At the end of last year, I was on the hunt for the perfect planner. I must have searched through dozens of planner options online searching for the planner that would fit all of my requirements for planning paradise.
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A few of my must-haves were a checklist, a calendar for each month, and full pages for each day. The one I’m using right now, the Day Designer, met those needs perfectly with the cutest layout and cover options. But, since I was using the bullet journal system, I still wanted to incorporate some other ideas that I had seen online.
So, I use a Day Designer to plan my day. You can add in some of these ideas in your planning routine, whatever planner you enjoy. Below are some ideas for what you can include in your planner, some of which my planner came with.
A highlight & lowlight
I love reflection and I believe that by reflecting daily on the best and the most challenging aspects of the day is beneficial to self-improvement. It’s a concept that’s used in the Five Minute Journal and it’s definitely a positive way to end the day by running through what you’ve learned. How can we improve tomorrow?
Oh water, we can’t live without you, but we often don’t consume enough of you. You can doodle little water cups and cross them out or simply write a reminder to yourself. Your planner is a great place to remind yourself to get that H2O in your life.
Do one extra thing daily that gets you to where you want to go. This can be in any area of your life. You can write little reminders to yourself daily that say “+1” to encourage you to pick something that gets you slightly out of your comfort zone but closer to your end goals. One a day can be a big deal; they add up after all.
On the other side of things, try to give up one small action or even actual physical products that weigh you down. Whether it’s complaining and spreading negative energy; spending too much money on food; that pair of jeans you haven’t worn in years; choose one thing you’ll give up that will bring you closer to your goals. You don’t need that excess baggage.
Write in your plans for dinner, whether it’s a meal your cooking or if you’re picking up food. You’re less likely to eat unhealthy food if you plan ahead. Plus, you can prevent decision fatigue by planning ahead.
Self-care of the day
If self-care is a struggle for you, then make little notes on what to focus on for that day. Maybe it’s a little reward that you can give yourself after a day of hard work. Or maybe it’s something you’ve always been “meaning to do” but never seem to get around to. Treat yourself!
Love letter / Affirmations
We all need reminders that we’re awesome, because we tend to be really hard on ourselves. Whatever reminders you need to have an optimal day, write them down. If you need to hear that you’re a badass, shout it out on your page. If you’re lacking courage, tell yourself how courageous you are. Let it out so that you can get those confident feels all day long.
I’m not in school anymore, but deadlines still arise in my life and I’m sure they do for you too. It’s not a super creative thing to include in your planner, but I love that the Day Designer has a slot for due dates on the daily pages. I recommend going through the week or even month and filling out the daily pages (if you have them) with deadlines.
Whether your due dates are bills and rent or exam dates, preparation is everything. You can even make mini due dates like “study time” or “meet with boss to discuss promotion,” etc.
I like to make due dates for little things I’d like to do but often forget about. An example could be, “send I love you note to best friend.” Seeing it as a “due date” makes it feel more legit and you’re more likely to remember to do it.
One of the lovely elements of the Day Designer planner is the little gratitude section on the daily pages. It’s always a great reminder to say your thanks for the day. If you don’t have this on your planner, add it to your tasks for the day. Say a little thank you to something or someone in your life. There’s always something to be joyful about.
Intention of the month
The calendar for each month has a little section for notes on the side. That’s where I’ll include my intention for the month. Some intention ideas could be: productivity, clarity, joyfulness, patience, or exploration. It’s nice to spend some time on the monthly calendar section of a planner to set some goals and intentions for how you want to feel for the upcoming month.
Quotes or memories of the day
My memory fails me a lot, so it’s nice to sometimes write down memorable moments and quotes that come up throughout life. You can always write them in your notes app when they’re happening and transfer them over to your planner later (if you don’t have your planner on you 24/7.)
I love the “Top 3” section of my planner, because after I write down all my to dos, I want to prioritize them. There’s always an order for things that need to be done, but I find that if I don’t physically write in their order, I can look at the big list and get too overwhelmed with everything that “needs” to get done. Making a top 3 list makes it seem more achievable. And the reality is, not much more than that has to be done.
Books you plan to read / currently reading / have read
I love creating lists with post it notes that I can move around to different sections. You can do this with any kind of list but books are a good one. Write each book on a separate small post it and move it over to “currently reading” when you start reading it. It’s a fun way to keep track of your reading throughout the year. The Day Designer has a section like this in the front with three columns – making this super easy to do.
What better place to keep a list of things you’d like to do and see than in your planner? Make sure it’s someplace where you view it often so you can check things off it constantly.
At the beginning of the week, look online for what the weather will be for the week. You can either draw it like Boho Berry does in her bullet journal or simply write in what the degrees or whether it’ll be rainy, etc. It’s nice to be prepared for the weather. I feel like most of us have probably experienced going outside and finding that your t-shirt and shorts aren’t really appropriate for the cold, rainy weather outside.
If you have a little polaroid camera (this is the one I have*), you can washi tape in some moments from the week or the month that you want to remember. At the end of the year, you can browse through your planner and have a real log of events that went on and memories to enjoy.
I use the words “coffee budget” loosely, because coffee may not be your vice. But if you have something that you’d like to limit yourself on weekly or monthly, write down your budget daily. And don’t just write the budget, write reminders of why you’re limiting your budget. For example: saving for London! or reducing caffeine intake for better health. It’s one thing to tell yourself that you’re on a restriction, but another to remind yourself about how it’s going to help you achieve your vision.
Washi tape bookmark
I use a piece of washi tape to keep my place in my planner. I find that it’s a cute way to save my spot.
Okay, so it’s not that unique because a lot of people use stickers to spice up their planner, but it’s new to me. I’m about to make my first sticker purchase just for spicing up my planner. I’m so excited to make better use of the monthly calendar view by including stickers that say “date night” and such. It’s such a simple way to make planning more fun.
No list and Yes list
Make a list to remind yourself of what you want to spend time on and what you reject (or what you’d like to say no more to.)
No to Netflix marathons.
No to mindless social media browsing.
No to anything that doesn’t align with your values.
Yes to sunsets on the beach.
Yes to social invitations (that you want to attend.)
Yes to anything that aligns with your values.
Check marks for intention
If you have a calendar view in your planner, at the end of each day write down whether or not you made some intentional choices. Did you choose to take care of your body? Did you say no to things that don’t matter to you and yes to things that do? It’s one way you could hold yourself accountable for living intentionally – because don’t we all love checking things off? A whole calendar of check marks would be a beautiful thing. Though, of course cut yourself some slack for the days where it just didn’t happen. Because you’re human.
Let us know in the comments below what you include in your planning routine.
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