2018 Happy Balance Planner

Sherbert Shop is a small paper goods business founded by Hillary and Jordan, a couple with a shared passion for finding a happy balance between all of life’s demands. Based in Atlanta, GA, Sherbert Shop sells quality paper goods and is best known for their Happy Balance Planners. These planners are produced in small batches in collaboration with a local printer in Atlanta and are 6-month planners with launch dates in November-December and again in May-June.

Sherbert Shop has a clear mission behind their business:

We believe in dreaming big, constantly working to be our best versions, filling our days with only things we are truly passionate about, being persistent, being focused and being driven. We believe in seeing the positive in everyone and everything, choosing happiness, loving big, and helping others. Our creations are a reflection of these values, what we hold dear and what we truly find helpful for making the absolute most of every day!

Hillary is a Ph.D. student with a lot to juggle and had trouble finding a planner that worked for her. One night, her husband Jordan suggested that she make her own planner. Thus began the Happy Balance Planner in 2015. When I wrote to Sherbert Shop with an interest in reviewing their planner, Hillary told me that,

It’s been incredibly rewarding in more ways than we could have imagined but what keeps us motivated is hearing and seeing how our planners are truly helping people define their days according to what fills them with joy. When we get the emails about how someone has reached a big goal by simply writing the steps out and carving out time for it all, it’s an amazing feeling to know that your planner was one tool that helped them accomplish that!
Happy Balance Planners are 6-month daily planners, although there is also an undated weekly version of the planner. They cost $42 plus shipping–although right now Sherbert Shop is offering free shipping! Their quantities are quite limited and they usually order based on pre-orders and projections.

Function

The Happy Balance Planner is a clean, functional planner with an emphasis on providing lots of space for you to write down everything you need.

The first page of the planner is a nameplate page with space to write out your name, phone number, and email. The title of the planner is printed in a clean sans serif font. Next you have the copyright information, and then you get into some introductory pages.

“Lovingly crafted for you” is printed as a dedication to all Sherbert Shop’s planner users. Then you get a blank page that you can use however you like–keep it blank, make it a vision board, etc. The next three pages include a letter from Hillary telling you the story behind the small business, the organization of the planner, and some suggestions for how to use it.

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The next spread is a 2018 year at a glance and a 2018 Special Events page. The year at a glance is simple and clean and exactly that–a year at a glance. The 2018 Special Events page has lined sections beneath each month for writing out special dates/events for the year.

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Then you get a page for writing out your yearly goals. The goal setting pages are very simple and provide plenty of room to brainstorm and write out your goals in a detailed manner. There is a column for the date, and then a larger one for the goal. Below these is a large box for notes. The simplicity of this layout provides a lot of flexibility–you can use the notes box for brainstorming, multiple lines for a goal, etc.

The tabbed pages are a thin cardstock with sturdy coated tabs in alternating grey and white. The tabbed page itself is completely blank on both sides, which could serve as a plain, minimalist aesthetic choice or be used to keep notes, doodles, etc. for the month.

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Each month has a goals page. The design of this page mirrors the Yearly Goals page, it is just designated for monthly goals.

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The two-page monthly spread has plenty of space for all of your appointments, calendar notations, etc. There is an untitled lined column on the lefthand side of the layout, which can be used for whatever you like. Notes, important tasks for the month, reflection, etc. The monthly spread has a Monday start. You get two quotes, each beneath the month’s name and year prominently displayed in the right-hand and left-hand corners of the pages. The daily boxes feel roomy and unencumbered by the italic numbers indicating the days.

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You get another page for Weekly Goals. Again, it’s the same design as the Yearly and Monthly Goals spread. This consistent placement of the Goals page reminds you to be consistent in the pursuit of your goals and provides plenty of space to write out a multitude of important goals throughout the 6 months of the planner.

Then you get to your daily pages. This is a daily planner, so each day gets a page. Yes, even weekends have separate pages for Saturdays and Sundays, which is difficult to find in most daily planners. The daily layout is simple and comprehensive. You get a To Do list with circles for checking off completed tasks, a box of blank space for Me Time, a box for Notes, and a schedule that goes from 7 AM to 7 PM. The schedule includes half-hour time slots and a space for “early” and “late,” in case you have something scheduled outside the 7–7 timeframe. You also get an inspirational quote for each day!

There is one lined notes page at the end of each month. The very last page of the planner has important contacts on one side and a reminder to pick up your next planner on the other.

Aesthetics/Design

The design of the Happy Balance Planner is very simple and streamlined. The daily pages are comprehensive, the goal setting pages easy to use. This planner is designed to provide you with all the space you need.

There are four different cover designs for the January–June 2018 planner: Navy Brick, Blue Marble, Gold Marble, and Peacock. I have the Gold Marble design, which was created in collaboration with Kaitlin Noverr, the artist behind elysian market.

The cover is gorgeous–it looks foiled but is not. You can see some of the texture of the surface Noverr painted on in the print. The cover has a white box centered near the top with the title of the planner in all-caps sans serif font. The timeframe for the planner is below in an italic serif font (Jnauary 2018 through June 2018) with the by-line (by sherbert Shop) beneath. It’s a clean look that pairs well with the gold marble design.

