Free Planners

PlannersAfter years of struggling with the planners designed for and by office workers, I figured out that it wasn’t me that was the problem: it was the design of the planners.

Creative people approach their work differently. Most of us don’t work 8–5, and we don’t have projects that we can plan to get done during the same times each day. The limiting factor for us is not the amount of time we have available, but rather the type of time we have available.

One size does not fit all when it comes to planners. Check out the planners below to see which ones best relate to what you’re trying to do, and give them a try!

These planners all mate together well because they crystallize years of lessons learned about planning for creative people. Many people tell me that they mix-and-match them based on the work that needs to be done. That’s why work – our work – doesn’t always look the same.

If you want to do some longer-range planning and have more planner variants to boot, check out our 2015 Premium Planners.


Monthly Action Planner

Basic idea: Projecting effectiveness further into the future requires a more holistic view of your objectives.
Use when: You’re doing your monthly planning and review – this planner can be used with either the Action Planner Series or the Weekly Project Planners.
For more information: The Monthly Action Planner

Download: Monthly Action Planner - December 2014 (2246)

The Action Planner Series:

Basic Idea: Once you know when you work best, why not plan your weeks and days around that information? Do more work in less time by leveraging your natural rhythms.
Use when: You’re planning your day or week.
For more information: Read the Productivity Planners User Guide (27451)

Downloads:
Daily Action Planner - December 2014 (1913)
Weekly Action Planner - December 2014 (1711)

The Weekly Project Planners

(formerly called The Freelancer Workweek)
Basic Idea: Most of our work isn’t actually based on time – it’s based on the projects and tasks that need to be done. These planners highlight projects more than time. They’re great for entrepreneurs, freelancers, and people who have control of their time but also grapple with ever-expanding project lists.
Use when: You’re tired of time-based planners and want to get clarity on what needs to be done.
For more information: The Freelancer Workweek – skip down to “How to Use This Planner” if you don’t care about the design methodology.

Download:
Weekly Project Planner - December 2014 (1330)
Individual Project Planner (22303)

The Blog Post Planner and Calendar

Basic Idea: Brainstorming and planning your posts ahead of time may help you have a more streamlined, consistent, and insightful blog. Your mileage may vary, but it’s worth a shot!
Use when: You want to brainstorm and plan your blog posts.
For more information: The Blog Post Planner and Calendar – skip down to “How to Use These Planners” if you don’t need to be sold on why to use them.

Downloads:
Blog Post Planner - December 2014 (556)
Blog Post Calendar - December 2014 (398)
Blog Planner Set - December 2014 (518)

Productivity Heatmap:

Basic idea: You are more productive at some times rather than others.
Use when: You’re trying to figure out when you’re the most productive.
For more information: How Heat-Mapping Your Productivity Can Make You More Productive

Download: Blank Daily Productivity Heatmap (62484)

The Productivity Jumpstarter

Basic Idea: Sometimes we’re running around being busy but aren’t really being productive. This aid helps you stop running in circles and start making meaningful progress on your goals.
Use when: You have no idea what you should be doing and are tired of running in circles.

Download: Productivity Jumpstarter (v.2) (55027)


Last Month’s Downloads

In case I get the next month’s planners out early or you wanted to see how many people downloaded last month’s planners.

Monthly Action Planner - November 2014 (2571)
Daily Action Planner - November 2014 (2176)
Weekly Action Planner - November 2014 (2088)
Weekly Project Planner - November 2014 (1529)
Blog Post Planner - November 2014 (632)
Blog Post Calendar - November 2014 (489)
Blog Planner Set - November 2014 (671)

Comments

  1. David Baker says

    Hi Charlie,

    Any chance of making the planners available a couple of months in advance?

  2. Charlie says

    @David: I completely forgot to answer this comment earlier – sorry. I’m thinking of the best way to do this – I’ll try to do this for May.

    @Sandy: There’s apparently a problem with the plugin I’m using – I’m troubleshooting this at the moment.

  3. says

    I discovered your blog and the blog post planner a while back. Talk about a lifesaver! I fill out the whole planner with topics/titles, but not dates, then fill in the circles as I complete each one. I use it for my website pages and articles for the directories.

    Thank you for creating and sharing such a valuable tool.

  4. says

    Hi Charlie,

    Heard you on Career Renegade and really enjoyed it, then saw your site and dig the planners. I’m kind of a paper guy and also feel the need to get away from email/phone to get work done sometimes so I really like your concepts. When do you usually publish the coming month planners?

    Thanks, Chris

  5. Charlie says

    @Chris: Thanks! I try to upload the next month’s planners somewhere between the last three days of the current month or the first day of the next month. It depends on where the weekends fall and how much I get swamped at the end of the month.

  6. Merlin says

    I’m having some trouble downloading these planners – nothing seems to happen when I click on the links. When I look at the links in the status bar when hovering over them, they seem to just point to a directory with no file or extension specified, is this the way you wanted it? In any case, it’s not working for me.

    I’m using Firefox, btw.

  7. Charlie says

    @Merlin: I’m sorry you’re having problems. I tested it, and it worked just fine for me with Firefox; I went ahead and did some brief gremlin chasing anyway. Everything seems to be in working order. Let me know if you’re still having problems.

  8. merlin says

    Hi,
    I used another browser and got the files. Still couldn’t get them on Firefox though.

