Here’s the rundown of our chase to find the best daily planner. Seven practical and creative planners are reviewed below starting with number seven. And we liked number one so much we’ve also reviewed it individually.

I love using paper planners, notebooks and journals. I’ve never made the switch to an electronic or i-cal system, it’s paper-based all the way for me! And I am always open to trying new planning systems and change my own every 3 months at least. I find planners help me stay productive in so many ways: I can visually plan out ‘to-do’ lists, weekly goals alongside monthly overviews, and manage my time really well.

My trusty Filofax comes with me everywhere, I’ve had it for 15 years. I use it as a diary and nothing else and I’m hyper-aware it’s a bulky resource to carry around just to manage my calendar.

So, I first got interested in daily planners when I learned about the bullet journal method. I started transforming notebooks into planning and productivity tools. I added post-its, pull-outs, color coding and found a system I was relatively happy with.

I did always wonder if there was a planner out there that would help me combine the way I work across multiple projects and manage my calendar so I was super happy to test out a set of daily planners and get in the opinions of my friends and family. The final rating on each planner is the mean of our individual ratings.

Here’s what we got:

The 7 Planners

  1. The High Performance Planner (A4)
  2. INSPIRE NOW JOURNAL – A5 Daily & Weekly Productivity Planner
  3. Do it Later! A 2019 Planner (Calendar) A5
  4. AmazonBasics Daily Planner and Journal A5
  5. Get Shit Done 2019-2020 (Paperback) A4
  6. The Procrastinator Planner A5
  7. Rocketbook Wave Smart Notebook A5

Design & Quality

Start Rating
10/10 ⭐


Star Rating
10/10 ⭐

#7 Rocketbook Wave Smart Notebook

Design and quality 7/10 ⭐

Productivity 7/10 ⭐

“This is a really interesting piece of kit. I was very intrigued to use this planner. I can’t find a reason why you would need to use the app to accompany it, but I really like the idea of being able to microwave the book to delete your notes (up to 5 times).”

— Adam, The Bike Shop Alnwick

Great for tech geeks, writing secrets, and traveling.

What I liked

  • I really liked the idea of this notebook. It’s a really cool office gadget. You can connect it to Google Docs, Evernote, email and more to send your notes and it’s reusable.

What I disliked

  • The app to accompany it is unnecessary. If you lose the pen you’ll have to compromise for a “frixon” pen and those don’t last that long either.

#6 The Procrastinator Planner

Design and quality 6/10 ⭐

Productivity 7/10 ⭐

“This planner didn’t make me more productive because it’s kind of overwhelming to fill in and there’s not much space to write. I enjoyed reading the science though – interesting stuff.”

— David Venus, Movement Coach

This planner is 182 pages and promises to increase productivity. It includes text on the science and philosophy of procrastination too which is super interesting.

What I liked

  • The science – it’s really interesting to start to learn more about procrastination;
  • The sections – this planner has been really well thought out;
  • The daily and weekly planning sections;
  • The humor and the characters cheering you on.

What I disliked

  • The pages are very thin paper so only biro or pencil allowed here!
  • There’s not much space to write or spill your ideas out here so it’s not the best planner for creatives.

#5 Get Sh&& Done 2019-2020

Design and quality 8/10 ⭐

Productivity 7/10 ⭐

“I started to use it then realized I was just writing everything twice with my bullet journal! I would say there’s just not enough space per day especially as I like to break the day down into about 8 different things! It would be handy to have a month breakdown like the one they’ve added for the full year, before each month to help with planning. I’d give this planner 4 out of 10 stars. ”

— Amy, Artist

It’s lovely to have an A4 size planner – lots of space – but this feels like more like an A4 sized diary with a jazzy unicorn on the front than a daily productivity planner.

What I liked

  • The planner spans over 2 years which feels great as you can start to map out what’s coming up next… this feature would be particularly useful for mapping exams and deadlines;
  • The paper is nice and thick so you can use fine liners;
  • Always nice to have an inspirational quote on a weekly spread;
  • The vision board element is a nice touch (you have the opportunity to do this in year 1 and year 2).

What I disliked

  • It’s a large size and probably better for a desk-based tool than one to carry around.


Design and quality 8/10 ⭐

Productivity 7/10 ⭐

“I prefer a simple planner design and this felt pretty overwhelming to use. I think I’d spend more time procrastinating reading all of the funny entries than planning anything. I prefer an electronic planning tool as I’m on my i-mac for work anyway.” ”

— Mel, Freelance Designer

Great for someone who wants to have a laugh at their desk.

What I liked

  • I really enjoyed the ‘pause moments’ like ‘connect with 10 insects and give each one a name, like Archie the Aphid…’ humor in a journal is well placed I think.

What I disliked

  • It’s just so busy and quite a ‘shouty’ design – not nice to open and look at when you have a very busy brain.

