Tired of being pulled in a zillion directions and need to cut back? In this planner review, I’ll show you how Emily Ley’s Simplified Planner Weekly will simplify your life and schedule.
I fell into the trap as soon as I became a mom. I wanted to do all the things…be a “perfect” mom, work a full time job, cook excellent meals, have a sparkling clean, Pottery barn decorated house, go on amazing vacations, be in perfect shape, volunteer,…and the list went on and on.
And I spent much of my time chasing the impossible standards of perfection I set for myself. Seeing other moms excel in an area and think, why can’t I have that? It led quickly and painfully into an overstressed version of my life that I needed to get out of. I’m pretty stubborn and it took me a long time to realize that I can’t do it all and that it’s ok.
I was cramming way too much in my planner to do list and setting expectations too high for what I could get done in a day. So I started wanting to simplify my life. I bought the Daily Simplified Planner and loved it. But I missed a weekly overview and outlining weekly tasks I wanted to get done. I’ve become a big fan of Emily Ley’s Simplified Planners, so I bought this Weekly Simplified Planner and thought I’d give you my honest review so you can see if it will help you control the chaos and simplify your life.
Picture Walk Through The Weekly Simplified Planner
First, I thought I’d show you inside the weekly Simplified Planner* in pictures. The planner is simple and lovely so the pictures speak for themselves.
I have the 2019-2020 Weekly Simplified Planner with the blue pinstripe cover. This same cover and format is available for the 2020 planners. The only difference is the dates included. The 2019-2020 covers August 1, 2019 through July 31, 2020 and the 2020 planners cover January 1, 2020 through December 31, 2020.
Want to know about Simplified Planner sales and coupon codes and what pens and accessories you see me using in the pictures below? Don’t worry, I keep track of sales and coupon codes and cover all the best pens and accessories to use at the bottom of the post. So here we go…
Here are the specifications for the 2020 planners as described on their website:
The Simplified Planner is a beautiful, joyful agenda for busy women in all seasons of life. Designed minimally on purpose, its open pages serve as a fresh start every day. We believe margin matters, and our mission is to inspire women to organize, simplify, and carve white space for the good stuff of life. The weekly edition covers 12 months (with one week per two-page spread) and features a bookbound, lay-flat binding, a navy inside liner and pocket, 4 lined notes pages in the front and 27 in the back, and luxurious Mohawk Via paper. With your Simplified Planner purchase, you’ll also receive monthly coaching (with videos!) from Emily via email.
- January – December 2020
- 6 x 8 inches (.75 inches thick)
- Thick, 70lb., pure white Mohawk Via paper
- Space for schedule, to-do, and to jot notes / meal ideas
- One week per two-page-spread
- Full month views
- 31 notes pages
- 4 pages of Simplified Prep-Work
- Monthly Simplicity Tips
- Simple color throughout
- Colorful stickers
- Lay-flat book binding
- Hard cover with gold foil details
- Protective gold corners
- Navy interior
- Pocket inside the front cover
- Light pink ribbon page marker
- Colorful, sturdy mylar tabs
- Navy + gold keepsake box
Packaging, Cover and Binding
This is the 3rd planner I have bought from Simplified and they always package it so well. It comes wrapped in bubble wrap and tucked inside this gorgeous navy and gold keepsake box. I will definitely be keeping the box to store my daily Simplified Planner to protect the coil when I shelve it and the side indicates which planner and year is inside. I don’t know if I will keep the box for this Weekly Simplified Planner since the planner looks amazing on my shelf by itself!
You can see 3 of the 6 cover patterns in the photo above that you have to choose from: happy stripe (coiled planner on left), blue pinstripe (what I have), a mint and light blue tile pattern (the notebook on the right), a pink peony garden party, a navy blooms and a pink pineappple. Each cover has gold corners and gold foil on the front. My planner stays home so I didn’t have any problems with the gold foil rubbing off.
