STARTplanner has been around for a few years–I have a review of their 2018 Fancy Pants daily binder planning system that contains more information about their company and history. They’ve grown quite a bit since they started in 2015 as a company of two! Founded by Kristy and Jenny, STARTplanner has been a catalyst for functional, comprehensive planning and an everything-in-one-place design. The team at STARTplanner always makes fantastic videos to highlight their newest planner launches/designs, and you can see the latest one here:
I reached out to STARTplanner with an interest in reviewing their Hustle Weekly planner, as I noticed that choosing between the Daily and Weekly planners seems to be the most difficult choice for lovers of the brand. They very kindly sent me a planner to review for all of you! Throughout this review, I will be highlighting some of the major differences between the Hustle Weekly and the Hustle Daily or Fancy Pants options.
The STARTplanner Hustle Weekly is $60 plus shipping and runs for a full 12 months.
Functionality is key for STARTplanner. They have carefully and purposefully designed a planner that can hold your life in one place–from financial planning to holidays, staying on top of cards and gifts to hourly breakdowns of your days. STARTplanner contains a huge amount of content, so let’s get into it!
The STARTplanner Hustle Weekly opens to a nameplate page, where you can write your name and contact information. One of the features I love about STARTplanner is that pocket folders are included on the insides of both the front and back cover–so you have plenty of storage space for loose papers and such. 🙂 Another great aspect of STARTplanners is that their pages are numbered, which makes it easy to see your progress and find the content that you are trying to flip to.
Next, you get a welcome letter from Kristy and Jenny, which is lovely, juxtaposed with the famous quote “The secret to getting ahead is getting started.” This is a key ideological component of STARTplanner. In order to accomplish your goals, fulfill your vision, and tackle those to-dos–you need to start. Next, you get a page explaining the tabbed section of your planner and tips on how to best use your new STARTplanner. One of the things I love about STARTplanner is that you are guided through all of their content. Kristy & Jenny don’t leave you hanging at any point.
Then you turn to a sample page, which is filled out to give you an idea of how the planner was designed to be used. I love when there is a guide like this–it really helps you optimize your use of the planner, or at least out which way of using it is right for you. Next, you see an Overview of the Goals tabbed section. There are three tabbed sections before you get into your monthly tabs: Goals, Plans, and 2018/19. The Goals section helps you set, break down, and achieve your goals.
You are guided through how to set and track S.M.A.R.T. goals–goals that are Specific, Measurable, Attainable, Realistic, and Time-based. Personally, I love this system for setting up goals for yourself and think it’s a helpful way to set achievable goals that you can track. You get a page for The Big Picture, where you can write out your hopes, dreams, and visions for the year ahead–or for your life. No need to dream small, here! Next, you have a two-page blank spread for your Vision Board. The STARTplanner team has provided some suggestions of what to fill this space with, but you can of course do whatever you like. Cut and paste from magazines, write your favorite quotes, use your own photos, write a letter to yourself, etc. There is no right or wrong way to create a Vision Board.
These pages are followed by another two-page spread, this time for setting large, overarching goals for various sections of your life: Home Life, Personal, Spiritual, Physical, Financial, Professional, Education/Continuing Education, & Travel. You get several lines to write out what your goals are in each area of your life. I personally enjoy doing this in different colors so I can more easily track my goals. Plus, it’s fun. 🙂
Next, you get a section where you break down your goals. STARTplanner asks you to pick six big goals and break them down: what is the goal, with whom, goal date, action steps, due dates for action steps, and when you’ve completed the goal. This section helps you break large, looming goals into bite-sized steps that make them a little less scary. 🙂
Part of the STARTplanner value system is financial health, so you will find a pretty thorough financial section here. You have a page for your yearly financial overview, which asks you to estimate your yearly income and expenses, and then a section for what you actually made/spent. Next, you have a Savings section which includes monthly sections for tracking your savings.
Another aspect of the STARTplanner that I love is the My Accountability Partners page, where you write down who is going to help keep you accountable to your goals. For example, my Financial accountability partner is my husband. We make large financial decisions together and have to manage money together. That makes sense. But my Physical accountability partner is my friend Annie, who can hold me accountable to myself without the baggage that comes with a spouse reminding you to work out (if you’re as sensitive about it as I am). It’s important to reflect on these areas of your life and think about who helps you help yourself. And maybe you don’t need an accountability partner for every category–that’s okay too. 🙂
Next, we move into the Plans tab. STARTplanner provides an overview of what to expect in this tabbed section: Charity, Keepin’ It Clean, Projects, Medical Expenses, Entertainment, Vacation, Holiday, and Passwords. Already you see how much content and planning structure you get with STARTplanner!
