Tag: day designer

How I plan my day

January 11
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How I plan my day using my home and work planners. Two planner system using A daily and weekly planner. Blogger uses a Happy Planer and a Day Designer. (Emily ley simplified planner, Erin Condren, Carpe Diem planner, Heidi Swapp and others are good too.)


With the start of the new year I am determined now, more than ever to get things done. To assist me in this mission I am using the two planners I have been using since July; The Happy Planner by Me and My Big Ideas and the Day Designer by Whitney English.  (My Day Designer is from there Target line with Blue Sky.)  With the help of thees two planners I am able to set up my week both at home and at work to ensure that I do what needs to be done as well as don’t let anything slip through the cracks.


I run my week as Monday – Sunday and generally sit down on Saturday or Sunday to plan out the week ahead. Some weeks I decorate my Happy Planner with stickers or washi tape, but lately I have been skipping this step to conserve space and time. If you want to add some decorations, now would be the time to do that, before you fill out your week.


I start with reviewing the prior week in my Happy Planner and looking for any tasks that were not completed or any notes I left for the next week.  Anything that needs to be added to the next week can be jotted down.

Next, I divide my week into the three categories I like.  To Dos, Home, and Blog.  I use the top box each day in my planner for to dos.  Here I list any little things I want to get done like Laundry, mopping, errands, and the like.  Often times this is filled out only a day or so before as many of these come up at the last minute.

My second boxes are used for general information about the day.  My husband’s work schedule, our planned dinner, appointments, meetings and other noteworthy items go here.  When I sit down to plan the week I write down my husband’s schedule and our dinners for the entire week.  I also fill out the events and appointments that we know about.  If I have something important going on at work that day I may write it down as well, particularly if it requires a specific  wardrobe choice.

I use my last section for information pertaining to my blog.  Here I write down the posts for the week from my master calendar as well as when I will actually have time to put them together.  I also put in reminders for anything else I need to remember about my web presence for the week.

For the new year I made a cute habits tracker sticker that I am adding to the corner of my planner.  This is where I will track days that I am successful in my goals for the new year. You could also add a water tracker, book tracker or other stickers here too.


Once this information is filled out my planner for the week is pretty much good to go.  As I think up new tasks or events get added to the schedule I will add them to the pages.  This planner lives on the desk in my office which is what used to be the formal dinning room.  I love using that room as an office as it is next to the main parts of our home and easily accessible.  Also, because it does not have a door I am required to keep it clean.

I reference my planner in the morning before work as well as when I get home.  This way I am always on top of what needs to get done. If you are concerned about actually keeping up and using your planner place it in a more open part of your home like the kitchen counter.  This way when you go to make coffee in the morning you will see your list and get started on the tasks for the day.



The planner that I use for work is a daily planner. Due to the nature of my job I have many tasks that must be completed each day.  Some of these are reoccurring, while others are one time things I need to remember.  Depending on your job this may work well for you or it may not.  This large planner might work well for stay at home mothers as well because there is lots of space to write down all events and activities of the family.


The planner that I use has three columns for each day:  schedule, to dos, and notes.  Before I leave work in the evening I try to fill out the schedule portion of the page so that I know what will happen and when the following day.  Often times my lunch time is dependent on the staff or events so I can bring snacks if needed or a small quick lunch if I know its going to be a busy day.  I put the schedules of my staff, lunch times, programs, and meetings on my daily schedule.

When I get into work in the morning I open up my planner and look at the daily schedule.  I then look over the to dos portion of the page.  Often times if I know I have things that will need to be done in a few days I will write it down ahead of time so I remember that day.  Also, when I need to follow up with someone I will mark that down on the specified day ahead of time so when that day comes I know I need to contact that person. I then list out any other to dos I can think of for the day.

This is when I finally start to look through my email.  I then transfer any meeting information or tasks to my planer so that I am prepared for these events in the future.  As soon as anything is agreed upon I write it down.

After I have reviewed my email and added any tasks I pick my top three for the day.  These are the three priorities that need to get done. My top three are things that I actively need to ensure happen.  Events like programs and meeting do not count because they have to happen on their own, however putting together a presentation or picking out books for an event could be priorities.

Now it is time to start the day.  Because I work best in the morning I often start with a top three task to get it out of the way.  I then proceed through my to dos one at a time.  If I start a task and its just not working instead of wasting time I skip it and go to something else and return to it later in the day.

Throughout the day if ideas come to me I will jot them down in the notes column of the page.  Also, I use this area to record information from a phone call, meeting or emails.  This is nice because then I know the date I spoke to the person.  I also write down their contact info there so that I can think back to around the day I talked to them to find their phone number.   If I tell them I will call them back next week I write that down as a to do on the day I have decided to call them on. This works really well in keeping up with communication and looking super professional, especially when you can say the date you previously spoke to them and a synopsis of the conversation.

I like to add a little sticky note to the corner of the page to write down personal tasks.  Just like everyone else my mind likes to wander to my personal business while I am at work and I often remember things  I need to grab at the store or friends I need to call.  I write these down and then pull out that sticky when I get home.  This removes the stress of remembering those items.

