Tools of the Trade – Planners

Yesterday I talked about taking time to plan your schedule. I want to dive into that a little further with planners.

Physical planners come in many different shapes and sizes. You have everything from a notebook you use to bullet journal to the more in depth Erin Condren Life Planners to the executive style Full Focus planner by Michael Hyatt. Happy Planner, Plum Paper Planners, Day at a Glance, Blue Sky – the possibilities are endless when it comes to planners and how they are set up. The key is to choose the right one for you.

I wouldn’t call bullet journals basic. Not with the amount of work that goes into them. You can start with a notebook or a binder and you are drawing out what you want your “spread” to look like. A spread is another term for layout. Do you like a daily layout? Weekly? Monthly? How many pages do you use for your spread? It all depends on how detailed you want to track your life. With bullet journals, the possibilities are endless because you are looking at a blank page. Draw, use stickers or write (or all three). I know a lot of people who take pride in their bullet journals and have fancy pens and practice calligraphy. If that’s your cup of tea – go for it and have a blast. For me, I didn’t want that much white space staring at me.

The next step up is a planner from Walmart or Target. Again, I’m not downplaying their role in the planner community, but they are very strict in their formatting. Almost opposite of a bullet journal. They are mass produced and can have daily or weekly formats with a 12 month calendar section for future planning. Not a lot of room to be creative, but it might work for someone who is just starting in the planner lifestyle.

The next option is also a mass produced planner, but it has more potential for creativity. I’m talking about The Happy Planners. These come in a variety of sizes and have a ton of accessories. They have a weekly format and have a lot of inserts to add to your planner. The best thing about these planners is the discs. It isn’t a ring bound planner – they have discs that you ‘snap’ your pages into. And you can take out the pages easily and add more pages.

You can find so many sticker kits for this planner – a lot of them creatively handmade by Etsy sellers. Different themes, colors, sizes. Washi tape is also used on these planners, as well as the different colored pens. I like the room the discs gave me, but I was looking for more of a daily planner. With lots of room to write.

There are many variations of the Happy Planner weekly style. Again, it is all your preference and budget.

Now, because I couldn’t find a planner style I liked, I designed my own. And because I designed it myself, I had the freedom of a bullet journal in that I could change the format every month. If something wasn’t working, take it out and add something else. My current spread is a 2 page daily spread with 4 sections. I have the pretty pens I love (Frixion pens – erasable gel pens) and if I want to use stickers, I can. I’m able to track what I do at work, keep track of appointments, a to do list and a brain dump. Brain dump is essential for me and what was missing with all the other planners. I need a place to write down my ideas and thoughts. Get them out of my head so I don’t forget them and put them in a centralized place.

Here’s the shameless plug – are you ready? I’d love to design you a planner. Whether you want a weekly planner or a daily planner, I can do it. I will work with you until we have a format you like and then you still have options. I can send you a pdf for you to print at home or I can print, cut and hole punch here and ship to you. I can even help you pick out a pretty binder.

Isn’t she pretty?

This is an example of my daily spread. It works with my brain. I’d love to work with yours and create a spread just for you. Send me an email at

Until tomorrow-


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