Tag: planners

ThriveSteer Planner

August 23
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Created by a therapist, the ThriveSteer planner is designed to be a planner and a life coach all in one. This planner has a strong focus on both helping you plan your day as well as helping you create the vision for the life you want to live.

Before the “planner” starts there are several pages of activities to go through. These activities help to sit back and think about what you really want from your life from six core values.

These values are:
To learn more about these areas visit the ThriveSteer website.


After you understand the core values, the planner has prompts about many areas of your life. Through these prompts you will learn more about what you are really looking for from life as well as create pursuit statements that will help focus your actions over the next year.

The planner then walks you through the steps to make one goal for the year and helps you plan how to get to it. At the end you will have a chance to review what you’d worked on and you should leave the beginning of the planner with a strong sense of what your real goals are as well as how to get there.


The planner portion itself it fairly simple. Monthly pages are tabbed for easy access and weeks are put together in a simple hourly vertical layout. Both have areas where you can mark the core value you want to focus on as well as space for reflection.



At the end of each month there is a two page Monthly Follow Up  where you can reflect on the previous month. There is also a quarterly and year end review as well. These include prompts that will help you decide where you were successful and how you might need to change your pursuit statements to better meet your needs.

Overall, this is a high quality planner with unique insight that I have never before seen in this format. The paper is strong and I love that it comes with two bookmarks and a band to keep the whole thing together.


If you are looking for a planner that focuses on wellness and goals this one might be for you. Find out more at ThriveSteer.com 

Note: This is not a sponsored post. All opinions are my own and I was given a free product for review purposes. 




What I do with old planners

August 8

One of the questions I always get asked is what I do with my old planers. I know everyone’s answers and reasonings will be different, but my answer is a easy one. I keep them. I store old planners on a shelf in my office; close enough to be grabbed and reviewed at any time. I do not keep old planners that I did not use. I keep my planners for both practical and sentimental reasons.  These reasons work for me but may or may not work for you.

When I start a new planner for a new year I go back to the monthly spreads of my previous planner to find any important reoccurring dates; birthdays, anniversaries, ect. I also note the date of events that happen every year such as 5Ks and festivals. Generally speaking these types of events take place on the same weekend such as the third Saturday in July. If the upcoming event is just an estimated date I put it on a sticky note and put that in the monthly spread of my new planner. This makes planning out vacations and other events much easier.

I also use my old planners to remember when things happened. Often times I will reember something like “I don’t remember the day she had the baby, but I know it was the same day as my hair appointment and I think it was July.” Then I can go to July, see when I had my hair done, and make a pretty good guess that is the child’s birthday. I also go back and use my old planners to remember when the last time I had a doctor’s appointment, had the carpets cleaned, and other infrequent tasks. I win a lot of bets with my husband this way. 🙂

The last reason I keep my old planners around is for the sentimental value. Just flipping through an old planner or notebook from a few years ago opens up a whole wealth of memories that you may have almost forgotten happened. Just like we take vacation photos to remember great trips, flipping though an old planner is like a trip down memory lane remembering what life was like then. I am sure these memories will be even more precious as time goes by.

Do you keep old planners? What do you do with them? Share below!


What I do with old planners


Planner pen test

May 20
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Planner Pen TEST

For a long time I’ve just been the type of person who grabs whatever pen is the closest.  Yes, I like good pens, but usually I just need something now and grab what I see.  Recently I have been inspired by other planners to branch out and try new pens and see if I have a favorite.  Last weekend I did just that.  I ordered a bunch of pens and went to town seeing how they work.  Being more of a left brain type person I figured the best option was to write them all down on the same sheet of paper to see the differences, very much like an elementary school science project.  I also have been wanting to write on washi more so I placed a few common strips of washi on my page to test the pens there as well.  For this experiment I tested five types of pens: Paper Mate Medium Flair pens, Paper Mate Ultra Fine Flair pens, Sharpie Ultra Fine maker, Staedtler Fineliner pens, and Paper Mate Ink Joy 1.0 mm pens.

A note on the washi I tested: As you can see from the photo I tested four types of washi tape.  From this experiment I can say that the Michaels Recollections washi is totally my favorite. It takes the pens the best with little smearing.  The Scotch Expressions washi (Alphabet) was the worst.  It was more shiny and did not work well with most pens.  I will avoid buying this brand in the future.

Here are my thoughts on the pens:

Paper Mate Flair: These pens are mentioned a lot in the planning community so I kind of assumed they would be great.  Although they are good pens, they are a bit too thick for me.  Maybe they’d be great for lettering and writing large words, but not for lists or other daily work.  I’ll keep them around but they couldn’t be a daily user. They wrote well on the washi so this could be another use for them.

