In January, after a two-year break from owning a paper planner, I wasn’t thinking too much about how I plan. I was more concerned with my actual need for a dated planner. Period.
Not wanting to spend a fortune, I opted for a softbound planner from Erin Condren (versus purchasing one of their pricier signature life planners). I was also new to the brand and wanted to tread lightly (what if I didn’t like the paper).
Long story short, I quickly realized that the weekly vertical layout in the bound, flat-lay planner I picked wasn’t working for me as well as I’d planned.
I wrote a little about this issue I had in my blog post about creating a brain dump notebook and I explained how I decided to stop adding my to-do list items in my weekly planner.
But for today’s post, I wanted to share a little update on how my planning system has been working for me and why I’ve come to the decision to add a daily planner to my planning routine.
What wasn’t working
If you read my blog post about creating a braindump notebook, then you know that I’ve been using that as a place to house my list of things I want/need to do that aren’t routine.
I’ve been referencing that notebook on a mostly daily basis to help jog my memory about those things. It’s been a great way to pull things out of my head and onto paper so that I don’t have to stress about relying on my sketchy memory (I blame kids and my recent bout with COVID this past December).
In combination with a daily notepad or scrap paper, I’ve been writing out my to-do’s for the day each morning (as I mentioned in that blog post). But this created a new problem: what do I do with the paper once the day ends?
For a little while, I kept the used, torn-out pieces from the notepad in a pile next to my stack of “to file” papers in my kitchen cabinet. Mostly because the paper is so nice that I thought I could reuse the back.
But then I realized that I might want to reference my to-do lists from days past, in case I need to remember when I last did something (like mop) or if I felt like I wasn’t productive, I could turn to my lists and see all the things I checked off. (Honestly, how many times do we get to the end of the day and wonder “what did I do today?“)
So that got me thinking about daily planners.
I don’t think I even realized this was an option until recent months, as I’ve fallen down the rabbit hole of what is called the planning community. But now that I know they exist (the daily planner, not the community) and that using a daily pad has been working for me, perhaps it’s time I try one.
At least that was my justifying thought process around it. (Apparently, I’m incapable of buying anything unless I can justify it and know that it has a purpose. I’m only just discovering that this is a rarity and I’m a unicorn.)
Pros of a daily planner
Of course, I had to come up with a whole host of reasons why getting a daily planner made sense for me.
Another problem I found with using a daily notepad or scraps of paper was that I couldn’t hide my list. I really wanted to be able to just close it up and put it away on days where I don’t have much to do and don’t need to have it glaring at me each time I walk into the kitchen.
And on days when I used scraps of paper, I constantly lost sight of it because it blended in with the sea of other papers that sometimes clutters my counters (why do they send first graders home with sooo many papers every day (*cry emoji*)).
As I mentioned before, I was running into an issue with how I wanted to handle the pages each day. Do I save it? Obviously, the pages not being bound together somehow made this difficult. But if I got a dated, daily planner, then each day would fall in order, making it easy to search for something I did in the past. Plus, having them coiled would keep them not only in one place, but allow me to fold the book back and only look at one. day. at. a. time.
And that’s all I can handle anyway: one day at a time.
Or, if I’m not into doing anything productive, I can just keep the planner closed.
Picking which daily planner to order
The hardest part of coming to the decision to get a daily planner was actually picking which daily planner to buy.
Decision-making isn’t my strong suit. When faced with many choices, I tend to over-analyze and fear of missing out takes over. Not so much “I want all of them so that I can have them all”, not that kind of FOMO. But I’m afraid I’ll pick the wrong one and that it won’t work for me.
However, as I’ve come to find out, the only way to figure out what planning system works for me is to try something out for a little while. It’s one thing to look at the features and everything, but it really boils down to having the planner in your hand and using it for a little while. That’s the only way to know if it will work.
I knew that Erin Condren made a daily planner that they call their Daily Duo – it’s two books, 6-months each. But I didn’t want to commit to 12-months. What if I don’t like it? Plus, I’m what many might consider a minimalist and I didn’t want to have a second planner sitting around waiting, taking up storage space that I need for all those first-grade papers.
Therefore, I opted for a PlumPaper Daily Planner – mostly because I can order just 6-months. And it only cost $29 (with options to add on sections). I selected their A5 size and selected a May 2021 starting month (one of the other benefits of ordering from them is picking my start month). I didn’t spend the extra $4 for customizations, electing to just get the planner with the standard daily format and headings. I figured I could always use correction tape, cross out, or completely ignore them if I wanted to.
Of course, I plan to use my daily planner to list out my to-do’s and reference it like I was referencing my daily notepad. The only difference will be that it’s more structured, dated, and bound. My mind likes structure and order.
As this blog post is going out, my new planner arrived yesterday (*YAY*), and my first impression was that it’s great quality and the size/weight are perfect (not bulky and not too small). I’ll write a follow-up post with a review of how I’m liking my new planning system in a few weeks. I also plan on filming some walk-through videos to share over on my new YouTube channel, so head over there, subscribe, and hit the notification bell so you can be notified when those videos are uploaded.
Interested in getting a new planner, too?
Plum Paper sells multiple planner formats, even allowing you to customize the binding (coiled, unpunched, or disk punched). So if you’re looking for a new planner and want to try them out, Plum Paper is currently having a Mother’s Day sale through May 12 where you can get 20% off sitewide. Plus, orders over $30 get a free notepad.
If you haven’t ordered from them before and aren’t on their email list, and would like to use my friend referral code to get 10% off your order of $30 or more, send me an email ( lauren (@) mastermomstress (dot) com ) with your email address and I’ll send you an email with my referral link (that’s the only way Plum Paper does their referrals). Ordering from my link helps me earn a small referral from Plum Paper to use towards future purchases, so thank you so much for the support! (I promise not to use your personal email address for anything else.)
You might be able to stack my 10% coupon code with their current sale, but I’m not entirely sure. Their current 20% off sale doesn’t require a discount code and is automatically applied at checkout so I’m assuming adding a discount code should work.
Do you currently use a daily planner in your planning system?
If you’re a daily planner mom, I’d love to hear how it’s working for you in either the comments below or you can send me a DM on Instagram!