Best Laid Plans Planner Review

BLP Episode #12: Reviews — Amplify and Papier

October 12, 2020


The Amplify is a quarterly planner, though not a particularly compact one! This is because the paper is heavy and lovely. It’s also bright white. I am enjoying using this planner, though there are a few tiny thing I would change if I had the power! More notes below, and of course you can listen to the episode for even more detail.

cover – flexible coated plastic
rings closeup. They are not terribly large – I compared them to the size of a Mead 3-subject!
Special Dates section — I am using it to track things that will need to be put into my 2021 planner as they come up!
Tabs close-up! These are coated paper. They do feel durable enough for 3 months.
Monthly spread – excellent job on this! Love the subtle lines on the grey boxes.
Using the left side for goals. Lots of space here!
Daily example! These pages are the ‘meat’ of this planner. They are mostly generally functional for me. I do not have much use for that “daily habits” box since I use my own system for habit tracking! I also find that “work tasks” section REALLY large. Weekend days are the same!
Weekly. I like the grid motif. I do not like the horizontal layout b/c I am vertical hourly all the way. I am making it work but this is less ideal for me. It’s harder to see where the ‘free’ blocks of time are with this layout.
handy pocket in the back!
The paper is bright white, heavy, and not smudge-prone. I really like it! Basically every pen took to it well, but I have been using the Pentel Energel Clena almost exclusively these days. (0.4 size!)

I am going to use the Amplify until the end of 2020 and can definitely see the appeal – it has some similarities to Full Focus as a quarterly product, but more flexibility / less structure. There’s plenty of room to plan and include goals. And the paper is great!

If I had a magic wand, I’d put the weekly pages all together in one section, change them to vertical/hourly, and tweak the daily pages to be a little bit more flexible (no giant work section please!).

Papier Custom Notebooks

I finally ordered one of these after being tempted by their Instagram ads for months. I have to say – I’m pretty impressed!

I wanted a notebook just for meeting notes and “class notes” essentially for a series I am taking. This fits the bill nicely. And it’s so pretty.

Note the initials on the bottom right!
Paper is ivory, dot grid (lined or blank also available) and smooth. Not terribly thick which means there is some show through, but within reason.
Side shot
And a pen test!!

I am planning on getting more of these as holiday gifts – at around $30 each for a custom product, I feel like this will make a fun gift for colleagues since we all could use some analog meeting capture tools these days. They have about a million covers to choose from (with some really pretty designs – some whimsical, some just classic).

Papier Referral Link: Get $20 off of your order of $40 or more. Compliance note: I may receive a commission from the use of this link


  • Reply Leah October 12, 2020 at 8:38 am

    How do I get the promotion for $20 off my order of $40 or more? The link does not give the discount, I need to enter a voucher code. I didn’t hear any voucher code on the podcast either. They are lovely notebooks, but pricy so I’d really like the discount!

    • Reply Sarah Hart-Unger October 12, 2020 at 11:02 am

      Uh oh! It said I just had to share the link! I’m going to test it …

    • Reply Sarah Hart-Unger October 12, 2020 at 11:13 am

      I’ll email you a code and see if that works too!

  • Reply Sue October 12, 2020 at 8:55 am

    Thank you for the Papier recommendation–this is just what I’m looking for! You always inspire me with your layouts.

  • Reply akapulko2020 October 12, 2020 at 4:58 pm

    The notebook is GORGEOUS, thanks for the recommendation!
    The referral code didn’t work for me too, though.

    • Reply Sarah Hart-Unger October 12, 2020 at 7:25 pm

      Katy – I e-mailed it to you!

  • Reply Lani Inlander October 12, 2020 at 7:21 pm

    I love the way this planner looks! Especially the big work section, ha ha. Although I agree with you about the horizontal layout of the weekly pages. I may have to try the Amplify if the current one I am working into doesn’t “work out.” It is the Rituals for Living Dreambook + Planner (undated). You can find it at Can’t wait to listen to the podcast episode!

