Around the start of every year I get hit with new planners and organizers promising to be just what the world needs to help them achieve their goals and dreams in the new year. Some of them last, some of them make just enough of a splash to get funded on Kickstarter and ship in time for people to have them by January. Most of them end up being cast aside by March in favor of peoples favorite apps on their phones or old standbys like Franklin Covey or good old Molskine notebooks.
This year I received two new planners, the "Evolve Planner" from Columbia College of Chicago professor Andrea de Fraga and the "Make Shit Happen Planner" from Meraki Printing. While the "Evolve" planner is very focused and has the purpose of simply incorporating financial planning into your scheduling of other events, the "Make Shit Happen Planner" is intended to be far more involved. Meraki has the intention of prompting journaling and being a workbook to help you discover goals and purpose in your life rather than just a place to help you plan it. Both can have value to some people, but if you aren't looking to spend time journaling on pre-defined topics to guide your self discovery the "Make Shit Happen" planner may be far more involved than you want to get.
The Evolve Planner is pretty straight forward in its design and theory. The theory is that to achieve a goal requires three things: Picturing the goal, Making a plan, and Staying accountable. To that end The Evolve Planner has your monthly calendar, weekly schedule, goal visualizer, and spending plan all built in. Monthly pages include a simple budget form to track spending and income. Weekly planning pages allow you to track daily spending versus spending plans. There are special pages at the back to track your balance sheets; one for savings & assets, another for credit cards & loans. The website also features an excell spreadsheet that helps you with the math and planning, allowing you to plug numbers in and see the effect.
Meraki's "Make Shit Happen" planner is far more involved. With monthly topics that build upon each other and guide your journaling towards discovery of your goals and motivations it is for sure a more time consuming if not "new age" theory of planning. With monthly topics like "Cultivate Gratitude" and "Do the Thing" its easy to see the direction they are taking here. The weekly planning pages have sections for you to track up to four goals and mark whether you felt like you were successful in moving towards them on each day as a way to keep you focused. It includes lots of open space for doodling and mind mapping depending on how your thought processes develop rather than being too structured, while still always using prompts and journaling spaces to move you forward towards your goals.
Like any planning or journaling method there is something good to be gleaned from each of these planners. If financial planning is your biggest problem the Evolve planner may be just the thing to help you become more intentional about your financial independence. If finding your happiness and determining goals is where you are in life, the Make Shit Happen planner may help you discover what you need to do next.
I think I'll stick with my Bullet Journal for now, but it's always changing to fit my needs without requiring a new planner to do it.