My 2018 Happy Planner Walk-Through

My 2018 Planner 

Here’s what I have in my Frankenplanner. You can read more about what that means in Planning My Planner for 2018  post, but here’s a little description for you for now:

FrankenPlanner – (my favorite definition from the MAMBI facebook group) Using the “body” parts from multiple planners to create your perfect “monster” planner

This post is pretty much in list-form of all of the different components that make up my FrankenPlanner. There isn’t much “meat” to it, or details about my planning, but it gives you a good picture of what’s in my planner and how I will be using the pages. 

  • Pink “Happy Life” Snap-in Cover (Much more durable!) & Large Gold Disks
  • Title Page… “This Happy Planner Belongs to…” Front & 2018 Year on Back
  • Scriptures Page I have printed and added (You can print pages at 80% to fit perfectly in the Classic Size Happy Planners.)
  • December Tab and Monthly Spread
  • December Vertical Weekly Pages with a few Mini-Size Daily Pages Mixed In
  • Divider for December Recipes & Recipe Pages (How Perfect this will be when I’m looking for my favorite Christmas recipes to use again next year!)
  • January Trendsetter Monthly Tab & Spread – Here I will have a general overview of the month…. appointments, events, birthdays, holidays, etc.
  • January Trendsetter Goals Page – I fell in love with this page, and it’s the reason I wanted to get the Trendsetter. It has a place for Top 3 Goals, Monthly Goals, Checklist, Monthly Habit Trackers, Note to Self, Get It Done List, & a List of things to Focus On. Here’s how I will use each of those…
    1. Top 3 Goals: Priority goals that MUST get done this month or there will be consequences. For example, we must pay our property taxes in January. If not done in January, there will be a late fee added.
    2. Monthly Habit Trackers – There are 3 of these per month. For the month of January, I will track the days that I workout, my personal reading time & Me Time, & the days that I read aloud to my kids. These things are all important to me and things I really want to track and make sure I do.
    3. Monthly Goals – My broken down specific S.M.A.R.T. or W.H.O.O.P.I.E. Goal Tasks for the Month.
    4. Checklist – Monthly tasks like Clean the Coffee Maker, Change the Air Filter, Budget Review, & Homeschool Portfolios. (I also have a master of these for the year in my Notes Section.)
    5. Note to Self – Affirmation or Scripture to Meditate on for the Month
    6. Blank Space– Perfect for adding in a picture of my kids or family
    7. Get it Done – Priority Tasks that have to get done soon
    8. Focus On – Other habits I’d like to work on but aren’t necessarily tracking in this particular month
  • Trendsetter January Daily To Do’s – There are enough of these sections for each day of the month, but here’s something I’m also considering… Instead of doing one section per day – I might use it like a weekly view and add categories for the different things I do and hats I wear.
  • Notes Page (on the back of the last Daily To Do’s) & a 2019 Year View
  • January Horizontal Planner Overview & Dashboard Tab Page
  • January Horizontal Planner Tab & Monthly View
  • January Horizontal Weekly View Lined Pages
  • February Trendsetter Planner Inserts
  • February Horizontal Classic Planner Inserts
  • Also have March & April Inserts, but those are the only dated inserts I have in here currently to save room for other things I need. (As months end, I will file away the old month into the original covers that came with these planners and add in the new month.)
  •  Pocket Divider (Front Side is Labelled “File/Keep”, and Back Side is not labelled but it holds my laminated “Weekly Review Checklist” and Some Sticky Note Stickers for Quick Notes
  • Notes Section Tab & Dashboard (This came with the Trendsetter Planner, and I’m so glad, because I already planned to have a “Notes” section, but this gives me a Tab so I can easily find it.)
  • Index Page (I made this page so I can number the pages of my notes section and easily find what I’m looking for. It’s from the Bullet Journalling System, and it keeps me from having a bazillion different sections and tabs that really aren’t needed when I already have so many in my planner.) When I add a page to my notes, I just jot down the page number on this page and what the notes were for. And sometimes they may get out of order because I may put multiple things on one page such as a recipe at the top or notes from church on the bottom of the same page. As long as that’s written in my index, it works well enough for me.
  • To Do Lists Tab, Dashboard, and Pages – This section is where I have a running project list of tasks I need to or would just like to complete. I write in the date, add the task, and check it off when it’s completed. This section is from the Home Management Happy Planner Kit, but this is the only section I actually still use from that kit. I’ve labelled three pages in it with “Personal Projects and Tasks”, “First Impressions” (which is all of my church-related tasks & meeting notes), & “Wish List” – which is a running list of household things we need, or things like new jeans for Lawson, or a book I saw that I’d like to order. It’s nice to have it all in one place if I find room in the budget to check something off the list.
  • House Cleaning Section – (Honestly, I don’t need an entire section for this, as I am a bit domestically challenged, but I do like having the tab.) Originally this did come from the Home Management Kit as well, but it had Weekly Cleaning Lists – which I did use, but I don’t care to use again. Instead, I’ve made my own “Monthly Tasks” Tracker Page, and it’s things that I’d like to do and repeat every month. I will probably add in my Morning Routine, my Evening Routine, the Boys’ Morning Checklist, & Some Quarterly Household/Cleaning Chores to this section, but I haven’t done that just yet.
  • Budget Tab/Divider
  • Pocket Divider (Front Side is Labelled “Bills” so I can keep up with what needs to be paid and not lose it and the Back Side is Labelled “Coupons” – just the coupons that I will definitely, actually use like the Michael’s flyer
  • Bill Pay Checklist (from the Budgeting Happy Planner Kit) I love these, and I use two per month. I’ve divideded our bills & expenses between Justin’s two paychecks, based on their due dates. So I do our budget twice a month with weekly reviews and a big monthly review at the end. (At least, that’s my goal.)
  • Expense Tracker Pages
  • Budget Review
  • Month at a Glance (Budget Review)
  • Pocket Divider (Front Side Labelled “First Impressions”/ Back Side Labelled “Upcoming” where I keep invitations & such so I can easily find them when needed

