This Daily Planner Helps Me Actually Complete My To-Do Lists—and It's 30% Off
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It has roomy pages for every day of the year and provides the kind of structure I need to keep track of everything.
One thing about me: I will never remember something if I don't write it down. My brain often functions more like a junk drawer than a filing cabinet, storing and revealing information somewhat at random. That means I sometimes won't remember a task (or birthday, or appointment, etc.) until it's too late. And when I do try to declutter my thoughts, as with decluttering anything else, I'll get distracted by something that ultimately isn't that important, delaying the thing that really was. So, getting those thoughts organized on paper and using a physical planner is critical to my ability to function in the world—but it has to be the right kind.
As much as I wish I could be a bullet journal type of gal, starting with empty grid pages and DIY-ing them into neat Instagram-worthy templates, that method just doesn't work for me. I find blank pages too intimidating, so I need something with clear structure that still leaves space for those random thoughts and to-dos. I've found that the Day Designer Daily Planner offers the exact balance I need.
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As the name implies, this planner is structured around a daily format, providing an individual page for each day of the week—aside from Saturdays and Sundays, which share a split page. Every day of the week page has two primary sections: an hour-by-hour list, which provides a place to write down a specific schedule for the day, and a to-do list with 17 lines and corresponding check boxes. At the top of the page is a section to prioritize the three most important tasks for the day, and four smaller boxes with the headings, "Due," "Dinner," "Dollars," and "Don't Forget." The bottom of the page offers a section to write any additional notes and scribble a reflection of daily gratitude. (I've been slacking on filling out that last one, TBH, but I'm grateful to have the option.)
What works so well about this planner, for me, is that it allows me to visualize the full picture of my day in a way that feels more organized than overwhelming. With the side-by-side view, I can see exactly how my schedule for the day (meetings, events, after-work activities) lines up with the tasks I need to complete. Once I've filled out my hourly schedule on the left and my to-do list on the right, I can clearly see the blocks of available space in my day and start to fill them in with tasks from my list.
This structured format in the Day Designer Daily Planner also helps me to be more realistic about how much I can actually get done in any given day, which subsequently helps me be better at managing my time to fit things in, or moving things to the next day that I know I won't have time for. In the past, I've often made long to-do lists and brain dumps in a notes app on my laptop with no real concept of how to get things done. The result? Little to nothing gets done because I get too overwhelmed by the sheer volume of the list. Having the dedicated space and layout to visually design out my day is like having a stern-yet-supportive friend to hold my hand each morning and say, "Chill out, you can do this."
One caveat, I'll admit: This planner has some bulk to it. It's a trade-off for having large, roomy pages for each day of the year. It's 9 by 9.75 inches big, with a 1.5 inch depth, so it takes up a decent amount of space in my work tote. However, the size is worth it to me for how much it's improved my productivity and ability to stay organized. Smaller planners I've tried in the past have always felt cramped and cluttered, so I appreciate the extra breathing room.
Not to mention, the planner is simply nice to look at. While looks might not be on the top of the list for something as utilitarian as a planner, I have no shame in admitting that they matter to me. I apply the same concept in my own home, opting for storage bins and containers that double as cohesive decor, because that gives me more motive to stay organized. So I love that the Day Designer Daily Planner does double duty, keeping me on task and making my dull workspace look a little more lively.
I have the planner in the colorful Poppy Garden design, but it comes in 17 other designs, including black-and-white stripes, abstract paint strokes, and more. Plus, it's currently on sale for 30 percent off, so you can more easily justify buying it a month into the year.
Price at time of publish: $47 (orig. $68)
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