Planners for 2021: The best options for women

Planners for 2021: The best options for women

Every year, I share a list of my favorite planners for women. I highlight some of the best daily planners to help business owners and moms get organized and be productive. This is my list of best planners for 2021.

This year is different, to say the least. At first, I thought it was odd to share about organization tools amidst a pandemic when our lives are in chaos. Then I realized many of us need a good planner more during COVID. 

I hope these great 2021 planners and organizers will help working moms better manage hectic days of work, parenting, teaching, and keeping the peace with kids at home.

There isn’t one tool that works for everyone. That’s why I’m sharing a bunch of the best productivity planners—cute planners, custom planners, daily and weekly planners, perpetual planners, planners for moms, planners for college—basically, something for everyone!

(This post contains affiliate links. If you purchase via a link here, I may receive a commission. The price is the same for you whether you use my link or buy directly from the vendor.)

Feminist Agenda by Erika Firm for Minted

Feminist Agenda Monthly or Weekly planner (starting at $25) is a 5.5″ by 8.5″ planner that includes perpetual weekly or monthly planner layouts so you can start them on any date. It includes two sheets of colorful stickers to highlight birthdays special events and reminders. You can even customize the front and interior cover with your name and/or photos.

Learn more/order: Minted.com (search for “Feminist Agenda”)

Ashley Shelly 2021 Planner

Ashley Shelly

The Signature and Petite Ashley Shelly planners ($44.95 / $29.95) feature a combination of organization and inspiration. They include a weekly layout on two pages with equal space for all days of the week. Each day has a section for your schedule, to-do list, and notes or meal planning. I love the Creative Spreads, at the start of each month, which help you get inspired and set goals. The Signature planner has 6×9″ wire-o bound pages, a hard, semi-gloss cover. The Petite planner has 5×8″ lay-flat pages and a hard cover wrapped in smooth leatherette.

Learn more/order: AshleyShelly.com

 

Ashley Shelly 2021 Planner

Purple Trail

Throw Kindness Real Foil Daily Planner ($54.95+)  is completely customizable so you can make it fit your exact needs. Choose a hard or flexible cover (I love the smaller 6×8″ size, but 8.5×11″ is available for $10 more), and then make the inside your own. You get to choose from 10 different inside layout styles, colorful or gray pages, the month start date, and from 6 to 18 months. There are also a bunch of fun add-ons for a little more money, including stickers, pockets, and all sorts of extra inside page options. This company also has super specific planners for teachers, real estate agents, hair stylists, and more.

Learn more/order: PurpleTrail.com

 

Classic Panda Planner

The Classic Panda Planner ($24.97) is small but mighty. Inside the 5.25×8.25″ UNDATED planner you’ll find space for daily morning and end-of-day reviews, plus daily schedule, tasks, priorities, and notes. There are also weekly reviews and planning areas, monthly overviews and reviews, and space to work on habits. You also get access to eBooks on topics like “How to Crush Your Goals” and “A Billionaire’s Guide to Productivity”, plus a video mini-course on how to skyrocket your productivity. It comes in 4 colors and is likely to become your favorite planner.

Learn more/order: PandaPlanner.com

Inkwell 2021 planner

InkWELL Press 360º Disc Planners

360º Disc Planners (starting at $65) are full customizable and allow you to create the ideal planner for your lifestyle. No more trying to fit your schedule into someone else’s idea of how it should flow. The 360º Disc system offers multiple covers, page formats, and accessories. You can choose undated daily, horizontal weekly, vertical weekly, monthly, or goal setting spreads. It can take a bit to get the hang of building your own planner, but for control freaks (like me) it may be the best solution and worth the price of admission.

Learn more/order: InkWELLPress.com

The Best Self Planner

Self Planner ($9.99) is the most economical option on this list. It’s a six-month UNDATED planner designed to help you manage your time and plan your life. Use the various templates to get clear on your priorities, mastermind your future, and infuse every day with the things that matter most to you. Available in a black or coral hardcover measuring 7×10”, it includes a back pocket, two ribbon markers, and perforated corners. You can’t really beat the simplicity and price of this planner.