You start the Plans section with a page for Giving Back. You have six spaces to fill out information about your charitable giving for the year, which is great for remembering the details if you take advantage of tax-deductible donations. This is followed immediately by the Keepin’ It Clean section, where STARTplanner suggests a Daily, Weekly/Biweekly, Seasonal, and Yearly cleaning checklist. This is especially helpful if you are a homeowner because there are a ton of maintenance suggestions that would’ve flown right over my head.
Next, you get a section for Projects. This has a similar set-up to the six Goals you set earlier, but can be for smaller projects or action-steps of your goals if they need to be fleshed out a little more. There is a sample prepared as well, so you can see what type of projects might fit into this section. You get space for 11 projects.
Then you turn to the Medical Expenses, which is broken into four sections so you can keep track of medical appointments and expenses for up to four people. At this point, I only have me, my husband, and our dog, so I might choose to use one section for my medical appointment/bills and another for all dental/vision/etc items. But if you are keeping track of medical bills and appointments for your children, this is a great all-in-one-glance space to record them.
Next, you have two pages for Entertainment. There is a space to write in the Movies you want to see (plus date released and a space to check off if you’ve seen said movie), Books and a place to check off when you’ve read them, Restaurants, and Events. While I wish the book section was much bigger (I read way more than I watch movies, but that’s just my personal preference), I love that the Events section has a space to write in the event date, when the tix are on sale, and a place to check off when you’ve purchased your tickets.
This is followed by a four-page spread for Vacation planning. You get the space to record Flights, Hotels, Cars, & your plans for getting to and from the airport. You also have a section for To Do & To Buy while on vacation!–maybe you forget sunscreen? You have a space to make note of the Restaurants and Attractions you would like to visit while on vaca as well. With all those details taken care of, you then move to a Suitcase packing list, Carry On packing list, and a section for things to remember to prepare for before you leave. This includes Mail/Newspaper holds, Petcare, and House & Garden care.
Vacation planning is followed by four pages of Holiday planning. You get sections for your Holiday Budget with some suggestions, a page for To To & Schedule of holiday events that also includes suggestions, a big lined space for notes, a page for the Holiday Menu and a guest list, and an entire page for Groceries related to that menu. Maybe you’re hosting Thanksgiving this year if you are American, or Christmas/Kwanzaa/Hanukkah/etc. festivities. This is a very helpful section for making sure all your holiday planning can live in one place!
The next page is a Gift List, which could go hand-in-hand with the Holiday section or exist on its own. You have a space for the Recipient, Gift, and check boxes for Purchased, Delivered, and Shipped if you aren’t giving it to them in person. It is worth mentioning that there is a space in each monthly section for Gifts as well, so you don’t necessarily need to use this page to write out every birthday gift or card you send. You have another place to keep track of that. 😉
The last section is the 2018/19 tab. You get an Overview page that explains the Icons used throughout your STARTplanner–always a good idea to explain these! Then you get a year-at-a-glance page that includes both 2019 and 2020 (no 2018). After that is a page for your Passwords–it is “hidden,” meaning that there is no tab for it. The STARTplanner team discourages you from writing down passwords for financial accounts/information. I think it’s a great space to put in passwords for things I usually forget–maybe my medical portal or WordPress account. 😉
Next, you get a section for Scheduling it Out. STARTplanner provides suggestions for things to add to your schedule on a Yearly, Quarterly, Monthly, Weekly, and Daily basis. These are extremely helpful if you know that you need to be taking care of stuff but get a little discombobulated about when you should be doing it. It’s nice to have a list to go to. Of course, if you already have your own system you definitely aren’t required to use this one. But the suggestions are a thoughtful, thorough place to start.
Now into the monthly tabs!
The monthly spread is wide and generous. You get long vertical boxes with plenty of room to write in, and a Sunday start. There is a wide Notes column on the righthand side of the layout, with plenty of space. The title of the month runs along the lefthand side of the page, really optimizing the amount of room you have to write in each daily box. The date is centered at the top of each corresponding box, with holidays in bold along the bottom. Each box has a date, even into the previous/next month, merely denoted in a light grey text rather than the darker charcoal of the rest of the planner.
Each month also comes with a Staying on Track four-page spread. The first page includes space to write in Mini Goals for the month–whether these are action steps from your big goals that you set at the start of the planner or smaller goals that you are hoping to tackle in a shorter amount of time, you get the space to fill in up to three. You also have a small space to write in last month’s Win to help you keep a positive attitude about your progress! There is a small section for a Health Check as well, if you are tracking weight-loss or just results from trying out a new lifestyle.
