Friday, September 4, 2015

Day Designer Review & A Paperchase Dupe

Day Designer
I have always loved getting a new diary and am forever on the search for the perfect method way to organise my life. I've already previously mentioned my Filofax Domino and Moleskine diaries over the years. Both have acted well but with planning huge these days and instagram and pinterest filled with various options, beautifully decorated with stickers it was the Day Designer that caught my attention. I promptly added to my Christmas list and I was lucky enough to open it on Christmas Day with my mum exclaiming 'I won't tell you how much the postage cost'.

Nine months into the year I thought it was an adequate time to give my thoughts by way of a review, especially if you're thinking of adding one to your Christmas list.

My intention was to use the Day Designer as 'mission control' containing all the details of daily life as well as being my blog planner. I treated myself to the small and lightweight Smythson diary to have on the go in my handbag and decided these two diaries would work in tandem (as well as the calendar on my PC at work!) to ensure I would have organisational peace.

The first pages of your Day Designer share the story of it's creation, pages to write done your visions, a mission statement and goals for the year, principles and passions. There are areas to write your strengths and even a fancy strategic brand plan. There's even a grid to measure your goals throughout the year. 

These pages have remained blank for me. This highlights the first problem I have with such a 'specific' style of planning and that is that whilst I enjoy a plan my lifestyle lends itself more to the sporadic and flexible type. The same way I don't have a bucket list of sorts because if I want to do something I will and I'm pretty happy with where I am at it's often not easy, nor is there anything to articulate in such a formal manner.

Each month is tabbed so you can refer quickly to them but one thing I struggled with with whilst you could easily move to the month you would spend time flicking through the pages for a specific date. Obviously the spiral bound nature means you can always have the book open to that day but its still somewhat time consuming when searching through especially if you're making appointments by phone or similar.

At the beginning of each section is a two page month at a glance and then a page per day (except for weekends which I'll talk about in a moment) laid out with your schedule on one side and to do list on the other. You also have the following sections, Top Three, Due, Dollar, Dinner, Don't Forget, Download and Daily Gratitude.

It is worth saying now, especially as it will become quite clear as I continue that the Day Designer hasn't worked for me or my lifestyle. As I've said I lead a fairly spontaneous and flexible lifestyle by design and many of my plans are pretty spontaneous or subject to change at a moments notice. Whilst there are various dates that are secured in advance, I can have no plans one night and someone suggests a drink after work and I'm there. A blog event can come up with a day or twos notice, I have no children to note down school holidays or events, nor a partner to keep track of. Even my blog schedule has some spontaneity as I like to play around with it depending on day to day events. Meal planning is not something I do for this reason (I throw more food away when I plan meals for the week than buying as I need) and I didn't find use for the 'dollars' section as my finances are dealt with by direct debit on the whole.

With regards to the schedule section Monday to Friday I can be found in work therefore you can argue the whole 9 - 5pm section is irrelevant to me. Yes I might note down an opticians appointment I'm attending over lunch but my office schedule is kept there. The day also starts at 5am. I can assure you that unless there's a flight I'm due to be on there are very rarely any appointments in my day at 5am! The day also ends at 9pm and for the aforementioned reasons I find that more limiting. It's the evenings during the week where my plans tend to happen. Admittedly there's little past that 9pm mark but even running 6 - 10pm would make more sense for me.

The To Do list is sufficient but because I don't have the Day Designer with me throughout the day it would only serve its purpose for actions once I'm home. As such I was still relying on my trusty notebook with it's to do list.

Whilst my socialising and activities tend to be of a weekend day evening my weekends are often spent working on my blog or general errands about the home. For the reason the lack of To Do lists on the weekends was limiting. There is not enough space to write down appointments and things to be done. I was generally able to make it work by essentially using it as a list rather than schedule (and again the timing, who gets up at 5am on a Sunday?) but neither worked effectively.

I actually stopped using the Day Designer in April which is a shame especially as it was so costly and I can certainly see how it would be amazing for those who work from home and will have access to it daily. For this reason I'm actually thinking as I write this post I'm thinking of taking it into work with me to see how it works to manage my day in that environment.

I have continued to use my Smythson diary successfully although I have just switched back to my old Louis Vuitton mini agenda to give that an airing so I'll have a comparison post of those coming up soon.

Paperchase 2016 Diary

I won't be replacing the Day Designer in 2016 but I have found a dupe of sorts that I am hoping will work better for me. Whilst swooning over notebooks and diaries in Paperchase last week I spotted this black and white striped 2016 diary which looked familar.

With a day to a page format which I prefer this gives me more space and freedom to combine scheduling and to do lists. The times running from 9 - 6pm still aren't ideal for me but they're not too restrictive for me to ignore them and I might source some stickers to cover them up. On the subject of stickers having this diary many months before we enter 2016 I'm hoping it'll also allow me to plan ahead and maybe decorate a little, dates like birthdays and pay days to add a little bit of fun to it's appearance.

Again the weekends are still split in two which is frustrating but as this diary was only £10 and I know that proper intense planning isn't for me I'm hoping it'll be a less costly and more practical way of planning my day. Another plus is it's lighter weight than the Day Designer so if I were interested in carrying it around with me it's more possible.

I certainly think that as a 'business' planner the Day Designer would be fantastic. If I were an at home blogger I could certainly see the potential or you are running a busy home. For these reasons and because I'm keen to make use of the Day Designer for the remainder of the year I'm planning to bring it into the office and see how it fares in that scenario - stay tuned for an update.

What are your thoughts on planners and how do you organise your day?

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  1. I've recently been sucked into the world of planning videos on youtube. I don't have a planner myself, I'm more of a list kind of person so they don't really work for me, but there's something oddly relaxing about having planning videos on in the background and seeing all the cute stickers that are available. The day designer looks beautiful, it's very swoon worthy, but it's a shame that it hasn't worked out for you. Hopefully the paperchase diary will be a better fit for you! <3 x

    1. Have you see the bullet journals? You might like that as a 'list person'. x

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    1. I have one of those too which I thought would work as a blog planner but it's been untouched too. I do love it tho x

  3. Great post, Victoria - really enjoyed it. Don't think I'll be investing in a Day Designer, but it does look beautiful, I must say! xx

    1. That's always great to hear. I've taken it into work and it's fairing much better there. x

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