How to Set Up Your New Happy Planner: Part 1

April 3, 2017
How to Set Up Your New Happy Planner: A Complete Guide

you bought a brand new happy planner. yay! you are beyond excited. now what? how do you get your planner to work for you? how can you make sure you stay on top of everything and don’t fall behind in your planning?

this guide will help you set up your new happy planner for success. fhis is the first of three installments.

  • in part 1, we’ll come up with a game plan and set up our monthly dashboards.
  • part 2 will focus on our weekly set up for the first month.
  • and in part 3, we’ll prepare our monthly view for the first month and talk about goal setting.

now, let’s begin! to start setting up your new happy planner, follow the steps below:

1. make a list of important dates.

first, make a list of holidays, birthdays, anniversaries, and other special days you wish to celebrate. the happy planner (and other dated planners) may already include many of these.

Make a list of important dates before setting up a new planner.

in fact, the erin condren life planner comes with a little perpetual calendar booklet. i love this thing! i use it to get all my planners set up. in fact, i’m keeping it in my new happy planner for now.

2. add birthdays to your dashboard pages.

2017-2018 Happy Planner July 2017 Dashboard

now, go through the monthly dashboard pages of your planner and add the birthdays in the designated box. i like to use a birthday cake or candle sticker for each birthday or anniversary. i write the name and day of the month underneath or beside each sticker. this makes the dashboard page look so much more festive!

Birthday Cake Stickers to mark birthdays on Happy Planner monthly dashboard pages

3. add any other important dates to your dashboard pages.

add any other holidays or special dates to the “important dates” box on each dashboard. for example, if you’re a student, graduation or the end of a school semester could go here.

4. decide how to use your monthly pages.

What to do with the Monthly View in your Happy Planner

monthly pages are a hot topic in the planner community. nobody knows quite what to do with them! the bulk of your planning happens in the more spacious layouts of the weekly pages. so, many people feel like the monthly view is pointless or repetitive.

what’s my solution? decide on a specific, unique use for the monthly pages. something that may not fit in your weekly view, or that you want to keep separate for some reason. for example, you can use the monthly pages to track expenses and bills due. make it a blog or youtube editorial calendar. track your steps and calorie intake. plan your workout schedule.

i will be using mine for meal planning. more on that in a later post.

5. how will you organize your weekly pages?   

decide how you are going to use the weekly view in your happy planner. more specifically, how will you use the three sections for each day? if you tend to plan chronologically, divide your day into morning, afternoon, and evening.

maybe you’re planning for an entire family. you can use the top box for yourself, the middle for your kids, and the bottom for your spouse.

or, divide your day up into categories or areas of responsibility like i do. my top section is for general or personal dates. the middle section is for teaching. the bottom section is for my blog and business to-dos.

6. try the happy planner extension pack if you can’t wait until july.

if you’re like me and can’t wait to use your planner, you may want to try the happy planner 6-month extension pack (<– affiliate link). i’ve added three months to the front of my planner for april, may, and june so i can start playing with my planner right away!

that’s it for today! we’ve begun with kind of a birds-eye view of our year. next time, we will zoom in on more day-to-day planning.

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  • Reply Heather T. April 3, 2017 at 10:59 am

    Thank you for this post! I really needed help getting started! I can’t wait to see the weekly ideas…when will that be posted?

    • Reply HappyAsAnnie April 3, 2017 at 2:12 pm

      you’re so welcome heather! part 2 with weekly ideas should be up on wednesday. and part 3 next week! 😉

  • Reply Tracey Hussey April 3, 2017 at 9:37 pm

    Nicely done. X

  • Reply Frances April 4, 2017 at 8:21 am

    Thanks so much for this informative post. I have been so frustrated trying to figure planning with a planner out that I was ready to quit. I feel much better about what I have already done and now have some great ideas on using all the space available on the Happy Planner.

    • Reply HappyAsAnnie April 5, 2017 at 4:45 pm

      yay i’m so glad frances! it definitely took me an unsuccessful try with a previous happy planner to figure out my system. let’s hope this one goes better! i’m feeling good about it. xo

  • Reply Brinda Coble April 4, 2017 at 4:45 pm

    This was awesome! Thank you so much for all the help and info!

    • Reply HappyAsAnnie April 5, 2017 at 4:44 pm

      yay! you’re welcome.

  • Reply Erica April 5, 2017 at 2:17 pm

    Hi Annie! I would love to use my new Happy Planner now, but it doesn’t start until July. I’m REALLY excited because it’s a horizontal layout, which I realized is my favorite to plan in. I have an HP now that uses the vertical layout, and I’m just not getting any use out of it other than the monthly spreads. Do they offer the extension packs in a horizontal layout?

    • Reply HappyAsAnnie April 5, 2017 at 4:43 pm

      hi erica! that’s a great question. i don’t think happy planner makes the extension packs in horizontal yet. BUT there are some etsy and amazon sellers that sell their own printables that would fit. i’d do a search and see what you can find. let me know how it goes and thanks so much for reading! <3

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