There are so many planners on the market, it’s hard to pick just one (I mean, you have to keep it around for a whole year!). I realized this week that for the past three years, I’ve bought a different agenda. Since it’s my last year needing an academic planner, I’m doing a round-up and comparing my favorite and least favorite aspects of all three. This year I bought Lilly Pulitzer, last year I chose Plum Paper, and my freshman year I used May Designs. Here’s what I thought:
Lilly Pulitzer – Junior Year
Price: $17 – $36 (w/o tax)
Pros: The designs on the cover AND on the interior are so bright, colorful, and cheery. Each month you get a new quote to make you smile or inspire you. That is by far my favorite thing about this planner.
On top of that, Lilly Pulitzer agendas are surprisingly inexpensive; the price varies based on size and whether the spiral is covered or not. I went ahead and purchased a covered spiral, and I think it’s worth the money. It creates a sleek finish that isn’t there with an exposed spiral.
Cons: These agendas are 17 month planners, so you could never use one in its entirety. They run August – December of the next year. You would either miss the back of your old agenda if you bought a new one in August or the front of your new one if you purchased the next one in December. If someone understands this, I would love to know… To me it seems like it’s a way to avoid having to create two separate academic and regular planners (one that runs August-July and one that runs January-December).
Overall: I obviously have not actually used this planner yet, but I think I am really going to like it. Everything about it just makes me smile and that’s why I bought it. It is a great value and with free shipping and a free gift (a set of four multi-colored pens), I am more than happy with my purchase.
Plum Paper – Sophomore Year
Price: $39.75 (w/ shipping w/o tax)
*I purchased the regular planner – not the academic planner.
Pros: You have 4 different formatting options for the inside pages. I chose hour-by-hour planning, and I loved it. It was highly useful and made me very organized. When I first picked it, I was worried my schedule wouldn’t fill it up, but in the end, it did, and I loved it!
There are pages for notes at the beginning and end of each month, which also helped to keep all of my thoughts and important reminders in one place.
After a year, it still looks the same as it did 12 months ago. There is virtually no wear and tear. The protective cover on this agenda was definitely a worthy addition.
Cons: First, it is the most expensive out of the three agendas.
Second, with the hour-by-hour layout that I chose, you only have 3 spots to write what you have to do daily. I have way more than 3 ‘to-do’ items a day. This was by far the biggest negative I found.
Overall: While using this planner, I truly felt that it kept me the most organized I’ve ever been in a time when I was the busiest. Everything was clearly laid out on the pages. There was room for quickly jotted side notes. Plum Paper offers a strong planner option.
May Designs – Freshman Year
Price: $29 (w/ shipping w/o tax)
Pros: The cover designs are so fun! And the choices are plentiful. May Designs fits a lot of different styles and offers the most exterior customization to your planner. They do preppy, retro, classic, girly, nautical, graphic, artsy… EVERYTHING.
One unique touch they add: if you purchase an academic planner, it comes with an adorable ‘design a life you love’ page, where you have space to fill in your goals for that year. The page includes goals for work, family, social, personal, etc.
Cons: After a year in my backpack, the cover was warn from rubbing in between my textbooks, leaving the design faded and splotchy.
Another cover issue: they’re not hardcover, which is definitely just a personal preference for me. On one side, not being hardcover makes them daintier and in a way cuter, but I need a durable planner.
Overall: I will be buying from May Designs again. I know that my May Book took a beating in my backpack, so I’m going to get a stay-at-home notebook for blog post ideas next time. They’re too adorable to pass up.
Is it fair to claim a favorite before I’ve even fully used one of them? Right now, my analysis is that Lilly Pulitzer wins out for my favorite based on looks. Plum Paper wins for functionality.
It’s a huge debate. Who creates your favorite planner? What do you love most about it? Just because I’m graduating in 2016, doesn’t mean I won’t need a post-college 2017 planner!