Uncalendar vs Planner Pad: Planner Comparison & Review

For my last Planner Comparison post (for now, at least), I wanted to share a look at something a bit different than anything I’ve personally used or previously reviewed.  I received some requests to check out the Uncalendar and Planner Pad and was very intrigued by the structured and methodical design of these two agendas.  They seemed like a perfect match to compare thanks to their similar physical style, size, and appearance.

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The Uncalendar and Planner Pad share a lot of physical similarities in terms of design.  Both are 8.5″ x 11″ planners featuring a plastic vinyl cover and coil binding.  Each agenda is available in an undated version with week-on-two-pages calendar spreads.  Both feature organizational systems designed to help people focus in on the truly important tasks and manage their time more efficiently.  How each planner goes about doing this, however, is very different.  Once you open up these planners you see that their similarities end with their physical attributes.

Uncalendar

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The Uncalendar was designed by People Systems, Inc. in the mid 1970’s as “a training tool for executives, managers and supervisors.”  Trainees started requesting the agenda for their families and friends, which is how the business evolved into a general planner available for anyone.  It is a small, family-owned business whose motto is to provide “a very useful tool in a technologically-encumbered society.”  The Uncalendar Lifestyle Full Size is sold through the Uncalendar website for $20.95 plus shipping.  It is available for international customers as well.

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The Uncalendar Lifestyle Full Size arrived at my house within a week of ordering.  The only outer packaging is a self-advertiser which easily rips off the planner without damaging it.   The planner measure 9″ wide (including the coil) x 11″ long  with a 1/2″ coil.  The outer cover is a plastic vinyl “leatherette” with rounded covers that is available in three colors, including Big Bang Blue (shown), Cosmic Black, and Solar Red.  I believe the coil is plastic.  The interior features 8.5″ x 11″ pages with laminated divider tabs.  In addition to a full year’s supply of weekly two-page spreads, the Uncalendar also comes stocked with twelve month-on-two-pages spreads, a year at-a-glance planning area for the current and next year, and a year at-a-glance page featuring 2014, 2015, and 2016 calendars.  Other features include a notes section featuring their special NOTEsystemPAPER and a quick reference data section for important information.  The planner is printed and bound in the US.

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The bulk of the planner is dedicated to the calendar, mainly the week-on-two-pages spreads.  The weekly spread includes space for brainstorming and list making on the left side and prioritizing and scheduling on the right.  The design employs color, bold outlines, and different compartments to help users with visual organization.  The actual weekly schedule area is organized vertically Monday through Friday with two smaller horizontally oriented boxes for the weekend days.  There’s room to fill in the dates.  At first glance the Uncalendar layout felt a bit overwhelming to me, but once I took the time to read through their sample spread (included in the front) and suggestions on use, their design made more sense.  If you need further assistance, you can find help at the Uncalendar Lifestyle Skills Center, which is free to all.

The month-on-two-pages section follows the weekly one divided by a laminated tab on the righthand edge.  There are no bells and whistles here.  It’s an open calendar space with the design taking up most of the space on the paper.  If you like a lot of room to write in your monthly section, this might be the planner for you.  The Notes and Data sections follow, designated by laminated tabs.

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In addition to the Lifestyle Full Size edition I am sharing in this post, they also carry a Half Size edition and a Monthly Planner, both of which are spiral bound.  Their Lifestyle Pro edition, which is 3-hole punched in a binder also comes in full and half size versions (as seen above).   You can also buy the components separately, pre-punched or unpunched, if you wish.  All agendas are undated.  They also carry a line of notebooks in both the full and half sizes featuring their NOTEsystemPAPER.

Planner Pad

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The Planner Pad Company has also been in business for almost forty years.  Just like the Uncalendar, the Planner Pad is designed to help you navigate through the many to-do’s and prioritize them for effective time management.  The Planner Pad business model effectively sums up this organizational process:

“Our system recognizes that merely organizing your day-to-day activities is just not enough, because that means letting your activities control you.  Instead, the Planner Pad organizer uses the proven ‘funnel effect’ method to categorize, prioritize, and only then schedule what needs to be done and when.  You’ll feel better while getting more done.”

The undated executive size Planner Pad (shown) retails for $28.99 plus shipping.  It is also available for international customers.

