is your daytimer discouraging you or helping you live the life you desire

18 years of life as recorded in my daytimers.

In December’s holiday season, to-do lists are probably read even more than the ‘top 10 best sellers’! But year-round we use some kind of system for scheduling appointments, making to-do lists, planning events, keeping life on track… 

  • paper book daytimer or journal method (my favourite)
  • online app or program (tried that without success)
  • calendar on the wall (my Mom’s method; it was shocking how three or four ‘reminders’ extrapolated into accomplishing more in a day than many could do in three!)
  • trusting memory (which most of us dare not totally rely upon).

No right or best or wrong or bad – it’s about the system that works for you. 

But regardless of the system, if we have: unrealistic expectations of how much can be accomplished in a day; an overload of commitments to step up and rescue others’ mismanagement; mismatched to-do’s that aren’t you – we will be empty, stressed and probably angry. 

This is Emilie McDermott’s take on how combatting mental clutter connects with a written daytimer system:  “…getting to-do’s out of my head, I can then focus on the most important things to accomplish in my day.” 

I can understand that. But the challenge – and I’m not alone here – is the dance of deciding on any given day what is considered a to-do (i.e. finish decorating the house for Christmas) or an important thing  (i.e. wrap up this blog, and publish today). 

A desired outcome is to still love yourself at the end of the day, not being ‘a bear to live with’ depending on items checked off in the daytimer. Not easy!

I get it. There are non-negotiables, i.e. a long-awaited, scheduled doctor’s appointment, a work deadline, a commitment to your Mom or friend. But even in the hot-seat seasons there has to be space to include in your to-do list, permission to ‘colour outside the lines’ of your daytimer to fill your well. 

What can you add to your daytimer, in this busy holiday season?

  • play your musical instrument rather than bake another batch of Christmas cookies
  • have tea and dig out a previous daytimer/journal for reflection on that year’s happenings
  • knit or enjoy another therapeutic handcraft 
  • have coffee with a friend you haven’t seen for a while
  • take a long walk in nature’s healing energy
  • literally doodle or colour your way to a creative happy space 
Breathe and play with the pens.

The older I get, it’s very evident I will always need a daytimer – my bright red Moleskine daytimer (referral link) is already getting marked up. However,  before 2020 (yikes!) I am considering learning the Bullet Journal Method, (referral link) founded by Ryder Carroll. I’ve seen my daughter Renee Tougas use this method for efficient management for home, home schooling, work as a writer  and more, which she shares here:

What is great about the bullet journal concept is that you can weave these two [scheduling and journaling] together really well. There’s nothing limiting you in a bullet journal. There is no calendar or weekly template you must follow and fill, preventing you from chronicling personal thoughts right alongside the week’s tasks……For me, it seems that using a bullet journal has allowed me to see with more clarity the connection between my growth (the struggle and triumphs) and my responsibilities, tasks, to-do’s that facilitate that growth.

I like the idea of this amalgamated journal; though this format that one builds yourself, will require some effort to efficiently use. If this interests you, and you’re curious to learn together, let me know.  Perhaps it can be arranged to happen online.

Helpful tools – but just tools – for creating the life you desire.

Friends, we were created for vibrant and meaningful lives.  To that end, as I walk through my days, tweaking the system, I would be happy to hear how you are also navigating yours.

Love and gratitude,  


P.S. Whatever stage of life you’re in – my desire is you will be rejuvenated with healthy food, physical movement, living with purpose and joy. If you want to connect with me for a free short chat to help make this happen for you I’m available here or at

P.P.S. This is my Affiliate and Privacy Policy.Love and gratitude.  

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