Planner Review: Year of the Optimist Planner

Despite the fact that I didn’t go anywhere in 2020, I still used my Knitter’s Planner quite a bit to keep track of all of my work obligations. I also developed quite a few preferences for what I wanted to see in a planner going forward, and I think I’ve found it in the Year of the Optimist Planner ($28.95).

Creator Nikol Lohr has been producing these planners for quite a few years  now and improving upon them each year. I purchased one several years ago, before I needed to track daily activities and didn’t end up using it very much. But now that I rely on pen and paper to track work activities, I decided this was the one for me.

The planner itself measure 9.5″ x 7″ (including the spiral) and approximately 1-1.5″ thick. The book is spiral bound, with cardstock covers and pages, boasting illustrations. There is also an elastic loop secured to the back cover that can hold the planner closed.

The planner begins with what Nikol deems the “Uber List.”  As she notes:

Instead of grave, important resolutions, make a friendly little to-do list, numbered for the year. Then congratulate yourself as you bang out your incredibly easy goals. It’s like racking up Fitbit badges: meaningless, yet oddly satisfying.

After the Uber List, you move on to the real nuts and bolts of the planner. One of the first pages explains all the features of the planner. There are spots for weekly goals, tracking things like the weather, your mood, etc, and bullet points to highlight daily tasks or appointments. Each page includes 7 boxes (1 for each of the days) with plenty of room to write.

At the end of each section Nikol includes a page for “Garbage Soup.” This is the page where you declutter your brain by just jotting down everything that occurs to you. You can then use this to plan the current month, or the next. Finally, at the end of each section is a sturdy cardstock month-in-view section, allowing you a visual of the month and a place to note anything important. Whether or not this one will get used this year remains to be seen, but it is the year of the optimist!

I’m delighted that all of the pages in this planner are varying types of cardstock. Thought it does make the planner quite thick (perhaps less of a daily carry?) it means that the pages are very receptive to fountain pen inks! I did notice a bit of feathering with some inks and larger nibs, but in my finer nibbed pens everything looked fine.

Finally, at the back, Nikol includes a sturdy envelope for holding any mementos, receipts, or other detritus from your year!

I had multiple reasons for wanting to buy the planner this year. I can disclose that Nikol is a friend of mine and I wanted to support her endeavors in a year that has been hard for artists. I also discovered that I really enjoy a spiral bound planner, with lots of room for notes each week. I like recording weekly goals and daily tasks and appointments, and being able to cross them off as I go makes my wizened old heart go pitter patter. 2020 was the first year that my planner really became an indispensable part of my life, and I’m looking forward to seeing what 2021 brings.

If this looks like something you’d like to try, I encourage you to support Nikol at Year of the Calendar and get yourself set for 2021!

Disclaimer: This planner was purchased with my own funds for personal use and the purposes of this review.

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2 comments / Add your comment below

  1. I ordered one of these, after reading your review. I like the monthly page being at the end of the weeks, rather than the front. (Actually ordered one fo the 2020 ones also, for $5)
    I’m hoping I end up using it regularly.

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