I love stationery and paper, and as a college student I need to be organized. This means I am a big fan of paper planners.
At the moment I'm a full time student with two jobs on campus and my to do list always has loads of things on it. So I need a planner that will keep me organized and on task (as much as is possible). This year I thought I would try The Happy Planner, which is an 18 month planner that's known for its aesthetically-pleasing designs. The brand also comes with addition packs for fitness, party planning, faith, Christmas, and other aspects of your life that might need extra planning.
Keep reading for my experience with my Happy Planner!
Happy Planner 101
The Happy Planner comes in three sizes; classic, big and mini. I chose the classic size which is around 8" by 10". It fits in my backpack really well. The planner comes with laminated covers which is nice because usually my planners get pretty destroyed by the end of year. I chose the one above, which reads "Radiate Positivity," with a rose and heart design.
All of the Happy Planners come with eighteen months worth of pages -- mine is from July 2018 to December 2019, with a monthly spread and then weekly spreads:
The planners are bound by discs which has its pros and cons. The biggest negative is that turning the pages is a little difficult. However, there is a benefit to this: The pages have slots which means you can take them out of the planner and then write on them and then put them back in. Therefore, if you buy any of the add-ons, you can put them wherever you like, and if you put too many add ons in your planner you can buy expanded discs which is helpful.
Despite the fact that it is difficult to turn the pages, I really like the fact that I can take the pages out and write/decorate to my liking.
The skinny on the "fitness pack"
To add on to my planner, I bought the fitness extension pack which came with four months of unmarked months, with weekly food and exercise logs. The Happy Planner does sell an entire fitness/food tracking planner, but I wanted to try out the extension pack first to see if I would even use it.
I'll cut to the chase on the fitness pack: I didn't really use it. I instead discovered a fitness app that was easy for me to use, and I basically gave up on planning my fitness goals in my Happy Planner. I think this pack is only worth it if you're really dedicated to using paper to organize yourself and also enjoy the creatively of scrapbooking type crafts. For me, I just wanted a way to track my fitness goals; I don't need all the stickers and extras that this pack includes.
Using & Decorating the Happy Planner
Now for the other big selling point of the Happy Planner: The prettiness aspect. While I don't decorate my happy planner, I do like the fact that you can decorate them. I would love to be someone who decorates her planner, but if I'm being honest, it's not something I really want to spend time on when I'm busy.
Instead, I use my planner as functionally as possible. The pages are divided into three sections and I put appointments or class times into the boxes based on morning, afternoon and night/evening. I use the monthly spreads for large events or big projects (like tests or huge homework assignments) and then transfer onto the same day on the weekly spread. I use post-it notes if my to do list grows to long for the page.
Each month also comes with a "pre-month" page where you can write what you have been loving in different categories, who's birthday it is that month, and then major holidays which have spaces for you to fill in. This is a cute aspect of the planner that helps it stand out from the rest.
So... how did the Happy Planner stack up against other planners I've used?
Last year I used a planner from Paperchase, which has a similar style to the Happy Planner in terms of its layouts and how many months you get. Most Paperchase planners come with seventeen months and have a monthly layout and weekly layouts for every day. Each planner has a small paper pocket in the front for anything you need to store for a short amount of time. It comes with a layout of the year at the front, plus a list of federal holidays. The Paperchase planner has fewer "frills" attached to it, which is good if you need things to be sleek and minimal while still looking pretty. However my main issue with my Paperchase planner was that I didn't make it to all the months because it fell apart at the ten month mark. As I mentioned before, I'm pretty hard on planners so I appreciate the durability of the Happy Planner.
The verdict on the Happy Planner
Overall I really do like the Happy Planner, and I do feel like it keeps me organized while also being pretty. I don't know if I will re-buy it, though, for a few reasons. First, I would like to try one of the classic Moleskine planners to see if a simple planner will work better for my needs. This leads me to reason number two: I'm not a big scrapbooker/art journaler. I think the Happy Planner is best for individuals who enjoy scrapbooking or art journaling. I've learned that those aren't my things. In fact, trying to make my journal look "pretty" gives me this weird feeling of pressure that I can't mess up in the journal or cross things out... which shouldn't be how I feel when I pull out something meant to help relieve my stress and organize my life.
I also don't have a lot of loyalty to a particular planner or organization system because I don't feel like I've found a system that 100% fits me right now. I think the Happy Planner is a really good planner and product, but it is just not a perfect fit for me, although it could very likely be a perfect fit for you! Trying new planners and organizational systems, to me, is half the fun of organizing your life, and I'm excited to continue to use the Happy Planner and make it my own before trying something new.
Have you tried the Happy Planner?
What do you use to organize? Do you also use the Happy Planner or do you prefer something with fewer frills? Let us know below in the comment section!