How I Use My Simplified Planner To Keep on Top of the Crazy

When I bought my first Simplified Planner from Emily Ley, I was full of ideas for how I would use it to have the most organized year of my life.

So, I used it for three beautiful days, and then I didn’t open it up again for four months. Have you ever done this? Or abandoned your latest organizational system?

Here’s my theory on why we leave our grand organization plans by the wayside…

At the end of the day, organization itself takes time and effort.

Writing in a planner consistently takes time. Writing down your appointments instead of stashing them in your head or in one of four apps on your phone is way easier. (I’m not saying apps like iCal or Google Calendar aren’t great…but they take effort to keep up with, too!)

Here’s my bottom line for this post: if you’re not willing to put some time and effort into keeping yourself organized, then you’re not going to be organized.

I resurrected my Simplified Planner in early May because I felt completely out of control of my mile-long to-do lists, giant piles of laundry, and even my bank account.

I even went so far as to physically cut out the months of January through April. That’s how insistent I was that I needed a fresh start.

Now, the Simplified Planner costs a pretty penny. But I’m a huge, huge fan of it. I owe that little thing at least 40% of my sanity. I highly recommend it. More than that, though, I want you to invest a little bit of your time in staying on top of your life. The time is there, it exists, you just need to convince yourself that you’re worth it.

Here’s how I use mine!

I DO write down all of my appointments and meetings.

As quickly as I can. I have a pretty good memory and the chances that I’ll remember them on my own is pretty high. But at some point, I decided that my limited daily reserve of mental energy could be used for more productive stuff. And it really does put me at ease knowing it’s all in there.

I DON’T plan out every single day, hour by hour.

I found that doing so was totally unrealistic, and an easy way to make myself feel like a failure before lunch.

Planning your day down to the second might make you feel like you’re on top of it, but NO ONE is in control of their lives to that degree! Don’t let that planner fool you!

I DO carry it with me everywhere I go.

One of the things that I love about the Simplified Planner is that it’s made of heavy-duty paper, boasts a hard cover, and has giant spiral binding. It’s made for us girls like us who are always plunking our stuff in the backseat of our car and on coffee shop floors.

The “Daily” Simplified Planner that I use has a page for every day, with appointment space on the left and to-do’s on the right. Keeping it with me allows me to reference it quickly when I’m out running errands or have extra time to tackle a few things. Again, it’s all in my planner, so I don’t have to waste my mental energy on remembering the 7 things on my Target list.

I DON’T use it every day.

Seriously, I don’t. I use it most days but if I have a week that spins out of control, to the point where I really do need to play it by ear, I don’t beat myself up. Sometimes I map out to-do’s a few days in advance and still don’t glance at my planner for a day or two.

And that is okay.

Feeling chained to the thing is what made me stop using it in the first place. Girl, you are a human being. Nothing you’re going to do is perfect, especially when it’s a task as large as keeping your messy, wonderful life organized. If you put pressure on yourself to keep up with it perfectly, it’ll be too much pressure. And my guess is you’ll end up abandoning it all together!

I DO use it as a creative outlet.

I pick up pretty washi tape whenever I see it and bought a set of Le Pen’s from Amazon that I keep in a little bag in my purse. Basically, I deck the crap out of my planner pages.

Maybe it’s because I’m a Libra, but I like everything to be pretty all the time. I love making things colorful. I use different colors every day for planning and it makes the whole thing feel fun and fresh. It’s a completely do-able way for me to fit in some creativity and in my busy schedule, and I love that!

I DON’T stress when my pages get messy.

Again with the perfection thing: obsessing over your planning is going to make you feel like you’re in control of something that you’re not, aka your life.

Your planner should support you as you go about your messy, lovely way, not hold you hostage.

Since I use the Daily Edition, I get a fresh start every single day. So on the days when half of what I’ve written is scribbled out and also there’s coffee stain on my 2 o’clock appointment slot, it’s cool. The next day, I get to turn the page. Scribbles aren’t worth my stress or yours, girlfriend!

I DO use it to make sure I’m making room for the right things.

My pal over at talks about this a lot. She challenged me to think of a list of things that are life-giving to me, like reading, taking the time to look put-together for my day, and holding my baby nephew.

I wrote my list at the very front of my planner and reference it all the time. When things are really wild I’ll actually schedule time for these things and write them in a different color, so I can visually see how much time in a day or week I’ve devoted to life-giving things.

Alright, sweet thing. Is the Simplified Planner worth the money? Absolutely. I love mine. And Emily Ley and her team have put a ton of thought into designing it in such a way that you don’t forget to make room for what matters most. You know, the good stuff. The moment spent laughing with your girlfriends, the first chilly hint of October in the air, watching your favorite movie for the thousandth time.

That’s how I really use my Simplified Planner, honestly. Not so my life can look perfect, but so I can leave room for the things that make my messy life wonderful.

How I Use My Simplified Planner via


    I’ve been thinking of getting one for awhile now, and I think I’m going to go for it now!
    Thanks girl!
    Love your blog!

    1. Author

      I think you’ll love it, Lesley! Let me know if you do end up ordering it. I’d love to know how it’s working for you!

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