When we look at the best planners on the market today, it must be done by category. If you have checked out our Planner Guide section, you know there are two broad categories: simple and comprehensive planners.
As our Mindware™ planner and system are in the comprehensive category, we’ll focus on this category here. The benefits of comprehensive planners are mentioned throughout and you can get more information about them in general throughout our website.
There are only three main suppliers of planners in this category:Day timers, Franklin Covey and Mindware (which is us). Obviously, we are slightly biased and certainly believe through comparison analysis that ours is the best planner in the world, but don’t take our word for it, let’s compare them together.
Comprehensive planners (sometimes called agendas or organizers) are known as the ‘high end’ of planners. We believe this is a myth – the benefits can’t be compared to simple planners as they are so different.
Day timers are the oldest supplier of this type of planner and were first established in 1947. They have changed very little and there is certainly a lot to be said when you have been around that long. Franklin Covey planners were established in 1983. They are more adventurous than Day timers and offer a variety of page inserts with watermark patterns and more. The last in this group is us, suppliers of the Mindware™ system planner which was introduced online in 2019.
Comparing Comprehensive Planners
This is an exercise that we did for ourselves before launching the Mindware™ system planner.Some said we shouldn’t share this with you because it exposes our weaknesses,but no product is truly perfect. In the end, the best planner is the one that you choose. Lucy and I decided to share our results with you and hope that you will find them interesting.
The first step was to decide what was the criteria to compare all three companies. We decided that we were going to have six factors to compare them: price, benefits, style of planner, delivery of the product, instructions of usage, and overall value of the purchase. Each planner is ranked: first place is ‘Best Planner’, second place is the ‘Second Best’, and third place is designated as ‘the Last Choice’. Each category is broken down below.
This factor was not as easy to compare as Day timers offers a wide variety of comprehensive zippered planners from around $80 to approximately $175 when you initially purchase the agenda with the insert pages. The Franklin Covey planners also come in a wide variety like the Day timers and range also between $80 – $150 when you initially purchase the organizer with its insert pages. The Mindware™ system planner was the hardest to compare as it is a free planner when you purchase the online e-Course. From that perspective, it is free. However, the course is $195, therefore the total purchase price is equal to the best of the other two. Insert pages are usually in the range of $40-$60 for all three planners as the ring zippered covers should last and have many years of usage from its initial purchase. This is the reason why we believe that comprehensive planners in general, regardless of which you pick, are the best planner choice today. The rank for the best planner in a price comparison is seen below:
The next factor that we compared was value. The definition of value was the benefits offered for the total purchase price. The Day timers offers a good price for the planner and Franklin Covey is the same as Day timers – both do not offer anything else of value to the customer other than their planner when you purchase it.
Franklin Covey does offer good courses on time and task management, but they start at $199. The Mindware™ eCourse is $195 and the planner is included free. This is by far the best choice of the three as you get a high-quality planner with an extensive course to ensure you fully utilize the comprehensive system planner.
The third factor of comparison was ‘Instruction’. All comprehensive planners need at least a basic overview of how to use them. It’s no different from lending a car to someone who has never had a driving lesson; the person may get to their destination, but it won’t be enjoyable or without bumps along the way. Depending on the system,the use of the comprehensive planner will determine the amount of instruction needed.
Day timers provides a few pages of instruction in its package when you purchase their agenda and inserts. Franklin Covey has several courses on time management which are purchased separately. Their courses are very good with their most basic one at $199, together a Franklin Covey planner and the course will be between approximately $280 – $360 depending on which planner you purchase.
The Mindware™ system planner offers the planner and course together for $195. The course is comprehensive with several video modules on various topics to enable anyone to master time management. The instructions are detailed and give on-going support as the course material is online to review and implement as needed. In most cases, you will be able to review the materials before your planner arrives at your door. The online support instructional course offers a clear and easy method to success. Mindware™ also offers free email support for six months.
Therefore, because the Mindware™ system offers online instruction materials and e-course, online Q & A sessions with a live instructor and free email support for six months after their purchase, it is in our opinion that it receives the best planner choice for the factor of instruction.
This factor was by far the easiest to rate. Delivery was defined as delivery cost, delivery time, and refund policy. Both Day timer sand Franklin Covey were virtually identical in this respect with both offering free delivery and similar times of delivery to the customer. Neither has a money-back guarantee.
The Mindware™ planner also has free delivery and similar times of delivery to the customer. However, it is the only one that offers a 100% satisfaction guarantee; if you are not fully satisfied, simply return the Mindware™ agenda and its pages within the first 60 days and we will provide you with a full refund. Because of this customer pledge, the Mindware™ planner receives the Best Planner choice for delivery.
This factor was the hardest to rate as it is largely a personal choice. Here the definition was based on questions like: does it stand out, is it classy and elegant, the color, and the feel of the materials used.
All three competitors offer a quality product that is elegant and stands out to be professional in the most demanding of professional settings and environments. Day timers and Franklin Covey offer more choice in colors and materials than Mindware™. The shape of the planners is similar among Day timers and Franklin Covey. The Shape of the Mindware™ daily planner is unique and certainly stands out and together with its color it will turn heads and be noticed. Although tremendously hard to judge the style, Mindware™was chosen as the Best Planner choice in this rating factor.
Finally, we have come to the last criteria to make our final judgement on the best planner in the comprehensive category. This included the benefits the user would receive from purchasing any of the three planners. When we looked at this in more detail, we broke it down into: what kind of time/task management would the user receive, does it reduce the user’s anxiety and stress, does it provide the tools needed to create a better life out of what may seem like chaos.
Purchasing the Franklin Covey courses would provide a great benefit to the user but together the user would be spending approximately $280-$350 as already mentioned. Day timers does not have any courses for its users and so their users must go a journey of discovery likely starting with a basic system that may not accomplish all their goals defined in our earlier definition.
The Mindware™ system daily planner provides clear and concise information on topics of complex task management, focusing on being the most productive you can be as well as providing a simple yet effective problem-solving tool that enables you to uncover the solutions you need to set yourself on a journey to a better more productive and efficient you.
As far as the planner book itself is concerned, all three offer a very good planner and layout. The insert pages offered by Day timers are the most basic of the three but have lasted the test of time. Franklin Covey’s insert pages have slightly more features for the user than Day timers, but the daily planner that has the most features and speciality pages allowing for the user to achieve a higher level of productivity is the Mindware™ system planner.
Regarding the tone and image of all three, as this is important and no different than choosing what type of shoes you’ll wear to a meeting,all three are professional in tone with only minor differences. Both Day timers and Franklin Covey planners are similar in size and shape and are high quality in style. The Mindware™ system planner has one main difference from its two rivals in that it is slightly different shape yet maintains a high quality and professional tone. People will notice it as it is the most stylish of the three.
All three planners in this category are very good. As shown in our six-factor analysis, they are well deserving of being the top planners in this category. If we were to add each factor together and give each of the three competitors a rating number, we can see who has earned the title of the best planner.
The scoring system works by ‘best planner’ receiving 3 points, ‘second-best’ receiving 2 points, and ‘last choice’ receiving one point. Below are the results for you to review: