July 4, 2023

Mid Year Planner Update

Last year I bought an Erin Condren Daily Duo, which I love.  It's a gorgeous planner, with gorgeous paper, and really lovely goal setting features.  It is big - this is January-June - but I have really enjoyed using it.

However, it was a sort of "too much planner" for me during first Trimester fatigue.  My daily schedule and goals were "survive".  I didn't feel well, which meant I didn't feel like tracking or planning for the future.  I didn't have energy to prioritize my day or work towards goals particularly.  

I feel much better now, but after 6 months in this planner I decided I just needed a switch.  I stuck the July-December on Vinted (where it still sits... EC has such better resale in the US!) and switched to an old school blank paper notebook:
I bought a bunch of these for £1 each ages ago, when I first started playing with planning. They have about 40 pages, so one lasts a month.  On the first page I write out my monthly goals:
And then I use one page a day after that.  I usually do a daily timeline, or at least a list of activities to do.  I also do a daily to-do list.  I haven't done any sort of habit trackers but I easily could.  Some days I take notes in it. Some days I don't write much.  I'm enjoying the free-form.  I used to do my daily page the night before, which would have spaces for reflection and tick-boxes for tasks, but now I've been pretty casual about what I include.

I'm enjoying the shift so far.  I think an old school notebook may suit better for after babies - daily planning is too overwhelming with newborns.  Maybe I'll be ready for another daily planner by January.   I'm sort of missing the bullet-style journal I used for the last few months of 2022, so I may get another one of those next year / after babies / when I decided this notebook is a bit too basic for me.

We also ordered a new family planner! We got our first planner in October 2020 (I had to check my email - what an odd time to get a planner!) and I loved the customization of Personal Planner.  I initially found it through AndreaDekker.com.  I've always selected our planner layouts, and we eventually started running them Sept-Aug in prep for being in the school year. 

2022-2023 I chose a column layout for the week with split sections.  I really liked the idea of having hours running down the side, but there wasn't an option of having the hours take 2/3 of the page and I knew I needed a section for tasks/non scheduled notes.  This is the layout I picked:
As you can see, we don't use the bottom section as much as expected.  We also don't do anything starting after 9pm so that turns into our little meal plan section.  Overall it works well for our family planning.  

This year Andy decided he wanted to pick and order the calendar.  Personal Planner has so many options but we/he eventually decided on this one:
Hopefully we are in the habit enough of writing things in time order that we can keep the order without having the hours on the side, and this way we have a bit more flexibility with space on the bottom of the daily.  I'll probably still write food at the bottom, and we will probably also add daily things like Nursery drop off/pickup in the bottom section.  The planner is A5 size and I would probably order a larger one if they made it but I couldn't find one this year.  

Do you use a specific planner or planning system?  Does your calendar start in September or January?


  1. I've been using Sprouted for almost 2 years (SHU sent me a copy of the planner and I fell in love with it). But I *might* switch things up next year. I am slumping with my use of the planner and I know this tends to happen over the summer and then I have a renewed interest in using it come fall. But it makes me sad to not have things nicely laid out for the whole year so I'm going to try to do a bit more in the planner this summer. I tend to print off weekly calendars that I fill out and put on the fridge since so much of the summer schedule is dictated by kids camps/swimming lessons/vacation plans etc so I want it to be visible for everyone in a central spot.

  2. I have a regular old empty journal that I use to track my goals. I've created my own personalized spreadsheet and tape in a monthly calendar to track my blog entries. I do think I might be able to find a readymade planner that could do all that for me and save me five minutes every month setting it up to my specifications, but I feel like I'd probably spend more than that researching planners!

  3. I have never heard of a family planner- like using an actual planner, I have only seen whiteboards. That is really intriguing! I use a BlueSky Day Designer planner- they run about $10 at Target and are lightweight. I love looking at planners and am tempted to buy nicer ones, but I feel like a lot of what I see online is much bigger than what I want.

  4. I have a Minimalist undated planner plus an accessory notebook and I think I'm sticking to it. It has no embellishments which helps with focus and I always add colors to it depending on the month. I did notice that dating the planner was daunting plus I was anxious about making a mistake :)

  5. I love planners. I used to get EC planners, then switched to Inkwell Press (before the went over to a disc-bound system, which I hate) and I am not using a simple weekly Fringe planner. I think there are different seasons for different types of planners.

  6. I used to get EC planners and loved them, but have been going more and more toward Google calendar, even though I do love having everything so neatly laid out and color coded in a paper planner. However, my last couple of years worth have been mostly empty so I am starting to pivot more to electronic. I sometimes make lists in a regular college ruled notebook if I want to be able to look at it and check it off (like when we go camping each summer).