    And that’s my planner for 2018!! Now it’s time to put it to work for me!

How I Use My Planner To Reach My Goals & Be More Intentional

Because I am a Planner Girl, I love to Plan. And because I love to Plan, I love Goals. I love making Lists, like New Year’s Resolutions, and figuring out a plan or system for how to acheive those goals. INTJ personality type here! I totally nerd-out when it comes to these things. Nothing feels better than checking off a box of a task completed or a goal reached! (Okay, I can think of a few things in life that are better, but those things are not what this particular post is about.) Stay with me here.

If you were to take a look at me and my lifestyle before and after I really became a Planner Girl, I am certain you would see the difference. While I’ve always loved organizational things and “school supplies” if you will, now that I’ve found the Planning System that works best for me, I’m able to put that to use in my life. Before it was to-do lists written randomly on my collection of notebooks or notepads or scribbled on a dry erase board – without much thought or intention. Those tasks may or may not actually have gotten done. Who knows? It was all too random. No goals to work towards or a plan in place to make actual changes happen – just random tasks with no order or strategy.

Don’t get me wrong- I’ve always been a girl who had a planner. From those little monthly calendars you can get from the dollar store to pre-made spiral agendas (spiral – never again for me!), sketch books that I literally made into my own planner (gosh, it was so ugly), Moleskine Bullet Journals, Traveler’s Notebooks (which I still love for archives), etc. I have just found that The Happy Planner is what works for me. It’s the longest I’ve stuck with any type of planner. (Since July 2016!) I love that I can customize it and make it my own, but that those components I need already exist. I can just purchase them (a little at a time, with a coupon, of course) until I get all that I need and put it together. It just works for me! Another thing that I think is a big component of why I love and use it so much is that it’s beautiful. There are so many different styles and varieties of the Happy Planner that deciding which one to get is the hardest part. I think that when something is pretty, it makes you want to look at it. It’s why I’ve begun decorating my planner even more – Give me all the washi and pretty handwriting! And no, this is not a sponsored blog post for the Happy Planner. I just really love it!

So with all that said… now, let me share with you how I use my planner to reach my goals and be more intentional. It’s why you’re here, right?

