2016 … It’s time for all of us to think about starting fresh, breaking bad habits, forming good habits, and being our “best selves.” Sound familiar? For me, it seems like every year I tend to want to stay on top of my ever-active to-do list. And that usually means that I’m on the hunt for a new planner.
I have one rule: It has to be an amazing planner!
On the Hunt for a New Planner:
I’ve been using planners for what seems like forever. In high school, my family was a big fan of Franklin Planners. Then in college, I used my cheap planner from the University’s bookstore as my bible. Seriously it had every class, assignment, test, and school/sorority related activity on it. It was the only thing (aside from my friends) that told me where to be and what to do.
But then when I started “adulting,” it seemed like my planner habits were gone with the wind. I was either too cheap or too busy to jump back on the planner train.
Then in 2011, I became an entrepreneur. Back then, I was introduced to the glorious world of working my booty off with my full-time job and my direct selling business. I quickly realized that I had to have “a system.” So I ordered an inexpensive monthly calendar from my DM (that’s direct marketing) company that l could use to keep track of my life a bit better. I used that method for a good 3 1/2 years to keep track of home parties, virtual parties, meetings, work stuff, vacations, birthdays, etc. Granted that it wasn’t the most exciting of systems, and was the bare bones method to keep my head above water with a monthly picture of my life.
Midway through last year, I felt this urge to get even more organized and stay on top of my game on a daily basis. And my brain wandered back to “Planner Land.” I found that I was asking myself “Why hadn’t I had a proper planner in SO long?” I had no answer to this question.
So off I went on my hunt for a new planner to research away! I found that I was feeling called to have a life planner.
A life planner is basically how you keep track of your daily and monthly to-dos. And it can be an addictive hobby, as people get super crafty in organizing their day. In 2015, I did a ton of research and had narrowed it down between 2 companies:
- Erin Condren’s Life Planner – This is pretty much the first life planner most of us think of or come across. I know that there are some die hard EC planner fans. And that’s not a mistake. It’s large, pretty, and aims to keep you organized for every activity in your life.
- InkWELL’s Livewell Planner – Inkwell is pretty similar to Erin Condren. To me, I found the aesthetics to be the largest difference between the two. I loved the options Inkwell offers between a Classic and Flex planner so you can pick the style that works for you.
Bottom Line: I went with Inkwell for these reasons: I loved the look of it, and designs they offered. The cover is hard so it could withstand a lot of wear and tear. There were goal sections at the beginning of each month to help remind me of what I wanted to achieve. I also enjoyed how clean yet organized it was. And I’m a modern kinda girl, so it was the one for me. In case customer service is important to you, I can attest that InkWELL’s customer service is fabulous!
As 2015 wore on, I knew another planner would be the best way to stay on top of my goals for 2016. And while I loved my life planner, I was feeling more goal driven this year. I needed inspiration to get me energized every day to work in my planner! And then I discovered that planners could be focused around your goals and helping you get the outcome you desired.
Outcome Focused Planners:
- Leonie Dawson – My sister told me about Leonie’s planner. It was the first time I’d really thought about a planner from a goal-oriented aspect.
- The idea is about setting your intentions and plans for each month and how you would follow through with it. It’s a pretty eye opening and cool idea!
- Plus she has these amazing workbooks to help you get really clear on your personal and business goals (depending on what your need is).
- I have several friends who have recently mentioned Leonie’s planner and that they are using it this year. It’s definitely a great one to be inspired by and help you create big things.
- Danielle LaPorte – While I’ve heard of her for years, I only recently started following Danielle (she’s an author of several books and has tons of inspirational resources on her site) and got on her email list. I also started diving into her Desire Map book a bit as well.
- What is different with her Desire Map Planner is that you focus on how you want to feel and you think about what actions will help you achieve those desires.
- Sound too touchy feely for you? Well, stick with me.
- If you ever wonder why your big goals and resolutions tend to fall flat after a month or two, it could be because the work you’re putting into it isn’t fulfilling you in the way you thought those things would make you feel.
- Danielle flips it, to not let the goal drive your work, but to set goals with soul so they have more meaning.
- So if you are wanting to be inspired, or feel passionate, healthy, wealthy, or happy … fill your day with things that will help you achieve those feelings or get you closer to achieving them: Eating well, getting together with friends, planning a trip, taking up a new hobby, starting a new business, growing an existing business, etc.
Bottom Line: Between the concept of focusing on what I desired for 2016 (rather than getting hung up on all of the huge goals that may or may not happen) and the seriously gorgeous look of the planner … well I just had to try Danielle LaPorte’s planner for myself. It’s absolutely stunning (I got the Limited Edition weekly planner) with a really cool, modern art cover.
Plus I love the inspiration and that she keeps me focused on taking actions that will get me to feel really amazing about the year ahead. So far, so good … although the year is obviously just getting started. Oh and it shipped super fast, considering I ordered it at the end of December. #gametimedecision
A few questions to ask yourself when looking for a new planner that is right for you:
- What type of planner are you looking for? A life planner or a more goal focused planner? Totally different planners, so really think what you want to get out of it every day.
- How do you work most productively – Do you need a lot of structure, more space in a planner to design/plan out your day? Would you rather have a daily, weekly, or monthly focus on your planner? All options to consider (and more!) when choosing a new planner.
- The law of attraction — You HAVE to want to pick up your planner. It needs to excite you and inspire you or you won’t use it. #truthbomb So do your research, follow your soul, and figure out what designs and messages within the planner will pump you up! For example, personally I love having quotes in my planner to fire me up a bit.
- Size matters! – It’s true! Some people need a big, hefty planner to hold the contents of their life. Some want a small, streamlined planner to make it a more handy and easy to carry. I have learned after 2015 that I prefer one that is a bit smaller and thinner so it’s easier to fit in my purse or tote bag for quick access each day. Meaning I’ll use it even more!
It took me a while to settle on a planner this year for the above reasons. I needed something to keep me focused. But also a planner that would draw me in. It needed to speak to me, in its own planner-y way. And it certainly needed to be something that I could carry around easily that wasn’t heavy but was also durable. (It takes a lot to make me happy when it comes to my planners, apparently.)
Since I’ve been on the hunt for planners, it’s been amazing to see how many different varieties and brands there are. I love seeing people who can’t find exactly what they need and end up developing their own product to meet their needs. So do your research. There are tons of new planners companies popping up, your favorite brands (like Kate Spade) may have their own offering for you, and odds are good that your soulmate planner is out there!
I think a life planner is a great place to get started if you’re looking for a new planner, and it can be a bit overwhelming picking one out. If you want some help finding a great LIFE PLANNER for you, check out this review of tons of planners by Kayse Pratt. I found it through researching this week, and it’s quite thorough!
And I would LOVE to hear from you! What new planner are you using to take your 2016 to the next level?
Stay inspired & get inspired!