2018 Make Shit Happen Planner

Hello hello!! This week I’m reviewing a wonderful, thoughtfully designed planner that the Meraki Printing team was kind enough to send my way! I have been so impressed with this book since the moment I opened my Happy Mail, and can’t wait to dig into the specs with you all.

So who is Meraki Printing? This small company was started in Houston, TX by two yogis (Chelsea Williams and Amara DePaul) who became friends and experienced wake-up calls. Chelsea’s mother passed away from cancer, which made her realize that life was short and dreams should be pursued with passion, not left to someday, someday maybes. Amara started living life by her own terms one day and investing her time in the things that mattered most to her. These ladies travel, climb mountains, and teach yoga (both are certified Baptiste Yoga Trainers), while also funneling energy and life into creating the Make Shit Happen Planner.

The conceptualization for the planner started in 2015. In 2016, Chelsea and Amara launched a kickstarter to turn their planner dream into reality. The 2017 Make Shit Happen Planner campaign raised $140,339 out of a $25,000 goal (wild success!) and arrived on doorsteps all over the world. Chelsea and Amara also used the kickstarter platform to launch a 2017 campaign to crowdfund the updated 2018 version of the Make Shit Happen Planner, which raised $59,088 for “round two” of the planner, this time based out of Chelsea’s hometown in Denver, CO.

The Make Shit Happen Planner is so much MORE than just a monthly and weekly planner. It is a workbook, a journal and a notebook to empower you to discover the things that are most important to you! Use this planner to take action each day in 2018 to bring your dreams into reality. ​Take ownership of your life and live life how YOU want to live it! This is YOUR time.

This planner is an affordable $39 and can be found on the Meraki Printing website. Let’s take a peek inside this thoughtfully designed and beautifully executed book. 🙂

Function

The Make Shit Happen planner is highly versatile and packs in a lot of content for being such a portable book.

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With your planner, you receive this welcome note from Chelsea and Amara.

 

The first page is the company logo and tagline–“Create your life with love, creativity, and soul.” Then you get the nameplate page, where you write down your name and pledge to “make shit happen.” I love how Meraki Printing has designed this–it’s a nameplate page but also a challenge. The text says “Take ownership of your year and your life,” which is a great way to enter into a new planner!

Then the planner opens up to a textually artistic Jonathan Fields quote:

Our job is not so much to go from here to there, but to wake up to own our current reality. To see it. Feel it. Accept it. Then take action to start living the life we dream of living. One breath, one step one day at a time. Not later, not tomorrow, but today. Right now.

Then it’s your turn to make shit happen.

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There is a fairly standard 2018 year at a glance page where you get a twelve-month spread of 2018 presented to you in minimalist typography.

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One of my favorite features of the Make Shit Happen Planner is that it’s thematic–every month has a theme. The theme determines the weekly and monthly quotes used and the journaling prompt. I love that Meraki Printing designed it this way. Each month you get a thoughtful and purposeful prompt to guide you in your monthly journaling, and then you get reminders of your reflection throughout the month in the form of thematic quotes in each weekly spread.

The themes are: create, take ownership, what is your why, trust your timing, non-attachment, choose authenticity, face your fear, connect, come alive, keep showing up, make a difference, and be curious.

 

After the rundown of each month’s theme, you get a page for your Curiosity List. This is a space where you can brain dump or brainstorm to figure out and explore what you want to accomplish/learn/become/do in 2018. The space is designed to be pressure-free, so the sky is the limit on what you might want to accomplish!

Next is your four-page spread for vision boarding. My Vision is a generous amount of space to dream big and visualize–using words, drawings, clippings, stamps, stickers, however you want to do it!–what you want your future to look like.

Then you get a Make Shit Happen List. This occurs in four columns: Dream, Goal, Plan, and Action. This space is designed to encourage you to turn your dreams into goals and then make those goals actionable by giving them a due date. There is space for four big dreams that you then create more bite-sized action steps for. You don’t have to fill it out all at once, maybe you know one dream you would like to focus on but still need to develop the right words to describe and break down some others. Totes cool, this space is here for you when you want to start recording.

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Then you get into your monthly sections! This planner does not have tabs, but rather includes two ribbons to help you mark your spot. The month starts with a “title” page that simply has the Meraki Printing logo and name of the month. Opposite, you get a quote that matches the month’s theme. The theme for January is “Create,” so the corresponding monthly quote is “The best way to predict your future is to create it” from Abraham Lincoln.

