I have a confession. I am obsessed with my planner. I love it. I need it. I think it’s an unhealthy relationship because I seriously couldn’t function without her. (Yes, my planner is female, obviously. Just like a mom, she is the keeper of all the info and schedules and important dates and to-do lists…) Anyway, I would like to share with you just how fabulous she is but let me back up just a bit…
A frequent topic of conversation among my friends is how to be/stay organized. This seems to be a universal among women, stay-at-home parents, working parents…really, everyone I know. There are like five million (and I don’t think I’m exaggerating) apps and online calendars and personal organizers and paper planners and calendars and journals…it can be overwhelming. I don’t have THE answer, but I have some advice…from someone who really likes to be organized but often fails at it and someone who does have a decent amount to juggle (four kids at different schools with different schedules; husband who has events and early morning meetings and travels for work; household and family to run; and an inability to say no to volunteering).
I think the very first thing is to evaluate YOUR needs and preferences. I am a visual person and I like to be able to see the whole month or the whole day at once. I tried to commit to a whole year of electronic calendar/planning — it was torture and I hated it and I failed miserably — so relying on my phone or outlook or an app is not for me (so there’s half the options crossed off the potential list, only 2.5 million to go). I also tried a very small pocket planner one year — I make too many lists and like to write it all in one location — so “small” is not for me either. A friend is super into the bullet journalling thing and tried to “teach me” — I am easily overwhelmed and I also have a knack for creating pressure for myself — so guess what? Bullet journaling was also a no go…caused me STRESS and I do not need my planner to add stress to my life, that’s the exact opposite of what I want!
Admittedly, some of these options that don’t work for me may, in fact, be great for you and that’s awesome…there isn’t a “perfect” organization system that works for every single person, but I’m sure there is a perfect one out there for you (there was for me!). So evaluate for you and your needs and your preferences!
Now, if you ARE something like me…like and need to be organized (due to work or family life or both), prefer paper planners and/or are more visual and tactile, enjoy making lists…I might just have your solution. I will spare you all the details of my many, many failed attempts at finding the perfect planner for me and skip right to the good part…
BEHOLD! The Day Designer!
Oh be still my heart! I love this thing! I know you’ve probably heard of it, this isn’t a new planner or something under the radar. They have a line at Target for goodness sakes and we all know if you’re even reading this blog, you’ve been to Target once or twice (a week!). But just hear me out. I love this planner. LOVE! I love that the monthly layout lets me see the whole month at once and gives me some space to write, but isn’t so big that it’s overwhelming or cumbersome. I love that each day has it’s own page…that lets me feel super organized, I can have everything for that one day in one place…my schedule, my to-do list, my dinner plans, etc. The layout just works for me! I am able to color-code, which is so visually appealing to me, I can even add a doodle or whatever if I’m so inclined, but there’s no pressure to “bullet journal” or whatever trendy thing the kids do these days with their fancy writing. (side note: do they all take classes to write in these trendy/cool ways? Is there an online teacher? a workbook? or am I just lacking from creative handwriting gene?!? Or maybe I’m just old.)
Anyway, I have used both the flagship original and the mini. They are really very similar and you can check out the pages layout on their website. I like that the mini is slightly smaller and fits in every bag I own. But, ultimately, I needed those extended day hours of the full size and I generally do not carry it with me, so the slightly larger size isn’t a deal breaker. Also, this year I fell in love with the Secret Garden design and it only comes in large. Isn’t she beautiful?! 🙂
One of the great things that I love about the Day Designer is the daily page layouts…and the fact that you can view all of their layouts on their website, print them out, and see if they are a good fit for you! (I did this before I purchased my first Day Designer and highly recommend) I color code my days because, well, I like the way it looks and it truly does help me stay organized. Here is a typical day for me…
So that’s it. Not some big secret. No complex system. Just a simple planner where I can keep everything in one place. It’s exactly what I need and not a lot else. There is “more” you can do with it, but no pressure – I have enough pressure and stress without my planner adding to it. This planner has served me well for three years and I’m excited to start on my fourth year with Day Designer! Any questions?!