By the end of the day  should have completed most if not all of my tasks.  My planner has a checkbox to check off completed tasks however I prefer to cross them out at this makes it easier to see what needs to be done.  I then fill out the schedule and then toss this planner in my bag to come home. This planner comes home with me every night so that if I think of something in the evening I can add it in instead of worrying about remembering it until the morning.

And thats it!  With this system I always know what needs to be done, when it needs to be done and I cover my rear end when it comes to deadlines and due dates.

Do you use a planner or two?  What works best for you?  Share below or tag me in a post on Twitter or Instagram #amberdownsplanner.


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Picking the Perfect Planner Style

September 17
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Picking your planner style



Daily, weekly,  or monthly?  For many who are new to planing, figuring  out what type of planner to get can be one of the biggest challenges.  Finding out what exactly you need can be difficult and finding out how to best manage your time with a planner can be even more difficult  Today, I want to go over a few common planner types to give you some ideas about what could work for you.  Please keep in mind everyone is different and these are just suggestions from my personal experience.

Daily 1


Daily planners are great for people with busy days full of appointments, tasks, and other needs.  These planners work great for super busy students,  employees, managers, and entrepreneurs.  Moms also like these planners as well.  I love using a daily planner at work. I use the  2015-2016 Day Designer for Blue Sky.  (similar)  Due to the nature of my job, I have many tasks that I may be working on in a given day.  I also have other tasks to plan to work on later and I also must prioritize my day to ensure I get the most important things finished before they are due.  Because of this, I find that this planner is a great option for the “work me.”  Daily planners usually have an appointments column and/or tasks and notes. My daily planner also has a monthly calendar that I use to record staff leave time and events at a glance. The daily appointments area is very popular with people who attend many meetings or have appointments regularly with their job.  Although I don’t have too many meetings, (I am lucky!)  I do have many regularly scheduled programs each week.  I mark these here so I can see when in my day they occur and I also records stats for these programs in this area as well.    Although I love this planner for work,  I feel that it would not suit me for home or personal needs and definitely does not work for all types of jobs.

Here are my favorites:

Day Designer by Whitney English

The Simplified Planner (I LOVE Emily Ley, she is adorable.)

Franklin Covey (a big kickstarter of the planner movement in business)



Weekly planners are most the most common type of personal planner for a very good reason.  They are simple, functional, and give you a view of the entire week.  Weekly planners give you a great view of what you have to do, what you have done, and where you can fit other tasks.  Also, because they are so popular there are many formats to choose from to find what works for you.  Erin Condren planners have popularized the vertical planner layout where you see each day as a column.  Horizontal planners are also popular, giving you a rectangular box for each day.  Also, there are weekly appointment planners that are great for those who have those meetings, appointments and events to schedule.

I use a Happy Planner as my weekly planner to keep track of everything unrelated to my job.  This is where I write my husband’s schedule, menu plans, personal events and appointments, daily to-dos and my blogging schedule.  My planner divides the day into Morning, Afternoon and Evening, but I change that to Life, Tasks, and Blog.  Because I see the entire week at a glance, this planner really helps me plan my week and put my brain at ease.  I also keep shopping lists, and other tasks in it on sticky notes to ensure all important notes are in one place.

When shopping for a weekly planner decide the view that you want, (Vertical or horizontal) as well as if you need the week to start on a certain day. (You would be surprised how annoying a Monday- Sunday week view is for someone who uses a Sunday- Saturday scheduling system at work.)  These planners often come in several sizes depending on your needs.

Here are my favorites:

The Happy Planner by Me and My Big Ideas

Day Designer for Blue Sky

Erin Condren Life Planner (Check out their personalized items!)


Not sure about needing that much information in your planner but you need something?  Try a daily planner.  These are essentially a small calendar to record only a few things per day.  We use a large monthly calendar at make and record everyone’s schedule.  Checkbook sized monthly calendars are a great start and can be found anywhere, even dollar stores.


DIY Daily

Other planner types:

To-dos:  Whitney English recently introduced a to-do planner that has undated pages with to-dos and appointments that you can fill out as needed.  This means you don’t need to dedicate pages to days you don’t need to plan.   Of course, if you just wanted a place for to-do lists you could also pick up a inexpensive journal.

DIY:  Many, myself included, have made their own planners from journals, binders, and old planners.  Want to try a daily planner?   Pick up a Moleskine notebook or journal at target and date your own pages.  Once you figure out what you like you can stick with the notebook or pick up a dated planner in the style of your preference.



Still don’t know what you need?  Try some of these printable planner templates to get a feel for what works best for you.

Emily Ley free printables

Day Designer free printables

(Both of these sites have great planner printables and tons of extras. )




Please note:  These are just a small sampling of popular planners. I know I have skipped filofax and many other popular binder planners.  Still not sure whats best for you?  Leave a comment and see if anybody has any suggestions!