Planner Reviews: The Get To Work Book – Pt. 1
Planners come in all shapes and sizes and choosing one can be tough – we’re here to make it easier for you to choose one that’s perfect for YOU!
Welcome papercrafters and planner addicts!
As some of you may know, we are known for providing totally unbiased product reviews, reviews for which we NEVER accept payment.
Yes, we do sometimes receive products free of charge when we request them for the purposes of reviewing them, but the companies we contact are made aware of our policies* around these reviews and they must agree to our policies* in order for their product to receive a review from us.
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Have a papercrafting or planner product you want us to review?
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Now, we usually only review papercrafting products, but we’re making an exception to this policy for three reasons:
- The planners we’re reviewing are made of paper (and that automatically makes them a potential candidate for us!);
- We’re seeing more and more people using planners as their designated spot for scrapbooking | memory-keeping, art journaling and sketching – and of course this has sparked our interest!
- And finally, you may have noticed that many of your favorite papercrafting product manufacturers are jumping on the planner bandwagon and, quite frankly, we don’t want you to miss out on a new industry trend!
Now, this whole paper planner craze really isn’t new – paper planners were a big thing back in the early days of my corporate career (1990) and I was lucky enough to have some really wonderful planners at my disposal way back then.
But highly ‘decorated’ planners?
That’s a relatively new phenomenon, spotted by Steph at our craft industry trade events for the first time back in early 2015.
So, what are we offering you, the mildly curious to total planner addict?
Our new review series will focus solely on currently available paper planners, and associated planner products, products such as: planner covers, inserts and tabs; writing and drawing implements; stickers, tape, clips and our beloved washi tape; stamps and inks (my favorite toys!); and, last but not least, organizing and storage products designed to make your planning life easier (or at least more organized!).
So, let’s get started, shall we?
The Get To Work Book
Our first planner review centers on a planner that’s not just a monthly, weekly or daily calendar-style planner, but a planner designed to help you get stuff done.
It’s actually more of a workbook, a goal-setting and achieving workbook.
And it’s creator, Elise Blaha Cripe, is known in our industry as someone who’s not just creative, but who sets goals AND achieves them.
I, for one, certainly had high expectations for this planner when she announced it!
Let’s take a look at the Get To Work Book (GTWB), and see what sets it apart from other planner products…
We’ll start with the cover, binding and tabs:
The cover is made of dense chipboard and is screen-printed with the Get To Work Book logo and debossed with a cleverly-designed check mark (if you’re a list maker and task checker-offer like I am, this should delight you!).
The binding is a black, double-coil binding and appears to be quite sturdy.
And the 12 monthly (July-June in the current book [see above] and Jan-Dec in the book I have [see below]) tabs are plastic-coated and labeled with easily-read white text on a black background.
After picking the book up and shaking it around a bit, holding it by its binding, letting it flop open, and even dropping it to the ground (which could easily happen during use and transport), it seems strong and capable of the kind of abuse it may be put through during the span of a year.
So far, so good!
Next, let’s take a look at the different pages included inside the GTWB:
First, there’s a ‘cover sheet’ (with space for your name and contact information on the backside).
Tip: It’s a great idea to include a reward amount next to your contact information if you’re willing to offer one to anyone who might find and return your lost planner – I always include this in my Moleskine journals!
You’ll notice that there’s also a clear plastic ‘bookmark’ marked with six inches of ruler markings and the word ‘Today.’
This is great to have not just for marking the current day, but for creating boxes and lines, or drawing, in the GTWB. It’s an extra and is $4.00 USD.
Second, you’ll find a page titled “Reflect and Goal Set” followed by a perforated ‘dashboard’ with an inspirational saying: Just Start.
On the left side, on the Reflect and Goal Set page, you’ll find six boxes – they’re titled (clockwise from the top left):
- Last Month’s Wins,
- Still in Progress,
- To Let Go Of,
- To Complete
- To Work On, and
- To Think On
To me, this is a great feature.
How many times do we stop long enough to reflect on what we’ve accomplished during a specific time period, especially when we’re crazy busy and already focused on the next thing?
I know I suck at stopping to celebrate successes unless they’re really huge, and I rarely ever reflect on the specifics of what could have gone better, unless a major catastrophe resulted.
I welcome the opportunity to take some time to fill this in each month to see how doing so does, or doesn’t, impact my shortcomings, and successes. And I’ll be doing so as I review the use of the GTWB over the next two months (my results will be shared in Pt. II of this review).
