Thursday, June 30, 2011

Woman's Success Planner Review

Yet another casualty result of lurking on Plannerisms...In the comments section of this post, Anna mentioned the Woman's Success Planner.  Go ahead and look (because you know you want to) I'll wait for you here. Ok, ready to go? Good, let's do it:

So naturally, I went and had a wee looksie too.  Well, it looksied fabulous, so I spent $ I shouldn't have and  buysied the Q3 to check it out.  It arrived yesterday, and I thought I'd share it with you, because it's fabulous!

The planner is spiral bound (loves it), and the covers are that nice laminated cardstock stuff. It should hold up well even if you  don't want to purchase the leather folios that go with them (although I can't imagine not wanting to, they're delish).  The planner comes in 4 quarterly divisions.  I have mixed feelings about this.  In reality, one quarter should be enough to carry around.  However, I like to look back at my stuff and I'm not sure I wouldn't miss having the whole year together.  On the plus side of this, though, the planner is only a little over .5" thick, and that makes it super portable, so that is good.

(The answer is, I don't have any damned idea why I didn't rotate this when I uploaded it, you'll have to move your neck. Sorry *head slap*)

See that little logo? Here's the genius explanation of it from the inside cover of the planner: "The logo for The Success Choice, LLC represents *choosing to bloom (flower) *amid your challenges (swirl) *in your continuous journey (circle) *toward perfection (square).  I WISH I was that smart...alas and alack..mostly a lack...ANY HOO,

Here is the inside cover:
This tells you about the planner and how to use it, and is continued on the inside of the back cover.

Next is a two page layout for 2011 Midyear Planning that includes space for your vision, your goal status, goal actions, and goal roadblocks.  There's  also space for ideas about how to overcome roadblocks.  A goal setter's dream planner, this is.

The next two pages have: (left side) a 3 year planning calendar with last year, this year, and next year;
(right side) the beginning of the month page.

Now is probably a good time to talk about the paper.  The regular weekly pages are on the nicest ivory colored  recycled looking (not sure if it's actually recycled) paper with bits of stuff imbedded in it.  It also has a bit of a tooth which I adore, and takes fountain pen ink perfectly, with almost no show through on the other side of the paper.  The month pages, however, are a brown (looks like a paper bag) heavy card stock. GREAT sturdy paper, but if you don't like anything but bright white paper, this may be a no-go for you.

Next is the monthly layout, with suggestions about things to do called "Blooming Ideas" on the right side of the right page, and notes space on the bottom of the pages.
Then, at the beginning of each week, you have this page that includes weekly tasks, a menu planner, and space for a shopping list.  Here you can see my major problem with this planner...the line width. Only about 1/8" throughout.

Then you have the weekly layout.  I took these pictures on top of Clairfontaine paper, which is VERY white, so you could see the color of the paper.  The weekly layout is genius, and task oriented instead of appointment oriented, although there is space at the top of the dailies for AM and PM. At the bottom, there are places to record your water intake, veggie intake, exercises, and daily tasks.  You can see that the daily tasks are numbered, and go along the bottom of both pages.  When you complete them each day, you just color in or cross off the appropriately numbered circle. How incredibly smart is that?? As you'll see later, I have appropriated this idea...

At the end of each week, there is a Weekly Review page (more utter brilliance) and two pages for Notes, one on the right of the Weekly Review page, and one Notes page on the back of this page (that would be the left side, and on the right is the beginning of the next week).

At the back there are 9 months of future planning pages (the layout is a blocked month on one page with notes at the bottom), so it goes through June 2012.  Then there  is one page of Future Planning, with a 2012 and 2012 calendar, and monthly boxes through June 2013. After that there are 6 Notes pages like the ones at the end of the week. This would be great for contacts or other permanent or long-term lists that you carry.  Alternately, you can purchase from the website an address book that is smaller than the planner and can be moved from quarter to quarter.

After the Notes pages, there is a clear plastic sheet for business cards, and one clear plastic envelope. These are a bit flimsy, but remember that each one of the planners is only for one quarter, so they should hold up fine for that time period--provided they're not overstuffed by the user *ahem*.  Then on the back inside of the planner, is the continuation of the information from the front inside, as I talked about earlier.

