List of best planners for beginners
Best Planners for Beginners

Have you discovered the joy of planning? If you are thinking about purchasing a planner or a new type of planner, this post is for you.

I was really never a planner person. Every few years, I’d spend my hard-earned cash on a cute print planner I found at Target or a Tony Robbins spendy leather-bound planner system but I would never really use them.

Then on Black Friday 2017 that all changed. I purchased the first planner I was every truly excited about.

May Planner Spread
Happy Planner Spread

I’m not going to bury the lead. I chose The Happy Planner (HP) . . . and I haven’t looked back. This is one of my favorite Happy Planners. Beautiful Life – It’s actually called Life is a Party.

This is a Classic size Happy Planner, which is a medium size, 7.75” x 9.75. Happy Planners are also available in a Big size, 8.5″x11″ and a little mini size, 5.125” x 7.5, which you can see an image of below later on in this post.

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I’ll explain a little more about why I chose the HP line shortly but I wanted to do a brief review of two other planners that I love for their kind of “guided journey” layout.

Fancy, creative planners are a thing now. There are so many choices, it can make your head spin . . . so I thought I’d share the results of my many hours of research to maybe help you cut down on your own research time and find your own personal planner peace sooner.

Digital Planning versus Paper Planning

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Digital Planning versus Paper Planning – that is the question.

In the planning community, I have found die-hard paper planners, die-hard digital planners and a mix of both. Me? Even though I went a little cray cray and purchased about 10 planners in the last 16 months since I re-discovered planning, I still rely heavily on digital. I could not live without my Google Calendar and OneNote 2016 (because it’s a lot prettier than Evernote) and a little bit of Trello, a digital project platform.

I am immersed in tons of projects and courses starting this blog and business and I brainstorm, research and implement a lot. I need to be able to move things around quickly . . . Hello Editorial Calendar.

However, in 2019 one of my goals is to create some simple planning and productivity systems for different areas of my life. Paper planning can be overwhelming for beginners like myself, especially if you like me are used to doing everything fast in digital.

Why am I addicted then?

Sometimes you just have to put pen to paper.

This is my QUIT MY DAY JOB spread:

Happy Planner Spread
Quit My Day Job Spread

I thought I’d share some tips on how to start paper planning, if you’re interested.

The Best Planners for Beginners

I think beginner creative paper planners such as myself  – – – we could really benefit from pretty planners that are a joy to open and when you open them, they do some of the work for you. Each of the planners I am reviewing do just that.

There are so – many – planners to choose from. Yay! But to simplify my research results, I chose to review three of the planners that I considered and that I see most people using in my business and creative communities.

From yearly goal-setting to breaking down goals into quarters or daily, weekly or monthly goals to making it easy for you to track moods, habits, tasks and progress to helping you start and end the day in a more peaceful, happy state, there’s something for everyone.

The Happy Planner

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As I mentioned, I had done hours of research looking into different planners and as I was reviewing and comparing all the planners, I kept coming back to The Happy Planner’s positive vibe YouTube videos, although that was really just a special bonus I discovered later.

The main reason I ended up choosing a Happy Planner over these other planners and also an Erin Condren, is it is pretty much totally customizable and they are so beautiful.

Not only is there a pretty huge array of planners to choose from, I must say again they are so impressively customizable. They are the most customizable planners I’ve ever seen.

Yeah, I’m one of those creatives who has to customize everything – from my morning cup of coffee to my laptop to the shoelaces on my running shoes. So between my 10 or so Happy Planners and some 35-plus sticker books plus assorted washing tape and other accessories, I’m in customization heaven.

What sets The Happy Planner apart is that it is a disc-bound system that allows you to change out papers, planner sheets and covers easily and in seconds. The discs are so cute with little hearts in them and they come in an array of colors and some “deluxe” metal discs as well.

