Tag: reviews

Picking the Perfect Planner Style

September 17
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Picking your planner style



Daily, weekly,  or monthly?  For many who are new to planing, figuring  out what type of planner to get can be one of the biggest challenges.  Finding out what exactly you need can be difficult and finding out how to best manage your time with a planner can be even more difficult  Today, I want to go over a few common planner types to give you some ideas about what could work for you.  Please keep in mind everyone is different and these are just suggestions from my personal experience.

Daily 1


Daily planners are great for people with busy days full of appointments, tasks, and other needs.  These planners work great for super busy students,  employees, managers, and entrepreneurs.  Moms also like these planners as well.  I love using a daily planner at work. I use the  2015-2016 Day Designer for Blue Sky.  (similar)  Due to the nature of my job, I have many tasks that I may be working on in a given day.  I also have other tasks to plan to work on later and I also must prioritize my day to ensure I get the most important things finished before they are due.  Because of this, I find that this planner is a great option for the “work me.”  Daily planners usually have an appointments column and/or tasks and notes. My daily planner also has a monthly calendar that I use to record staff leave time and events at a glance. The daily appointments area is very popular with people who attend many meetings or have appointments regularly with their job.  Although I don’t have too many meetings, (I am lucky!)  I do have many regularly scheduled programs each week.  I mark these here so I can see when in my day they occur and I also records stats for these programs in this area as well.    Although I love this planner for work,  I feel that it would not suit me for home or personal needs and definitely does not work for all types of jobs.

Here are my favorites:

Day Designer by Whitney English

The Simplified Planner (I LOVE Emily Ley, she is adorable.)

Franklin Covey (a big kickstarter of the planner movement in business)



Weekly planners are most the most common type of personal planner for a very good reason.  They are simple, functional, and give you a view of the entire week.  Weekly planners give you a great view of what you have to do, what you have done, and where you can fit other tasks.  Also, because they are so popular there are many formats to choose from to find what works for you.  Erin Condren planners have popularized the vertical planner layout where you see each day as a column.  Horizontal planners are also popular, giving you a rectangular box for each day.  Also, there are weekly appointment planners that are great for those who have those meetings, appointments and events to schedule.

I use a Happy Planner as my weekly planner to keep track of everything unrelated to my job.  This is where I write my husband’s schedule, menu plans, personal events and appointments, daily to-dos and my blogging schedule.  My planner divides the day into Morning, Afternoon and Evening, but I change that to Life, Tasks, and Blog.  Because I see the entire week at a glance, this planner really helps me plan my week and put my brain at ease.  I also keep shopping lists, and other tasks in it on sticky notes to ensure all important notes are in one place.

When shopping for a weekly planner decide the view that you want, (Vertical or horizontal) as well as if you need the week to start on a certain day. (You would be surprised how annoying a Monday- Sunday week view is for someone who uses a Sunday- Saturday scheduling system at work.)  These planners often come in several sizes depending on your needs.

Here are my favorites:

The Happy Planner by Me and My Big Ideas

Day Designer for Blue Sky

Erin Condren Life Planner (Check out their personalized items!)


Not sure about needing that much information in your planner but you need something?  Try a daily planner.  These are essentially a small calendar to record only a few things per day.  We use a large monthly calendar at make and record everyone’s schedule.  Checkbook sized monthly calendars are a great start and can be found anywhere, even dollar stores.


DIY Daily

Other planner types:

To-dos:  Whitney English recently introduced a to-do planner that has undated pages with to-dos and appointments that you can fill out as needed.  This means you don’t need to dedicate pages to days you don’t need to plan.   Of course, if you just wanted a place for to-do lists you could also pick up a inexpensive journal.

DIY:  Many, myself included, have made their own planners from journals, binders, and old planners.  Want to try a daily planner?   Pick up a Moleskine notebook or journal at target and date your own pages.  Once you figure out what you like you can stick with the notebook or pick up a dated planner in the style of your preference.



Still don’t know what you need?  Try some of these printable planner templates to get a feel for what works best for you.

Emily Ley free printables

Day Designer free printables

(Both of these sites have great planner printables and tons of extras. )




Please note:  These are just a small sampling of popular planners. I know I have skipped filofax and many other popular binder planners.  Still not sure whats best for you?  Leave a comment and see if anybody has any suggestions!



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.


Interested in free printable planner stickers and inserts?  Click here.

Interested in purchasing a planner?  Click here



Amber Downs




My review of the MAMBI Happy Planner (Create 365)

August 24
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Planners are in right now.  Unless you’ve been living under a rock you already know this.  Planners are a big business and planning is not what it used to be.   Planners are cute, fun, involve stickers, and motivation.  I got back into using a planner two years ago after taking a productivity class through my employer.  After going through a few different DIY and target planners (I refused to spend $50 on a notebook), I ran across the Happy Planner online and fell in love.

So what is the Happy Planner?


Inside the front cover of “My Life” planner

The Happy Planner (HP) is a product by Me & My Big Ideas (MAMBI) and is under their “Create 365 brand.”  At first glance the Happy Planner reminds most of an Erin Condren Life Planner.  It is a bound  weekly vertical layout with thick pages and a creative use of color.  The planner has monthly tabs and includes a monthly spread at the beginning of each month along with a monthly planning page.  What makes the Happy Planner different than the Erin Condren is that it is bound with an ARC system.  This means that pages can be added or removed by the user at any time.  Because of this the planner is sold “bare bones,” with no additional planning or note pages are we see in other planners.  MAMBI sells many inserts to be used with the planner.  These include home planning, blank pages, graphing paper, sticky notes, inspirational cards, dividers, extra covers and note pad bookmarks.

I own two Happy Planners, “Every day is a Gift” and “My Life.”  MAMBI made five different planner covers and the pages inside also differ slightly.  Both of my planners have the same monthly planning page but others differ as well.

Monthly layout in “Every Day is a Gift”


Weekly spread in "Every Day is a Gift."

Weekly spread in “Every Day is a Gift.”

As you can see, the planner is divided into morning, afternoon and evening.  I found that these sections did not work for me and after some playing I found that I like to use “To Dos,”  “Home,” and “Blog” as my sections.  I use thin washi tape as well as homemade stickers cut with my silhouette to change the sections.  I also made other stickers to help me keep my habits, track reading, and other events unique to me.  More on planner decorating and stickers in another post.

A week in my Happy Planner

I originally intended to use the Happy Planner for work and home use but soon found that the setup did not work for me.  For my job I need daily notes space in my planner and the Happy planner did not offer this.  I do however love using it for home use.

Monthly planning page from both “My Life” and “Every Day is a Gift”

The Happy Planner retails for $24.99 and can be purchased at Michael’s, Hobby Lobby, and on the MAMBI website.  I purchased mine at Michael’s and was able to use a 40% off coupon making it only $14.99.