If you know me, you know I love planners. Without them I’m lost. And, I don’t mean scheduling things on google calendar or iCal. I mean, putting pen to paper and writing things down, crossing things off a to-list for a given date, and seeing my week at- a- glance opened in a notebook beside me on my desk.
I often have more than one calendar—though I’m trying to condense this; it can become a lot of work. I normally have a small one for work, one for my personal tasks, birthdays, and as a fitness/wellness tracker, and at times an even smaller one in my purse.
At the start of every year, I often get texts or social media messages from friends and acquaintances asking what my favorite planner brand is, or if there’s one I recommend. For the last six years or so, I’ve been using the same brand and it’s by far been my favorite—The Happy Planner.
Why is it my favorite? Well, because you can customize it as much as you want. Let’s start with, they have various layouts to pick from including vertical layout, which has three boxes vertically per day that you can use to separate your day by morning, afternoon, night or as personal, work, other, or as a meal planner, fitness tracker, and reflection—the options are all up to you; there’s a wellness layout that includes spaces for “intentions,” “nourish,” “movement” and a “note of the day” with prompted reflections; the horizontal layout gives you a lined large box for each day of the week across the page; there’s also a checklist layout; a dashboard layout that on one side of the spread has the week displayed and an additional box for quick notes for everyday of the week, while the left side of the spread has boxes labeled: “tasks” with a checklist, “important,” “looking ahead,” and “notes;” there are also color block layouts, monthly and daily layouts, plus checklist, stress management, recovery, teacher, undated layouts and more.
As you can see there are a variety of different layouts, which makes it ideal in choosing one that fits your needs and personal goals. There are also various options when it comes to sizes including: Big (8.5” x 11”), Classic (7″ x 9.25″), Mini (4.625” x 7”), Skinny Classic (4.125” x 9.25”). Not only does the brand offer a variety of sizes, but they also vary in design. You can pick a style that has a lot of color or one that’s more classic and maybe better fit for the corporate world. You can also disguise your planner by adding a cover to it—this helps you keep fun or colorful designs, while possibly looking more professional in a meeting setting.
And if you want to further customize your planner you can buy additional dividers and various paper styles to match your needs such as: filler paper with various designs on them, half page notebook paper, meal planner sheets, habit trackers, fitness trackers/planners, a finance log, and even social media planning pages. You can also get sticker packs, not only to decorate, but also to serve as to-do blocks, habit trackers, and more. You can also add envelopes and folders to your planner to use as storage, dry erase dashboards, and planner companions. Planner Companions are coordinating sets that include a few items you can use such as: vision boards, dry erase board, folders, envelopes, a few stickers, zip pouch, intention bracelet, dashboard, inspiration print inserts, filler paper and more—they each bring about 5-10 different items depending on which one you get.
The Happy Planner also offers inspiration on their blog for those who want ideas on how to put their planner together or how to use their various accessories. It’s a great place to start and helps you see what all the varous size and page options look like.
Last year I barely used my planner—I didn’t have much going on. But, this year, I’m bringing it back and trying to recommit to how I used them before. I kept a Mini on my work desk, and a Classic for my personal and fitness goal—I don’t like to see my work tasks when I’m not at work. When I was working out and committing to my health goals the most, using my fitness Classic happy planner kept me on track. The stickers motivated me, the habit trackers helped me track where I was on my journey and helped me plan my workouts and reflect on how I felt at the end of the day.
Working on my Happy Planner each week gave me a chance to think about what I wanted to accomplish, but decorating it allowed me a moment in my week to Zen out. I’d work on it on Sunday mornings, or weekday evenings while watching TV—decorating it gave me a space to be a little creative, carefree, and fun. Remember, this doesn’t have to look perfect. It just needs to represent you and work for you. You can keep it as simple as you’d like or add as many accessories as you want. If you only use the planner and maybe some color pens, that’s great too.
I’ll be sharing more this year on how I use my planner—stickers, planning pages, photos and more.
For those of you who prefer to keep everything digitally, I have worked on something for you. I’ve created a few fun pages to help you start your planning journey. You can use these pages with your iPad and Good Notes (or similar app) or print them out and use them with your pens if you prefer putting pen to paper. If you’re interested in using these pages, sign up and get the first few—yearly look, blank monthly pages, meal planner, goals & mood tracker, daily reflection pages, and more. This is just the start. If you sign up to download these pages, I’ll be sending you more creations throughout the year.
Check out another planner option I love.