The planner is approximately 6 x 8 inches and 0.75 inches thick. This makes a compact planner and it’s very lightweight. It’s perfect for portability if you need to carry it with you in your purse, laptop bag or backpack.
The individual pages are approximately 5.75 x 7.75 inches and the space between the lines on the weekly planning pages are 0.1875” (3/16ths of an inch) wide. This means you need to write small, I have fairly large handwriting so I abbreviate where needed to get each task or to do on one line preferably.
Minimally Colorful and Simple Design
The Weekly Simplified Planner* cover is the most colorful part of the planner, the monthly tabs and interior layout pages have simple, clean lines with little pops of color to help the day and date stand out.
Inside Pocket and Title Page
The inside front cover of the Weekly Simplified Planner has a navy blue pocket that holds the one sheet of doodle stickers that comes with the planner. When I stuck an extra sheet of my variety stickers in there, it is longer than the pocket so about an inch hangs out of the top.
I ordered a mint tile mini notebook* pictured above and it does not fit easily in the pocket and I did not want to jam it in there. If you need an extra notebook, I recommend ordering a weekly stretchy band* and keep the notebook on the outside.
The title page is simple…write your name in and be ready to go!
There is a letter from creator Emily Ley following the title page and some helpful tips on the process of simplifying and how to use your planner that I think are very important. I need to refer to these often for a refresher when I find myself overwhelmed or trying to overcomplicate things (which I have a tendency to do).
There are a couple pages of a yearly overview calendars and a list of holidays and then some of my favorite pages starts….
Next comes the Prep Work and I just LOVE these pages. Emily Ley helps us break down how to simplify our lives by helping us focus on how to effectively prepare for a new year and establish simple and effective routines to make our days run smoother.
After many years of feeling like I’m in survival mode and just fighting one fire after another, I have definitely seen the benefit of setting up routines to help take the stress off my mind of having to remember what needs to be done next, knowing that I’ve carved time out of my day for self care and makes my days and weeks run more efficiently.
My daily routine includes self care and the things I need to do to start and end my day well. For me, that means waking up at 5 am and blogging in the morning with a nice, hot cup of coffee before the kids wake up. Writing fires me up because I feel like I can help my readers with their stresses and troubles. At the end of the day, I shut the screens off an hour before I want to sleep and read. These daily routines have become as important as what I need to get done each day.
The Weekly Simplified Planner* helped me figure out my weekly routines also. First, I put in the things I know I need must be done on a certain day (like kids sports), the things I want to do on a certain day (family movie night Fridays and date night Saturdays) and then fill in the cleaning and cooking tasks accordingly (Mondays and Tuesdays are for all the laundry and kids sports evenings means a slow cooker meal or leftovers for dinner). It really does help me assign specific tasks to certain days.
Next we have the Simplicity Challenge which is a list of 30 tasks that are supposed to take 15 minutes or less and will help you simplify and declutter the unessential. Easy tasks we know we should do but forget about doing. I love a good checklist to help me stay focused so this one serves as a quick win action plan, you’ll feel like a load has been lifted when you get these done. I’m determined to get through it this year!
The Yearly Bucket List is your fun page to dream big and get those biggest adventures and goals out of your head and onto paper.
Notes Pages in the Front
What I love about the weekly Simplified Planner* is the number of notes pages. Just like in the daily, we have 4 lined notes pages after the Prep Work and before the first month’s tab. But don’t worry, there are 27 more lined notes pages at the end of the planner too!! That makes the weekly Simplified Planner a great planner for easy bullet journaling too!
I like to use the front notes pages for big picture things, things to get me motivated and where I can turn when I need a little productivity boost or pick me up. Here are some ideas of ways I might use the notes pages in the front:
- Vision Board
- Goalsetting by category (home, blog, kids, self care)
- Goalsetting by month
- 12 Week Year* Plans
- Detailed daily, weekly, monthly routines
- Cleaning and home maintenance schedule
- Favorite, inspiring quotes
- A Simplified Life* task list
After the notes pages, the planning pages start with a colorful tab attached to each monthly calendar. If you ordered an academic year planner like I did for 2019-2020 and pictured below, this starts with August. If you ordered a calendar year 2020 planner, then it will start with January 2020.