Now, I think this planner rocks, frankly. I wish I could use it, because I think it's just a stroke of brilliance (Filofax could take some notes here).  However, the fact that the lines are so narrow does me in completely.  There is just NO way I can use this as a planner! I'm glad I bought it though, because I learned LOTS. I have appropriated some of their ideas and adjusted my Uncalendar accordingly.
On the top under "What Needs To Be Done This Week?" I have blocked off space for a check box (so satisfying when you can check it off!) and placed routine weekly tasks like clean the fish tank (blech). I usually get this done any way, but I like having the routine reminders.

Then in the small green box on the very top right, I have put "Daily Tasks" and assigned them each a number.  I have then put the numbers 1 through 5 on the middle blue line on the daily spaces.  When I complete each task, I cross off the number! This is really helpful for establishing a routine, because honestly? I suck at routines...I hate them, but am comforted by them at the same time.

On the left side of the weekly page, I have added some of my categories from my Planner Pad, and also added a Weekly Review space in the green lined box up top.  I think this is genius, and it's nice to go back and figure out what you were doing and also to be able to make readjustments to your plan(s) for the future.

I haven't added much to the monthly blocks (aren't they nice and LARGE?), but I did add in the note space at the left of the monthly calendar a "Need" and "Want" list.  These will be waiting a LONG time it seems...*sniff* but I totally digress.

At the back of the Uncalendar, there are 12 note page (2 pages) layouts.  These are so smart, they allow you to add notes to your monthly calendar.  **As an aside here, I have decided that I could probably get by with a monthly calendar with note pages, and may switch to the Moleskine monthly next year.  This added to my daily log book should be close to perfect, even though it requires me to carry 2 books.

On the left side of the page, I keep a running prayer list.  I haven't included that so that I can protect names, lest anyone should be made uncomfortable.  You can see at the bottom I've added RAIN. Yeah, I'd love it if you'd put rain for New Mexico on your prayer list too, if you're the praying type. Thanks!

Then I have a mid-month review sheet that I cut out from my Planner Pad.  I don't know where I got this, but it is really helpful.  Now to build in a routine for using it...On the right side of the notes page is oodles of space to use however.  I've not allocated this space yet, any ideas? I LOVE the idea of all that space though!

So I have learned a few really valuable things here: 

1. The Woman's Success Planner is just a stroke of pure GENIUS, and even if you don't use it as your main planner, the investment of at least one quarter as a reference guide is money really well spent.  If you are goal oriented at all, and have smaller writing than I do, GO FOR IT! You won't regret it at all. (Also, you should totally get the Address book and Leather Cover for it, then you should do a blog post!)  And if you're a dedicated Filofax user, you can STILL put the quarters in the back or front of your Filofax to fill in any gaps that the Filofax inserts might be leaving in the planning of your life.

2.  I like a honkin' huge planner. I write big, and I like having some white space around what I write any way. (I totally miss having a leather binder though, with a pen loop and space for "stuff") Also, I am NOT creative, and need the help of others to figure out how to use my planner it its best advantage. I guess I feel like since I don't have some big high powered job (or any job right now, for that matter) that every day life is irrelevant to plan.

3.  I may be able to get by with just a monthly planner, and then use a lined notebook as a daily log.  I am still using this format as per my last post. I can always add the week info into the log book, also as per my last post.


  1. Fantastic review Rori!! Thank you for showing us the page layouts, I was wondering exactly what the page sequence was. I can't wait for mine to arrive! I DID order the leather cover (in yellow, gorgeous!) and the address book, so you can check those out on my blog. I'll let you know when the posts are up. (Still waiting for them to arrive.) I love this planner, it looks so comprehensive and you know I love the goal setting pages!

    Great idea incorporating what you like into your Uncalendar. Un is great that way, you can make it into whatever you want and the boxes give just that little bit of guidance.

