The 27 Best 2024 Planners and Agendas, Reviewed by Experts and Editors

Stay organized in style.

collage of 2024 planners
(Image credit: Future)

There's no better feeling than crossing off items on a to-do list—and with pretty much everything virtual these days, your eyes will thank you for incorporating some good old-fashioned pen and paper into your routine. But with an overwhelming number of planners and agendas available to shop, it can be difficult to choose just one. Plus, considering you'll be stuck with yours until the end of the year (or school year), purchasing the right 2024 planner can feel like a lot of pressure—almost as much pressure as learning how to use that planner to find success. That's why we've consulted Marie Claire editors and other professionals who use planners about the ones they swear by, plus spoken to Dr. Scott Lyons, a psychologist, and Kathleen Cameron, a manifestation coach, about how scheduling your day the old-fashioned way can make a tremendous difference.

Dr. Lyons points out that the satisfied feeling you get from writing down tasks actually has a psychological basis. "There is some interesting research about mobilizing," he explains, "where even just writing things down can help reduce stress, because we’re motoring some of that energy and anxiety into action." Plus, he says, "Some things you just can't type out," such as emphasizing important notes by underlining or highlighting.

Cameron adds that writing tasks down can keep you focused on everything you need to accomplish in a day, which is bound to keep you organized and push you toward your goals. "It's getting stuff done," she says. "It's waking up every day and saying, 'What are the most important things that I need to get done, and how quickly am I going to get those things done?'"

Whether you're looking to get more organized, trying to optimize your routine, or simply desperate not to forget any of the thousand important tasks you need to get to, there's a 2024 planner or agenda here that's right for you. (And if you're like me and like having a planner-journal duo, grab your next favorite cute notebook while you're on that stationary kick.)

Best Dated Planners and Agendas

Best Undated Planners and Agendas

The Benefits of Having a Planner

Dr. Lyons points out that the benefits of having a planner or agenda aren't just aesthetic. "Often, structuring our time takes us out of a reactive mode and out of a place of urgency, and as a result we're more proactive with our time as opposed to reactive. And that, in and of itself, lowers our stress levels and makes us more able to manage our attention efficiently. Trying to complete a task while holding our entire agenda for the day in our heads is an inefficient use of our time and energy, so that ends up leaking out and we aren’t able to be as efficient as we could be in other important facets of our lives, like our relationships and our self care. There really are a lot of ramifications for not being efficient with our time management."

What to Look For in a Planner

Before buying a planner, it's important to consider what you're looking for, what your goals are, and how you like to stay organized.

Personal Goals

For instance, I love making to-do lists, so I gravitate toward planners that include goal-setting sections, generously sized daily blocks, and plenty of blank lined pages. Cameron stands by this logic, recommending that, "When you wake up in the morning and when you go to bed the night before, write down the six most important things that you’re going to do today—just six." This limit keeps goals manageable, allowing you both be ambitious and prevent feeling overwhelmed.

She adds that the perfect planner should also get you into the right mindset to start a positive, productive day. The right planner, she says, "might start with gratitude, or it might start with a statement answering 'What state of being am I going to be in today?'" This, she says, puts you in the right state of mind to have a productive day. When Cameron herself began trying this out, she says she needed to work less. "I was far more productive," she attests, "and the work I did had a far greater impact."

Length of Use

When buying an agenda, another important question to ask yourself is when and for how long you intend on using it. Some agendas on this list are designed for limited spaces of time (e.g., six weeks or three months at a time); others are undated so that users can focus on accomplishing specific short-term goals. Other goal-oriented planners include inspirational quotes, tips on staying focused, and other tools meant to guide you along your journey. Meanwhile, more traditional, dated planners and agendas simply lay out the entire calendar year or school year.

Size and Materials

You should also consider size and durability when buying a planner. If you carry around a big bag and/or if you need as much space as possible in your planner (for note-taking, mind-mapping, etc.), then a large planner may be best for you. On the other hand, if you need your planner to live and plan on taking it just about everywhere you go, go for a small planner. And if, like me, you tend to be rough on your items, look for a sturdy, hardcover planner so that you don't accidentally rip it to shreds within the first few weeks of use.

Getting the Most Out of Your Planner

Goal Setting

Planners aren't just for checking your availability and jotting down reminders—they are, first and foremost, for getting down to business so you can achieve your short- and long-term goals.

