The Ultimate Day Designer Daily Planner Layout Review

 The Day Designer Daily Planner

If you follow me on Instagram, you know how much I love my Day Designer planner. I talk about it all. the. time. They probably get sick of me tagging them. But the format of the Day Designer has been so beneficial to me.  It helps me keep my priorities straight, so I want to share the love.

I’ll be honest; I’ve experimented with other daily planners. But I always come back to the Day Designer. And the reason I do so is because of this Top Three section. 

 The Day Designer Top Three

The Day Designer Top Three

This area helps me in two ways. First, it forces me to pick, out of all the things I might want to accomplish in any given day, the three most important ones. These are the things that are going to make the most difference in my life. For example, it’s not likely that I’m ever going to put “Sweep the floors” in that Top Three section. While I love having freshly swept floors, the kind that feels good under bare feet, an activity like that isn’t going to move me from where I am today to where I want to be in the future. 

Secondly, the Top Three has its own section from all the other To Dos that might end up on my list, like sweeping the floor. The Top Three is right at the top of the page. I can’t miss it. And because the Top Three is separate from all the other tasks, I know what the Most Important Tasks are so I’m going to get those done first before I tackle the other things on my To Do list. 

Having the Top Three has made a massive difference in my productivity levels. There are some days I don’t use my planner. And I still get stuff done. It’s just not the important stuff. It’s not the activities that are going to make a big difference in my life or my family’s life. 

But when I plan, with intention, the Top Three things, those are the days that I really build momentum and move the needle forward on my goals.

 The Day Designer—Due, Dinner, Dollars, and Don't Forget

The Day Designer—Due, Dinner, Dollars, and Don't Forget

I also appreciate having the 4 D boxes, as I call them—Due, Dinner, Dollars, and Don’t Forget. I don’t often use them, myself, but I think it’s great to have the ability to track all these things in one place. It’s also a neat feature for memory keeping. Depending on what you put in the boxes, you can look back on your meals, your workouts, your spending habits, writing habits, reading habits, really any habit you want to track in the Don’t Forget box. 

The other thing I love about the Day Designer is the classic, sophisticated black and white aesthetic of the page design. It’s clean and elegant. There’s a place for everything you might want to make a note of and there’s even a reminder to practice gratitude. 

Because I am such a fan of the Day Designer, and because I own all the daily options, I thought it would be helpful to you if I wrote a post about them. There are a few layout options across the daily planners, so hopefully, this will help you decide which layout might work best for you.

Day Designer Ultimate Daily Planner Review

First up is the original Day Designer daily planner layout. The mini is 6.25 x 8.3 inches. The Flagship edition is the largest of all the options at 9 x 9.75 inches.  They have the same page layout with just a few minor differences. These planners are available at daydesigner.com. There are different cover options to choose from.

 The Day Designer—The Mini and The Flagship

The Day Designer—The Mini and The Flagship

Both of these planners have an inspirational or motivational quote. They have the Top Three area and the 4 D boxes. Due, Dinner, Dollars, and Don’t Forget. At the bottom of the page, both sizes have a Notes section and a Gratitude section.

Where these two layouts differ is in the hourly schedule. The Flagship, which is the larger size, runs from 5:00 am to 9:00 pm. The mini runs from 7:00 am to 7:00 pm. 

Note: The other thing I appreciate about the DD is the amount of writing space between the lines. I tend to write on the large side, so I enjoy having plenty of white space in which to write. There is roughly 5/16 inch or 8mm between the lines. It's the perfect size.

 The Day Designer weekend page

The Day Designer weekend page

In these planners, Saturday and Sunday share a page. Because I run on a typical Monday-Friday schedule, this works for me. My weekends usually don’t have activities tied to a specific time, so I ignore the hourly schedule on the weekends and use the lines to make a To Do list. If individual weekend pages are a deal-breaker for you, you might want to look at Day Designer’s A5 planning page.

A5 Daily Planning Page

The next daily layout option, also available from daydesigner.com is the A5 ring-bound inserts. 

 The Day Designer ring-bound A5 planner page

The Day Designer ring-bound A5 planner page

Again, this page has the Top Three spot. But instead of the 4 D boxes, there are five lines, with symbols, for Workout/Health, Dinner, Due, Dollars, and Don’t Forget.  This layout does not have the inspirational/motivational quote at the top.

At the bottom, you still have a Notes and Gratitude section, but you also have a place to track your water and food intake. 

The hourly schedule on the A5 planner page runs from 6:00 am to 9:00 pm.  The lines are about 6mm apart or roughly, 1/4 inch.

Undated pages come with the starter pack, but you can purchase dated pages in the Day Designer shop if you prefer.  And Saturday and Sunday are on separate pages.

