Working from home is a dream come true… but staying organized can feel more like a nightmare at times. Here’s how Day Designer is helping me stay on top of work, life, and everything in between.
Obligatory Wall-o-Text Disclaimer: The product featured in this post was provided by Day Designer for review purposes. Rest assured that my love cannot be bought, and all opinions (and gleeful declarations of adoration) are genuine and my own. This post also contains affiliate links (double whammy, right?), which you can read more about here!
I’m a writer. More specifically, I ghostwrite romance novels. My job is an absolute dream come true (it allows me to work from home! to spend time with the pups! to work on house projects! to write this blog!), but it’s also a ton of work (those bodice-ripping love scenes don’t write themselves!)
Between juggling multiple clients, projects, and deadlines, I’ve got my hands (and my head) full of words on a daily basis… and if I don’t stay on top of it all, my dream job can very quickly become an absolute nightmare.
To help tackle my work grind woes, I partnered up with Day Designer to test drive one of their gorgeous daily planners.
Day Designer ain’t your mama’s datebook. It’s a personal assistant / life coach / motivational pep talk / confidante all rolled into one very neat, very pretty little package.
And speaking of pretty little packages… that’s exactly what Day Designer arrives in!
Maybe I’m just a sucker for details, but I can’t review Day Designer without mentioning just how exquisite the packaging and presentation is! The planner comes in a glossy white slide-out box that just screams “this gilded tome is about to change your entire life, so get ready.” (I’m ready, Day Designer… I’m ready…)
Day Designer is available in two date formats. For traditionalists who prefer to start the new year with a fresh planner, there’s the 2018 Day Designer (which runs January – December 2018).
…and for those of us who maybe procrastinated the first half of 2017 away but are ready to turn over a new leaf right now, Day Designer also offers a Mid-Year planner that you can start using right away. (The Mid-Year will take you through May 2018).
Since I wanted to mend my evil (procrastinating) ways as soon as possible, I opted for the Mid-Year.
Besides the date format, you can also choose between two size options (full size and mini) and several gorgeous cover designs. I chose the full-size planner, in the ‘Black Spotty’ print. (You can check out all the fun and colorful options that are available here!)
Once I had finished
unboxing drooling over my new Day Designer, it was time to put the planner to good use!
Disclaimer: prior to Day Designer, my past planner experiences can be best summarized by the stack of half-used Lilly Pulitzer agendas and Target dollar spot notebooks full of senselessly scribbled reminders. Since I wanted to put my best foot forward and come up with an organization system that I would actually stick to, I decided to consult the internet and see how other people get the most out of their Day Designers.
Turns out, it involves Washi tape. A lot of Washi tape.
If you’re new to Washi tape, you can jump-start your collection with a fun themed pack. Try these sweet florals, these pastel tie-dyes, these holiday prints, or these great basics! Another great place to find fun paper-crafting supplies? The Target dollar spot!
Once I had my supplies, it was time to get started…
Each daily page in the Day Designer features two columns: “Today” (which has numbered rows that can be used to breaksyour day down by hours, from 5 AM – 9 PM) and “To-Do” (which can be used as a check-list for daily goals or priorities).
Since once of my biggest challenges is managing my time (i.e. making sure I spend less time on Instagram, and more time writing…), I knew that I wanted to come up with a system for using these columns to “budget” my time. So, after giving it some thought, I came up with the following system:
To represent blog-related tasks, I used black and white Washi tape. To represent writing work that needs to get done, I used pink and white Washi tape. (I used the “Notes” space at the bottom of the page to make a ‘key’). Then, I divided the “To-Do” box into two halves (each marked with a Washi tape header). I used these two halves to jot down a list of daily goals for the blog and for writing — like photos I need to take for an upcoming blog post, or how many words I need to write for a particular assignment to stay on-track for an upcoming deadline.
Then, in the “Today” section, I used my Washi tape to block of “shifts” — periods of time that I would dedicate towards meeting the goals in my “To-Do” lists. For example, if one of the goals on my “To-Do” list is to write 4000 words for a client, I’d budget a 4 hour “writing” shift dedicated to meeting that goal.
This was sort of an “epiphany” moment for me, because I had never really considered how long I spend writing. Sitting down and planning out how much time I wanted to dedicate to a particular project challenged me to evaluate how much time I actually spend working, or putting things together for the blog (…or procrastinating…)
Other useful functions on each daily page include the “Top Three” (I use this to list out the three things I must get done each day), “Due” (I use this to keep track of upcoming due dates), “Dollars” (for tracking payments), “Dinner” (what I’m going to feed R), “Don’t Forget” (“call my mom”), and “Daily Gratitude” (does “getting through the day” count? :P)
Besides the daily pages, there’s also a calendar page at the start of each month. Similar to how I organized my daily pages, I used the monthly calendar as an ‘overview’ of my projects and goals for that month.
I adapted the same Washi tape ‘key’ I used for my daily pages…
…and then I used little bits of tape to mark significant days / goals on the monthly calendar (i.e. due dates, doctors appointments, upcoming trips, blog posts, etc.)
For things that are less set in stone, I use sticky tabs that can be easily moved around or “rescheduled” on the calendar.
Also handy to have on hand? Fun paper clips (these arrow paper clips are a Target dollar spot find, but if you’re willing to splurge, these Kate Spade bow clips are adorable too!)
What I really like about Day Designer is that it gives you the framework to create a system that works for you. While my method of time management might make sense to me, someone else might have an entirely different way of organizing their schedule. Day Designer allows you to be as regimented or as relaxed as you like…
I’m absolutely smitten with Day Designer, and I’m sure my methods will change as I continue to create and design my schedule around work and fun stuff (like the blog!) If you’d like to try it out for yourself, you can shop the full collection here!