Learn more/order: BestSelf.co

The Day Designer

The Day Designer ($59 for the original size) is the first daily planner I ever used and I still have a special place in my heart for it. It’s a simple and easy system created to help women find balance and productivity. There are yearly and monthly glances, but this one is all about the daily pages. There is a focus on the top three things you need to do each day (my favorite part!). There’s also a ton of space for events, to-dos, notes, meal planning, gratitude, and more. If you prefer a daily planner, I doesn’t get more elegant and practical than this. Original is 9×9.75″ and Mini is 6.6×8.3″; both include hard, coil-bound cover (and there are 12 gorgeous cover designs to choose from!).

Learn more/order: DayDesigner.com

Commit 30 planner

The Commit 30 Planner

The Commit 30 Planner ($34.99) is designed to help you crush your goals and dreams by focusing on 30 Day Challenges every month. I freaking love this sleek little planner, which comes in weekly (Sunday or Monday start) or monthly formats. It includes vision mapping, planning and goal setting pages, life and work to-do lists, blank notes pages, a back pocket, and motivational quotes. Best of all, part of the sales of certain planners go to Ovarian Cancer Research Alliance (Jenny, the creator, is thriving after ovarian cancer in her early 20s). Available in compact (5.75×8.25”) or deluxe (7×10″), and both include faux leather covers with an elastic band enclosure.

Learn more/order: Commit30.com

Cultivate What Matters PowerSheets

The PowerSheets®  Intentional Goal Planner ($58) is a best-selling goal planning tool for a reason. They help you uncover the right goals for your season of life, have goal coaching on every page to keep you motivated, and include seasonal worksheets to refresh and refocus your goals. Plus, you get access to a free library of downloadable pages (including things like a meal planner, finance tracker, reading list, and budget). I highly recommend this system for anyone looking for a very in-depth, comprehensive approach to setting big goals. 2021 PLANNERS AVAILABLE OCTOBER 14

Learn more/order: CultivateWhatMatters.com

DAILYGREATNESS PLANNER

Dailygreatness Business Planner

The Dailygreatness Business Planner ($49.95) is a must-have tool for entrepreneurs, with an intuitive format that guides you to upgrade your thinking and strategy to reach your business goals. It includes a dated yearly planner, week-to-a-view pages, finance and budget worksheets, goal and appointment planners, and personal development tools in a simple daily, weekly, and quarterly structure. I love the 90-day high-level check-ins to keep you accountable for your goals. It features a lightweight, durable flexibound cover, 464-page full-color design, and is about the size of an iPad. 2021 PLANNERS AVAILABLE FOR ORDER NOW; SHIP IN NOV. 2020.

Learn more/order: Dailygreatness.com

Enneagram planners

Workspacery Enneagram Planner

The Enneagram Planner ($24.95) are designed to help Enneagram type actually plan in a way that makes the most sense to their unique needs. After all, why do we think there should be a one-size-fits-all approach to planning, goal setting, and list making? This collection features nine UNDATED weekly planners, each designed to embrace a distinct planning style, that include lined notes pages, monthly and weekly undated layouts, and more. Each book is 5x25x8″ with gold Wire-o binding, and spill- and tear-proof soft covers.

Learn more/order: WorkSpacery.com 

My PA Planner

My PA Planner ($39) is more than just a planner, it’s a road map for your success with everything you need to turn your vision into a reality. It’s designed for creatives, freelancers, and entrepreneurs who want to make the most of their gifts and lives. Think of it as having your very own 24/7 personal assistant helping you to stay on top of your game, stop you from feeling overwhelmed and help you make every single day count. There is a place for every goal, project, idea, thought or intention. 2021 PLANNERS PRE-ORDERS NOW FOR OCTOBER DELIVERY

Learn more/order: MyPAPlanner.com

Life Planners

The LifePlanner™ ($50+) is the ultimate planning system to get organized, achieve your goals, and preserve memories in one stylish space. This feature-packed design boasts two-page spreads per month, three layouts (vertical, horizontal, or hourly), stylish elements and inspirational quotes, coiled-in stickers, and a two-page goal setting spread. It’s ideal for anyone who loves scrapbooking or is otherwise artistic (and I know teachers love this one!). There are so many accessories you can use to personalize and make yours a true reflection of you! 2021 PLANNERS NOT YET AVAILABLE

Learn more/order: ErinCondren.com

Hope Planner

The Hope Planner ($34) is more than a daily planner with Bible verses—it’s an all-in-one Christian planner that combines a daily planner and prayer journal to help you be organized and put your faith first each day. This is a beautiful option for Christian women who need a daily planner that helps them make time for faith, just as they make time for tasks and appointments. It’s an UNDATED day planner with space for monthly project tracking, goal setting weekly sermon notes, and more. The planner is 9×8” inches with gold wire-o binding and a blue linen-wrapped hard cover.

