The Get To Work Book (GTWB for short) is a sturdy, simple planner that I have been eyeing for a while and hoping to review. I reached out to Elise Blaha Cripe (the creator of the Get To Work Book) and she kindly sent me one of her 2017-2018 midyear planners to review. Elise lives in San Diego, California (my hometown!) and has a blog and podcast focusing on maker & craft culture and creative living. Her main focus now is her GTWB company and she has poured the creativity, love, and attention from her blog into producing a helpful, goal-oriented planner that encourages you to get to work.
The GTWB is highly functional and priced to reflect the design, materials, and assembly that went into its creation. The 2018 GTWB is $55. You can also purchase unpunched A5 pages for $46. I have the 2017-2018 academic GTWB which is currently on sale for $35! Elise will also occasionally run promotions, especially around launch week, so keep your eyes peeled for those if you are thinking about picking one of these beauties up for next year!
The Get To Work Book is a weekly planner that comes in academic year (Jul–Jun) and calendar year (Jan–Dec) options. While it is definitely on par with other weekly planners, there are a few things that set the GTWB apart.
First, there are no Important Dates/Holidays written into the planner for you. This could be a good thing or a bad thing depending on how you use your planner. If you are using this planner for work and don’t really need to know upcoming holidays or are fine with having your phone remind you, then it will fit your needs perfectly. Or, if you celebrate holidays or important dates that don’t adhere to the traditional Western calendar, this planner does not assume otherwise. You can write in the dates that matter to you and forgo the rest.
The second aspect of this planner that really sets it apart is the space and focus on projects. Every month includes a space for you to focus on a project, its actions items, and its deadline. There are two pages per month of just open grid that you can use to brainstorm, plan, map out, or write down your project(s). This is fantastic for those of you who are project focused or work in the gig economy.
There is also a page for Reflection and Goal Setting. You can write in Last Month’s Wins, what’s Still in Progress, what To Let Go Of, what To Think On, To Work On, and To Complete. It’s an open section where you can dig in as much or as little as you like!
Having these project and goal pages dispersed throughout the planner means that there isn’t a bulky front section. The GTWB opens with a title page, a page with a quick blurb about the planner and a place to put your name and contact info, and a motivational graphic saying “Big things happen one day at a time.” Then it goes into 2017 and 2018 at a glance over a two-page spread. You can write in important dates, holidays that matter to you, birthdays, project deadlines, etc. Whatever you need to keep track of.
Then that’s it! You’re into the meat of the book. You get a two-page monthly spread with a Sunday start that manages to combine sizeable day boxes with a generous notes section at the bottom of the page. This calendar is entirely yours–there are no dates written in so if you want this just to be your work projects planner, that’s all you need to worry about mapping out and you’re given a blank spread to do that with. The monthly spread also includes small month-at-a-glance calendars for the month preceding and the one following the current spread. I love the use of the sidebar as a place to feature the month and year in big, bold text.
The weekly spread is a Monday start so that you have your weekends together. This is a vertical layout with a section at the top of each day for three tasks, appointments, meals, or whatever you would like to put there. The daily columns switch in contrasting gray and white to help you stay focused on the day you’re planning for. A box in the top lefthand corner of the page reminds you what year and month it is, and the lefthand column includes three big boxes for writing in action items for the week. GTWB includes generous space for notes at the bottom of both pages in the weekly spread in a grid format.
The notes pages are still designed with projects in mind. Apart from notes and project pages at the beginning of each month, there is also a section in the back of the planner with additional notes pages. You get the blank canvas in grid paper (Date & Project), and then you start to get these pages that include a box labeled “To Do” with three checkboxes for priority tasks. I imagine that these pages are designed to be used together to help you work out the details for a big project.
The planner ends with a 2018-2019 at-a-glance calendar. There isn’t room to write anything in, but the monthly spreads are there for quick notes or trying to figure out what day your birthday falls on next year.
The last page of the GTWB echoes the first, a message that reminds you that you aren’t confined to whatever you achieved or were unable to achieve during the year, but rather that you are capable of big things if you take it one day at a time.
Elise also included a GTWB ruler for me, and while I don’t have it pictured much in this review, I think it is one of the best planner rulers I’ve seen out there. It’s sturdy enough to use as an actual ruler without being so thick that it bulks up your planner. It’s also easy to grab and I love that it’s clear. It has been designed to perfectly match your GTWB, so if you were thinking about whether to get a bookmark with your planner, I would go for it.
This planner’s design is intentionally minimalist yet bold. Elise works with the team at Jolby & Friends in Portland, Oregon to design the Get To Work Book, and you can definitely see a professional graphic designer’s touch. It is especially evident in the monthly pull-out calendar pages. Printed on 110lb recycle cardstock, each month includes a perforated calendar page with an inspirational saying. Basically, Elise is giving you some art, and it’s awesome. These pages include a mini month-at-a-glance calendar and a lined section to write in “This month is all about.” These can go on your fridge or be pinned up on your wall, and you can take them all out at once or as you reach each month, etc.
