Hello hello! This week I’m bringing you a review of the 2019 Make Shit Happen Planner from Meraki Printing.
I did a review of the 2018 Make Shit Happen Planner as well if you want a little more information about the company or want to compare this year’s planner to last year’s. This year, I reached out to Chelsea & Amara of Meraki Printing and asked if they would be interested in collaborating again. They said yes, and generously sent me their entire 2019 lineup to review for y’all! This means I’ll also be doing a Planner Match post with the 2019 Make Shit Happen Planner and a friend of mine who I’m giving one of these planners to, as well as a special surprise for you at the end of this review! 🙂
Live life how YOU want to live it! The 2019 Make Shit Happen Planner is 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 2019 to bring your dreams into reality.
Let’s dig in!
This is a weekly planner with a vertical layout that runs from January 2019–December 2019. It includes some goal setting elements and is designed to serve you as a planner, journal, notebook, and workbook.
The planner opens with a card from Chelsea and Amara (the founders of Meraki Printing) welcoming you to the Make Shit Happen Tribe. The first page is a title page with the Meraki logo and tagline–“Create your life with love, creativity and soul.” Then you turn to a nameplate page where you put your name down to complete the aspirational sentence “I, [insert name here], am ready to Make Shit Happen.”
Next, you have a page encouraging you to “Dare to live the life you’ve always wanted. If not now…when?” Then you turn to a page giving you your yearly 2019 calendar at a glance. After that, you get a page providing an overview of your Monthly Themes. Meraki Printing chooses a theme for each month of the year and provides journaling/reflection prompts and weekly quotes that tie in with each month’s theme. This page is a handy little guide to what you can expect in the pages ahead!
You get a few pages of prep work to help you set the tone and uncover your “why” as you go into the new year. First is a Curiosity List–what do you want to learn/try/work towards this year? No pressure, light structure, and encouragement to just brainstorm. I love this page because it doesn’t have to be completely filled out at the beginning of the year. You can come back and add to it. Curiosity doesn’t have a time limit; you can be just as curious about something in May as you might be in January, or even December. This page is juxtaposed with a marvelous quote from Elizabeth Gilbert’s book Big Magic. Lesson: follow your curiosity.
Next, you get four pages for My Vision, where you can draw or write your vision for 2019. Use this space to create a vision board, map out your year, journal your goals, or do whatever else helps you put your dreams on paper. Then you have a four-page spread for your Make Shit Happen List. This helps you with the process of turning your dreams into actionable steps. You start by writing down your most inspiring dreams, then transform them into goals by giving them a due date. Then you think about what steps you need to take to accomplish that goal, and give each step a due date as well. You have space for four dreams per spread, so a total of eight.
Each month has a title page with message tying into that month’s theme. For example, January is “Upgrade Your Life” so you have the message “Upgrade your thoughts. Upgrade your life.” at the beginning of January.
Each month has a two-page journaling prompt. Chelsea & Amara have designed a motivational message related to each month’s theme, and then provided thoughtful questions for you to answer/think about. For example, one of the questions for January is “What are the self-limiting things you say to yourself that keep you playing it small?” You are then encouraged to turn these negative thoughts around and replace them with helpful things to say. At the end of the journaling prompts you are “assigned” an Action item/challenge. It’s not enough to think about things (although it is helpful). If you want change, you need to take action.
Each month also includes a blank page for brainstorming and a Make Shit Happen page to reaffirm your dreams/goals/plans from the prep work that you did at the beginning of the planner. You can use this spread to make sure you don’t forget to focus on those big goals, or to work on mini-goals throughout the month.
The monthly spread has not changed from the 2018 version of the Make Shit Happen Planner. You have a Monday start, which means that the weekends are grouped together. There is a notes column on the lefthand side of the two-page spread, shaded in gray but otherwise open with no lines or dots. There is plenty of space along the top of the layout between the title of the month in the lefthand corner and the year (2019) in the righthand corner. You could use this space for writing in your own quotes, tracking something, highlighting things you should not forget, & etc. The boxes for each day measure about 1 1/2″ x 1 3/4″ and give you plenty of room to write.
