MEETING GOALS IS EASIER WITH THE RIGHT TOOLS:
If you've been here for a minute or two, you know I'm a huge planner. I've gone through various different planners over time, each one with strong merits for a small business owner. For a long time, I was a huge fan of the no-longer-available Desire Map Planners from Danielle LaPorte. I liked the process of focusing on how you want to feel, so I keep that at the forefront of all of my planning, especially when it comes to looking at the whole year. You can find lots of posts that talk about "Core Desired Feelings" and how to identify your own. This takes the whole person (YOU!) into account when planning your year, months, weeks and days. It's important, especially if you are running a small business. I’m going to share the planners I’ve used over the last few years. The planners are not affiliate links, just products I love to use.
Ink +Volt Planner:
So what do I use now? Primarily I use the Ink + Volt Goal Planner after it was recommended by a friend. I don't have to pick it up daily for it to be useful, but I usually do. I love it because it has weekly prompts that challenge you to reflect on something that may not be top of mind, along with lots of check-in on your existing goals. It’s concise, but also thoughtful. The paper is great and it’s not super heavy. All plusses in my book!
The Design Trust Planner:
Another invaluable product is The Design Trust Planner. This was previously the Dream Plan Do Planner, but has since changed names as Patricia at the Design Trust has streamlined things. I won't lie-- this planner changed my business. I'm not kidding! Way back when it was the Dream Plan Do it was (and still very much is) chock full of exercises that were a deep dive into a topic. I learned so much and honed my business very carefully using this planner. Even though I’ve done the exercises many times, each year or quarter they bring new insights that I can apply to my current situation. Each month the exercises and planning are around certain topics that are very relevant to creatives and makers: think finance, marketing, social media, etc. And every quarter you are encouraged to set a “juicy goal” or a big goal. I think of The Design Trust Planner more as a long-term, big picture, quarterly topic goal planner. I love to use it, but it's not my personal planner. It is really and truly a business planner, which you may not know it, but if you run a small creative business, you need this! If you are a creative entrepreneur and especially if you are a maker, you should really consider the investment in The Design Trust Planner. (note: The Design Trust website is undergoing changes, you may need to google ‘Design Trust Planner’).
I block my time each week on a Weekly Planner Page (made by Moi and available for purchase). I like a tear off page because I can tuck it into my planner and just as easily grab it and put it in my purse if I'm on the go. This is essential to me having a successful week. If I don't block my time, the hours seem to evaporate and the big things never seem to get done. I'll go into more detail on this in my next post.
I had a good friend who loves my weekly planner page request a daily page. I'm so glad she did. I don't often have to break my day down hourly, but I do like to put time blocking on this page and then write notes and brainstorm ideas for whatever it is I'm working on. It's also great to take along with you if you don't want your whole planner. Mine has been known to have shopping lists, phone numbers for calls I need to make, and other important details for the day. My Daily Planner Download is available here.
I have favorite everyday pens, but my favorite planner pens are The Paper Mate Flair pen. They write with ease, come in fun colors, and keep my planner looking fun, not so boring!
Not a fan of flair markers? OK, then try my favorite everyday pen! The Paper Mate Ink Joy Gel Pen is the best! I own way too many of these! I bought extras because they are the kind of pens that tend to walk away with people! Yup, they are that good.
Up next, how I block my time! For now, grab your favorite planning tools!