Start Planning with the Start Planner!

In case you haven’t noticed it’s November.  Actually, it's almost the END of November!  That means you have exactly 6 weeks to figure out which planner is THE planner for your 2016.  To help you make that selection, I’m going to introduce you to the planner that I will be using in 2016….

The Start Planner!

Before we turn our attention to the Start Planner, let me just set the scene in case you’re new to my planner obsession.  To say I’ve tried a lot of planners is an understatement.  I’ve tried them ALL (or at least practically all of them!)

Ok, part of it is, yes, I may have a slight addiction to planners.  I love them.  Specifically, I love what they promise…an organized life, accomplished goals, and spot on time management! 

So far, though, I haven’t found the perfect planner.  I’m the Goldilocks of the planner world and I’ve been on a mission to find the perfect planner for what feels like forever because I know it’s out there somewhere (Just like the perfect man, right? One must believe!).

Fortunately, the planner industry is hot these days and every time I turn around, I hear about a new kid on the block.  I also happen to get contacted by a number of new planner companies to see if I would like to try them out and give them feedback or a review.  These days, I pretty much turn them all down.  Nothing against their planners but I can usually tell by looking at the marketing images or the sample pages they send me, that it wouldn’t work for me and I don’t want to waste their time or mine. 

But, recently, the ladies behind the Start Planner reached out to me about their new baby.  At first, I was thinking ‘oh, here we go…another planner’, lol, but then I took a look at the video they sent and I was instantly intrigued.  Wanting to know a little more, I hopped on their website and after reading more and seeing additional photos of the inside of the planner, I knew this one was different. 

It wasn’t just another planner

This one had the potential to be THE planner!! 

I was thrilled to have the opportunity to give this a try!

The Start Planner: A little History

The idea for the Start Planner was conceived and brought to life by two women that are both business owners, moms, and overall busy gals - Kristy Dickerson and Jenny Grumbling.  One has a degree in finance and the other is a graphic designer.  They teamed up and brought their vision for having a planner that is more than planner to life (and for that, we thank you!).  

Having walked the walk of living a busy, multi-faceted life, they put pen to paper and designed a new planner that fills in the holes that are missing in all of the other planners out there.

Since they say it best, here’s a quote from their website...

If you want to read more about Kristy, Jenny, and the Start Planner, I highly recommend their About page.

 

What makes the Start Planner different

What I love about the Start Planner and what really connected with me is their focus on goals and planning for goals.  If you’ve been a long time reader around here, you know that is something I strongly believe in and continually push!  I’m a hardcore goal setter so having a planner that starts with that concept is perfectly aligned with my beliefs on how you can accomplish more in life.

To answer the question of what makes the Start Planner different, let me take you through the planner and give you a visual tour and just show you how it’s different...

Overall Layout and Organization

Let’s start with the overall design, layout, and organization of the Start Planner.  Everything about this planner is well thought out…from how the sections are organized to the layout of the individual planner pages themselves.  I’ll go into more details on all of this as I walk you through the planner, but I did want to mention this as something that sets this planner apart from others.

It’s a beautiful planner, which is something that adds to the overall experience (while the aesthetics probably shouldn’t matter if a planner is well designed…an ugly planner just doesn’t work for me!).

The size of this planner is perfect, in my opinion.  The pages are sized at 6.5”x8.5”, so it’s not too big, but it’s not so small that you don’t have space to write out what you need.  It is, however, very chunky and slightly on the heavier side.  But, that’s to be expected with a full-page-per-day format along with everything that comes in this planner, so this doesn’t bother me. 

Sections

Section Overview... (click to see a larger photo)

Daily Tips... (click to see a larger photo)

This planner is more than just a day to day organizer.  It has sections and planning pages for every aspect of your life - both personal and professional. 

When I first received the planner, I started flipping through the pages and my jaw literally dropped as I turned each page.  These ladies have thought of everything!  I couldn’t believe some of the sections and pages they included and was thinking ‘This is genius!’ as I made my way through the book.

Goals
This is probably rather obvious, but the goals section is where you plan out your goals!  It starts with a two page spread to jot down your goals for the various slices of your life - Home, Relationships, Physical, Financial are a few of the examples (there are 8 in total)

Map out your overall goals for different areas of your life first...

Map out your overall goals for different areas of your life first...

Then you get into setting specific high level goals.  There are spaces for you to plan out six big goals for year along with action steps to keep you on track.

Then dive into specific goals to break them down and get them done...

Then dive into specific goals to break them down and get them done...

Projects
The projects section is where you start to make your goals happen.  This is where you outline the smaller pieces that need to get done to achieve your bigger goals. 

This aligns perfectly with what I’m always encouraging people to do when setting goals…create smaller objectives to get you to your big goal. 

There is space for 12 projects and it provides an area to list the budget, target dates, and a task list. 

Break down those big goals even further with the Projects page...

Break down those big goals even further with the Projects page...

What I love about the Projects section is that it goes beyond just your random projects!  It includes pages for entertainment, vacation planning, and holiday planning. 

Click these to view them larger...

Click these to view them larger...

It also has checklists for daily, weekly, and seasonal cleaning.

I’m telling you…this planner has it all!

Finances
The Finances section gets me excited!!  One of my goals for 2016 is to get myself on a budget and do a better job of spending less and saving more.  I’ve been trying to figure out a good way to keep track of what I’m spending and of my budget (once I set it up!) and this section is answer to my money-saving prayers! 

