Planner Review Planners

bound for anything: planner review

March 14, 2012

yeah, i know it’s march
as in: not typical planner season. but see, my current planner runs out at the end of june [conveniently, around the same time as my maternity leave likely will!]. until recently, i hadn’t really decided on a replacement. i do love my current system [and yes, i bought it off of ebay], but thought it might be time for something more steamlined. plus, i actually wanted something for just 6 months — so that i can get back on a normal-person january schedule starting in 2013! after all, i won’t be in the world of fellowship/academia forever. and i admit i miss starting the year off with a fresh new paper planner.

bound for anything is actually a new company based in downtown durham — ie, as local as it gets for me, and pretty much the opposite of shipping from korea. i actually became aware of the company after jessica [the owner joel’s wife] emailed me after spotting me on a run around town [that was back when i wasn’t relegated to the treadmill!]. [hi jessica — i hope you don’t mind the shout-out 🙂 ]

i wrote back enthusiastic about their products, because

a) i had never seen a customizable planner before! so cool.
b) i liked how they were REAL bound books [and the quality looked great]
c) based right here — and there was even a durham MAP available as a [custom] insert.

i really wasn’t expecting it, but joel surprised me with a voucher for a FREE custom-made planner, which came in the mail last week. i am excited to use it, and i wanted to share the details with all of you.

shown here with my current system
in its natural habitat . . .
the details
so first of all, this planner is bound like a BOOK, which is different [and cool, in my opinion]. i almost feel bad in a way having something with such fancy craftsmanship that is designed to be used for such a finite period!

since it’s customizable, i am showing you just one possibility of what could be inside. i chose to turn this planner into a 6-month version, complete with plenty of extra space for notes, lists, and project planning, so that i’d only need to throw ONE smallish book into my work bag. as you might imagine, my goal was to lighten the load, since come july i’ll be carrying a baby, diaper bag, and breast pump out the door with me every day — in addition to all of my regular work stuff. whew.

i started with monthly pages. in the past, i’ve actually used these to plan and document workouts [race training plans, for example]. for next year, that may change [perhaps it will just be my call/clinic schedule].

i added tape flags to delineate the various sections
next come the weekly pages. the typeface is very nice and the paper is lovely and smooth. my only complaint is that i wish there was an option for weekly pages with a blank page to the right [ie, all 7 days on the left], because i like to have a weekly area to plan out to-do essentials.

however, i think i can make this work!

note the added categories on the right
i decided to follow up this section with ~15 sheets each of lined:

. . . and 15 graph! you never know when you need a page with beautiful squares on it, after all!

finally, i added a section of list paper. i imagine that i will use this for work and home tasks — perhaps setting up a page every week or so?

and finally, the MAP! available cities include austin, chicago, detroit, NYC, SF, and DC — and of course, durham.

i may or may not live somewhere on this spread!
pros + cons
overall, i think this is a great [and fun!] product, and i can’t WAIT to start using it.

i love:
the customizability! there are many other options available that i didn’t use — recipe pages, grocery lists, contacts, storyboards, music paper, etc. you get to decide exactly how many pages of each element you want, and you can choose the starting and ending dates.

quality. the paper isn’t super-thick, but it’s nice and smooth [i’m very picky about this!]. and the real binding is a step up from a typical planner. you can tell this book is really well-made.

style. i like the fonts and overall aesthetics of this planner a lot.

local. i admit i LOVE that it’s from right nearby! durham pride.

minor critiques:
planner layout. as i mentioned above, i would LOVE a weekly planner layout that includes a blank page on the right / dates on the left. since it’s a custom product, i think even more options would be great.

spine. while i love the traditional book-style binding, so far the planner hasn’t been great about laying flat. it may be that the spine just needs more breaking in and that this will happen eventually, but i find a flat surface easier to write on [and sometimes i like to leave my planner open on my desk].

price. i completely understand why this planner is expensive — and i have no doubt that the dollars are going into a very responsibly-run company that is making a fantastic product. but it is admittedly on the pricey side for a planner at $35 [plus shipping].

if you’ve made it this far
i’m going to offer you a reward since i feel like i want to pay joel’s generosity forward! a random commenter today will be chosen to win a $40 gift certificate to bound, courtesy of me. either leave a note with:

a) how you would customize your planner


b) something good about today.