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My executive size Planner Pad arrived about a week after ordering and came packaged in plastic wrap.  It also came with an instructional sheet and audio CD as well as a catalogue of all of the other items the Planner Pad Company sells.  The included audio CD is a nice touch and gives easy to follow tips for how to better structure your time and use the Planner Pad effectively in that aim.  The planner measures 9.25″ wide (from the coil) x 11″ long with a .75″ coil.  The double style coil is made from metal.  The outer cover of the planner is a heavy duty plastic vinyl with gold embossed details.  You can also have a name hot stamped in gold foil on the lower right of the cover for an additional fee.  The planner cover wraps all the way behind the coil from front to back adding more protection to the planner pages.  Both the cover and interior page corners are rounded off.  The Planner Pad is printed and bound in the US.

The interior pages are 8.5″ x 11.”  In addition to the weekly calendar, the Planner Pad also includes an Important Phone Numbers section, a three year at-a-glance calendar on one page (2014 – 2016), two-page spread annual calendar planning pages for 2014 – 2016, major US holidays for 2014-2016, a US time zones map, and some lined note pages.  There are no included tabs dividing these sections.

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The bulk of the Planner Pad is dedicated to the weekly calendar.  The week-on-two-pages spread features the horizontal organizational “funnel” that the design is based on.  The top section is allocated for Weekly Lists of Activities by Category.  This lined section of seven columns is meant to help you Categorize your tasks for the week, which is the top of the funnel and the first step in determining what needs your attention.  The next section down is for Daily Things To Do.  There is one column for each day of the week with equal space for the weekend days.  There is an area to check items off as well.  This represents the middle of the funnel, which is deigned to help you Prioritize your tasks.  The bottom section follows suit with seven lined columns, one for each day, for your Appointments and is timed in hourly increments from 7 AM to 9 PM.  This is the bottom of the funnel where you take all of the information you’ve sifted through from the top two sections to create a working Schedule.   The thinking behind this organization is that the horizontal spread allows for the most visually accessible way of sifting through information to pinpoint key items for each day.  There is also lined space included on the righthand margin for Notes/Calls and Expenses.  You can, of course, use these sections for whatever you would like but they are pre-labeled as such.  The Planner Pads includes 53 weekly planning spreads.  The dashed line on the top righthand corner of each spread is to help you keep track of whether or not you’ve completed all of the tasks for that week.

When I was first reviewing this calendar, I thought it did not include monthly pages.  It was only after listening to the instructional audio CD that I learned that the Goals/Projects/Calendars pages included at the back of the planner can be used as monthly planning pages.  In fact, there are twelve of them.  You could also use these pages for a number of other planning purposes.  They include seven columns, one for each day of the week, and five horizontal sections.

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The undated “start any time” Planner Pad is also available in a professional size (8.5″ x 14″) and a personal size (6.75″ x 8.5″).  The interior layout is the same in these sizes with a few more or a few less lines in each column depending on the planner size.  You can also purchase the executive (8.5″ x 11″) and personal size black Planner Pad in a twelve month dated version, which is available with four starting dates per year.  These dated versions are also available in a green Planner Pad that uses a soft green ink throughout but is set up the same way.  The dated Planner Pads include a dated month-on-one-page calendar with major US holidays designated throughout.  An unbound version of the executive and personal size Planner Pad is also available.  Please note that these are pre-punched to fit a special 7 ring binder, which they do sell on their website.  Their Seasons line includes both personal and compact (5.75″ x 8.5″) size spiral bound planners with a scenic photographic collage on the cover and printed backgrounds with vivid colors on the planning pages.  It is also available unbound but only in the personal size.  The Seasons line is only available in the dated version.  Lastly, they sell a Desk Edition which is a large blotter style pad (22″ wide x 17″ long) with 52 undated sheets styled like their weekly Planner Pad pages.

Planner Pad also sells Spiral Bound and Loose Leaf Covers, Business Bags, On The Go Bags, Leather Travel Accessories, Other Tools, and Accessories for the planners.

Side By Side

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As you can see, while the Uncalendar and the Planner Pad do share a lot of physical similarities, there are quite a few differences once you look inside each planner.  Which might work best for you is a personal choice.  I do feel as if both planners are well made and that their prices seem to match what you get with each one.  They both aim to help with time management using clearly defined visual cues for effective organization.

Check out my coordinating video if you’d like a closer look and to hear my thoughts on each planner:

Both the Uncalendar and Planner Pad are great choices if you’d like to better manage your time using a planner and don’t know where to start.  I feel like they would be particularly effective tools to help if planning does not come naturally to you and/or you end up feeling overwhelmed with too many to-dos.  These planners are designed to help you prioritize your schedule for effective time management.

I hope you enjoyed my 2014 Planner Review series.  I very much enjoyed looking at all of these wonderful planners with you as a #PlannerEnthusiast myself.  I hope to continue this series next fall and would love your suggestions on what planners, calendars, and agendas you’d like to see me review next.  Thanks for stopping by!

