How To Choose and Set Up Your Planner for the New Year


Hello, my Krafty Planner Pals! I’m so happy you’re here because today is the first post in my new Planner Organization Blog Series.

Some of the biggest planner struggles I hear from most of you are all about your setup and how to make your planner work for you. Here are just a couple of examples of what I mean…

  • Personalizing my planner to make it really efficient

  • Starting my planner for the new year is my biggest challenge

  • Getting started and staying on track

  • Finding a planner that meets all my needs, but is simple to use

My goal with this new series is to tackle all of your planner struggles, one topic at a time. So be sure to join me every Wednesday in the month of November to get your planner organized and set up so that it works for you and not the other way around.

I will link all the posts in the series at the bottom of each post.

Today’s topic…

How to choose and set up your planner for the new year

I know you’re thinking that your “perfect planner” is out there somewhere waiting for you to find it so you can become the most productive planner in history. Right? Well, I hate to burst your bubble but the perfect planner doesn't really exist.

You need to be looking for a planner that has a good design that works for you and then create a planning system that enhances that design. That’s what will make it Your Perfect Planner!

There are so many options when it comes to planners that we would be here till next Wednesday if I tried to list them all so let get back to basics.

Because there are so many options choosing the right planner is very intimidating.

As you read through today’s post take a few minutes to jot down your answers to the following questions. This will give you a better idea of what you’re really looking for in a planner.

So grab your notebook or a piece of paper and maybe your favorite beverage and let’s get started.


There are three options when it comes to the type of planners available.

  1. Physical planner: This is a book-bound or spiral-bound planner that you purchase ready to go. You can find these everywhere from your local drug store to Amazon.

  2. Printable planner: This type of planner is a PDF instant download that you print at home or from your local copy center and create your own physical planner. Normally these are only available through online shops. I can’t imagine going to a brick-and-mortar store and buying a printable planner but hey, I’ve seen some pretty crazy things in my life so you never know.

  3. Digital planner: This is also an instant download but instead of physically printing it, you use it on your tablet. It’s a totally paperless way of planning and because you can delete any mistakes it’s a very forgiving method. In my opinion, the only downside is that you need to make sure your tablet is always charged and with you.


The size of your planner depends on a few different factors…

Will you be carrying it around with you on a regular basis or will you be leaving it in one central location? If you are using it on the go, do you need it to fit in a smaller purse or do you have a bigger bag?

Is a hardcover a must-have or will a softcover be okay? If you choose a printable planner you can always laminate the cover pages if you like.

Planners come in a bunch of different sizes but the main three are as follows:

  1. Full size 8.5 x 11

  2. Half-size 5.5 x 8.5

  3. Classic Happy Planner size 7 x 9.25

You can also use a travelers notebook or a pocket-sized planner if that’s more of what you’re looking for.


As I mentioned above, most physical planners are either spiral bound or book bound but if you decide to print your own you have a couple of options.

You can always hole punch the pages and put them in a 3-ring binder which is a great choice if you will be adding and removing pages regularly.

Another great option is to bring your printed pages to your local copy center and have them put a spiral binding on them. I’ve done this a bunch of times and my best suggestion is to be very clear on which side you want them to punch the holes… and then use a sticky note to stress that fact even more. I’ve had them put the binding on the wrong side at least three times.

Finally, you can use the disc-bound system. This is a favorite of mine because it has all the perks of a 3-ring binder with the functionality of spiral binding. What does that mean? Well, depending on the cover you choose, you can fold it over and keep it open to your current page like a spiral binding. You can also move pages around and add or remove pages quickly and easily like you can with a 3-ring binder.


Do you need weekly spreads or daily spreads to fit in all of your tasks? Take some time to think about how many tasks you normally record each day or week. Don’t forget to include any appointments or meetings that need to be remembered. Will you be able to fit everything on 5-10 lines, or do you need more space?

Also, consider the size of your handwriting. This is a biggie! Make sure that you can write clearly and neatly on the lines with ease. If you are stressing over having to write so small then you’ll never want to use it so that planner is not for you!


Basically, all you really need is a planner and a pen but we all like our supplies…that’s half the fun of being a planner girl, am I right?

Make a list of everything you want/need to make using your planner fun like colored pens, highlighters, stickers, washi tape, etc. If you’re new to planning, try to keep these supplies to a minimum in the beginning. You don’t want to overwhelm yourself with stickers that it gives you anxiety about which ones to use and where to put them.

You can find a complete list of all of my favorite planning tools and supplies right here: PLANNING RESOURCES

Setting up your new planner

If you opted for a printable planner you will need to take some time and get it set up and ready to use.

By now you should have an idea of which binding will work best for you so make a plan to get your planner printed and bound.

Assemble and organize the pages in a way that you will enjoy using them. Remember if you don’t like the way the planner is set up you probably won’t like using it either.


Now that you have a better idea of what you want out of a planner take a look around your local stores and get a feel for the different sizes and formats. Once you find something you like, check online to see if you can find a better deal. Amazon is always a great choice and of course, I have to remind you about the 2022 Planners available in my shops too :)

Next week we are going to work on Planning and Scheduling the Year Ahead so make sure you have your planner on hand so you can work along with me.


FOR PERSONAL USE ONLY – Please Read Freebies Terms of Use.

(This post may contain affiliate links. For more information, see my disclosures here.)

- Share this post -

How To Organize and Set Up Your Planner for the New Year .png

Did you like this post? Do you know someone else who might enjoy it? Please take a minute to share it on Pinterest, Facebook, or your favorite social media… Thank you!


Free Printable Thanksgiving Bookmarks


Amazon Lately… {November 2021}