The Flagship, the Mini, and the A5 planning options are available at daydesigner.com.

Now we come to the line of daily planners that are part of the Day Designer for Blue Sky collaboration. If you like a little pop of color in your planner, this line might be your thing. 

There are two size options. One is 5 x 8, and the other is 8 x 10. 

 Day Designer for Blue Sky 

Day Designer for Blue Sky 

First is the smaller 5 x 8. You’ve got the Top Three, and an hourly schedule that runs from 6:00 am to 8:00 pm, the To-do list, a Gratitude box. Instead of a notes section, there’s a box called Tonight. You could use that for dinner, general evening plans, something to look forward to, or events that take place after 8:00 pm. The weekend layout combines Saturday and Sunday on one page. And instead of a Top Three, it has an area for you to list with intention three things you look forward to doing. Don’t forget to plan a little fun in your weekend.

Last up is the 8 x 10 edition. This layout is a bit different from the smaller one. 

 Day Designer for Blue Sky

Day Designer for Blue Sky

It’s a 3-column format. The entire left column is the daily schedule running from 6:00 am to 8:00 pm BUT with 1/2 hours increments. Some people will like being able to plan in smaller increments than one hour so if that’s you, here’s your answer. 

The second column is the Top Three followed by a To Do list underneath, and the Tonight box at the bottom.

The 3rd column is the quote, followed by a substantial Notes section and underneath that, the Gratitude box. 

And because I’m super geeky like that, I also measured the space between the lines in the Day Designer for Blue Sky planners. Both editions give you roughly 6-7 mm or about 1/4 inch of writing space. 

The Day Designer for Blue Sky planners are available at Blue Sky, Target, Office Max, Staples, and Amazon. There are different cover options as well as different color interiors but the layout is the same.

The one I use most is the Day Designer mini. I do love the classic black and white design. The Flagship is a bit big and bulky for my taste. 

But I also really like the planners from the Blue Sky line. Sometimes it’s nice to have a bit of color on your planner pages. So I have a hard time picking a favorite; that’s how I come to own multiple daily planners each year. 

This post has centered on the different layouts of the daily options. But if you have other questions about the Day Designer planners, you might be able to find the answers in the other Day Designer posts I wrote. This one is about the Flagship. This one is about the Mini. And this one is about the A5 Luxe planner. 

I love my Day Designer so much, and it has been such a great tool in my life, that I want everyone to try it. And all of these planners are available in an academic year format (in addition to a calendar year format) that starts on July 1. 

Planner Review: Day Designer—A5 Luxe

 Day Designer Planner Review

In addition to the coil-bound daily planners I reviewed here and here, Day Designer offers you the opportunity to customize your planner with their A5 Luxe Collection.

There are currently four A5 binder options:

  • Mindful Mint
  • Organized Orchid
  • Neat & Tidy Navy
  • White Pebble 
 Day Designer A5 Binder

 This is my Neat & Tidy Navy binder with the Starter Insert Pack that comes in each binder.

 Day Designer A5

I love the gold rings. I've had this planner for about a year and the rings are still in excellent condition. 

 Day Designer A5 interior

This is a zippered pocket as well as card holders.

 Day Designer A5 inserts

(The pen is part of the Day Designer for Blue Sky collection.)

 Day Designer A5 month beginning

Each month is covered over four pages. The month opens with an opportunity to write down your goals for the upcoming month. Whitney English, creator of the Day Designer, calls them HEART goals.

  • Help Yourself
  • Everyone Else
  • Attitude & Academics
  • Resources
  • Trade & Career
 Day Designer A5 monthly spread

Turn over the goals page and you have the monthly layout. It is the same layout as in the Flagship and Mini planners.

 Day Designer A5 monthly on 2 pages

You'll notice the weekend days are lightly shaded to differentiate from the weekdays.

 Day Designer A5 month in review

At the end of the month is an opportunity for you to review the month. You can make note of what went well that month, your memories, and things that you want to do differently in the coming months.

 Day Designer A5 daily page

This is the undated daily page that comes with each Starter Insert Pack. (If you prefer, Day Designer does offer dated A5 inserts.) The layout is a bit different from the layout in the flagship and the mini planners. 

 Day Designer A5

There is a spot for your Top Three, my favorite part of the Day Designer planner and the reason I keep purchasing their planners. Having the Top Three is a daily reminder to focus on the tasks that are *most important*, the tasks that will be most valuable to me or to my family. 

The column on the right serves the same purpose as the 4 D's in the bound planners. 

  • The heart with a rhythm strip is for exercise.
  • The dinner bell is for dinner.
  • The calendar is to remind you what is due that day.
  • The dollar is to track expenses.
  • The exclamation point  is "Don't forget."
 Daily Page in an A5 Day Designer

The hourly column on the A5 inserts runs from 6:00 am to 9:00 pm. To match, there are 16 lines under the To Do column.