The Monthly Calendars has a few lines for notes or goals. The calendar week starts on Sunday. Again, the design is simple, clean with a little color on the month’s title. I love the Simplicity Tip at the top of the page, they match some of the items on the Simplicity Challenge prep work to remind you to do them! I think I need to highlight the tip each month so it draws attention to it and I remember to do it!
Monthly tabs add another pop of color in their signature Happy Stripe colors and are laminated so they won’t get damaged.
The weekly pages in the weekly Simplified Planner* are very simple as well and the week starts on a Monday. Monday through Friday has about 1.75 inches of lined space on the left and checklist space on the right. Saturday has 1.75 inches of lined space only.
Sunday has 0.75 inches of lined spaces and about 1 inch of preprinted Sunday Prep checklist space with the 4 tasks Emily Ley recommends to get ready for the week ahead. I like those tasks and think it’s important to do but i have my own things I do to prep for the week and would rather that space be ones I can write in myself. Some people cover it with a sticker but I still use it and add what I need to it (my GTD Review!)
Notes Pages in the Back of the Planner
After the last month’s worth of planning pages, there are 27 more lined notes pages! Here’s where it’s perfect for bullet journal style collections, brain dumps, master task lists and anything you want to remember. Here are some ideas of how to use the notes pages in the back for productivity and fun!
- Home – Decluttering, repairs and renovations by room
- Home – Family & Friends – Gift Ideas, budget and list
- Home finances – monthly budget and expenses
- Home finances – bills due tracker
- Home finances – savings tracker
- Home finances – debt payoff tracker
- Family & Friends – Vacation Ideas and Planning
- Family & Friends – Best of the month memories
- Spouse – Date Night Ideas
- Self Care – Self Care Ideas for bad RA days
- Self Care – Planning Routine (I consider planning self care because it helps my sanity and mental health)
- Self Care – Health tracking graphs to monitor my pain and fatigue
- Self Care – gratitude or health journaling
- Self care – Bible reading tracker
- Fun – monthly or seasonal bucket lists
- Fun – reading challenge ideas, books to read and tracker
- Fun – books read and mini reviews
- Blog – resources and courses to complete and progress
- Blog – Google analytics, social media stats and email subscriber trackers
That’s a wrap on the contents of the Weekly Simplified Planner itself. I think it’s great for people who don’t need to block their time and don’t have a lot of appointments in their day. The Weekly Simplified Planner does help keep things simple because it’s a smaller planner so it forces you to focus on just the most important things you need to do each day and week. The notes pages in the back will help you keep things out of your head and onto paper (one of the most important principles from Getting Things Done: The Art of Stress-Free Productivity*) so you can reference it when needed and choose the next most important things to work on when planning your week.
Now I’m going to compare the weekly to the daily Simplified Planner and address some of the more common questions I get and hear about this planner so that you can choose the best planner for you!
Daily Simplified Planner vs. Weekly Simplified Planner
There are a lot of differences between the daily and weekly Simplified Planners and I’ll try to highlight them for you here.
As you can see from the navy keepsake boxes of the Simplified Planners, the daily on the left is wider and taller than the weekly on the right.
The daily Happy Stripe Simplified planner on the left and the weekly blue pinstripe Simplified Planner on the right. The daily is 7″ x 9″ and the weekly is 6″ x 8″. The daily Simplified Planners are coil bound while the weekly Simplified Planners are book bound and lay flat.
The happy stripe daily Simplified Planner on the bottom in photo below is 1.25″ thick while the blue pinstripe weekly Simplified Planner on the top is 0.75″ thick.
