As the middle of the year approaches and we inch closer to the start of school, it’s a fantastic time to dive into a new planner! There’s always something so inspiring and motivating about beginning fresh. A gorgeous planner with all blank pages sets the stage for a successful year ahead. And this time of year, an academic or midyear planner is the best choice for busy moms, diligent students, and anyone looking for that fresh start right about now!

Whether this is your first time to use a planner or you’re a seasoned veteran, we’re sharing our top tips to help you prepare for your best year yet. Here’s how to set up the perfect academic planner!

How to Set Up the Perfect Planner | Day Designer

1. Pick a Planner

To get started, if you don’t already have your planner, you’ll need to choose your favorite layout and cover style. Not attached to a particular format? Then you have a few decisions to make!

• Do you want to plan and view your schedule on a monthly, weekly, or daily basis—or perhaps a mix of both?
• Do you like the idea of having everything in one place, all bound together? Or would you prefer the flexibility of a binder system so you can add and remove pages?

Think about what will work best for you.

We believe a daily planner is essential for making it all happen when it needs to—each and every day. Many of our planner friends prefer a combination of a monthly overview and daily pages. Our Flagship Day Designer offers two-page monthly spreads, our signature daily planning pages, and combined weekend pages.

However, planning styles vary and we get that! If you’re more into a weekly layout, take a look at our A5 Luxe Collection which allows you to create your own layout! Not only can you choose a weekly spread, but you can also mix in a monthly spread, daily pages, and many other insert options. You can come up with your own layout, add to it, remove pages, and switch it up as many times as you like. The idea here is to customize your planner to fit YOUR life.

So many choices! Feeling confused on which path to take? Our advice: Don’t get hung up for too long on step one! Pick a planner, get started now, and begin to see the difference.

How to Set Up the Perfect Planner | Day Designer

2. Gather Schedules

It’s time to gather your upcoming events. Think through everything you’re juggling and get the dates in front of you. Don’t forget:

• Holidays and Birthdays
• Trips and Vacations
• Health and Fitness
• Appointments: Doctor, Dentist, Specialist, Hair, etc.
• Social Events and Church Events
• Membership Schedules: Clubs, Groups, etc.
• Nonprofit Events and Volunteer Schedules
• School Schedule (yours or your kids’) and Events
• Sports Schedules and other After-School Activities
• Work Schedule
• Spouse’s Schedule

How to Set Up the Perfect Planner | Day Designer

3. Select Favorite Supplies

Day Designer pages are simple in design yet many of our creatively passionate friends can give these pages some serious personality. We’re talking planner stickers, washi tape, colored pens, page markers, and darling dashboards! Within each of those categories, you’ll find an array of styles, colors, materials, and more. The options are endless! Planner sticker and accessory companies are popping up left and right, which is super cool. We created this roundup of planner accessories that we love. There are some lovely sticker companies that design products specifically to fit Day Designer pages.

If you’re not the decorating type, don’t worry—you are not alone! You’ll love the simplicity of the pages, especially once you fill in your schedule and to-dos. Just select your pens (or pencils) and you’ll be set! 

How to Set Up the Perfect Planner | Day Designer
4. Set Goals

Think back over the goals you set for yourself this year. Ideally, you have these written somewhere (perhaps your previous Day Designer!) so that you can pull them out and read back over them. Whether you started the year with a list of big goals or not, you likely know which activities, habits, relationships, etc. have been working for you — and which haven’t. Take some time for personal reflection and a midyear review. 

As you begin to set your goals, start by simply asking yourself these questions:

• Who do I want to be in the upcoming year?
• How do I want to feel in the upcoming year?
• What are the goals that will get me there?
• What goals can best support my personal and professional development in the upcoming year?

This process is not meant to make you feel bad about what you haven’t yet accomplished or what may not be going well in your life. Rather, it’s about reflecting and refreshing, to ensure you’re being intentional about the way you spend your time and the goals you’re pursuing. Aim now to live a well-designed life in the year ahead! 

Looking for some inspiration on how to set goals? We are big believers in balanced goals—a flexible framework for goal-setting focused on five different life segments.

How to Set Up the Perfect Planner | Day Designer
5. Align Priorities

In addition to setting your goals, you’ll want to review and align your priorities. While things like family will always remain at the top of your priority list, you may find that other things may have shifted. At this point in your life, what’s most important? Where do you want to be focusing your time? What is essential for you, for your family, for your heart, for your mind, and for work? When new projects, tasks, and opportunities arise, you’ll want to think about where they fall on your own personal list of priorities.

How to Set Up the Perfect Planner | Day Designer

6. Record Everything

Yay! It’s time to fill it all in—you have arrived at the most exciting part of the process! Get those events, birthdays, holidays, and trips onto paper and see how it all lays out. Incorporate your lists, tasks, and notes where needed! Visualize your upcoming days, weeks, and months.

Finally, admire your work, notice your clear mind, and get started! We can’t wait for you to see the difference in focus and productivity, allowing more time for what truly matters most. Don’t have a planner yet? View our collection!


How to Set Up the Perfect Planner | Day Designer


How to Set Up the Perfect Planner | Day Designer