The Simplified Planner

I am and always have been a complete and utter office and school supply addict. I love the feeling of writing with a new pen on a new notebook. It is only rivaled by the feeling of cracking open a new book. Despite this, I’ve never quite found a planner that I could stick with and actually enjoy using.

I have always been scattered between appointments on my phone, work email and calendar and random to do lists. But, as my maternity leave with AB was ending, I knew I needed a better solution. I needed a way to simplify my schedule, the kids’ schedules and my husband’s. Oh, and keep on top of every day tasks at home and work.

Just writing that brings back the anxiety I felt then. How in the world was I going to keep it all straight and organized without losing my mind.

Enter Emily Ley and The Simplified Life. I saw the book at my sister in law’s and fell in love with the aesthetic. Yes, I totally judged the book by its cover … y’all, it’s gorgeous. So, I looked it up on Amazon and read the description. I knew it was exactly what I needed and I ordered it. This was around Christmas time, well before AB was born, and it sat on my dresser unread until April. I had a few weeks left of my leave and I decided to crack it open.

It spoke to me in a way I don’t know that I can explain. They way Emily writes is so relatable and the tips are so easy and simple (it is called the Simplified Life) that I immediately took action. I decluttered my house like a pro. It was cleansing and I was sold. I’ve been following the principles since I returned to work in May. The difference it has made in our life is immeasurable.

I started following Emily and Simplified on Instagram and absolutely fell in love with the Watercolor Floral Planner cover that launched in the 2018-19 Academic Planner. I ordered the daily edition on launch day and not-so-patiently waited until the August 1 launch day … which was just two weeks after I started my new job (more on that in a later post).

Let me start by saying this Planner is gorgeous. The cover is perfect and I need this pattern in every aspect of my life (thanks to May Designs, I’m gettting close with notebooks, tumblers and a phone case). It’s legit one of the prettiest things I have ever seen. The gold accents on the corners and coil are both practical and beautiful.

Aside from the obvious aesthetic benefits, the Simplified Planner is loaded with subtle, simple planning tips. There is prepwork that helps you think through your routines and build a plan that is executable in your daily life. This was crucial for me as I set up my planner.

I start each month by filling in all the important dates – birthdays, work commitments, kid events, etc. – and then on Sunday, I transfer those to each day.

The daily layout is by far my favorite planner layout. The time layout is great for keeping track of work meetings and family commitments and the To Do on the right helps me keep track of daily deadlines and chores.

In addition to the planner, I also purchased the color coding dot stickers, flag stickers and a few other sticker accessory packs … what can I say, I went all in on this Planner madness. Oh, and the Happy Stipe Pilot V5 Pens. I’m a G2 girl, but these pens are amazing as well. I flip between both now.

I can honestly say I’ve never been this organized in my entire life. I could say this is all thanks to the planner, but it’s truly a combination of reading The Simplified Life and using the planner – it’s an unstoppable combination.


Another weird side effect … I actually look forward to finishing tasks so I can mark them off. Pilot Frixon Highlighters are beyond perfect for this … pastel and erasable.

FYI The Calendar year version launches on September 5 at 10am Eastern.

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