It is officially December, which means a busy month of holiday parties and celebrating.  We’re also nearing the end of the year, which always makes me look forward to starting a new year and thinking about what improvements I want to make to my daily routine.  This year, I’m focusing on finding a new paper-based productivity product.

Whether you’re looking for a new system for yourself or need a good gift to give, here are a few products that I recommend.  These products all can double as planners for the year and as places to store your ideas and various to do lists.

Moleskin Weekly Planner+Notes

This little notebook I used all through college and grad school.  It’s small (3.5″ x 5.5″) and has a soft cover.  On the left hand side of the page is each day of a given week.  The right hand side is a lined page for notes.  There’s a ribbon bookmark and an elastic band to wrap around the book itself – keeping everything nice and tidy.  Moleskin has lots of other calendars as well; there are daily versions, full size planners, and hard covers too, if that’s more your style.

Passion Planner

I just ran across this planner today.  Currently there is a Kickstarter to get it into production, and there are a lot of features I like in this planner.  It’s similar to the Moleskin planner in basic appearance; it has a soft black leather cover with a ribbon bookmark and an elastic band.  This planner is full-sized and contains lots and lots of  room for notes and big picture planning, in addition to calendar planning.  You can also download and print your own two page weekly layout for free.  Print out a copy or two to try it out in your own life.

Emergent Task Planner

This is another downloadable I found recently.  This planner is designed around the notion that you should set 3 main tasks to complete each day.  On each sheet is room to block off time for each task (and includes mandatory break times!) as well as space to make additional notes on other tasks or ideas that come up during the day.  Various sizes of the forms are available from the designer’s Amazon shop.

Circa Notebooks

For the person who wants their planner fully customizable (myself included!) – there is the Circa notebook system.  There’s a couple of key ideas that make these notebooks unique:

  • You can combine any type of paper you like in a single notebook.  Pads are sold pre-punched from the store – including plain lined pages, to do lists, and calendars (monthly, weekly, and daily).  They also sell hole punches, which allows you to use any paper you’d like – including either of the free printables I’ve mentioned above.
  • You can move papers around within the notebook.  I love this feature.  I often find myself tearing pages out of notebooks that I no longer need or wanting to move various lists or project plans from one section of a notebook to another.  These notebooks allow me to do both of these things without making a mess of my notes or notebook. offers a sampling kit for $40, which includes basic supplies for 3 different size notebooks and get this – a $40 gift certificate to the store.  Shipping is additional, but the deal is pretty close to free!



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