Passion Planner

Rose Gold Passion Planner 2019

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The company says the Passion Planner actually helps you identify your dreams and build toward them every day.  Planning, blank pages for creativity, and reflection pages are all built in to this planner.

They market it as “more than just a planner—it’s a tool that helps you break down your short and long-term goals and incorporate them into your daily life.” It even comes with a Passion Roadmap to help you dream big and map out your goals.

If you’re someone who just wants one planner per calendar year and doesn’t want to bother with all the customization and decorating hoopla, you might love this planner.

This is the Passion Planner I would choose. I love the soft sheen of this Rose Gold book.

The Full Focus Planner by Michael Hyatt

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Several successful bloggers swear by Michael Hyatt’s The Full Focus Planner, which is broken into 90-day segments. Designed to wipe out overwhelm and boost productivity,  this book basically takes you step by step through the process of establishing your plan for the year and helps you clearly break down your goal-setting tasks and actions into daily, weekly and monthly plans, all the while reinforcing your commitment to live by your highest principles.

This planner correlates with Michael Hyatt’s popular courses and/or books, for example: 5 Days to Your Best Year Ever® and Free to Focus®. While I like what I’ve read about his programs very much, I think the planner is a little too boring for me to look at (love the philosophy, though.) If you are not someone like me who loves creativity and still counts her lucky stars for every day of freedom from corporate, this might be your cup of tea. I might even give it a try at a later time.

I do have on my reading list Michael Hyatt’s book, “Your Best Year Ever: A 5-Step Plan for Achieving Your Most Important Goals .” I love one of the sub-headings in this book: The Art of the Start. If you want to get a taste of Michael’s goal-setting system, I recommend checking it out:

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How to use a planner for beginners

Now, I know I indicated these were planners for beginners and what I mean by that is for these planners you have courses, books or detailed YouTube videos by the planner creator and community members that you can use to consult as you embark your planning journey.

Every planner in its own way guides you to create your life vision and set and track goals.

You don’t have to think up a strategy all by yourself. You can go at your own pace.

A good way to start using a planner is to just follow the prompts on the monthly pages and then write all your appointments in your planner. Here are some suggestions:

    • doctor’s appointments
    • hair salon appointments
    • mani-pedi appointments
    • kid’s & hubby’s activities
    • fur-babies appointments
    • church meetings
    • business meetings
    • calls & emails that need to be sent

If you want to get a little fancy, go get some Paper Mate® medium flairs in your choice of pretty colors and color code your family member’s appointments and activities. I could not live without these pens! I would say Paper Mate® medium point flairs are probably the most popular pen in planner circles.
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You can also use your planner as a notebook. I do. The Happy Planner comes with cute theme-matching dividers

A fun thing you can do is start out by tracking just one habit in your planner such as tracking workouts, water, weight or getting up earlier.

Simple ideas on how to use your new planner

  • To keep it simple, don’t do what I did and go crazy buying pretty planners because you can’t just pick one. Unless you can’t help yourself and love to be creative and in that case. welcome to the dark side. *–)) Otherwise, start by just picking one planner and just starting out writing your appointments in your paper planner.
  • You can get a mini (small) Happy Planner that you can carry with you everywhere. This will give you a chance to see how you like using your planner. You can jot down notes, appointments, grocery lists or you can write down measurements for items you need to shop for such as organizers or curtains.

This is one of my favorites:
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  • Buy just one sticker book. Again, don’t do what I did and get addicted to sticker books and buy  five at a time when they are on sale. I recommend Planner Basics. Wait. Ohhh no, actually I just found a two-pack for you: Planner Basics and Everyday Plans. I just might have to get this pack myself:

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See. And THAT IS HOW IT WORKS.

If you find yourself obsessed and in need of support, or just would love to see some inspiration in the form of beautiful spreads (or actually we’re all probably a bad influence because most of us can’t stick to a no-spend month when it comes to Happy Planners), come along and join us (some 74,000+ strong and growing) at MAMBI The Happy Planner Facebook Group.

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