The back of the planer is mostly the gold marble art, but includes the Sherbert Shop logo centered near the bottom as well as the logo for elysian market to credit the artist. The coil is a silver spiral 1″ in diameter but holds all the pages without feeling too small. The planner is 7.5” x 9” (8” x 9”, including binding) and about 3/4″ thick.

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The laminate over the covers extends beyond the cover design slightly less than 1/4″. This means that the planner tabs are visible through the clear plastic, which extends to protect them.

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The tabs are sturdy and I can grab them without worrying that I’ll tear the page they’re attached to. They alternate between gray and white and include the first three letters of each month.

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The Happy Balance Planner consistently uses a clean sans serif font throughout the planner. They use a balance of bold and light weighted text to denote headings and maintain the light, clean look of the planner. The sections of each daily page are in a lowercase, italic text. Even the times on the schedule are minimal: 1p instead of 1 PM, for example.

Overall this is a simple planner that serves as a canvas for your goals, months, and days. It is minimally designed and contains plenty of room for all the things you need to keep track of. The Happy Balance Planner embraces white space and a sleek, neutral aesthetic.

Fit

Pen test!

Sherbert Shop uses 80lb. paper. It is smooth in texture and feels light despite being 80#. The only pen that really even ghosted was the Sharpie Permanent Marker, which bled through a bit. Otherwise, this is an excellent paper that held up extremely well to my pens. I most enjoyed using felt-tip fens–Staedtler triplus fineliners for a slightly thicker line and Le Pens for a finer hand. Something about this paper made even my inkiest pens write smoother and finer than usual. 0.7 gel rollerball pens also glided smoothly across this paper with pleasing results.

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I would recommend this planner to anyone who wants a daily planner but doesn’t want to carry around a gigantic book. The 6-month format really makes for a slim planner that is light and easy to transport. If you want a 6-month planner because you’re trying to get back on track with a calendar year or midyear planner, this would be a great planner to carry you over.

I would recommend this planner if you just want a clean, simple, functional planner. The minimalist design of the planner actually allows you to color code effectively if that’s how you would like to organize your days. If you want to be the one who decorates your planner, then the Happy Balance Planner has all the blank space you need to do so.

If you want to start setting goals in your planner then the Happy Balance Planner has a gentle goal-setting system that won’t overwhelm you.

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I would recommend this planner to anyone who wants a schedule space for each day but needs half-hour increments. The Happy Planner has you covered. If you want full planning days for Saturdays and Sundays then this planner is an excellent choice for you.

If you want a high quality paper that can handle a variety of pens, this planner might work for you. If you are trying to implement more “me time” and self-care into your days, then this planner reminds you (gently) to do that with its “me time” box.

This planner looks sleek enough for the office and is versatile enough for any situation. There aren’t many notes pages, so it’s not going to be a place where you can easily journal or take meeting notes.

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This planner is easy to plan in. It’s great for a first-time planner who needs a day per page, or a super busy person with so much to do that they don’t have time to decorate or bedazzle their planner. I sat down on a coffee shop to do some planning in the Happy Balance Planner and found it easy to get into a flow with writing down my tasks, jotting down reminders for next week, looking at my schedule for the week ahead, and making suggestions to myself for ways to get some quality me-time.

I would not recommend this planner to anyone who needs to carry around a whole year at a time. The 6-month format might not work for you. I wouldn’t necessarily recommend this planner to a student because I think there’s something about having the entire academic year in one place that is helpful for organization, but I went to a university that operated on the quarter system. If you are looking for a planner that can handle one semester at a time, then the Happy Balance Planner might be a helpful way to organize that.

If you want a planner that is super bright and comes pre-decorated with colorful typography and designs, then look elsewhere. The Happy Balance Planner definitely has space for you to spruce it up if you like, but it is a clean and simple planner.

Loves

I love that Sherbert Shop collaborates with artists for some of their cover designs! I also love that Sherbert Shop collaborates with other local small businesses to create their product. I love the simple layout of the daily pages and that you get full pages for Saturday and Sunday. I love the gentle goal-setting process and that you get reminders to set and reach yearly, monthly, and weekly goals. I love the clean look of this planner and how it has plenty of space to fit your life into. There is no fault with the quality of the planner you receive.

Nopes

I would like to see a full year-version of this planner–even if it’s a bit thick. I also don’t quite know how I feel about the cover having clear laminate so far beyond the actual design. I like that it protects the planner, but I’m not the biggest fan of how it looks. I also wish there were more notes pages in the planner. Lastly, writing “todo” instead of “to do” drives me a little crazy, but that’s just personal preferences.


There you have it! My review of the 2018 January–June Happy Balance Planner from Sherbert Shop. Do you have a Happy Balance Planner? A 6-month planner? Any questions for me? I’d love to hear from you–leave a comment! 🙂

Until next time!

xo
Ara

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