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A notebook, planner and journal that combines form and function, giving you the tools you need to be the smartest person in the room.
A notebook, planner and journal that combines form and function, giving you the tools you need to be the smartest person in the room.
4,253 backers pledged $138,572 to help bring this project to life.

Using the Spark Notebook - Weekly Planning

Posted by Kate Matsudaira (Creator)

Happy Friday!

I hope you are having a lovely day today.  

Spark Notebooks are starting to arrive all over the world and it is so wonderful to hear all the excitement.  When you get yours, be sure to let me know! :) You can tweet me, send me a facebook message, share a picture on instagram, or even just leave a comment on the project.  I really hope you love your notebook.

As people are getting their notebooks though, I realized I messed up.  I am getting lots of questions on how to use the notebook and the different layouts. 

Why are there no instructions? We purposely didn't put instructions in the notebook, because we wanted every page to be useful to to you (and once you read instructions and adopt them to your liking, that page isn't very useful - and it could be downright annoying if you chose to use your own system and had to constantly look at instructions on how to use someone else's!).  

So, I am working on a guide, and we will probably print it on paper and distribute it with future versions of the notebook.  However, for now, I am going to send bits and pieces of it as I write it via backer's updates.  

Today, I put together some quick notes on how to do a weekly planning session.  It covers the Weekly Goals, the Monthly Goals, the Weekly Outlook and the Inspiration pages.

Weekly Planning

Every week I start my week with a planning session. I block out a full hour on my calendar to devote to planning and thinking - I call it my Ninja Planning Session.

You can do your planning Sunday night, or first thing Monday morning (that is when I do my planning session) or even on Fridays if that works better for you. The key is to pick a time when you will really do it, and stick to it. In order for this system to work you have to be disciplined about keeping appointments with yourself. You can make it an hour, or just 30 minutes. I like to reserve an hour because I always have things I can do with the extra time.

Below is an agenda for your weekly planning session. Take the ideas here and then make them yours. You will notice we put a lot of blank spaces throughout the layouts so you could repurpose them to your own life and process.

1)  Each week start your planning with the Weekly Goals page. Start by listing your top priorities in the top of the page. These are the things you really have to get done this week. 

2) Look back on your previous week and see what you accomplished and what was left over. If you didn’t get to something, go ahead and move it to this week’s list. 

3) Then think about the good things that happened last week. Did you have any big ah-ha moments? How about any hiccups or mistakes? What can you learn from last week to help you be more effective/productive/happier/etc. this week? I typically try to jot down at least 2-3 of these things in the “Reflect + Celebrate” section of the page. If you need more space, well that is one great use for the Inspiration page, directly opposite the Weekly Goals page.

4) Now flip to the start of your notebook - your yearly plans. Are you living and acting in harmony with your Yearly Theme? Is there something you can do this week to move forward on your Yearly Goals? If you have the time this is a great time to add a line item or two to make sure you are moving forward on the things you established as really important for your year. 

5) And then do the same thing with your Monthly Goals and 30 Day Challenge. Have you been consistent in making progress? It is okay if you haven’t just keeping going. While it is great if your 30 days are consecutive, they don’t have to be - doing a little is better than doing nothing.

If it is the start of a month, well this is a good time to take a step back and think about the month ahead. That is when I will work on populating my Monthly Goals. I think about the big things I want to accomplish this month, for work, for my personal life, and for my goals for the year. These go in the top half of the page.
For the bottom part of the Monthly Goals, I am a big fan of affirmations, so I put my affirmation for the month (sometimes it takes me a few drafts to get it right) into the box below. However, you can use this box for anything - journaling about your perfect month, laying out a big goal into smaller more actionable steps, crafting an action plan to change a habit, pasting a quote or picture that is your theme for the month. So make it yours! 

5) Then using my weekly goals, I lay out the time blocks in my schedule in the Weekly Outlook. Working alongside my Google calendar (which is where all my work meetings go) I plan my time.

I put all my personal and professional appointments in my Spark Notebook. I put in time for my workouts, cooking dinner, and I carve out time to do deep, focused work on things that are important to my life and my career. I wrote a blog post on time blocking you may find useful. 
This is my schedule from this week in the picture below; notice how I draw little boxes next to my items so I get to check them off?  It makes me feel accomplished :)

6) The only page that I didn’t talk about was the Inspiration Page. This is the big blank page with a thought at the top. This is to get you thinking, but this page was really designed to be used for anything that fits your process and work style. 