The next page includes a List for the month. I love this because it provides a space to keep a running To-Do list that can encompass the entire month, because maybe you have something that needs to be done but not during a specific day or even week. These types of lists are a great way to brain dump all the things you don’t want to forget but don’t need to focus on immediately.
Beneath that is the Cards & Gifts section, which gives you ten lines to remember and track cards and gifts for that month’s events. Whether it’s your best friend’s birthday or an upcoming wedding, you have a place to keep track of it all.
Turn the page and you reach a page to keep track of your Budget for the month. STARTplanner always includes a column for your estimated income and expenses and actual income and expenses, so you can both plan ahead and also keep accurate account of your accounts. 😉 Afterwards you get a lined Notes page for anything extra.
It’s worth mentioning that up to this point, the content I went over is the same in the Daily and Weekly Hustle planners. The main difference lies in whether you want a weekly planner or a daily planner. So let’s explore the weekly spread!
This is a Sunday start, because STARTplanner believes that a successful week starts with Sunday prep. You have a lot of content packed into your weekly spread, so let’s start on the lefthand side of the layout and move right. Your first column begins with a Prioritize box with a top three plus a heart for self-care. These are your priorities for the week, your “this must get done,” as well as a reminder to take care of yourself. 😉 Below this is a To Do list with checkboxes. The checkboxes are a lower opacity, which means that you can write over them if you don’t wish to use them and it won’t mess up the look that much. Below your weekly To Dos, you get a talk bubble icon which is flexible–you can use these lines for gratitude, inspiration, a quote, something to reflect on, etc. Whatever you want!
The rest of the layout includes seven columns, one for each day of the week. You, of course, have the day and date at the top, with a holiday typed in directly under the date if applicable. STARTplanner has hourly lines with small dots for half-hour planning if needed. You don’t get much room if you plan by the half-hour, but the option is there. Technically, then, the appointment schedule begins at 5:30 AM and ends at 9 PM. I’m always happy when a schedule goes past 7 PM. I’m a night owl! I need to plan into the night!
The appointment schedule takes up about 4/7ths of the column (I know impressive fractioning right?!) and is followed by 9 lines with checkboxes for a daily to do list or reminders. Beneath that, you get eight water droplets that can be checked off or colored in once you hit your hydration goals for the day. This is followed by a pill icon that can indicate medication or vitamins, with a place to check off AM and/or PM if necessary. Next to his is an icon for fitness with a checkbox to indicate whether you worked out that day or not.
The planner continues in this pattern until you reach the end.
Included at the end of the planner is a section for Looking Ahead 2019 and 2020. This is hands down my favorite “Future Planning” layout I’ve seen in any planner. It starts on the month following the end of your current calendar spread and continues for a year. Each month is a column with a line for each day, denoting the date, day of the week, and if there is a holiday. You can easily write in any appointments, events, things to remember, or whatever you need to plan ahead for. There is also a generous section for notes at the bottom of each page for anything additional that you need to remember or write down.
The very last page is for Contacts and includes one line for the Name, Address, and a checkbox to check off when you’ve added that contact to your master address book/contact list. Then, of course, you get a pocket folder attached to the inside back cover of the planner for extra storage.
All in all, this weekly planner includes 202 pages of content and planning goodness.
All STARTplanners arrive in a gorgeous, matching keepsake box. The box for this planner is large enough to store US Letter-size papers easily, which is a bonus!
The cover design for STARTplanners changes every release–which means you get new cover options every six months! For the 2018/19 Midyear STARTplanner Hustle Weekly, the cover is a grayscale ikat pattern, which looks gorgeous. The cover material is hardboard with a satiny texture–very nice to the touch. “18/19 STARTplanner” is stamped in gold foil into the cover, centered, near the bottom. This really lets the pattern shine. The back of the planner simply has the STARTplanner website stamped in gold foil centered at the bottom.
This planner is 8.75″ x 11″ x .875″ and about 3/4″ thick with pages being 8″ x 10.5″. It weighs 2 lb 1.5 oz. It also includes a continuous spiral coil, protective gold metal corners, and an elastic band to keep everything together.
STARTplanner uses a highly functional, minimalist approach to their planner design. While the pages are busy–packed with content–the color scheme is monochrome. The laminated tabs are all charcoal gray cut in small, sturdy rectangles. The first three letters of each month are printed in white text onto the tabs in all caps, while the front-end content tabs (Goals, Plans, 2018/19) are a lighter gray and all caps black text. Interestingly, they chose to have the July tab start halfway down the edge of the planner pages rather than at the top.
