Today’s podcast is a long time in the making…
If I told you how many people email me about choosing the right business planner, I think you’d be surprised.
Or maybe not.
So today, I’m sharing which physical planners I’ve checked out, tried or will be trying in the new year.
This episode is perfect for you if if you’ve got an online business, love the look of paper planners, but wonder how practical they are for your business.
It’s a good question and the answer is not as cut & dry as you might think.
Here’s what we’ll cover in today’s episode, post & video:
- Can and should you use a paper planner?
- What are the best business uses of a paper planner?
- What are the reasons to use a digital planner?
- What I look for in a planner?
- Not into planning? Ties you down? Weighs you down?
Before We Get Started
Let’s start off by talking about choosing a planner. It took some time for me to really get this and changing my buying behavior, but believe it or not – it’s the system. Not the look. First priority for me is choosing the system that works best for me.
In most cases – I want a planner that gives me a clear space and prompt to write down my Top 3 tasks for the day, allows me to break down projects, and that’s easy to integrate with Asana or Trello.
You never want to take an extra step to use a planner — so always look for things that work together or can be made into a system or activity you do regularly.
Planner binding — whether it’s a notebook, a sprial bound, a ring bound, an arc bound planner – all that is secondary. This is where you get to play – but you’ll avoid unnecessary spending if you start with that system
Here are the ingredients I need in any business planning system I use… and they don’t have to be exact as long as I have space:
- A place to set my top 3 for the day
- No times
- Room for complex project planning
- Space for constant capturing of ideas
- Freedom to move pages around
- Freedom to pull things in or out of the system
For you – it might be a big calendar, daily pages because you like to journal everything you’re doing, maybe you want prompts, maybe it’s a place to keep track of personal/meals/place to track your blog posts/your videos or social media or maybe stats, financial information
So keep these in mind – today I’m sharing a few that I’ve been curious about…mostly I’ve stuck to the same system the entire year…
6 Planning Systems I’ve Tried For My Business
Here’s the condensed version of what’s covered in the podcast, and video. I wanted to give you the short and skinny about each of these planners.
Key elements that drew me to it
- Love watching the launch unfold
- Tonya Dalton really cares about empowering women to be more mindful about their goals, organization, and I just love how she includes the community.
- Top 3 area
- The honeycomb section before each month – a dashboard that allows you to set some monthly focuses
- A5 inserts
- Spiral bound
Will I keep using it?
- Short answer – no.
- Giving the spiral bound a new home
- Keeping the deskpad – monthly/honeycomb
- Not enough space to plan projects
- Keeping the A5 inserts in case I need a change
Is it good for business?
- Perfect for a 1 revenue stream business – coaching? Blog?
- Maybe good for businesses that want to simplify
- Not very interactive and doesn’t really allow you to track progress
- Project planning areas are limited – so I won’t be able to use it for this
- Amazing quality paper
- Beautiful design
- Entrepreneurial values
- Great brand for women
Here’s a quick video from their site that really shows the planner at its best:
Charmed Life Planner
- Key elements that drew me to it – um everything.
- Top 3
- List / vertical format
- Created by a business owner who uses it herself
- A complete system
- Different formats
- I’ve used it in spiral, arc, and 6 ring binder
- Every type of binding works if I need it too
- Allows me insert additional layouts if I need them – project planning, blank paper, and more
- Will I keep using it?
- Yes and will have a letter size version in my office (new and bigger than the normal a5)
- This is my ride or die, holy grail planner
- Is it good for business?
- Yes for me it is…
- Created by an entrepreneur who uses it herself
- Additional inserts and layouts to choose from to improve productivity
- Simple, classic, pretty
- Convenient since you print it out yourself
- Again – very small business minded brand and you know you’re getting a full system
- Pricepoint is fair based on value of planner
Here’s a video tour through this planner:
If you like this planner, grab it over at the Strange Charmed Shop
- Key elements that drew me to this system
- Freedom, creativity, and I'll be honest–the actual notebooks.
- Kim at Pretty Ray of Sunshine and Kara at BohoBerry
- Collections (projects, ideas…
- You create all the layouts for the month want – daily, weekly, maybe even a monthly layout. You have to draw everything in yourself.
- Index to keep ideas organized
- Different formats – any notebook you want
- Will I keep using it?
- Yes. Effective idea capture as part of my current system
- Yes for project breakdown
- Yes for personal journaling and notetaking
- No for project management – need Asana or Trello for collaboration
How To Bullet Journal:
The 90 Day Planner
And I’ve got one first that’s sits in its own category…it’s a 90 Day Planner specifically made for Todd Herman’s 90 Day Year program.
Butttttt – He’s not selling it commercially at this time, but if you join the program, you’ll have access to how to buy it, and also an app that goes along with it.
Think a planner meets the implementation system.
Think of this as a planner to help you practice, internalize, and start using what he’s taught you.
I’m excited to try this one out this year…Here are just a few shots of my planner:
Savor The Success creator Angela Jia Kim also has another planner worth mentioning here that also has 90 day system in place called the Daily Action Planner. It comes in 30 and 90 day chunks! You can grab it here or check out their video over at: http://savor-the-success.myshopify.com/products/90-day-action-planner
Some people like to really focus on a specific time period to work on projects – and this could be great for someone who doesn’t want to map too far out.
Strategic Planning Guides
These two have a similar format but are different in the way the material is expressed and I really do think are made for people with different sensibilities and styles.
She’s running her Planathon right now – so jump over to that group if you haven’t joined yet and also grab this guide – at $27 it’s a great, beautiful guide to what happened in 2016 and your plans in 2017.
I’ve bought it for the last 2 years now and will likely be ponying up the money again!
What I’m Sticking With and Why
The verdict? I’m sticking with the printable planner in the binder type system that allows me to remove things, add things…so the charmed life planner is my main squeeze for everyday planning and biz management. It gives me enough space to track what I need to and works well with my digital project management platform.
- Charmed Life Planner – either arc or 6 ring filofax
- Bullet Journal – Ideas, project, content, journaling
- Desire Map Planner – self care, journal, weekly checkin
Now – it’s unknown how I’ll use the 90 day year planner one, so stay tuned for that, but I’m thinking that I’ll begin in December to test it out for 90 days – I may print and insert the planner into my CLP binder.
Stay tuned for that!
One Final Comment
For those of you who don’t believe in keeping a to do list… and that you should be set free from a to do list…
I get it – you think this is a waste of time.
For me – writing things down is a way of cementing it in my brain or just clearing out space.
I don’t work in checklists really or to do lists but by mapping out projects.
I need something that I can take with me that’s not digital.
I’m more productive when I have mapped things out – digital or otherwise.
What’s your work style? Do you prefer a little analog and a little digital? If you made it this far, I bet you’re into some of these planners… or the idea of trying one of them.
Leave a comment below – let me know if you’re all up in a tizzy about choosing a planner. Would you like me to create a downloadable guide for you?
Ready to get started planning your next launch or next year? Check out my Launch Planning Bundle.