One of my favorites things to do when a new month starts, is to set up my day designer planner. It’s like a fresh start!
Basically, if you like to schedule things, you should definitely look into the Day Designer planner. And if you are more of a to-do list kinda person (like me), then I would also recommend this planner because it has a ton of space for that as well.
In general, the Day Designer is a great planner. The only downside is that it’s quite heavy, but that’s why I compliment it with my phone calendar. Especially when I have to schedule things far in advance or when I’m on the go.
Now, if you don’t care about scheduling things at certain times, then I would definitely recommend getting a Happy Planner, worked for me for a couple of years, but I needed a change, that’s why I got this planner this year.
You can check my post about How I Use My Happy Planner To Work From Home, to see if that planner it’s a better fit for your lifestyle.
*SOME OF THE LINKS IN THIS POST CONTAINS AFFILIATE LINKS AND I WILL RECEIVE A SMALL COMMISSION IF YOU MAKE A PURCHASE AFTER CLICKING ON MY LINK*
I chose the retail version over the other one for two reasons: 1) I wasn’t sure if I was going to like the layout of the planner; and 2) there are some periods in my life in which I don’t really use a physical planner and use my phone instead (like when I travel).
That’s why I didn’t want to invest on an expensive planner to just have it on my desk without using it for days (or even weeks sometimes).
Since it’s so heavy and bulky, I don’t like carrying it with me. So I just switch to my phone when I need to schedule tasks or create a fast to-do list.
Note: if you are looking different ways to organize your life (especially now that we are getting so close to 2024), I recommend watching my YouTube video about how I plan my week using a Day Designer planner + Notion.
It’s a great video for procrastinators that want to be productive, and for those who want to intentionally plan their year and manifest!
Day Designer Monthly Spread
On the monthly spread I add everything that is relevant and important. For example: trips, doctor’s appointments, birthdays, events, holidays, etc.
Basically, this section helps me visualize everything that will happen during the month.
You can also add all those tasks that you don’t want on the daily spread, like your workout schedule.
It’s also a great space to add a countdown or a tracker, that way you can physically cross off the days as they pass by.
There’s also a section for notes and to-dos. I usually use this part to add reminders of tasks that I need to schedule, but I don’t know for when.
This especially happens when I’m planning things that are for the following month or so, that way I won’t forget to do them.
For example, today I remembered that I need to buy a birthday present for friend, but I don’t have to do this until next month. So I go to the next month’s calendar and add the task on that section.
That way, when a new month starts, I can see what are some of the things that I need to do that month in particular.
You can also color coordinate the different categories, and use the notes section for the legend.
While I fill in the monthly calendar on the Day Designer planner once a month, I do the daily spread the nigh before. This helps me to wake up with a purpose the next day (because I know what to expect).
For example; if I have to clean the apartment, I go to sleep knowing that I have to wake up early and motivated the next day.
Another benefit of planning my day the night before vs planning a couple of days in advance, is that not much changes during the night.
That means that I don’t have to move things around on my paper planner once I wake up (I hate when I have to use liquid white-out).
I also avoid planing my day in the morning. I take my time setting everything up (I like to make my planner look cute with different colors and stickers); and since I’m not a morning person, I rather have that ready when I wake up.
It’s like choosing your outfit the night before, instead of rushing everything the next morning.
Like I mention, the daily spread on the Day Designer is where I focus all my time.
I especially love how long the to-do section is. It’s definitely my favorite part since I get to write down all the things that I need to get done. I even add the smallest task, like taking my vitamins.
Now, how do I fill this section up? I have two ways.
The first option is through Notion. At the beginning of the year I created a template with all my goals, and from them I create smaller tasks that I add to my planner.
Another fastest option is by writing down on a notebook or phone all the ideas and goals that you want to achieve. Basically a brain dump (which is less organized but still works out). This one is a great solution when you are on the go.
Makes everything easier to plan when you have a general place where you write down all the tasks you want to complete.
You can also pick a goal and divide into smaller assignments.
For example, I don’t write on my planner “write blog post”. To write a blog post I need to do keyword research, take photos, create graphics, etc.
So I separate the big goal into smaller tasks that I can schedule in different days of the week.
TIP: You can color coordinate each task depending on which category they belong to. You can do one color for personal tasks (like going to the gym or appointments), another color for work or a side hustle, one for all the tasks related to your kids, etc.
This is a great space for those who love time blocking.
Personally, I suck at it. Although, it’s a great way to procrastinate less and avoid distractions. For me, it works half of the time, and it depends on how I’m feeling.
I do love to use this section for appointments and commitments that happen at a certain time. For example, if you schedule a workout.
I use this space to write down what I’m making for dinner that day, an express shopping list if I’m going to the grocery store; or any extra information that will be needed that day, like the flight information of a family member when they visit.
I also use this space to right down my husband’s schedule (because I also plan my day around his schedule).
As an extra, I also add cute stickers or inspirational quotes.
Other Sections In The Day Designer Planner
On the TODAY’S TOP THREE section, I add the things that I need to get done that day and can’t be reschedule for a different day. For example, call family or friends on their birthday. Can’t forget that one!
Sometimes I also use that section to highlight a very important task.
Although in general, I don’t use that space very often.
There’s also a TONIGHT section, which I guess you can use to write down things things that you want to do before going to sleep.
It’s also a great space to write down your dinner + the ingredients you might need.
There’s also a GRATITUDE section, which I wanted to use, but it’s a little uncomfortable to write on since it’s at the bottom.
Although, it’s a great way to start practicing gratitude.
Another section that I wanted to talk about in the Day Designer planner is the weekends page.
Since I’m a freelancer I don’t have the regular 9-5 work schedule, so for me weekends are regular days.
Saturday and Sunday share a page on the Day Designer, but I manage to work around the layout.
I used to have a Happy Planner, so I bough a bunch of stickers that work great for this planner too. So I use the stickers + white out to erase the hours and create a to-do section for each day.
It does include a weekend to-do space, but I need something more dedicated for each day. That section I either leave it blank or I use it for random notes.
And this is pretty much how I use my Day Designer planner. If you want to read more productivity tips, click here. I have great resources for those who procrastinate like me.