Friday 5: The Daily Planner

Washington Young Lawyers Committee
Tired of syncing all your devices? Here are 5 great paper day planners to help organize your life.

As a twenty-something “young lawyer” who owns an iPhone, an iPod, and a MacBook (and uses Clio timekeeping at the office), you would think I keep all calendars synced to the nearest electronic device. I do not. Every year, I seem to have a New Year’s resolution to make better use of the electronic calendaring methods I have at my fingertips. This year, I’m letting go of any tech-savvy pretense and sticking to the paper planner.

Believe it or not, there are still a variety of options for those of us who feel better with a piece of paper and a pen in hand. After conducting months (seriously) of research, I figured I would try to save some of you time, and share my discoveries with those who still find themselves planner-less in early-February. Below are 5 options I seriously considered until I bought one recently.

Cavallini Daily Planner, $35

Cavallini planners by Jenni Bick Bookbinding include a page-per-day, separated by hours. This is great when many of your commitments have designated start and end times. They are leather-bound, which is a sturdy choice for a planner if you carry it with you day-to-day. The downside is that there isn’t a lot of room for miscellaneous notes on a given day.

User Tip: If you’re into customization, you can get your name embossed on the cover for an additional $15. 

Erin Condren Life Planner, $50

The Erin Condren Life Planner was my choice for 2012. It is handy for scheduling meetings, depositions, appointments, and hearings. The break-down of morning, afternoon, and evening is nice to pencil in things like social events or appointments that don’t have a set end time.

User Tip: The Life Planner successfully kept me from ever double booking myself, and it survived a coffee spill the week after I got it, yet held together for another 13 months.

The Whitney English Day Designer, $55

The market niche for the Day Designer by Whitney English on Etsy may be more appealing to lawyers in this economy than prior years. The Day Designer is meant for the entrepreneur running a business on his or her own, or as a second job for additional income. This planner features “eight different worksheets, each designed to start with a broad focus and help you narrow down your purpose and passions into key areas for you to then apply to a daily executable plan.” It includes a monthly overview and daily planning sheet for appointments, goals, and even your meal plan for the day.

User Tip: Each day includes an inspirational quote to start you off on a positive foot.

Gallery Leather’s 2013 Weekly Desk Planner, $20

Clearly, I was having 2013 commitment issues when I began my hunt for a planner. On a whim, and out of calendaring necessity, I walked into the nearest Barnes & Noble and forced myself to pick one and go home. That’s when I found this planner by Gallery Leather. They have several color choices, but I chose purple. While this particular version is not sold online, they have a variety of sizes, colors, and vegan non-leather options in store.

User Tip: The back of the planner has several lined pages for notes if you find yourself without a legal pad, as well as a detailed world map of all countries and time zones.

Filofax, $29 and up

Filofax is an internationally trusted brand for planners. Their products have inserts for a variety of layouts, and you can buy address books that fit inside the planner. Most, if not all, carrying cases have room to hold business cards and other necessities. If you have the time, you can design the perfect planner for your needs right on the Filofax website.

User Tip: If you’re still a law student and trying to save money, there are a few styles on sale for under $10. If you need more than the basics and are looking for a planner with a genuine alligator exterior and calf-leather interior, they have a steal of a deal at $2,300. I would recommend not testing the coffee-spill survival rate for that one.

Hopefully, you will find the best calendaring option for you to keep track of your business and personal life in 2013. And maybe 2014 will be the year we all finally cave into technology and start using iCal to its fullest extent.

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5 thoughts on “Friday 5: The Daily Planner

  1. Joanne Miller

    Wonderful summary! I happen to read it AFTER my month-long, agonizing search for a 2014 planner. I settled on a Cavallini weekly planner with a cute vintage look. For years I was a Franklin Covey devotee. Then I switched to a palm pilot for another few years. After that, I just gave up and went radical with a dollar store monthly calendar. This year I was ready to get back into something more fun. I think the Cavallini fits the bill nicely. I only wish it had a world map in the back. But, Brittany, I’m very curious…what did you choose for 2014?

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  3. homemakersdaily

    My daughter-in-law has been using the Erin Condren planner this year & loves it. I, personally, prefer a ring bound planner like the Filofax or Franklin Covey. I’ve been using Franklin Covey for 20 years.

    All your calendars were great options.

  4. markpattersonlaw

    Right. Paper. It never runs out of power and if anyone noticed, the annual cost is considerably less than a high tech version. How many years do you expect the electronic calender to work? The mean-time-to-failure calculation in my experience, and that of my friends and family, is 5 years.

    Besides, are we not handed business cards and other personal bits of paper that are best kept handy? Like auto insurance, WSBA card, reciepts, pictures of the kids, etc? Just a whole lot easier to keep it in the pockets of the paper calendar.

    In the end my lack of patience for new gadgits put me back to Daytimer. It’s like a Maytag Washer, it never needs repair.

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