Learn more/order: Hopefuel.co

Ponderlily 2021 planner

Ponderlily Planner

The Ponderlily Dated Planner (£35 GBP) is made with eco-conscious materials and plastic-free packaging, and is designed to prompt you to dream fearlessly, set meaningful intentions, and take bold actions. It available in either dated or undated weekly layouts, and comes in several beautiful colors. There are gentle prompts, lists, gratitude reflections, habit trackers, and more to hold you accountable and help you celebrate triumphs. This is perfect for my European readers: It won’t fly across the world to get to you, meaning a smaller carbon footprint, a cleaner conscience, and a smaller price tag!

Learn more/order: Ponderlily.com

Bloom daily planner 2021

Bloom Planners

The 2021 Vision Planner & Calendar ($29.95) has everything you could need. There are monthly and weekly views, monthly vision boards, weekly calendar, monthly spending tracking, contact pages, notes pages, monthly challenges, inspirational quotes, and so much more. The 7.5×9″ planner includes lay-flat spiral binding and a hard cover with tropical plam leaves and gold foil accents (there are many other cover options available, too).

Learn more/order: BloomPlanners.com

Bloom daily planner 2021

The Happy Planner

The 2021 Happy Planner x Teresa Collins Deluxe Classic Vertical Planner  ($32.99) is a gorgeous monthly planner filled with inspiring words and beautiful artwork. There are monthly and weekly calendar pages and dividers, space to write notes and reflect, a grid calendar, and individual spreads for every week (that include to-do lists). It’s 7.75 x 9.75″ and I freaking love this cover. But Happy Planner has a ton of other options if you don’t love the look of this one.

Learn more/order: TheHappyPlanner.com

There you have it! The best planners for 2021. I hope you find one you love! If you found this post useful, please share it with your friends and on social media. Help me spread the love for these amazing planners and organizers. Thanks!

Academic Year Planners: The best options for women

Academic Year Planners: The best options for women

Academic planners (or mid-year calendars) are typically made with students, teachers or anyone in education in mind. They aren’t limited to educators, though! Many business owners who operate on a fiscal year vs. a calendar year also prefer to use academic calendars. 

Whatever your reasons for wanting a calendar that starts in July or August rather than January, you’ve come to the right place. Here you’ll find a great list of academic year planners or mid-year calendars to suit your needs.

(This post contains affiliate links. If you purchase via a link here, I may receive a commission. The price is the same for you whether you use my link or buy directly from the vendor.)

Erin Condren Academic Planner

Erin Condren Academic Planners (starting at $37) are one of the most popular academic planners on the market, and for good reason. They are beautiful, fun, and super customizable. They include a tabbed and dated 12-month calendar with monthly and weekly spreads, lined pages for notes, detailed pages for tracking projects/goals or exams, inspirational quotes, and a coiled-in sticker sheet. I’ve met so many teachers, particularly those teaching younger students, who ADORE this planner. There are several pretty cover options so you’re sure to find one to suit your personality.

Learn more/order: ErinCondren.com

Commit30 Academic Planner

The Commit30 Academic Planner ($45) is perfect for mid-year goal-setters to track assignments, plan your week/month/year, and to take notes all in one location. There’s space for a yearly vision board, a place to track progress on your habit goals, motivational quotes, blank pages for notes and doodles, and a back pocket for storage. The 7×10-inch planner includes Monday to Sunday weekly layouts, and is available with three different cover options.

Learn more/order: Commit30.com

Bloom Daydream Believer

Bloom’s Vision Planners ($29.95) are designed to help you make all of your dreams and visions become a reality. Each month prompts you to detail out your goals and visions in the following categories—personal growth, relationships, health & fitness, family & home, fun & adventure, work/school, finances, and other. It runs July through July, and includes monthly vision boards and column-style weekly views for to-dos. The hardcover planner is 7.5″ wide x 9″ tall, and you can add fun extras like gold foil accents on the cover, monthly tabs, heavier paper, lay-flat spiral binding, and an inside pocket.

