We get it—you went to bed at some point during March 2020, woke up, rubbed your eyes, looked at your big ass wall calendar, and realized it’s somehow January 2022. And, since most of us have been living in an ambiguous ether where all the days are one big blob and time ceases to exist, this rubber-band-like time warp can have some serious effects on our relationships, work-life balance, and general disposition. Fortunately, there’s an analog solution to the modern problems of the digital age: an old-school, paper-and-pen planner.
Something happens when we physically write things down. There’s a certain sense of grounding—of reality—when we make our mark. At the risk of pulling a Joe Rogan, we have become uniquely obsessed with writing out our schedule in a planner (with a Fisher Space Pen, of course) and visualizing our days, weeks, and months in a screen-free fashion. Plus, it’s helped us remember plans, stay on top of tasks at work, and know when to send those annual “happy birthday dude!” texts to our high school besties that we haven’t seen since they
started posting anti-vax propaganda on Facebook got married and moved to Utah.
That’s why we cobbled together this short list of our favorite planners, from minimalist Moleskines and thick-fonted Stendig lookalikes to ultra-detailed appointment books and more. Peruse at your leisure—but don’t dilly dally, you’ve got a… [checks planner]... lunch date. (Nice.)
The best planner, period
If you want something timeless, it does not get better than Moleskine—and we are well-prepared to die on that hill. (Because, you know, we have a planner.) The Italian brand’s journals feel more and more buttery with use, are easy to keep closed, and look mighty fine laying on your desk. Moleskine is the OG, and it’s the most beloved journal of tenuously employed creatives and corporate bigwigs alike for a reason.
You want to make sure you don't miss any meetings
We don’t blame you—who doesn’t love a good ol’ meeting? God, they’re just the tops, right? Anywho, this is probably what you think of when you hear the word “planner.” It’s got a faux leather cover, and breaks your day into manageable, 15-minute periods for keeping track of all of your appointments. Visually breezy, and totally functional.
It's a classic for a reason
The Smythson 2022 Panama Agenda. Mmm—doesn’t that have a nice ring to it? Besides oozing subtle sophistication, this English-made bad boy is made with sheepskin, has an elegant week-to-view layout, and features 128 leaves of gilt-edged, pale blue, watermarked paper. It’s perfect for whipping out at a fine luncheon or stately event, such as the moment during a drunk brunch where you all make plans to “do this more often.”
You’re a minimalist
This 18-month planner by Poketo shines not only for its use of environmentally friendly, tree-free paper, but for its understated, minimalist charm. The clean grid calendar view is open-dated, so you can start (or stop) on any month you like—perfect for the folks who wait a little too long to get plannin’.
You're trying to do your body right
Maybe instead of a regular ol' stack of paper for writing down your meetings and birthdays, you need a planner that's a little more … active. A little bossier. Something to tell you to drink water, eat right, and get your damn steps in every day. That's where Ban.do's fan-fave wellness planner comes in, packed with check-in sections and tips for maximizing your feel-good moves every day and making sure you're staying on track to a better you.
Even your planner has streetwear cred
Now, there's no shortage of classic, super-simple leather planners—or cute ones that are meant to add a little flair to your desk. But if you want something that's going to feel right at home with your limited-edition drops and wall-mounted skateboard decks, this Carhartt WIP “Week In Progress” Planner is exactly what you need.
Who's afraid of a little rain?
Not you, when you use a Rite in the Rain notebook that has waterproof pages. A favorite with travelers and journalists, it will save your thoughts from getting washed away.
The Groovival planner
It’s not too big, it features weekly and monthly overviews, and it’ll match your Lisa Says Gah clogs. Pair that with its insanely cute front cover, and you’ve got a perfect planner to ride the impending wave of twee revival.
Or, you can always get a fuzzy cover and turn your basic planner into something you might find in a 1975 time capsule or on Zooey Deschanel’s desk.
You love shrooms
Same, dude. Lean into the aesthetic with this Paperblanks 2022 12-Month Planner, complete with a cover illustration straight from the first edition of Scottish poet and anthropologist Andrew Lang’s The Violet Fairy Book. Stay shroomin’, stay organizin’.
You tend to skip days
And that’s OK! We get it. This planner by ban.do is undated, which means you can start, stop, pause, or quit planning all together whenever you so choose. Each page is perforated, so you can rip the old pages out as you go, instead of having to find a paperclip or bookmark to help you find your place.
You want to come back to this restaurant next time
For travelers who need a planner/journal for keeping track of destinations past and future, Smythson's Travel and Experiences notebook is a fantastic fit. In a new place but don’t want to forget your favorite cafe? Had one-too-many pints to remember that perfect pub you sat in for most of the trip? Boom—thank us later.
This is the perfect pairing for your pocket constitution! You know what they say: Know your rights, know where you have to meet Brad for lunch next Tuesday. This bite-sized planner comes with sections for your goals, important dates, wish lists, to-dos, and more.
You like to free-associate
Who doesn’t? This small, Carretto-print ruled notebook by the iconic Italian fashion house Dolce & Gabbana is exactly what the doctor ordered. (Assuming your doctor operates out of an Airstream trailer and doubles as a
professional money launderer psychic.) In addition to all of your important dates and plans, its beautiful cover contains 192 pages of acid-free, lined paper with hand-painted gold edges.
You need an XL visual reminder
Big, visually bold, and with plenty of writing space, this weekly planner shouts, "hey, I'm over here and I know what time your dermatology appointment is!" For the forgetful among us, it's an easy way to keep your plans top-of-mind.
This thing is gonna be your bible
You know, your secondary bible, of course. The Panama leather that this planner is made with borrows its telltale crossgrain texture from Smythson’s famous Panama diary, which was designed by the eponymous Frank Smythson in 1908. This model features a slip pocket, a week-to-view layout with notes pages, and gilt-edged, pale blue Featherweight paper. Yum.
Now, go forth and enjoy your more organized life.
The Rec Room staff independently selected all of the stuff featured in this story.