I have been using the Clever Fox Pro Planner for just over a month and a half. Although I was skeptical at the beginning, I have found that this planner has been effective for me and in combination with the rest of my system, it has nearly solved my planner peace problem. If you want to know more about how this planner has helped along my planner journey, keep reading for a full review, a quick TLDR pros and cons breakdown, and my final recommendations.
I heard about the Clever Fox planners through Amazon, since I was struggling with my planning system, I was often browsing Amazon and other sites for a solution. I found the Clever Fox Planners and would put different ones in my cart and then would delete them, and this went on for a couple of weeks. Finally, once I sorted out my work solution, I decided I wanted a pre-printed planner (as opposed to a notebook and the bullet journal system) and I wanted to try out one of the Clever Fox Planners. I searched through Amazon and compared each planner and all of its features to find the one that I thought would work best for me. I landed on the Planner Pro, a very difficult decision for me because it is huge. Previously the biggest planner I had was the A5 Filofax Fusion and that was half the size of the Clever Fox Planner Pro. There were also a couple of features that I didn’t really see the point of (and I’ll get into that later in the review) so I was a little bit skeptical. But I went for it anyway.
Keep reading for a walk-through of the features of this planner.
The planner I chose was the Planner Pro and it is in a beautiful and bright yellow colour. This planner is A4 or 8.5 by 11 inches in size, and it is huge. If you plan to get the Pro keep this in mind. The Pro is also shipped in a beautiful box, it comes with a ‘How to use this planner’ guide and five pages of stickers. The planner is made of sturdy, vegan leather material. The paper in this planner, is high quality and is essentially bleed proof and does not have any ghosting, except for when I use the Sharpie S-Note markers. The back envelop is very strong but is not big enough to hold a full sheet of paper unless you fold it. There are three ribbon bookmarks, all coloured differently but they match the colour of the planner well, and there is an elastic band to keep everything closed. The Clever Fox Pro can also lay flat straight out of the box.
The most interesting and unique features of this planner are the goal-setting features. This is fairly new to me, I usually set my goals in a casual way, only and when I felt lost or like I need to refocus. But for the past month and a half, I have truly enjoyed having my goals laid out on paper and being able to visually track and measure my progress has been motivating.
The planner starts with a page for ‘Awareness and Self-Discovery’ it asks you some journal prompt-type questions to get you thinking about your purpose and goals in life. I will be honest; I haven’t done this yet. But I appreciate that it is there and intend on doing it sometime soon. The next page is for ‘Daily Rituals’, another page that I haven’t quite used to its potential but have started filling out. These pages are followed by a ‘Vision Board’, I’d like to say I will fill this in eventually, but I honestly can’t, SMART goals are more effective than visualization in my opinion. These couple of pages were part of the reason I was hesitant about getting the planner. I didn’t really see the need for these pages, but I figured it is only 6 pages total, if I feel like I don’t need them, I won’t use them. But the next couple of pages edged me toward buying the planner, and I am glad they did.
One of the most interesting spreads in the planner is the ‘What Do I Want My Life to Be Like’, which breaks down your 1-year, 5-years, 10-years, and 20 years goals. While I don’t think planning 20 years ahead is necessary, it really does help align your present-day goals with your ultimate life goals. Thinking this far ahead can also orient you in a way that whenever you’re planning, even daily tasks, you are made to think about how these tasks contribute to achieving the future you see for yourself. Following this page, is a spread that breaks down your 1-year goals by the area of your life (i.e., health and fitness, business and career, personal development, etc.). This spread is awesome. It gives you an opportunity to think about the 1-year goals you set for yourself on the previous page and break them down into smaller, bite-sized goals. The most important feature of this page is that it reminds you to ask why you want to achieve a goal, and this is so important and motivating when setting goals.
One of the great features of this planner is that it is completely undated. The monthly and weekly spreads are undated, so if you need a month’s break or know you will have a week that is too busy to plan or not busy enough to plan, then you can skip it without wasting pages.
To start the monthly section, there is a spread for ‘My 3-Month Goals’ and there is a spread for this every three months. I absolutely love this, it gives you space to really reflect on your goals each quarter, how you intend to achieve them, and what reward you will get (or give yourself) once completed.
The monthly spreads are quite standard. The most wonderful part of them is the size. With monthly spreads, I usually feel crammed like there isn’t enough room. The boxes are big enough to write whatever I need to, and I can even use stickers without losing too much writing real estate. There is also a column to the left for notes, and a huge section on the left page for more notes and on the right page there is a little spot for goal-setting prompts.
After each monthly spread, you are given a place to review your month. You are given a space to reflect on the biggest wins, lessons learned, areas of your life that maybe weren’t given enough attention, and more. This spread also has some cool graphics that help you to visualize your progress.
The weekly spreads are where this planner really shines. The left-hand page is your space for daily notes, to-dos, and reminders. There is a small amount of space for each day, but I find that it is more than enough for me. Within each daily section, there is a space to put your day’s goal and the three top priorities for the day, which is a practice I did in my later years of university. On the right-hand page, there is space your overall goals and priorities for the week. There is space for a work to-do list, space for a personal to-do list, and a habit tracker. The space for the work to-do list is one of the features that I absolutely love about this planner. When I am at home planning my personal tasks and a work task comes to mind, I have a place to jot it down so it doesn’t get lost. It is so important to dump things from your mind that aren’t relevant to what you are doing in that moment. So that is what I do, I dump work items there and when I come into work the next day, I am able to transfer it into my work book.
The habit tracker is blank so you can decide on a week-to-week basis what habits you want to track. This is a great feature, after a few weeks you may have made a repeating task habitual and can replace it with a new task that you would like to make a habit. Then there is a life-balance to-do list and a section for things you are excited about. Followed by a blank dot-grid section for random notes. Lastly, there is a section for wins, lessons learned, and ways to improve next week. This last section is very powerful, it gives you an opportunity to quickly reflect on the week and think about how you can change your workflow to better achieve your goals.
The dotted paper in the back of the planner is great for bullet journal-esque spreads. I haven’t used too many of these pages yet, but it is nice to have them there when needed.
Pros and Cons
See the table below for a quick summary of the pros and cons of the CleverFox Pro Planner.
|Inexpensive and accessible||The size. This planner is huge and can be hard to carry around.|
|There are so many planner variations to choose from||There is an overwhelming choice of various planners|
|Bright Colours||The back envelop can’t fit an 8.5×11″ sheet of paper without folding it|
|Has a lot of writing space|
|Paper is thick, almost completely bleed and ghost-proof.|
|Space dedicated for work to-do list|
|Made from vegan leather|
I would consider buying this planner again, but I don’t know if I can commit so far as to say I would without a doubt. I might want to try a different CleverFox planner or branch out and try something new entirely. I would recommend this planner to a friend or colleague, especially to a young professional who is sorting out their life and career goals. For now, I will continue to use this planner for as long as I can and hopefully it will continue to help me stay aligned with my ultimate goals.
I hope you have enjoyed this review of the CleverFox Pro Planner. If so, subscribe to my blog and stay tuned for more!
Until then, keep on keeping on!