For every month of 2016, you have a page dedicated to that month’s budget.  My plan will be to fill in the estimated column at the beginning of every month to set the tone for the month ahead, then at the end of the month, fill in the actual column to see how I did. 

There is also a Savings section where you can determine your savings for each month and keep track of how much you have left over every month to add to your rainy day fund (or travel fund or house fund or your Carrie Bradshaw shoe fund!)

You may think there isn’t anything else needed for the Finances section, but, dare I sound like a infomercial….that’s not all! 

For you entrepreneurs or business owners, there are also pages for your business budget!!  Just like the personal budget, there is a page per month where you can plan out your expenses and track your gains and losses. 

This section also includes a place to store your passwords, medical appointments and expenses, and a mileage log for those that need to expense mileage. 

2016
Finally, we get to the meat of this planner and what we’re all looking for…a place to track our appointments and our daily lives.  As with the other sections, there are no disappointments and only surprises at all the features included! 

Each month is tabbed and begins with the monthly calendar page.  Next, you’ll find a page to keep you on track for the month.  You revisit your previous month to reflect on how you did, then list out your goals for the current month.  There are also sections to track your health stats and record any birthdays/anniversaries/etc. that might require you to send a card or gift. 

Month at a glance... (click photo to view it larger)

Month at a glance... (click photo to view it larger)

Monthly Check in... (click photo to view it larger)

Monthly Check in... (click photo to view it larger)

There is a doodle page, a notes page, and even a page to list out your groceries for the month. 

Despite all of the other amazing planning pages in this book, the daily planner pages are my favorite.  This where you spend the bulk of your time in your planner and when I saw these pages, I knew these ladies knew what they’re doing. 

They have thought of everything and included anything you could possibly need to stay on track, yet it’s designed so well that it’s not cluttered or wasting space. 

Before I even show you a photo, let me just list out what the daily planning page includes...

  • Hourly time slots from 6:00am - 9:00pm to jot down appointments or to do time blocking
  • Note your Dinner plans and record how much you spent if you ate out
  • List your top 3 tasks for the day and eat the frog
  • List out all of your To Do’s and check them off when you finish
  • Write down a random idea in the Ideas section
  • Reflect on your day in the My Day section, or write down a favorite quote or record a memory
  • Keep track of your daily caloric intake and the calories you burned during a workout
  • Stay hydrated and check off your water intake 
  • Don’t forget your daily vitamin or supplement by checking it off once you pop the pill
  • Feel the satisfaction of finishing your daily workout and checking it off

Yes…ALL of that is included on the daily pages...

The Daily Page... (click photo to view it larger)

The Daily Page... (click photo to view it larger)

The Weekend Page... (click photo to view it larger)

The Weekend Page... (click photo to view it larger)

Weekends, in case you’re wondering, are shared on a single page and include a spot to list out the groceries you need to pick up for the week (how cool is that?!).  

Pockets

On the inside of both the front and back covers you’ll find pockets to hold business cards, stamps, random notes, cards, etc.  I love when planners include a pocket and the Start Planner includes two!

Top Notch Quality

There are two cover options and I opted for the classic gray because I loved the simplicity and the contrast of the gray cover with the gold accents.  

The quality of this planner is top notch.  The cover is thick, sturdy, and not easily bendable.  This will definitely hold up if you toss it in your bag everyday to carry with you.  The gold metal reinforced corners will protect it from getting damaged and a a nice touch to the overall design. 

The gold toned coils that hold the book together are nice and strong.  I’ve had other planners with flimsier coils that don’t hold up for the long haul, but I’m not worried about these.  They’re a thicker gauge wire that seems resistant to getting bent under normal conditions.

The tabs for each section are laminated, so they too should stand the test of time and weather well over the course of the year.

As for the paper, which every good planner girl wonders about, is thick enough to prevent bleed through of most standard pens (i.e. a Sharpie would still bleed through, but unless it's card stock, I’d expect that).  

The planner is held closed by a gray elastic band.  Personally, I feel this is one of those things that is a requirement for a planner and the Start Planner doesn’t disappoint. The sturdy elastic is attached to the back cover and securely holds your life, ahem, I mean your planner, together.  

A few extras

Once you have your planner in place, a girl needs to accessorize, right?!

If you want to trick out your planner even more, you can add in a bookmark/ruler to quickly flip to the current day.  This snaps in and out of the coils really easily.  

They also have a set of washi tape (who doesn’t love washi tape!) that perfectly coordinate with the gold coil and accents.  I love that!!

 

Where can You find this planner

I’ve given you a few links throughout this post, but just in case you missed it, you can snag this planner for yourself on their website www.startplanner.com

This is not an affiliate link, but in the interest of full disclosure, the ladies behind the Start Planner did offer me a complementary planner in exchange for my feedback and review (if I liked it)My thoughts and the review of this planner are 100% my own and not influenced by the fact that they sent me a planner

I truly adore this planner and can’t wait to start using it in 2016!  It has addressed all the things I need in a planner and the fact that it’s beautiful and expertly designed is just the extra cherry on top!

So...planner girl...what do you think? Have you already selected your planner for 2016? If you're still looking, tell me...is this one now on your list ;)? Leave me a comment and let me know!

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