Now we are at the weekly spread! The weekly spread has a Monday start and equal planning space for each day. It is designed in a vertical format–listers, rejoice! 😉 Columns are approximately 1 3/4″ wide and 6″ tall/long. You get a space at the bottom of the columns for notes/reminders/etc. This would be fantastic for tracking something like homework assignments!
The lefthand column of the weekly spread contains four large circles. These are Action Circles, which you can color code and assign an action that you would like to complete each day or at least multiple times per week. There are four circles at the bottom of each daily column that you can use to track your actions. Below, you can see how I used them in my 2018 Make Shit Happen Planner to track Plannerisma posts/content, working at a new job, preparing to move, and healthy eating.
You can use them for whatever your priorities or actionable items are that week. Maybe one week you really need to focus on taking antibiotics each day to recover from an illness, so you want to track that. Or perhaps you are doing a No Spend month and want to track the days that you didn’t spend anything. Whatever your week’s goals/priorities/habits/etc. are, you can track them in a flexible way.
Each month ends with a two-page spread for notes. The pages are blank and can be used for a reflection of your month, a place to journal, or just convenient pages for taking notes each month. At the very end of the planner, you will find 13 blank notes pages as well.
This planner has a deliberate aesthetic that matches the Meraki Printing brand. What I said for the 2018 planner still holds true for the 2019 version: “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.”
There are four cover options: Sage + Confetti Foil, Black + Confetti Foil, Sage Alter Ego, and Black Alter Ego. So two foil options and two non-foil. The cover material is a hard-cover with soft-touch, vegan leather. It’s smooth but doesn’t feel cushy, if that makes sense. The words Make Shit Happen are debossed on the cover, taking up about half of the space. On the foiled covers, the letters S and H in Shit are debossed so that the cover reads “Make It Happen” in silver foil at first glance. Upon further inspection, the S and H are visible, however. The Alter Ego covers are entirely debossed with no foiling, so you have to give it a hard glance to see the words. The back cover is either the single solid color of the Alter Ego or confetti foiling in silver and sage that accompanies the foiled cover options.
This planner has a lay-flat binding and is a portable 7″ x 9″ size and 7/8″ thick. It is casebound with rounded corners, so no being inadvertently stabbed by your planner when you reach into your bag! This planner contains a total of 256 pages. It’s a solid book without being too hefty. There are two ribbed ribbons to help you mark your place, as there are no tabs.
The spines of the planners have “2019” vertically imprinted on them–either stamped amongst the confetti foil or simply debossed. The Meraki Printing logo sits along the bottom of the spine as well in a tasteful nod to the branding.
Like last year, the Make Shit Happen Planner uses 3-color ink. The 2019 planner lineup includes a sage green, light gray, and a charcoal gray. Sage is a softer accent color than last year’s merlot red, but I think it works to make pages like the monthly spread less visually heavy. The monthly spreads are probably the densest pages in the planner because the dates are situated in charcoal grey triangles. While I personally love this part of the design, it can be a little heavy on the eyes.
As you can see, the font choice and design remains consistent. You have a decorative sans serif font (which I’m pretty sure is Dionisia) for headers and textual design elements throughout the planner. Most of the numbers and body/paragraph text are in an italic sans serif font in a light or thin weight. The quotes use this font as well. The result is a planner clearly designed along thematic lines with an emphasis on textual aesthetics and balancing three specific colors.
There have been a couple of changes from last year’s planner.
Last year’s paper was more textured and felt almost like oilcloth (in a good way). This year, the paper choice is smoother and less textured, which makes the book a little bit slimmer. It still smells divine. The paper is also more of an ivory color as opposed to the brighter white of last year’s. The notes pages in the back are blank this year, whereas last year they were dot grid.
This planner is completely made in the USA–when I waxed poetic about the delicious way their paper smells (#nerd), Chelsea told me that “we noticed since we hold true to USA production and printing the paper doesn’t smell chemically.” I found that to be absolutely true, but we’ll get more into the paper in our pen test! Speaking of which…
Pen test time!