The weekly is much more portable if size or weight is an issue for you. The size of the daily would not be a deal breaker for me if I had to carry it back and forth from work or school. My sanity and needing my planner are worth the extra weight.
Inside pocket and stickers
The inside pocket of the weekly Simplified Planner on top in the picture below holds the sheet of doodle stickers while the inside pocket of the daily Simplified Planner can hold extra stickers sold separately and the sheet of doodle stickers is coiled into the planner.
The week on a page in the weekly Simplified Planner on top in the picture below versus the daily planning pages in the daily Simplified Planner on the bottom. The daily has extra space on the weekend for the “happy memory from the week” that the weekly doesn’t have.
Mini notebooks and notes pages
Emily Ley offers a set of matching mini lined notebooks* to match their planner covers. I wanted to show you a comparison of how the mini notebooks looked on top of each planner, the daily on the left and the weekly on the right. Both the navy dot and the mint tile mini notebooks are the same size.
Another big difference between the daily and weekly is the number of notes pages. The daily has 4 and the weekly has 31! I think in that case, I’d use the notes pages in the weekly planner for my project/goals/brain dump lists and use the notebook for daily to do lists if I run out of space on the weekly view.
The weekly Simplified Planner* is better if you:
- want a portable planner you can stick in your purse.
- like having a weekly overview to plan out what needs to be done each day
- don’t have a lot of meetings, appointments and to dos
- want to focus on a few key things everyday
- want all your lists in your planner
- like a book bound planner that looks great on a bookshelf or desk shelf
The daily Simplified Planner* is better if you:
- want to incorporate your daily routines into your planner
- have lots of meetings and appointments and must dos
- have lots of to dos
- you like a large daily notes space to track your misc things (meals, health, expenses, etc) whatever you need whenever you need it
- prefer a coil bound planner to lie flat
- like flipping the page to a fresh start each day
- you don’t need a lot of notes or don’t mind an extra notebook to accompany the planner
- don’t mind the bigger planner if you are carrying it with you or work/stay at home
- want to build white space into your day and keep memories and small victories in your planner
Simplified Planner vs. Erin Condren
I get questions about the differences between the weekly Simplified Planner vs. weekly Erin Condren coil bound life planners (their most popular version) and they are very different and Erin Condren has a huge line of plannersI could write a whole other blog post about it (and I probably will) but we’ll hit the highlights here.
I think the Simplified Planner* is better if:
- You want to keep things simple
- You want a hard board cover
- You want a book bound planner to put on your bookshelf
- You want a lighter planner to carry with you to work, school or on errands
- you like pops of color in your planner (or are overwhelmed by busy patterns)
- you need worksheets to help you simplify your life (tips, routines, and simplicity challenge)
- you like extra notes pages at the end of the planner
- you like colorful hand drawn stickers
- smaller space forces you to abbreviate, keep your list small and focused, in other words to simplify your schedule!
I think the weekly Erin Condren Life Planner* is better if:
- You are a creative and like design and pretty things
- You like laminated covers that you can change periodically
- You want a choice between coiled, binder or hardbound planner
- You like colorful layouts and quote pages (they have a neutral color scheme too but still the quotes are large and take up the whole page)
- You want a vertical weekly layout (though Erin Condren comes in your choice of vertical or horizontal layout)
- You like a monthly overview and productivity page for monthly goalsetting and planning
- You like notes pages in the months
- You like contacts page and a future log page
- You want a wide assortment of stickers and accessories for your planner and lifestyle
I have a full review on the Erin Condren Life Planner binder, the contents of the binder are the same as their coiled lifeplanner, it’s just in a binder. So my review will still give you a good walk through in pictures and info about the Erin Condren life planner if you feel like that one is right for you.
