Six Planners to Use This Year: My 2021 Planner Lineup

I can’t tell you how often people ask me what planners I’m using. Like most people, 2020 was a year of great experimentation within my planner stack. I think I used 16 at one time or another! Before you say it–I KNOW, 16 is a little wild. But here’s the thing: All of that tinkering allowed me to really analyze the pros and cons and details of each planner. From the pre-work to the paper quality, binding, and price, I assessed each planner holistically against the rest. The most important thing is finding a planner that meets your needs. For me, those needs are varied and they can change with the seasons. Lord, they practically changed every day in 2020!

There are 6 areas of my life where I feel that a planner adds value and structure. Those six areas are for work, household organization, content creation/side hustling, goal setting, memory keeping, and a catch-all. Some people angle for just one planner. So maybe I’m a little crazy! “Couldn’t you just squeeze everything into one?” my partner John Michael used to ask me. If you’re struggling to identify the areas of life where you might need a planner, be sure to check out my Finding Planner Peace bundle/workbook, a product I co-created with the wonderful team at bloom daily planners!

I’m. a multiple planner user. Instead of cramming a square peg into a round hole, I choose a goal-setting planner specifically because its structure and guidance focuses me on goal-setting. I choose a pocket planner for to-do and grocery lists. I choose a weekly planner layout to easily visualize my work week and priorities at home. With that said, let’s get into it! Here are the six planners I’m recommending in 2021 and that I think you can use in 2021!

Mäksēlife Goal Planner

I wrote about the Mäksēlife goal planner during its first full launch back in October. The Mäksēlife planner is a 7×9, calendar year, 2-in-1 goal-setting and planner system. Designing a 2-in-1 system is really hard to do well. Between the planner’s pre-work, Compass Assessment, notes pages, and different layout options, you’ll find the perfect planning home in Mäksēlife! Your goals are front and center each day you open the planner.

The planner draws heavily on its Compass Assessment framework to set and achieve goals. The Compass is a visual assessment (with plenty of instructions) of how you’re doing in 9 different areas of life, like health & wellness, family & relationships, spiritual & personal growth, etc. I LOVE pre-work in a planner, as it forces you to think intentionally about how you’ll use the planner. The pre-work section builds on the Compass Assessment with quarterly updates, monthly check-ins and weekly action spreads.


If goal-setting is the framework, the weekly spread offers plenty of flexibility to fill in the details. Each week has a habit tracker, a daily gratitude prompt, and untimed hourly blocks. The untimed slots are amazing if you’re a late-riser like me, as most timed layouts end between 7 and 10pm (when I’m just getting started!).

As a bonus, Mäksēlife sells a companion notebook system with 4 quarterly notebooks. This goal-setting system is broken out quarterly in a 5×7 undated notebook format with 60 pages in each notebook. I gave my partner, John Michael, the companion system for Christmas and he’s loving it so far! It’s a true companion to another planner, but gives you the nuts and bolts of the Mäksēlife system (the Compass Assessment) while still pairing great with other planner systems.

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Plum Paper Planner

One of my eureka moments from 2020 is that I desperately need a catch-all planner–i.e. one planner where I keep everything. One planner to rule them all! Earth-shattering, I know. Now, I hop between planners all the time and sometimes don’t use each planner to its fullest capacity. This is my first tip for using multiple planners: Don’t be afraid to skip weeks if you’re crushingly busy. And leave pages blank if you need to.

For 2021, I wanted a planner I could go back and refer to at any point in the year and know that all of my information is housed here and reliably up-to-date. Last year, I tended to spend one quarter in one planner, another quarter in another, and so on. No planner was a true throughline for my year. My choice for this year’s catch-all planner came down to the Erin Condren softbound planner and the Plum Paper Planner vertical layout. I pitched the head-to-head to my Instagram community and they chose–albeit by a narrow 56% to 44% margin–the Plum Paper Planner this year. I have a confession: This is my first year using a Plum Paper Planner.

Likes: I love how customizable the planner is. Every single aspect of the planner, cover to cover, is customizable. I chose the color scheme, layout, and extra pages to add into the layout (hello Extra To-Do lists!). This level of customization is rare, unless you splurge for an Agendio or Cloth & Paper planner, and even then, your customization. choices can be limited. Another thing that drew me to the Plum Paper Planner is the coil and the standard 7×9 size. This allows me to change out covers and accessories from some of my favorite brands, like covers from Erin Condren’s Black Artist Collection and snap-in bookmarks.

Hesitations: The paper is very smooth. I prefer gritty paper.