  • Reply Lindsay March 10, 2019 at 7:19 pm

    I would customize my planner with the recipe template since I love to create recipes!

  • Reply SEC March 10, 2019 at 7:19 pm

    Hi Sarah– I’m an electronic planner type of girl, so don’t enter me into the drawing…I just had a random question: how do you incorporate Josh’s schedule into your own planner? One of the reasons I moved to using Google Calendar from paper about 5 years ago is that I was tired of nagging my disorganized husband about his schedule. So I insisted we each set up our own Google Calendar which we then share with each other (and he has two, one for personal stuff, and one for work which is also shared with his admin). And now each of our two kids has a google calendar as well. So at a glance I can look at either what our whole family has scheduled, or I can hide everyone else’s calendar and just look at my own. I’m sure your system will evolve and adapt as family life gets increasingly more complex, but I’m just curious how you handle it at the moment.

  • Reply Rebecca March 10, 2019 at 7:19 pm

    I agree with you about a weekly view on the left facing a page for list-making and note-jotting. I’ve been using a Muji planner for a few years now, and though I have a few minor complaints, it’s overall pretty good. I wish the spine would lie flat–it would make a world of difference!

  • Reply Denise March 10, 2019 at 7:19 pm

    This is such a great give-away! I would love to have one of these customized planners. I’d definitely get the monthly calendars (to keep track of those pesky bills), plus the list pages, graphing pages and Detroit map. 🙂

  • Reply Miranda March 10, 2019 at 7:19 pm

    Great review! I just quit my job of 3 years to go back to school full time. At work, I used an electronic planner that I thought was great. Now back in school, I’m finding I want the paper planner with me ALL THE TIME.

    And today is good because even though it’s Wednesday, it’s my Friday!
    Yay for getting a spring break again!!

  • Reply Amy March 10, 2019 at 7:19 pm

    I would love this planner! I am resisting an Iphone as long as I can-and as a nurse who works nights, my schedule gets very confusing!!! I would definitely love the grocery lists-so I can send my husband!-though I do agree that a weekly page would be helpful-maybe they’ll take this into consideration?

  • Reply Danielle March 10, 2019 at 7:19 pm

    What a great giveaway! I would add grocery lists and a map of SF!

  • Reply clairetherd March 10, 2019 at 7:19 pm

    Grocery lists and weekly/monthly goals would be added if I won!

  • Reply Jessica March 10, 2019 at 7:19 pm

    Sarah- what a wonderful review! As Joel’s wife and biggest fan I appreciate you taking the time. I am obviously not entering the giveaway but wanted to say hello.

  • Reply Chelsea March 10, 2019 at 7:19 pm

    It’s going to be 77 degrees today. In Madison! In March!!! Hard to beat that in my book :).

  • Reply Amanda M March 10, 2019 at 7:19 pm

    This was a very cool post! I would absolutely love to make a customizable planner– I am about to start residency (in Pediatrics!) and would use it to try to organize what I am sure will be a crazy next year– maybe a separate system for residency and personal items. Today is good because it means there are only 2 more days until the Match! Thanks for a great post!

  • Reply Christine March 10, 2019 at 7:19 pm

    Very cool planner books! I would customize mine as a foodie book, including restaurants I want to eat at, recipes I’ve made, and my on-going attempt at creating the perfect spicy noodle recipe.

  • Reply Jennifer March 10, 2019 at 7:19 pm

    I clicked over to the website and enjoyed thinking about how I would customize my planner. I’ll be moving from my current position to ‘Mom’ in mid-May so I think I would make mine with the monthly option (to be able to look ahead easily) and include checklists, the recipe template, and the map option. Thanks for sharing about this great company!

  • Reply Vikki March 10, 2019 at 7:19 pm

    What a wonderful planner! I would like to include a menu page for the week.

  • Reply Katie March 10, 2019 at 7:19 pm

    That planner looks amazing! I would use it to plan my first year working on the job. I am about to graduate from my doctoral program in May! I (will be) a school psychologist, and I have a lot of students to coordinate across several campuses.

    One good thing about today is the beautiful weather!

