Planning 101: What You Need To Get Started

I absolutely adore being intentional with my life and planners are one of the greatest tools to help me do just that. There is something to be said about actually writing down your to-do lists, goals and agenda inside a planner. Writing them down, in my opinion, instead of just putting them in a digital calendar, better connects you with what you are doing and what is keeping you busy.

The planner community is a large community of people who are committed to living life intentionally and having fun while doing so. But if you peruse the planner hashtags on social media it can seem overwhelming for a newbie to the planner community. So how do you get started without running out to buy loads of supplies and breaking your bank?

First, choose a planner. This may be the hardest part but there are several different planners and planner brands to choose from. You are sure to find something that will fit your budget and style. There are a few basic planner styles that you should be aware of before commencing your search.

  1. Spiral Bound. These planners come in different sizes and they are usually bound by a wire coil. The Erin Condren planners are best known for their spiral planners. Erin Condren planners are semi-customizable and can be quite expensive. However, they are really amazing planners. I use an Erin Condren planner for my business planner to plan out articles for the magazine and videos for my youtube channel. See a video walkthrough of the Erin Condren planner I use for business here. I also use it to track work for clients. An Erin Condren planner can cost about $50+. A less expensive, and could be considered a knockoff of the Erin Condren, is the Recollections Planner. You can get the Recollections spiral planner from Michaels and it retails for around $29.99. See a video walkthrough of the Recollections Planner here.
    The Erin Condren planner (left) and The Recollections planner (right)
  2. Discbound. These are very fun and customizable planners. Because of the discs you can take out pages and move things around super easily. Plus you can change out the discs, covers and inside pages. You can basically build your own planner and even create your own planner covers using your at-home printer. Brands like Me And My Big Ideas are one of the most well known creators of the discbound planner system. They have a fairly inexpensive discbound planner called The Happy Planner (pictured below left) that you can buy at Michaels. Depending on the system you put together, these planners retail for around $29.99. There is also the Martha Stewart version that you can find at Staples. I got the TUL system (pictured below right) on sale for less than $20 bucks at Office Depot.
    The Happy Planner (left) and the TUL System (right)
  3. Two-wire Bound. This type is not customizable but there are some amazing brands that make two-wire planners. Getting one of these may be a great way to start getting in to the planner community. My first introduction to the planner community was The Day Designer by Whitney English (pictured below left). It is an amazing daily planner and they now have A5 options too. After that I tried The Purposeful Planner by Cori Clark (pictured below right) and I loved that one as well. Both of these planners pictured will cost you around $50.
    The Day Designer by Whitney English (left) and The Purposeful Planner by Cori Clark (right)
  4. A5 (ring bound). Ring bound planners are super fun and customizable too. You can use a variety of inserts, monthly pages and note pages and basically create your own planner. There are many ETSY shops that offer fun inserts and planner goodies for A5 planners as well as the planners we have already discussed. The Recollections brand by Michaels (pictured below left) offers a low cost A5 planner that retails for about $20 and I use the Carpe Diem Ballerina A5 (pictured below right) for my faith planner. The Carpe Diem ring bound planner is about $40.
    The A5 Recollections planner in Gold (left) and the Carpe Diem x The Reset Girl Ballerina

The next thing you need to begin your journey into the planner community is your favorite writing tool(s) and washi tape. I love the way my ink coats the paper when I’m planning. I’m really into the tangible feel of writing on luxurious or semi-luxurious paper. I have several pens and markers that I love, love, love to use in my planners. I also love decorating my planner and layouts with washi tape and stickers. However, when I first started I used the washi tape and pens primarily and then I moved on to adding stickers. You can build your washi tape and sticker collection over time and therefore not break the bank up front with your planner purchases. I buy my washi from EVERYWHERE! I love to find unique washi. My pens, however, are another story. I have particular pens that I like to use (see the picture below).

  • Erin Condren Dual Tip Markers (
  • Tombow Brush Pens (Sold at Micheals, FlaxArt SM and other craft stores)
  • PIGMA Micron Pens (Sold at Micheals, FlaxArt SM and other craft stores)
  • Retro 51 Fine Pens (
  • Parker Fine Pen (FlaxArt)
  • Crayon Highlighters (I found one in the Target $1 Spot for of course, $1)

Once you have chosen your planner, pens/writing instruments and washi, you will be in great shape to begin your planner journey. The fun is in figuring out what works for you and trying new things. I love seeing how other people use their planners to live an intentional life. It inspires me to set aside time and do the same. If you are new to the planner community, welcome! Have fun and be intentional about your days. XOXOXOXO

Share your planner pictures with The Diva Inc. by emailing subj: PlannerDiva. We may repost your pictures on our Instagram.

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