Every year I seem to start a new planner or organiser only to lose the inspiration to fill it in two months into the year. I started off 2017 with my own bullet journal, which I’d spent the Christmas holidays designing. Unfortunately, I was always comparing my designs to others online and thought my planner looked like a budget version of what a bullet journal should be.
That’s when I discovered the Happy Planner…
Over the last year I’ve struggled with an ongoing illness, so the thought that I could have an organiser which encourages focusing on the happy things whilst still having space for me to customise and decorate it was very appealing.
Six weeks in I’m happy to say I think I’ve found my planner peace. Here’s my review of the Me and My Big Ideas planner and accessories.
There are so many different Happy Planners currently available and all of the covers are absolutely stunning. Not only are the covers unique (and interchangeable) but the inner layout and design corresponds with the outer cover. It is therefore important not to choose your desired Happy Planner just based on the cover design.
I opted for the pink Modern Romance design with the ‘Choose Joy Every Day’ slogan, although I was also tempted by the Live Loud design. Ultimately, I much preferred the inner layout of the Modern Romance planner, which made my final decision easy!
I’ve always been a fan of discbound planners, having previously used the ARC system to track my freelance writing when I first left university. The Happy Planner is almost like a mini-folder, with dividers to section out each month.
Each monthly divider is beautifully decorated, with a corresponding page next to it where you can track birthdays, important dates, and keep a note of any other important details you don’t want to forget each month. These pages vary with each planner and some even feature a ‘currently’ section, just as I have on my blog! The Modern Romance organiser doesn’t have this element, but I really loved it, hence the decision to include it on Rachel Writes.
At the start of each month there is also a monthly spread, with a section for notes on the same page. During my first month of using my Happy Planner I found that I wasn’t making use of this monthly spread, so I now use it as a gratitude log, writing down a ‘happy moment’ from each day. Being ill, I’ve found that this allows me to find the positive in every day, even when I feel awful.
I do have one slight bugbear with the monthly page – it runs with the week starting on a Sunday, rather than a Monday. I know some people prefer this but, as the weekly pages run from a Monday, it does seem like a strange design decision from my point of view.
Happy Planners come in either a horizontal or vertical format. The main reason that I opted for the Modern Romance version of the organiser was because the weekly layout was in the vertical format. With three boxes dedicated to each day, there’s lots of space to write notes, to-do lists and plenty of room to doodle.
Initially I was using the boxes to track each day, write myself reminders and to make a note of my daily illness symptoms. However, I’ve now started splitting the day into morning, afternoon and evening – noting my activity and illness symptoms so I can see if any particular activity causes more intense symptoms. I then use the ‘notes’ section at the left of the page to make a note of any appointments or things I need to do.
When purchasing my Happy Planner I didn’t intend for it to be an organiser that I take out of the house with me. I opted for the Classic size which measures approximately 7.75” x 9.75”. The depth of the planner is approximately 1″ without adding any extra inserts.
There is an even larger size available (9” x 11.25”) as well as a Mini version (5.125” x 7.5”), which may be more suitable for day to day use.
Customisation and Accessories
The Happy Planner is a great choice for those who want the option to customise without having to draw their own dailies or weeklies as with Bullet Journalling.
There are LOTS of official MAMBI accessories including expander discs, sticker packs and hole punches but these are quite pricey. I’ll probably fork out for the expander discs at some point (there’s not a great deal of space for new additions) and I would love the sticker packs and hole punch, but these are something I would probably get once I’m absolutely sure I would make use of them. The designers of the Happy Planner have also recently announced that new sticker packs and a hole punch that is the size of the box grid will be released soon.
I did decide to buy a rubber stamper, pocket folders, and paper that is pre-punched as I know that these are things I will make use of. But for the moment I’m relying on a bit of washi tape and some cheap stickers to brighten my weeklies up and it seems to be doing the trick!
Happy Planners are quite pricey compared to other organisers but, in my opinion, they are well worth the money. Unlike most organisers my Happy Planner runs for 18 months and once it is finished there is the option to buy, or design, new pages to use in 2019.
I do feel that some of the accessories are slightly overpriced but, with a dedicated planning community who love the MAMBI products, there’s certainly a demand for them. The price doesn’t stop them being on my wishlist and once I’m sure I’ll make use for them I’m sure I’ll be purchasing them in the future!
Are you a Happy Planner user? Which planning system do you use? Let me know in the comments…