The Best $60 I Ever Spent: The Day Designer



I’m pretty excited about what’s coming in 2015 and a lot of that has to do with the roadmap before me. Granted, six months from now I may tell you something totally different, but, for right now I’m in the pre-road trip euphoria of packing snacks and making playlists. Things looks good. Long, but good. Interesting. Unpredictable. Before leaving my job last summer I took a hard look at my finances; what I needed to save, what I needed to make, and what I needed to spend. That last one seems counter intuitive, right? Who spends money when they aren’t 100% on paying next month’s rent?

Well, apparently….me! This is weird because I have always prided myself on putting a $20 limit on purchasing anything I don’t need. But. But. But. Butttttt….Here is the thing: the concept of need is a murky one when it comes to investing in yourself. I can’t remember the last time I bought myself a new shirt but I can tell you exactly how much I spent on my business last week and how much time/money/productivity I expect to see in return next year. 

I can’t say everything is going turn out how I want it, but if it doesn’t, I don’t want it to be because I skimped on myself. I am an investment. And I am worth it.

Now, normally I would shrug off the idea of spending $60 on an agenda book when I could buy one at Target for $10, or a phone app for $2, but I had heard about this one, The Day Designer by Whitney English, from a few people. Terms like “game changer” and “task master” came up more than once. I figured it must have been the real deal, so I bought it for myself as an early birthday present, and, don’t you know, it came wrapped in polka dot tissue paper and pink velvet ribbon! Major pretty factor. More importantly, it’s changed my daily work strategy in a major way. It is the best $60 I ever spent.

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The edition I bought starts in August (I’m guessing that is a school year thing?) but they have regular January-December editions as well, and in the most spectacular patterns. To tell you the truth, I considered buying a new one for January in new pattern but I have so many notes and insights in the one I’ve been using since August, I don’t want to part with it. Also, if I’m being truthful here, I started writing this post the first week of December thinking some of you guys might want to buy or request a Day Designer as a Christmas gift, but when I went to insert the purchase link I saw they sold out and closed shop for the rest of the year! (Seriously y’all. When was the last time you heard about calendars selling out BEFORE Christmas? That should tell you something. This thing has a cult following. It is a cult and I am drinking the Kool-Aid!). Welp, the shop reopened today. I was hoping to provide a link so you could check them out but THEY ARE ALREADY SOLD OUT. AGAIN. The good news is, they have a waiting list and you can buy direct from some stores around the country. I’m sad that I can’t tell where you to buy one direct, but if you are in the market, I’ll tell you why I think it’s worth the wait…

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1. Each day is slotted with two central columns, one for time, one for to dos. That doesn’t sound like a big deal but it is. Most agendas favor one or the other. When your schedule involves 20 small items of varying length/time/importance/non-importance, being able to line them up in the same spot is a big deal. A really big deal. Also, the to-do lists come with little boxes and checking them off feels so good.

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2. And this is really my #1 but I’ll mention it second; At the top left corner of each page there is something called “Today’s Top Three” –
which I use to mark off the three things I need to complete. Three. Three things. There are days when I don’t have my act together enough to even write anything else on the page, but if I can get those top three items, I can handle it. Not going to lie, sometimes one of my top threes is “shower” and you know what? I don’t feel bad about it one bit. I get to check off that little box and feel good about it just the same. BAM. Shower. High five!

There are also little boxes for other stuff like “Daily gratitude” “Dinner” “Don’t forget”….just stuff that comes in handy. I don’t necessarily fill them out, but knowing there is a consistent receptacle for this information is hugely helpful. And I guess that really is the thing – just knowing there is a place to file stuff away. Wow. It makes a difference! One time, I heard somebody say, “When you feel overwhelmed, make a list and you’ll feel better.” And I have found that to be very true. Sure, working and doing is what it takes to lighten the load and really feel better, but, making an itemized list releases just enough steam to make sure the work happens and stuff gets done.

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3. Every month has a two-page month at a glance page as well. That seems totally normal right? But do you know how hard it is to find daily agendas that ALSO have an integrated 30 day spread out large enough that you can make notes? IT’S HARD. I CHECKED. Personally, I use the month at a glance stuff to calendar the blog and the other pages for work. Of course they overlap all the time, but it’s nice to have two calenders running in tandem in one spot. I imagine this would make sense for someone wanting to split business/personal activities, or work/school, diet/exercise… you get the idea. It really does come in handy. No idea why every daily agenda doesn’t do this…

Two other nifty things.

Thing one – The first 6 pages of the book are dedicated to brainstorming ideas and breaking down goals. This is stuff we all sorta know how to do, but because it’s laid out so beautifully and clean it prompts me to want to up my game. That is huge. That is the power of graphic design at its best! Also, the questions are very thoughtful and pointed. It’s strange how quickly life priorities start coming out when someone asks you a pointed question (and on paper, no less).

