How I use my Day Designer planner to increase productivity and organization

Hi Everybody! Any of you who know me in real life know I am an organization and planning FREAK. I love to fill out my planner and clean my house. If stuff is out of place, I cannot function. Some might think it is an issue that I have, but I love feeling like I have it all together. Because, let’s be honest, nobody really has it all together. It just helps me feel like I am on top of everything and that I’m being intentional with my time.

Let’s dive right in, shall we? Today, I want to discuss the exact planner that I use to keep my life in check. It is called a Day Designer Weekly planner. Now, I do like the weekly planner, but I am planning to switch back to a Day Designer Daily planner for 2020 (I will elaborate a bit later).

One of the things I love about this planner is that you can get it in a few different forms. You’re able to get one that is undated, you’re able to get one that is January-December, or you can get one that is the academic year (July-June). You are able to pick which one is best for you. Me personally, I used to get the academic year planner when I was in school, but now I get the Jan-Dec one, since my life doesn’t run around school years anymore.

Here’s a quick glimpse into my planner spread from last week:

Photo of AnotherGirlNamedAshley's Planner, full-page spread. It is a Day Designer Planner (weekly). The photo shows how AnotherGirlNamedAshley uses her planner.
My most recent weekly spread

As you can see by the above, there aren’t many items in the “to do” section. That is because I took this photo on a Monday at work before I sat down and realized all I had to accomplish last week. Trust me, it doesn’t look this clean now. But, sometimes an organizer isn’t about how beautiful it can be. I often find most beautiful planners unhelpful because you are so focused on how pretty it looks that you forget why you need it in the first place – ORGANIZING/PLANNING. I don’t have pretty handwriting and I don’t pretend to. I write how I write because my planner is my blank space to get all my appointments and lists out of my head and onto paper. I feel like when I use my planner, I free up space in my head to focus on other things because my main focus doesn’t have to be remembering appointments or what I said I needed to do when I got home from work. (Shoutout to the More Than Normal podcast episode 4 where Melissa and Adam discuss scheduling and how she also uses her planner as a mental release)

Photo of AnotherGirlNamedAshley's Planner, the bottom two sections that are labeled "This Week's Top 3" and an inspirational quote. It is a Day Designer Planner (weekly). The photo shows how AnotherGirlNamedAshley uses her planner.
At the bottom of the weekly spread, these are the two blocks on the left page

I didn’t always utilize the “Top Three” option in my planner, and I still don’t feel like it does much for me. But, I also still need to work on my prioritizing, so I hope in the future, this will help with that!

Photo of AnotherGirlNamedAshley's Planner, the bottom two sections that are labeled "Notes" and "Gratitude". It is a Day Designer Planner (weekly). The photo shows how AnotherGirlNamedAshley uses her planner.
At the bottom of the weekly spread, these are the two blocks on the right page

I didn’t used to utilize the above portion, but now I love it. I love sitting down with my planner at the start of a Monday morning and writing in my notes (which I usually use for motivation) and my gratitude. If I’m feeling down throughout the week, I just look over at those parts of my planner and it makes me feel so much more grateful for what I have. I’m working on my optimism and bringing a more positive outlook into my life, and these are the baby steps I need to help promote this new outlook!

Photo of AnotherGirlNamedAshley's Planner, a shot of a single day. It is a Day Designer Planner (weekly). The photo shows how AnotherGirlNamedAshley uses her planner.
A single day in the weekly spread

As you can see, the weekly spread is split into two sections do day-to-day planning. There is a section for the schedule and there is a section for the “to do” list. With this more compact layout, I have to write in the times when I have appointments. As you can see, I use this for home, work, and gym scheduling. I like to see ALL of what I am doing in a day, no matter if it is personal or professional. I would rather keep everything in one planner than switch between a work planner and a personal planner. Not everyone does it like me, you need to find what works for you.

Now, my biggest issue with the weekly planner is the lack of space for a “to do” list and the lack of space for scheduling. I’m sure looking at this day spread, you are thinking I have plenty of room to add more in. I did. And then I had even more to add that I ran out of room for. I prefer the daily planner because there is a schedule on the left-hand side of the page that has slots for the day from 5am-9pm. Of course, the daily Day Designer planner is MUCH thicker/larger than my current planner, and I realize the size is not for everyone. It is simply my personal preference.

As far as the “to do” list goes, I don’t add work to this list. I have a notebook at work that has my full list because it is almost a full page long at all times. I don’t need those things haunting me when I’m at home. I keep my “to do” list strictly for home/personal items.

I honestly don’t really use the monthly portion of my planner, it just doesn’t really help me in any way. I also don’t know how to properly utilize it yet to help me. As you can see by the May spread, I went overboard with stickers because I thought they would help visualize and they actually made it much worse. My June spread is much more simple, with only big events/appointments written on it. I’m not going to dive much more into it because I simply don’t use it much at present moment. I prefer the day-to-day look.

And that’s a full walk-through of my planner! My next post will be about how my planner has improved my life and how it have also improved my boyfriend’s. In that post I will also dive into WHY the Day Designer is the BEST planner out there. But for now, enjoy my layout advice/walk-through and hopefully it helps you get started on organizing all of your thoughts and plans!

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