Pros and Cons of the Living Well Planner
Someone reminded me I never posted the follow-up to my Living Well Planner 2016 review. If you missed that, you can go back and read the review and see a video of what the planner looks like inside.
I’ve been using it for a few months now, and it’s time to check back in on how well it’s working. It could be because I have virtually no experience with other planners, but I’ve found there is very little I don’t like about the Living Well Planner.
While there are some pages I don’t use and I’ve been a bit sporadic about writing in it some weeks, I feel as though the Living Well Planner has helped me bring almost all my organization under one roof. I have my schedule, meal plan and monthly overview all together rather than scattered to the wind on multiple sheets, notebooks and calendars. I’ve even been using the budgeting pages which I really didn’t think would be helpful to me.
However, everyone is different, and no one planner is perfect. Let’s take a closer look at just how the Living Well Planner stacks up in terms of its strengths and weaknesses.
Why I Love the Living Well Planner
We’ll start on a positive note. The main reason I love the Living Well Planner is that is has simplified my personal organization. To drill it down more specifically, here are some of the ways it’s working for me.
The size: As you’ll see below, the size may actually be a con for some people, but in my case, it’s a pro. It’s big enough to write in comfortably, but not so big that is takes up half my desk. It should be noted that I have small handwriting. Someone with larger print may find the space between lines to be a bit constrictive.
The colors: The bright stripes on the front cover make me smile, and the inside designs are cheery and motivating. I’ve seen a lot of people decorate and personalize theirs, but I like it just the way it is. Speaking of the cover, it is hard and durable which is another plus for me.
The monthly goals page: Each section starts with a monthly goals section, and I was iffy about this page when I got the planner. I wasn’t sure how useful it would be. Now that I’m a few months in, I have to say this might be my favorite page. It’s a bit time-consuming to complete, but I’ve found it’s time well-spent. Once I have my goals filled in, I then immediately flip to the Month at a Glance to carve out time for those priorities. No more getting to the end of the month and wondering why I didn’t get around to doing what was really important.
It’s comprehensive: In the past, I have tried multiple time management methods. The Living Well Planner brings together my favorite parts of many of these. Plus, it has pages (such as the monthly goals) that I never knew I was missing but have proven super useful. Each month has:
- Monthly Goals
- Goal Crushing
- Project Planning
- Month at a Glance
- Monthly Budget
- Weekly Plans (Perfect for time block scheduling, and each day has space for three must-dos as well as your meal plan.)
- Monthly Expenses
- Thoughts & Thanks
- Notes & Ideas
It’s undated: The planner comes with stickers to make monthly tabs, but the inside pages are undated. That means one beautiful thing about the Living Well Planner is that you can start whenever you like.
It comes with other resources: Once you buy the planner, you get access to a number of resources to help you make the most of it. There is an email series that walks through the pages, online videos and access to a Crushing It Facebook group. If you’re looking for a social outlet to swap planner ideas and goals, the Living Well Shop has you covered.
Why You Might Want to Pass on the Living Well Planner
Sounds great, right? Well, there are some reasons you might not want to get a Living Well Planner. Here are the ones that come to my mind.
The size: On Facebook, this seems to be one of the chief complaints about the planner. Some people wish it were larger, but mainly, people seem to want it smaller. They say it’s not portable. It’s not an issue for me since my planner stays on my desk. I still use my phone calendar and then each week, I transfer events and activities to the Weekly Plans page. However, if you need a planner you can slip into your purse and carry everywhere, this might not be it.
The price: At $55, the Living Well Planner is comparable in price to some other planners. But that doesn’t mean it’s cheap. You could likely find free printables online with similar page layouts and make your own planner for much less. For me, the price was worth it because I didn’t want to spend time searching for printables. Beyond that, I’m not crafty so chances are my DIY planner wouldn’t look as nice. One of the reasons I think I use the Living Well Planner so much is because it looks professional and it makes me feel more professional. That makes the cost worthwhile for me, but it might not for you.
The pages might not fit your needs: The planner is comprehensive, but you may not need everything. As a result, you may feel like you’re paying for pages you don’t use or that you have extra sheets cluttering your book. If this is a concern, a DIY planner or one in which you buy a binder and specific inserts may be the best bet for you.
It doesn’t have a chore chart: For me, this is the biggest downside of the Living Well Planner. I really want to have a list of daily chores that I can check off each day. It’s the only thing I think this planner is really lacking for me personally. (Updated: Jessica reminded me in the comments below that there is a Cleaning Schedule at the end of the planner. It has a space to write 3 big home projects for the year, a list of items to do daily, weekly, monthly and seasonally and a space to write in your own weekly cleaning. It is a handy page, but it isn’t quite the check-off chore chart I have in mind).
Sales are final: I didn’t realize this when I made my purchase, but a reader pointed it out. The Living Well Shop has a no refund policy for its planners. So if you’re thinking about buying one just to check it out, think again.
Weeks begin on Monday: Hands-down, the biggest complaint I’ve heard about the Living Well Planner is that the Weekly Plans pages start on Monday instead of Sunday. It threw me off at first, but I’ve decided Monday-Sunday works best for anyway since I do my weekly planning on Sunday afternoon. But others haven’t been so happy. Based on the Facebook feedback the company’s been getting, I wouldn’t be surprised if they have a Sunday-Saturday option for the next edition.
There you have it! Do you have a Living Well Planner? Let me know what you think about it or if you think you have a better system, I’d love to hear that too. Leave a comment below or head to The Mighty Widow Facebook page to share your favorite planner.
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LisaDecember 6, 2016
Great review! Thank you. As an aside and to your “chore check list” issue. I found this on Etsy for the Day Designer and I believe (don’t hold me to this just yet) that the spirals are the same for the Day Designer and the Living Well planner.. any way.. check out Etsy for the check off list… I ordered one, but have not gotten it yet, so I cannot say with certainty what it will fit.. hoping for the best. I can say that Etsy has many, many options and additions for planners of all kinds 🙂 Thanks again.
Maryalene LaPonsieDecember 6, 2016
Oh, that’s good to know! There are so many talented people on Etsy. I need to remember to look there more often when I need something.
Thanks for the heads-up!
JessicaDecember 7, 2016
Hi Maryalene! Thanks for another awesome review of the Living Well Planner! I wanted to let you know, in case you haven’t seen it, there is a cleaning schedule in the back of the Living Well Planner. It includes checklists for Big Jobs, as well as daily, weekly, monthly, and seasonal cleaning tasks. There are also some extra cleaning printables available within Crushing It Central (http://crushingitcentral.com/printables/). Hope that helps! 🙂
Maryalene LaPonsieDecember 9, 2016
Thanks so much for commenting and reminding me of the Cleaning Schedule at the back! I went ahead and updated the post to mention it.
However, it’s not quite what I’m looking for. I love to check boxes and see my progress so it would be great to have some type of chore checklist for each week. Not sure how that could be done in a concise way, but a girl can dream!
A lot of the printables on the site look great too. I’ll need to upgrade to get them, but it’s something I might do in the future.
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