It’s planner launch season, which means all the big companies are rolling out their new calendars, notebooks, and planners – and everyone in the planner community is watching videos and reading reviews to help them decide what to purchase for 2024.
If you found me through the #MakseReviewCrew hashtag or @simplyshantas_plans list: welcome! I’m Michelle – a mom of three kids + two dogs, writer of fiction and Bible studies, volunteer in lots of organizations, and wife of a general surgeon. Here on my blog I write about organization, family and faith, and writing. I’ve been using paper planners to keep my life together for decades!
I’ve been a dedicated user of MäksēLife since it premiered in 2020. The goal-setting system integrated into the monthly and weekly pages truly sets this planner apart from anything else on the market. I really love this company and it’s products, so it’s the only one I’m an affiliate for.
As an affiliate, I got early shopping access so I’d be able to review my favorite products before Launch Day (Thursday, September 28th) and let me tell you, it was FUN! When my box arrived — look at that beautiful packaging — I literally jumped for joy.
(Note: I purchased all the products I’m using and reviewing. The company is kind enough to offer a discount and early access, but I’m spending my own dollars and sharing my own opinions!)
The collection seems to have quadrupled in size this year, so there’s tons to choose from! I only bought things I’m sure I’ll use, but there’s still a lot to cover in a single review post. If you want to jump ahead, here’s where we’re headed:
- The Flagship Vertical Planner
- Folios & Notebooks
- TL;DR (the bottom line)
- Where to Buy
- More from the Review Crew
Flagship Vertical Planner
My hands-down favorite is the Flagship dated 12-month planner. We’re going to talk about all the differences between this year’s planner and last year’s, but I can’t even wait one more paragraph to mention this one: for 2024, we have one major (exciting) change – say good-bye to the old O-ring and hello to the new luscious spiral coil! I have heard so much chatter over the last few years about how much most people prefer standard coil over O-ring, and the team at MäksēLife worked hard to source one that was big enough to handle the chunky innards of their flagship planner.
Can we take a minute to talk covers? Sierra and her team created some beautiful options, plus the artists who designed for the Artists’ Series knocked it out of the park. There are eight gorgeous options this year! It was so hard to choose – but I finally settled on “Messy Bits.”
Sierra Friend, the life coach who founded MäksēLife, often reminds folks to embrace the messy bits of life. It all matters – who cares if it looks perfect? And as a recovering perfectionist, I really resonate with that reminder. But not only is this my favorite slogan from among this year’s covers, I just adore the color palette.
The Flagship planner is 7″x9″ and 1.125″ thick. She weighs in at 3.15 lbs – so if you always throw your planner in your bag, be aware that it’s a hefty one! Mine usually stays on my desk, with occasional field trips to doctor appointments, and I don’t mind toting it around.
Dated for January-December 2024, you’ll get tabs for “Goal Setting,” all twelve months, and “Extras.”
Behind the “Extras” tab, we have 2024 and 2025 at a glance, plus 9 lined notes pages.
At the back, there’s a sticker sheet, a sturdy laminated double pocket, and the back cover has a slip-in pocket as well.
There are two layouts to choose from: Vertical and Horizontal. Both layouts share the same inspiring goal-setting pages and monthly views; plus identical planning pages for annual & monthly goals and weekly actions. In the Vertical layout, you’ll get seven lined columns plus a sidebar and seven habit trackers each week.
The Mäksē Way
If you’re new to this planner, let me share a little bit about what makes it so special. There are tons of books on the market with monthly grids and weekly spreads. There are also lots of goal-setting products out there. MäksēLife combines them into one book!
Let’s get real: most of us lose steam on annual goals (or new year’s resolutions, or whatever you call them in your life). It’s easy to make that list at the end of December… it’s hard to find the gas in the tank to keep making progress in mid-February. Right? We’ve all been there.
The MäksēLife system works beautifully because instead of just dashing off a list of stuff you think you should try to accomplish next year, you’ll consider thoughtful prompts in the Goal-Setting section of the planner that help you reflect on what really matters to YOU.
As you draft your Annual Goals in eight areas of life (Personal, Fun & Recreation, Work & Learning, Family & Relationships, Health & Wellness, Spiritual & Personal Growth, Financial, and Physical Environment), you’ll learn about the importance of having a few big stretch goals, but also progress goals and maintenance goals — and one of my favorite lessons: when to remove goals that aren’t serving you.
Then each month, there’s a two-page spread for Monthly Goals. By flipping back to review your Annual Goals, you can break them into chunks. What can you accomplish in the next 30 days that will move you toward that big goal you want to reach by the end of the year?
Another strength of the system is that goals always work side-by-side with reflections. So at the end of each month, there’s one page with questions to help you evaluate your progress.
The goal work doesn’t stop there! Before each weekly layout, there’s a single page with eight boxes. These Weekly Actions are where the magic happens. Sometimes you might have a single task to complete; other times you’ll have lots to do — but every week, you make a conscious decision about what you can do to move in the direction of your Monthly Goals.
And at the end of each week? You guessed it! Space for reflection, and prompts to get you thinking about what worked, what didn’t, and what adjustments you’ll make going forward.
Comparison Between 2023 and 2024
The new lineup of Flagship planners is only a small departure from the previous iteration. Here’s what I’ve noticed:
- This year’s covers are thinner, with more flex to them. The 2023 covers were thick like a hardback book. For 2024, we have a material that still feels sturdy and durable, but it’s less bulky.
- In the goal-setting section and on the weekly pages, the tiny “gratitude heart” has been replaced by the MäksēLife “Wheel of Life” icon.
- On the title page, a new shaded stripe indicates which version of the planner you’re using (ie, “Vertical Weekly Edition”).