    Thanks for the quick response, anyway :)

  9. melissa says

    wow! this is exactly what i’ve been looking for…though i couldn’t really explain what i needed. GREAT JOB!!!! Thanks for sharing!

  10. Shay says

    Hello,

    I would like to thank you so much for all of the materials that you share with us weekly and monthly. I found you last month and I was wondering where have you been all my life.

    I am interested in receiving the following in a yearly format:
    Daily Productivity Planner, Weekly, Freelancer Workweek, Blog Post Planner/Plan Your Post, Productivity Jumpstarter
    How much would it cost to have next the end of 2009, next year two 2010 and 2011 available to print down at home?

    Please e-mail me with your findings. Thanks so much.

    Shay

  11. says

    Thanks for those Charlie.

    I’m going to try replacing these with what I’ve been using. I’m curious to see how it works.
    Kind regards.
    *Jared

    • says

      Thanks – you’re actually the first person to request that. I’ve been waiting for someone to request it before I went through the time to make them editable. Now for a few more…

  12. G.B. says

    I can’t believe that I am the only one to request that :-). I try to avoid writing whenever possible….so, come on people ask him to make the planners so that we can type in them :-)….

    • says

      People have asked me to make an online version, a shareable Google Calendar, and a spreadsheet – but not a fillable PDF, until now.

      I’ve been able to make it a fillable PDF for a while but didn’t know who would use it, as most users love to write out their plans. I think there are some advantages to writing them out, but I also see the advantages of typing them – especially when it comes to repetitive writing.

      There’s only so much time in a day, so instead of tweak it and add a feature I didn’t know someone would want, I done other things. That may change soon.

  13. G.B. says

    Ah, well, Charlie, don’t worry about it, if I’m the only one complaining maybe it would be a good idea for me to just write my plans like everyone else :-). Thanks for making them, I really do appreciate all the work you put into them!! Have a great New Year!!

  14. says

    Charlie, your site is very well done. I can’t believe it took me this long to find it, I hear about it from Darrens list on Problogger. You are putting structure into the days of online entrepreneurs. This is something everyone needs! Way to go!

  15. says

    Hi Charlie,
    I have recently found your site and I’m really enjoying your posts and intend to write a post soon about the productivity tips you provide.
    I have also downloaded your planners and I really like the way you have organized them.
    I just have one question about the correlation between the monthly and the weekly planner.
    In the monthly planner we have about five project slots for each week but in the weekly planner we have about 32 project slots. Could you please clarify what I’m missing and how I should go about using my monthly planner to prepare my weekly one.
    I’ve read all your guides and I’m still missing the point.
    Thank you for a great blog.

    • says

      Good question! There are three things to think about here:

      1) The M.A.P. is meant to mate with both the Action Series and the Freelancer Workweek, so it had to default to the one with the smallest number of project slots. (This is a secondary consideration, but still important to mention.)

      2) A project might take multiple days to complete. For the Action Series, this is really important, because that series is about time-management instead of task-management. So there are more slots because you might need to plan on one project overlapping.

      Example:
      You’re working on a major architectural design that will take up a large chunk of the day, but there are also a few reports to prepare each day for meetings and such. The individual reports would need to be slotted on their appropriate day, but you’d also need to give the design “space” in the day in order to keep each thing in perspective. (You could also chunk that major project down into sub-components, but that’s a prerequisite skill that I didn’t want to assume people had.)

      3) When I designed the Weekly Action Series, I knew that some people would be completely overwhelmed because they would feel that there was no way to get it down to 5 things and still get everything done. So I designed it to accommodate that – but also so they can see that they’re overcommitting themselves.

      Does this help?

  16. says

    Yes it does help and thank you for taking the time to give a comprehensive reply.

    I guess what I should do is try and adapt these planners a bit to suit my own workflow. (I hope that’s OK.)

    Thanks again for the help.

    • says

      My sincere hope is that you do adapt them to your own workflow, actually. I’d rather give you a tool that you use in a way that works for you than give you one that you have to use my way.

  17. says

    When will the new March planners be available? These are really helping me in starting my new blog…I appreciate them very much and was just wondering!! Thank you and Have a Nice Day!!

  18. Rod Mushero says

    I’ve used your monthly planners for over two years. How about plublishing the next’s calendar a few days prior to when it arrives.
    Can’t plan for May until May is not working for me.
    Any Ideas?

    • says

      Thanks for letting me know you’ve been around for awhile – I appreciate your continued readership and support.

      I usually try to post the planners a few days before the first of the month, especially if the month falls on a great planning time like over the weekend. This month I got a bit backed up, but the planners are available for download now.

      Another option would be to pick up the Premium Planners since they’ll allow you to forecast even further in the future.

      I’ve been considering changing the workflow around the planners substantially, though, and I’m hoping that’ll add some needed consistency in the pre-month availability of the planners.

  19. leila says

    Hey Charlie,
    You thought about putting a small two month calendar where the one month calendar grid is? It would decrease the amount of times those of us who are using planners would download by half (and maybe decrease visits to the site) but it would be less work for you to upload and monitor. I’d still come to the site anyways for useful reminders and strategies. Just my two cents.

  20. says

    yes i will like for your free paperback planner to be mail to me at mrs angie 1740 cheyenne drive in merced, ca 95348-1105 for the year 2011 thank you. mrs angie grimes

  21. kaitlyn hale says

    please send me a planner for my mom for christmas she really wants one and needs one and im only 12,so please send one to 17 chapel hill circle enigma,ga. 31749 thank you so much!:)