Paper Mate flair ultra fine: These pens might be my favorite.  They are a felt tip pen (so don’t press to hard) but give a nice thin line.  They look like a thicker marker which might be deceiving, but they are not.  They wrote smooth and could totally be a daily writer.  They worked on the washi, but took a long time to dry.  I’d have to be very careful and patient not to smear.

Staedtler Triplus Fineliner 0.3 mm These look more like the type of pens I am used to so I figured they would work well. They have a cute little plastic case that I see many planners use.  Personally I can’t see myself keeping all the pens in the case, I am just not that type of person, but if you are that is awesome.  These pens call themselves a Porous Tip pen.  They write similar to the Paper Mate ultra fine pens but felt much more dainty, like if I push a little they might break.  They wrote well on the washi if I let them sit a bit, again working on that patience.  I love that they would fit in the pen loops in my planners.

Paper Mate Ink Joy M 300RT: I have been using these pens off and on for a little white now, they are ballpoint (these are the only ballpoint I tested today.) and therefore are more traditional than the other pens we used.  What is nice is they are super affordable so they fit in any budget and come in the fun colors.  If you are just starting out in pens this is a good place to start. Personally I fink the ink a little thick but they work fine for the price.

Sharpie Ultra Fine: I am familiar with these pens as I have them at work but I had never used them in my planner or with washi so i grabbed a pack.  They were too thick to use regularly in my planner, and they were the only pen to show any ghosting (the ink showing through the back of the paper.) They worked great on the washi though, so I will keep that in mind.

Overall I am glad I did this test.  I realized that I was not a fan of the Scotch Expressions washi and I got a few for a few types of pens.  I will stick a few of these in my bag and at my desk and see where we go from there.

I hope tat this was helpful to you.  Do you have  a favorite pen?  Did I test it?  Tell me below!


-Amber Downs
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My Planning System

September 13

The Happy PlannerReview



If you haven’t noticed, planning, planners, and all things paper and stationery are big right now.  Personally I think this is awesome as I’ve always been a paper and planner lover.  However, I have found that its pretty easy to get caught up in what I call “pretty planning,”  where the stickers and accessories get more spotlight than the actual planning process which I consider very useful.


My planners


I am more of a functional planner in that I use my planner to ensure that projects get completed, time is used wisely, and to have a place to go to find a task if I have spare time.  My planner is also where I keep my husband and I’s work schedules, dinner menus, grocery lists and of course events and appointments.

I personally use two planners right now.  The first is a large daily planner that I use for work. My work day schedule itself is fairly simple, most of my appointments have a weekly standing time so I don’t have to worry too much about that, however I do work on several projects each day and it’s easy to forget about one or place it on a back burner.  Because of this I just my daily planner to keep track mostly of to-dos and currently working ons.  It also gives me a place to give myself reminders to contact someone on a specific date in the future or to begin planning for an upcoming event.  I also use my work planner to keep track of phone communication so I can keep track of who I have spoken to, when, and what was decided.  I generally do not write down my email correspondence as that is searchable within my email client.


My home planner is where I log everything personal as well as where I keep track of all those little things mentioned above.  (work, dinners, shopping lists and appointments.)  I really like the weekly view as it gives me a way to see my whole week and it makes it much easier to decide when to schedule myself for tasks as well as when I have time to relax.

Back to the current trend of planner decorating.  As you can see, I do decorate my planner a little bit.  I enjoy adding color and some helpful or inspiring stickers.  I add these embellishments, but always keep in mind that my overall goal is functionality.  I also have created a few custom stickers that I just to help me track habits I want to form.  These stickers were made with Canva.  Although these embellishments are fun, I can still go about my entire week without them and they are not the central element of the planner.




For my work planer I like to take time at the beginning of the week and map out my days.  I add any important events that would cut into my regular work time and add all programs and any due dates that I may have.  After that, I sometimes add a little washi tape for color or write something with a cute pen.  I don’t really do much more as this is an at work task and I want to maximize my at work time.


Just like i enjoy looking at the week in full at work, I also like to sit down and plan the week with my home planner.  This is where I add my washi and stickers and also begin adding menu choices, my husband’s schedule, and other events to the week.  If I see that there is a day where I will not be doing many or any home tasks this is where I have the opportunity to use this space for other stickers.


When scheduling events and tasks that at several weeks out I like to use the monthly calendar in my home planner.  This calendar is a great place to write down trips, appointment and parties so that you can add them into your weekly layout later when you know how /where you want to put the information.


I hope that this information about my planner style is helpful to you as a guide for enjoying your planner but also getting the most out of it.


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Interested in purchasing a planner?  Click here



Amber Downs