  • Reply Angela March 10, 2019 at 7:43 pm

    Today is not only a great day because it is 70+ degrees outside (virtually unheard of in Baltimore this time of year) and there is a whole week of similar weather in the forecast, but it’s also a week before my birthday! I love the anticipation of holidays, birthdays and events!

  • Reply Jessica March 10, 2019 at 7:19 pm

    Customizable planner? You’re speaking my language. And I love the idea to plan race training on the monthly pages…I was going to say I’d leave those out of the planner, but now I think I’d use them to plan my training schedule for my first 50K!

    And something good about today…it’s Pi day!

  • Reply Atilla March 10, 2019 at 7:43 pm

    So far the good news is that Ellie doesn’t have to share her birthday

  • Reply Sarah T March 10, 2019 at 7:43 pm

    Since I live in Durham, I would LOVE the Durham map!

  • Reply Robin March 10, 2019 at 7:19 pm

    I made huge, squealing sounds at the idea of a customizable planner. Going off to play on the website, now. And you’re the reason I found my current planner, so I know totally trust you for good planner tips. (Another paper planner in a digital world…)

  • Reply Kiran March 10, 2019 at 7:19 pm

    i would create a 12 month planner: jan – dec.; the first part would be the months, then weeks with each days’ dates on the left and a full page on the right for lists/etc., like you mentioned.

    no graphing paper for me, but lots of space towards the back for grocery lists, to-do lists, etc. and a ruled section for basic notes.

    i would also love to include something to organize weekly work-outs if it were possible!

  • Reply Emily March 10, 2019 at 7:43 pm

    so great that it’s customizable! I would do a 12 month, with sections for grocery lists, month-at-a-glance, important #s/info, long range to-do’s, etc…

  • Reply Rosalie March 10, 2019 at 7:19 pm

    Wow, this is a really generous giveaway 🙂

    I think I’d customize my planner similarly: weekly pages and monthly pages. Maybe some grocery list pages! I like how you can choose when to start and stop the planner.

    What’s good about my day? Hmmmm, I’ve had a REALLY light work week (I also work in research, so as you know some weeks are crazy and others are very relaxed), so I’ve been enjoying going home with the sun still up (I suppose Daylight savings time helps with this!).

  • Reply Hillary March 10, 2019 at 7:43 pm

    My ideal planner would have seven days of the week on the left and room for checklists on the right. I’m obsessed with my current Journal J.

  • Reply Rachel M March 10, 2019 at 7:43 pm

    I had checked this link out from your blog before and agreed it was a bit pricey, but very cool! I love my stationary and planners!
    I would use monthly planner pages (workout log, bdays, vacations, etc), weekly pages (agree on the 7 day on the left with blank page on the right ad these can be tough to find), lots of grids (my current have notebooks for work are wire-bound gridded books first inspired by Dr. Emily B), and lists. So, really not that different from your own style but without lined sheets.
    Something good about today, just found out Dr. Emily B is coming across the pond in May!!!! Doesn’t get much better than that.

  • Reply mary March 10, 2019 at 7:19 pm

    what a pretty planner! i would have to do some thinking about how to customize mine. being in my first year of my first professional job, the organization piece is definitely still a work in progress. the best thing about my day was that it was 80 lovely degrees outside!

  • Reply Kath March 10, 2019 at 7:43 pm


  • Reply barry March 10, 2019 at 7:15 pm

    good article – planners are so important in everyday life – dead without mine…

  • Reply Therese March 10, 2019 at 7:18 pm

    I was just going to click over to their website to see if they could custom-make one like I’m wanting. Custom-making planners is such a simple, yet brilliant idea!

  • Reply Sal March 10, 2019 at 7:18 pm

    The planner looks awesome! The ability to customize is so fun. Id love a place for writing lists (todo, grocery, etc). Good work supporting small local businesses!

  • Reply Caryn March 10, 2019 at 7:18 pm

    Today is a great day. I’m 18w preggers today! I currently use an Erin Condeen life planner but I need to cut the load as well. I used to make my own planners from a moleskin, but I’d love someone else to customize!