    You'd be surprised what a difference having a daily plan can make even when (actually, especially when) you don't have a work schedule to keep. I stay home with my kiddos, and I have to force myself to have a plan for each day. If it were just me, I'd be happy to stay in my jammies all day and eat peanut butter out of the jar. But they require things like "balanced meals" and "activities" so I have to force myself to be organized! My problem is I'm not good at thinking things up on the spot. I have to plan ahead for things like what I'm going to make for meals or things to do that day. Anyway, I'm rambling, but the bottom line is in my experience (and what I've read and heard from other SAHMs) it's even more important to schedule days when you have no external structure on your time (like working in an office etc.)

  2. @Laurie Thank you! Glad you enjoyed it. I can't wait for yours to arrive either as I'm so curious about what you think of it. Also look forward to seeing the leather cover and address book!

    My days have a general plan, (get up, eat, do school, have lunch, take a restie, do more school if we didn't finish, laundry, supper, read 2 kids, etc.) but they're still pretty loose.

    I just seem to think (I guess) that the mundane things aren't worthy of writing down and planning for...I don't know. Some days I just feel so lost because I don't seem to have a purpose any more...don't know how to explain this...and I'm rambling. (Maybe I should turn this into a blog post?) :D

  3. Rori, that is so interesting to see how you have taken from one planner and adapted to make another planner work! Very nicely done review!

  4. @terriknits Thank you for your kind comments!

    Like the "Frankenstein" planner, huh? :O)

  5. Rori, thank you for taking the time to write such a nice review of The Woman's Success Planner. It is great to get feedback as we are continually improving the planner.

    We are considering creating a larger planner in the future, but currently the vast majority of women seem to prefer the portability of this mid-size planner. Some women have commented that they use a fine tip pen and write small. However, they stated, this size has benefits they like such as: it is big enough to fit an 8-1/2 sheet of paper folded in half in the cover, but since it is just a quarter, it isn't heavy and bulky, and not too big to fit into a purse, etc.

    We are currently researching the amount of interest there is in a larger planner.

    Also, since you were wondering, the paper is recycled and is made in the USA. In fact, everything we sell is made in the USA.

    Thank you again for your thoughtful review. If you have further questions, feel free to contact me at

  6. @Pamela: Oh wow! Thanks for reading my post, and for your kind comments! The new information you've provided will go into a continuation post about my use of the Woman's Success Planner.

  7. What an excellent review! I did exactly what you did and ordered the 3Q Success Planner to try after I saw the comment on Laurie's blog. I love the great focus on balance and goal planning, but the small spaces and the paper color are driving me a bit batty. I do try to write neatly, but those are tiny spaces and I'm a pencil girl -- I need white paper. The My Life Matters Planner from is similar in layout, but it's HUGE (8.5x11" pages) -- I couldn't take it anywhere unless I carried a briefcase. I might have to just follow in your footsteps and try the Uncalendar, or incorporate the planning concepts into another planner. The search continues. Thanks again for such a great review!

  8. @elena I totally hear you about the small spaces and the paper color! (The paper ROCKS for quality, but I wish it were white! Or at least, whiter) That drove me batty too.

    But the advantages of this planner I think deserve a try at a work around. Have you tried Frixion pens? GREAT ink lay down, AND erasable!! They work fantastically with this paper, and the point is small enough to be able to write neatly within the line space.

    Also, the Blackwing 602 pencils from lay down a SWEET dark black line that is much easier to see than regular pencils. Totally worth every penny if you're into pencils. They work great on this paper (well, on all paper really). I'll do a review of them shortly. (If you get the KUM Long Point sharpener to go with the pencils, you get a (PERFECT) needle sharp point, which also helps),

    I looked at the Life Matters Planner, it looks smart too--(albeit not so portable). Although, since you already have the Woman's Success Planner, many of those things could be added. I am really loving the 2 note pages at the end of the weeks--that allows me to add things in this section that there just is NOT room for on the dailies. AND the lines are wider there!

    I have ditched my Uncalendar--the pages were getting worn by the end of the week (ick), and the boxes on the left page are just weird for me. I thought there was enough space for things, but that space is chopped up too awkwardly to use effectively.

    Hope you find something that works out for you; and I'd love to know what you end up with! Thank you for reading my blog!! Glad to have you here :O)