How to Set Up Your New Happy Planner: Part 2

April 5, 2017
How to Set Up Your New Happy Planner: A Complete Guide

welcome back to the ultimate guide to setting up your new happy planner! in part 1, we set up our monthly dashboards and came up with a game plan. yes, we planned how to plan. isn’t planner life great?

in this second installment, we will focus on our weekly set up for the first month. in part 3, we will talk about goal setting and some fun (and useful!) happy planner add-ons.

alright, let’s get going!

1. decide on your headers.

hopefully, you’ve already decided how to use the three daily sections in the happy planner. now, come up with your headers. what will you call each section in the weekly view? and how will you label them?

i mentioned in part 1 of this series that my three sections are personal, teaching, and blogging. since my personal section is mostly important dates and events, i label that box “today.” my second header is “work,” and my third is “blog.”

honestly, i usually just write in my headers. if your handwriting scares you though, you can purchase all sorts of header stickers on etsy. here are some brightly colored ones from SugarRockPaperShop:

Header Planner Stickers by SugarRockPaperShop on Etsy

many shops, like ElocinPrints, will even make custom headers for you. if you are sticker-making savvy, print your own.

Custom Header Stickers by ElocinPrints on Etsy

i’ve even used icon stickers in the past. you may like this idea if you’re more visual. for instance, i used an asterisk for the top box, an apple for teaching, and glasses for blogging. a laptop would be cute for blogging too!

Use icon stickers for headers in your planner.

2. set up the hard landscape for the entire month.

i like to set up the hard landscape for the entire month. by “hard landscape,” i mean dates that i know will not change. these include birthdays, bill due dates, and my teaching schedule. this way, i can tell what special events and deadlines i’m planning around each week.

first, i mark holidays, birthdays, and anniversaries in the top boxes of the weekly pages.

next, i mark all my bills and payment due dates.

last, i write out my teaching schedule in the middle section of each day. i know when each of these things must happen, so i can write them in now.

Set up the rough landscape of your week first in your Happy Planner.

but i only do this one month in advance! this brings us to our next point, which is crucial.

3. don’t plan too far in advance!

i learned the hard way to do this “landscape” planning just one month at a time. why? because i may change my mind about the headers, stickers, or some other part of my planning system. i don’t want my entire year set up in a way that no longer works for me.

if you want to mark dates that are far in the future, just use sticky notes. they’ll act as place markers so you don’t forget anything important. as each month approaches, you can replace each sticky note with something more permanent.

4. plan out in more detail just one week at a time.

now that I’ve marked birthdays, bills, and work for the entire month, i focus on the upcoming week. i usually do this on a saturday or sunday morning with a big cup of coffee!

first, if any appointments or social events have come up, i add those in.

next, i fill in my workouts (morning hikes with my husband or yoga class). i plan my workouts just a week in advance because there are too many variables. my husband may be working, and i don’t go hiking by myself. my favorite yoga teacher may cancel. i may have a doctor’s appointment. it may rain. you get the picture!

Happy Planner Weekly To Dos

at the same time though, i make sure to carve out time for these activities each week. when i plan out my week with intention, i’m more likely to make time for exercise. the visual representation of my priorities helps me stick to my plan.

5. add only necessary to-do items.

i only add to-do’s that i know need to get done on a particular day. i won’t make up to-do’s just to fill up spaces next to a checklist sticker. the planner needs to remain honest and functional. writing in tasks that could–but don’t need to–get done on a particular day compromises the system. it negates the urgency of other tasks that actually do need to be completed on that day. i hope that makes sense! it’s a crucial aspect of my planning system that i think will help you be more productive too.

6. get some stickers!

if you haven’t figured it out already, stickers are probably the best part of planning! i use various stickers from my stash. at least one happy planner sticker book is a must for me. i also have a recollections sticker book from michaels. the rest are from etsy shops or are good ol’ fashioned scrapbook stickers.

7. but i want my happy planner to be pretty!

one thing i love about the happy planner is how pretty it is without any work on my part! i realize that for some of you, my layouts are not what you imagine your planner to look like. after all, you want your planner to be instagram worthy, right? i get it, and i love playing with weekly kits every now and then as well. but for me, the planner must first and foremost be functional. and that’s what this guide is all about.

in fact, a future post will list some tips for using gorgeous weekly kits in your planner. more specifically, how to use washi tape and full boxes, yet still have room to actually plan!

and anyway, we get pretty crafty in part 3 of this guide. i’m talking cardstock and scissors crafty! so stay tuned.

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