In a world where bullet journals are king, I found myself searching for a planner system that would give me space to record my goals and provide me with organization of tasks at an affordable price. At the beginning of 2020 I invested in a planner from the Target sale rack. The planner I chose was the Day Designer Daily & Monthly Planner on sale for $7.99.
DAY DESIGNER PLANNER SPECS
Type: Jan-Dec 2020 Daily & Monthly Planner
Style: 2020 Planner 8"x 10" Fairytale White - Day Designer for Blue Sky, Gold
Includes: goal setting worksheets, annual overview, monthly calendars, two gold foil sticker sheets and a bookmark ruler.
While I couldn’t find the original planner price from the Day Designer website; similar sized planners are $49 each.
Day Designer describes this planner as a system organized to help manage schedules, to-do lists and set a structured year. According to the website, this planner is supposed to be perfect for students, teachers, school administrators, busy parents, or anyone who wants to live an intentional life.
WHAT I LIKED
Overall, I’ve really enjoyed using this planner but there are a few features from this planner that I used frequently and will be looking to carry over to my next planner.
The removable plastic bookmark is probably my favorite part of the planner. The bookmark really keeps me on track and reminds me to check my schedule everyday. Another function of the bookmark is acting as a ruler, a function I didn’t use for the planner itself but used it often for my notebooks I often use for brain dumps and budgeting.
The mini version of this Day Designer planner is the perfect size, it’s about the same size as the small I carry with me. Large enough to not need a magnifying glass but small enough to fit in a medium purse. The monthly view and daily to-do lists were big enough for me to fill them in on a busy work day.
I really enjoyed adding due dates, reminders and weekly goals to the monthly overview. Planning daily wasn’t and still isn’t where I am most consistent but I continue to work on planning daily.
Top 3 sections
This is something I had seen in several bullet journal set ups and I really wanted to use it to make sure that my goals for the day were being achieved. This section really helped me not feel so overwhelmed when I had a particularly busy day.
Each day came with a random quote, some where from literary poets and others were general proverbs of words of wisdom. While many of the authors names I didn't recognize, there was some excitement in seeing what the next days quote would be. Due to how random the quotes were, there were a few that really seemed to speak to me while others missed completely.
The Design of the Covers
I chose this planner for the functionality but the plastic cover provides excellent protection and the beautiful golden-leaf pattern and soft pink background screams aesthetic. I’m not the gentlest with paper products, I tend to fold and crinkle papers into my purse and then stuff my lunch on top of it all. This planner has made it through some tough times but all the pages are intact and the beautiful cover is still stunning, and I've had it since January.
The daily to-do lists
There is no such thing as having too many to-do lists – is what this planner says and I love it. From the to-do lists in the monthly reviews, to the daily tasks and even including the top 3 section, I found myself filling them up with goals and tasks every day.
WHAT I DIDN'T LIKE
Again overall, I’ve really enjoyed using this planner however, there are some issues with this planner which lead me to evaluation whether paying full price for this planner would actually be worth it.
Goals and Narrative Sections
At the very beginning of the planner, you’ll find a few pages dedicated to goal setting as well as some tools to help you get started with planning. This section was the biggest reason I originally decided to purchase this planner. Unfortunately, this set up just didn’t work for me. While I had several goals in mind I was hoping to flesh out in this section, there just wasn't enough room.
The weekend page combined the top 3 section to both Saturday and Sunday which wasn’t enough space for me. I usually designate a day during the weekend as my self-care day so I do usually prefer full pages for the weekend. There also was no to-do list for the weekend days and if you hadn't already noticed - I need a to-do list, even for the weekend.
I didn’t use them and while I appreciate them, these just aren’t features I use.
WILL I BE BUYING AGAIN?
I generally like full year planners and for this being a planner I found at Target right at the beginning of the 2020 year, I do think it's a viable option for the average person. I do use my planner almost everyday, it's held up extremely well and I like the designs. With that being said, take my recommendations with a grain of salt.
Grain of Salt Rule: This list is based on what I want and need from my planning and scheduling routine.
I really love the mini size but I’m not a fan of the daily planning. If I did buy one of the new 2021 planners already available on their website, it would probably be a mini weekly planner.
My plain notebook that has acted as a companion to my planner - holding my budgets and projects, is getting an upgrade because I used it so much.
This isn't a one stop shop planner, I still needed other planner tools like a budgeting notebook and project planner.
Questions to Ask as You Search for Your 2021 Planner
What are the features you use the most and what features are you hoping to start utilizing this year? Planning isn't just an organizational tool but a mental health one as well; it can ease anxiety, provide a system of accountability, and create a log of all of the amazing things you've been able to accomplish. How are you planning to use your planner to track the things that are important to you?
Open Planner photo from Target product Pinterest.
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