Let’s talk planners!
For a few years, I used Emily Ley’s Simplified Planner for an agenda, and it was pretty good. Last year, I was a total mess and used scraps of paper and toilet paper for my to-do lists. (Jokes. But no planner.) For 2020? I’m using the Day Designer, because my good friend Blair (from the Fox & She!) recommended it and I need all the help. 🙈
I spent the majority of 2019 feeling happy but frazzled. I gave myself a lot of grace, though; having a baby and moving at the same time–on the same day, no less 😂–is hard, and I knew it would take a while to get that sense of normalcy back. Only now do I no longer feel like I’m just trying to keep my head above water… and that’s just fine.
I really like the Day Designer. It’s fantastic, actually. Sure, there’s stuff included that some might call “fluff,” like the self awareness activities in the front of the book. But in the opposite of Kelly fashion, I sat down and actually filled out the entirety of the book in early January because I figured it couldn’t hurt. And it was surprisingly very helpful! Over the last month, I’ve found myself flipping back to those pages when I feel unmotivated or underwhelmed, and they’ve helped me regain focus. So that’s pretty awesome.
But let’s back up. After roughly a month of use, here’s why I recommend the Day Designer:
Presentation + quality
It’s well-made and pretty. The latter might seem like a little thing, but if I’m going to become essentially surgically attached to a planner, I want it to look nice. It has to bring me joy. There are a few different designs, but I went with the floral one because it’s depressingly gloomy in Chicago and you know. ;)
In terms of quality, I love that the pages are thick, and the little brass-colored corner protectors are nice, too, since I throw the thing in my tote a lot. I will say, though, that I wish the spiral spine was more robust. It gets caught on things and easily bends, as you can see from the photos. But besides that, they really couldn’t have done any better!
Two pages are allocated to goal planning, and both are useful.
The first page encourages you to think about and write down 3-month, 6-month, 9-month and yearlong goals in the categories of self care (health and happiness), relationships (friends and family), personal development, resources (time and money) and career (job, career and community). I’ll admit that at first, I skipped over the whole thing. But then I came back to it and filled it out, and I was amazed by the clarity that it brought.
The second page breaks everything down, step by step. You list your goals, and then you write down what monthly action, weekly routine and daily habit you will implement in order to get there. Finally, you describe what progress looks like so you know you’re moving forward.
I. Love. This. Granted, I can’t really analyze its effectiveness yet since it hasn’t even been a month yet, but it seems like this section will help me bring my goals to fruition.
The Ideal Month + Week
The next section is my favorite. It helps you create a schedule and encourages block planning so you stay on track.
The first page is dedicated to the month as at large, and you write down your monthly actions from the Goal Planning section of the book. (Fairly straightforward copying, but good to be able to see everything in larger print alongside the next page.)
The second page is dedicated to your “Ideal Week,” in the form of block planning: hour by hour, day by day. Of course, this is your IDEAL week, so god knows that there will be things that come up. You won’t always be able to stick to the schedule, but I’ve found that it’s incredibly helpful to have the schedule nonetheless. With it, I’d say that I’m getting roughly 2x the amount done that I did without it.
Months at a Glance
This is self-explanatory, but this is where all my important dates and deadlines go. I’m a very visual person so having a physical calendar that I can see is helpful. I’ve tried Google Calendar, which a ton of people (Mitch included) swear by, but I’m a paper girl. I look at my calendar every morning and every night to refresh my memory about what I have coming up. It keeps me on top of things!
Full-Page Day Plans
This is where the real magic occurs. A full page is devoted to every day, and the layout is SO GOOD.
Top of the page:
- Inspirational quote (Kind of hokey but I’m here for it. 😜)
- “Today’s Top Three” (Things you NEED to accomplish or else you will die.)
- Due (Deadlines)
- Dinner (I text Mitch and we chat about what we’re going to make. Longterm, I’d love to map this out a week in advance, but we’re not there yet.)
- Dollars (I suppose you could interpret/use this a number of ways.)
- Don’t Forget (An extension of the “top three,” I guess, though obviously less pressing and presumably easier-to-accomplish tasks, like filling a prescription or calling the plumber. Actually, it might be pressing if you need to call a plumber, haha.)
Middle of the page:
- Schedule, hour by hour (Very nice. A tailored extension of the “Ideal Day.” More realistic.)
- To-Do with check boxes (There are a TON of lines so that’s very nice. It’s incredibly rewarding to check and cross them off, too.)
Bottom of the page:
- Notes (White box. Just extra writing space.)
- Daily gratitude (Again, thought it was cheesy at first but it’s lovely. It helps me start my morning off on the right foot! Today’s, for example, is that I take Lucy on a walk every morning, which is something that not all parents get to do. I’m so grateful for the quality time, and I recognize how lucky I am.)
At the end of each month, there’s also a full page of notes. I’ve been using this section for packing lists since we have so much travel scheduled for February.
Recommendation + *more affordable* Day Designer collaboration option
If you’re looking for a good planner, get the Day Designer! I truly love it.
That said, it’s pricey. (Around $64 for the full-sized and $54 for the mini.) The good news, though, is that there is a more affordable option: the Day Designer for Blue Sky, which is a collaboration the company recently did. The planners are priced far more affordably, and I wish I’d known about this option back in early January when I purchased mine! (This one is $29.99, and it features a very similar design. It also is navy-and-white striped. HELLO! ♥️)
Let me know if you have any questions. :)
Shop the post:
Day Designer / More affordable option: Day Designer for Blue Sky / Diamond Jute Rug / Harbor Cane Coffee Table / Jetty Pillow Covers / Yeti Mug / Custom Loveseat in “Cruise Adrift” / Brooke & Lou Lemon Wallpaper / Pottery Barn Curtains
Note: The Day Designer is admittedly pricey. (Around $64 for the full-sized and $54 for the mini.) The good news, though, is that there is a more affordable option: the Day Designer for Blue Sky, which is a collaboration the company recently did. Those planners, which feature a very similar design, are priced far more affordably, and I wish I’d known about this option back in early January when I purchased mine! (This one is $29.99, it’s navy-and-white striped. HELLO! ♥️)