After 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 free 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 the planners based on the work that needs to be done. Through the years, they’ve been downloaded over one million times!
Want to have the full year’s worth of planners without waiting for us to update these every month? Check out the 2016 lineup of premium planners.
The 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.
Download: Daily Productivity Heatmap
The Monthly Action Planner
Basic idea: Projecting effectiveness further into the future requires a more holistic view of how your monthly objectives fit with your weekly projects.
Use when: You’re doing your monthly planning and review – this planner can be used with either the Action Planner Series or the Project Planner Series, available in our library.
Download: Monthly Action Planner – February 2016
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.
The Project Planner Series
(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, creative knowledgeworkers, and others who have control of their time but also grapple with ever-expanding project lists.
Use when: Calendars aren’t helping you get your work done and you want to get clarity on what needs to be done.
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 finishing your best work.
Use when: You have no idea what you should be doing and are tired of running in circles.
Download: The Productivity Jumpstarter
The Action Item Catcher
Basic Idea: We sometimes just need a place to capture action items for processing or doing later. Most people also brainstorm better off screen than on screen.
Use when: You have an action item come to mind and you want a safe place to capture it to do or process later.
Download: The Action Item Catcher
The Handoff Holder
Basic Idea: You likely have a lot of things on your plate that you could hand to someone else, but it can be hard to keep track of them all. Use this worksheet as a holder for the responsibilities, projects, and tasks you need to hand off to someone else.
Use when: It’s really clear that you need to hand something off and when you’re meeting with people to whom you can delegate responsibilities, projects, and tasks.
Download: The Handoff Holder
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.
Use when: You want to put some structure to your blogging because winging it just isn’t conducive to your shipping your best work.
Download: Blog Post Planner Set – February 2016