Practical decisions: Choosing a planner – daily vs. weekly layouts

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Planners are highly effective tools if you can find the one that works for you. I’ve been loyal to a combination of digital planning and a weekly paper planner. For awhile now, I’ve been wanting to switch to a daily planner layout and have been testing the waters with the daily version of the Passion Planner. Here are my thoughts on making that particular choice..

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A daily planner layout typically gives you either one or two full pages for you to lay out your schedule, plans, creative thoughts and daily inspiration. This layout is especially useful when you want to spend a little more time on mapping out your priorities and if you also want the option to journal in conjunction with the planning process.

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A weekly planner layout typically provides an overview of an entire week on one or two pages. This may be perfect during a time in life when you just want to look at the big picture and jot down brief notes while blocking out your schedule.

I think it can be motivational to switch between the two options as life changes and your need to write more and sort out priorities either expands or contracts.

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After testing out the daily Passion Planner layout for awhile, I’ve found four big pros to switching to this particular type of layout if you’ve been considering it –

  1. If you’ve been wanting to track a personal fitness challenge or a time constrained project, a daily planner layout used solely for that particular activity can provide extra motivation. Having a separate space to write out accomplishments, bulleted goals for the next day, detailed reactions to how things are progressing and a place to put in pomodoro style timed challenges or other motivational tools like habit trackers can be a game changer.
  2. You have more room to separate personal and work tasks, more room to write and more room to process. I think this can be useful if you need a place to sort through your thoughts as you go through your day.
  3. You have a dedicated space to write notes to yourself about different epiphanies on a particular date – how you felt after a particular interaction, your opinion on a book you’ve been reading, any new ideas sparked during the day for new ways to do things..little notes on getting back to someone..or reminders to read through a particular article or webpage you’ve bookmarked. This is also fun to look back on over time.
  4. You’re giving yourself more structured time during the day to write about things that are important to you. I like spending a few minutes at the end of my day to re-prioritize and write about anything meaningful that I want to be able to look back on. This layout is more of a structured planner and journal combination that can provide a good incentive to be more regular about sorting through and clarifying your priorities.
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As with everything, there are caveats. Here is when I don’t think the daily planner layout would work:

  1. If the thought of having to spend more time writing on a daily basis just seems like one more chore that will add to the stress of the day, go for a simpler option – using a daily to-do list may be less stress-inducing if you’re in this phase.
  2. If you want the big picture overview of your week or month every time you turn to a planner, choose a weekly or monthly layout instead. Or, if you truly enjoy spending the time, go for both the daily and weekly options and switch between the two to incorporate a deep dive into your day and an overview of the bigger picture.
  3. If you’re already using another tool like a daily journal, a daily planner layout may feel like too much to add on. If that’s the case, a weekly planner used in conjunction with your journal may be a more effective way to accomplish the same thing.
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Do you like using planners? If you do, what is your favorite planner of choice (and why..)?

11 thoughts on “Practical decisions: Choosing a planner – daily vs. weekly layouts

  1. While I was working in public relations and advertising everyone in our agency had a two-page daily planner by Franklin Daytimer. I found it very helpful. The right hand page had a schedule starting at 7 a.m. with a line for every half hour. The left hand page had a place to list tasks and make notes.

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  2. I like to use a simple weekly planner where I write my to do lists each day and write in meetings/appointments. I typically get the blue sky planner from Target – reasonable price and no frills but still cute! I also write almost daily in a journal to process feelings. I actually take it to and from work with me because it’s my emotional support journal lol. But really, I have found that having it always on hand let’s me better process my emotions and move forward. I also like to keep a Google Calendar. I like the ease of time blocking for my various tasks and the flexibility of moving them around if my schedule gets disrupted which it always does. I also often retroactively add in things I did in my gCal and appreciate the search function. Plus, you can color code, invite others to whatever you have scheduled, and it’s accessible on my phone I always know my availability without needing to check my planner.

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    1. I’ve seen the blue sky planner – that is an excellent one. Agree, journaling everyday does feel like therapy to me as well. I definitely notice that I feel lighter if I’m consistent with journaling. You’re using an excellent combination of tools. Thank you for sharing!

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  3. Love passion planner. Been using for for four years now. I need the weekly, definitely, but I do see the allure of the daily, as I would love more space to write. I tried buying the large spiral size, but it was too heavy!

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