Chaotic people often have chaotic lives, and I think they create that. But if you try and have an inner peace and a positive attitude, I think you attract that. – Imelda Staunton
I absolutely love the idea of a Happiness Planner. Along with Jiliane and many of you, I still love to hold my calendar in my hands, physically write in my appointments and to dos, and have one space to take notes, keep track of goals, and doodle. I also enjoy inspiring quotes and as I’ve taken from my yoga practice, a word or intention of the day. I believe that setting a daily intention helps you to focus and stay positive throughout the day. Like in yoga teaches with your breath, a daily intention is something you can come back to when you are feeling un-inspired or down. When Jiliane asked me to review the Happiness Planner: 100 Day Edition, I jumped at my chance to get my hands on it. A year ago I participated in the #100happydays challenge and I absolutely loved it. Here are my first impressions of the Happiness Planner 100 Day Edition:
Quality & Features – 4 out of 5
We selected the black Happiness Planner, which is bound as a sturdy book. It came inside a cardboard slipcase. I do not understand the purpose of this, and will probably recycle it. The outside of the book is sturdy enough for travel, though a little heavy. The book itself has gold lettering embossed on the front and spine of the book which looks quite nice. The paper is thick, but also feels nice and pen ink does not bleed through when I write on the pages.
There is one ribbon to mark your spot, which for me immediately threaded. I scored quality 4 out of 5 because of the immediate ribbon threading and the corners of my book (from being inside a new slipcase I believe) are slightly marked with few white speckles I can’t brush off. At a glance, and when you pick up the book, you can feel it was made to be a high-quality product and I am attracted to the simple look.
Layout & Process – 3.5 out 5
There are three parts to the Happiness Planner: (1) a happiness roadmap, (2) 100 days planner/ journal and (3) a reflection for the end of the 100 days. Overall, I think the layout & process are put together very well. I do have a few items in each section that I think could be improved upon.
The roadmap asks you to list:
- what makes you happy, unhappy
- your strengths & weaknesses
- what you are grateful for
- what qualities you can improve on
- who you would like to see more often
- things you are proud of achieving
- big dreams
- long term and shorter term goals
This is meant to be completed before you start on the 100 day journey. I love the layout and quotes along the way. I also believe in setting your intentions, thinking about little things that make you happy and how you can incorporate these things, little or big, into your goals and daily life. The second part of the roadmap is fairly open to interpretation, and I like that – so that you can freely list achievements, dreams and goals in any format you’d like. If you don’t know where to start with setting your own goals, don’t forget to be SMART.
A few things that I did not like:
- Monetary value is given to the “what makes me happy” section.
This section asks you to fill out: what makes you happy (ex: dancing) a cost (ex: $60/class) how good it makes you feel (ex: 9/10) and frequency (ex: weekly). While I can appreciate the idea of taking into consideration the costs of certain activities and perhaps based on how good it makes you feel so that you can make more room in your budget for the higher scoring items – the fact that I was asked a cost for everything initially turned me off. There are many things that make me happy that cost no money at all, such as going for a nice fall walk, reading a good book, sitting by a fireplace, spending time with loved ones, crawling into fresh, warm sheets at bed time. Obviously, you have the option to leave the cost blank. Apart from only looking at the things or experiences you can buy, I think it is just as important to think of the little things that cost no money at all.
- Strengths & Weaknesses Section
Again, while I appreciate the idea, I thought the words given for you to identify your personal strengths & weaknesses were too strong. Some weaknesses might also not be necessarily a bad thing, like “shy” or “strict” (which makes me ask, in what way?) It also did not tie into the overall process well in my opinion. While it is important to be comfortable with your own strengths and weaknesses, I’m not given a way to incorporate this into my 100 day journey. This was little too black and white for me, personally.
100 Days is formatted by week and day, with a 2 page per day layout:
- Weekly: Rate your feelings at the beginning of the week
- Weekly: Set Goals in 4 categories: time-management, financial, work & personal
- Daily: Inspiring thoughts, exercises, meals, today’s goals
- Daily: Schedule, To-Dos, Good Things About Today, What I Hope for Tomorrow
- Daily: Notes & ideas
- End of Week Reflection
I really like the space for inspiring thoughts, daily goals and reflection. There is also plenty of space per day for notes, doodles, lists, etc. I view this almost more as a journal & activity tracker, than a planner. I think that it would be interesting to look back and see how I rated my feelings and what activities I was participating in that could have influenced me. I also think that reflection and intention setting is important for overall well-being and appreciate being prompted to think about it.
A few things I think could improve:
- The weekly “rate your feelings” page is a black page, with white lettering. You are asked to circle a number based on how you are feeling. I do not have a pen that shows up on this black page.
- While I appreciate space for meals & exercises, I’m not sure everyone’s goals & focus are on tracking those things.
Reflection: 100 Day Review
This last section is very small – 10 questions across two pages, with two lines of space for your responses each. I think the only improvement I would have would be to add another two pages of blank lined space for any additional thoughts. I’ll have to report back after 100 days, but I imagine there could be more to write after living consciously for 100 days.
Usability & Design – 4 out of 5
While I’ll need to report back after I journey through the 100 days, I have a few thoughts after having just spent a week with it:
- At first I was worried how writing would be in a book with a bound spine, however it opens up quite nicely, and I have found it easy to write on both side of the pages.
- The sturdiness of the book makes it easy to write in anywhere – you do not necessarily need a table.
- On the other hand, it is heavy, not easy to fit in any purse, and I’m not sure how I’ll enjoy carrying it around the next 100 days.
- The page quality is nice; pens do not bleed through to the next page.
- As mentioned before, the weekly rating on the full black pages do not make it easy to see what I’ve circled.
- The font is clear and readable and the layout is not too busy. I really like each page design.
- I love the quotes interspersed throughout the book, especially in the beginning.
OVERALL– 11.5 out of 15
This planner could be for you if you need help looking on the positive side, finding your happiness or want to take a look at the way your habits influence your mood – which is the mission of the product after all, to “Focus on what makes you happy”.
Apart from being disappointed with initial fraying of my ribbon and a few of the happiness roadmap activities in the beginning, I am very excited to journey with the Happiness Planner for the next 100 days. I love the overall look and design – the weekly and daily prompts to help me plan, reflect and further on track my moods and activities. I believe that this could help someone get into the habit of reflecting on the good in life and thinking about how to incorporate more of it on a weekly basis.
Are you looking to focus on what makes you happy? This planner/journal is for you! Have you purchased the Happiness Planner 100 day edition? If so, how did you feel at the end of the 100 days? Let us know in the comments below!