Learn more/order: Commit30.com

At-A-Glance Contempo Academic Planner

The Contempo Weekly-Monthly Academic Planner ($22.49) is a clean and contemporary planner that includes weekly and monthly spreads, 40+ blank pages for notes, and a double-sided pocket. Each month is tabbed, and there is one week per two-page spread with lined space for detailed notes; each day has a section for priorities. This 5×8-inch planner has a July start, and a flexible black or purple cover with twin wire binding so it easily lays flat.

Learn more/order: AtaGlance.com

Blue Sky Academic Planner

The Blue Sky Academic Planner ($7.99/$9.99) is a budget-friendly option that includes 12 months of tabbed monthly and weekly pages. The monthly view pages have a notes section for important projects and the weekly view pages include enough a lined writing space for more detailed to-dos, reminders, and ideas. It also features a clear cover pocket, contacts pages, and extra notes pages. The spiral-bound design allows the planner to lay flat. It comes in two sizes and a bunch of fun cover options to suit your style!

Learn more/order: Amazon.com

There you have it! My roundup of the best academic planners and mid-year calendars. I hope you find one you love! If you found this post useful, please share it with your friends and on social media. Thanks!

A great list of the best academic planners and mid-year calendars from BeckyMollenkamp.comA great list of the best academic planners and mid-year calendars from BeckyMollenkamp.com
Undated Planners: The best options for women

Undated Planners: The best options for women

There’s no law that says you can only get organized if you start on January 1st. It’s perfectly okay to take charge of your calendar at ANY time, and these undated planners can help.

Here are my favorite non-dated planners made for creative women BY creative women. This list of the best planners includes daily planners, life planners, custom planners, and more.

(This post contains affiliate links. If you purchase via a link here, I may receive a commission. The price is the same for you whether you use my link or buy directly from the vendor.)

Feminist Agenda by Erika Firm for Minted

Feminist Agenda Monthly or Weekly planner (starting at $25) is a 5.5″ by 8.5″ planner that includes perpetual weekly or monthly planner layouts so you can start them on any date. It includes two sheets of colorful stickers to highlight birthdays special events and reminders. You can even customize the front and interior cover with your name and/or photos.

Learn more/order: Minted.com (search for “Feminist Agenda”)

Classic Panda Planner

The Classic Panda Planner ($24.97) is small but mighty. Inside the 5.25×8.25″ undated planner you’ll find space for daily morning and end-of-day reviews, plus daily schedule, tasks, priorities, and notes. There are also weekly reviews and planning areas, monthly overviews and reviews, and space to work on habits. You also get access to eBooks on topics like “How to Crush Your Goals” and “A Billionaire’s Guide to Productivity”, plus a video mini-course on how to skyrocket your productivity. It comes in 4 colors and is likely to become your favorite planner.

Learn more/order: PandaPlanner.com

InkWELL Press Build Your Own Planner

360º Disc Planners (starting at $52) are fully customizable so you can create the perfect planner for YOU. This build-it-yourself system offers multiple covers, undated daily pages (in addition to many dated options), and accessories. Once you get the hang of building your own planner, it can be the best solution and worth the price of admission for control freaks (like me).

Learn more/order: InkWELLPress.com

Self Planner

Self Planner ($19.99) is the most economical option on this list. It’s an undated, six-month life planner designed to help you manage your time and plan your life. Use the various templates to get clear on your priorities, mastermind your future, and infuse every day with the things that matter most to you. Available in a black or coral hardcover measuring 7×10”, it includes a back pocket, two ribbon markers, and perforated corners.

Learn more/order: BestSelf.co

The Day Designer

Today & To-Do Non-Dated Planner ($39) is a beautiful, book-bound planner with a vegan leather cover (in blush, navy, or rose), gold embellishments and two ribbon bookmarks. It’s the perfect solution for slower seasons, extra projects and life on the go. It includes 90 daily undated planning pages, 13 undated monthly views, 14 undated weekly views, 10 note pages, and goal-setting worksheets.

