I want to be honest: Without my planning tools, I’d be lost. Having my day planned out is not just a nice feature, it’s a must-have for me. It’s essential. How many times have I forgotten a school appointment because I didn’t write it down? How many times did I have actual time to work for my business, to show up and promote; but I didn’t because I hadn’t planned something out in advance, and so the mindful “showing up” work ended up with me scrolling mindlessly through facebook?
Many people may find planning tools & routines boring. My intuitive right-side creativity brain thinks so, too. But my left-side analytical brain knows exactly what happens if we follow the creativity side and just try to wing it: I get busy, but I don’t get anything done.
The truth is, I need a framework to function. And every time I plan out my day, I can guarantee you that I actually get more things done. I am more productive, focused and mindful of my time. And at the end of the day, I feel more satisfied. I also fall asleep way easier because there are way less open ends that wander in my mind.
What are the perfect planning tools?
Over the years, I have used many different planners, apps, calendars and gadgets to find the “perfect” planning tools. Not only do I need a system for planning my day, but also need something to keep myself accountable and make sure that I take action. But I always ended up with a gazillion of additional post-it notes flying around as well as handwritten lists on scrap paper. But for now, I have found a solution by using planning tools that work well for me, and I want to share it with you.
Let’s face it: You have to wear many hats as an entrepreneur. Your business is for sure one of it – and it comes with even more hats included. But your business is not the only part of your life. You have to take care of yourself, your health and probably your family. Then there are (hopefully) also hobbies, goals, dreams… the list is endless.
Then, multiply this by 2 for every passion you have. If you read this blog, this means you might be probably multi-passionate as I am. Can you see how fast the items add up?
Should you use digital or conventional planning tools?
As a tech person, I totally dig all apps and other things that make my life easier. But there is something in me that thrives every time I put a pen to paper. Every time I write something on my calendar or my ToDo-list, something magical happens. It’s like my brain connects to the written word so much better than to anything I merely type. But on the other hand, a paper planner hasn’t space for all my ideas, goals, content. It also can’t hold anything else I need to store, organize or share. So anytime in the past I did either the digital or the conventional way of planning, I felt like something was missing. And it didn’t fall into place until I found Trello.
Maybe you have also come across Trello too since it has been around a while already. Trello is an app that organizes everything in your life as boards. Originally created as a project management software, its capabilities extend way beyond working only for business. Organizing your recipes and meal planning? Easy peasy. Planning your next holiday, birthday party or wedding? Done and done!
I basically use Trello for all my business needs EXCEPT client management (I use Teamworks Projects for this – but this is a different story). I plan and store my content there, I create my Social Media Schedule as well as my editorial calendars. I store important information (think license information, brand colors etc.) there so I have them available at a glance. I even keep all info regarding courses & programs I enrolled in there.
For my private life, I currently organize my recipes and do my meal planning with Trello. I also keep boards & lists that collect ideas.
Bringing it together
But Trello would only be one half if it hadn’t a trusty friend: my paper planner. It hosts all appointments, my To-Do Lists and also serves as a place where I can additionally write down thoughts & ideas. I also use it for affirmations, for my gratitude practice and to keep track of what I am going to eat throughout the day.
I have purchased a lot of paper calendars and planners over the years (look up Paperblanks for my absolute favorites design-wise), but they all lacked in some way or other. My main problem was most of the time that I had too little space to write in and to easily access my weekly overview as well as my daily spread.
After buying another planner fail (the planner itself was beautifully designed, but just lacked space), I gave in and finally created my own. I used Adobe InDesign to create a monthly calendar and an absolute flexible weekly overview with embedded daily spreads with plenty of space for everything – from appointments over meals to my mindset. I love that I just can adjust it on a week to week basis depending on if something in my life shifts. I also love that I don’t need to buy another planner.
I will, however, probably continue buying Paperpblanks – because they are just so pretty…
Which approach helped you to plan your life and your business? Share with me in the comments!
With love, sparkles & pixiedust