Too many ideas and not enough time? Planning the right way helps with that.
I’m going to tell you a little secret: most planners don’t get you. Why? They’re designed by well-meaning people who are thinking about old ways of time management — specifically, about setting appointments and meetings in a traditional work environment. The idea seems to be that if you have a place to track all of your meetings, you’re good to go.
That idea is outdated.
To be effective and successful in today’s world of work, being in the right place just isn’t enough – you have to stay focused on the right projects and goals. You need a system that helps corral your creativity and expertise into worthwhile pursuits, rather than into just sitting in meetings, checking email, or getting lost on the Internet. Time wasted is time lost.
You don’t need a system that helps you watch the clock. You need a system that helps you:
- Keep track of what your big goals and projects are
- Translate those big goals and projects into action items you can do during the day
- Plan when you’ll be able to get those action items done
- Remind you of the progress you’ve made on those goals and projects
That’s a tall order. Luckily for you, we’ve used years of experience, teaching, feedback, and experimentation to create planners that meet those needs.
Our Planners Are More than Just Calendars and Appointment Books
Before I started designing our planners, I loved the idea of having a ready-made tool to help me find a place for all the ideas, goals, and ToDos rolling around in my head, but the reality of them was always disappointing. They were mostly calendars and appointment books, which were useless to me (gee, thanks for duplicating the calendar on my computer; that’s helpful).
As I worked with more people whose success depended on being able to convert ideas into finished projects and demonstrable results – leaders, entrepreneurs, artists, programmers, students, change agents, and a host of other creative types – I realized that I wasn’t alone in thinking that the traditional planners just weren’t cutting it. Unfortunately, bad experiences with those traditional planners have led many creative people to think that planners and planning don’t work for them.
But here’s a fact: creative people thrive when they plan how they’ll use their creativity.
Creative people – whom we call Creative Giants – need planners that support project management and time management, as well as a system that allows them to schedule creative work during peak times. Since I couldn’t find a product on the market that fit my needs or the needs of my clients, I started making my own planners.
Soon after, I started sharing them with my friends and readers, and along the way I experimented, revised, added, deleted, and finally developed a variety of planners that help creative people focus on doing what matters when it needs to be done, instead of merely helping them cross stuff off on a list. We’ve been at this since 2007 and our planners have been downloaded over a million times.
We offer two compatible planners: the Essential Daily Planner and the Premium Planner series. Let’s handle each in turn.
The Essential Daily Planner — Your Dashboard for Enhanced Effectiveness
Our newest and simplest planner is the Essential Daily Planner. It contains the essentials of our planning and productivity methodology and is in a handy 5?x8? size so you can throw it in your bag, purse, backpack, or coat pocket. It’s spiral bound and designed to be easy to use on the go from the get-go. That way you’ll always have a place to capture those great ideas, figure out what you need to prioritize and finish, and update your project list so you finally get a chance to celebrate that you got something important done.
The Essential Daily Planner focuses on three core principles that may simultaneously support and frustrate you:
- The best way to get Big Goals done is to break them into smaller doable parts.
- We need different levels of detail at different altitudes of perspective.
- Constraints help us focus on the things that really matter because they account for the fact that our reach always exceeds our grasp.
That’s all fine in theory, you say, but how does it actually work and what does it look like? Great questions. Rather than tell you, I’ll just show you in this quick video:
The Essential Daily Planner is a great starting point if you’re new to our planning system, and it’s a great companion for you if you love our other planners. It’s the 80% solution that will cover most of your daily planning needs, while our other, more detailed planners can be used to flesh out those days or projects that need more clarity and detail.
The Premium Planners — More-Focused Planners for More-Focused Needs
The Premium Planners are an interchangeable bundle of three more-focused planners:
- The Action Planners, which are best used when your work is more time-driven than project-driven
- The Project Planners, which are best used when your work is more project-driven than time-driven
- The Blog Planners, which are best used when your work is heavily dependent on creating content within certain time frames
The distinctions between the Action Planners and the Project Planners might immediately make sense to you, but you aren’t alone if you’re scratching your head a bit. The chief difference between the two arises from thinking in terms of what perspective best helps you get your work done.
