Include the Dates in Your Planner! Or, you know…don’t.
Planners are unjustly and regularly mistreated. (Cue Sarah McLachlan’s “In the Arms of the Angels”...)
At the beginning of the year, they’re treasured & prioritized, helpful tools in the hands of hopeful bearers with plans for a year of growth and improvement. Lovingly consulted throughout the day, they’re trusted friends and confidants. Over time, however, the relationships cool and often sour, leaving drawers filled with rejected, dejected, and barely utilized planners, waiting to once again bask in the buzz of fluorescent lights and feel the joyful flow of ink-based prose across its forgotten pages.
It’s sad, really.
That said, there is a notable argument regarding planner design, partly because if they are set aside for a while, large parts of them could end up being wasted. The argument? Dated or undated as part of your design. So here are the pros and cons of both.
Include Dates in a Planner Pros
A dated planner contains the preprinted dates for a specific calendar year (e.g. 2023 calendar). Including the dates provides automatic structure, based on the exact day of the week, month, and year that the planner covers. There’s no filling in days or dates, so it’s immediately ready for the user to simply jump in and add their schedule. It’s really meant to ba product that can be bought and immediately put to use. From the point of a creator and seller, you could create a loyal customer base of annual customers.
An undated planner contains no specific dates, but is instead left to users to fill out as they’d like. This provides an extremely customizable planner for the user. The user has a ton of flexibility, able to define the way they want certain spaces to be used. For example, the planner could be shaped to include some of the functions of a journal, opting to use the extra pages to write more information down since there are no dates on the page. Technically, the planners usually still cover a calendar year (ish), but they could be used to only cover certain parts of the year as they are needed (such as for a student or someone whose work is seasonal) and stretch out for more. These types of planners could also be reused if pencils or erasable pens are used inside. For the seller, these are marketable qualities.
Given that the planner is specific to the year that it is in, it is generally only good for that point in time. From a seller’s standpoint, this can limit your market. Otherwise, you’ll need to make sure you keep your brand clearly in front of your customer base so they remember you for the beginning of the next year.
Undated planners essentially mean more work for the end user, since they will be the ones filling out each date and day of the week all year. If the user is short on time and wants something ready to go, this could be a deal breaker since it requires more set up time and effort.
Interestingly, to date or not to date is a fairly polarizing argument. Most people like one or the other, or they buy different planners for differing applications. Therein lies the possibility for another opportunity—your brand of planner in both dated and undated versions. The best of both worlds!
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