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Then you get two pages for the month’s journaling spread. Like the quote juxtaposed with the monthly title page, the journaling prompt is also tied to the theme for the month. The theme is restated here, and then you are given prompts to fill in. The prompts are insightful and promote reflection and thoughtfulness in the writer. I really enjoyed filling my prompt in for January. Each month also has a different organization, which keeps things fresh.

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Then you get a brain dump/notes page that is completely blank. You can use this space however you like. Next to it is a goal setting page where you “Make Shit Happen.” Write down your goals for the month (pull from your brainstorming page, your curiosity list, your vision section, or wherever else), the action(s) you need to take to get there, and the date(s) you plan to accomplish your goal. You get four spaces for goals.

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The monthly spread is next. You get a month on two pages with a Monday start. The monthly spread is very visually heavy, but clearly defined and easy to follow. The days of the month are designated in dark gray triangles in the upper lefthand corner of each daily box. Days that aren’t part of the featured month are in a lighter gray, or simply one with a lower opacity. You get a notes column on the lefthand side of the spread with blank space for whatever you would like to put there.

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Then you hit the weekly spread! This two-page weekly spread packs a lot in–you get a Monday start to your week, a weekly quote that ties in with the monthly theme, and strategic circles for goal setting or tracking. There is also a blank space underneath the daily columns where you can keep a running task list, week-long activities, notes, etc.

This is a vertical layout with complete freedom–you have blank space to separate the days out however you prefer. There is an equal amount of space for each day, which is always a plus in my book! Not everyone’s life happens Monday–Friday so it’s always refreshing to see just as much space designated for the weekends. Like the monthly spread, each date is encased in a dark gray triangle to make it stand out.

There are four sizable circles on the lefthand side of the spread. These are flexible and can be used however best works for you, but they can help you track your goals, multiple schedules, color code, & etc. I like to use them to pick out goal areas for my month and color them in, each circle a different color that represents one of my four main monthly goals. Then I use the four circles at the bottom of each daily column to track whether I worked on that goal or not. Your goals can be as simple as “Post on Instagram every day” or as complex as “Work on writing my novel.” Sometimes you’ll have goals that don’t necessarily need to be worked on each day–one of my goals for January is getting settled into my new job. That only happens on Monday–Friday, and doesn’t need to be checked off on the weekends because my weekends are mine to enjoy, work-free.

 

Each month includes a notes section with two pages for whatever you need to take note of. The end of the planner also includes 20 additional notes pages, half blank and half in dot grid.

Aesthetics/Design

I’m in love with the heft and size of this planner and its thoughtful journaling prompts and design elements!

 

This planner is a casebound book sized 7″ x 9″, which is the standard size of most coil-bound planners on the market. It’s a little over 3/4″ thick. The planner has a hard-cover binding with a soft touch vegan cover. It feels slightly textured but soft to the touch. The front cover includes the planner title in all caps and gold foil: “Make Shit Happen.” While the planner comes in four different options, the one that I have is in merlot with gold foil and a subtle, debossed “sh” in the word “shit.” The printing process uses 3-color ink and the book has a lay-flat binding, which works wonderfully.

The back cover also has gold foil accents but otherwise remains unmarked. The planner includes two ribbons for marking your place, as there are no tabs.

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The year (2018) is on the binding in gold foil lettering (numbering?). This book also includes rounded corners, which are generally less stabby.

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The Make Shit Happen Planner uses varying typography, from a crisp sans serif option for quotes to the decorative Dionisia font for headings, details, and instructions. Dionisia is a great font–it is both classy and artful, and a little Art Nouveau. This planner uses three-color ink in a merlot red, charcoal grey, and light grey. While the colors used are minimal, they manage to provide a rich tapestry of visual design elements throughout the planner.

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The monthly layout is, as I mentioned above, visually heavy. The charcoal grey triangular designators for the days of the month pull your eye immediately and take up most of the visual attention in this spread. This is balanced by the generous use of white space, which gives you plenty of room to write in.

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The quotes chosen throughout the planner come from varied sources–I love how many quotes from women are included in this planner. You don’t get the same quotes that you often see repeated from planner to planner–these choices are deliberate and thoughtful.

