I was recently introduced to something called a Big Happy Planner. I’ve never been any good at remembering to journal or keeping a neat calendar. Scrapbooking is something that mystifies me, as I think it comes close in a way to the concept of decorating, and that is a gene I simply did not receive from my parents. I can build you a house–just don’t ask me to make it look pretty.

In any event, a friend of mine mentioned that she was wanting to get a Big Happy Planner to help her keep track of her crazy-busy schedule. My reaction was of course to ask her, “do what?” I was then sent on a quest to Google and Amazon, a quest that resulted in my purchase of one very large, very cool Big Happy Planner.

Over the last eighteen months or so, I’ve struggled with finding words. There’ve been a couple of reasons for that–chiefly, emotional overload due to grief and plain old burnout from having written upwards of twenty books in less than ten years. My chronic health issues have also played a hand in the slow down of my writing. Now that I’m finally keeping my head above water again, I’ve been trying to figure out how exactly to get back on the writing horse.

As soon as I saw the planner layout, looked inside at the features the pages held, I thought I might have stumbled onto something. While the Happy Planner line is at its heart a basic day planner, it’s enhanced with lists of encouragement to fill out, with daily reminders of positivity and reflection. The planner I chose, the “Choose Where Your Energy Goes” edition, is loaded with mindfulness reminders. As becoming more mindful has been something I’ve been striving to do for the last couple of years with various levels of success, this appealed to me tremendously.

There are several versions of the planners, varieties both large and small. They can all be accessorized to the max with inserts, special paper, stickers, and a myriad of interesting and neat things. Some versions feature Scripture, some are oriented toward wellness, and others are profession-oriented such as those designed for teachers.

Given my track record of not being consistent with record-keeping, let’s say, I was a bit wary as to making the purchase. These planners are not cheap, after all. But when I saw how they worked and how they could be customized, I knew this could be exactly what I needed to help me get back on track with my writing. A private system for both personal and professional use that could keep me accountable to myself.

So far, it seems to be working. I am writing on average five days out of seven now, blogging daily (with the exception of yesterday), and I’m keeping up with my new exercise regimen. Being able to look at a visual layout that shows me what I’m supposed to be doing and when is proving to be tremendously helpful.

I haven’t yet started setting firm publishing deadlines for myself, as I want to first get a better feel for how I’m going to do with keeping up with this schedule. By mid September, I hope to have that “data” available. I have a tentative idea that the next book will be released this fall, but I’m not ready to firmly commit as to when. Too, there are a couple of real-life events coming up that could impact that schedule briefly. With any luck, I’ll know more tomorrow.

In any event, I’m enjoying using my Big Happy Planner. I like the accountability and the structure, and it’s neat to be able to decorate it the way I’d like. Granted, it might look like something a six-year-old would put together by the time I’m finished, but if I’m happy, I suppose that’s all that matters. And no, Happy Planners and the company that makes them are not sponsors of this post. No free swag for this girl, drat the luck.

Happy reading!

T. L.