"A lot of people put vision boards up on their walls but then continue to be the same person they’ve always been," says Cameron. "But the realization of what’s on the vision board is through answering the question of 'Who do I need to be in order to have that life?' And that's about personal growth and development." While she cites long-term goal setting and visualization as key to achieving long-term success, but notes that it's also important to prioritize what she calls "the doing."

Again, she recommends making a list of six tasks to accomplish in a given day. "Then, order them by importance. So maybe at the top of the list, you have two important things, then two things that could maybe wait, and then two things you could potentially do. You start with the most important item on the list, and you’re not allowed to go to number two until number one is done. Because what we do is we avoid the most important things, so this technique forces you to do the most important thing, and you cannot move forward with anything else until the most important thing is done."

Dr. Lyons echoes this sentiment, saying, "Simply having a planner be an action plan that lays out your goals is best, and thinking about it as an action plan for achieving your goals actually reduces stress because it lays our achievable action steps. It plots a way of achieving your goal in achievable, bite-sized steps."

Balance

He also adds that it's important to lay out in your planner "where there’s time for recuperation, because in the same way that we can’t effectively multi-task, we can’t sustain a work day for eight or 16 hours nonstop. So being able to plan where we recuperate means that we’ll be able to be more effective when we do work. And there’s something about being able to identify your goals and being able to parse them out in a scheduled sense of time that is empowering. And in our urgency culture, it’s one of the most effective ways of regaining a sense of power and agency."

Staying On-Task

Cameron recommends using block scheduling as a way of staying focused—and stresses that focus is a key element to getting any job done.

"For certain parts of the day, decide what you’re going to focus on, and focus solely on that one thing," she says. "I put things into my calendar, and when I do that thing, I do that only. As much as you can, do one thing at one time and schedule it in your calendar. I even have my morning walks and my meditation in my calendar. If you think about it, when you’re doing six or seven things at one time, your energy is fragmented among those six or seven things, so it’s going to take you six times longer to do each of those tasks. But if you focus on one task at a time before moving to the next, you’ve got fully focused energy that’s not fragmented. And that’s how you become more efficient and save more time and energy."

And there's evidence to back Cameron's claim up. Dr. Lyons says that multi-tasking is known as the "dual task challenge," and that's far from recommended. "We can switch between one task and another, and some of us can do it more quickly, but we can’t actually attempt multiple things simultaneously," he explains. "Some of us are able to change tasks quickly, and we can become quicker at that, but from a neuroscience perspective, we can’t hold more than one thing at one time. And to attempt to do so is taxing. And it’s not energy efficient; it wears and tears. We only have but so much energy in the day, and often, attempting to multi task is robbing the energy we have in a day."

Block scheduling also "helps us evaluate how we spend our time," according to Dr. Lyons. He says, "You may look back on your planner and wonder what you were doing with a certain pocket of time, and then realize that you were doom-scrolling. Or you may realize that you weren’t planning things in the morning, like exercise, that help you build up more energy throughout the day. Planners are a tool to help evaluate where you’re putting your energy, which is powerful." Laying our your schedule hour by hour also helps you see if you're overscheduling yourself, which Dr. Lyons says is a way we often "contribute to our own stress."

Meet the Experts

Kathleen Cameron
Kathleen Cameron

Kathleen Cameron is a Manifestation Coach, author, and entrepreneur. She founded Diamond Academy Coaching Inc. and has gained a loyal following that's culminated in a $10 million manifestation business. Author of Becoming The One and co-author of a guided manifestation journal, she's devoted to helping people realize their full potential.

Dr. Scott Lyons
Dr. Scott Lyons

Dr. Scott Lyons is a licensed psychologist, educator and author of the best selling book Addicted to Drama: Healing Dependency on Crisis and Chaos in Yourself and Others Scott is also the host of The Gently Used Human Podcast, an exploration of what it is to be human, to have lived life, and come out gently used. As a renowned body-based trauma expert and Mind-Body Medicine specialist, Scott also helps people to break free from cycles of pain, limited beliefs, and trauma. Scott is an innovator in transformative wellness and trauma therapy, teaching over half a million people internationally over the past twenty years how to relieve stress and restore vitality.