I have always been one of those people who could somehow keep most of their schedule straight in their heads, only writing myself notes when something had more than a handful of details. But the older I get, the more I delve into the world of professional blogging, and into running a home that contains an active toddler, the more I realize just how easy it is to become overwhelmed and start forgetting and confusing important details.
I’ve known I needed a planner of some sort for a while, but none of the methods I tried worked well. Loose leaf monthly calendars got spread around or shuffled out of order. A standard monthly calendar worked to a point, but there is only ever so much room to write on those, and inevitably, something wouldn’t fit, and things fell through the cracks. I even tried simply writing everything in a spiral notebook, but it was hard to keep dates straight (and my toddler has a thing about tearing pages out of them). I needed a planner that was tailor-made for a blogger, mother, homemaker, and small business woman.
I stumbled across a review of the 2013 Daily Planner from The Homemaker’s Friend on another blog, and immediately thought, “That just might work!” Sue is a homemaker, a home schooler, a blogger… She has to fit all of the same kinds of things into her schedule that I do, only with more and older children (and I’m not to the home schooling stage yet). So I was super excited when she sent me the 2013 and the 2014 Daily Planner free, for review!
This planner is versatile, to say the least! It boasts multiple sections:
1. Yearly View ~ this section features a page of mini calendars and a “dates to remember” page for both the current and coming year. I like the “dates to remember” section, because it has so many potential uses. I used it for recording birthdays and anniversaries that I routinely observe with greeting cards or gifts. Another option would be to use the coming year’s “dates to remember” section to record things like yearly or long-term doctor’s appointments that get scheduled months in advance, or to aid in that last month or two before you switch to a new planner at the end of the year.
2. Monthly View ~ this section features your standard monthly calendar view, with a small “notes” section to one side. The individual dates are not very big, but they’re not overly small, either. The “notes” section is convenient for monthly “to-do” items that don’t fit on specific dates.
3. Weekly View ~ each two page spread in this section features a one week view, starting on Monday and ending on Sunday, and a “tasks list” with a double column feature. Each single day contains a double column, with an unlined space marked “menu”, at the bottom. If your handwriting is not too terribly large, there’s plenty of room to record daily tasks and appointments, and jot notes for meals. I personally find it to still be a little too small for my own needs, but it’s more space than most planners I’ve seen on the market. I do like the “tasks list” section, as it allows for additional space as needed. I use it for non-date-specific weekly tasks, and for spill-over from specific dates (I indicate those notes with the applicable date).
4. Tasks ~ this section features a two column lined layout for recording…whatever you want. There is also a line at the top of each page to write a title of some sort. I can see a lot of people really liking the versatility of this section, but I do not personally like it very much. I usually like a lot of freedom of use in a space, but to me, this is just too much freedom, and not enough specific direction. I will likely use it to jot down blog post ideas, since those don’t need any kind of organization, and I can either date the idea when it goes up on the blog, or cross it off if it doesn’t.
4. Projects ~ this section features two single column boxes on each page, with space in each for a title or other indicator of contents. I like this section better than the previous, as there is a defined start and stop, making it easier to contain information by topic. I think this section would be extremely useful for home schooling: a) Each child gets a box, where you can record a basic school plan. Or, b) each box contains a single subject with books and plans listed out. Similarly, it could be used to record basic yearly plans for extra curricular activities, clubs, regularly scheduled groups, events that meet once or more per year and require keeping track of details, etc. It’s also a great layout for jotting down project ideas, like the fairy princess costumes I’m making right now. There are a ton of uses for this section, that can be as personalized as the individual using the planner.
5. Info ~ the “info” section consists of several pages broken into three columns marked “name, number, address”, and a final page that is simply a single lined column. I use this section to keep track of important and frequently used contact information that I may need in a hurry, or while out and about. I use the final lined page to list commonly used websites and associated login information. Alternate uses for that last page could include info about lock boxes, secondary mailing address information (for those of us who might find P.O. boxes useful for business, for instance), or non-Internet account information.
6. Shopping ~ I love this section! Three columns, each marked “shopping” at the top, and each perforated to make it easy to tear out a column to run to the store, without having to haul out the entire planner. I’m not sure how many pages are in this section, but there are more than enough to cover all of your regular shopping trips all year, as well as those spontaneous or non-grocery trips that crop up here and there. And at the end of this final section in the planner, there’s a double sided pocket folder – perfect for holding coupons, reminder cards, or whatever else you need!
The final page is a convenient re-order form, so you can get your next year’s planner in plenty of time for the new year, making the transition seamless. Simply copy all of your non-changing information into your new planner, and on January 1st, you’re set to go!
The 2014 Daily Planner from The Homemaker’s Friend retails on their website for $13.99 + $2.50 for shipping. And, hey ~ bonus! While supplies last, all orders of the 2014 Daily Planner will include the 2013 Daily Planner FREE!!! With one third of the year still left to us, that’s a great deal. I’m using mine to keep track of the rest of this year, and also to work out what system works best for me with this planner, so I can tackled 2014 with a great planning strategy that will help me run my life affectively and with style.
So, waddaya think?? Does this look like a planner you could see yourself using?
If so, be sure to enter our giveaway!! One lucky reader will receive both the 2013 and the 2014 Daily Calendar from The Homemaker’s Friend ~ pretty sweet! You must be at least 18 and a resident of the United States to enter or win, and you must complete the mandatory entry (click on it, to see the question). All other entries you complete are optional, for extra entries. This giveaway is VOID where prohibited by law.
Disclosure: I received the products mentioned in this post in exchange for this honest review. All opinions are my own, and may differ from the opinions of others. I only promote products and books that I believe may benefit my readers, and that I am comfortable using, myself. To see your work featured on The Homemade Creative, shoot Alena an email at firstname.lastname@example.org ?