- Academic planners are not just for high school kids. They’re a great way to stay organized and often have additional features not found in traditional planners.
- Ban.do makes whimsical and upbeat planners with inspirational quotes like, "Every restaurant should have your picture on the wall." Their 17-month academic planner ($28) finally motivated me to keep track of all my appointments and tasks.
- While there are hundreds of to-do list apps out there, jotting down tasks in my planner is a brief, much-needed respite from computer and phone screens.
I’m the most disorganized person ever. My cords are never in the right place, I have piles of laundry, and my bed is unmade most days. I also have a collection of pricey notebooks where I jot some notes down on the first page then forget about them for months, even years.
So, how could I possibly consistently maintain a paper planner? I wasn’t too optimistic about the prospect to be honest.
Yet the product I’m recommending to you today is just that: the ban.do 17 month academic planner ($28). I’m a freelancer, which means every day — even every hour — can look entirely different from the last. Forgotten appointments, showing up somewhere on the wrong day, neglecting to follow up on missing payments — I knew I was losing money and compromising my productivity.
It was time for me to get a handle on things.
I had always been a big fan of ban.do, a brand that got its start in hair accessories before expanding into planners, clothing, handbags, and beauty products. Their products are thoughtfully designed and visually pleasing, with on-trend colors you often see on Instagram like pale greens and the ever-ubiquitous millennial pink.
Jen Gotch, ban.do’s founder, says, "We are now striving to find more and more ways to better your lives, professionally, emotionally, and physically." This is reflected in the inspirational quotes that adorn many of the items in the ban.do collection and by the company’s efforts to advocate for mental health awareness, including creating two necklaces to encourage conversations around anxiety and depression.
Ban.do makes 12- and 17-month planners. I opted for the 17-month medium-size academic planner, which begins in August and ends in December of the next year. The medium planner is 8.5 inches by 6.5 inches, slightly smaller than your average notebook. It has wire binding, an elastic strap to hold it closed, and laminated tabs to mark every month of the planner. This year’s plannercomes in six different styles: sparkly gold (with cover text: "I am very busy."), plaid, sparkly lilac, two different floral prints, and rainbow stripes (with text: "Be nice. Work hard. Have fun."). I opted for the sparkly lilac planner.
When my planner arrived, I was excited to integrate it into my daily life. It includes year-at-a-glance and monthly overview pages along with more detailed weekly pages with plenty of space to record multiple appointments, to-dos, and notes. I easily fit doctor’s appointments, freelance writing assignments, payments I’m owed, and social events within each week.
It’s also particularly helpful to have it whenever I’m working from an office. I write down all the tasks that I need to accomplish that day. While there are hundreds of to-do list apps out there, jotting down tasks on paper is a brief, much-needed respite from computer and phone screens. As a lefty, I am happy to say that the wire binding did not interfere with my handwriting.
It’s pretty difficult to stick to maintaining a written calendar all of the time, but the ban.do planner has so many enjoyable features that it became a habit I wanted to form. The planner contains a personality quiz, a 3D page that comes with 3D glasses, and a coloring page. There were also three pages of stickers, including useful ones like "pay day," "call mom," and "lunch date," which I’d stick on days when I hoped to do those things.
Each month is color-coded and has cover art from a different up-and-coming artist. Ban.do also lists whimsical holidays like National Cheese Lover’s Day (January 20). At the bottom of each page, there are fun, inspirational quotes such as "This is only the beginning for you," and "Every restaurant should have your picture on the wall."
While I love to be flattered by my planner, there are a couple downsides to this one. All of its added perks and the hardcover make it a bit heavy — about 1.5 pounds. It could easily weigh a purse down, so it might be more convenient to carry in a tote bag. The weekly planner pages are unlined, which can make it easier to keep things neat and orderly if you tend to have wild handwriting.
The bottom line
Even when I record something as banal as "pay taxes" or "go grocery shopping," I can’t help but smile. And I know that when I look back on previous months, it serves as a record of where my life has been and where it’s going. My ban.do planner makes me feel organized, even if there are still a ton of shoes under my bed.
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