Buying a Day Planner Is a Waste

Don't waste your money on a day planner.  If you want to get more efficient with your time, you don't need one.

Open notebook with a pen on white

I'll give you three good reasons why this is true (whether you believe it or not).  Here they are:

  1. You're wasting your time.  You will inevitably get caught up in a cycle of trying to find the “perfect” day planner.  You'll have to set on a style, a color, and whose “system” are you going to use.  This could take you forever.  Don't waste your time.
  2. You'll waste money.  Most day planners will cost you somewhere between $50 and $100.  Do you really want to spend $100 on something you could easily duplicate for $2 with a spiral notebook?
  3. It will end up being a dust collector.  Come on, admit it.  You've got a closet that's filled with these things already.  You didn't use them very long and you feel too guilty to throw them away.  Why add another one to the pile?

The truth is, there is no one magic tool that will make you more productive.  Certainly not someone's overpriced, bloated, destined-for-the-closet day planner.

If you really want to become more productive, do yourself a favor.  Go get a copy of David Allen's “Getting Things Done”, read it, and just do the work.  You'll be more productive, you'll have more money in your pocket… and more room in your closet.

Ray Edwards is a world-renowned copywriter and communications strategist, writing for some of the most powerful voices in leadership and business including New York Times bestselling authors Jack Canfield and Mark Victor Hansen (Chicken Soup for the Soul) and Tony Robbins. Ray is a sought-after speaker and author, hosts a popular weekly podcast, and blogs at

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  • Flo

    Your reasons were true for me, Ray. So after many frustrating years, I finally decided to create my own custom planner in a three-ring binder. That works perfectly for me. I also got a copy of David Allen’s book.

  • I actually buy the same paper calendar every year. I get a Denver Datebook. (Datebook makes city-specific calendars for a bunch of major cities.)

    I don’t use it for planning my work, but for tracking appointments (like phone calls) and my business miles. Then I have a written record of my mileage in case of an audit.

    Plus, there’s a whole bunch of cool information about local attractions… annual events… maps… and so forth inside the calendar.

    I’ve tried switching over to a digital calendar (like Google Calendar), but I’ve just not been able to do it. I’m stuck in the paper age! 🙂

    • I use Google calendar. Every now and then, I think about how romantic it would be to use a paper calendar. I have a stack of nice ones I could send you. Most of them have been written in only in the month of January…

  • I do use a day planner that’s actually called “The Day Designer” and I love it. It’s really a Life Designer and very valuable it has so many of my ideas in it.
    However, I need to be more productive. I might suffer with BSOS (Bright Shiny Object Syndrome).

    I also need “Money Words” : )

    You’re the best,

  • I bought so many day timers through the years and they didn’t help because I didn’t have the right strategy… the best strategy I got from David Allen was asking myself, “what’s the next step?” Do it.. then repeat the cycle until my project is complete.

  • Kim

    I have never own a Day Planner. I just write a list the night before of things I want to get done the next day. I also do not put that list in a order of importance either. I have tried to do it that way, and it tends to just add stress to my day. As I work off the list, I cross them off and do add to it through out the day. I work on the list that day, and I do find I get more done when I do make that list.
    I also would love a copy of “Money Words” 🙂

  • Anna

    Good post, such a slap to my face because I’m already wasting so much money over these. Unfortunately, I still went ahead and wasted money on more paper products for planners than I actually need. I should have settled on a $1 notebook. All I need is a place to list down deadlines and things to do. Damn!