    • Reply Sarah Hart-Unger October 12, 2020 at 7:27 pm

      Believe it or not, I Had that planner (gift from a friend) but it was NOT a fit 🙂 You will have to let you know if it works for you!

      • Reply Lani Inlander October 15, 2020 at 7:27 am

        That is soooo funny! And random! Totally get that it wasn’t a fit. I’ll let you know 😉

  • Reply Katie October 13, 2020 at 3:58 am

    I’m using Amplify too (I got it printed locally after I saw you share it)
    I don’t find the weekly spread that useful, all I do is copy down the dates from my Google Calendar. I think if I was better at setting weekly goals /preallocating tasks I might use it for that.
    Monthly is similar, although I have used it for podcast planning a little bit.
    I LOVE the big work section on the daily planner! At the moment I fill it up almost every single day. Although I don’t often touch off every single thing so maybe shorter would be better…
    I feel like I could be making better use of the space overall, but the real priority is do I know what I’m meant to be doing each day, and it’s working for that. We’ll see if I get a new one printed for next year!

    • Reply Lily October 13, 2020 at 5:57 am

      I have a question that I’m hoping you and possibly your readers will have some advice on. I’ve realised that the reason I’ve lost my planning mojo lately is that my systems don’t work well for my current role. I’ve moved into a management role with a team of staff in a busy civil service team (public health program management kind of work). A big part of my day is unpredictable. At 9am the day will be clear with a couple of meetings scheduled so I have some tasks planned in and then all of sudden I will get an urgent request that needs a response immediately; something else comes in due by the end of the day that requires a few phone calls to resolve; my boss’s boss pops by my desk to ask a question; I attend the meeting as planned; then a corridor conversation reveals that a staff member has a problem that I really need to meet with her about and…etc etc and then all of a sudden it’s late and my husband is texting me about dinner and those tasks from the start of the day are still on my to do list. I know that this problem is not unique to my kind of job at all – and in other fields this kind of juggle may actually have life or death implications so…
      What does a morning planning session look like when the plan may change very quickly?
      How do I keep track of everything and make sure balls I drop are balls I dropped intentionally?
      How do I get the strategic things done AND make sure all the little fires are out before they become bigger problems?
      And bonus points if the answer involves use of my beloved hobonichi!
      Thank you!

  • Reply Katherine B October 13, 2020 at 7:18 am

    I so empathise with Lily’s comment above. I am an English commercial and agricultural property lawyer and the manager in charge of two branch offices of a nine branch law firm in rural England. Currently due to Covid I WFH 3 days and in the office two. I have about 150 – 180 live client files of all types of work with multiple actions needed to be taken on them. I get about 150 emails a day on all sorts of issues, client and management. My comment on the Amplify planner, having been using the draft pages they allow you to try out, is that the Work list space is far too small and short! On the other hand like Lily I make a to do list the night before, work like a beaver all day as things come in and then look at the to do list about 5 o’clcock and find many of the things on the list haven’t got done, though I have got loads of other useful and important things done instead, that would have been on the list if it had been even longer. I wonder if planning is a bit of a waste of time, but do find that when I make proper lists more gets done and I feel a little less stressed. Any suggestions?!

    • Reply Sarah Hart-Unger October 13, 2020 at 11:19 am

      This is so interesting. The truth is not that I’m lazy all day; it’s just that the granular work to do items are largely in our medical record and for patient privacy reasons (and efficiency!) these do not go in my planner! Resident related issues are either addressed as they come up and also don’t necessarily make the planner. It’s the bigger things that do. I need to think some more abort this – seems like it warrants a post or an episode!

  • Reply Hope October 13, 2020 at 9:46 am

    Loved this Episode ! I was interested in what you thought of the Amplify Planner. It was one I would consider for the future. I loved your examples of how you use your planner. I know that I am not big on stickers and lots of drawing, but that’s me. I like the colored pens, maybe color coating stickers. Otherwise it’s too busy.

    For now I am sticking with my Simplified Academic Planner and a bullet journal that I started in October (my first bullet journal ever). There is some overlap, but for the most part, I use it to capture what I don’t manage to in my planner. Also my bullet journal easily fits in my backpack (not a huge one) so I can take it wherever I go.

