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The Best Undated Planners for Year-round Staying on Track

Photo: Courtesy BestSelf Co.

The beginning of a new year or the start of school in the fall are both very good (and obvious) times to get a new planner. But inspiration to restart your calendar sometimes strikes when you least expect it, often when dated planners are already half-finished or sold out. That’s exactly when you’ll want to look for an undated planner. Because you’re filling in the dates on these planners yourself, you can start them whenever it’s most convenient for you, not just when the calendar says it’s time — even if it happens to be in the middle of a month. A lot of these undated planners also tend to focus on improving your productivity, helping you keep track of goals and eliminate procrastination, which is a nice way to ease into the practice of writing things down, even if you’ve never thought of yourself as a paper-planner kind of person. So to help you find the undated planner that’s actually going to help you get things done, here are 12 Strategist-approved options.

In some ways, the ultimate undated planner is a bullet journal, since all you need is a blank notebook and some pens to create this planner-slash-tracker, and once you understand the basic framework, you can add as many (or as few) decorative flourishes to your journal as you like. The creator of the Bullet Journal system, Ryder Carroll, collaborated with German stationery company Leuchtturm1917 to design this notebook; it’s got lots of tips on bullet-journaling to help newbies get started and more veteran bullet journalers stay organized.

However, several bullet-journal enthusiasts I’ve talked with don’t use the “official” Bullet Journal, but a regular old Leuchtturm1917 A5 notebook with dotted pages. It’s got the same quality and some of the same features as the official Bullet Journal, including index pages, but it’s slightly less expensive and comes in a broader range of colors.

If you’d prefer an undated planner that’s got some information already printed in it, there are plenty of options. One popular productivity-minded planner is the Self Journal from BestSelf Co. According to progress and life coach Liz Sumner, this is part journal, part planner, and each notebook spans a three-month period, with pages for you to track both weekly priorities and daily goals. “It guides you to create overarching 90-day goals and take daily actions toward those goals,” she explains.

This Panda Planner is another popular undated productivity planner, with over 4,100 reviews on Amazon, and it has a very similar methodology to that of the BestSelf Co. planner, albeit with a slightly different, more compact design. This smaller version is broken down into digestible three-month periods, with spreads for quarterly, monthly, and weekly goals, along with day-to-day tasks — though in this layout, all of the info fits on one page.

There’s also a larger-format version of the Panda Planner that’s big enough for six-month chunks of time.

Productivity Planner

If you’re looking for a planner that’s more focused on day-to-day productivity, I’ve been a fan of the Productivity Planner from Intelligent Change. It’s based on the Pomodoro Technique, where you prioritize your tasks for the day then tackle them one by one, in 25-minute chunks of time. At the end of the day’s page, there’s a place to sum up your wins and your productivity for the day, along with a weekly planning and review page for more strategic thinking.

Of course, not all undated planners have to also be so productivity-focused. You can find what are essentially undated calendars, to fill in with your daily tasks and appointments as you would any other date planner — and that flexibility is part of the appeal of this Japanese notebook, according to planner enthusiast Perrin Drumm: “As far as layout goes, this ranks high: The type is minimal and the light-gray printing is unobtrusive. The fill-in-the-date format is customizable, so you can start things off whenever you damn well please.”

Drumm also recommends this larger Japanese planner with a no-nonsense, but flexible, layout: “There is barely any type on the pages, so the dates, and pretty much everything else, is entirely up to you to plot out.”

This simple, weekly layout planner from the Wes Anderson–ish brand Field Notes has a layout similar to an old-school assignment pad, with a spot for each day of the week spread across two pages. But this undated one isn’t tethered to the school calendar, so you can start anytime and fill in your dates as you go.

This planner from Los Angeles–based Poketo makes an undated planner that’s somewhere in between these more basic, undated planners and the productivity-minded ones. It’s got undated yearly, monthly, and daily layouts, all of which you fill in as you go along.

If you tend to think more in weekly layouts than daily, it might be helpful to get a longer, undated desk calendar. I was tipped off to this handsome and compact one, also from Poketo, by Deva Pardue, who keeps it on her desk to track due dates and big deliverables.

I keep this brown-paper weekly calendar from Muji on my desk to track deadlines and assignments. It’s less of a day-to-day to-do list as a way to keep my weekly goals at top of mind. It’s wide enough to accommodate my loopy handwriting, and because I fill in the dates as needed, if I miss a week because I’m out of town, I’m not wasting any pages.

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The Best Undated Planners for Year-round Staying on Track