Learn more/order: DayDesigner.com

Dailygreatness Planner

The Dailygreatness Business Yearly Planner ($49.95) is designed to help you hit your business goals. It includes a unique combination of an undated yearly planner, finance and budget worksheets, action and appointment planners, and the best personal development tools. Distilled down into a simple daily, weekly, and quarterly structure, this powerful tool will support you in creating the habits of a highly effective person.

Learn more/order: Dailygreatness.com

The Commit 30 Planner

The Commit 30 Planner ($24.99-29.99) With both weekly and daily non-dated planner options, these are perfect to start using at any time of the year! You can completely customize what month and what day of the week you want it to start on. The weekly is 7×10″ and comes in black, brown, and teal. The daily option allows for 6 months of planning, is a compact size (5.75x 8.125″), and come sin royal blue, silver, and violet.

Learn more/order: Commit30.com

Enneagram Planner

Enneagram Planner ($24.95) recognizes that a one-size-fits-all solution to planning doesn’t work. Instead, these undated weekly planners are made to match your Enneagram number. There are nine (one for each personality type), each designed to embrace the distinct planning style and preferences of the various Enneagram types. I don’t know of any planners like these, and I think they are so cool if you’re into Enneagram!

Learn more/order: WorkSpacery.com 

Undated Dot Journaling Planner

Bloom’s Undated Dot Journaling Planner in Marble ($18.95) runs from January through December, but you fill in your own dates so you can start using it at any time. The cover includes a protective plastic layer. This planner has monthly tabs, 12 monthly spreads with columns for notes and goals, 52 column-style weekly views, and daily views with a blank grid and time slots from 6 am to 10 pm. There are also 4 dot-grid pages at the end of each month for creative space.

Learn more/order: BloomPlanners.com 

Hope Planner

The Hope Planner ($34-47) is more than a weekly or daily planner with Bible verses—this is an all-in-one Christian planner that combines an undated planner and prayer journal to help you be organized and put your faith first each day. This is a beautiful option for Christian women who need a daily planner that helps them make time for faith, just as they make time for tasks and appointments. The undated weekly or daily planner has space for monthly project tracking, goal setting weekly sermon notes, and more.

Learn more/order: Hopefuel.co

Ponderlily Planner

The Ponderlily Planner (£28 GBP) is made with eco-conscious materials and plastic-free packaging, and is designed to prompt you to dream fearlessly, set meaningful intentions, and take bold actions. The undated weekly planner is available in warm grey, charcoal, or coral, and with Sunday or Monday start. It includes gentle prompts, lists, gratitude reflections, pockets for important papers, and more. This is perfect for European readers: It won’t fly across the world to get to you, meaning a smaller carbon footprint and a cleaner conscience!

Learn more/order: Ponderlily.com

There you have it! My roundup of the best undated planners made for women by women. I hope you find one you love! If you found this post useful, please share it with your friends and on social media. Help me spread the love for these amazing women who are making beautiful products to help all of us get more organized. Thanks!

list of the best non dated planners for women

list of the best undated planners for women

Journaling for Success: The Ultimate Guide for Small Business Owners

Journaling for Success: The Ultimate Guide for Small Business Owners

Productivity experts, business gurus, mindset teachers…it seems like everyone says journaling can change your life. You want to learn how to journal for success, but aren’t sure where to start.

You’ve tried to journal, but usually the blank page stares you into submission. After one or two entries, you quit. Or, it’s like you’ve been transported back to your teenage years and you can’t shake the silly “Dear Diary” feeling.

Don’t worry! This guide will teach you how to journal in a way that works for you

This guide is packed with journaling methods and resources to help you get started—and stick with it. It’s specifically for small business owners who want to harness the power of journaling to grow personally and professionally.

 

 

General Benefits of Journaling

Life can get hectic, and it can be easy to get consumed by all we have going on. Journaling is a way to slow down and take time for reflection.

Journaling is more than a feel-good, sound-good activity. There is plenty of scientific evidence to support that it actually delivers real and important results.

What’s more, writing accesses the left hemisphere of the brain, which is analytical and rational. This frees the right hemisphere to create, intuit and feel. That means writing harnesses all of your brainpower to find better solutions to problems.

 

Benefits of Journaling for Business Owners

Journaling is clearly useful for self-growth, which is useful for business owners. Additionally, there are other business-specific reasons that journaling can help create success. 