Overall there is a very clear aesthetic throughout this planner. It’s a little bit Colorado, a little bit new modern, and a little bit classic minimalism. I haven’t seen another planner that has this unique look, and I must say that I’m really loving it.

Fit

It’s time for a pen test!

This paper is an acid-free, no bleed option. It is textured–a bit toothy–like the new Erin Condren paper or Emily Ley paper. I couldn’t find the paperweight details on the Meraki Printing website or their kickstarter page, but it’s a thick paper that, frankly, smells fantastic. (I checked this with my planner friend Liz, and she agrees that the paper smells good!) Because this is a toohy paper, I actually didn’t much like how my thinner roller ball pens wrote on it. This is the first planner where I’ve preferred a heavier point pen. I liked the Papermate InkJoy 0.7, Pilot G-2 in 07, the Sakura Gelly Roll 06, and the Le Pen. I would be careful with thinner pens–they might get scratchy on this paper. I would also be careful with felt tip pens because this paper absorbs ink quickly and might make your felt tip pens look just a little bit blotchy. (Le Pen, U Brands, Erin Condren Fine, and Micron 05 did not have this problem.) There is some ghosting, much like the Simplified Planner, but no bleed. 🙂 I really like the feel and weight of this paper, personally, and think it is very high quality!

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I would recommend this planner for anyone who wants a book to take with them on the go, but still wants enough space to easily write out plans. The 7″ x 9″ size in a casebound binding still gives you as much space as, say, and Erin Condren planner, but without the heft of the coil.

I would recommend this planner to anyone who wants a gentle process for goal setting and tracking. Goals are definitely part of the Make Shit Happen Planner, but they aren’t forced upon you and you aren’t persistently reminded to track them. If you are easily overwhelmed by too much pressure or structure for goal setting, then the Make Shit Happen Planner is a good option for easing yourself into the process.

I would recommend this planner for anyone who wants journaling and mindfulness to be a big part of how they approach 2018. If you like journaling prompts, look no further. If you like it when things are organized by theme, this planner will delight you.

This planner is a great option for someone who wants a high-quality planner for the price you pay. For $39, this planner is a deal. The quality is fantastic, well and beyond what you pay for. Even my husband thought it was at least a $50 planner and was surprised when I told him it was only $39.

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If you are a busy commuter (like I am now!) then this is a great planner because it’s portable yet packs in enough content to accommodate a busy schedule. It will also make you giggle when you glance at the cover because it contains the word “shit.” That’s a bonus. 😉 But if you have a long commute where you aren’t driving yourself (train, metro/subway, bus, ferry, etc.) then this planner is fantastic for decompressing after a long workday. You can fill out the monthly journaling prompt, brainstorm, add to your curiosity list, etc.

This planner is also fairly unisex in its design. It’s not overtly gendered, which makes it a good option for men, women, and folks who don’t ascribe to the gender binary.

I would not recommend this planner to anyone who needs a highly structured weekly layout. This planner has a vertical spread but the space is left blank, which makes it highly flexible but also might not provide enough guidance for those of you who really need hours to fill or sections to plan in. If you are very tied to having a specific, consistent system of planning and rely on the structure of the planner to provide that, then the Make Shit Happen Planner might be difficult for you to find your groove in.

Loves

I love the paper in this planner. It smells good, feels good, and doesn’t bleed with most markers! I also love the portability but still-sizable pages. I love that each month has a theme, and that the journaling pages each month reflect that theme and vary in their prompts. I love that the quotes are thoughtful, thematic, and that they aren’t just the same recycled ones we see all the time. You get Abraham Lincoln, sure, but you also get Nora Roberts and Jon Stewart, and the quotes are good. I love the overall look and feel of this planner and how its prompts don’t shy away from difficult questions. I also love the price point–I think you get a lot of bang for your buck!

Nopes

The cover gets dirty pretty easily–I imagine it’s easy to clean with a damp cloth? The foil will start to rub if you carry it around a lot, which is likely unavoidable. I also wish the goal pages for each month were in a slightly lighter grey to make it easier to read what you write down. The only thing I really saw missing from this planner was a pocket folder–would’ve loved to see one attached to the inside back cover to store papers and such in.


There you have it! My review of the 2018 Make Shit Happen Planner from Meraki Printing! Do you have this planner? Do you have any questions for me? Leave a comment–I’d love to hear from you. 🙂

Until next time!

xo
Ara

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