Holigay Gift Guide: Planners for Your Most Organized Decade Yet

I know not everyone is as devoted to hardbound planners as I am — how do y’all live! — but I find them to really be the bedrock of feeling like you have your shit together, and sometimes even making that feeling a reality! I know we live in the future and I could just talk to the feminized AI that lives in my phone and ask her to remind me I have a meeting tomorrow and that I said I’d call my mom, but a) Siri can never ever understand me when I talk and b) there are some things calendars can’t do! Planners are more than just a schedule – they’re not just about obligations or appointments, but how you want to spend your time, what you want to remember and prioritize, and using one can help you feel more like you’re making your week happen than that your week is happening to you. While they don’t have the instant convenience or syncing of digital schedules, the ritual of filling one out can be really meditative and give you the grownup version of the delight of having a secret diary. (Have we all read Planners as Feminist Technology? No? Just me?) They can be a tough gift because it requires so much knowledge of exactly how someone likes using a planner and why; on the other hand, if you get it exactly right and give someone the planner that changes their life forever, you will have won gift-giving for all time.

Planners can be so many things: super structured, super loose, artistic or woo-woo or politically radical or conservatively minimalist. Here are some options to start with for yourself or a loved one!

The Passion Planner

The entire Autostraddle team — and I cannot stress this enough — loves a Passion Planner. So many of us owned them in 2017! We recommended them here! The creator behind the planner and the team working on it also happen to be lovely people, which is always a delightful plus. With space for lots of events as well as goals, to-do lists, areas of focus, and long-range goalmaking and planning, it’s got a devoted following for a reason. This tweet from Yvonne pretty much sums it up.

Ignota Diary

At the intersection of art and the occult, the Ignota Diary is stunningly, minimalistically beautiful. It features lots of applicable and no-nonsense tools for navigating the year astrologically, via tarot, and more as well as exercises, writing and resources from such luminaries as CA Conrad, Bhanu Khapil, and Rachel Pollack. Commemorated dates include events like Ana Mendieta’s death and the X-Files pilot air date.

Alter Planning

With a similar format to the Passion Planner but with sections included to help you focus on budgeting, habit tracking, and specific project planning, Alter is for people who would love some extra structure and guidance for big long-term goals.

Lifeplanner

Not entirely unlike the Passion Planner but with a slightly different philosophical bent, the Lifeplanner comes with many customizable variations from the mind of Erin Condren, an apparent organizer and paper product queenpin I have only just discovered via this planner.

Baron Fig Dateless Planner

Pleasingly minimalist and portable while also very flexible – no dates mean if you want to skip a week or eight of planning, you won’t be wasting pages you paid for. Also, pretty!

Verso Radical Diary

For those who would like to remember their coffee meeting to organize the direct action next month while also contextualizing it alongside revolutionary dates fro history, including illustrations and book excerpts!

Magic of I Astrological Planner

With dedicated space for your personal birth chart, void moon times, the moon cycle and a menstrual cycle, the Magic of I is designed for people who get something out of keeping track of the changes in the sky along with the progress of their week, and is also extremely beautiful.

Slingshot Desk Planner

A beloved classic of zinesters and crust punks who hang out at the record store and indie bookstore and ALSO need a planner, the Slingshot includes radical dates from history, a space for phone numbers and contact info of comrades or new pals, information on opposing the state, and extra note pages for doodling or taking notes at the abortion collective intro meeting.

Poketo Self Planner

Although unfortunately currently sold out (hopefully will be restocked soon!), the Poketo Self planner is great for tracking your mood and work on your self and wellness – if you’re prioritizing mental health in 2020, and mood tracking or prompts to consider your daily wellness would be helpful, this is a great option.

Panda Planner

Designed for people with very serious and structured planning needs, the Panda Planner is downright intimidating  – with detailed page spreads for each day that give you space for events AND priorities AND to-dos as well as weekly spreads for projects, goals, and looking forward and back, this is for people who are really ready to get shit done. Maybe that’s you??

Rachel is Autostraddle's Managing Editor and the editor who presides over news & politics coverage. Originally from Boston, MA, Rachel now lives in the Midwest. Topics dear to her heart include bisexuality, The X-Files and tacos. Her favorite Ciara video is probably "Ride," but if you're only going to watch one, she recommends "Like A Boy." You can follow her on twitter and instagram.

Rachel has written 1128 articles for us.

10 Comments

  1. i haven’t managed to use a planner successfully in years, but that ignota diary is calling my name and making me want to consolidate all of my post-its and evernote lists into one centralized, minimalist location…

  2. “Have we all read Planners as Feminist Technology? No? Just me?”

    NAY GIRL, NAY; I read that article and loved it earlier this year.

    Also, I just went spelunking like a total weirdo because I’ve been using Passion Planners for at least a few years, and I KNEW it was because reading about it on Autostraddle, and it was. In January 2016: https://www.autostraddle.com/the-autostraddle-insider-issue-x-month-2015/. This is the planner that made me start using a planner consistently, and now if I am working on anything at all it’s basically within arm’s reach at all times. I was very into color-coding with highlighters and all that crap when I started, but now I’ve pared it down to habit tracker stickers and my own scribbling.

  3. It’s pretty businesslike and unadorned in aesthetics, but I really like my Planner Pad, and I have used it consistently for the last year and just re-upped for the coming year. I like the system of starting at the top of each weekly page with to do lists sorted by topic, then you break them down into tasks and assign them to certain days, and then you can schedule out the specific times at the bottom.

    I liked that I didn’t have to go on spurts of doing these small tasks that I kept forgetting. I’d just write them down at the beginning of the week, dole them out on various days, and only do the one or two for that day. Felt more doable for me.

  4. I’ve gotta share my love of Passion Planner daily. I backed it on Kickstarter and fully planned to wait until 2020 to start using it, but I couldn’t resist… I use it as a planner/journal, and there’s so much space to plan and doodle and reflect. The only thing that would make it better is if there were weekly spreads included so I could track long-range tasks better, but I’ll probably combine it with a simple, cheap planner.

  5. I like the yellow paper house 6 month soft cover planner in the largest size. I’ve tried passion planner, happy planner, and a plum planner but they were so heavy and it was too much for me. I also use a small 2-3 year pocket calendar for long term dates.

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