Whether you are hoping to launch a new business or wanting to grow an existing one, journaling can help.

1. Journaling sets ideas free.
The brain only has room for so many thoughts and feelings at once. Keep too many ideas locked up in your mind, and you’ll lose some as your brain makes room for others. Getting your brilliant business ideas out of your mind and onto paper captures them forever.

2. It increases productivity.
By releasing your brain from the responsibility of holding onto #AllTheIdeas, you free up space for others to take root and expand. That’s effectively doubling the number of ideas you can generate at any given time.

3. Journaling fills in the blanks.
Seeing all your seemingly disparate ideas on paper can help you (quite literally) draw connections among them. Finding those creative relationships can be difficult or darn near impossible when they’re trapped in your mind.

4. It weeds out bad ideas.
Journaling allows you to look at your business musings in black and white. This judgement-free space can help you more accurately evaluate which truly have legs—and those that sounded better in theory. Letting go of bad ideas quickly will keep you from wasting time and money on them. Even better, it can help you learn from them and perhaps reshape them into good ideas.

5. Journaling creates a record.
Tracking your ideas from fruition beyond implementation creates a record that can later be quite useful. When an idea comes to life and is successful, you can accurately reflect on how it all happened. This can help you re-create what led to your best ideas, and help lightning strike again.

Small business owners can use journaling to capture and track ideas for new businesses or offers. It can also help with brainstorming content ideas, planning social media, or mapping out sales funnels.

To get even more ideas for how journaling can help you and your business, check out How 14 Business Owners Use Journaling to Grow Their Businesses.

 

How to Journal for Success

There are as many ways to journal as there are people. Your journal is your own, and you can create it and use it however best suits you.

Not sure where to start? Here are a few ideas to help.

Journaling for success
As a business owner, a journal can be incredibly helpful in going from probable hunch to profitable reality (see above). You can use a journal to do biz-y things like hone your elevator pitch, brainstorm solutions to your customer’s problems, keep track of competitors and how you can separate from the herd, reflect on your values or your “why,” brainstorm ideas for scaling, dream about the future, and more.

No subject is off limits
Using a journal for business is great, but you don’t have to stop there. You can capture ideas of all sorts. Record your nightly dreams, write out a bucket list, jot down favorite mantras, or just jot down any random thing that pops into your head. If you do this all in one journal, you can later look for connections between seemingly random ideas. Or, you can use separate journals for different concepts.

Put pen to paper
Many studies have shown the benefits of handwriting vs. typing. Not only does it help you better retain information, it activates more areas of the brain to better unlock memories and trigger creativity. If you’re physically able, put pen to paper when you journal instead of typing or dictating.

Let it flow
Freewriting is a powerful journaling method. You write without stopping for a set length of time or until you fill a certain number of pages. Even if you only write, “I don’t know what to write,” you just keep going until time is up or the pages are full.​ The purpose is to free your brain from editing (or censoring) in real time. This allows our deepest feelings and ideas to flow. 

Too much can be too much
For journaling to have the greatest affect on your life and business, it helps to do it consistently over months and years. That said, too much of a good thing can actually be too much. Research suggests that doing it every day can be overwhelming, and that three to four days a week for 15 to 30 minutes at a time is ideal.

Shake things up
It can be easy to get stuck in a rut with anything, including journaling. If you’ve been doing it for a while and are feeling creatively stunted, do something unexpected. Write with your nondominant hand, try audio entries rather than handwritten, head outdoors or somewhere new to journal, use crayons, etc. Experiment from time to time to keep the creative juices flowing.

Let go of perfection
Nothing is a bigger killer of journaling (or any creative outlet) than perfectionism. Remind yourself that your journal is a private space only for you. Write quickly to help free your brain from worries about spelling, punctuation, and grammar. The more you can learn to accept and embrace bad writing, the freer you’ll be and the more rewarding journaling will become.

Try using prompts
There’s nothing worse than staring at a blank page. When you encounter writer’s block (and even the best writers do from time to time), journaling prompts can be a useful tool to help the words flow. More on that next.

The only rule with journaling is there are no rules! Treat your journal like an accepting, loving confidant, or like a free therapist. The more you open up to it, the more it will reveal to you.