Thing two – Each month is tabbed to a nice brassy gold piece of cardstock where you can dump whatever you want. I keep a legal pad for all my everyday notes, but at least once a day I cross something that I want to file under “don’t forget that”…thus, a special place for nuggets of brain dump comes in handy. This is also something you don’t find in a lot of agendas where the layout is designed to economize on space. The Day Designer is bigger, heftier, and doesn’t skimp. It’s probably not the kind of agenda you keep in your purse at all times, but it’s great on a desk or bedside table…whatever place you use it most. I cannot recommend it enough!

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A year ago, if you had told me I would be writing a blog post about a sold out day planner I’d tell you you were drunk, but here we are and this is what I know about that. Just as a disclaimer, I want to be sure to say that this is not a sponsored post. I have no affiliation with Whitney English or the Day Designer, other than my place in the chorus of praise and thanks. If they sell out again (which they will) I cannot tell you where to buy a copy online. You are on your own. I’m just telling you a good thing when I see it. If you are interested in learning more, here is an in-depth video comparing the Day Designer to a similar planner, and here is a link to a podcast interview with Whitney English titled “Intuition, Failure and Authenticity” where you can get a feel for the strategy and intention behind the design.

 

Comments

  1. Mandy says

    I bought one this year too – but ordered the January one in August and was waiting patiently to start using it. I spilled coffee in my bag on mine in December (I was already taking it back and forth from home to work) and now those first six pages are not so pretty 🙁 but I am liking it. I am a huge list person and trying to be more efficient at work daily sand hoping this will help in that area.

  2. says

    Thanks for sharing! I listened to the podcast and found it very inspiring. I don’t have this planner but I have a monthly planner and a daily checklist I created myself that I use in a similar way. I may have to invest in one of these next year though.

    • aunt peaches says

      Agreed, I found the podcast to be helpful all by itself, regardless of whatever system you use. She has a fascinating story!

  3. says

    I am a big believer in the act of writing something on nice paper with a nice pen. It is when you’re able to be the most personal with yourself, I think. This thing sounds amazing!

    • aunt peaches says

      Oh dear, that looks like a whole new kind of interesting!! Is it strictly online or does it work in conjunction with a printed piece?

  4. says

    I bought the Jan-Dec planner for this year. It’s my first time using a Day Designer, but I’ve also heard so much good ranting and raving that I had to check it out. I have to admit, I’m a little overwhelmed by all of the boxes, but also so excited by all of the boxes! A place for appointments, lists, dinner ideas… once I get the hang of it, I know it’ll be a dream come true!

    • aunt peaches says

      Yup! It takes a little getting used to, but then it starts planting seeds and suddenly I find my brain trained to think in conjunction with the boxes. I find myself thinking about grocery shopping and instead of ‘What do I need to buy?’ I’m thinking ‘What boxes need to be filled?’ and then I take the list from there. Sounds weird but is surprisingly helpful. I love it!

  5. Beth Boman says

    It’s beautiful. I’m sad they don’t at least have photos of the different designs, even if they aren’t currently available. I love that you can sign up and print out a sample page to give the concept a whirl. Very intriguing…I struggle a lot with goal breakdown and not just listing tons of big goals that are impossible to tackle in a small amount of time.

    • aunt peaches says

      I have the same problem. Marie Forleo had a great youtube video on goal making a while ago. If I find it I’ll send you a link – she’s real good st breaking stuff into bite size pieces.

  6. Deb in Oklahoma says

    List! List! I must have a list! Lists make my world go round, and I just love the feeling of accomplishment when that red Stinks-A-Lot (aka Marks-a-Lot) marker squeaks across an item on the list that was previously unfinished. I’m all for anything that helps keep one organized and moving forward. Even if it is only a piece of legal-sized paper taped on a kitchen cabinet door. It works.

    • aunt peaches says

      Agreed! Legal pad paper on the door gets the job done 😉

  7. Trish Prentice says

    Yippee! I joined their waiting list after reading your recommendation. Today, January 13th,at 4:19PM, CST, I got an email saying they had just gotten a new, limited shipment of the black spotty Day Designers. I ordered mine right that minute. Now I can join the club. See you around the “organized” block.

    • aunt peaches says

      I’M SO JEALOUS!! i wanted a spotty one too! You are going to have so much fun 😉

  8. Marcia says

    So, I was walking through my local Target today and walked past an end cap of day planners, one of which had a pretty, gold striped cover. I read across the front the words “Day Designer” and I immediately had this conversation in my brain that went something like, “is this the Aunt Peaches planner? The life changing planner. The planner that will help me get me get my schist* together?” I quickly looked up a google search and indeed, it is the same-ish Day Designer for $20! While it is not exactly the same format, it’s pretty close for a third of the price. Anyway, in my rambling way, the moral of this story is that a little peach pit stuck in a crevice of my brain and I thank you. I love it. In fact, one of my top three today was to shower… 🙂

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