Both series help you integrate higher-level goals with runway actions. Both series work equally well for creative people who have a hard time translating ideas into action, and for action-oriented people who sometimes forget to tie their actions to meaningful goals. Additionally, these planners rest on the same basic principles as the Essential Daily Planner, so you’ll quickly get familiar with how they work.
The Premium Planners provide different views of your work because most people need different types of structure at different times. When you’re in your groove, you might not need to worry about time management – you just need to get projects on and off your plate. On particularly busy or stressful days, you might find a time-based structure supportive.
This isn’t really an either/or choice; you can have both. So in that busy week, you can slide in a week of the Action Planners to make sure you get momentum rolling. The next week, you can swap in the Project Planners. Your objectives won’t change, so all that matters is that you’re getting the right type of support when you need it.
Planning Your Content = Better Content that Actually Gets Created
After receiving an overwhelming number of requests, I created the Blog Planners and Calendars. To be honest, they’re a bit poorly named, as they should be called the Content Planners because they’re great for tracking all sorts of content that you might want to create within specific time frames. They’re ideal for writers who need to meet deadlines, marketers who want to be more coherent and consistent on social media, PR folks who want to share their plans with clients, non-profits who need to get their communications out to their donors and benefactors, and so on.
The Blog Planners are for you if you recognize that your content work is suffering because it’s last minute and poorly thought through, and you need some aids that integrate your content requirements into your broader plans and goals.
If you’ve ever hit a wall trying to come up with your next blog post idea, you’re going to love these planners, because you’ll always know when it’s time to write about a given topic. Besides, what you’re actually doing is usually the best spark for finding something worth writing about.
So What Do the Premium Planners Actually Look Like?
These planners are a visual product, so you need to see them to get them. If you’re interested in seeing how they’re sandwiched together, go ahead and give these planners a look:
- January 2013 Demo Action Planner
- January 2013 Demo Project Planner
- January 2013 Demo Blog Post Planners
Why Buy When You Can Get Them for Free?
We offer limited versions of our planners every month for free, so some people wonder why they should buy the more-encompassing planners when they can just get their planners every month at no cost.
That’s a great question. Here are a few key reasons our planners are worth the investment:
- Buying the planners will give you a head start on planning your year because you get all 12 months at once.
- You’ll no longer have to worry about coming back to our site each month to download the latest version. You can do your work without waiting on us to do ours.
- The Essential Daily Planner and the Premium Planners include the Annual Strategic Planner and the Quarterly Objectives Planner to help you pull back the lens and get an even-bigger-picture view of your work.
- We routinely send prompts and follow-ups to our planner customers to help stay them on track. We can’t hold you accountable, but we can help you hold yourself accountable.
- Most of us are prone to falling into a “someday/maybe” trap about using free stuff. We love free stuff, yet we use what we pay for. Doing the stuff that matters isn’t a “someday/maybe” affair – we make or lose progress every day. How is what you’re currently doing working for you?
Ready to Get the Planner that’s Right for You?
As you can no doubt tell, we’re all about giving you the options that work best for you.
The prices range from $22 to $79, which amounts to a few cups of coffee a month no matter what you choose. Surely finishing more of the stuff that matters to you is worth a couple of cups of joe a month. (Especially since that’s probably one of the reasons you’re drinking coffee in the first place!)
The Essential Daily Planner costs $39 (+shipping). It’s available only as a physical product because if you’re already on a computer or printing things out, the Premium Planners may be a better fit for you.
The Premium Planners come in three formats: a digital-only format for $22, a spiral-bound printed version for $59, and a $79 deluxe printed version that comes with its own nice binder and with the planners hole-punched so you can tailor the system to be exactly what you want it to be.
The biggest considerations you’ll likely be thinking about are how much the planner costs, whether to get a digital or printed version, whether the planner is ready to use out of the box, how flexible the planner is, and how easy it is to travel with. Here’s a comparison chart to help you choose:
Digital Premium Planners
Essential Daily Planner
Spiral-Bound Premium Planner
Deluxe Premium Planner
Printed planners will be shipped to you within two days of purchase and normally take 3–5 business days to get to you if you live in the U.S. or Canada.
We’re excited to see how our planners help you start finishing the stuff that matters most to you. Get started today!