What is a Day Planner?

Malcolm Tatum
Malcolm Tatum

Available in both hard copy and electronic versions, the day planner often functions as a tool to help persons organize a busy schedule, keep track of upcoming events, and maintain a list of ongoing commitments or tasks that must be accomplished on a recurring basis.

A day planner may be used to record appointments.
A day planner may be used to record appointments.

The day planner has long been a staple of both the home and the office. Manufacturing plants have used day planners as a means of keeping up with production schedules, using the device to determine how much of a particular lot of goods has to be produced in order to meet a client order on time. A manufacturing day planner can also be used to schedule out the machinery that must be used in the process, as well as the amount of raw materials and labor required to handle the creation of the goods to meet the commitment.

Standard calendars may also be used as a day planner.
Standard calendars may also be used as a day planner.

Around the home, a day planner is helpful on a number of levels. The typical day planner for the individual will include sections for each day of the year. The sections are usually large enough to write in social commitments, items that must be accomplished on or by a certain date, and a standard calendar for important events over the course of a month. Along with calendars and space for note, day planners often are equipped with address books that include room for such important data as names, addresses, phone numbers, email addresses and special dates, such as birthdays and anniversaries.

While the hard copy format for the day planner is still immensely popular, the advent of the Internet has made it possible to maintain an electronic day planner as well. These virtual day planner software packages incorporate all the features in a traditional day planner, and often also include the ability to link over to different sections in the program, entering data in more than one section at a time. While there are inexpensive day planner software packages on the market today, many people make use of free day planners that are sometimes included as part of the services provided by an Internet service provider or with an email service.

Malcolm Tatum
Malcolm Tatum

After many years in the teleconferencing industry, Michael decided to embrace his passion for trivia, research, and writing by becoming a full-time freelance writer. Since then, he has contributed articles to a variety of print and online publications, including wiseGEEK, and his work has also appeared in poetry collections, devotional anthologies, and several newspapers. Malcolm’s other interests include collecting vinyl records, minor league baseball, and cycling.

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Discussion Comments


2Mor - I use the one that came with my smartphone and it works really well. I don't usually have that many fixed appointments so much as deadlines, which I am generally well aware of, so if I just use a paper day planner I will forget to check it every day.

The way I've got it set up on my phone, though, it will warn me if an appointment is coming up, the day before and a few hours before it's due.


@KoiwiGal - I think it depends on what kind of day you generally have as to how complicated your day planner needs to be and how far ahead you need to plan things.

If someone has a lot of meetings and other appointments that are fixed in time they are going to have to have a day planner that runs at least several months into the future. I really like having one that I'm in the habit of using because it means that I don't have to worry about forgetting something. If it's something that needs to be prepared beforehand (like a presentation) I put a note about it in the planner on a day before it is due so I have time to do it. And I don't make appointments without checking the planner to see if I've got that time and date free to use.

I know it's an obvious thing to do, but it took me a couple of years to really get the hang of utilizing a personal day planner rather than trying to wing everything as it came up.


I make my own day planner. I started when I realized I needed one and didn't want to buy one in the middle of the year. Basically I just have a template that I put into OneNote and I change it depending on what I need to get done that day.

I like it because it's as versatile as I need it to be and it goes well with my calender, where I can mark out anything happening in the future that I need to be aware of.

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