Earlier this year Sue Hooley offered to send me two free copies of her daily planner – one for this year and one for next year – for me to review here (and/or on The Home Maker’s Corner). I told her I wasn’t sure at all that I’d use it as I’d seen different ones and hadn’t been interested. I’m a list person myself, but I can get quite frustrated with them with a tendency to abandon them entirely for periods of time. Sue still wanted to send the 2013 edition for me to try out and I agreed. I started using it in late May or early June.
The planner is divided into a number of sections which you can see here. The sections serve various purposes and are explained as needed in the front of the planner – calendars of different sorts, shopping lists, weekly planning areas. etc. Some of them might be quite handy to other people, but for me most were not. I keep my shopping lists on my cell phone and only used one in the planner so far. I used a few pages of the “Projects” section in a limited way. I keep my important dates on a specific calendar, and I didn’t plan any big events thus far which needed a list of addresses. So most of the sections got minimal to no use.
The only section I have really utilized is the weekly planner, and that has been great – or it has been since I adjusted my thinking towards it.
As you can see it has a Task List for the week to start off with. Then there are sections for all seven days, including the menu section so that you can plan your meals ahead.
First of all, the Task List section has been useful for things I needed to remember in a given week, but were not specific to one day – I could work them in any time, but didn’t want to forget them.
Mrs. Hooley recommends using a pencil so that you can erase things and move them around as needed. At first I didn’t follow this advice, but I found out quickly that it was very helpful! I prefer a pen and so I’ve been using one of my new erasable ink Frixion pens. (Hopefully more later on those for quilting/sewing.) This makes it easy to erase something that didn’t get done or finished and move it to another day. It also makes it easy to change the menu if necessary. :-)
I have not been much a menu planner, and still am not, but it is helpful to lay out some idea of what the main meat for dinner will be each day, or to note if leftovers need to be used.
After using the book for a short time I actually got quite frustrated with it. I wasn’t sure I wanted to keep on with it because I was using it as a whip to make myself perform instead of a reminder and helpful guide. Once I gave myself permission not to follow each day’s proposed agenda – to erase things and move them, or just drop them entirely – I was able to use it with a lot more comfort.
The book has, in fact, become quite a useful tool for me and a good reminder. I even include things like naps and exercise just to try to help myself keep up good habits of rest and physical activity. And, yes, I do still write things down after the fact and then cross them off just to have the satisfaction of seeing what I got done. :-) I found it especially useful in preparing for company or small events where I needed to get certain things done ahead of time.
However, there are a few drawbacks. One is that the Saturday and Sunday sections are much smaller than the other days of the week. Sunday is fine for me since we don’t do much that day as far as chores are concerned. But, Saturday is a bit of a problem to me. Perhaps the Hooleys observe the Sabbath, I don’t know. But, we rest on the Lord’s Day, the first day of the week. Saturday is the only day of the week that my husband has for home chores, so sometimes it can be quite busy and I need more room to write that day. (I include some things he needs to do so I can remind him, or things that I need to help him with).
Another drawback that affects me personally is that somehow writing my daily chores and things in the planner has made it harder for me to keep up my little calendar where I write the day’s events/activities. I’m sorry to stop that because it is a very abbreviated diary of sorts and sometimes it is helpful to know exactly when something happened. I could do both, but somehow it seems to not happen, and what goes in the planner is not necessarily what would be written in the record calendar.
Will I buy one for next year? I haven’t decided yet. It might be worth the price to me because of it’s usefulness, but since I haven’t yet utilized a majority of the book I’m not sure. Of course, anything that helps me to get more accomplished probably is worth the price! So, I might make the investment.
For other ladies I’d say that if you like to be organized and you are not already using some other plan that you like, this is definitely worth trying. [Also available through Amazon.] I have also seen some planners that look extremely complicated to me. Some ladies I’m sure need that, especially home schooling moms. But, if you are getting overwhelmed by your complicated planner, this might be a good alternative. It is not overly complicated in my opinion.
I’ve tried to give an honest review here. Most of the drawbacks for me were in regards to areas I don’t use, and this is completely due to my method of organization which included other options in some of those areas. If I use the planner another year I might possibly rearrange some of those things to better utilize the planner. The only real drawback that limited my use of the planner was the short Saturday section. Otherwise it mostly met the demands I placed upon it.