What I also like about this section, and specifically about the heading ‘To Let Go Of,‘ is what I perceive as its intention – ‘permission’ to let go of those things that you no longer wish to tackle and/or that no longer matter.
How many times do we keep moving an item from our to-do (or list of goals) to our next list and our next list only to find that we either hate the idea of having to complete the task or have no desire to accomplish that goal?
I know I have done this in the past and ‘learning’ that I could let things go that were no longer valued by me, or that were actually not really necessary, but still on my list, was such a gift.
Did you know that one of the primary reasons people procrastinate is because they really have no desire to do what they’re tasked to do?
As they say in Frozen, Let it Go, Let It Go!
Now, before I get blasted for advocating not accomplishing things and encouraging you to do the same, I’m only referring to the things that either no longer serve a purpose, or that you really dread and whose completion is inconsequential.
After all, this is about getting to work, right?!
The page on the right – a ‘divider’ page that’s referred to as a ‘dashboard’ by planner people – is a thick and sturdy page that’s perforated on the left so you can easily remove it and hang it up on your bulletin board or place it into a frame:
The bottom left-hand corner of the page includes a monthly calendar for the following month, and a section titled ‘This Month Is All About,’ with lines for jotting down what you want to focus on for the next month.
I LOVE this idea!
I plan to choose an overriding goal or theme for each month and to jot down some quick thoughts about why I want to focus my energy on it.
I then envision tearing out these cards and binding them at the end of the planner’s life and journaling about how the year went – adding photos when I have images that align well with that month’s theme and getting a bit creative with colorful mediums.
How about you – what would YOU do with these dashboards at the end of your planner’s life?
Up next is a faintly gridlined ‘Project’ planning page with space for the date and lots of information about a project you want to work on...and complete!
These ‘Project’ pages have the months’ tabs incorporated on their right-side edges and serve also as the backside of each month’s monthly-view calendar page.
I envision keeping notes about that month’s projects (those to-do’s or goals that have numerous steps which I need to keep track of, and check off as they’re completed!), but this could just as easily be filled with a creative project (doodles?) or project ideas (scrapbook layout sketches anyone?).
A flip of the Project page leads you to the monthly-view calendar spread, a place where you can see the whole month at a glance, with weeks starting on Sunday and ending on Saturday:
The monthly-view calendar pages also include a bit of lined space at the bottom of the spread for additional notes.
Next, let’s take a look at the ‘weekly-view’ calendar pages:
This looks like serious business, right?!
First, there is space along the left side of the left page for listing your ‘Action Items,’ those items that are most important for you to accomplish that week.
Next, there is space at the top of the daily columns for additional priorities.
Or, use this space for errands, appointments, meals, workout notes, tracking water intake, etc.
(Note: The days in the weekly view start with Monday and end on Sunday, rather than Sunday-Saturday like the monthly view layout.)
Each day’s column provides ample space for to-do’s/tasks, notes or listing appointments, and there’s plenty of grid-lined, note-taking space at the bottom of the page for even more information!
Please note: the new version of the GTWB has a yearly-view calendar in the front of the book/planner and small, ‘looking ahead’ calendars in the back.
Following each month’s weekly-view calendar pages, you’ll find a more structured Project Breakdown Page, a page with room for keeping track of action items and tasks to complete each one, or perhaps for tracking several, smaller projects in one place; followed by another Project Page like the one shown previously (above):
This is where I would track things like sponsorship or consulting commitments for the month, and all the associated tasks.
This could also be used for tracking your creative projects – think about what you want to create and list what it will take (knowledge, tools, supplies, etc.) to do so.
I’m thinking this would be a great way to breakdown the annual Christmas card production, don’t you agree?
Wondering what’s next, after this spread? The next ‘Reflect and Goal Set’ page.
And for the next 11 months? The layout is the same.
Then, at the end of the last page of the last month (July in the newest version of the GTWB, December in my book/planner), there are numerous Project Breakdown pages followed by numerous gridded Project pages.
And finally, you’ll find integrated into the back cover a sturdy (open on one side) pocket, a pocket just big enough for tucking in a sticky-note pad, small stack of notecards or business cards, or a piece or two of mail:
Note the fun items Elise included in my review copy (above and below):
And that’s it – a full tour of the Get To Work Book!
And now for the essential ‘pen tests,’ an essential part of a planner review, IMHO!
All of these pens (listed below) were tested and none bled through the page (see below).
