Earlier this year, I started using a day planner for the first time since I was forced to use one in middle school. I have to say I am amazed at how much more productive it has made me, and how well it helps me keep everything organized, especially with my blog. Originally, I wasn’t planning to get a planner, but Justin got one for this year, so I figured I would give it a try as well since I was planning to get more serious about my blog.
My requirements for a planner:
- Compact so it fits in my purse
- Weekly organization
- Ribbon to mark the current week
- Extra space on weekly layout to write other notes
- Blank pages to keep general lists
- Holder for pencil
No planner is going to be perfect, but now that I am more than halfway through the year, and have been using this daily, I have really learned to make mine work for me. I haven’t decided yet if I will buy the same one again for next year, or look for something that fits more perfectly for how I work. But if I can’t find that absolutely perfect planner, I will definitely be ordering this one again.
We both have the Action Day Journal in the 6×8 size. Obviously this link is to the 2017 calendar, so you would want to make sure to get the year you need. It also comes in an 8×11 size, so you can get whichever you would prefer. I like the smaller size because it’s easier to take with me places, and I already write small so space isn’t a concern for me.
As you can see, this planner has a strap to keep it closed, a holder on the side for my pencil, and the turquoise string came in the planner. I added the black string and the white string because of the way I work with my planner. The black string opens to the current week, the turquoise opens to the week I am working on (I am usually writing a few weeks out on the blog), and the white string is where I am in writing my recipe posts.
If you are someone who is constantly working on different areas in your planner like I am, it helps to have the page markers to be able to quickly open to a page. I have also used paperclips before to designate a page, but that starts to get bulky after a while. I have added page markers like this to pretty much every notebook I own. It makes it so easy to just flip to a page. Of course, in middle school, the cool thing was to fold the pages in certain ways, but that also makes the planner get bulky over time.
In the front of the planner is the monthly view. As you can see, I don’t use this too often, but sometimes it is nice to be able to look at a quick monthly view. I know some people only use a monthly view for their calendars (my mom), so if that’s what you are looking for, this is definitely not the planner for you. She loves the At-A-Glance Calendar and has been using it for years because it has a much larger monthly view. It also has a weekly view, but I don’t think she even really uses that.
In my opinion, this is the most important part of the planner. This is the part that I use every day. The week I photographed below, that’s an average week in my planner. Sometimes I have notes covering all the margins around the edges of the weekly view. I use highlighters for a few different things to be able to quickly see what’s going on for different things. The times that are blocked are actual time-sensitive appointments, such as doctors appointments, swim lessons, etc. The only thing I write above the date is birthdays. On the left are all notes for different blog posts I am working on, and that usually spills over to the bottom left as well, such as in this photo. The bottom right side is my weekly to-do list. Those are the things that I am concentrating on getting done throughout the week.
My weekly view always looks a little cluttered, but I am constantly updating it with different things I need to do on those days, changing what days blog posts will go live (and changing my notes in here), adding appointments as they come up…. it never ends. And lately, with everything going on with my thyroid, I’ve had a lot of appointments to keep track of. Justin’s weekly view on his planner doesn’t have near as much, but he keeps a separate notebook for writing all his notes. I prefer to have it all in one place and only one notebook to worry about.
After all the weekly views, this planner has a note section. I use that for all the notes that are not specific to a certain day or week. I have a running list of ideas for blog posts back there, I keep track of projects I am working on, things like that.
Since I can’t buy next year’s planner just yet, I do like the (very small) section for writing things down for next year. It’s just a very small line for each day, but it’s just enough to write in one note if I have something that I know I want to write about on specific days next year, or a date I need to remember, school holidays, etc.
As I said, this isn’t a perfect planner, but it does have some great functionality in it. Unless I find something that’s exactly what I want (which let’s face it, the only way that will happen is if I make my own), I will definitely be purchasing this planner again for next year. It has kept me organized, and helped me achieve some of my goals for this blog. I’m constantly writing notes in the planner, moving things around, adding appointments, etc.
Remember, this planner may not be the best way for you to get organized. Think about what you need, and what you do.
- What do you want from a planner?
- Do you need a monthly overview, or a weekly/daily overview?
- How do you plan your days/weeks/months?
- How often are you going to use the planner?
- Do you need space for extra notes, or just to write in the dates/times of appointments?
- What goals are you trying to achieve with your planner?
PS: Don’t underestimate the value of a good pencil either! I have always preferred mechanical pencils, and one time just bought a large pack of cheap ones at the store. Nope, not good enough. They didn’t write easily, and hardly erased. Since then, we have invested in a pair of better pencils, and it makes a difference! With how much I am changing things in my planner, I could never use a pen. The only things that don’t change are people’s birthdays, and even then I’ve accidentally written them on the wrong dates before!!