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These days, you can find software programs for just about anything. But there s something about the impermanence of digitized content that just doesn t satisfy the need to hold something palpable in your hands. This is why traditional paper planners are still in widespread use today, despite the availability of organizer software programs to help you plan your activities, chart your goals and track your productivity. If you re shopping for a personal planner and like the feel of pencil against paper, we ve got some tips to help you find the best organizer for your needs.

Format
Personal organizers come in a variety of formats, including daily, weekly and monthly calendars. A daily planner is ideal if you have a busy schedule and need to keep track of minute details like work tasks, mileage and incidental expenses. Weekly planners offer you an at-a-glance view of your schedule days in advance and work best if you don t need to record a lot of detail. Monthly planners are sufficient if you just need a personal organizer to keep track of things like recurring bills and appointments. You can get a personal organizer that includes all three formats, but by design, these contain many pages and are bulky.

Functionality
Just as personal planners come in many different formats, they also come preformatted for diverse specific needs. There are personal planners, and there are family planners that can be used by multiple people. Some planners come with sections labeled for specific purposes, such as financial budgeting, food diaries, academic trackers and personal goal setting.

Think about the kind of information you need to track and choose accordingly, otherwise you may end up not using great portions of your planner. Additionally, look for an organizer that has blank pages or plenty of room in the margins for taking notes. Having extra space to write additional information   or even a bunch of blank pages on which to doodle   can be important if you re someone whose productivity thrives on the creativity of writing outside of the lines.

Size & Portability
Size matters, especially when it comes to your personal planning needs. Ask yourself how you intend to use your organizer. If it s strictly for work purposes and will reside primarily in your office, you don t have to limit your choice to an organizer that s compact and lightweight. On the other hand, if you re going to be using your planner for personal purposes, look for an organizer that can fit easily into a backpack, purse or briefcase without adding too much bulk. If it s too big and unwieldy, you might end up choosing to leave it at home. This totally defeats the purpose of owning a planner in the first place.

Quality & Flexibility of Binding
You likely want a planner that is durable enough to take frequent, if not constant, use. What good is an organizer that falls apart before you re even halfway through the year? In addition to durability, look for an organizer that s conducive to easy use and lays perfectly flat when it s laid open. Planners with spiral binding are best for this. Bound-book planners are more rigid. There are also personal organizers that are designed like three-ring binders, and you can add additional pages as needed.

Additional Considerations
Many traditional paper planners have bonus features you might not think you need, until the moment that you do. Look for planners with things like business card holders, credit card holders or zipper pouches that can be used for small personal effects.

Lastly, choose a personal organizer that reflects your sense of style. If you re going to be using it frequently, you might as well pick one that you won t mind looking at on a daily basis.

Choosing the right organizer can go a long way toward keeping your busy life on track. Before you make your decision, think about what you ll use it for, how frequently and where. Answering these questions will help you find the best organizer for your needs.

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