  • Reply Christina March 10, 2019 at 7:19 pm

    Something good about today is that I’m one day closer to vacation! And my husband made a whole roasted chicken for dinner 😀

  • Reply Kara D March 10, 2019 at 7:19 pm

    This looks great! I would customize it with grocery lists and monthly calendars. Today is a great day because it was gloriously warm here in Michigan.

  • Reply Helen March 10, 2019 at 7:19 pm

    Something good about today is that it is 70 degrees out, in Wisconsin, in March!

  • Reply Nancy March 10, 2019 at 7:19 pm

    I am so torn at the moment between electronic and paper organization. I LOVE writing in a planner but feel like I should use the computer since I’m on it all the time and then not wasting paper. Maybe TMI but today I took a chance by trying out a new waxing studio. Turns out that the first session is complimentary AND they did a really good job on my brows (I’m picky). So that made me very happy.

  • Reply Becky March 10, 2019 at 7:19 pm

    What a cool idea! I still swear by a paper plannereven though it seems the restof the world has gone electronic!
    I love the weekly pages & checklists-I definitely have hundreds of lists around my house & office.
    I’m a bit of a mess and will have my own baby to manage come September, so this would be very useful!
    Hope you’re feeling well. Home stretch!

  • Reply Maria March 10, 2019 at 7:19 pm

    What an organized planner!! I would love to use it for a daily planner as well as for the dishes planned for each week if I won!

  • Reply Sarah March 10, 2019 at 7:19 pm

    Recipe pages! Graph paper! Checklists! Oh my!

  • Reply shelby March 10, 2019 at 7:19 pm

    Me me me, pick me! 🙂

    I would have weekly pages and to-do list pages. Those are the two things I use my planner to track!

  • Reply Jen Atch March 10, 2019 at 7:19 pm

    Today is great because I’m wrapping up my surgery rotation and have spring break in 9 days! Would love a calendar like this to plan out 4th year, which is going to be lovely. 🙂

  • Reply Allison March 10, 2019 at 7:19 pm

    Something good about today – my husband is finally home after 9 weeks working in Richmond. Yay!

    Also, that planner is awesome.

    Sarah, I was also wondering if you’ve been doing yoga still? I remember you were doing prenatal but don’t remember reading about it recently. I’m really curious about prenatal yoga, differences (obviously no headstands, haha), and if any poses have been particularly helpful during pregnancy. You don’t have to answer, just curious!

    • Reply theSHUbox March 10, 2019 at 7:43 pm

      i did go to prenatal – maybe 8 times or so total? and for a while i was doing a pretty hard dvd (jennifer wolfe, prenatal vinyasa). then it started to get kind of hard as i hit the third tri and i admit it — i sort of gave up! it was leaving me really sore (and that made it hard to move around the next day) whereas running (well, my interval running) and elliptical still felt great 🙂 plus, my favorite parts about yoga (inversions, lots of chataurangas) weren’t included in the prenatal practices – and i just wasn’t as into them. i really hope to bring yoga back (in some shortened, modified, at-home form most likely!) post-baby 🙂

  • Reply sara March 10, 2019 at 7:19 pm

    Today is a good day because I taught a tricky math concept to my third graders and most of them understood it. Also, I would customize the planner for big picture lesson planning, which just doesn’t work will for me in digital formats!

  • Reply Meghann March 10, 2019 at 7:19 pm

    I love the idea behind the customizable planner! this would come in handy with wedding planning!! 🙂 Something good about today? I’m getting my haircut for the first time since last July. Doesn’t get much better than that!

  • Reply Lauren March 10, 2019 at 7:19 pm

    I love your idea of having a blank side next to the weekly planner. it even would be nice to have graph paper to the right! And i’d love to have to do lists right after the weekly planner!

  • Reply Katie March 10, 2019 at 7:19 pm

    I would definitely customize with a bigger section for addresses. They always make those sections so small now. I would want a pocket or two in there.. and a good sized notes area. Very cool!!

  • Reply amica82 March 10, 2019 at 7:19 pm

    What a great giveaway! I would have monthly pages, weekly pages, and graph paper. And today is a good day because tomorrow is my 30th birthday! 🙂

  • Leave a Reply

    This site uses Akismet to reduce spam. Learn how your comment data is processed.