If you know me, or you've been following Actually Tho for any amount of time, you know I love planners and planning. Between the notebooks scattered across my room and my office, my multiple color coded calendars, my phone and my planner, there's a lot of planning happening at one time. But if I'm being honest, the one thing I can't live without is my planner.
Over the years I've bounced between the Lily Pulitzer weekly planner, the Passion Planner weekly planner and the Day Designer. Honestly, all of these were great - I've even got a post from last year all about my Passion Planner. But, recently I've found that the daily layout of the Day Designer works best for me. So, if you're looking for ideas on how to keep yourself organized, keep reading to see how I use my Day Designer.
A few things before we jump into how I use my planner. The Day Designer is available in a full size version or a mini version. It's also available in academic year format or calendar year format, which really makes it the perfect planner for any busy person! Another great thing, Day Designer even has a line available in Target! I'm sure you've seen it. In fact, that's the planner I grabbed this year because I was a little late in buying mine and I didn't want to start 2022 without my planner! The Blue Sky version looks a little different than the Flagship Planner from Day Designer, but the main areas are still the same.
Okay, okay, let's talk about how I use my planner.
Are you surprised that I'm in love with a planner that comes with space to write down goals? You shouldn't be! Like I've said, my planner is my main source of getting my sh*t together, so naturally being able to write down my goals in it makes me ridiculously happy.
On the first few pages of the planner there are sections to write down "The Big Picture" or your big goals and then a page to organize those goals - it even has a space where you can write the dates you want to achieve your goals by!
If you read my post about my 2022 resolutions then you already know that I break my resolutions down into monthly goals. All of my goal setting starts on these pages. I use the first page to brainstorm goals, write down my resolutions and list everything I want to achieve in the coming year. I then use the next page to categorize my goals and get a little more specific! It's also a great place for me to write down the months I want to set each goal!
First of all, I used to never use the monthly layouts in planners. I never thought they were that important. But let me tell ya, once you become an "adult" and you've got bills to pay, you'll start paying attention to those monthly layouts!
I use mine for big events or standing items. Bills, payday, blog and podcast posts, events, birthdays, travel, etc. all of those end up in my monthly layout. I also color code everything, but we'll talk about that in a second. I also use the stickers that come with the planner to add some fun to the monthly layout, but that's definitely an extra step that you absolutely don't need to do if you don't want to!
Over on the left-hand side there's also a monthly to-do section. Here I put my main goals for the month along with any to-do items that need to be completed by the end of the month but don't necessarily have a set due date besides "the end of the month". This way I can look at those and make sure to schedule them throughout the month.
This is where I live when it comes to my planner. Everything that happens in my life starts on one of these pages. If you're someone who loves inspirational quotes, you'll find one at the top of every single page. But, that's not the main reason I love these pages.
The main reason I love these pages, and why I've converted to only Day Designer planners from now until forever is because of just how organized and detailed each page is. Each page contains an hourly schedule, a massive to-do list, a notes section and a top 3 to-do list. There's also space for night-time plans and gratitude lists.
I love the fact the schedule begins at 6:00am. Not that I typically have a lot going on at that time, but every now and then I have an early morning and I like to be able to have everything written down. I also love that it goes all the way to 8:00pm for any evening plans.
Again I color code everything on the daily sheets, including the to do list items and my notes, just to keep everything clear and organized.
Saturday and Sunday share a page and a to-do list, and there's room to plan the next week and to make a note of things you don't want to forget. Personally, I don't mind having less space on the weekends since I tend to do a lot less over those days.
When it comes to what I write down, the short answer is everything. Each week I update a week's worth of pages with my schedule. I start with the "Next Week" and "Don't Forget" sections on the weekend page to give myself an overview of anything important coming up that week. Then on each day I write out (and color code) my daily schedules. I usually save the to-do list and notes sections for the night before when I'm planning each day, but sometimes I'll add some items at the beginning of the week.
As far as the to-do list goes, I write down my top 3 first, and use the other to-do list as overflow for days when I'm really on top of it.
Time to break out the highlighters because I'm showing you how I color-code my life. Some people (my family) think I'm insane, but color coding gives me the ability to glance at my calendar and see how I'm spending most of my day, or what areas I need to focus on.
Right now I use a simple system (mostly because I haven't purchased new highlighters) but it works. I keep a color key at the top of my monthly layout and everything gets color coded.
I try and match the colors I use on my electronic calendars with the ones in my physical planner too just to keep everything organized,
There you have it! How I keep my life together with the help of my Day Designer.