It was obvious that I’d discuss daily planners after I addressed weekly planners, right?
This format, in combination with some of the planning tactics that I’ll talk about in later posts, has been the one that I used the most over the years. Daily planners usually have a page per day, oftentimes with hourly notations on the side. Less commonly they have a page for planning and across from it a page for notes. Sometimes the page is divided into sections for various meeting notes, todos, etc. Daily planners tend to be the thickest of planners, unless they split the year somehow, or only cover part of it (academic year planners, for example).
I’ve used the daily format the most because it allows for the most room to think and plan in, and the main reason I plan on paper is for the space it allows me to sit with a pen in hand and a blank (lined/squared) page and plan the direction, location and movement of my tasks like a general ordering troops around in the army. Push this one until tomorrow or early next week, this one gets a little marker for lower priority, and this one for higher, etc. The marking methods that I use have changed a bit over the years, but the format that I prefer largely hasn’t. I can oftentimes plan two days on a page, but it makes things feel cramped. I’m giving that format a try now (two days per page), and I’m likely going to revert back to my beloved page per day format soon. Ideas need space to breath, and when tasks get cramped I tend to miss a few of them. They just run on into each other in a condensed wall of text.
Like with weekly planners, daily planners have obvious inherent downsides. They’re thick and heavy. Unless you’re making them yourself (which is what I’ve been doing for years), you’ll be made to feel bad with every day you skip in them. They also don’t allow to easily see the bigger picture: having all the space that the weekly planners lack, they pay for that with the inability of letting you get a feel for your week in a glance. You remain mired in the day to day, and need to purposefully remember to look ahead to see what’s coming tomorrow, the day after, next week.
This is the reason that for years I’ve kept two notebooks that I turned into planners, a daily one (which was much more heavily used) and a weekly one (which I referenced once or twice a week). This combination worked the best for me until I got sick and it crumbled. Perhaps it will work for me again.
2 thoughts on “Ghosts of Planners Past: Daily Planners”
I used to use planners but shifted to a calendar (Outlook for work and Google for home) along with a list oriented organizer (Trello). I like Trello because it has a good mobile app and web experience and a satisfying tossing off the list in the mobile app of things that are done closest I have come to crossing things off on a piece of paper. I still make short will do today tasks lists on paper sometimes because I can carry it around when working in the garage or on our property.
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The combination of paper planning with digital calendars works best for me as well, even though my to do list is largely managed on paper these days.