Tuesday, March 21, 2017

Personal-planner review

The quest for MY perfect planner led me to personal-planner.com! Charles couldn't believe the many hours and staying up way too late I did to find the Unicorn planner I was on the hunt for! I wanted a planner to keep track of our appointments, extracurricular activities, birthdays and anniversaries along with other miscellaneous life happenings that came up. I also wanted to use it for a daily diary of sorts where I could print my 2x3" HP Sprocket pictures and make notes of special memories from each day to keep forever. And then, also utilize it for record keeping for homeschooling and all that entails! I had a checklist that needed meeting but indeed felt like I was hunting Unicorns with how long it took for me to find one that met all my needs! While I was in sticker shock initially because I'm a cheapskate, I can hands down say it was worth every penny! The price seen includes shipping too which was nice, especially since it is coming from Sweden!

My disclaimer- I purchased the A4 size (8.2"x11.6") myself. After emailing back and forth in regards to specific questions I had, they ended up giving me a gift card to be used on a future purchase for my honest review.

So, the planner! The pages are thick, no bleeding through with the several different pens I've used so far! The full sheet of stickers it comes with are just fun! I love using them to brighten up the pages. The planner comes with a full size clear pocket you can place anywhere in your planner that you want. You can order additional pockets if desired. It also comes with a ruler, though it doesn't extend the length of the planner. Lastly, it comes with a strong stretchy decorative band to keep the planner closed.

One function that I really am missing- TABS! Tabs for each month at the very least would've been wonderful. Or as an add on option to buy would've been super convenient. I tried using the Smiley Planner monthly stickers at the start of each month to kinda make it easier to find each month quickly but that didn't do much either. I miss tabs.

I ended up using stock images for my cover and actually really like it. The hard plastic protective cover on front and back feels very sturdy. That wasn't what so important me to.... the inside was. Next one I will personalize the covers though, just for some added fun.

Inside, you have a ton of personalizing options! With my goals in mind, I went to personalizing. I started with January 2017. Regardless of which month you start your planner in, it will run for 12 months. For my January 2017 start, they give you the last week of 2016 and the first week of 2018 as well. I selected the block weekly layout. This spreads on two pages and provides a blank box to be used however you wish and each weekday box is large enough for me to put one or two of my HP Sprocket printer pictures in it and still have room to jot down notes from the day!

At the bottom of each week, you can customize task boxes or leave blank. I picked 'this week's dinner', blank colored lines with check boxes, 'to do this week' list with boxes to check, and blank lined section. It automatically comes with a month ahead preview and blank notes section. Lots of note taking places throughout the planner!

I also selected a monthly overview that is large and covers two pages to be spaced out before each weekly layout. This has plenty of room for me to keep track of appointments, birthdays, extracurricular activities, etc.

At the end of the year, I added a 2018 year overview that I'll use when making appointments, like the dentist, that runs into 2018.

Following this, I have some lined note pages and then starts my homeschool planner. 

I use the 2017 overview to keep track of what school day it is and what we are doing that day.
Next is their 'teacher planner add on'. Unfortunately you have to keep two pages that I don't need thus essentially two wasted pages. One is a student name list and the other is a student address list page. Both for 35 students. Seeing as we homeschool, I don't need these pages.

What I got next, the Mon-Fri planning pages is really what I was hoping to use for our school year but I couldn't include enough weeks to cover the 180 days of school on top of my monthly overviews and yearly overviews along with my note taking pages. Ideally, this Mon-Fri schedule would replace my 2017 overview and I could in one place keep up with which child did what, school day, field trips, extra notes for that particular week and whatever else happens to pop up in regards to schooling. Also, remove the time slots on the sides. Maybe offer washi tape with hours you can quickly roll down each column if you wanted them there.