On each weekly spread in my Plum Paper Planner I have a Top Tasks section. Underneath I included a small block for scheduling–mostly for appointments and meetings outside of work that pertain to my Plan With Laur community and ongoing collaborations with brands and companies. I also included a blank vertical column with lines that can be used for notes, gratitude, or anything. In the top margin, I left a blank section for my goals and inserted a habit tracker into the top right. Last, but not least, I added a massive to-do list spread for each month as well as dot grid pages and a folder in the back. Did I mention I’m crazy about all of the customization!?

My second tip for using multiple planners is that your planners should build off of each other. This will make the connective threads of your life come to life on the page. I included the blank goals section at the top of my weekly Plum Paper Planner spread to connect directly to my Mäksēlife. That way, my weekly goals will be front and center each and every time I crack open my Plum Paper Planner!

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bloom pocket planner

I have two main ideas for this tiny but mighty pocket planner. The first is to track my overall wellness journey in 2021. I have a lot of wellness goals as well as a lot of financial goals, so I’m thinking this pocket planner could be a great canvas to enable me to dive deeper into tracking and reflecting on those goals throughout the year.

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Simplified Daily Planner

I love daily planners specifically for my 9-to-5 job. I love that I can list out all of my meetings and all of my tasks. And quite frankly, I think the Simplified products–well, it’s just in the name: They’re simple, elegant, beautiful, and they are super high quality. In addition to using this planner every day for my 9-to-5, it’s perfect for the occasional busy weekend outside of work.

While I’m currently working from home, at some point I’ll return to the office. Now, I can use as many planners as I want without shoving 6 into my purse or bag. The day will come, however, when I have to make the difficult but necessary choice to pare down my planner stack to lighten my load commuting into work. If I had to choose between this planner and the Plum Paper Planner, I envision the Simplified planner might not make the cut every day. But for now it more than meets my needs working from home!

According to the team at Simplified, “The Simplified Planner is a beautiful, joyful agenda for busy women in all seasons of life. Designed minimally on purpose, its open pages serve as a fresh start every day. We believe margin matters, and our mission is to inspire women to organize, simplify, and carve white space for the good stuff of life. The daily edition covers 12 months (with one day per page and shared weekend pages) and features a gold wire-o binding, a navy inside liner and pocket, 4 notes pages in the front, and luxurious Mohawk Via paper.” I concur 110% with that description–the Simplified planner has been my favorite work planner and I’m committing to it for 2021.

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bloom weekly planner

I’ve recently gotten into morning pages as well as morning affirmations. If you’re not familiar with morning pages, Julia Cameron explains the concept beautifully, “Morning Pages are three pages of longhand, stream of consciousness writing, done first thing in the morning. There is no wrong way to do Morning Pages–they are not high art. They are not even “writing.” They are about anything and everything that crosses your mind– and they are for your eyes only.”

The goal of the exercise is to give your creative thoughts space to grow on paper, and I’ve found the act of sitting down to write helps clear my mind before I turn on my computer to start the day. Now honestly, I can’t focus through three pages of stream of consciousness, which is why I love this bloom weekly planner. The design of the planner allows me to write as little as a few sentences. If I feel like writing more, I write more.

Because I don’t use journals, having a dated planner like this allows me to track my thoughts, feelings, and affirmations in one place. I’ll refer back to this bloom weekly planner at the end of the week to remember how I was feeling, which helps me immensely with the weekly reflection portion of my goal-setting process! Remember–your planners should build off of each other if you’re using multiple!

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The Content Planner

This planner was made for anyone who creates content. Whether you’re a side-hustler, a full-time YouTuber, or create content as part of your job, this planner was designed with you in mind. Because of shipping delays due to the pandemic, my Content Planner hasn’t arrived yet. I can’t wait to get my hands on it. I typically pre-plan my content on paper before migrating everything digitally. Splitting my content planning between paper and digital is occasionally cumbersome, so I’m looking forward to having a planner specifically for content planning!

Photo from:
Photo from:

The Content Planner is a fillable 15-month planner with at-a-glance monthly spreads, monthly and weekly goal-setting, and custom-designed planner stickers to adorn and decorate the planner from cover to cover. The planner’s creator, Kat Gaskin, includes a ton of great free printable resources and workbooks to accompany the planner including brand identity worksheets and business goal-setting activities. I plan to do a full review of the Content Planner once I’m able to move in (fingers crossed: hopefully soon!)

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These are the six planners I recommend for 2021. I am committing to some and will use them all in one form or another, this year. Let me know what’s in your planner stack this year and the strategies you use to manage multiple planners!

Video: 2021 Planner Stack

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