Best Laid Plans Planners

Best Laid Plans Episode #45: Planner Matchmaking with Laura Vanderkam!

June 14, 2021

Months ago, a kind listener to BLP suggested a matchmaking episode. Inspired by shows like What Should I Read Next, a BLP matchup could feature someone in search of the perfect planner, with exploration of likes/dislikes/the previous system and then several options delivered at the end.

I decided to go for it, and to start with longtime podcasting partner and friend Laura! Laura is a longtime planner (in that she definitely plans in a conscious and regular way!) but she does not actually use a planner. Rather, she’ll use any spiral notebook she can find in the Target discount aisle. I am not knocking those notebooks but I felt maybe she’d be more inspired and find more enjoyment in a more comprehensive planner system.

So, here we go!

Her desires:

Weekly pages

Checkbox areas for each day

Large list areas for the week

Not TOO feminine or froufrou

No need for a lot of extra tracking pages or other bells & whistles

Generally sits on top of desk

My suggestions:

1- Week On One Page Weekly from Whitney English

2- Leuchtturm1917 weekly planner notebook

3- Erin Condren Undated Focused Weekly

4- Custom Golden Coil Weekly (weekly layout example)

Her pick? The Whitney English! I actually bought her this planner (I wanted to!) and it arrived at her door yesterday.

Green relatively minimal cover
Love the tab color scheme

Sooooo pretty! I will be excited to hear how she uses this planner.

I am up for doing this again, perhaps closer to beginning of the calendar year. So if you are in desperate need of a planner matchmaking session – let me know!

PS: Solo parenting weekend was okay! I set the bar really low which helped (NO fancy cooking or household projects and very short to do lists!). More tomorrow!

Sponsor Note:

This episode is sponsored by PrepDish. In addition to the Super Fast menus that I love, Prep Dish has gluten free, Paleo & Keto options, so there is truly something for everyone. Try two weeks of this easy and convenient meal planning service free by using link:!  


  • Reply acdalal June 14, 2021 at 8:08 am

    Can’t wait to give this a listen! As a fellow “notebook from Target” planner (although I do go for the fancier notebooks because I love pretty notebooks and hate spiral bound), I’d love to hear a follow up report in a few months — does Laura stick with the system, or go back to the notebook?

  • Reply Lisa of Lisa's Yarns June 14, 2021 at 8:55 am

    This was fun to listen to! I’d be up for a matchmaking session in the future! I hadn’t heard of option 1 or 4! Will be curious to see what Laura thinks and whether she sticks w/ it. I’m currently using a Leuchtturm 1917 bullet journal and have use them since 2017. But I think 2022 will be the year to get an actual planner instead of a bullet journal. I’m leaning towards the W222 but will have to check out the options you presented to Laura as there are some similarities between how we use a planner.

  • Reply Irene June 14, 2021 at 9:35 am

    Oh no I need a new planner and that is PRETTY. I usually spend about $10 on mine since my system is not remotely fancy and I always finish them completely. But that’s so pretty….hmmm.

  • Reply gwinne June 14, 2021 at 9:47 am

    Oooh! Fun! Would love to have you serve as a matchmaker for me if this project continues!

    I am currently using a combo of Ink + Volt and Nicole Meline’s “envision” for more speculative future planning.

  • Reply Angie June 14, 2021 at 11:42 am

    Fun episode! If you continue to do these matchmaking episodes, you could eventually create a planner matrix where anyone could tick off the features they want and it would show the best ones for them to choose from!

  • Reply coveredbridgegenealogy June 14, 2021 at 2:23 pm

    Loved this episode! My thought was Plum Paper Planner – Notes & Days option. Looking forward to a follow-up 🙂

  • Reply Brenda June 14, 2021 at 4:39 pm

    Fun episode, especially “knowing” your style as well as Laura’s! My style is similar and I have never been able to stick with any one system. I’m going to download a few of the sample pages from the selected one just to see if I want to spring for it this summer.

  • Reply Katie June 14, 2021 at 5:38 pm

    I love this!!! I think I was the listener that suggested this! 🙂 I would love to nominate myself but I’m really happy with my planning system right now. But that Whitney English planner looks amazing!

  • Reply Rachel Stefaniw June 14, 2021 at 7:22 pm

    I’m so excited that she chose the Whitney English planner! I was thinking of that one before you mentioned it. I’ve used it and it’s really a nice planner. I especially loved the large gusset on the pocket. It does fold back too, it seems a bit awkward at first but it just needs to be broken in a bit. I hope Laura loves it! Can’t wait to hear what she thinks!

  • Reply Erin June 14, 2021 at 10:13 pm

    I need to listen to this episode – I have very similar needs/wants and I’ve been eyeing that floral Whitney English one!! I might bite the bullet given this strong recommendation.

  • Reply Angela Sherman June 17, 2021 at 10:17 am

    Whoa! I can’t believe how long its been since I have checked out your blog and Laura’s! I have always loved planners but I didn’t know there was a whole custom and fancy planner world until I read about Inkwell Press and Erin Condren on your blog many years ago. I’ve been an IWP fan ever since. I was checking out Laura’s blog today after many months of not reading any blogs and I was giddy when I read that you started a podcast around planning! I am excited to check it out!

    • Reply Sarah Hart-Unger June 17, 2021 at 12:57 pm

      aww!!! Welcome back 🙂 🙂 🙂

  • Reply Kristin June 18, 2021 at 10:17 am

    I really enjoyed this episode. I’ve been in a real planner rut lately, and the episode inspired me to change it up. I’d been using the Wonderland 222 a bit this year, but I have been feeling like I need a fresh start. I also decided to try the Whitney English planner that starts in July 2021 and just put the order in this morning. Thanks!!

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