Happiness Binder: The Big Reveal

Finally! After weeks of working on this binder, I am ready to reveal its contents to the world. It will be a continuous work-in-progress, as I’ll be adding items as I see fit. But the main sections are to remain the same (at least for a while).

Before I unveil the finished product, I’d like to take this opportunity to thank all of you who have stuck with me and my numerous Happiness Project posts. Considering that most of you are here for the planner/organizing posts, I’m sure I have been a little dull lately. But this is something that I needed to work on for my own well-being, and writing about it makes it a little more real for me. Plus, writing about it also makes it more concrete in my mind, and the process has been very therapeutic. So, again, thank you.

Now, on with the show!

I am using my Personal Jade Finchley for this project. It was previously used for my “Me Binder.” Some of the information is the same, though a lot of what was inside has been updated. The first thing in the binder is a picture from Real Simple magazine—I like the picture and it reminds me of what I love in life, so putting it first in my Happiness Binder only makes sense.

I have two sets of Filofax blank tabs, six per set. I used my label maker to create the labels for each tab. They are: Health, Running, Resistance, Yoga, Calm, Gratitude, Happiness, Music, Books, Quotes, Notes, and Articles. For each section, I have a typed list and behind that, a hand-written list. When the hand-written list gets to the end of the sheet of paper, I will add those items to my typed list and reprint what needs to be updated. I will go into each one in detail.

Health – This will house any information health-related, whether minor or major. It’s basically a log of things that have happened. Anything in the moment tends be kept in my every day planner for easy access until such time as it has passed, at which point it will move to this spot.

Running – This is where I keep a list of races I have participated in. Currently, that is only two but I am hoping to add to this list as the weather gets nicer and I have trained somewhat.

Resistance – This is a list of different resistance circuits for training at home. I also have a travel workout in here. I can move this from the Happiness Binder to whatever binder I will take with me on my trip. That will (hopefully) come in very handy.

Yoga – I have a few different practices in here. This will help me when doing yoga at home. Plus, I will be added new practices from Yoga Journal, as I will soon have a subscription with them.

Calm – This is tips and information that I need to ward off anxiety. I tend to get worked up about a lot of things, both real and things that have yet to happen but that I fear will happen. When feeling anxious, I can refer to this information and quash my anxious feelings as much as possible.

Gratitude – Here I have information and quotes from books I have read on gratitude. I also have my own list of things to be thankful for. I add to this list when I have something that I am especially grateful for, rather than forcing myself to come up with a specific number of gratitudes each day. It just works better that way for me.

Happiness – This section is mainly dedicated to The Happiness Project by Gretchen Rubin. I have quotes from her book and my own commandments for my happiness project. I will add anything specifically happiness-related here.

Music – I keep a list of music that inspires me and/or reminds me that things are going to be okay, no matter what. Of course, I also have a corresponding playlist on my iPod.

Books – This is a list of books that specifically relates to happiness and/or gratitude. Most of them have been discussed on this blog.

Quotes – This is a section just for quotes regarding happiness and/or gratitude. They can also be inspiring in some other way. But they are kept separate from general quotes that I just like.

Notes – This section holds anything else pertaining to any part of my happiness that I want to refer back to but that does not necessarily fit into any of the other categories.

Articles – Here, I have a collection of random articles that I want to refer back to. Included is one on the history of happiness, “5 Things You Can Learn from Your Pet,” ways to deal with worry, one woman’s experience with yoga, finding your happy place, and how to say no to people. Mainly, this section will contain only articles that pertain to any one of the above subjects.

Along the top, I have self-made tabs. I used Post-it Label Pads for this purpose. I hand-wrote the topics because I thought using the label maker for this would be a little redundant since I’m technically already using labels. These are for marking certain pages within a section. So my travel workout and my resistance workouts get top tabs, allowing for easy access to either, once I’m within my resistance tab.

That’s my Happiness Binder in a nutshell. I will be sure to update the blog as I add new items to the binder. I also have more ideas on new binders, but they are in the very beginning stages and it will be a long time before I’m ready to write about them. But rest-assured, they are in the development stages.

Happy planning!


  1. I LOVE your happiness binder (and I was so excited when this post landed in my Google feed). I have been looking forward to the big reveal. I would love to put the tips on information on warding off anxiety, ways to deal with worry and how to say no to people in my PhD planner. Would you be able to send me the links?

    This was a wonderful post! :-)Thank you and thanks also for your kind words on my post today. It really meant a lot to me.

  2. Thanks CP! I was excited to finally get to it. I have been wanting to post this for weeks but obviously I couldn't do it while it was still in progress, and then it was a matter of the lack of time.

    I will send you what I can as far as the anxiety, worry and saying no information. If I can't find the links to the exact articles, I will type something up for you, so it may take a day or two (or more) but hopefully not too long!

  3. LOVE IT! Wow...how awesome is this thing?!

    I especially love your idea about the article tab. How do you get everything re-sized to Personal FF size?

  4. Thanks Kanalt! very much appreciated :-)

  5. Thanks, Yv! For the articles, I ripped them out of the magazine, cut them as small as I could, ended up folding them about 1000 times, then punching them. I just lined it up with the Filo inserts to get the approximate size. It's not an exact science but it works.

  6. Awesome! Thanks for sharing how you organized and combined your "me" binder with your Happiness Project binder. After reading about the Project on your blog, I read up on it and bought Rubin's book. Now I just have to integrate her suggestions with my other pursuits---Ed. D., family, career...

    I love your set-up--I set my binder up with Jan-Dec tabs and 6 subject tabs--we'll see how that works for me.

    Reading your blog gives me so many ideas--thanks again!

  7. Thanks, skhen. My daily planner (a personal malden) is set up very similar to yours - 6 subjects tabs I made myself and the Jan-Dec tabs. It seems to work well for me, seeing as I always revert back to this set up whenever I try to change it. Let me know how it works for you!


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