My Classic Happy Planner: Books & Blogging

Back in December, I reflected on my favorite things of 2017 and noted that Happy Planner was at the top of the list. I bought my first one that May after seeing Lindsey from Bring My Books raving about them. And though I swore I wouldn't buy all the things, I should have known that I'd be so obsessed with it. It started with sticker books and soon spiraled into making my own printable pages. So, I thought it would be fun to spend this week talking about how I'm using them. Happy Planners come in three sizes: Big, Classic, and Mini. I have one of each, and they each serve a different function.  Today, is Part Two of my Classic. It's allll about the books! 

In the Happy Planner world, you'll sometimes hear people talk about "frankenplanning." The word is typically used to refer to the way people will take parts from various planners and combine them into one. So, for example, you might use the cover and rings from one planner with the inside pages of another. It sounds silly, but it's something that I love about this type of ring-bound system. I've been able to make mine exactly the way I want, which you'll see in this post. I have two planners combined into one + a lot of pages that I've made for myself.

The front of my planner has this folder that I'll use as a catch-all for various papers – receipts, an appointment reminder card if I haven't added the info to my planner yet, etc. After the folder, you may notice that I have two sets of July and August tabs. That's because I've combined two planners into one! To keep my planner from getting too thick, I only keep about 2-3 months in there at a time (and just store the additional pages – past and future – on an extra set of rings). The first July and August tabs are for my daily planner, which I highlighted yesterday. But today I'm going to show you the back half of my planner, which is dedicated to all things blogging and books.

With the exception of this monthly spread, the format of the blogging section is a little different than standard Happy Planner pages. I'll talk about it more after the next picture! But, for this monthly overview, I write down blog posts that I've published. They're color coded based on the type of post, of course. I don't write them down until they're written and scheduled, but I'll use small post it notes to plan out future posts.

Most Happy Planners are either vertical (the format in my post yesterday) or horizontal (like a traditional agenda), but there was a limited edition release in a totally different format that I knew would work perfectly for my blog! While the planner itself is no longer available, they do sell this format as a six-month undated expansion pack

Immediately after the monthly overview, this is what you'll see! I'll use the habit trackers on the left for book buying bans, social media posting, replying to blog comments, or any other task that I'm trying to accomplish on a near-daily basis. In this month, I was tracking my book buying ban. 

For Monthly Goals, I always write down at least three. Some repeat almost every month – like posting at least eight times. But the others will change based on whatever I need to accomplish... or have been avoiding. Haha!

In the Checklist section, I write down the title of a book when I finish it. I don't check it off until the review has been published! This list continues on the next page, which you'll see in the next photo.

The Note to Self area is where I write down the publication date and title of anything I need to read and review that month. And sometimes I'll use this section to call out anything extra that's on a deadline!

On the page opposite, there are three main sections. The Get It Done checklist is a continuation of the list of books I've read that month. Typically, those two sections have enough spaces for what I'll read in a month. But there have been a few times I extended the list into the Note to Self section of the previous page.

The top half of this page is just dot grid. I print out a photo of my favorite read from that month and will add a quote or info about when/where I read the book or why I loved it so much. I used two photos in this month because I participated in my first readathon and wanted to make note of that fact in addition to my favorite read!

The Focus On section aligns perfectly with my goal to publish eight posts per month. This is where I plan them out! I sometimes publish more than eight things, but this section helps me decide where to focus my attention and time.

Remember how I mentioned half sheets in yesterday's post? Here's one in use. I love decorating one and making a monthly TBR! I divide it into sections: Review, Borrow, and New Releases (pictured) and then TBR and Audio (not pictured, on the back). I'll write my rating and the date I finished once I've read it. I have another half sheet behind this one with random blog post ideas for whenever I need a little inspiration.

And here's another place where you can tell that this planner format is very different. When I first bought it, I dated this section and used it as daily to do lists. But honestly, I wasn't blogging enough to keep it up. I'd often forget to write anything for several days or end up writing things in after I'd done them – not very useful.

Then, I realized that I could leave them undated and use them in an unexpected way. The first three sections – black circle stickers – are my recurring monthly blog tasks. Pages are the three things I need to update throughout the month. Reading Log is something that you'll see tomorrow, so stay tuned. And Misc. is a catch-all for anything else.

The section below that, Reading Backlog, is a list of books I read in previous months but haven't reviewed. Since I don't keep past months in my planner, I like having a quick reference for what I still need to write.

The next two sections, with blue exclamation point stickes, are for the two posts I publish every month: Recap + On My Shelves and Quick Lit. Underneath both, I have the different things I need to do to complete the posts. From taking photos to adding it to a linkup, this keeps me on track since I rarely finish it all at once.

The last two sections, with orange circle stickers, are books I finished that month. Remember how I had that checklist on the previous page? Well, here's where I write down all the things that need to happen before I can check it off there: take a photo, write my review, update Goodreads, post the review, and add it to my reading log. If it's a review book, the last line will say Log & Submit. The next few pages are this same format, so I didn't take more pictures, but it also includes sections for other posts with the list of things I need to do to finish them. 

After the pages labeled Daily To Do's, there are two lined pages. I divide them into the main categories that I use in my monthly recap posts: Loved, Read, Heard, Watched and Acquired. And I just add things to the relevant sections throughout the month! It's made it so much easier to write those recaps because I'm no longer scrambling to remember those details. That wraps up one month in the blogging section! So, let me show you what comes next...

I tried bullet journaling a few years ago and loved the concept but didn't stick with it. The format was just a little too loose for me, and I didn't like having to draw stuff every month. It was so time consuming because I would be too meticulous and overthink it. When I realized that I could customize my Happy Planner, I knew I could take what I loved about bullet journaling and combine it with a traditional planner. The stuff behind these two divider (which are hidden behind one of the monthly tabs in a previous photo) are where I applied some of those principles. 

