I started an experiment back in 2017 where I tried a different layout each week. While I don’t do a different layout every single week anymore, 5 years later I’m still experimenting with different layouts every other week.
You can see more than 100 of my past weekly spreads I’ve posted on the blog here.
If you want to try your own 52 planners in 52 weeks experiment and need some ideas, these are my top 10 favorite spreads to date (and why).
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My top 10 favorite weekly spreads from the past 5 years
1. My Printables
It makes sense that when you make something yourself, you’re obviously happy with the layout as it was custom made to suit your own needs. Spreads where I used my own printables have always been (and always will be) my favorite.
I also like that I can pair them with disc binding. I thought that as the Happy Planner has increased in popularity over the years, that more companies would offer the disc binding with their layouts, but there still aren’t that many offering it. Or you can order the pages pre-punched (Plum Paper, Limelife Planners, Inkwell Press) but have to put them on your own discs.
I’m a bit set in my style with fonts, colors and overall aesthetics so do like to mix it up and use planners made by other people. Plus printer paper just doesn’t feel the same as the super smooth paper from a professionally printed planner.
I used to use this layout for pre-planning my week and this is the layout where I first started to feel some planner peace. I now almost always use a layout that has days of the week on one side of the spread, and a giant to do list on the other page.
The only thing I don’t like about this layout is the 2 column checklist. The photo below is their medium size (7″ wide x 9″ high) and the 2 columns are just slightly too narrow for me, I’d rather have just one giant checklist that fills the page and the box at the top for priorities and appointments.
I recently purchased the Plum Paper weekly overview layout which is similar to this one.
I haven’t really been pre-planning my week since creating my master task spreadsheets. However, when I’m not sure what weekly planner / layout to use, I usually come back to a printable I’ve made, the notes & days layout from Plum Paper or one of my Agendios…
I’ve designed a few custom planners with Agendio – it offers the most customisation of any planner company I’ve found!
The bright white paper is smooth to write on, they have plenty of layouts with weekdays on one page and a checklist, notes or whatever else you want to add to the right page too. Many planner companies still don’t offer this type of layout and I can get exactly what I want with Agendio 🙂
4. Happy Planner Inserts
So many options and my favorite: discbound! The Happy Planner inserts are great value, many have full color printing and they’re all double sided usually with a different design on each side.
Read more: Favorite Happy Planner Refill Inserts
5. Dot Markers
One of my all time favorite planner supplies. They are basically a replacement for colored dot stickers and instead of finding good quality matte label paper (glossy label paper smears with most pens) you can just dot and write straight onto the page.
They create a very effective header for the days of the week, dates and checklists:
- 7 Ways to use dot markers in your planner or bullet journal
- Dot Marker Comparison: Zig Kuretake Clean Color Dot versus the Tombow Play Color Dot
- Wordsworth planner using dot markers and stencils
6. Vertical Plum Paper
I’ve actually never liked vertical weekly spreads but I like how I decorated this spread with stickers. I’m finally getting a separate room for my office soon and will have the space to start making stickers again so definitely want to get back into using functional stickers this year.
I like the vertical Plum Paper over weekly spreads offered by other planner companies, as it has lined writing space and the paper is so nice to write on. I have grown tired of Plum Paper using the same color schemes for their planners though, I wish they would do a simple, minimalist black or grey theme throughout the entire planner so I can add the colors I want to use. Their neutral offering is too dark and their other color options are pastel which is not my color preference. A rainbow color scheme with different colors for each month instead of multiple shades of the same color in the planner would be good too.
Despite that, they still remain one of my all time favorite planner companies – good quality, plenty of layouts to choose from, nice cover designs, cover personalisation, a good range of add on pages and cheaper shipping to Australia than other USA planner companies charge.
7. Whistle and Birch
I’ve tried various layouts from this company and used highlighters to accent each time. The layouts are simple and functional with no wasted space.
See all of the layouts in this post: Whistle and Birch Weekly Planner Review (All layouts + pen testing)
The style of these planners remind me of the Plum Paper – they’re not just cookie cutter vertical and horizontal weekly spreads that most planner companies offer. E.g. the vertical layout has some tweaks to with goal and reminder boxes at the top of the page and checklist + notes at the bottom.
Plus it’s an Australian based business so shipping is more affordable for me.
8. Checklist only spreads
I’ve mentioned it many times on this blog but most of the time I prefer to just work off a to do list for the week rather than allocating tasks to specific days. I’ve tried various list methods including:
- Color coded
- Time based categorised by duration of the task
- Categorised (e.g. blog to do, cleaning tasks, work to do, errands etc.)
9. Simple Christmas spread
This one made my top 10 list of weekly spreads for 2020.
While I did this in a Christmas theme I need to do it again with different washi tape colors. Those 2 strips of washi were an easy way to add color to the page without taking up too much space. The stencils are simple and effective and I liked the separation of decorative up the top and that being enough color, then doing functional planning on the rest of the page.
10. Converting a monthly calendar into a weekly planner
If I do try this layout again, I’m going to add another page (maybe Happy Planner half sheet size) with a list of quick tasks so I can keep the boxes for each day for the priority tasks only.
I usually avoid vertical layouts however I really liked this one. Adding multiple sections which are either the same size or larger than the daily section instead of smaller (like most planners) worked well for me.
Related post: roterunner purpose planner review
So, what’s next?
If you scroll back up this post through the spreads, you can see they’re all very different… I cannot stick to just one weekly layout!
Way back in 2017 I used a different layout each week but as the years have gone by, I now sometimes use the same layout multiple weeks and then use a different layout here and there depending on what’s happening that week.
This year I’m converting a room in my apartment into my own office and will have more space so can finally get back into making my own stickers to use in my spreads.
I’ve noticed I’ve leaned towards using my own printables or hand drawn / bullet journal layouts rather than hacking planners made by other people. I really do like customising planners made by others so definitely want to get back into doing that.
- How to use the Poooliprint inkless pocket printer for planning
- 10 Brands that have date dot stickers for your planner or bullet journal
- 10 Bullet Journal Weekly Spreads with Habit Trackers
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