I'm a self-proclaimed planner junkie. I have more planners than I know what to do with (they take up an entire bin in my office) because I love the thrill of the chase. I love opening up a new planner and taking it all in.
Planners WORK. They keep me on track and make my life easier. They make me more productive and let me do things the smart way.
I buy all these so you won't have to. I don't want you to spend your money on something that won't work for you. I'm going to tell you up front that this is a Panda Planner review.
This little planner packs a HUGE punch. There are wonderful things about it, and there are things that some people won't like.
This planner isn't for everyone. If you won't spend ten minutes a day devoted to the "stuff" that has been scientifically proven to work, it's not for you. Don't waste any more time reading the full review.
Really. Spend your time doing something else.
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OK, now that those people are gone, let's dive into why I love this thing so much.
Have you tried the bullet journal thing and found it was too much work? Maybe you loved the concept, but the effort to create each spread was a bit much.
That was me. I loved my bullet journal but after my daughter was born, I found I didn't have time to create weekly and daily spreads. I wanted something that would hold the spirit of the bullet journal, but not the time commitment.
I switched to the Panda Planner, which is a great alternative. I used it for three months and found it made an impact on my goals. It also helped me stay positive by focusing on the wins.
Do you ever struggle to remember the good stuff that happened two days ago? I did! When you use the Panda Planner however, you can look back and see that your kid learned a new word but mispronounced it and it was the CUTEST THING EVER!
It's a great little planner, perfect for busy moms on the go. All of the layouts are done for you, and it guides you along so you don't really have to think about it.
I thought I could DIY what you get from this planner. But honestly? I don't have the time for it. My time is worth more than what I get out of setting these exact same pages up.
Could you DIY it? Sure! But I don't have time for that as a busy parent. There are other things I'd rather be doing. And this thing costs less than a night out. I can trade one night out with saving the time to go out several times AND I get more time with my kid.
It's 100% worth it to me.
The Panda Planner is a fantastic planner though for someone who is focused on making changes to their life and need some help getting there.
The best parts about the Panda Planner
This is a planner that focuses on the positive. Happiness is part of the success metric with the Panda Planner. Because it focuses on the whole self, you need to consider all the parts of your life to be productive.
It's broken up into daily, weekly, and monthly prompts. The daily pages take up two pages, which is nice if you have a lot to use it for.
The layout will also make you think of a bullet journal. If you like the concept of a bullet journal but don't want to take the time to create spreads everyday, this could be a great option for you.
There are three ribbons to mark your pages. It's easy to find your place using these bookmarks.
The monthly section focuses on your goals, making it easy to see the bigger picture. It also gives you a space to decide what you're going to avoid for the month.
You can also pick a theme for the month (or focus), along with a habit. I find it's best to try to alter one habit a month (you're more likely to do it that way than to get overwhelmed).
There's also a place for a review. What were your wins for the month? What insights did you gain? These areas can help you focus on what you can tweak going forward.
Each weekly spread has several sections to keep things organized.
First, you review last week. What were your wins? And better yet, how would you improve them?
You also have a place to decide what you want to make great this week. There's a personal area, work area, family and friend section, and a relationship section as well.
Next, it carries over from the monthly section. What are you focusing on and what habits are you working at? There's also lines to learn something new and a passion project.
There's space to plan out four projects (I'm not sure why they picked that number) and your goals for the week.
Where the Panda Planner really shines in is the daily pages. Each morning, there's places to write what you're grateful for and what you're excited about. If that doesn't get you pumped for the day, I don't know what will!
Next, you write your affirmation (they recommend using the same one for a week), your exercise, and your focus. It's nice that you have plenty of opportunities to reiterate things like focus and affirmations because it's easy to write it down once and forget about it.
The following section has five top priorities for the day. These sections help you make sure you're spending time doing the right things.
The second page contains a task list and a schedule. This would be great for someone who does time blocking!
Finally, there's a review at the bottom of the page. There's space for wins and an improvement.
Overall, it's a great planner for someone trying to be more positive, set habits, and possibly time block.
There are a bunch of pages in the back for notes, which is great for keeping lists similar to a bullet journal.
It's a great size for throwing into a purse. There's even a pocket to hold stuff.
This is a fantastic planner for someone trying to actively change their life. It walks you through every day life, something that most planners don't do.
They also send you a link to eBooks and lessons as well. The creators help you walk through everything and it feels like you have a guide. It's a nice feeling sometimes.
Could use some work
There are a few options in terms of colors. Black is also the most economical choice. This isn't a bad thing if you're looking for a professional planner to carry around, but some variety would be nice.
There's no customization and there are no stickers included. Also, there is little space to add things like stickers or doodles, so if you are the creative type and want your planner to reflect that, you should look into other options, like the Happy Planner. You're restricted to colorful pens.
This planner isn't dated and it only covers three months. You'll have to write in the dates on your own and replace your planner every three months.
I'm an advocate for 12-week planning periods, so this could be a great thing for you or it could be a negative, depending on how you look at it. You also can't write down future appointments if they fall out of the range of your planner.
The bookmarks are all black. This can be a pain to find what you're looking for.
A suggestion I've seen is to sew using embroidery thread on the bottom in different colors. If you don't have any or don't know how to sew, this isn't a great option.
The Panda Planner doesn't lie completely flat like a coiled or disk planner. If you're the type of person that likes everything to lay down flat without you holding it open, this wouldn't be the planner for you.
This is a pretty simple planner in terms of graphics. There's no color and the bright white paper and dark black ink are a bit much.
To sum it up...
This is a solid little planner. There are things to love about it, and things that may not work for everyone. At the end of the day, it's about personal preferences.
I got a lot out of the Panda Planner when I was using it and it did help me figure out goals. It's part of the reason I believe in 12-week goals so strongly. I've seen how well they work!
If it's not the planner for you, you can learn about The Best Planners for Moms.
If you're looking to jazz up your current planner, these pens are amazing!