Did you just pick up your first planner? Did you find yourself opening it to the current week just to get stopped in your tracks? Perhaps that was because the pages were so beautiful, or maybe, perhaps, it was because you felt a certain overwhelm or uncertainty for what to do next.
As exciting as it is to buy your first planner, sometimes decorating your first planner spread can feel like a daunting task. Sure you want it to look perfect, but you are afraid you will ruin it if it all turns out below expectations. I get it! Sometimes, I feel that way, too. Even after having conquered weeks on end with spreads I am excited about, there are times when I am less than happy with what I put together.
It’s okay! You are human! Just remember, you can always turn the page at the end of the week and start fresh the next week. Keep that in your back pocket for when you begin to doubt yourself. I got you, boo! It’s a learning thing, and you should do what you do best – be you. It’s your planner, your creations, your way. No judgment here!
So, let’s get started with how to create your first planner spread.
Pre-Planning Your Week
One of the biggest keys to success is pre-planning. I often get asked how I note upcoming appointments, school events, etc. before I get to decorate for the week. The secret: sticky notes!
Put those little sticky bad boys you picked up in the accessory section of the planner aisle to work. Pre-planning will allow you to mark events, appointments and memos ahead of time. This way, when it comes to decorating, you know where those key items are that need to be highlighted in your spread.
I should also mention that another way to pre-plan your week is by using the Daily Schedule half sheets from The Happy Planner. These are another great way to jot down those key items and schedules ahead of time to then transfer the information once you’re ready to put pen (or sticker!) to paper.
Choosing Your Decorations
First of all, you don’t have to decorate your planner. It’s not a requirement by any means. I enjoy the process of decorating my planner because I like looking at pretty pages throughout the week. If decorating isn’t your thing, then you do you! Use your planner how you want to use it, and remember what we said earlier. For the sake of this post, and since you are here, I am going to assume you want to decorate your planner. Moving forward.
You have options. Lots of options. Stickers, stamps, paints, doodles, washi tape…these are just a few. Most of us use stickers, because quite frankly, they are super cute and available everywhere. Stamps are not too far behind, though!
I have outlined my top five sticker books that I would recommend for the planner newbie here, and two of the three I used for this spread are on that list – Planner Basics and Color Story, both from The Happy Planner. Additionally, I would also recommend the Colorful Boxes sticker book from The Happy Planner as well. It’s super functional with boxes of all sizes in lots of colors. Confession: I use these in all my spreads, literally EVERY week. I’m not joking!
What I love about these particular sticker books is that they are functional, thematic, decorative and great for tracking every day events. They all have a little bit of everything to get started. They are perfect for planner newbies!
Putting Decorations on the Page
Now that you have pre-planned all the key events and important information for your week, and you have selected your decorations of choice, the next thing to do is go. Just start! If you don’t start, you will never finish. Heck if you don’t start, you will never begin.
Start by choosing your theme, or color palette. If you use any of the books I mentioned above, this will be as easy as flipping through the pages and making a selection. Use the coordinating stickers to replace your sticky notes with stickers. Remember your mid-week and weekend to dos (those check list banners are great for those!), and remember any other things necessary to accomplish for the week be it paying a bill, doing laundry, going grocery shopping, etc. You name it, there is most likely a sticker for it!
Be sure to add some inspiration to your pages, too. Grab a quote sticker or two that fit your fancy, that speak to you, or something you need to be reminded of throughout the week. I love adding inspirational quotes as gentle reminders throughout the week.
Also, you don’t need to use all of the stickers. Leave some white space to fill in information as the week progresses. If you lay too many stickers down, you won’t have space to add unforeseen tasks and events that come up during the week.
If you have seasonal or colorful planning pages…
You can draw inspiration from the colors and themes already printed on the page. Use those little popsicles or that floral color scheme as a base line for choosing your decorations! Sometimes this can be a life saver if you are in a creative rut, but at other times, decorating in Christmas colors for the entire month of December can get redundant. Find what works best for you!
If you have neutral or muted planning pages…
More often than not, you can use any color scheme or theming you desire with neutral or muted colored pages. I love neutral pages for that reason. Even if you want to go classy and dress up your pages in their best little black deco (see what I did there?!), neutral or muted planning pages lend themselves to endless possibilities.
That’s it! Once you have done these steps, you will have created your first planner spread! Congratulations on making it this far, and as you continue to find your groove, it will get easier. Next, you can begin adding other elements to your spreads such as using washi tape or reconfiguring the printd formats of the page. I know, I know. That’s getting crazy! The most important thing is to have fun with it, and don’t plan for the (Insta)gram! Plan and decorate what best fits your style.
Until next time, wishful planning!
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