I’ve been a planner girl for as long as I can remember, and yet I’ve had hardly any experience with daily planners. I’ve only played around with some inserts in the past, very basic hourly schedules for the really busy days.
It wasn’t something I felt was necessary for my lifestyle until I started to notice the Day Designer pop up all over instagram, and the obsession began. After watching countless Youtube reviews and trialing their free printable I had convinced myself I couldn’t live another day without a daily planner.
Two issues came from this new discovery. 1) I live in Australia and so it was pretty much impossible for me to get my hands on one to really feel it out. Everything is a little different when you can touch it, see it, and love it in person. 2) It’s pricey! At $64 AUD ($49 USD) for the mini and $77 AUD ($59 USD) for the regular size flagship it’s quite the investment, and that’s without the added cost of shipping! So I hesitated for quite a while!! I finally took the plunge when Day Designer was offering pre-order of their mid year flagships and, after a lot of umming and ahhing, I settled on the spotty dot mini. I knew I would love the mini more but that painterly floral print… #hearteyesfordays.
Honestly I can’t remember how long shipping to Australia took because it was a pre-order, but once it was sent out I was pleasantly surprised at how quickly it arrived. And oh boy, how it did arrive! There’s no denying, the way your Day Designer comes packaged is just breathtaking. I am an absolute sucker for packaging, and you just can’t fault their luxurious branding.
If you want to read up on all the basics, please click here to go straight to the Day Designer’s website and have a look around. Since they offer different sizes and planners it would be far easier for you to search at your own leisure. However, since this is a review of the mini I will let you know it’s measurements are 17.5cm by 21.5cm (6.625in by 8.3in) without the coil, compared to the regular which is 23.5cm by 27.5cm (9in by 9.75in). My mini weighs in at 680g (1.5Ibs)! What a beast!
Let’s go over how it’s held up for me over the past 3 months.
COIL – The Day Designer’s coil is a gold wire-o binding, which I know nothing about, but this one is strong yet flexible. It moves but it feels sturdy and keeps it’s shape. It’s still the nice bright gold from day one and hasn’t chipped or become ugly in any way. I’ve had no issues with flipping through the pages.
COVER – Very sturdy! I heard many people describe it that way, and there’s really no better word. It has not bent, scratched or caused me any issues at all. I take care of all my planners, but I also travel with them quite often and have come to accept that covers eventually scratch and look used. Other than a little wear on the writing, the rest of the cover is pristine. The gold reinforced corners are the nicest touch.
POCKET – I haven’t really put the inside front pocket to the test, since I only use it to keep some functional stickers in there. I’m not sure how it would hold up if you want to stuff it full of documents or planner accessories. So far with regular use it hasn’t come unstuck or torn.
GOLD TABS – These are small, beautiful and flexible, and I was so worried that I’d damage them in the first week! But Hoorah! No damage yet! The hardcover is what has kept them safe so far, in spite of my lack of being gentle with them myself.
PAPER – Day Designer uses 90GSM white paper which works perfectly fine for me. It doesn’t feel cheap, but is understandably thinner as they have to fit many more pages into the planner than weekly agendas. Text is printed in grey ink rather than a stark black contrast, which I think is a nice touch. Some markers and inks shadow the paper on the other side, but for the type of planner this is, I feel that not many people would use it to with the intention of decorating or memory-keeping in it. This is a highly structured daily planner designed to help you plan intentionally and productively.
CUSTOMER SERVICE – I haven’t had much involvement with their customer service, but as far as the smoothness of the transaction, from purchase to delivery, everything was perfect. Also, whoever runs their social media management is on point! What a star!
Ok, let’s now talk a little about how I’m using this planner so I can walk you through the inside features.
Up until now I was using an Erin Condren horizontal as my blog planner, but for some reason, perhaps the layout, I couldn’t make it work for me. I felt I needed more structure, and right at that moment Zeus’ chariot rode up above and struck me with a lightning bolt! What’s more structured than the Day Designer?
Day Designer also provides you with some very structured, very intimidating goal planning sheets. I think they are brilliant, but I’m also glad I held off until I knew how I wanted to use this planner before completing it. I’m very much a goal orientated person, and love the way they have broken up your yearly goals in different segments covering your personal, professional, and financial goals in loose but clearly separated categories. There is also a space for 3 big ideas that you’re focusing on over then next 12 months.
Across from that is a page for added notes to correlate to with your goals. Then it really gets intense! You’re given a page to properly break down each of those goals into 3, 6, 9 and 12 monthly segments to help you focus on the steps required. The last goal setting page in the mini is dedicated to breaking down each goal and assigning realistic deadlines, making note of resources you would need, obstacles to overcome, measuring each goal, steps you need to take and a checkbox to give you the satisfaction of ticking it off once you’ve achieved it.
The monthly view is nice, simple and clean. It has a small side section for notes and a lot of space at the top. This bothered me initially. I thought it was wasted space where they could have made the boxes bigger.
I’ve only recently started using it solely as a blog planner, so to avoid having to block out personal information in August’s calendar I found it would be easier to do a little pre-planning in the September month. I’m currently using up the Erin Condren stickers, even though they are a little wide, because I’m able to color coordinate blog posts that are part of a series. These stickers are so easily repositionable, even on thinner paper. The days will continue to get filled up with deadlines and tasks as we go through September. The side bar is used for taking notes of any sales, props I need to purchase and other small points pertaining to the blog.
I’ve utilised the space above the calendar to track my monthly stats. This is mostly for a quick glance and to see which posts have resulted in higher monthly increase so I know what sort of posts have been useful to people.
As I first said, I had never really used a daily planner and felt a little overwhelmed when the day came to stop admiring it and start using it. What do I write down? My morning routine? Lunch times? What if it was an uneventful day, do I waste a whole sheet? After the first few failed days, I decided I would use it to track my productivity, and hold myself accountable for the way I used my time.
The daily pages are split in half with your hourly schedule on the left and a to-do checklist on the right. At the top of the page is a quote (such a fan!), today’s top 3, and a section split in quarters that cover – due; dinner; dollars; and don’t forget. At the bottom of the page is a section for notes and daily gratitude.
I’ve hardly ever used more than the dinner and dollars sections, and would often cover them up with a sticker. I think perhaps I would have prefered an empty square in it’s place, but I understand how it could be useful for others.
I’m a little ashamed to say, as much as I love the idea of a daily gratitude box, I’ve used it maybe twice? Don’t get me wrong, I’m very grateful! It’s just something that I keep in my head.
Now I cover the four boxes up the top with washi tape and a few icon stickers. I like to track the weather (for myself and for good photography days), what I posted on Instagram, if a blog post is due that day and then whatever else I feel I might need to track – some days it’s expenses, mail, or a reminder.
The schedule side works perfectly to give me an overview of how much time I can devote to the blog or photos amongst whatever else I have on for the day. The to-do list is just that, a breakdown of all the things i need to get done within those scheduled times.
Notes remains the same, or a reminder of items I need to order or search for.
I have to agree with most of the ladies out there, I wish the weekends weren’t shared, and would happily have a thicker planner just for those added days. For it to best suit me, I use washi to cover the hours and just leave it as weekend to-do lists in a flexible sequential order.
The next week view at the end of this page is genius and probably one of my favourite features. This way I can write in my scheduled blog posts for easy viewing and can plan ahead things I might need to do over the weekend to help make the following week run smoothly.
There’s no denying, I’m a big fan of the Day Designer planner and am super excited to see how it works for me as a blog planner with it then eventually incorporating tasks from my etsy store once it’s launched. I will be sure to update you after another few months.
How have you been using your Day Designer?