My new planner: Emily Ley Simplified Planner Review


Last Friday I shared my review of the 2015-16 Simplified Planner and today I’m talking about my new Simplified Planner for 2016-17!

Emily Ley offers several versions: an academic weekly, an academic daily, and a calendar year daily. She launched the academic versions a few weeks ago and the calendar year versions will launch in the fall.

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For Planning Purposes: Emily Ley Simplified Planner Review

This is part 3 of my For Planning Purposes series. Check out part 1 and part 2

Emily Ley Simplified Planner

Because of the challenges with the Erin Condren Life Planner (see review post here), I decided to try a new planner for this year. I recently purchased the Emily Ley Simplified Life Planner and I am loving it so far!

I was drawn to the Simplified Life Planner initially because of the creator Emily Ley. Ley has a wonderful blog about her journey to simplify her life and focus on what matters most. I have followed her planner development journey for the past few years and when she announced a weekly academic edition for this year I knew it was the right time to try it out.

Continue reading “For Planning Purposes: Emily Ley Simplified Planner Review”

For Planning Purposes: Erin Condren Planner Review

Erin Condren Life Planner

Since July 2014 I’ve been using an Erin Condren Life Planner. It’s organized with a week-to-two pages layout, which is what drew me to it initially.

After using this planner for 10 months, I have some pro/con thoughts. Keep in mind that these are things that I consider pros and cons, you may love some of the things I think are drawbacks and vice versa. 

Continue reading “For Planning Purposes: Erin Condren Planner Review”

For Planning Purposes: Managing My Life

You may remember my previous organization post (here if you missed it) posted almost two years ago. While the bare bones of my system remain the same, the tools I use have changed drastically. I thought I would give you an update of my planning tools as well as a review of the products themselves.

EmilyLey Simplified Planner

I use a paper planner to keep track of major plans, birthdays, and anniversaries. I also track to dos that I plan far in advance on my paper planner. These include things like “buy father’s day card” that can be scheduled and have a finite due date. More on which planner I use later this week!

Weekly iCal

I use an online calendar to remind me of daily appointments, especially those that are work related. Since I use an iPad and a Macbook for work, I use iCal. I have notifications enabled so there is a helpful reminder that pops up on my computer 10 minutes before meetings, teaching sessions and other special events. I find that having a pop-up reminder works best for these scheduled meetings because it keeps me from having to stare at the clock and acts like an alarm!

post its

I manage my to do list in a variety of ways. First, I keep Post-It notes everywhere: stuck to my center console in the car, on my desk at work, behind my couch at home. I write anything that comes to mind on these Post-Its*. Once a day, I gather the Post-Its and sort through them. I put any daily to dos on a list clipped to my planner, add any events to my calendars (paper and electronic) and put other notes into my tickler file in Evernote.

Fantastical App

Occasionally I try to get fancy and use the Fantastical app on my Macbook and iPhone, however I find that day-to-day I prefer having a paper to do list.

*This is based off the GTD system. I highly recommend Dave Allen’s book if you are struggling to get a handle on you to do list.

Managing My To Do List

As the semester draws to a close, my to do list seems to be growing by the second. Between school, work, Girl Scouts, job applications, and masters paper writing I’m swimming in deadlines. To keep everything straight I’ve been trying to streamline my to do list system but I haven’t quite found a winner. Here are a few products that I’ve tried.


  1. Sticky notes on my planner
    These worked well for a few days but my planner is just too big to haul around everywhere. I ended up creating more post-it notes when I was out and about, but these never quite made it back to the planner.
  2. A separate Moleskine
    I used this system throughout undergrad. I’d keep a planner and a separate small moleskine with my to do lists. It allows plenty of room to write and organize, plus it’s small enough to fit in a pocket. This time around it doesn’t work so well because all of my to dos have very specific deadlines (i.e. Tuesday at 3:00pm) and those are hard to keep track of without a planner nearby.
  3. ToDoist
    I have friends who use this task management software and love it. Me, not so much. I hate that it doesn’t sync with my iPhone unless I pay extra and the tagging system was just too convoluted.
  4. GTD list
    The mother of all organization systems, the Getting Things Done Method is more of a lifestyle than a to do list. No matter how much I wanted this to work for me (as evidenced by the fact I’ve check the book out of the library 5 times), it’s too complicated and time-consuming. I was trying to save time, not create more to do!
  5.  Apple Reminders
    This is my current system. I really like that I can create and color code a lot of calendars, because it keeps my to dos organized. Even better, it syncs with my iPhone and iPad, plus I can access it from any computer via iCloud. There are a few downsides: I don’t like that there isn’t a way to see all of your to dos at once. You have to click into a specific calendar to see what is due. This can be helped a bit by putting due dates on everything and then viewing what is due today… but I don’t always remember to add a specific date and time especially for things like changing the air filter or vacuuming.

What is your favorite way to organize your to do list?