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5 Must Haves for a Functional Planner Set Up

Nicole Meeks
A Planner Enthusiast based in Atlanta, Georgia.

Hey Planher,

Happy July! Thanks for coming thru! 

Today, I’m sharing 5 items that keep my planner functional. It’s important to note that things are important to me based on the lifestyle I live. These Must Haves are pretty interchangeable with other planner systems but, if you are unable to add certain things don’t worry; it just may not be a part of your planner journey.  

When I say “functional”; I’m saying your planner is designed to be practical and useful, rather than attractive. I love a well decorated planner but, if it doesn’t allow you to align your goals and actions then; you may have missed the mark somewhere!  

No fret! A planner friend and I teamed up to make sure you have 5 things that will add value to your planner, if you’re looking to tweak your system.  

MY 5 FUNCTIONAL PLANNER MUST HAVES: 

  • 1.Functional Pockets
  • 2.BOMB Pen
  • 3.Clear Sleeves / Pockets
  • 4.Inbox
  • 5.Goals Section


1.FUNCTIONAL POCKETS: 

Your pockets are the first thing you see inside your planner, they should be neat & ready for use. I would suggest minimal clutter & add things you don’t mind writing on in case you have to jot down a quick reminder.

This was a difficult area for me when I started planning because; I loved a good overstuffed pocket! They are soo cute & well curated....I wanted them in every planner. The issue was that when I went to use something from that pocket I would ruin the aesthetic & have the worst time trying to fix it back because… I’m on the go. Aint nobody got time for that!  

Now, my pockets include: a rough draft of the weekly forecast, sticky notes, 2 planner clips & minimal decor. They look classic & organized, issa win! 

Functional & Flirty! 

Holds pocket essentials & decor is not excessive.



2. A BOMB PEN:

This is CRITICAL. A good pen prompts me to write for longer periods of time & think deeper about what i'm writing. As a result, my plans are actionable and lead me to success. 

Having a bad pen is something that irks my soul! I prefer to not elevate my emotions, so I shop with Scribbles by KP for my pen needs. Kathleen will get you what you want & shipping is always quick! I love a good fine point pen but, have been dabbling in gel pens since my last order.

My ego hurts if I use a pen that skips in my planner. REAL TALK!

My planner pages only get black ink.

Aura Estelle provides 2 pen loops in their planners. #sofetch

Having pen options helps, if you use different types of paper.



3. CLEAR SLEEVES/ POCKETS

These are important to me simply because I am allowed to see through; INTO the pockets. This small hack allows me not to second guess myself while on the way to run errands or to a meeting. I store receipts and sensitive documents in them for safe keeping.  Another reason, I enjoy clear pockets is because the see through look allows you to accent your planner in simple & subtle ways; adding a "vibe" to your planner.

This sleeve is in my finance section. I mainly tuck receipts & cash here.

This clear pocket is in the front of my planner & stores die cuts & washi.



4. INBOX

Having an inbox is so beneficial to planning because, it allows you to keep all of the things you have not planned, close. Still confirming dinner plans for the weekend or ideas for your Grandma’s birthday?  Jot down the information then store it in your inbox until you are ready to transfer the plans onto your inserts. My inbox is located in, last week’s spread; that way it’s always close when I need it and helps me navigate to my weekly section fast! 

 I store post it notes's here until, I have added the information into my planner. 

Adding pictures gives your planner a personal touch & placing tabs on the bottom allows easy navigation thru sections. 

I keep a snarky quote & additional post it's on the back of it because LIFE! 



5. GOALS SECTION

Having a goals section is vital to remind you why you started planning or what you're planning towards. Those thoughts will keep you motivated when planning feels more like a chore than a fun pastime. Also, keeping your goals in your face allows you to pivot, if needed because the destination or goal is set, all you have to do is make it happen.

I love writing lists, but goals have to be expressed with tons of creativity! Check out the accordion vision board I added to my planner! It’s alladat & keeps checking my goals fun & exciting!

YouTube Video!



Your turn Sis! 

Check out the video above for more in depth information! 

Having a functional planner doesn't mean that you need to be a minimalist. It just means that you need to have more things available to assist you in achieving your goals versus more things that make your planner look cute. TRUST ME; I believe you can have a cute & functional planner which is why I took the time to share these tips!

Make the most out of them and tell me do you agree with my must have list? 

Do you have a list of your own? 

If so… share in the comments please! I would love to continue this conversation.

IMPORTANT: MJ Planner & I did a collab video on this topic; her video is on YouTube also! 

Here’s the link to her channel: https://youtu.be/vnAhHAvADVE 

Thanks for hanging with me ; talk soon! 

XO,

Nicole


Nicole Meeks
A Planner Enthusiast based in Atlanta, Georgia.

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