Planner Review – First Look at the Day Designer by Whitney English

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When I first heard about the Day Designer it was marketed at ‘creative entrepeneurs’. Although I had no idea what a creative entrepeneur was, I was pretty sure I wasn’t one so the planner slipped out my consciousness. Now, however, according to the Day Designer website

Day Designer is the perfect planning tool to help you organize your life, and starting creating balance. Busy women from all over the world began embracing the Day Designer day planner in 2012. Whether you’re a mom, an entrepreneur, a busy executive, a creative, a student, or a blogger, Day Designer offers features never-before-seen in a day planner

(It’s nice they’ve managed to broaden their market.)

I’d been thinking about getting a day planner and naturally I was quite curious to discover what these never-before-seen features are so I ordered one from Etsy.

They do ship internationally but shipping is almost as much as the planner itself. It may be worth looking at a group order if you are international because shipping for a second planner was only around £7 more.

There are a choice of covers but the planners aren’t customisable. The Day Designer has a very simple layout and is predominantly black and white throughout. Because the layout maximises the space available, there is very little scope for decoration.

Despite what the website claims, this planner is quite bulky and I don’t think it’s portable for your everyday commuter on public transport.

The Day Designer offers more than just daily and monthly pages. It starts with pages to help define your core and align your goals

Core
yes, my page did come wrinkled and customer service offered me a small refund. Customer Service is very good by the way.
You are guided to think about your Purpose, Principles, Passions and Powers and then define your ‘strategic brand plan’. Completing these pages is supposed to help with goal setting for the year. To some extent these pages remind me of Stephen Covey’s 7 Habits but somewhat waffly with more navel-gazing.

After defining your core you get a 2015 year at a glance over two pages.

Each month has a gold tab with a notes page

Tabs

These pages seem to be made from a thicker glossier paper than the rest of the planner, otherwise I would have used them for pen tests.

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The monthly spread has good sized boxes. They’re Sunday starts which may be an issue for those in the UK (or anywhere else where Monday starts are usual). The notes column is on the left hand size and the top right hand page has a box for goals.

Each month also has an Authenticate Challenge. Here’s an excerpt from March’s

‘a big part of authenticating your brand is telling your story in a translucent way, in order to build connections and trust with your audience. Can you identify…struggle areas that might be connective points’

Um…translucent isn’t it?

After that are the daily pages

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Each page has a quotation at the top. This is followed by a series of boxes.

The first box is for deciding the top three daily goals in ‘Today’s Top Three’. I really like this concept. Obviously not never-before-seen, or created by Whitney English, but helpful for focus.

The next boxes are

  • Due
  • Dinner
  • Dollar
  • Don’t forget

After these boxes there is a schedule which runs from 5am to 9pm. Because of this, there isn’t a huge amount of space to write against each hour but I think the space is adequate.

The column next to it is labeled “Other To-Dos’. The instruction page suggests this list should be used to record the interruptions or things that need to be moved to another day. To me, this suggests that day’s to-dos should be in the Today’s Top Three or Schedule boxes.

I personally don’t like my To-dos to be too prescriptive in terms of time of action so I would use the Other To-Dos column to list my tasks generally. Also isn’t it duplication to list your interruptions on that page rather than record them on the day they need to be done?

Finally on the daily pages there are boxes for Download and Daily Gratitude.

The dinner box, like in the Emily Ley Simplified Planner, makes me think the intention is for this planner to be used for both work and home and I like the fact the schedule runs from 5am to 9pm because that makes it more suitable for use as a single planner for truly busy mums.

I don’t quite get the use of the Don’t Forget box. What should be written here that isn’t a task or goal? Unless it’s to record an activity relating to someone else which doesn’t directly impact you, like ‘Don’t Forget husband abroad’. I don’t really know.

The weekends are combined.

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I’m generally not a fan of this. It’s a very lucky mother who has her weekends free, and in this case, apparently doesn’t have to make dinner because instead of the 4 ‘D’ boxes we now have

  • what worked
  • what didn’t
  • next week
  • don’t forget

Yet again, I wonder why ‘next week’ has a small box in the weekend rather than just writing those tasks on a specific day. Although this does raise one weakness in the daily planner in that there is no weekly overview.

At the end of the daily pages is a 2016 overview in column form with a small amount of writing space against each date so there isn’t a lot of scope for future planning.

I know that comparisons are made between the Day Designer and Simplified Planner. Instinctively I prefer the Day Designer. Actually its format reminds me of Franklin Covey inserts rather than the Emily Ley. I could probably live without all the authentication but I can see myself using the Day Designer as part of my planning system for 2015.

From the website –

Day Designer® offers:

  • Portable Size: 9 x 9.25″
  • 12 Months of Dated Pages
  • Heavy 50# White Paper
  • The Original Daily View Format
  • Dinner, Gratitude, Top 3 T0-Do prompts and more!
  • Month-At-A-Glance
  • Year-At-A-Glance
  • Combined Weekend Pages
  • Daily Inspirational Quotes
  • Inside Front Cover Pocket
  • Durable Cover (wipes clean with a damp cloth!)
  • Gold Corner Protectors
  • Sophisticated Brass Wire-O Binding
  • Made in the U.S.A.

In addition, each Day Designer® comes with a year-long subscription to the exclusive private Day Designer® planning community, and a complimentary download of the Define Your Core E-Workbook.

I also bought the undated Day Designer mini which I can do a separate review about if anyone is interested.

I have bought the Well Designed Year workbook because I’m currently going through another productivity phase but I’ll do reviews on productivity tools on my other blog Ru Undiluted.