As I've mentioned, you can mix and match Happy Planner stuff with multiple planners, different extension packs and more. But my favorite part? You can add your own stuff, too! Happy Planner sells a paper punch that you can use to make anything work with their ring system. And that's how I got carried away making inserts!

Rather than hand draw this, as I did when I used a bullet journal, I just designed a quick printable. Yes, I had to take the time to make it initially, but now I can print it every year (or quickly adjust it with a different goal in the future). As you can see, I've already completed my Goodreads Challenge for 2018. 

When I saw Alexa post about her personal Read or Die Challenge earlier this year, I knew I had to do it, too! Basically, the goal is to read anything on my TBR that's been there since 2016 (or earlier) by the end of the year. And if I don't? It's getting culled! I color the box pink when I finish a book, with the date I completed it noted in a light gray pen to the right of the title. Black means I've DNFed or culled it. 

I created a Series Tracker, too! I alphabetized the list by author's last name, noted the series title, and then used a box for each book in the series. I color them in when they're done! This is just meant to track my progress so that I can quickly see what series I haven't finished, even if it's unfinished due to books not being published yet. I'll probably redesign this page in the future to make it easier to add series to it. 

Ah, now we're getting to my favorite pages in my planner! When I was bullet journaling, I drew my TBR on a bookshelf and absolutely loved it. But it was such a pain to keep adding books to it because it would fill up quickly and then I'd have to start drawing it all over again. So, the first printable I created was this bookshelf! I use it for physical copies only, and I divided it up. My Adult Fiction TBR is pictured here. I color in a book when I complete it, and black book means I DNFed it. The best part? When I fill up a bookshelf, I just print and punch a new page.

After I made the bookshelf, I knew I wanted something for my electronic books, too. So... I made myself a Kindle TBR printable! I just write the title in the spaces, check it off once I've read it, and note the date that I finished it. I have a separate sheet that's just for digital ARCs because I like to group them together.

After my physical and Kindle sheets, I had to make an audiobook one, too. I was clearly looking at the Audible app when I designed it! Right now, I only use this for audiobooks that I own and haven't listened to yet. But I'm thinking about adding some titles on here that I have saved on Hoopla and Overdrive so that I don't forget about them! In the spot where the audio cover would go, I just color it when I'm done and note that I've finished + the date. 

Those are all the printables that I decided to photograph for this post, but that's not all that I've made for myself. Here's some of the other pages I made that I've got in this section:

  • Author Events: A place where I can note future book tour dates + time & location, as they're announced.
  • Book Challenges: All the prompts listed for the Modern Mrs. Darcy and Picky Pledge challenges, followed by blanks that I can fill in with the books I read for each.
  • Book Releases: A yearly overview to track release dates + titles that I need to pre-order or request from the library (so I can be first on the holds list, obvs). 
  • End of the Year Survey: All the questions from this survey created by Perpetual Page-Turner with space left to fill it in throughout the year.
  • Recurring Blog Features: Pages designed for posts I do frequently, like checklists for future editions of So Obsessed With or pages divided into the categories that I use for my end-of-year recaps.  
  • Review Book Tracker: A place to fill in all of the books I've received for review, source, publication date, and whether I've read/reviewed/submitted them.
  • Top Ten Tuesday Topics: The list of upcoming topics + pages to plan for ones I do every year, like Top Ten New-to-Me Authors or Top Ten Books of the Year. 
  • TV Tracker: A section to fill in the show and season, and then check off episodes as I finish them. 

And finally, we've come to the last tab in my planner! The previous tab has all of my printables grouped together, and this last one is for extra blank paper that I can use for brainstorming and other random things. I updated my blog design earlier this year, and this was a page I used in the process to help me visualize the new drop-down menu and list specific tasks I needed to complete. I love creating printables for things that I'll use repeatedly, but it's nice to have a section of paper at the back for things that I'll only need once. 

Okay, whew! I know that was a lot of info, but I wanted to talk about more of these pages because they're unique to my planner and illustrate why the Happy Planner system has been so perfect for me. It gives me what I loved about bullet journaling, combining everything into one place, with so many added benefits:

  • Allows me to use a pre-designed calendar
  • Easier to reproduce frequently-used pages
  • Ability to rearrange pages so that categories stay together
  • Customizable with personal inserts + printables 

Only one more planner to discuss: my mini! It serves a book-related purpose, and I can't wait to show it to you. 

BEFORE YOU BUY: Happy Planners are sold online and in stores at Michaels, Joann Fabric & Craft, and Hobby Lobby. Although you can buy directly from the Happy Planner site, I highly recommend shopping at one of the listed retailers. Why? You can use coupons! There's a reason I can't stop buying stickers... Hello, 50% off one item.

How do you track blogging tasks and/or your TBR?
Check back tomorrow for my mini and a giveaway! 


  1. Awesome! I love your series tracker page.

  2. I love all your planners! These posts are making me want to jump on board but my practical self knows I probably won’t keep it up :( I really love the set up of your gratitude one with the boxes for each day — keeps things short — I’ve fallen off the wagon with mine and likely because I tend to write too much so i make it a bigger project than it needs to be! Hoping to get back to it soon :)

  3. OMG THIS IS GREAT. All of the book pages are so awesome!!

  4. Really inspiring post! I need a planner right now :)

  5. Love this post! It's full of great ideas. Is there any way to get the inserts (printables) you designed or something similar?

  6. I love love love this post! Are the inserts something you share?

  7. I'm still obsessed with all the printables in this post! They're extremely useful, and it was so great to have them to keep track of book things for 2019 <3


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