The font used throughout the planner is a light sans-serif–Raleway, I think. STARTplanner doesn’t steer away from their font choice, providing visual consistency throughout the planner. They occasionally bold or italicize their text for emphasis, but the same font is used throughout. Another aesthetic choice is the use of differing opacity levels to provide flexibility in the usage of space.
STARTplanner packs a lot into their planner pages, and to do so they make use of a few icons. These are also minimal and easy to understand. Even better, they are thoroughly explained in the frontend pages.
The Hustle Weekly is by far the largest of the STARTplanner lineup. It provides a functional and clean if packed weekly spread that gives you plenty of visual space for writing in your life. The lines are generous–wider than college ruled if you remember your paper options from those school days. I don’t write in big, sweeping letters but there is plenty of room to do so here.
Time for a pen test!
STARTplanner uses 70# bright white paper. I was impressed with how it held up against my pen test! Inkier pens will ghost, like the uniball vision and Papermate Flairs, but most of the Pilot pens I tried wrote beautifully and hardly ghosted. Still, for minimal ghosting here I would stick with a finer point (0.5 or less) rollerball or ballpoint pen. The Tombow and Erin Condren markers also held up very well!
I would recommend this planner if you are interested in a weekly planner but want it to be a larger size. The STARTplanner Hustle Weekly accomplishes this without adding too much heft or bulk. It’s a fantastic student planner with a sturdy and protective exterior and planning prompts to keep you on top of all the life things. STARTplanner also sells Bestie notebooks for your planners–you can get the Legit Bestie, which is a school planner, to pair with your Hustle.
I probably wouldn’t recommend this planner to a high schooler–it’s a little more intense than that. It is designed to keep your life in one book and so it encompasses all the details, from financials to health to weekly appointments. But it also provides space for the big, lofty things like your vision and overarching goals for the year. There is truly a remarkable amount of content, and this planner would be a great fit for anyone who has always wanted a little more out of their planner.
This planner would be a great option for the young professional just starting to figure out all this life stuff. It would also be a fantastic planner for a busy mom or dad who track multiple people–especially their schedules/appointments.
If you are looking for a planner that will help you organize your life, then look no further. STARTplanner has you covered with its ambitious breadth, logical organization, and clean design. If you need more flexibility then you may want to look elsewhere–STARTplanner is all about providing you with the structure you need to succeed. It’s almost like scaffolding. You are given scaffold atop scaffold to lead you through organizing, planning, dreaming, and showing up for yourself each and every day. If you crave structure, try this planner.
Daily or Weekly?
If you came to my review because you can’t decide between the Daily and Weekly STARTplanner, I have a few questions to ask yourself that may help.
- It may seem simple but–how big is your handwriting? Do you write in large, looping letters? The Weekly has more space.
- Is your day-to-day life easier if you have one dedicated planner page for each day to focus on, or if you have a spread of the week to glance at for a bigger picture?
- Is meal planning super important to you? You may want to pick up the Daily, which has weekly meal and grocery sections and a place each day to write in meals.
- Do you want just as much space on your weekends as you do on your weekdays? The Weekly has an even amount of space for each day, as does the Fancy Pants Daily.
- How full do your task lists need to be each day? The Daily has plenty of room for to-dos each day, while the Weekly’s format will probably force you to pursue a slightly more feasible list of tasks.
- Do you have very specific, timely things that you need to make sure you accomplish on a day-to-day basis, or are your to-do lists more flexible? For example, if you usually have a bunch of things you need to accomplish just sometime that week, then you will probably want the Weekly. If you have tasks that are super honed into each day, then you might want the Daily.
Any other questions? Let me know!
I love the monthly spreads that STARTplanner creates. The longer boxes make it easy to write out details in your monthly spread, and I think that’s awesome. I also love the check-ins every month, from setting mini-goals to marking your progress in all areas of health–financial, physical, and emotional. I love how much content you get in this planner–$60 is about on par with Erin Condren, Emily Ley, and Day Designer, and STARTplanner offers so much in their planners that makes the price fair. I love the in-depth vacation and holiday planning sections, that every month there is a place to keep track of cards and gifts, and that STARTplanner provides thorough cleaning checklists because let’s be honest I have no idea what I’m doing.
I wish the continuous spiral coil was a little thicker & sturdier. I also think there is enough white space on the edges near the coil that the columns on the weekly spread could be a little wider.
There you have it! My review of the STARTplanner Hustle Weekly! I hope you enjoyed it–do you have a STARTplanner? How do you feel about it? Have any questions? Leave me a comment–I’d love to hear from you!