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8 Paper Planners That Will Change Your Life

OK, that’s an exaggeration, we admit. But according to an overwhelming majority of ADDitude readers, finding the right paper planner can make a world of difference in keeping you organized, on time, and productive. Here, our readers recommend their favorite planners for ADHD minds.

ADHD Brains Love Paper Planners

“Many ADDitude readers like Time Timers and old-fashioned Moleskin calendars. What products or apps do you use to manage your time?”
When we asked this question in a survey completed by 1,342 ADDitude readers last month, the answer came back loud and clear: We like paper planners. No, we love them. And no single app on the market can replace that gratifying feeling of writing down a task or appointment, assigning it a deadline, and then physically crossing it off.
Something inside the ADHD brain lights up when we put pen to paper – that much we can (mostly) agree on. But with so many planners out there, which one should you choose – especially if you’re confronted with analysis paralysis? Here are our readers’ top picks – the planners they have road tested and recommend to the rest of us.

1. Happy Planner

$29.99-$34.99, with extension packs starting at $4.99
The Happy Planner looks intimidating at first. It comes in Big, Medium, and Mini, with two different layout choices and optional focuses available – including budget, fitness, teacher, student and more. It also allows for easy pull-out and insertion of special extension packs, and sells additional stickers to help you visualize reminders and appointments – great for the ADHD crowd, as long as you can remember where you put your stickers!
Sound confusing? Don’t worry: The Happy Planner website has plenty of tutorials, blog posts, Pinterest ideas and more. “I love that I can customize it by adding and removing different kinds of pages .. it also gives me an outlet for my creativity .. and makes my planner inviting,” said one ADDitude reader. Another added, “I love that you can customize it with stickers and make it your own.”

2. Passion Planner

$30.00-$35.00
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The Passion Planner comes in Yearly, Academic, and Undated flavors, so you can choose the format that’s right for you, handy for those of us who demand choice. Regardless of format, all Passion Planners include challenges, quotes, personal and work to-do lists, and blank pages. Best of all, they offer the entire calendar, complete with extras, for free via PDF.

” I use a Passion Planner; using pencil and paper makes events more real and helps me remember things,” said one ADDitude reader. “It also has a breakdown of the week by half-hour increments. Paper planners are like glasses for those who are time-blind. They remind me to eat, exercise, and go to college classes. They also helped me to remmeber birthdays and other important holidays or events.”

“My favourite is the Passion Planner because it gives you a sense of what is going on during the week like the At A Glance planners, but it also includes areas for other bits such as goals and to-do lists,” said another reader. “It helped me remember the big picture by having reminders along the way to review my goals and how my daily schedule is helping me reach my goals. I also like the inspirational quotes. They were invaluable during my college years.”

3. Panda Planner

$24.97-$37.97
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Panda Planner claims to help you “rewire your brain happiness” by organizing every aspect of your life – building mini-routines, developing a habit of positivity, and cultivating a growth mindset. Is that all? Whew!

It follows a simple undated layout and comes only in three-month increments. Every day gets two full pages, but you get 6 or 12 monthly pages, depending  on the model, to see you through the rest of the year.

Panda Planner focuses on developing happiness and productivity, while other planners, like Passion Planner, focus on organization and reflection. One reader told us, “Writing on paper is helpful, and I find the layout easy to use. Most importantly, though, the areas of reflection, positivity, and improvements needed for the following day are what set it apart from other paper planners.”

4. Simple Elephant Planner

$19.99
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The Simple Elephant Planner calls itself “The best agenda day planner to help you achieve your goals, plus increase productivity and passion and happiness.” To that end, it includes a gratitude journal, mind map section, vision board, and bonus stickers.” That’s a lot in one place.

To help you make the most of it all, the Simple Elephant site includes how-to videos, motivational videos, and more. Readers told us, “The dates are left blank so it can be any year, month, day. If I forget to use it for a week or two, I can start again without feeling like I wasted the whole thing. It lets me make notes for daily accomplishments, set goals and review what went well and what didn’t.” If you’re the type of person who doesn’t want to commit to — or need — two full pages per day, this lower-key planner may be right for you.

5. Bullet Journal

$6.99 and up
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Bullet Journal (which calls itself “the analogue version for the digital age”) requires nothing more than a pen and a notebook. That’s it. Multiple online tutorials explain how to create and maintain a bullet journal, but basically the idea is that you design a planner that works for YOU, not the other way around — perfect for people with ADHD whose brains diverge from the neurotypical. The best (and most succinct) tutorials can be found at BulletJournal.com and The Lazy Genius Collective.

“Helpful if you make a pact to use it every day… the maker of the Bullet Journal has ADHD,” said one reader, who recommended YouTube for help getting started. Because you can customize your bullet journal any way you want, one reader said he uses his to make a car maintenance tracker and “I don’t have car problems because I have no idea when I took it to the garage the last time.” People told us it has changed their lives, and “getting to color and tick off items on a list is a mini reward.” This was by far our community’s most popular planner.

6. Rocketbook Wave Smart Notebook

$25.00-$27.00
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The Rocketbook Wave Smart Notebook gives you the freedom of a pen and paper notebook — while also providing valuable backup by instantly sending everything you write into the Cloud using your smartphone.

Pilot FrixLon Pens let you erase and reuse using your microwave, and each notebook comes with one pen. With blank pages, you’d use this like a traditional bullet journal. “I love it because it can connect to a digital copy of my notes,” said one reader. So if you lose your beloved bullet journal a real possibility for many of us you still have a safety net.

7. Living Well Planner

$39.00
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The Living Well Spending Less Planner says it will “help you tame your schedule, conquer your budget, plan your meals, and crush your goals!” That’s a lot for one little book. It offers both year-at-a-glance and daily to-do lists, budgeting help, meal planning, and shopping on the same page as your schedule, plus a step-by-step plan for meeting your goals.

“I love to use the weekly and daily notepads from Living Well Spending Less,” said one ADDitude reader. “They separate the list by must do, should do, and would like to do. It makes to-do lists so much easier. Added bonus is that they’re very affordable!”

8. Simplified Planner

$48.00-$58.00
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Simplified Planners come in two different editions: Academic (August-July) and Calendar (January-December), with either a 12-month daily or weekly format. The Daily edition uses one day per page, while the weekly edition gives you a full week per two-page spread. “The Simplified Planner lets me be able to list out things do and be able to look back,” said one reader, who uses the daily edition with its hourly increments.