Simplified Planner vs Erin Condren Life Planner - see which is right for you! Click To Tweet</
The Best Pens to Use in the Weekly Simplified Planner
I did an ultimate pen test in my daily Simplified Planner review which has the same paper quality as the weekly Simplified Planner. My favorites are still the Happy Stripe Emily Ley Pilot Precise v5 pen set*. I mostly just use navy, blue or black pens to write and might use the other colors occasionally to highlight or check tasks off. There is some shadowing or ghosting with most of the gel pens I’ve tried which means you can tell there is writing on the back side of the page. These pens do not bleed through completely. The shadowing is not bad enough to bother me, it’s a sign of a well loved and well used planner and I continue to buy and be a fan of Simplified Planners!
I also like using the Zebra Mildliners* for highlighting and mostly use the pastel colors. Again, there is some shadowing or ghosting on the back of the page and the darker colors will shadow more. And again, it doesn’t bother me enough to stop me from buying these planners!These are the best pens to use in your weekly Simplified Planner! Click To Tweet
How I Use a Weekly Simplified Planner and a Daily Simplified Planner Together
If I had my way, the Simplified Planner would come with a monthly calendar, a weekly overview, all 7 daily planning pages and ample notes pages for my epic list making tendencies. But I know that wouldn’t be as simple as it sounds (and probably a beast of a heavy planner). So I’ve been using a weekly and daily Simplified Planner together since August and I love the combination so I can grab which planner I need, when I need it.
I’ve been following the Getting Things Done (GTD)* method so my weekly planner keeps track of my time-specific appointments, my day-specific tasks and my next actions work to get closer on my Powersheets goals. And my daily planner is to execute, track what was done and note small victories and happy memories along the way.
This is the order and how I plan my week and days using both planners together. I plan my week on Monday mornings because I’m a stay at home mom and feel like it’s a positive way to start the week with a fresh start and I make sure my weekends are dedicated to my family and friends.
On Mondays in my weekly Simplified Planner*:
- I review last week and check off anything that’s been done
- I write down all the appointments and use color coded dots to match the day
- I put a flag sticker* in the same color to write down top 3 priorities of the day. First, I write in must do tasks that are day specific (for ex, trash and recycling gets put to the curb on Tuesday night).
- I put breakfast and lunch ideas on Monday’s checklist space. This includes leftovers (marked by “L/O”) so I don’t forget what’s in the fridge.
Depending on all the appointments and must dos already written in:
- I put dinner ideas on Tuesday’s checklist space.
- I put home/family tasks on Wednesday’s checklist space.
- I put blog tasks on Thursday’s checklist space.
- I put self care and planner tasks (that’s for my physical and mental self care!) on Friday’s space.
- I fill in any remaining top 3 priorities from the home/family and blog checklists.
Then at the start of every day in my Daily Simplified Planner:
- I write the appointments in on the schedule side
- I write must do tasks on the checklist side
- I write in planned meals on the schedule side at the time I’m going to start meal prep
- I write in any other tasks I want to get done on the checklist side
- I write my self care tasks (my morning pain and fatigue), water tracker, shower, walking goal
Throughout the day:
- Add things that come up and I did in my daily planner’s checklist space (yes, i totally write in things after I did them so I know what my time was spent on)
- Check off completed items in my daily (and weekly)
- Write the day meals are made in my weekly (I just put the day in parentheses)
- Add random things I think of either in the daily planner’s checklist space if it needs to be done now or this week or into my phone notes if it can be done next week or later
- Add in happy memories or things I need/want to remember in my daily planner
It sounds like a lot when you write it all out but it’s my planning process and what helps me think through what needs to be done weekly and daily step by step and still keep track of my health, happy memories and small victories to celebrate in life.
Other Ways to Use a Weekly Simplified Planner
If you’re committed to a daily planner like I am, you can still use the weekly Simplified Planner for some other more specific uses. And i think it’s great for that when you want to get superfocused and crush some specific goals on a particular area.