#3 Amazon Basics Daily Planner and Journal

Design and quality 9/10 ⭐

Productivity 8/10 ⭐

“• There is enough space for lots of tasks/notes, I hate it when things are small format.
• This feels just right as it doesn’t take over my desk either so I can keep it out.
• I really liked the appearance. It looks nice and neat! I really like and need that amongst the chaos of my desk! (pictured)
• It’s broken up into appropriate sections and speaks to the way I work.”

— Paul Black, PR Director at Publishing House Andersen Press

This planner is 182 pages and promises to increase productivity. It includes text on the science and philosophy of procrastination too which is super interesting.

What I liked

  • I really liked this planner and journal and it’s something I would definitely use. Its sleek design is professional looking too. It encourages you to set weekly goals and daily priorities which is an excellent tool in productivity planning.

What I disliked

  • It looks gorgeous, but I don’t really have time to fill it in the way it’s designed.

#2 Inspire Now Journal

Design and quality 10/10 ⭐

Productivity 8/10 ⭐

“All in all, this journal is incredibly well thought out and I love the clear goals for the week including the habit tracker and past week reflections. I think having a reward each day for achieving goals is such a great idea too as creates momentum and motivation. I find quotes very inspiring and liked the daily quote too. This journal is a great all-rounder for life.

I’ve used planners that are more business focused and much prefer this format having something which helps you weave in all aspects of life especially for me as a busy solo mum to two with my own business.

The only slight criticism for me is the title. ‘Inspire now’ it feels much more of a productivity journal and think some might find it overwhelming rather than inspiring.

To me, it’s a journal for those who already understand the power of goals, morning routines, intentions etc. Those that are already on the path to success. All in all, a great planner which I would recommend to others.”

— Sarah Seed, Coach for Women

Great for working parents.

I couldn’t wait to open the Inspire Now Journal, the texture of the cover was so pleasing.

It was intriguing to see what was inside. I was really excited about using it! So, here’s what I found. The writer talks about a job in finance smashing salary targets of £140k, buying detached houses, fast cars, and reaching almost impossible goals like meditating every day.

This is a real dream board for a lot of productivity fans out there. It’s not what makes my cookie crumble, because I’m more on the artistic spectrum of productivity, but once again, other types of go-getters will really dive into the motivation of these little storyboards.

What I liked

  • The saving review tracker is good and I’ve not seen this in other journals. This helped me connect to my ‘why’ in the tasks I was doing for work. I also liked being able to plan for savings and set a morning and evening routine.
  • The paper is high quality and the colors are really nice too and thought out well.
  • It can be useful to have reminders on the same page as productivity planning, or you can combine them with a “reframe your to-do list” technique. I prefer customization.

What I disliked

  • It’s a bit repetitive and I don’t feel it helped me move on with my goals just gave me a place to write my ‘to do’ list every day somewhere pretty.

#1 The High Performance Planner

Design and quality 10/10 ⭐

Productivity 10/10 ⭐

“I found the questions really hard to answer but boy did they make me think. I really enjoyed planning out my daily chunks into times and being asked to reflect each night. I did this once my daughter was in bed. I think I would use this planner if I was stuck on how to overcome an obstacle. I wouldn’t use it everyday as I just don’t feel I have time. I think I probably need a face to face coach.”

— Ash, Business Owner

What can I say, I adored this planner!  It was clear, concise and easy to use.

What I liked

  • Sleek and really well designed;
  • Great quality paper;
  • Based on Brendon Buchard’s three years of research into success and high performance;
  • It’s non dated so you can decide your own dates/ miss a day or not use it for a few months and it’s still useful.

What I disliked

  • I would have preferred a monthly overview at the start to help me plan my month ahead.
  • The planner only lasts for 2 months (60 days) if you write in it every day so works out quite expensive.

So what’s the overall scoop on the best daily planner?

What I learned sharing these planning tools with clients and family is that everyone seems to plan differently, therefore, it would be really hard to find a planner to suit everyone. But the one that got the closest to what a best daily planner should look like it The High Performance planner.

I love using bullet journaling styles because designing your own system means you can shift and change how you use your daily planner.

I’d recommend The High Performance planner for productivity to everyone especially those focused on success – it’s clear enough not to be overwhelming. I’ve actually done an in-depth review on it here.

I would also recommend the Inspire Now Journal – as this is great for busy working parents or for dreaming up projects.

Have you found the perfect daily planning system for productivity in one journal/ notebook? Let us know in the comments below or on our social media outlets. We’d really love to hear more informed opinions on these little productivity tools.

Author: Claire

Based in Northumberland in the UK, Claire Newton is director of Creatively Conscious a company which aims to empower people to think in creatively using fresh and dynamic techniques to get the most from their work and life.

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