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* I purchased all items shown myself.  This is not a sponsored post or video.  All opinions are genuinely my own. *

32 comments

32 thoughts on “Uncalendar vs Planner Pad: Planner Comparison & Review”

  1. These planner comparisons were very informative and helpful….especially the one above. The “funnel” idea is intriguing and I think would be great for someone just beginning to use a planner as a way to organize his/her life. Thanks for doing this and have a great weekend.

  2. Hey Jen! I just wanted to let you know that I did buy the uncalendar last year. it was the 1/2 size, unbound and I punched it for my Filofax. After about 3 months of the “bozo” type colors, I kicked the planner pages to the curb. It was a great layout and design, if it wasn’t for the bright red, yellow, blue and greens 🙁 I wish they would just use a light grey or something instead…then it would be perfect 🙂

      1. I have used Uncalendar for years and they used to have a more muted palette planner available…might be good to ask if you call to order your next one…

    1. I like the idea of the colors, helps visualize projects and things… I can see though after awhile it might get to you! Hope you found something else to work for ya!

  3. Thanks, Jen. You’re my new best friend. This reviews have been so helpful. Thought I wanted an Erin Condren planner but now I think that Uncalendar May work best for me as I open up a new business.

  4. Are you going to test them out, Jen? Thanks for doing this last one, I think I am going to try the planner pad….seems a really logical way to really focus your time and get organized! Thanks for sharing, as always! 🙂

    1. I agree, they are very interesting and logical designs. I’m pretty set with my ECLP right now. When it comes to planners and trying new things, however, I never say never 😉

  5. Hi! I really appreciate this planner series, Jen – thank you! You led me to Erin Condren’s great products and you’ve helped me become a lot more playful (colors, stickers, etc.) within the pages. Fun!

    Btw, will Erin Condren ever come out with (1) a larger planner, or (2) a binder-style so I can move note pages, etc.? I’m hooked on the beauty and layout of the line and don’t want to switch, but…

    Thanks, Jen! I enjoy watching/reading all of your work!

    Best,

    Cyndy

  6. I would love to see another of your Filofax reviews & also what Planner System(s) you use and why. Thanks for your hard work and professionalism!

  7. Hi Jen,
    Does the Erin Condren notebook cover fit on the unplanner spiral? I’ve nearly used all my notepaper in my lifeplanner already because I hate using separate notebooks….this could be a solution!!!!
    Love all your work xx

  8. hi, i follow you on youtube and love the planner comparison video’s. The last video with the uncalendar and planner pad really helped me out a lot. I am going to read more in you detailed blog. HUGE SMILES. Annabell C. CaFamily Alison….

      1. Thanks for the reply!
        Could you steer me toward a good make-up application video? I love your make-up, I’d like to replicate the look . . .

  9. I am using a pocket planner with metal rings and it is more portable than my personal size binders. I did not think that I would like the pocket size as much as I do but it is very streamlined. Are you using your pocket Mulberry exclusively or are you also using the Filofax pocket aqua one that you showed a while ago?

      1. Hi Jen. You said that charity or your donations to charity are private. You could have told people that you were selling your handbags so that they could buy them but then kept what you did with the money private. Why did you decide to have an auction since it is not private?

        1. Actually, I was very clear about where the money for last year’s charity auction went, which you can see here http://www.prettyneatliving.com/2013-charity-handbag-auction-outcome/

          Since that was a charity project that I expressly involved my audience in, I was public about it. Don and I choose to keep our personal donations private. I ran the online auction because I thought it was a fun way to involve my viewers/readers in a charity event.

  10. Thank you for the planner comparison videos! I have really enjoyed them and they have been very helpful. Based on your videos, I purchased an ECLP for my birthday last August. I am happy with it and enjoy decorating it. After waching your video above, I am considering purchasing the Uncalendar as a more defined way for my schedule and my goals. If I do so, then I will continue using my ECLP, but more as a journal and financial tracker. Thank you again!
    I look forward to your upcoming videos!!! : )

  11. Thanks for reviewing this planner. My Kikki-k and Filofax are too bulky now that I will be going back to school. I wanted to know how the pages in the Uncalendar hold up with different types of pens? Are the pages thin? Thanks!!

  12. I am disappointed the planner pad does not have tabs. For $29 plus shipping, it should have monthly tabs included.

  13. I love my Uncalendar. I used the planner pad before I discovered the UnCalender. I love it better. I love the colors and the flexibility of the system.

  14. Well, I was so excited about the Unplanner that I ordered it, then realised that shipping to France would DOUBLE the cost ;-( so I cancelled my order… such a pity they don’t sell those in Europe…

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