  • Yearly Planning: Start with the Big Picture for the Year by writing New Year’s Resolutions and Goals. You can do this by just having a brain dump onto paper of all of the ideas that you have. Think about the different hats that you wear in your life and come up with one or two ways you’d like to improve this year in those categories. This is all about being more intentional and becoming a better you than you were last year. You CAN do this! You can read my previous posts and use S.M.A.R.T. or W.H.O.O.P.I.E. to help you set some goals for yourself. Just by writing down your goals, studies show that you are more likely to actually acheive them!
  • Monthly Planning: Once you have your Big Picture of your Year and maybe even a Word of the Year to focus on, it’s time to break it down into months. For each big goal – you have 12 months or 12 different steps you can take to reach this goal. Think of it like building blocks. Instead of starting a new diet, going to the gym every day, drinking more water, and taking the stairs all in January, just choose one of those to really focus on for the month. Track it for the month, and then add another thing in February. You might find that you are more successful this way, and you might see that you naturally just want to make more healthy choices anyway, without much thought.So go ahead and get your plan in place. Take each big goal you have and break them down. Focus on one at a time. Another option would be to choose just 4 big goals for the year and do one per quarter. All of your goals may not have “12 steps” where you will do one thing per month.

    For example – If your goal is “Get Closer to God”, don’t just leave it at that. Make a list of steps you will take so that you are intentional to make that happen. Realize that God is doing His part already – He’s ready and willing to meet with you every day, and He’s just waiting for you to show up.
    Some examples of how you can do your part to reach this goal….
    Step one – Establish the habit of Morning Quiet Time & Bible Reading… Use a monthly calendar to track this habit. Draw a small symbol or color in a box every day that you do it. See how many consecutive days you can get. Do it, no matter what, until it becomes a habit for you and a part of your identity. Think of it like an appointment you have set up each day, like you would with anyone else. Go to bed earlier. Have a snack and a quiet activity available for your kids. Set your alarm a little bit earlier. Prep the coffee the night before. Clear the chair and area you plan to sit. Think about all of the obstacles beforehand and plan a way to overcome them.
    Step Two – Handwrite a scripture from your daily Bible reading that speaks to you. A planner with horizontal lines is perfect for this. It’s how I will be using mine.
    Step Three – Create a prayer journal so you can intentionally pray for your life and the needs of those around you. Again, use a monthly tracker to track the days you do this until it becomes a habit. Seeing it on a calendar gives you a big picture view of your progress.

    Go ahead and plug your goals into your planner if it helps you to do that. I use my monthly pages to write down my specific goals for that particular month. That way it’s easy to focus on and keep track of my progress. You can do this for any goal that you set – they just may be broken down in different ways. Find what works for you!

  • Weekly Planning: Next, you’ll break down your planning into Weeks. Look at your monthly calendar to see what you have going on this week as you get ready for your week. If you are using a weekly spread in a planner, be sure to carry all of your events, appointments, birthdays, and holidays over to your weekly spread. Add in any little notes of things you need to bring to these events or ways that you need to prepare for them. At this point you can take the monthly goals and habits you are working and focusing on and plug them into your planner, or you can save this for your daily planning. I usually will write “Weekly Priorities” and appointments only on my weekly spread in the “Notes” section, and save the specific tasks for my daily planning, but what you do is up to you.
  • Daily Planning: When planning your Days, in my opinion, it’s best to do it one day at a time. While I may fill in the things that will not change such as events or appointments in advance, for the most part, I only write tasks for today or tomorrow at most. I use the bullet journal style for daily task lists. Every task listed has a check box where they get an “X” as they are completed. If they do not get completed, I carry them over to the next day’s list with a “>” to show that it has been carried over from a previous day, and I also put a “>” in the box on the current day to show that it didn’t get completed, but I moved it over. That way I won’t see an empty box and look at it again, but I will see it when I need to. I also like to prioritize 1-3 tasks that REALLY NEED TO BE DONE TODAY. My daily pages have had a section at the top for this, but my new Trendsetter daily tasks page will not, so instead, I will add 1-3 stars beside the checkboxes for the day so that I can see what I really need to focus on doing. (I hope that this all makes sense. I think that a video would be much better for explaning this more thoroughly. Maybe one day soon, I’ll get to that – but the thought makes me really nervous.)
    Daily Page, Mini
    Trendsetter Daily To-Do’s Page

    So that’s it! Now it’s time for you to write down your own goals for yourself and get a plan in place to make them happen! You still have a few days before the New Year begins so that you can start it out with intentionality and purpose. This is going to be a great year! Let’s be goal-getters!

Planning My Planner for 2018

As this year is coming to an end, so is my planner. I have officially been “Happy Planning” for a year and a half now. As I close the cover of my very first Happy Planner, it’s time that I choose and open the cover of my next one.

