As the new school year gets underway, it’s a great time to start a new planner. There’s something inspiring and motivating about beginning fresh, with all blank pages and a clean slate.
Whether this is your first time to use a midyear planner or you’re a seasoned veteran, we’ve got some tips that will help you get the very most out of this essential practice.
1. Pick a Planner
To get started, if you don’t already have your planner, you’ll need to choose your favorite layout and cover style. Not attached to a particular format? Then you have a few decisions to make!
- Do you want to plan and view your schedule on a weekly or daily basis — or perhaps a mix of both?
- Do you like the idea of having everything in one place, all bound together? Or would you prefer the flexibility of a binder system so you can add and remove pages?
A weekly planner is helpful for a broad view of upcoming days, while a daily planner is essential for making it all happen when it needs to, each and every day. A binder format is completely flexible enabling you to build your own preferred format. Think about what will work best for you.
Many of our planner friends prefer a combination of a monthly overview and daily pages. Our Flagship Day Designer offers two-page monthly spreads, our signature daily pages, and combined weekend pages.
However, planning styles vary and we get that! If you’re more into a weekly layout, take a look at our A5 Luxe Collection which allows you to create your own layout! Not only can you choose a weekly spread, but you can also mix in a monthly spread, daily pages, and many other insert options. You can come up with your own layout, add to it, remove pages, and switch it up as many times as you like. The idea here is to customize your planner to fit YOUR life.
So many choices! Feeling confused on which path to take? Our advice: Don’t get hung up for too long on step one! Pick a planner, get started now, and begin to see the difference.
2. Gather Schedules
While waiting on your new planner to arrive, get a head start by gathering your upcoming events. Think through everything you’re juggling and get the dates in front of you. Don’t forget:
- School Schedules (yours or your kids’)
- Work Schedule
- Sports and Exercise Schedules
- After School Activity Schedules
- Club Schedules
- Church Schedule
- Nonprofit Events and Volunteer Schedules
- Spouse’s Schedule
- Holidays and Vacations
- Membership Schedules
- Pre-Booked Appointments: doctor, dentist, specialist, hair, etc.
3. Select Favorite Supplies
Our pages are simple in design yet many of our creatively passionate friends can give these pages some serious personality. We’re talking planner stickers, stamps, colored pens, crafty page markers, and darling dashboards! Within each of those categories, you’ll find an array of styles, colors, materials, and more. The options are endless! Planner sticker and accessory companies are popping up left and right, which is super cool. A few months back we shared this roundup of planner accessory companies that we love. There are even some lovely sticker companies that design products specifically to fit Day Designer pages. (Shout out to Faye Creates!)
If you’re not the decorating type, don’t worry — you are not alone! You’ll love the simplicity of the pages, especially once you fill in your schedule and to-dos. Just select your pens (or pencils) and you’ll be set! Day Designer creator Whitney English has been a longtime fan of Pilot G-2 pens (.07 point thickness). Other favorites we often hear about: erasable Frixion colored pens, Le Pens, and fine point Sharpies.
4. Review 2016 Goals
Think back over the goals you set for yourself this year. Ideally, you have these written somewhere so you can pull them out and read back over them. Whether you started the year with a list of big (and small) goals or not, you likely know which activities, habits, relationships, etc. have been working for you — and which haven’t. Take some time for personal reflection and a mid-year review.
- Are the goals I set actually helping me to be the person I want to be? To feel the way I want to feel?
- Do they need tweaking? What new habits have stuck? What old habits have been harder to break??
- What’s next? What can I add, if anything, to best support me and my personal and professional development in the remaining months of 2016?
This process is not meant to make you feel bad about what you haven’t yet accomplished or what may not be going well in your life. Rather, it’s about reflecting and reevaluating, as necessary, to ensure you’re always being intentional about the way you spend your time and the goals you’re pursuing. Aim now to finish strong!
5. Review Priorities
After reviewing your goals, it’s time to review your priorities. While things like family and faith will always remain at the top of your priority list, you may find that other things may have shifted. At this point in your life, what’s most important? Where do you want to be focusing your time? What is essential for you, for your family, for your heart, for your mind, and for work? When new projects, tasks and opportunities arise, you’ll want to think about where they fall on your own personal list of priorities.
Looking for some inspiration on how to prioritize? We are big believers in Whitney’s H.E.A.R.T. goals.
6. Record Everything
Yay! It’s time to fill it all in — you have arrived at the most exciting part of the process! Get those events, birthdays, holidays, and trips onto paper and see how it all lays out. Incorporate your lists, tasks, and notes where needed! Visualize your upcoming days, weeks, and months.
Admire your work, notice your clear mind, and get started! We can’t wait for you to see the difference in focus and productivity, allowing more time for what matters most.