I use mine to make notes for my weekly Peak Performance Checkin (an idea I got from the book the The Compound Effect where you have a weekly call with someone you trust and you coach each other around your goals in your personal and professional lives). 

Here are some other ideas on how you can use that page: 

  • Weekly team meeting notes 
  • Weekly journal about your goals and your life 
  • Notes for a weekly mastermind group 
  • Reflections on your life and progress 
  • Thoughts about your previous week 
  • Use the thought at the top to journal and reflect 
  • Doodles or pictures that inspire you and motivate you 
  • A log of things that made you happy or inspired you 
  • List 5 new things you learned last week 

You should figure out what will help you the most and do that.


Do you have questions you want answered?  
Or do you have tips and tricks on how you plan to use the notebook?  
If so, send them to me in a message or leave a comment!  I want to put together a great list and I am sure all of you have some great ideas to share.

That is all for now!  Start using your notebooks and send me your thoughts and feedback as you do.  This is still very much a work in progress and I want to make improvements for future versions and the only way I can do that is with your feedback.

Thank you for being a part of the project!

Fermín Tribaldos, Tiffany L, and 51 more people like this update.


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    1. Michelle April Rivas on

      I received my limited edition note books over the weekend and I'm in love! I was gifted the 2015 Desire Map Planner for my birthday in November, which I really enjoy using, but I must say The Spark Notebook is even better! It will be difficult to juggle both notebooks this year, but I plan to use the Spark Notebook more at work for a detailed outline of goals and projects. If you decide to reprint these in the future I'll definitely only purchase your notebook because it's great for work and personal life. As I use it over the course of a month I'll be sure to provide more feedback, if needed.

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      Romi on

      Just received and absolutely love this! Thank you!
      One request'd be ... If there's a choice of starting Sunday or Monday on monthly.
      My calendar at work and your weekly planner starts from Monday, so it'd be a bit confusing for me that the monthly section starts from Sunday.

    3. Lara Courtney on

      I didn't receive an email. Does that mean my order isn't on the way?!

    4. Bo on

      Well done Kate & Team, received my Notebooks last week. Good quality and looking forward to start using them. I know you were upset about the slight delay but I am currently backing many projects on Kickstarter and Indigo and you have always kept us well informed, enthusiastic and honest. Keep it up.

    5. Salomé

      I love my notebook. It keeps me motivated and organized.

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      Bill McPherson on

      I have my notebook and it is really nice. Going to start using it Tomorow .

    7. ḵaashashx̱áaw on

      Thanks for the instructions. I saved them as a PDF for referencing when my books arrive on Monday :) . I'm so excited to start using the more compact size! My printed forms in the heavy 3-ring binder takes up a lot of real estate in my backpack :)

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      MJ Roulston on

      Hello, I haven't received a tracking number for mine. Is there a link to obtain that information. I am really looking forward to receiving the notebook!!!Thank you

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      My beautiful Notebooks arrived yesterday. I love them! Just in time to plan out a new month. Thank you and congrats on a successful project.

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      Kay Losey on

      Spark Limited Edition Notebooks have made it to Michigan! Just got mine. They will be great for planning the rest of the year in style. Thanks! And thanks for your continued usage suggestions, too.

    11. J. Bryan Brasher on

      When can I expect mine? Haven't received a tracking number or anything.

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      Fernando Pizarro on

      Aloha, Kate: Love these ideas! Can't wait to get my Notebook so I can put them into practice. Thanks for thinking of us and sharing how you maximize your Notebook!

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      Tom Browne on

      Hi! My notebook arrived two days ago. I've been looking it over, and just handling it, and taking it along with me to get used to it. It's very nice. A set it up to begin use in February and was wondering how to best use it, when you drop in with a plan for use today! Thank you for that! I printed it off and will use it getting started. :)

    14. LuAnn Deibert on

      Spark Notebook have arrived in Las Vegas baby!!!

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      balsamo on

      Got it! Thanks so much!

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      Trisha Buendia Mitzelfelt on

      I received my notebook today and I'm so happy with the product. I love how you can take notes from different perspectives (monthly & weekly). This is how I take notes anyway but they're usually jumbled together. This notebook is an organization-obsessed person's (me) dream! I hope you sell these in stores so I can get another one in the future. Thanks Kate! :)