Here are some ideas of ways to use a weekly Simplified Planner:
- Menu planner
- Budget and daily expense tracking
- Health and fitness (food, pain, symptom and exercise log)
- Blog or work planner
- Memory or gratitude journal
My Favorite Weekly Simplified Planner Accessories
- Weekly Simplified Planner* (blue pinstripe cover)
- Emily Ley Happy Stripe Pilot Precise Pen Set*
- Mini Notebook in Mint Tile*
- Variety Sticker Set*
- Color Coding Sticker Set*
- Zebra Mildliners Highlighters (pastel set)*
FREE Simplified Planner Printables
I love that Simplified Planner gives you free printables* to test out their planner pages and other fun and simple printables to help you simplify your chaotic life. Here are some of my favorites available to download:
- Daily planner page
- weekly planner page
- brain dump checklist
- brain dump quads
- brain dump graph paper
- blog planner
- meeting notes
- packing checklist
- party planning
- family meeting notes
- baby chart
- class list
- spring cleaning checklist
- sunday checklist
- password tracker
- borrowed items
- go to meals
- gratitude list
- holiday shopping list
There are a few more I didn’t name but there’s a lot to help you simplify various areas of your home, school, work and life!
Simplified Planner Coupon Codes and Sales
I love helping you save money on awesome planners so I try to keep track of launch dates, coupon codes and sales I hear about so you can get the best deal!
What’s on sale right now! (Emily’s books, dry erase magnets and 2019-2020 planners)* – I have read Grace Not Perfection and enjoyed it. Great reminders to fit grace in the midst of chaotic mom life and I’ve read and kept A Simplified Life in my desk. I’ll be journaling and writing those tasks in my weekly Simplified Planner notes pages so I can make sure to get it all done!
2019-2020 Academic year planner launch, April 3, 2019 at 10 am EST.
11th Annual Birthday Sale*!! Enjoy 30% off almost everything, no code needed! July 2, 2019- July 4, 2019 11:59pm EDT.
2020 Calendar year planner launch, September 4, 2019 at 10am EST! They usually have great giveaways and Facebook and Instagram lives leading up to the launch. Some great bundle deals, and let’s keep our fingers crossed for free US. shipping on orders over a certain amount.
Black Friday Sale usually held at the end of November
The Bottom Line Review
When I first opened this small, light weekly Simplified Planner, I never thought it would work for me and my big handwriting and massive to do lists. But I love the quality and clean design (just enough color for me) of the Simplified Planners and the Weekly Simplified Planner is no exception. I am too much of a fan of time blocking in a daily planner to give that up, but I think that the weekly Simplified Planner is an excellent choice for people who don’t want or need to track their time, have a few appointments and really just want a great overview of their week and things they need to get done. This planner is especially great if you need to carry it back and forth from work or school since it’s professional looking and very portable.
The Prep Work is really what makes the Simplified Planner different from their competition. The Simplicity Challenge encourages you to simplify your life with easy, actionable tasks that give you big results by helping you unburden some of the stress and weight of the clutter that plagues your home and mind. The worksheets make you think through what went well, what didn’t and how you can develop daily and weekly routines to make your life run smoother.
Alone, the weekly Simplified Planner can be a very useful tool to be more intentional with your time. It doesn’t have a lot of space to note every little thing but that’s what forces you to simplify your schedule and pick the most important things to do each day and week. I LOVE, LOVE, LOVE that this planner has ample notes pages for my bullet journal collections, master to do lists, cleaning schedules and ideas.
I’m using the weekly Simplified Planner* as a component of my Getting Things Done system and it sets the stage for my weekly plan. I still use my Daily Simplified Planner to execute that plan each day, to block how my time is spent and then to track those other unexpected items that come up during the day. I need that for my sanity’s sake so the weekly + daily serves my needs perfectly.
If you want to see how the weekly Simplified Planner stacks up against other planners on the market, be sure to check out my Ultimate Planner Comparison post and download a free chart to help you decide.
Pin for Later