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Panda Planner Vs. SELF Journal

Panda Planner Vs. SELF Journal

If you’re a freelancer, student, or someone who has some freedom to arrange your day, you need a planner system. Without one it’s too easy to float along and forget about your priorities.

I’m a fan of analog. Digital todo-lists and calendars are convenient, but I can never stick with them. My brain gives more weight to things I’ve handwritten, and I’m more likely to follow through.

For years I used a blank notebook[1] and the Bullet Journal system. A blank notebook gives you plenty of freedom, but it can be annoying to fill in the same structure everyday. Nowadays there are tons of planner/journal options pre-filled with calendars, daily schedules, priority lists, and other interesting boxes.

Planning/Journaling everyday can also be a good place to anchor new habits. Gratitude practice, morning pages, and writing 10 ideas seem to be common activites amongst journalers.

I recently filled out two of these pre-filled planners, the Panda Planner and the SELF Journal. I bought them both at the same time to figure out which one I liked more. Here’s my review:

Panda Planner Overview

  • $25.97
  • No use guide, but they direct you to video tutorials online
  • Monthly, Weekly, and Daily pages
  • 12 month pages, 16 week pages, ??? days
  • 3 ribbon bookmarks
  • Pocket

Here’s what the weekly and daily pages look like: Panda Planner Weekly Page Panda Planner Daily Page

SELF Journal Overview

  • $34.99
  • Built in Use guide
  • 13-Week Goals Planning, Monthly, Weekly, and Daily pages
  • Enough pages for 3 months, 13 weeks of daily use.
  • 1 Ribbon bookmark

Here’s what the weekly and daily pages look like: Self Journal Weekly Page Self Journal Daily Page

Best Self has the entire journal available as a downloadable PDF if you want to check it out.

My Thoughts

Panda Planner

Pros

  • 3 bookmarks for keeping track of month, week and day is nice, though I wish they were colored
  • More boxes than the Self Journal
  • Founders seem to iterate the journal quite frequently in response to customer reviews

Cons

  • Blinding white paper and heavy lines make the page feel busy
  • Too many boxes feel repetitive, the weekly planning feels like I write the same thing 3 times.
  • Paper quality isn’t great

SELF Journal

Pros

  • Beautiful paper and layouts
  • Wide schedule for reshuffling your day
  • 13-week goal postmortem pages

Cons

  • Use guide was kind of confusing
  • Cloth cover attracts dust
  • Expensive

Things neither get right

  • The daily schedule in both journals starts at 6 and ends at 9, they really need a night-owl option
  • I would love more blank freeform pages in both.

What should I use next?

Both of these planners are great for everyday use. The cons I’ve listed are really just nitpicks, and I’d be happy using either one for a long time. Right now I’ll probably get another SELF Journal, but maybe you have a better option.

Do you use a journal that you use everyday? Do you love it? Let me know which one.

Purchase a Panda Planner on Amazon
Purchase a SELF Journal on Amazon

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[1] Moleskines are alright, but I really enjoy using Leuchtturm 1917 Dotted Notebooks. I’ll just never be able to pronounce it.

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