I use my planner everyday, referencing it first thing in the morning while my coffee is being made to remind myself what we have planned for the day, and to check my to do list, before the day gets going.
If you've been reading this blog for a while you probably know that I love my planners. I was seriously loyal to my Erin Condren Life Planner (referral link) for nearly 4 years (2011-2012, 2013, 2014 + one more I never blogged about), but decided that for this year I wanted to give something else a try.
What drew me to the Simplified Planner, I have the daily version, was its simplicity and that each day gets a full-page, except for the weekend days, which share a page.
On the left side there is a column for your Daily Schedule broken down by the hour -- I like this because it helps me see the flow of our day. Some days I use it a lot and block everything else, but of course, we have many days where we fly my the seats of our pants and have little planned. Overall this feature has been helpful though since our days have become busier as Owen has gotten older.
The other column has sections for a To Do List, Notes and Dinner. I'm a big list maker! I make lists for our day, shopping lists, long term to do lists, chore lists, etc. The only problem is that I end up with a huge stack of lists that it's hard to keep track of them all. Having my daily to do list right there in my planner makes it easier for me to keep track of what I have to do on that day, and I can skip ahead in the week or month to add certain to do's (pay a bill, make a phone call, buy a birthday gift) to a specific day.
I use the Notes section to jot down the blog post I have planned for the day, and the Dinner section to remind myself what I've planned to make for dinner.
I really like having so much extra space for each day. With my Erin Condren planner I didn't have a lot of space to write daily things down, and the days would get messy and crowded. The one thing I miss in this planner is being able to see the whole week at a glance, but I guess that is the trade off for getting to have so much space for each day.
The planner is broken down with colorful, laminated tabs that separate each month.
Each month gets a two-page spread. This is a must-have in any planner, in my opinion. This feature helps me keep track of birthdays, anniversaries, holidays and big events, which I write in for the full year as soon as I start using the planner so I don't forget anything. Then, as the year goes along I fill those dates into the daily pages at the start of each new month.
There is a small column in this section too for notes. I use this to write a reminder for the month, like to book a trip, sign up for classes, start a project or buy birthday gifts.
And that is IT!
There are no other special pages for notes, important phone numbers, birthdays & anniversaries, extra storage pouches, note paper, etc. There are just two types of pages in this planner; your daily calendar pages and the monthly calendar. The planner is already pretty thick, so it's nice that they're aren't any additional pages since it would just be that much heavier, but I do kind of miss having some extra note space for long term list making or for writing down things I'd like to reference over time. For example, I'd really like a spot to make a to-buy list for the baby that I can add to over the next few months.
There is one slim pocket on the inside of the cover where I keep stamps and other important pieces of paper I'll need when planning.
The planner also came with a set of flag stickers, which I've used here and there, but usually forget about.
I've been using Le Pen in my planner this year and I really like these pens. I have the 18-Color Pen Set, and I really do use all the colors. They write neatly and clearly, and the colors are vivid. The bext part is that the ink does not bleed through to the back of the page!
So that's it! I'm not quite sure if I will be using another Simplified Planner for next year yet, but I am considering it since it has worked so well for me this year!