I’ve talked so so so so many times about my planning methods and how I’ve always struggled to find what’s going to work for me. I’ve dried faux doris, bullet journals (for life stuff – the bookish one is working well currently!), Happy Planners, Erin Condren planners, Day Designers… seriously, you name it. If there was a trend or the latest thing in planning, I’ve tried it. Of course I’ve hopped on another trend recently and couldn’t resist sharing it as I work through.
I first was introduced to digital planning when Kendal shared her digital planner on her iPad Pro. I don’t have a fun iPad or Apple Pen so I wasn’t sure I’d have success with the one she purchased. I highly recommend reading her post and investigating that planner though, because it’s gorgeous and reminds me A LOT of the paper planners I love so much. It’s a more creative option for sure.
I had just purchased a new, smaller Happy Planner because I was tired of leaving my huge one on my desk at work just because it was too big. (My friends would ask if I was free for something and I’d have to wait until work the next day to check my planner. Not the best option.) I liked the small planner and daily schedule inserts, but thought it might be better for planning my work days and leaving it on my desk for a good reason. Then, I saw a post by one of the planning-related blogs I follow, Wendaful Planning, about another digital planner option: the Artful Agenda. I thought I would take you through my experience using this planner. I signed up for a two-week free trial to see how I could stick with it and spend the $35 (I think this is an early, yearly price, but you can also subscribe monthly to break down the payments!).
This post is not sponsored, but if you decide to sign up for the Artful Agenda, please consider using my referral code: RL8599!
Quick Things to Know
#1 The Artful Agenda syncs with your existing online/digital calendars.
This is excellent because your appointments, holidays, events, etc. from your Google and/or iPhone and/or Microsoft calendars can be synced right over to the planner. I was able to add my blog calendar so that my blog posts automatically sync up to each day. They appear as “all day events” on the top each agenda page, which is perfect formatting for me. The blog posts don’t show up in the middle of a day with a certain timeframe etc. They’re essentially in a separate section. Historically I’ve never put my blog posts in my paper planners because I move blog posts around a LOT and would hate to keep writing or rewriting them in my planner. Sooo this is a game-changer. It also helps because if you’re in the doctor’s office making an appointment for next time, you can add it to your iPhone calendar easily and it’ll sync to the agenda instead of having to open the app for the agenda. So, as you can tell, I have synced both my blog (Google) calendar and my iPhone’s calendar to this planner. Those are the only two I really use on a regular basis.
#2 You can customize with stickers, fonts, and covers.
You can make it ALMOST as cute as a paper planner. There are a variety of free or included stickers with the software that you can put mostly anywhere on your calendar section. You can choose between a few different cover designs as well, which you can see when you have any part of the planner “opened” up. I have a floral one, of course. You can choose different fonts too – some look like handwriting but I prefer the classic Raleway font.
Font options above and just a few of the cover options below!
#3 There’s an app for it!
I love the full-size format on my computer, especially because I can use it at work and keep the tab open all day for changes or things that come up. There are app versions available too for on-the-go, which I’ve found extremely helpful! I keep it on my iPhone and iPad so I can plan anywhere and add appointments or events directly in the app. The interface on the computer is the nicest because it’s the largest but it looks great on my iPad too. The phone is a little squished for the monthly or weekly views, but the daily is nice… and I feel like that’s the view you might need “on the go” the most often.
The monthly layout features a small calendar in the left corner for at-a-glance and navigation to other months, a quote for the month (cute!), and monthly goals section that only shows up in this view as a way to guide your month. The other 3/4 of the page is the actual monthly calendar layout, which is automatically populated when you put things in the weekly or daily views as well. I have stickers to make it look cute and you can see the fun cover of the planner on the sides, just like a real planner opened on your desk.
Here’s a closer view of the monthly layout details. All day events synced from your calendars appear as the colored-in boxes and you can customize the colors for all events. The ones with a colored font, not a box, are the ones with a set time of day.
How I’ve organized it: I like to have my bill due dates on here in green – it reminds me of when things are due or being automatically taken out of my bank accounts. Otherwise, I’ve color-coded people’s birthdays with their favorite colors and each day I choose whatever color I’d like to use to keep it pretty! I do put work on each day from 9-5 just so I can visually see it (and have the satisfaction of removing a day when I take it off from work ?). My blog posts, which I’ve talked about and will mention again, appear in one of my blog color hex codes as an all-day event as well, so I can see what post is going live that day and make changes if I move things around. Holidays are in light gray so they’re not super noticeable but still appear.
On to the weekly layout! I have since added a LOT of things to my weekly layouts and they’re a little busier than this, but here’s what the overview looks like. It still has the small monthly calendar on the top left, followed by a weekly goals section underneath. Each day syncs up the events (all-day and appointments) as blocks, like they would be in a Google calendar, and has two sections underneath: priority tasks for the day and meals for the day as well. Here are some close-ups of the sections:
The top half of the weekly layout includes the all-day events at the top in a separate section. Again, I love this, because it shows my bills due on the top as well as my daily blog post that is being posted that day. I’m able to see them separate from the hourly appointments or plans. There are more stickers too!
The bottom half of the weekly layout shows the to-dos (priority tasks – more on that later) and meal plans. I include lunch and dinner, since breakfast is usually a grab-and-go option. The priority tasks, for me, include major tasks or lunch break errands that I need to do or take care of in that day.
The daily layout is probably my favorite and the one I’m most likely keeping open on a computer tab. You can see the left page includes the events (both hourly/scheduled ones and all-day events on the top, separately). The right page includes task sections/lists, water intake, meals, and a quote for the day. Here are some more close-ups of the daily view:
You can see that this day’s schedule was simple, with work all day and a lunch break section for running errands. I put a little pin sticker on there to make it look cute. The “Lauren Lately” at the top is for the blog post I had publishing on this date.
I’ve got the other page organized into different sections. NOTE: the section at the bottom says “Shopping List” for my planner – this title can actually be changed to whatever you’d like! I thought it’d be a good place to keep track of my shopping stuff. This could change later, but for now it works! (I wish all of the titles / section headers could be altered. Maybe a later version!
Priority tasks: I use this section for the top priority things I have to do today, or just general important to-dos. These will sync over to the weekly view, which is really helpful as well.
Other tasks: As of right now, I’m using this section for blog- and reading-related tasks. I can include the things I want to do across the internet and bookish world. I’m thinking of expanding this into other things in media as well, like videos I want to watch or important show/movie plans? I don’t know.
Shopping list: Again, I’ve changed this title (I genuinely don’t remember what the standard text was for this section…) to be my shopping list. I do a lot of little store trips throughout the workweek because I need to get my ass out of the office whenever possible. That means I might run errands at the grocery store on Monday, Ulta on Tuesday, post office on Wednesday… etc. You get the idea. This list highlights the things I need to buy that day.
The final section, aside from the little stickers tab that pops out when needed, is the Lists area. You can change the formatting a lot for these, which is really nice. I always have some kind of running shopping lists (aside from the daily layouts) that I would traditionally store in Google Keep. You can create new lists and toggle between them by clicking on the tiny down arrow next to the title. I only have this one at the time of writing this post. The reason is that the current app version doesn’t yet support the Lists section. Therefore, I won’t be moving over my usual lists from Google Keep, because I primarily use that on-the-go in the store, checking items off my list.
What do you think? Do you think you could shift to a digital planner?
As I said, I’m not sponsored here or getting paid for this post, but signing up for an Artful Agenda through my referral code would be wonderful. Here it is again: RL8599.