focus group of eight people, four men and four women, come in and rank them. The group ranked the planners in order of best to worst, with 1 being best, and 11 being worst. We averaged the scores to create an average ranking. The lower the score, the better the planner rated. The results of that testing, and all the notes, data and etc, are available in a handy Google doc for your reference, here.
The team was firmly aware that there can’t be a true “best planner” universally — because in many ways, a planner is an extension of personal preference and style. However, with enough opinions, we definitely feel we can help push you towards a planner you’ll enjoy. Although there was some slight changes on the preferred pick for each person, the Rifle Paper and Get to Work planners were almost universally highly rated by the group.
The 11 best daily/weekly planners
|Product||Men's Average Ranking||Women's Average Ranking||Overall Ranking (1 best, 11 worst)||Price|
|1. Get to Work Book||2||4.25||3.125||$$$$|
|2. ban.do Marble Blonde||4||3.75||3.875||$$|
|3. Rifle Paper Orange||6.5||2||4.25||$$$|
|4. Sugar Paper Gold Dots||4.5||4.25||4.375||$$|
|5. WTF Mint Planner||7||5||6||$$|
|6. Passion Planner Black||3.5||9.5||6.5||$$|
|7. Paper Source 2017 Cover||6.5||7||6.5||$$|
|8. Weekly Planner Spiral||8||5.25||6.625||$$|
|9. Blue Sky Passages, Black||5.75||8.25||7||$$|
|10. Action Day Black||8.25||9.25||8.75||$$|
|11. Medium Monthly||10.5||8.5||9.5||$|
The best overall planner
With an average ranking of 3.125, with a 2 ranking for men and 4.25 for women, the Get to Work Book won the day/was our preferred pick for best planner overall.
Our group liked the Get to Work Book’s big, clean areas to write and overall inspirational design. It features large note taking areas, as well as helpful tabs that make flipping through or getting to the right page a breeze.
Get to Work
A somewhat neutral design and motivating front helped make this our top pick overall.
It also includes great monthly reflection sections, as well as a “action items this week” area that makes prioritizing your most important tasks a breeze.
On the negative side, some people had concerns with the Get to Work Book’s size: it’s pretty bulky and will take up significant room on your desk. It’s also slightly masculine looking, which likely accounted for its slightly lower scores from the women in the group. The group also didn’t rate for price: the Get to Work Book is the most expensive planner we tested, at $50+.
The top pick by men
The Get to Work book was the top rated book for men not only for its great usability, but also because of its design. It’s also the least polarizing of the group in terms of style, working nicely for both men and women: that likely contributed to its high marks.
Another highly rated planner by men
The Passion Planner also drew high ratings from the men, with an average ranking of 3.5. It didn’t fare quite as well with women, however, coming in at 9.5 out of 11.
Sturdy design, granular time breakdowns and monthly reflection sections are all highlights of this planner.
The team liked its monthly reflection areas, built in bookmark, and significant note taking sections. The Passion Planner was also unique in having hourly breakdowns by day, which was a bit polarizing: some loved it, some hated it. If this makes sense for your planning style, the Passion Planner could be a great pick.
However, if it doesn’t, the hourly breakdowns might feel like detail for the sake of it, and actually get in the way of your daily planning. Overall, the Passion Planner is a solid choice if it fits your scheduling style.
The top pick by women
By far the highest rated planner for women due to its beautiful and functional design.
The Rifle Paper 17 month agenda received the highest ranking from women, with an average rank of 2. It didn’t fare as well with the men, at a 6.5 average score, but that’s to be expected given its feminine aesthetic. The ban.do wasn’t too far behind, but on average, it far outpaced the field.
The planner was lauded for more than its design inside and out: it also includes motivational quotes on each weekly page, tabs for quick reference, and is nicely sized for toting around or not taking up much space on your desk. Some reviewers noted they didn’t love the thinnish pages and felt like they could rip them out, but that was the only real negative for this planner.
Another highly rated planner by women
The ban.do marble blonde planner is also a great choice for those who want a feminine look. It’s bursting with personality, and has a huge amount of note taking space. It also comes with two sheets of stickers, making this by far the most “fun” of any the planners we looked at.
Overall, the ban.do ranked 3.75 on average with the women, and only slightly lower with the men, at 4 overall.
On the negative side, the ban.do is a heavy, bulky planner compared to the rest of the models we tested, and that was a turnoff for some people. However, if you have a big desk and don’t plan on lugging it around, the ban.do can excel at the job asked of it.
The other planners we tested
The Action Day planner is a no frills, no personality planner that confused most of our group. It has 16 pages at the beginning telling you how to use it, which people either loved or hated, and it has no real note taking section besides in the very back of the planner. It had an average rank of 8.75 out of 11, and only really makes sense for consideration if you prefer a cut-and-dry look.
The WTF Mint planner is another fun option, but it feels more like a book than a planner, with pages that are hard to hold open. This makes it functionally difficult to use and was the main deterrent keeping it from a higher ranking than the 6 average it got from our group.
The Blue Sky Black planner is a big, very businessy feeling planner that would work great for in-person client meetings. However, that size makes it a bit too big for most people, and caused it to get low rankings on average in our tests. It received an average score of 7.
The team liked the horizontal, undated weekly planner, but came to the conclusion that it’s more of a supportive device than a standalone. For people who like the quick, constant visual reference, it can be a great desk add-on: but it’s not something with enough flexibility to be your primary planner. It received a 6.6 average score from our group.
The Paper Source 2017 17 month planner is a no frills option with big, clean places to write. Despite being one of the smaller and more portable planners we tested, it still manages to cram 17 months worth of scheduling in. The thin, minimalistic nature of the planner also makes it one of the cheaper options.
The Sugar Paper gold dotted planner was the highest rated option in our “other” group. The team liked its big note taking areas, intuitive layouts, and nice design end-to-end. Some didn’t love the legibility of its gold font or that the weekly views are condensed into one page, when they could have been two. Overall, though, this was an option some people loved, getting #1 rankings from two of eight in our panel.
The Medium Monthly Planner is as minimalist as it comes: essentially paper in a brown shell. That was a turnoff for most looking for better functionality than a simple looking planner like this can offer. On the plus side, it’s less than $10 and the lightest option in our group. It received an average ranking of 9.5.
The bottom line
Long story short, if a planner works for you, it’s the best planner. But some planners are better than others, and a really great planner does more than work: it inspires you to use it and be more organized.
We found that by far, the Get to Work Book and Rifle Paper agenda were the best at achieving that, combining functional design with inspirational features that make getting organized enjoyable. With them in tow, we’re confident you’ll have a better, more productive 2017.
Top Rated by Women: Rifle Paper
With an average rank of 2, the Rifle Paper far outperformed other planners in the category. You'll love its size, design, and quick reference tabs.