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When you’re looking for a planner, the first step is deciding what kind of planner you need. There are weekly planners and daily planners, and they’re pretty different. They can both help you organize your life, but if you choose the wrong one you might find yourself overwhelmed by a strictly structured layout or in need of more space and clarity.
Here’s a rundown of the main differences between the two so you can make the best choice.
The Pros of a Weekly Planner
The main thing I’ve always loved about weekly planners is the bird’s eye view you have of your week. It can be a huge help when you need to see everything at once. It’s easier to plan out when you have time for your social life, when you’ll work on larger tasks that need a large chunk of time, and when you’ll have some down time.
If you choose a weekly planner that has a space for your weekly to-do list, then you have the added benefit of seeing just what all you need to focus on. With daily planners, there isn’t usually a spot for your weekly list, so you have to use a separate notebook or desk pad to house that.
Weekly planners are also often lighter than daily planners. This makes it easier to carry them around throughout the day—a big thing if you’re in school and already have a heavy backpack. However, the layout also means there’s a little bit less writing space for you. The amount of space you have each day depends on whether you have a vertical or horizontal weekly planner and just how large the planner is. Most are around 8×11.
Since weekly planners have designated space for each day of the week crammed into a two-page spread, there aren’t boxes for your meal planning, water tracking, or budget tracking. This can be a huge help if you’re the kind of person who becomes bogged down trying to keep up with all of that. You can always pencil those things in if you want to.
Overall, I’ve found that weekly planners can make it easier for you to keep the coming days in mind. For example, you always see what the next day has in store, so you won’t forget to prepare a certain document for work or wash the jersey your kid needs for her game.
The Cons of Weekly Planners
With weekly planners, the main issue for people is the limited space for writing extra things and fitting in the necessary items. I struggled to make a weekly planner work after college because I had so many meetings and tasks to complete each day. The to-do list in my weekly spreads simply wasn’t enough, and I couldn’t fit my schedule plus daily tasks in the individual daily columns.
For anyone wanting to write down meals, water intake, workouts, and all of the things that need to be done each day, a weekly planner can be too limited.
The Pros of a Daily Planner
When you have a daily planner, there’s room for every little thing you could want to write down. If you have a lot of stuff to do most days or just like to write down every single task (like taking out the trash and curling your hair), then a weekly planner won’t provide you with the amount of room you need.
Daily planners have room for your full daily schedule, to-do list, notes, and extra things, depending on which daily planner you use. Some, like the Day Designer, also have space for your money, dinner, due dates, and top three tasks (among other things).
The beauty of a daily planner is the amount of space and level of detail it provides. You can write down what you need to do each hour of the day instead of just the highlights, use it to time block, track meals, and much more. I personally use my daily planner to track my water intake, write down my workouts, and schedule in when I walk my dog.
Daily planners are highly organized, so they come with specific places for specific things. This can make a big difference in how you go through your day because everything is streamlined and helps you avoid forgetting anything important.
Daily planners are typically larger than weekly planners. They have a ton of room to write though. Many also come with additional tools, like goal-setting pages and bill tracking. Due to the size and elaborate layouts, daily planners usually cost more than others. If this is the kind of planner you benefit most from though, it’s worth the money.
The Cons of Daily Planners
Daily planners tend to be larger, which can be a major hassle when trying to tote them around. They can also make it hard to keep the upcoming days in mind. This was a big adjustment for me personally.
Since they’re highly structured, some people find them overwhelming. After all, the thought of writing down each thing every day can be daunting. If you don’t like to write everything down, then daily planners will be more of a hindrance for you.
Choose a Weekly Planner if:
You want to see things on a larger scale.
You’re overwhelmed by writing lots of things down.
You work on projects and tasks over multiple days frequently.