If the required two Teacher Planner pages could have been deleted and I could have added like an extra 10 pages, maybe less, I'd have to double check- this would have been enough Mon-Fri schedule pages to get me through the school year and would have been perfect for my all in one planner I've been searching for! I'd have to give up a lot of my note taking pages but since little spaces are available throughout the planner, I don't think it would make that big of a difference.
Following this section, I end the planner with blank pages. I love some blank pages for notes and doodling!
Overall, I love that I only have one planner to keep up with and it has room for all my documentation but definitely a couple tweaks I'd do if I could. It feels very sturdy and I will definitely recommend them and do plan to order again! Maybe next time, try the smaller planner though I'm afraid it would be too small. A size between the A5 and A4 would be ideal! An A4.5 maybe?
I received the planner in a padded envelope, which was torn on the corner thanks to the USPS shoving it into our tiny mailbox. I'd recommend reinforcing the corners of the envelope so it isn't easily torn or label fragile in hopes the USPS reads it and takes better care. Larger mailboxes were available for delivery and had it been marked fragile, I'd like to hope it would have been cared for more. You can see the bottom is slightly bent from this. Thanks to its sturdy metal rings, we were able to bend it back to make the pages turn again though you can still see a slight difference in the rings compared to the others.
The planner, stickers, stretchy decorative band closure, rulers, and clear pocket are all that is included with the as is list price. You can order additional stickers, decorative band closures, rulers, and clear pockets if desired.
Full month layout. Large boxes that I have easily been able to keep up with appointments, extracurricular activities, and other miscellaneous necessities. Plenty of note taking lines on the side for each month.
Apparently I need to figure out how to turn pictures... Sorry! The weekly option- I chose blocks. I use this weekly layout for my diary and include a picture or two from my HP Sprocket that prints 2x3" pictures for each block and write down the special memories from the day to cherish forever and ever. Like when I cut Little Sister's hair and she turned around and said, "Well, that didn't hurt". I never want to forget these sweet moments.
No tabs. Tabs would put this planner over the top for me! They have color coded the sections in theory of making it easier to find the one you need. My brain doesn't have the space in it to remember what color is for what month though so it doesn't really help me. It is pretty to look at though.
I LOVE this section more than I thought I would! The space is actually pretty large and is a great place to keep up with next year (or two depending on what option you select!) appointments/vacations/birthdays/anniversaries.
I added several blank and lined pages for lots of note taking places! Both sides are actually usable as the paper is very thick and good quality. To be exact, 130g I was told.
This is where I do my record keeping for homeschool. Keeping up with the days, units, field trips, etc. Quick glance and I know exactly where we are and what we are doing.
This is the required two teacher planner pages. I'll probably use it for note taking or something since it is there but would have much preferred to have more weekly pages as seen in the next picture instead.
I hate this is sideways... This is what I wanted to utilize for all my homeschool record keeping but due to a maximum number of pages per planner allocated, I couldn't. I would have preferred no time on the sides as well for the option of further customization. While I appreciate not having a super heavy planner by having the ability to add an unlimited number of pages, I would have found this to work better for my homeschooling record keeping requirements by having the ability to include maybe 10 extra pages so I have enough to keep up with each day of school.
Blank note taking pages.
You have the option of including various countries holidays. The print is tiny so it is out of the way but there for reference.
You can include personalized printed dates such as birthdays and by including the year, it tells you age! LOVE that! Anniversaries, too. The print is tiny enough to be out of the way but there to be seen. It would have been nice to customize the icon before the name so I could personalize further.
While the weekly meal plan is nice in theory, the line seems extra small to me for some reason. I probably will skip adding any of these in future planners and just keep this space blank for using on the fly as needed.
The lines on the left I added, can be left blank. The calendars and note section on the right do not have the option to remove or customize in any way. It is a nice option to me though so no complaints there.
The personalized birthdays are printed not only in the monthly overview, weekly, but also in the yearly overviews if selected as an option.
How I have utilized the 2017 Overview for homeschool record keeping.
A preview of how I am using the blocks to keep a diary of sorts and include a picture overview of our day. I hope the girls look back and cherish this when they get older as much as I know we'll cherish remembering even these mundane memories that get lost in the brain as other, newer memories take place.

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