Too many ideas and not enough time? Planning the right way helps with that.
New for 2015: Like printed planners but don’t want to print and futz with them yourself? Check out our printed planners here. Same designs, printed and shipped to you!)
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 around setting appointments and meetings. The idea seems to be that if you get a place for all of your meetings, you’re good to go.
But, being a creative person, you probably don’t need to just track meetings – you need a way to plan out what you need to create and do, not just where you need to be. You need a system that helps corral your creative capacity into something more useful than checking email or Facebook.
You don’t need a system that helps you watch the clock. You need a system that helps you:
- Get your stuff done in the time that you have
- Balance those Big Ideas
- Plan out the small actions required to turn your Big Ideas into reality
That’s why our planners focus on helping you convert vision into action.
Libby O’Loghlin of RowingGirl.com says:
“One of the things about being self-employed is that you have to be your own Boss, Strategist, Research Team, CEO, CFO, HR, PR, Marketing, Comms and Creative Bureau. Throw parenting into the mix, and you realise at some point that if you’re not smart about managing time, energy and tasks, you’ll end up extremely busy–but not necessarily productive. It took me some time to realise that my style of working in a non-linear fashion is okay, and I just have to be smart about how I do it. I like to think of the Action Planners as the Boss, and I check in with them frequently to stay focused on the tasks and objectives at hand. They’re especially great for clarity when working concurrent projects with staggered timelines”
Collette Schultz of Savvy Subcontracting says:
“These are absolutely the best planners for my subcontracting biz. It keeps me on task with my own projects and multiple clients. Thank you.”
But how do you create planners that work for creatives?
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.
Kim Robson says:
“I’ve just downloaded the planners. I plan on printing either the annual or quarterly planners for writing down this year’s surprises to alert me for 2014. I am setting up my life on paper, and your pages are the best to use in conjunction with my digital life.
I am trying to schedule a teacher conference, so I know exactly when I can see her due to the empty slot, instead of trying to mentally fit her in on the calendar. I’ve decided to limit my “busyness” to five items, with one being appointments, one being housework (which NEVER ends), leaving three for all of those loose ends I create tons of lists to remember.
This morning, my boys (11 & 8) dragged their feet, were not prepared for the day, missed the bus, and I had to drive them to school. They know the after school routine, yet, after all my prodding, will not get ready the day before. Now they will start using your weekly action planner to get prepared for school.”
Plan Your Work, Then Work the Plan
The Premium Planners are organized into three series – the Action Planners, the Project Planners, and the Blog Post Planners. The series represent different approaches to workflow management: the Project Planner series (formerly the Freelancer Workweek series) focuses more on task and project management, whereas the Action Planners focus more on time management.
Both series help you integrate higher-level goals with runway actions. They 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.
Here’s the deal, though: 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. You can mix and match these planners, as they’re all designed to mate reasonably well.
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.
“These planners are fantastic for folks who work by project/ task rather than hour by hour. And I love being able to break projects down from the big annual picture down to quarterly, monthly, weekly, daily and to the time when I work best. Absolute genius.”
Bonus: Hey Bloggers, I Have Planners for You, Too!
After receiving an overwhelming number of requests, I created the Blog Post Planners and Calendars to go along with the Action and Project series. Now your blogging can support your greater business and creative goals by keeping you just focused enough.
If you’ve ever hit a wall trying to come up with your next blog post idea, you’re going to love these, because you always know when it’s time to write about a given topic again. Plus you can align your blog posts with your other projects to create brand resonance and a killer marketing strategy when you combine the Blog Post Planners with the other series.
Jen Vaughn says:
“I started following Productive Flourishing years ago and tried out the free planners a time or two. Recently when I became overwhelmed at work, I decided it was time to purchase the Premium Digital Planners. Rather than constantly trying to figure out a structure to keep myself organized, I finally realized that someone has already figured out the structure! Charlie provides the structure for me to be super-effective, organized, creative, and pro-active. All I have to do is show up and do the work.
I’ve found the blog planners incredibly valuable. Now that I’m using the planners, I’m finding and scheduling content much easier. Before using the planners, I was struggling to source and find content. With the planners I feel freer to explore. I expected the planners to help me get more organized. I didn’t expect the planners to help me feel more creative as well.
The planners force me to prioritize and pick what I’m going to focus on. Because I can schedule out for the month, it’s also given my bosses more realistic time-frames on when projects will be delivered. That’s sanity saving for all of us!
If you’re thinking of buying the planners, my advice is to do it. You really can start to think longer-term knowing that you have them all there and ready. You can buy the entire year’s worth of Digital Planners for the cost of five cups of coffee. It’s just $2 per month!”
So What Do These Planners Actually Look Like?
These planners are a visual product, so you need to see them to get them.
If you’re interested in how they’re sandwiched together and what you’re getting, 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 premium planners when they can just get their planners every month at no cost.
That’s a great question.
Here are a few key reasons the premium planners are worth the investment:
- Buying the Premium Planners will give you a head start on planning your year since you get all 12 months at once.
- You’ll no longer have to worry about coming back to the PF site each month to download the latest version. You can do your work without waiting on us to do ours.
- The Premium Planners also include the Annual Strategic Planner and the Quarterly Objective 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 Premium Planner customers to help keep them on track. We can’t hold you accountable, but we can help you hold yourself accountable.
- Most of us are prone to fall into a “someday/maybe” trap about using free stuff, even though 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?
Invest in the Format That’s Right for You
When you buy the 2015 planners, you get the rest of 2014’s at no extra cost!
p.s. If you’ve never bought a PF product before, you might be interested in the Momentum Kickstarter Kit. It has our most popular products bundled together, including the Digital Premium Planners, and at a discounted price. It’s a great place to start!