Why I’m Not Buying Another Forty Dollar Planner

I told my friends about a month ago to tell me NO if I started talking about buying another forty-dollar planner for 2022!  I mean it. I don't care how many cute ads Facebook and Instagram show me; I'm not falling for this ruse another year. 

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I told my friends about a month ago to tell me NO if I started talking about buying another forty-dollar planner for 2022!  I mean it. I don’t care how many cute ads Facebook and Instagram show me; I’m not falling for this ruse another year. 

It’s that time of the year once again when we are inundated with ads and emails and life coaches telling us if we purchase this particular planner, we will finally get our lives together and accomplish great things.

Before I go any further, if you have a fancy planner that serves you well, go in peace.

Some may consider this post to be a spicy take.

If you read my opening statement and said, yes, I’m with you, read on, my kindred-spirited friend.

*Much of this post will be tongue in cheek with a sprinkling of reality*

Click the image to purchase

The Forty Dollar Planner

Do you know when the planner craze started?

Do we know who is responsible for creating this industry?

I remembered years ago; my parents used something called a Day-Timer.  The creators of this planner walked so the rest of the industry could run.

The creation of calendars dates back to ancient civilization. Our current calendar was introduced by the Roman Empire in 46 BC when Julius Ceasar ordered a new calendar to be made to follow the solar year better. (for all you history buffs)

The selection of calendars available today is mind-boggling.  Pocket size, desk size, wall size, and the digital version we all have in the palm of our hand. (your phone)

Someone, somewhere, decided a paper calendar was not adequate to keep track of the day-to-day of living.

Nay, we needed leather-bound planners and spiral-bound versions with snazzy designs and catchy phrases like live, love, laugh.

Over the years, I’ve owned my fair share of these overpriced organizational promises.

I’m going to let you in on a bit of a secret; not a single one of these forty-dollar planners made me more organized or productive.

Wow, it feels so good to get that off my chest!

How many times have you purchased a planner believing that somehow the cute pages, stickers, and inspirational quotes will make you a more organized person?

Your new planner arrives and as you adoringly skim through the fresh, clean pages, the year ahead feels pregnant with promise, and you can almost smell the possibilities, like opening a new box of crayons.

I know this because I’ve done this.

The cold hard truth is that I have not ever consistently used a planner for twelve months in a row.

I’m committed to writing and scheduling in January, but it’s hit and miss by March. Then I feel guilty about not using said planner and ultimately convince myself how I would get so much more done if I could use my planner. (ultimately not true)

This, my friends, is just another lie perpetrated by the multi-million dollar planner industry.

I tried searching how much money was spent on paper planners in 2021, and the only report I could find was from 2016.  This felt very suspicious to me. What are they trying to hide?

In 2016, consumers spent 342.7 million dollars on appointment books, paper planners, and calendars. I can only imagine that figure has grown significantly over the last five years.

Are we more organized and efficient? I’m sure many are.

But what about the rest of us? Are we perennially doomed to set sail each year like a ship without a rudder?

Behold, I bring hope to those who reject the purchase of fancy planners.

All joking aside, here’s what I have found to be true.

  • My lack of organization or productivity has nothing to do with which planner I purchase
  • My lack of consistency is the issue
  • If the system is too complicated, I won’t use it
  • I’m a planner minimalist

If you have ever purchased a pricey planner then felt guilty about not using it, I see you.

Allow me to share what has worked best for me, and I have a couple of suggestions for low-cost alternatives.

(as an Amazon Associate, I earn commission)

If you are in the market for a beautiful line of planners, I purchased (for the last time) the Homebody Planner from the Happy Planner Girl.

I chose a Happy Planner because I had started using Daily Sheets. I love them, and it made sense to purchase a planner to go along with them.

These Daily Planning sheets are what I'm using instead of purchasing another forty dollar planner.

One side is a daily schedule, and the flip side is a brain dump page.

After a month of trying to insert the pages into the planner, I realized I only needed the daily sheets and nothing else. Everything in the planner was redundant.

I now use the daily sheets and a $3.99 desktop flip calendar.

My System

On Friday, sometimes Monday, I write down everything I can think of that I need to get done for the week. I make two columns, one for personal and one for my business.

No task is too small to make my list. I work entirely from the brain dump sheet, crossing off items as I go.

I write down appointments, deadlines, and meals for the week on the desktop calendar.

That’s it. That’s my system. I highly recommend it if you are new to the brain dump system. A wise person once said, “the brain is for having ideas, not holding them.” (unknown) It is amazing how much mental space you free up when you write everything down instead of constantly reminding yourself to do something or hoping you’ll remember all the things.

I have already purchased my Daily Planner sheets for 2022, and I’ll pick up a new calendar before the year’s end.

If you are looking for an even simpler solution, I recommend purchasing a composition journal to write down everything, and I mean everything in there. I used this system for a couple of years, and I loved having a go-to place to find every bit of information I kept a record of. This method is a stripped-down version of a Bullet Journal.

The great thing about the journal system is you can personalize it to fit your specific needs.

Do you have a favorite planner or journal system?

Now it’s your turn to tell me about your favorite planner, journal, or your tried and true tips for staying on point with life.

See you next year.

Lisa (also known as The Purple Hydrangea)

You might also enjoy this post My One Word for 2019-Okay, Maybe Two Words 

If you are tired of feeling guilty after purchasing another forty-dollar planner that gathers dust because you don't use, join the club. I reject this and I've got a couple of simple, inexpensive alternatives to this dilemma.




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