    Anything I need to bring over to my second bullet journal, when the time comes, I will take a picture of with my iPhone and then rewrite. I don’t mind rewriting something like a goal list. I don’t like ring bound planners anymore.

  • Reply Marie Roberts October 13, 2020 at 10:56 pm

    Hi! The Papier notebooks are lovely…it’s hard to choose just one! Unfortunately, the referral link didn’t work for me, either.

    • Reply Sarah Hart-Unger October 14, 2020 at 6:44 am

      I just sent it to you via email!

  • Reply Lisa of Lisa's Yarns October 14, 2020 at 11:05 am

    I am tempted to get a Papier planner as it looks like an upgrade from my Leuchtturm1917. I’d have fewer pages (192 v 250) but it looks like the paper quality is probably better? And it’s prettier (my bujo is very boring – just dark blue). I’ll have to think about that for 2021 or beyond. I’m only about 50 pages into my bujo so it will last me a couple of years at this rate since I’m not doing as many spreads as I did pre-kids…

    • Reply Sarah Hart-Unger October 14, 2020 at 4:56 pm

      The paper is not thick but it is quite nice and smooth. i’ll email you the coupon code in case you decide to pull the trigger since it seems like the link doesn’t work!!

  • Reply Julie October 14, 2020 at 9:53 pm

    Hi Sarah, trying to order, referral link does not work.

    • Reply Sarah Hart-Unger October 15, 2020 at 5:32 am

      Emailing you the link 🙂 So odd – I tested it out on chrome browser and it did work yesterday but I wonder if it’s a pop up issue! Seems to work via email though so I will send it on!

  • Reply Amy October 15, 2020 at 10:51 pm

    Been loving your podcast Sarah! Just what I need for my planning obsession 🙂 Been loving all the recommendations.
    Also, tried out referral link and it doesn’t work for me either!

    • Reply Sarah Hart-Unger October 16, 2020 at 5:35 am

      I just emailed you the link 🙂

  • Reply Betsy Bernstein October 16, 2020 at 10:31 am

    Hi Sarah! loving this podcast and glad I heard about it on Best of Both Worlds! Have you ever thought of doing a planner match making type episode, similar to a What Would you Read Next podcast episode? I’m not as hard core as many here on the planning front, but have found that getting into a groove makes my life run much more smoothly, and I love pretty planning products, so listening and reading about your habits is inspirational. As I’m thinking about my right setup for 2021, I realized that articulating my needs and likes/dislikes to someone so versed in so many products may get me to the right one more efficiently. just a thought if you’re looking for content!

    • Reply Sarah Hart-Unger October 16, 2020 at 12:19 pm

      Ooh that would be fun!!! “how should I plan next”? I love that idea!!!

  • Reply Hope October 16, 2020 at 10:41 am

    Any chance you might review the Commit 30 planner ? I bought the Powersheets undated mid 2020 and it’s way too much for me plus using a daily planner plus bullet journal and pads for various items .

    I’m thinking about it.


  • Reply Julie October 16, 2020 at 8:56 pm

    Sarah, still not able to place order with your referral, it asks for a voucher code! Please advise.


    • Reply Sarah Hart-Unger October 17, 2020 at 5:38 am

      Oh no! I’ll send it once more – I know it’s worked for 2 others when I’ve emailed it so trying once more!!!

  • Reply Morgan October 26, 2020 at 10:35 pm

    I am enjoying my Amplify planner but there are a few small things that are troubling me. I wish there was a tab or string to allow me to find my daily page quickly.
    Also, I need a bit more space in my daily schedule to allow for multiple scheduling commitments (I am a stay at home Mom and have three busy children).
    Finally, I don’t love seeing the brand name on the front cover, feels a bit corporate and less personal than some. I am hoping to a find a planner for 2021 that is functional but also aesthetically pleasing. Looking forward to more planner reviews so I can make my big 2021 planner decision soon !

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