- Sharpie Marker (Ultra Fine)
- Sharpie Pen (Thin)
- Faber-Castell Pitt Pen (XS)
- Paper Mate Ink Joy Gel Pen (M)
- American Crafts Stamp Marker (M)
- American Crafts Stamp Marker (Brush)
- Goof Proof Erasable Marker
- Paper Mate Flair Pen
- Frixion Clicker Pen
- Frixion Highlighter
- Pentel EnerGel Liquid Gel Ink Pen
And, with the exception of the Sharpie Marker (Ultra Fine), none even ‘ghosted.” (Again, see below)
Now of course Elise has ideas about how she envisioned each section of the GTWB being used when she created it, but she is also very clear (in her GTWB videos) that each of us should use the GTWB in the way that best suits our needs.
And I plan to do just that and then report back to you about my experience in Pt. II of this review, likely in a couple months, after I’ve had a chance to experiment with each section of the GTWB.
So, my first impressions of the GTWB?
So far, the only thing I would change in the GTWB I have, is that I would prefer the monthly view to be laid out just like the weekly view, with the weeks starting on Monday and ending on Sunday.
I honestly can’t think of anything else that I would change.
Here are a few notes about the GTWB that might be of interest to you:
- Overall Measurements: 8.5″ wide (including binding and tabs) x 9″ tall x 1″ thick
- Page Measurements: 7″ x 9″ (with 3/8″ gutter/margin where binding connects to the pages)
- Weight: Just shy of 2 lbs.
- Materials: Cover and paper stock are recycled from 100% post-consumer waste; cover is heavy chipboard; pages are brilliant white and of a nice weight
- Origin: Designed, printed and assembled in the USA
- Price: $55.00 USD (bound or unbound)
Additional product information, and accessories, can be found here:
Get To Work Book Information
- The planner is sturdy – it’s well constructed and held up well to shaking and dropping
- Due to the large comb binding, you can easily fold the book back on itself so it has a smaller footprint (see one-page-shown-at-a-time images above)
- The GTWB is bound, but is also available unbound for those who have another cover they want to use, or who may want to 3-hole punch the pages and place them in a binder
- The tabs are plastic-coated so they should hold up well
- The pages are of a nice weight of paper, not thick, but not thin (see ‘pen test’ results above)
- Although I’m not left-handed, it appears it would work well for a left-handed person (as it does for a right-handed person)
- There are two ways to look at the calendar – via a monthly view and a weekly view
- There is lots of space for planning out projects (and the print is light enough on the pages that you could add your own headings, etc. if you want to use any of the pages in a manner different than Elise intended)
- If goal-setting, and breaking down goals and projects into manageable steps, is important to you, this is a good choice
- The tear-out dashboards are inspiring and made with a thicker paper (cardstock weight) so they’re perfect for hanging
- I love the pocket in the back!
- I like the ‘Today’ bookmark – it’s sturdy and clear, snaps in easily anywhere in the GTWB, and includes a 6″ ruler, making it very useful (it’s not included with the GTWB, and can be purchased for $4.00 USD)
- I also like the Book Band Elise sells – I purchased one (for $3.00 USD) to keep my GTWB closed when I take it with me while traveling and it seems to work well
- If you only want/require a monthly, weekly and/or daily view calendar planner, the GTWB may be overkill for you
- If you prefer a super thin or super lightweight planner, this may be too thick and/or heavy for you – it won’t easily fit in a ‘normal-sized’ purse
- If you want your planner cover to be removable and/or laminated and/or colorful, this is not the planner for you (there is a new black cover available now – it’s not laminated)
- In the GTWB I reviewed, the monthly planner view is structured differently than the weekly planner view (Sunday to Saturday vs. Monday to Sunday) – I would have preferred that they be laid out in the same manner, but it’s not a show stopper since I don’t often use the monthly view
- The planner does not have an included closure (a large Book Band is available for $3.00 USD)
And that’s it…for now!
Thank you, Elise, for providing us with a copy
of the Get To Work Book for our review.
We greatly appreciate receiving the review copy
and look forward to publishing Pt. II of this review
in the next few months.
If you want to know more about the Get To Work Book,
visit the GTWB site here:
If you want to get to know more about Elise,
we recommend you check out her site and social media channels:
And check out Elise’s Podcast:
Thanks so much for joining us today for this planner review,
just the first of what we hope will be many!
If you like this type of content,
please share this review!
And if you have any comments or questions,
for us or for Elise,
please leave them in the comments –
we’ll do our best to get you a response as quickly as possible.
Have a great weekend and happy planning everyone!
Steph & The PCC Team
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