Meraki Printing uses 80 lb, acid-free, bleed-free paper. It is a pleasure to handle. While you’re going to get some ghosting with almost any pen, none of the pens I tested bled at all. Even the Sharpie Permanent Market didn’t actually bleed through the paper at all. So you have the be comfortable with some ghosting, but you can use any pen you want–inky or fine. This paper also handles highlighters quite well. I personally really liked how the Papermate Flair and Sharpie Pen wrote on this paper–this is probably one of the few planners where I wouldn’t use a super fine rollerball (not because it doesn’t look nice, just because I prefer the way a felt tip pen feels on this paper).
But is this the right planner for you? Let’s dig in.
I would recommend this planner for college students because I think the weekly layout provides ample space for tracking homework assignments and exams, and the Action Circles for each week are flexible and could be utilized to remind yourself to study for that test every day that week, etc. It’s also portable and doesn’t have a coil that could get stuck on stuff in your bag/backpack. My mom is a teacher and she carries so much stuff in her bag that she simply can’t have a coil-bound planner because the coil is always catching on things when she tries to pull it out–she needs that casebound book.
I would also recommend this planner to anyone who wants to combine a practice if mindfulness with their planner. The monthly themes, encouraging quotes, and monthly journaling prompts make this planner an excellent choice for someone who wants to develop a practice of mindfulness.
If you need a little motivation to work on your dreams but are overwhelmed by a highly structured goal setting system, then this planner might work for you. The emphasis on goals is there, but it isn’t highly demanding or overwhelming. This planner eases you into working towards your goals.
If you prefer vertical layouts and enjoy making daily to do lists, then this planner would be a good fit for you. There is plenty of space to make lists and stay on track with tasks. It has an open layout, so you can easily use/draw a few lines/checkboxes/etc. to turn it into a highly functional space.
If you prefer a heavier and more textured aesthetic to your planner, then this one might work for you. For example, if you are someone who doesn’t really want to decorate your planner but you still want it to look decorated, then this would be a good fit for you.
I would, of course, recommend this planner for anyone who wants to be a little tongue-in-cheek. If having the word “shit” on your planner makes you giggle, then you will delight in this book. If it makes you uncomfortable, then this is obviously not the planner for you. I know that some people worry about having the word “shit” on their planner when it’s around small children, which is understandable.
I wouldn’t recommend this planner to anyone who likes to go to town with sticker decorating. The planner has a deliberate aesthetic that is challenging to work around if you are the type of person who prefers a neutral, blank slate each week. In other words, you really need to be down with the aesthetic as-is.
I wouldn’t recommend this planner to someone who needs a lot of structure in their weekly layouts. If you can’t function optimally without appointment times, deliberate sections, or checkboxes then you might want to look elsewhere.
If you are a minimalist planner then this planner could work for you because the design is in place and the planner has a strong aesthetic built into its pages. If you need a minimalist planner then this planner might be a little visually heavy for you.
I love the quotes that this planner uses. They are far from basic–from Socrates to Beyonce, this planner contains thematic and uplifting quotes that are carefully selected and won’t make you roll your eyes. I also love the themes for each month and the thoughtful journaling prompts that go along with them! I love the practice of sitting down each month and thinking through how to say no, innovate, practice discipline, & etc. I love the notes pages for each month because I think it provides context to when, exactly, I wrote that down. I also really like the flexibility of the Action Circles in the weekly spread.
I wish there was a pocket! The inside back cover of this planner would be much improved with a pocket, in my opinion. While the paper is still lovely, I miss the more textured paper from 2018’s planner. I really like the 3-color printing that this planner utilizes, but wish that the charcoal was a little darker, because the sage is such a light signature color that sometimes the spreads look greyscale.
There you have it–my review of the 2019 Meraki Printing Make Shit Happen Planner! Find more examples of how to use this planner on Facebook and Instagram by following the hashtags #themerakimovement and #makeshithappentribe.
And my goodness do I have a surprise for you! I’m giving away one of these Make Shit Happen Planners over on my Instagram (@plannerisma)! Head on over for the details. ❤ The giveaway ends on October 3, 2018 at midnight so if you are reading this blog post after that date, then I’m sorry!
What are your thoughts on this planner? Is this your pick for 2019? Leave a comment! I’d love to hear from you. 🙂
Until next time!