It seems I'm not the only one with a planner obsession. I'm getting tons of feedback on this topic. Keep it coming! If you have found an organizational tool you love, do tell!—I'll collect all the comments I've received in a future post. Sounds like there are some more nifty planners out there I should investigate...including, and this news has me so excited I can hardly stand it, yesterday I read that Small Meadow Press is about to launch its own planner. Cue the exclamation points! If you know me, you know I am a huuuuuge fan of all things Small Meadow. The notecards, the illustrated quotations, the house garlands—really, there is nothing Lesley Austin creates that doesn't make my heart go pitty-pat. A Small Meadow planner sounds too good to be true.
Now on to another fine planner. This is the one I have used this past year and it served me perfectly. It's the Catholic Woman's Daily Planner from Family-Centered Press. All you FranklinCovey fans will be happy to know the Catholic Woman's planner is available in a 7-hole-punched version that fits in your FC or DayRunner binders (FranklinCovey's "classic" size). There is also a spiral-bound version, which is the one I used. If you prefer a larger size there is an 8 1/2 x 11" version available in both spiral-bound and 3-hole-punched editions. Mine is the smaller spiral one and I loved its compactness (but there was still plenty of room for writing Lots of Stuff).
My favorite thing about this lovely planner: printed on each day are the daily Mass readings and saints' feast days and Holy Days. It's a beautiful way to keep tuned in to the turnings of the liturgical year. There are also quotes from the Church fathers on each weekly spread.
The format is a little different this year: click here for a look. Like the momAgenda, each month begins with a two-page month-at-a-glance spread and proceeds to week-at-a-glance pages. (Samples of both at the link above.) The extra pages include daily prayers, prayer journal, address book, web log and year-at-a-glance calendars. You can also choose versions with lesson planning pages, menu planning pages, or both. Lots of options!
I liked the protective plastic cover that doubled as a firmer surface for writing on. Of course a huge advantage to the spiral-bound and hole-punched formats is that the planner always lays flat, unlike sewn bindings.
Designing a planner can be a difficult job, because everyone has such decided preferences. I think the old format (week at a glance on the left-hand page, space for notes, shopping lists, and menu plans on the right) probably suited me better than the new layout, but a lot of people prefer the new version with more space for each weekday. This year's model comes with stick-on plastic tabs, too, for demarcating the months of the year and other sections.
As for aesthetics, well, the momAgenda's pretty colors are hard to beat. But that beauty comes at a price: the momAgenda is considerably more expensive. The Catholic Woman's Planner (there's a men's version too) is affordable, functional, edifying, and inspirational, and I have thoroughly enjoyed using it.
More reviews to come in the days ahead! That's my plan.