 A5 Planner layout

At the bottom of the page, there is a section for you to plan or to track all the day's meals and snacks. You can also track your water intake. And the heart is the area for you to write your daily gratitude. If you haven't read my other Day Designer posts, practicing daily gratitude can make you happier and healthier.

 Day Designer To Do List

The starter pack for the A5 includes several pages of the Big To Do List.

 Day Designer Expenses page

There are pages to track your expenses.

 Day Designer Notes page

There are lined Notes pages.

 Day Designer Grid page

There are dot grid pages.

 A5 Divider

The starter pack inserts come with the purchase of an A5 binder. But if you already have an A5 planner that you love, you do have the option of purchasing an individual starter pack. There are two starter pack options. One pack has blue and green tabbed dividers. The other pack comes with dividers that are shades of red and pink.

 Day Designer page comparisons

Here are all three pages laid out together. The largest is from the flagship planner. The middle one is from the mini planner. And the page on top is the A5 daily page. You can see there is not much difference between the size of the mini planner page and the A5 planner page.

The other difference between the planner pages is the weight of the paper. The A5 insert paper is thicker than the Flagship & Mini paper. The A5 paper is 120 gsm and the Flagship and mini paper is 90 gsm. If you are curious about paper weights (as in lbs and gsm), this is my go-to page for comparisons.

I love how the A5 is so customizable. While you could use it as laid out above, there are a few other insert options available for the A5 Luxe planners. You could also use any number of printable inserts from Etsy. My favorite shop (and one whose printables go nicely with the Day Designer esthetic) is the Peanuts Planner Co

To purchase an A5 Luxe Planner or to see the other planner options at Day Designer, visit their website.

Planner Review: Day Designer—The Mini

 Day Designer Daily Mini, the A5 Luxe Binder, and the Daily Flagship.

While I began the year with the Day Designer flagship, I began using the academic version of the mini daily planner in early September. The layout of the mini is just about identical to the flagship; it's just a smaller size. If you want a daily planner to carry around with you, the mini will be more portable than the flagship.

 Day Designer Mini

It has an inside pocket, followed by goal setting pages and a yearly overview. 

I wish I could take better pictures (I'm learning) because that blue is just beautiful.

 Day Designer Mini Inside Cover
 Day Designer Mini Ideal Month
 Day Designer Mini Ideal Week

As far as page layout goes, this is one of the small differences I noticed between the mini and the flagship. The is the yearly overview calendar for the mini. It is not a two page spread like in the flagship.

 The Mini Yearly Calendar

The monthly calendar layout is the same.

 The Mini Monthly Calendar view

The daily page has all the same sections as the flagship. The only difference is that the hourly column begins at 7:00 am and ends at 7:00 pm.

 The mini daily page

The Top Three and the 4 D's (Due, Dinner, Dollars, & Don't Forget) are part of the mini page layout. If you missed my previous post about the flagship planner, I love the Top Three. It is *the* reason why I keep coming back to the Day Designer planners. Having a Top Three forces me to prioritize what gets done. It forces me to stop and think, "If nothing else gets done, what are the three things that will make the biggest difference?"

 Day Designer Mini Daily Page

The picture below shows the size difference between the two planners. According to the Day Designer site, the flagship (on the bottom) is 9" wide by 9.75" tall. The mini planner (on the top) is 6.625" tall by 8.3" tall.

 Size comparison of the Day Designer Flagship and Mini
 The Flagship and the Mini

And the picture below gives you an idea of how the daily planner pages themselves compare. The flagship is on the bottom. The mini page is on the top. Pulling from the Day Designer site, the flagship page is 7.3" wide by 9.5" tall . The mini page is 6" wide by 8.125" tall. I have always used the flagship size and was happy with it, because I don't carry my daily planner with me. But now that I have tried the mini, I think that is the size I will purchase in the future. It takes up less room on my desk, plus it's just a more comfortable size.

 Page comparison of the Day Designers

Additional comparisons—In the flagship planner, the hours run from 5:00 am-9:00 pm. In the mini, the hours are 7:00 am-7:00 pm. There are 17 lines in the To Do section of the flagship. There are 13 lines in the To Do section of the mini. In both planners the lines in the Top Three, the hourly schedule, and the To Do list are 8mm apart. (Which is plenty of room if you like to write big like me!) If you think of any questions, let me know and I will do my best to answer them.

In the next post, I will show you the Day Designer A5 Luxe Planner in Neat & Tidy Navy. Oh my gosh, the Luxe planners are gorgeous. 

You can purchase a Day Designer planner and see the different cover options, at the Day Designer website.