Two very important tools for planning and organizing your day

2 Very Important Tools for Planning and Organizing

**affiliate links included in this post**

Hi friends, be sure to stay with me until the end for a really fun giveaway!

Last week I eluded to the fact that I have updated the daily tools I use for planning and organizing my day. But first let me tell you why I need to use any sort of tools at all.  Well actually there are quite a few reasons:

My memory is terrible

I am easily distracted

I get overwhelmed easily

I tend to procrastinate

Can you relate to any of those at all? Seriously, people think I’m organized because I’m just a naturally organized person.  Umm no, I’m organized because I manipulate my environment so that it lends itself to living an organized life. If it weren’t for that, I’d be a wreck and nothing would get done. Honestly. That’s why I utilize all 10 of these solutions for living an organized life and I implement routines and rewards as well on a regular basis.

Today I’m going to talk specifically about solutions that I use to keep me on task with what needs to get done each day so I don’t get overwhelmed by it all. Please keep in mind that this is what works for me, but of course it’s not a one size fits all for everyone. Everyone has to find and do what works best for them.

Tool #1 – My List Notebook

Now I’ve talked about my list notebook plenty of times before but in case you aren’t sure what it is let me explain. Basically it’s a daily consistent brain dump of all sorts of miscellaneous randomness from my brain onto paper.  I believe we get overwhelmed when our brains are trying to process and remember so much information. By getting it out of our heads and written down, it eases the burden and allows the brain to slow down and focus on one thing at a time.  In the past I have used just a simple notebook (below) for this task and that worked amazingly well for many years.

list-notebook words

But then I discovered the world of travelers notebooks and fell head over heels in love.  Essentially a traveler’s notebook is simply a notebook cover (often leather) with strategically placed elastic bands that allows you to contain multiple notebooks in one space. An additional elastic band then holds it all together. The original Midori Traveler’s Notebooks are more on the pricier side but now you can get faux dori’s that are a little less expensive depending on the quality of leather. I purchased mine from FoxyDori on Etsy however this particular company is currently on a break. Just search for fauxdori’s on Etsy though and you’ll find quite a selection in a variety of sizes, colors and prices. Just be careful though, it’s so easy to get sucked into this notebook world with all the pretty choices and fun accessories, oh my!  Here’s what mine looks like.

My List Notebook 2

My List Notebook 1

My List Notebook 3

I purchased mine in the Pocket size which I absolutely love because I can take it with me wherever I go. The leather is so buttery soft, I love holding it my hands.  Housing multiple notebooks like this is extremely convenient for me by allowing me to categorize my brain dump in an organized and contained way. One for my to do list items, one for notes, one for ongoing projects and specific posts, etc.

My List Notebook

As I’ve always done, once I finish a line item, I highlight it as being done. I like to highlight because it looks pretty and I often go back and reference things so this way I can still read what I’ve written.

Tool #2 – My Planner

A planner is helpful for taking the to-do line items from your list notebook above and scheduling them into your calendar/planner so they actually get done.  I’ve used many different planners over the years which long time readers will know.  I just love trying out new ones and most recently I’ve been using a Simply Yours Day Planner from Bailey Craft Planners.

Two tools for organizing and planning

Sidenote: I absolutely love these Staedtler pens for writing in my notebooks and planner.

Simply Yours Day Planner 1

Simply Yours Day Planner

I am absolutely loving the size of this one as it’s smaller (7×9) and therefore more portable. There are multiple days to a page as well which means the planner isn’t as heavy as others. I’ll do a more thorough review of this planner in a couple of months once I’ve used it for awhile longer.

Simply Yours Day Planner 3

Regardless of which planner you use, here is how I make mine work.  Since I use mine for business (I use a fridge calendar for our personal stuff), this is how I set myself up for the day. Each morning I go through my list notebook and source out THREE tasks that are my must do’s for the day. I may still fit in others as time allows, but first I select three items that are my top priority. I then jot those down in my planner along with any relevant sub-tasks required to make those three tasks happen.The beauty of the Simply Yours Day Planner for this though is that I can put my main tasks in the bigger box and then there is a task list (with check boxes!) on the side of each day to break down my relevant sub-tasks. Nice!

Simply Yours Day Planner 2

Most importantly, I’m realistic to the time I have available each day which does get easier to predict the more experience you have with it. Sometimes I plan out for a few days at a time, sometimes I don’t. It all depends how ambitious I’m feeling and I don’t like to get too ahead of myself for sanity sake. Sometimes I even use little post it notes so I can do the task shuffle, less erasing that way.

Between these two tools I am able to:

Better retain pertinent information

Focus on the task at hand

More calm and at ease

Get things done

I hope you find taking a peek into my day and how I organize it helps you tweak a system for yourself. It’s all about identifying the problem and finding a solution that works for you!


The two owners of Bailey Craft Planners, the lovely Yolanda and Katherine, were kind enough to send me my Simply Yours Day Planner to try out and are also going to give one away here to one of my lucky readers!! If you’d like to try out this planner, please enter below using the Rafflecopter form.  Winner will get to choose their cover and first page personalization. Planner dates will run from May 2016 to April 2017. Giveaway open to those in both Canada and the US. As always only the first entry task is mandatory and all the rest after that are pure bonus for you.  Giveaway ends, May 11th at 4:00 pm MT. Good luck!

**please note that Bailey Craft Planners is offering FREE SHIPPING on all orders until Mother’s Day May, 8th** 

a Rafflecopter giveaway

  • This post contains affiliate links and I will be compensated, at no extra cost to you, if you make a purchase after clicking on my links. However, I only ever mention products I love and would recommend whether I was being compensated or not. Thank you so much for your support of my site!
Filed under: Calendars/Planners, Lists, Paper Organization, Schedules


9 Responses to Two very important tools for planning and organizing your day

  1. 1
    Gina says

    Are we sisters? I have so many notebooks with lists around the house that my family thinks I’m a nut.

    • 1.1
      Laura Wittmann says

      Oh my I love them so!!! And I love that the fauxdori’s are essentially a notebook for your notebooks hahaha

  2. 2
    aarushi says

    Have loved your blog since since a long time. And all my pinterest wanderings invariably end up on an article by you 🙂

    Also I hope you and your family are safe. I’m in edmonton and it’s unreal to see all the destruction .
    Take care

  3. 3
    Patty Murray says

    I have just found your blog and am enjoying getting to follow you. I would love to try out this new planner.

  4. 4
    Daria says

    Great idea about picking out three tasks to do. Now that I’ve started blogging, my to do list has to do’s. There’s just so much to learn and do! You’ve inspired me to just pick three articles to read each day and move on. Otherwise I’ll drive myself crazy.

  5. 5
    Janet says

    I’m drooling at the sight of your notebooks and planner! I’d rather hang out in a stationery store than a shoe store any day!

  6. 6
    Shaki says

    How do you find your planner to be in regards to using all of the spaces, like for goals and tasks etc? I’m wondering if it’s just me that doesn’t always use the appropriated space. Great post!

    • 6.1
      Laura Wittmann says

      No I totally know what you mean Shaki. I think that’s why I love this planner so much as there isn’t a lot of extra stuff like that. I’ve had other planners where there was a lot of pages I didn’t use but this one only has a few at the beginning and then at the end of each month there is a page to reflect on your goals. I often will use this section for other things like project work. I’m not a big goal setter myself.


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