No More Desk Dumping: Happily Planning for Success

You may not believe this, but I spent most of my life being the messiest person on the planet! I was the kid in class whose desk was dumped by the teacher at least once every school year. I would spend hours every night doing my homework but would never turn it in because it somehow got lost in the sea of garbage in my backpack. Yeah, I was that kid.

And when I went off to college, those same habits followed me there. For four years, my living space looked something like this:

One of my dorm mates commented frequently, “Shieka, your room reflects your life. When your room is a mess, your life is a mess!” She wasn’t kidding. Messiness was going to be the death of me-that and procrastination-but that’s a conversation for another day.

It took several years for me to really grasp the value of organization. These days, my desk looks like this and I am able to get so much more accomplished.

I don’t just organize my space, though. I also organize my time and for the month of September, I used a new tool to do that.

For the last 2 years, I have sworn by the Women’s Success Planner, which creates space for intentional planning and thoughtful reflection. But in August of this year, a fellow blogger profiled The Happy Planner and I instantly fell in love…complete with swooning and drooling.

The Happy Planner by Me and My Big Ideas is the perfect blend of functionality and creativity. It’s where the recovering scrapbooker in me gets to resurrect all of her cricut dreams. Think: weekly planning filled with washi tape. When you spend as much time as I do looking at your calendar and checking your to-do lists, it helps to have a pretty page in front of you.

Beyond being pretty, this planner is extremely functional.

  • I love all of the space on the weekly pages. I use the left column to break my monthly goals into weekly to-dos. I use the afternoon section on the daily columns to add to-do items that arise after I’ve made my list for the week.
  • I love that it includes enough sections to forecast for more than 18 months. I can begin to schedule next summer’s conferences and learning opportunities and have those dates at my fingertips throughout the year.
  • The home planner add-on includes meal planning/grocery lists, cleaning schedules, and budget sheets.
  • I like that it lays flat which makes adding information much more convenient. (I still take the pages out to decorate them.)
  • There is a whole world out there filled with all things “planners” and “planner stickers”. Between Etsy and Instagram, it’s very easy to get sucked in…and to find yourself ordering mini microphones from Poland. I know.

There are a few weaknesses to this planner.

  • It’s HUGE and not very convenient to carry, but because it houses a wealth of information, I make it work.
  • The cover is flimsy, but they sell replacement covers and I’ve watched a few DIY videos on Youtube about creating custom covers.
  • The pages are not laminated in the perforated section, so they have to be removed/replaced delicately.

So far The Happy Planner has captured my heart and I’m rarely caught without it. I’ve already prepped my October monthly layout and a basic spread for the week.



My dorm mate was right. Organized space and organized time lead to ordered thoughts and a successful life. If you are a parent/teacher/guidance counselor and find yourself dumping the desk of a child like me, here are a few blogs to help you develop a strategy for getting that child on track.

What tips or tricks can you share for organizing your time, your space, or your thoughts? What disciplines, resources, or tools do you use? Are you struggling with a messy child…teenager, spouse, house guest? I’d love to hear from you!

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