Say Hello to the Spark Notebook!

Are you still hunting for the perfect planner for 2015?  Or maybe, you have your planner all lined up, but would love something a little nicer to use in the office to manage your schedule and to cart into meetings to take notes?  If that's you, then I have a wonderful new product to introduce you to today...the Spark Notebook!

The Spark Notebook is the new kid on the notebook/planner block. It’s currently available via a Kick Starter project and since they’ve smashed their goal (within the first 24 hours!!) its been fully funded and will be making it to homes around the world very soon!  

In the interest of full disclosure, the folks behind the Spark Notebook did reach out and ask if I’d like to take a look at their new baby.  I’m not getting any sort of compensation…they sent me a few sample pages to play around with for a week or so and my comments to follow are 100% my own opinion!  My goal is to give you my honest feedback so you can make the best decision for yourself!

What is the Spark Notebook?

You might be asking yourself, 'What exactly is the Spark Notebook?'  According to the Spark Notebook team....

The Spark Notebook is a place for you to store your most important notes, goals, and big ideas so you’re always at the top of your game. It achieves what no other notebook has before: it combines the beautiful design of sleek, professional notebooks with the functionality of big life-planners and organization guides. All of the great organizational tools without any of the fuss or frills.

- borrowed from the Spark Notebook Kick Starter page

Basically, this is a streamlined approach to managing your life!  Included are pages for keeping track of your schedule, planning your time, brainstorming on projects and ideas, taking notes, and so much more!  

While I could go on more to describe what's behind this awesome notebook, why don't you hop on over to their Kick Starter page to read all the details! (just be sure to come back here to finish reading my thoughts on it!)

Features

This notebook is PACKED with cool features!  It contains the following sections and has enough pages to cover 6 months:

  • Goal setting pages (yearly, monthly, and weekly)
  • Yearly Theme
  • Monthly Calendar (undated) 
  • 30 Day Challenge (1 per month)
  • Weekly Inspiration
  • Weekly Calendar (undated)
  • Project Planning pages
  • Meeting Note pages
  • Lines pages for random notes
  • Blank pages that are perforated for removing and passing around

The kind folks at Spark Notebook sent me example pages of the Monthly Goals, 30 Day Challenge, Weekly Calendar, and Project Planning pages.  I promptly printed them out and trimmed them down to be the approximate size of the actual notebook and used it for a full week (actual page sizes are 8.25" x 5.75").

The Verdict…

While I didn't have the entire notebook to review, based on the pages that I had...

I really like this notebook!

I generally like planners with dated months/weeks/days, but I actually don’t mind them being undated in this notebook.  I don’t view this as a typical planner, so I can see myself using this for a few months, not using it for awhile, then picking it back up when I need it and carrying on where I left off.  Having it undated gives me the flexibility to do just that without wasting a ton of pages!

A Few Features

Weekly Layout

I LOVED the weekly layout!  As I mentioned in my planner comparison post a couple of weeks ago, the blocks for morning/day/evening, really work with how my brain works.  I loved having these blocks of space to jot down various tasks that I knew needed to be addressed during those windows of time.  

Overall, I really liked the look of these pages...they were clean and uncluttered, which made seeing my notes easily and clearly.

Monthly Goals

I'm a big goal maker and I always start off a new month with monthly goals, so this is ideal for keeping me on track!  I can list out my goals and have the satisfaction of checking them off once they are completed.  I also like that there is plenty of space to write, but not too many lines.  This encourages you to be realistic in how much you can actually accomplish each month.

30 Day Challenge

I LOVE a good challenge and when I have a space to keep track of my progress, I'm much more likely to stick with something.  So, these pages make me VERY excited!!  

In addition to giving yourself a start and end date, you outline the project, then write down exactly why you want to do the project and how you're going to make it happen.  

At the bottom you sign your name to make it official with yourself (love that!) and you have boxes for each day so you can check off when you accomplish your daily tasks that will lead you to completing your project.  I love love LOVE those little check boxes!!

I can envision using these pages for various types of projects:

  • Large Projects (i.e. cleaning out & reorganizing a room; planning a trip or large event; etc.)
  • Habit Building Projects (i.e. financial goals - saving more or not using credit cards; decluttering specific rooms or areas of the house; etc.)
  • Health Based Goals (i.e. getting into a consistent workout routine; training for a race; following a certain eating plan; etc.)

Project Planning Pages

The project planning pages are fantastic!  Much like the 30 day challenge pages, you are prompted for details to be sure you are focused and organized.  You are also provided with a table for breaking down the project mini goals to map your approach and plan  your time accordingly.

I can see using these in conjunction with the 30 day challenge pages (if the project warranted a daily activity to stay on track).  For example, one of my big projects looming on the horizon is to clean out and organize my guest bedroom.  I used these project planning pages to outline my plans from a macro perspective.  I also used the 30 day challenge page to keep me on track of decluttering, in general, which includes this specific room.  So, by completing my 30 day challenge, I will also be making a big dent in the action items for accomplishing my overall project specific to this one room!

Final Words

Based on what I saw and how straightforward it is to use this, I did order one of the notebooks via the Kick Starter project and I can’t wait to get it in January!  

While I do have my planners for 2015 lined up (one for personal and one specifically for my blog), I do believe that there is room for this lovely notebook.  The project planner pages and the 30 day challenge pages are definitely going to be used in 2015!  I envision using this more once I, hopefully, start moving my blog more towards a business.  I love the amount of space for jotting down ideas and for taking notes when having meetings or conference calls (which I hope to start having as I grow the blog!)

I should also note that this notebook was designed ideally for use in a business setting.  As a product manager at a software company, I have countless meetings and projects to stay on top of each day.  However, my team and I pretty much manage our schedules and meetings completely online, so I don't have too much need for an actual notebook in my work setting.  With that said, if I did, I wouldn't hesitate to implement this system into my work flow!  But hopefully, I've shown you an alternate option for using this notebook outside of a professional setting and for more personal goals and objectives.

To help get the word out, the Spark Notebook team has set up links to share the project via Twitter or Facebook!  If you take the time to share the project, let them know by sending them a screenshot of the share to sparknotebook@popforms.com and they'll reward you with a PDF of the sample pages for you to try out as well!  

Share this project on Facebook!

Share this project on Twitter!

Alright, friends...if you like what you see, head over to the Spark Notebook's Kick Starter page to order yours while the campaign is still ongoing!  Also share the project via the links directly above (and let them know!)!  And while you're at it, leave me a comment below and let me know what you think!  I'd love to hear your thoughts...