I’ve used a day planner for the greater part of my life. I guess it started back in middle school when we were all given those school-issued planners to organize your homework and studying. I loved using mine. I would color blocks to represent studying for different courses, filling in every day on every page. And the obsession began…
While working as a nurse, I relied heavily on my planner to organize my shifts between 3 different employers. Now, since becoming a stay at home mom, it’s less about scheduling (though of course it includes this too!) and more about productivity and goal setting. I’ve found it really helps me stay on track with both my short and long term goals, and it helps keep me super organized! Much more productive and expressive than the calendar on your kitchen cupboard, a day planner lets you map out blocks of time each day so you can be super organized and always prepared for what’s up next. As a stay at home mom, a day planner is your secret weapon!
There's hundreds of options when it comes to choosing your planner.
In my opinion, the planner itself doesn’t have to be fancy. My current 2019 day planner was on clearance for $10 at the local office supply store, but it caught my eye because of it’s awesome “MY SPACE” pages for each month. These pages provide space for monthly goals, exercise log, important bills, appointments, house cleaning, unusual expenses to budget for, brilliant ideas, people to call, as well as a genius “don’t forget” section. For those wondering it’s the Pierre Belvedere Marble Agenda.
If you haven't yet jumped on the day planner bandwagon, here's why you should:
- Having your goals written out on paper makes you more likely to reach them. This article from Forbes explains from a neuroscience perspective how writing down your goals actually helps you to remember them, and in turn, make them happen. You can think of this as big 1, 5, 10 year goals, or simply as daily goals written in your day planner of what you’d like to accomplish that day.
- Keep track of important appointments, birthdays, and holidays. You’ll always be prepared for the next celebration and won’t suddenly remember you forgot to wish your old friend a Happy Birthday 2 weeks ago.
- Spend less time staring at your phone. Maybe you already plan and record all these events in your phone. But what about once you’re done checking your calendar or to-do list? Have you mindlessly migrated over to social media feeds? Has 5, 10, 15 minutes gone by without you contributing to your goals at all?
- It’s glitch-free. Personally I hate being too reliant on my phone for this kind of thing. What if my phone is lost or stolen, or if I drop it at the beach. Practicality aside, there’s just something about holding a book full of your own writing. I guess it’s the feel of it, much like a physical book vs an e-book.
- Keep running lists for various topics in the notes section. Birthday gift ideas for the kids, books to reserve at the library, go-to meal ideas… you get the picture.
- Meal planning made easy. A day planner is a great place to do your meal planning for the week. A bonus is that when you need inspiration, it’s a quick second to flip back a few weeks and repeat the exact same meals. Or flip back a few months and see that you tried that awesome new recipe a while ago, but completely forgot to make it again.
- It can help ease stress and anxiety. Using a day planner gives you something to focus on, and in turn, you get the important stuff done. It’s a place that feels secure. Using your day planner will keep you more prepared, and therefore you’ll have less stress AND anxiety. I know anxiety personally and am fully aware that a day planner will not suddenly erase that part of you, but I am saying that it can definitely help if you struggle as well.