Armed with an obsessive love of color-coding and all things related to organization, I’m on a mission to help you maximize efficiency in your business and life so you can spend time on what matters most to you.
Equally right and left-brained, I’m that unique business owner who can think like a creative, but act like an administrator. This blog is where you’ll see me bring that dual-brained magic to life, taking the left-brain side of life and breaking it down for your right-brained self.
If you’ve been around these parts for any length of time, you know there are two main tools I would be totally lost without when it comes to organizing and managing my life and my business — Trello and the Simplified Planner.
2020 will be my sixth (!) year using the Simplified Planner. I’ve never stuck with a single planner for this long before and I think it’s safe to say it’s gonna be a lifelong love affair.
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I’ve been a planner person for years, because when push comes to shove, I really am an analog girl at heart. Plus there’s something about physically writing things down and planning stuff out that makes it stick in my brain better.
I obviously love my digital tools and systems, but there are times when nothing beats a real pen and paper.
But, having been a planner person for years, what is it about theSimplified Planner specifically that I love so much? Why do I keep going back to it year after year, singing its praises? Especially when I could just go to Target and get a planner there for about 1/4 of the price?
Well, my friends, I’m glad you asked. Because today I’m going to share with you exactly why I love the Simplified Planner.
I distinctly remember the moment, way back in 2014, when a friend of mine texted me to ask if I’d heard that Emily Ley was having twins.
“Emily who?” I asked.
“The Simplified Planner gal,” my friend said.
“What’s the Simplified Planner?” I asked.
A text with a link and a few minutes later, and my life was forever changed.
It sounds a bit dramatic, but seriously y’all. The Simplified Planner has become my BFF in life and business. There are things that go in my Simplified Planner that aren’t recorded anywhere else. (Not even in Google Calendar.)
It’s the linchpin to my analog systems and I would genuinely be lost without it.
But what is it that makes this planner so great?
If you’ve been around the planner block a time or two, you know that there are planners out there for pretty much every style, size, time length, and personality type.
I tried planners from Target, Barnes & Noble, Erin Condren, and more. But I could never find one I totally loved. They were too big or too small, too personal or too business-focused, too flowery or too busy, too one thing and not enough of another thing.
At the risk of sounding a little bit like Goldilocks, everything about the Simplified Planner is just right.
It’s simple by design and the actual design and layout of the pages was an intentional choice by Emily to give you room and space to record the things that matter most and forget the rest. (Not to mention the cover designs are gorgeous. 😍)
The first couple of years I used the Simplified Planner, I’ll admit it did feel a little bulky to me. But then in 2016, they redesigned the layout to shrink the size and it became absolutely perfect.
The daily edition (my planner of choice) is 7 x 9 inches, which is just enough space to record #allthethings, but not so giant that it’s a pain in the neck (literally or figuratively) to carry around with you.
My Simplified Planner comes with me pretty much everywhere and it’s never felt big, bulky, or like a waste of space.
Because the design of the pages is so simple and minimal, it honestly makes planning out your days and your tasks a snap.
In the daily edition, Monday through Friday is broken down by hour, from 6am until 9pm, and placed side by side with a to do list. This makes it super simple to plan out the tasks you need to accomplish and time block your day to make space for everything on that list.
There’s also a notes section below the timeline and to do list with plenty of space for whatever random information you need to keep track of — meal planning, general reminders, random notes, confirmation numbers, and more.
I’ve mentioned this before, but beyond the practical elements of the Simplified Planner’s make up and design, one of the things I love most about it is that it keeps me grounded.
Running an online business and working from home can be hard. It sometimes feels impossible to separate the two, to actually stick to the boundaries you’ve established, and genuinely work to live instead of living to work.
Having the Simplified Planner be the main tool I use in planning out how I spend my time each day keeps me grounded in a way that a digital system or tool never could.
As I said, I’m an analog girl at heart. If I could find a way to run an online business without actually using the internet, I would totally do it. And there’s just something about having something that’s not plugged into the wall that helps remind me that I’m a human being, not a human doing.
While the Simplified Planner is a fantastic tool for getting things organized and making things happen, Emily encourages you to leave white space where you can.
White space is just as important in life as it is in design, if not more so. And when the primary tool you use to plan how you spend your time is intentionally designed to focus on the important things in life, rather than just how productive you can be, it shifts your focus back to what matters most.
There are a lot of tools I use to manage my life and my business that have a ton of information stored in them that you won’t find anywhere else. But, truthfully, the Simplified Planner is the tool I would feel most lost without.
It’s the linchpin to my life and I would pull a straight up Katherine Heigl a la 27 Dresses if I ever misplaced it.
I have tasks and appointments, notes and encouraging words, confirmation numbers, due dates, and more scribbled all over its pages. Things are crossed out and written in, sometimes color coded and sometimes not, but this wonderful planner serves as a reminder that life happens in the mess and the margins, there’s beauty in the white space, and people should always be the priority over productivity.
Didn’t know a planner could do all that? Well, you’d be surprised.
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