I have come to love the MAMBI (Me and My Big Ideas) Happy Planner line. I have one for my personal life and home management that I use for pretty much everything. It’s the one I’ve been using since July 2016 that will be completed this month. I purchased another one and used it, specifically, as a baby book for Layten’s first year. A planner makes a GREAT baby book! I was able to keep up with all of her milestones each month and add pictures easily. I also purchased one to use for our Homeschool because it’s really nice to keep that separate from everything else. It holds all of our memory work, plans for each term, attendance, and a daily log of what we get done each homeschool day.

So those 3 make up my Happy Planner collection, but as you noticed – one is coming to an end so I have to choose another one to keep up with all of my personal things and all of our home management needs.

So while it might sound a little obsessive or nerdy or whatever that I am “planning my planner”, I don’t even care about that anymore. This is who I am. A planner girl. It has helped me accomplish so much more than I ever thought possible. Just by planning out my life – my month, my week, my day… I found that I was actually being more intentional with it, instead of just letting life happen to me. I woke up each day with goals and plan of action , instead of just “putting out fires” and being lazy all day. It’s really been a good thing for me, and now that I’ve discovered what system works best for me, I want to find the perfect planner that does just that!

Here’s what I need in a planner…

  • A Monthly View – So I can see the Big Picture of appointments, events, etc.
  • A Daily To-Do List – I like to do this “Bullet Journal” style. I plan one day at a time for my tasks that I need to accomplish. I can “star” my top 3 priorities for each day, and whatever doesn’t get done, gets moved forward to the next day.
  • A Section for Notes – I might divide this into categories like Bible Study, Prayer Journal, Church Notes, Meeting Notes, Commonplace Corner for notes from Books I’m reading, and Miscellaneous -or- I might leave it as one big section and just create and index like you would do in a bullet journal. I AM looking to add my prayer journal and Bible study notes to my Happy Planner so that it’s all in one place though. I should complete my current Bible study/Prayer journal with this Advent study I’m working through.
  • A Budgeting Section – I’m not sure if I will purchase the Budgeting Kit from the Happy Planner line again, or if I will create my own. I really like the “Bill Pay Checklist” and the “Expense Tracker” pages, but I don’t necessarily love having another monthly view in my planner for budgeting. I haven’t found it to be useful for me because I pay all of our bills twice a month, when Justin gets paid based on their due dates so it’s already pretty simple.
  • Ongoing To-Do/Project List – I really like this section of the Home Management kit, but it’s the only section of that kit I continued to use throughout the year. The Meal Planner & Grocery list was great until we started our Macronutrient Nutrition Plan and no longer needed it. The cleaning checklist was great, but I didn’t necessarily use it to it’s full potention, and just like added these cleaning tasks to my daily to do/ task list instead.
  • Weekly View – I have come to love decorating my vertical weekly views in my Happy Planner, but I decided that I wanted to go with a horizontal, lined layout this year instead to encourage me to do more daily scripture-writing (which I love) and journaling. It’s not so easy to write in the vertical spaces, so horizontal will be good for this. I’m sure I can find a way to decorate it still, and I hope I won’t regret not having the vertical spread.So! With all that in mind, I had to customize and create a planner that would meet all my needs. I knew that the Happy Planner would be able to do just that with all of it’s customizations available! I decided to go with the Happy Planner Classic-Size Horizontal 2018 Planner AND The Happy Planner Trendsetter Style Classic 2018 Planner. I would combine the two into one planner for me. This is called “Frankenplanning”, which I’ve really been doing all along anyway.Franken Planner – (my favorite definition from the MAMBI facebook group) Using the “body” parts from multiple planners to create your perfect “monster” planner
    The 2 Planners I Purchased for 2018 (Trendsetter on the Left; Horizontal Classic on the Right)
    Trendsetter Planner Monthly Overview
    Trendsetter Monthly Spread (I fell in love with this!)
    Trendsetter Daily To-Do’s (This replaces the usual weekly spread.) I loved it because it would combine my current daily pages I use all on one page, making my planner less chunky.
    Classic, Horizontal Planner Monthly Overview
    Classic, Horizontal, Lined Weekly Spread
    My 2018 Frankenplanner with Large Disks & a Pretty Pink Durable Snap-in Cover

    Next Up! I will give you a walk-through of my 2018 Frankenplanner… all of it’s sections and components, and how I use them. I will show you exactly how I’ve customized it and how I will use it to be more intentional and meet goals that I am setting.