This blog post is per the request of one of my coaching clients and fellow freelance writer, Sarah Li Cain of High Fiving Dollars and is a part of our planner review series. I’ve also since purchased and reviewed the Day Designer (current favorite) and the Desire Map Planner.
I’ve spent the last few weeks desperately looking for a good planner. As most Type A’s can attest to, there is nothing like a good planner to help you reach your goals.
I looked at The Desire Map planner but worried that I’d spend the money only to forget about it a month into the new year. I even went so far as to put it in my shopping cart but PayPal ended up having an error processing the order. I took it as a sign from the Universe that I shouldn’t get it and put the money in my Money for Me Account instead.
Wasn’t convinced by the Day Designer.
I’d tried the Erin Codren Planner in the past and wasn’t pleased. This one was definitely too bulky.
Tried to get a free PDF version of The Passion Planner but was too late.
Tried Leonie Dawson’s Amazing Biz + Life Planner and forgot it existed.
A Filfofax was pricey and looked like way too much work. (Or, all these people on YouTube who’d done really crafty things with their Filofax made me feel like my Filofax skills would be inadequate.)
It may seem like I’m just really picky about planners, but the reality is that I like things simple.
As long as I’ve got Google calendar and a piece of paper I’m usually good.
Furthermore, judging from my past experience I knew there was a high likelihood I’d spend the money and then not end up using the planner only to curse myself for having wasted money later.
However, with multiple writing clients, coaching clients and long-term projects in the works I knew I needed something a bit more organized or I was going to go insane.
Enter the Productive Flourishing Planners.
My client, Sarah, posted these free planners from Productive Flourishing on Facebook and I immediately went to go check them out.
After all, they had me at free. Meaning, I would no longer have to worry about wasting money.
So I’ve been giving them a shot for the last few weeks and here are my findings:
These are by far the BEST planners I have come across to help me plan monthly, weekly and long term goals (I stick to Google calendar and a notebook for daily).
They are simple, yet incredibly effective because they force me to plan efficiently and track multiple projects.
They let me see the month and the week at a glance.
Even better, they have individual project planners which I use for my long-term projects like the second book and an affordable membership subscription I’m working on for you all.
How I Use The Productive Flourishing Planners
I stick the planners on a whiteboard I have on my desk for easy reference. On the upper left hand side I’ve got long terms projects in view. These help me with weekly and monthly projects.
On the upper left hand corner I have the monthly planner and weekly planner. Since I switch these out with new printouts often I use magnets.
On the bottom left I have my money goals, my core desired feelings and my eating schedule. These are the closest to me as I work on my Macbook.
Long Term Projects
I use the individual planners for long term projects.
At the top I put the project name and due date. I then proceed to detail every single step with a due date for each step. I take it a step further and note whether or not it can be outsourced.
Seeing big projects in little chunks like this makes life a whole lot easier. Having these sheets next to my month and weekly planners allows me to make sure I don’t forget about big projects while I do my weekly client work.
Weekly and Monthly Planners
What I love most about these planners is that it forces me to take some time each month and each week to set myself up for success. For the most part I try not to pack it in to allow some flexibility for those projects that pop up out of the blue, events I find out about or spur of the moment things.
I also pretty much use the planners as they are but I make sure to add my own little flair.
1. Core Desired Feelings – I write these at the top every month and every week as a reminder to make decisions based on how I want to feel.
2. Major events and tasks that need to get done that month. I sometimes put personal stuff here too to make sure I work around my life and not the other way around.
3. Monthly tasks broken down by week.
4. Projects that could occur this month that don’t have set tasks yet.
5. Mini Abundance Tracker. I track when I made money and say thanks.
6. On Friday or on the weekend I’ll write the meetings that are already on the books for the following week. This includes coaching sessions, team meetings, interviews, etc.
7. Active projects that are being handled that week.
8. Deadlines I have that week.
9. Celebrating accomplishments.
10. Allotting time for writing projects and long term projects that week and detailing how long it should take. Once it’s done I jot down how long it actually took for reference. (This comes in handy when it comes time to raise rates.)
Bottom Right Hand Corner
This may not have to do with the Productive Flourishing planners but I keep them nearby to make sure I also take care of myself and other parts of my life.
Otherwise I could easily get sucked into unhealthy habits like overloading my schedule.
So when I’m planning long term goals, monthly goals and weekly tasks I keep these in mind.
1. Affirmation I’m currently working on.
2. I’m following Alisa Vitti’s WomanCode protocol so I’ve got the eating schedule where I can see it. Otherwise I may do that unhealthy thing where I get so into what I’m doing that I forget to eat. Not good.
3. Core Desired Feelings right where I can see them!
4. My current financial goals. I keep these in mind to push myself when asking for more, negotiating, pitching and planning.
5. Sample meals for the day in case I’m in a rush or just don’t feel like thinking. Goes hand in hand with the food schedule.
6. A thank you note one of my coaching clients sent me 🙂
And that’s it! That’s how I personally use the Productive Flourishing planners to manage multiple projects while adding my own little flair to them 🙂
You can grab the free planners here.
Do you use these planners? How do you use them?