The paper is a sumptuous 70lb text weight, while the tabbed pages and perforated calendar pages are 110lb cover weight. All of the paper Elise uses in the GTWB is 100% recycled and milled in the USA. The paper isn’t smooth because it is 100% recycled so it won’t feel the same as a lot of premium papers. The paper feels great to write on (I like a little texture) and the tabs are seriously sturdy. I was initially worried about the tabs sticking outside the cover, but they are strong. I carried this planner around New York City on a weekend trip and it didn’t get bent out of shape at all.
This planner has one of the strongest wire-o bindings that I’ve ever felt. The wire-o binding is black and stiff, keeping your book together and holding its shape well. The chipboard cover is thick and incredibly sturdy. You can easily write in this planner by holding it with one hand and writing with the other–the front and back covers support the pages. GTWB has two cover options, this one in black and one in a kraft brown.
When I unpacked this planner my husband gravitated to my side with immediate interest. He normally doesn’t care to look through my planners–he accepts that I love planners and that planning is cathartic for me, but he isn’t usually super interested. He loves the GTWB. I’m pretty sure that he’s going to try to steal it from me.
This speaks to the aesthetic neutrality of the GTWB. It is designed simply and beautifully to fit anyone, either as a blank canvas or a minimalist planner. The GTWB does not scream any gender affiliation–men, women, trans, & non-gender-conforming people can all use this planner without feeling like it wasn’t made with them in mind.
One of the GTWB’s design choices is that each month is completely encompassed in each tab. This means that you sometimes get two weeks of the same spread, one in October with the 30th and 31st and Nov 1–5 in faded grayscale, and the same week in November with the 30th and 31st in faded grayscale. This lets you carry a month all the way through, and maybe use the grayscale space for additional notes or unconfirmed appointments.
The GTWB is designed intentionally with consistent sans-serif font choices in bold text weight. I love that the wire-o coil is black to match the aesthetic of the planner and that the tab design sets it apart aesthetically from other planner brands. This planner really seems to be designed to give you minimal structure and lots of space for notes, projects, and whatever else you like to do with blank space!
The GTWB would be a great fit for anyone who wants to focus on projects and needs a work planner. It would be a good fit for someone who runs their own business, someone who works from home, someone who doesn’t want holidays interrupting your calendar, or someone who just wants a simple, functional planner for the year.
I used one of the project pages to conceptualize a freelance design project I’m working on right now, and liked that amount of space available for listing tasks, creating a timeline, or brainstorming. I could see taking meeting notes on this page, as well.
I wanted to show you all how much I was able to fit in the monthly spread’s boxes. Color coding helped me keep track of birthdays, blog posts, appointments, important deliveries, and travel.
I, of course, did a pen test for you all!! I tried gel pens, rollerball pens, felt-tip, ballpoint, and highlighters. I was super impressed with how little bleedthrough there was–even for the Sharpie permanent marker. If you lift the page you write on, you can see ghosting, but when it’s flat against other pages you can barely see any indentation or evidence of writing.
I was even able to use a Stabilo Boss Highlighter in my weekly spread! Awesome. I tried a few different layouts in the GTWB to see what might work well for continuous planning. I tried dividing the column in half for schedule and tasks, separating to-dos for home and work, creating an 8am-9pm appointment column, and just writing in tasks. I used the bottom notes grid paper for keeping track of what I was reading, my dinners for the week, and a simplified habit tracker for the week.
If you’re an architecture or design student, I think this would be a good fit for you. The grid pages are awesome and the sleek minimalist design of the planner would allow you to fancy it up with sketches, drawings, diagrams, etc. One of my besties is an interior architect and designer and I could just see her loving this planner. I think this would also be a fabulous work planner for anyone whose job is project-focused. If you are working on a side hustle, this could also be a great planner to help you keep separate track of that. 🙂
I love that the GTWB is heavy and the quality of the paper used. It feels like a serious book for important projects when I pick it up. I also love that the paper is recycled and milled in the USA. I’m impressed with the overall quality of this planner and how sturdy and well-designed it is. I love a good design and I just haven’t seen many planners out there that can match this aesthetic–it’s unique.
Because my husband has been sniffing around my GTWB, I asked him what he liked about it. He likes that there are three boxes at the top of each daily column in the weekly spread because it forces you to prioritize. He said that prioritizing is important for managing stress and the overwhelm.
I wish there was a little more structure in the weekly spread, but I absolutely understand why the GTWB isn’t designed that way. While I do really like the simplicity of jumping into the planner with minimal beginning pages, I think a brief introduction to the planner would be nice because there so few bells & whistles.
There you have it! My review of the 2017-2018 academic Get To Work Book! Thank you to Elise for sending me this gorgeous planner to review! If you have any questions about my review or if you have a GTWB and use it differently, tell me in the comments!
I wanted to leave you all with a list of a few of my favorite Get To Work Book reviews, in case you wanted to go deeper down the research rabbit hole:
- Amanda’s Favorites review of the 2018 GTWB.
- jen of eve designs video about trying out the GTWB as part of her planner journey.
- the Design is Yay! review of the 2017 GTWB.
Until next time!