- Each tabbed monthly spread has the same cover art and same header quote as 2023’s calendar (ie, “Progress, Not Perfection” is the slogan for April ’23 and ’24.) Sierra has said that she plans to overhaul the guts of the planners every other year, so look for all new quotations and slogan designs in the 2025s.
- Color schemes inside are identical to last year. There’s a small pop of color on the monthly spreads, but the weekly layouts are true neutrals in grayscale.
Folios & Notebooks
Speaking of color palettes, I couldn’t be more excited about a new product that launches this year in a range of saturated hues you’ll die for.
The new vegan leather A5 folios come in raspberry, navy, plum, blush, stone, and Mäksē teal. These come with 4 elastic strings to fold four notebooks (sold separately, or use any A5 notebook from other retailers) and both a magnetic and button closure. Inside, they’re decked out with a pen loop, five front pockets and one deep back pocket.
They weigh 12 ounces, and they have a hard back (great for writing against and to protect your notebooks) and a flexible spine. ADD PRICE!!!
I owned a previous version of the folio, and I really love the changes. This one is a little bigger, the vegan leather feels completely luxurious, the closure is 100x better, and the thicker backs are really useful when writing!
Now, like I said, these folios work with any A5 notebook. But I have to recommend the newest ones from Mäksē, because they’re really lovely!
If you’ve used MäksēLife dot-grid notebooks before, the newest iterations this year are everything you love in new jackets.
These still have leatherette cover, 60 pages, and A5 sizing (5⅞” x 8¼”) — now in mouth-watering shades of juicy green, deep plum, and ripe raspberry! The team added a ribbon bookmark to these, and they still have a laminated rear pocket.
Each notebook is $12, and you can also find previously released colors for sale (confetti dot grid, luna blue, makse teal, lilac, cloud, and gray) but the older colors don’t have bookmarks.
(Note: this round-up of all my Makselife notebooks includes one that is no longer available. The gray with gold embossing on the far right is from past seasons; the new gray notebook has matching cover embossing to the rest of the collection pictured!)
While we’re on the subject of notebooks, I can’t forget the 2023 Year-End Reflections guided journal. This is A5 sized, with 24 pages. MäksēLife launched this product last year, and it was a big hit — it makes a sweet journaling keepsake of your year, and it also helps you focus in on what you’ll want to work on in the year ahead.
These will be a free gift with $100 purchase for orders placed between launch day (9/28/23) and 10/3/23 – or they can be purchased for $10.
I’m gonna shoot you straight: Last year, I bought a couple of accessories and didn’t end up adoring them. (And I think that’s okay, because not everything is right for everybody!) The 2023 metal stencil bookmark was too heavy for my taste to keep it in my planner on a weekly basis. Also, even though I was super excited about the markers that premiered last year, I never really loved using them in my planner because they were so vivid and juicy that I always got shadowing.
But this year… This year I think they knocked it out of the park! At least with the items I’ve tried.
16-piece Rainbow Washi Tape Set
This set of narrow (5mm x 10m) washi has been designed to coordinate perfectly with the areas of life colors throughout the planners. Personally, I think I’m going to prefer the darker of the two shades.
The washi is writable, but I recommend doing some pen testing. My favorite Zebra Sarasa Mark-On 0.5 worked great, but Pigma Micron 0.35 and Pilot G2 0.5 were patchy and smeared. I hear ballpoint works great! The lighter colors are also great to use as highlight tape on top of writing.
The set comes in beautiful packaging and includes a 4″ dia. silver storage ring, for $25.
Sticky Notes Booklet
This set of sticky notes comes in a hardback folio for $22, and includes a variety of shapes — all of which are sized to fit beautifully in MäksēLife products!
I’m really pleased with these designs! They’re very writable (they look good with every single pen I tested). And the sticky seems to work great – I have had them in place for days, moved them to different spots on the page, and they aren’t getting loose at all.
The shapes include:
–flags in all 8 colors of life, both solid and with the bold stripe as shown here. The flags cover two lines in the Vertical.
–three square designs cover six lines each.
–two “full box” designs cover one-third of the vertical space (9 lines) and one design is the length of a “full box” but double-wide.
–there’s also a long design with rainbow check boxes that is the exact length of the Vertical layout sidebar.
Mini Sticky Notes (Pastel)
These come in the 8 colors for the areas of life; and you can choose between the bold or pastel colorways. You get 100 sheets per pad, and they’re in a convenient little folded cardboard case. At 0.75″ x 1.0″, they fit the width of the vertical columns on the weekly layout as well as the squares of the monthly calendar grid. These are $14 per set.
TL;DR (the bottom line)
Look, I get it. Sometimes reviews like this try so hard to cover everything important that they end up feeling endless! If this is a “too long; didn’t read” moment for you, here’s my bottom line recommendation:
If I could only use one planner in 2024, it would be the MäksēLife Vertical Flagship. The paper is luxurious, the layouts are useful, and the goal-setting process & encouragement are unmatched. If you want to get your life together next year, this planner is worth the splurge.– @michelle.nebel
Where To Buy
Everything is available at MäksēLife’s website. If this 2024 planner review has been helpful to you, I’d appreciate if you use my Affiliate link below. It doesn’t cost you a penny extra, but it allows the company to send me a small commission.
Want More from the Review Crew?
You can find more reviews from the marvelous review crew all over your favorite social media! On IG, FB, and YouTube, search for #maksereviewcrew. You can also check the Review Crew Guide compiled by Shantá Krick-Gathright by clicking here.
How Can I Help?
Do you have questions about the flagship planner, the folios, or any aspect of the MäksēLife system? I would love to help! Drop me a comment below.