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Getting Started with Planning

Posted by Jessica Gorrill on

This is my inaugural blog post for Coffee Brain Plans, and I am so excited to be working for Venassa to help promote both the wonderful planning community that exists along with her amazing shop.

Getting started with planning

My Planning Background

If you had told me before my son was born that I would be obsessed with my day planner, that I would be purchasing stickers and decorative tape and fancy pens to decorate said day planner with, I would have thought you were crazy. Now, I’m the crazy one. Crazy for all of the aforementioned planning supplies.

I’m very much a Type A personality; we’re talking checklists galore. I’ve also always been a notebook addict. Notebooks for checklists, notebooks for budgeting, notebooks for grocery lists. Heck, even a notebook to keep track of my other notebooks. I am positive you will find a notebook in every drawer, nook, and cranny of my home.

The Happy Planner

Once my son was born, I realized I needed something more than just a notebook to keep my life in order.

That’s when I discovered the Happy Planner.

A friend shared a photo of her new Happy Planner on social media, and I immediately contacted her to find out where she had purchased it. When she told me she had bought her planner at Michael’s, I was out the door so fast that I nearly forgot my baby at home.

Over two years later, I am neck deep in planner supplies (I’ve got an entire shoe box dedicated just to Coffee Brain Plans stickers).

My husband still doesn’t get it, but he’s not the one managing a household and all of our schedules.

Happy Planner Disc System

Planning Is Essential

That’s what I’m here to really talk about – why planning is such an essential task for me, and why it’s been so beneficial to keeping my life in order.

I hope that in sharing what works best for me, you will find something that resonates with you and I can help you find some stress relief in planning and all that it has to offer. 

Here’s the thing – I work two jobs, I schedule and keep track of all appointments for everyone in our house, I do the grocery shopping, the bill paying, the daycare drop offs and pick ups, and a lot of the household cleaning (though, I will say that my husband has definitely kicked it into high gear in that area as that’s where I’ve been slacking). In order to ensure that everyone is where they need to be, that we’re all fed, and that the bills get paid, I need to keep this information in my Happy Planner.

How I plan

How I Plan

I use the classic Happy Planner and I love its vertical spread. Each section has its own purpose for the day.

The top box is dedicated to work – meetings, to do’s, etc.

The bottom box is for home – what I need to clean, reminders to do laundry (why won’t the laundry fold itself?!), what’s for supper.

The middle box is a kind of catch all for what falls outside of work or home – maybe it’s an appointment that came up suddenly, maybe it’s a reminder that we’re out of milk and I should grab some on the way home, or maybe it’s my mantra for the day, something to keep my grounded when I’m feeling off. Whatever the case may be, all three boxes work together to keep me on schedule for the day.

Now that I’ve entered into the world of the Happy Planner, I can’t imagine how I ever survived without it. If I’m being completely honest, there are definitely weeks that have been left blank, where I haven’t written a single word or “to do” for the entire week. Those weeks leave me feeling drained, and I can tell the difference between a week I’ve sat down and thought about and prepared for versus a week where I’ve let my normal planning routine fall to the wayside.

Everyone feels it when I’m not prepared – my husband and son as I scramble to think of a quick supper idea because I didn’t jot down my meal plan in my planner, my colleagues as I bumble through my day at work hoping no one notices how off kilter I am, and most of all, myself.

I enjoy being prepared.

Sure, things come up and plans can change, but being ready for each week with a plan in mind helps me better navigate through the chaos that can occur if something goes off course. No matter who you are, I think you can truly benefit from even a few minutes of planning – whether it be daily, or once a week, a little goes a long way.

The Stickers

As a Happy Planner/sticker addict (the first step is admitting it, right?!), I find the best kind of stickers to help keep me organized are functional ones. I do love decorative ones and weekly kits, but the stickers that truly work the best for me are ones that serve a functional purpose. Because these stickers work so well when it comes to keeping me on task, I wanted to feature some of them here in this first blog post of mine. I know that if they’re this beneficial to me, then they can most definitely help you.


These are one of my favourite types of functional sticker because they catch my eye and let me know what tasks I’ve deemed important.

I love that Venassa offers a multitude of headers in different colours and fonts. There’s something for every theme. She’s also made me some custom headers in the past where I was able to choose the colours and tasks for the headers. A shop owner being able to customize her work for me is such great customer service, and it’s why I keep coming back to Venassa’s shop.


These come in as a close second to headers. Honestly, there’s nothing more satisfying than checking something off of one of my many To Do lists. Every time I check something off, I become even more motivated to make sure the rest of my list is complete by the end of the day.

Cleaning checklist planner stickers

Half Boxes

Keeping with the theme of checklists, I love half box checklists. I use these specifically for cleaning. Every day, either before I leave for work or after I get home, I try to take care of at least three cleaning tasks. The tasks don’t have to be huge; let’s be real, I’m definitely not fully scrubbing my bathroom after a nine-hour work day, but adding a few small chores using these half boxes helps me feel like I’m not living in a complete pig sty.

Cleaning mopping floor

My weekly chores tend to consist of loading/unloading the dishwasher, tossing in a load of laundry, picking up the toy room, clearing the junk off of the island (seriously, where would all my junk live if I didn’t have an island in my kitchen?!), and making the beds. No real back breaking labour, but I get such satisfaction when I can check one of these chores off of my list!


I also love functional stickers that help me reach goals. As a very busy mom to an even busier toddler, I often forget about the little things – brushing my hair, washing my face, and even drinking water. Using these water intake tracking stickers keep me motivated to not only drink water, but to drink enough to keep my hydrated through out the day. It becomes a contest I have with myself each day to see if I can get in at least eight glasses of water and fend off what seems like an ever-present dehydration headache!


Most of all, I love stickers that have anything to do with budgeting. I need to know when money is coming in and going out of my bank account…mostly so that I know what’s left to shop for stickers with. Don’t tell my husband. But in all seriousness, these two budgeting sticker sheets from Venassa’s shop have helped me keep track of my finances and build my savings while ensuring all bill are paid when they should be.

Joy in Planning

If you’re struggling to find order in your life and you feel like you need to make changes, I can’t say enough good things about getting yourself a planner. Start small, like I did. I grabbed a 40% off coupon and headed to Michael’s. I browsed through their planner selection and found one that suited me. From there, I slowly started to build my sticker collection based around what I felt was important to me – organization, functionality, and simplicity.

Planning has now become my Sunday evening activity, where I sit down and think about what I need to get done over the course of the next week, and it’s so relaxing for me.

I truly hope that you’re able to find the same joy in planning that I do.

(If you're not an addict already, of course!)

If you're already a huge planner fan, tell us in the comments the story of how you got started! Getting started with planning blog post


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