Journaling can be messy, and that’s okay. In fact, in journaling and in life, in the mess is often where we find the magic.

 

Best Journals to Buy

If possible, use old-fashioned pen and paper to journal. Research has shown that people learn better and retain more information when they write things down instead of type. Even so, journaling in any form can be incredibly beneficial, so don’t let this be the thing that keeps you from starting!

Most stationery designers offer blank journals that are beautiful and may help inspire you to start writing! If you’re like some people and don’t want to “ruin” a pretty journal by actually writing in it, then consider using a basic notebook.

 

Read This: The Best Journals to Buy

 

You can also maximize productivity (and ensure you don’t forget to do your journaling) by having your planner double as a journal. Most daily, weekly, and even monthly planners have space for taking notes.

Prefer digital journaling? You can use the notes section in your phone or computer, or choose among the many online options for capturing your thoughts. Penzu is a private, totally customizable online journal (also available as an app) and Evernote has a very robust notekeeping desktop and mobile app that can be used for journaling (along with any business/personal notekeeping). Both programs have free versions.

 

Journaling Exercises

Still unsure how to get started? The easiest journaling practice is to simply take a few minutes and reflect on your day or dream about the future.

Each day, take out a sheet of paper (or your journal or planner) and answer one or several of these questions:

  • What made yesterday great?
  • What could have made yesterday better?
  • For what are you grateful?
  • What do you want to accomplish in the coming years?
  • How could you push closer to those dreams today?

Some other journaling exercises include things like writing out a simple pro/con list for a challenge you’re facing, doing a brain dump to get all of the thoughts in your head onto paper, a to-do list or a list of big-picture goals, or just writing uninterrupted for 10-15 minutes about a thematic word of the day (family, community, mindset, change, hope, etc.).

If facing a blank page feels overwhelming, but you want more variety than what I’ve already suggested above, then you may love using journaling prompts. These are questions or other starters to unlock your brain.

A few examples of prompts include:

  • Words to live by…
  • What I wish others knew about me…
  • I’m most content when…
  • What I’ve learned from mistakes/failure

If you love journaling prompts, check out these posts: Morning Journaling Prompts, Creative Journaling Prompts, and Journaling Prompts for Self-Discovery.

The ultimate guide to journaling for success for business owners, plus prompts to get started

Planners for 2020: The best options for women

Planners for 2020: The best options for women

It’s my favorite time of year—time to order fresh new planners for the new year! This popular post highlights more than a dozen of the best planners made for creative women business owners by creative women business owners.

I’m an old pro at this by now. I’ve been using paper organizers forever (seriously, I’ve tried and failed digital options many times), and this is the fourth year that I’ve put together this roundup. 

What I’ve learned is this: There isn’t one option that suits everyone. That said, I’m hopeful that among this great collection of planners you can find the right one for your organizational and inspirational needs.

(This post contains affiliate links. If you purchase via a link here, I may receive a commission. The price is the same for you whether you use my link or buy directly from the vendor.)

Feminist Agenda by Erika Firm for Minted

Erika Firm is an artist, designer, magazine hoarder, kitty squisher, wife, and mother. Known for her love of the color green, a perfectly imperfect stripe, and a well poured cortado, Erika resides on Johns Island, South Carolina. The unique charm of Charleston, her French heritage, oak trees with Spanish Moss, Lowcountry salt marshes, and every color Mother Nature has to offer inspires her work.

Feminist Agenda Monthly or Weekly planner (starting at $25) is a 5.5″ by 8.5″ planner that includes perpetual weekly or monthly planner layouts so you can start them on any date. It includes two sheets of colorful stickers to highlight birthdays special events and reminders. You can even customize the front and interior cover with your name and/or photos.

Learn more/order: Minted.com (search for “Feminist Agenda”)

The Ashley Shelly Planner

Ashley ShellyAshley Shelly Planner Roundup has a passion for planning and organization—on paper and in her environment. Her brand’s tagline is “Create Your Best Days” because she knows planning is such a huge part of a woman’s day (and life!). She created a planner that combines scheduling, to-do lists, and inspirational planning. “I believe function and inspiration are the key ingredients in a perfect planner,” she says

The Ashley Shelly Planner ($44.95) features a combination of organization and inspiration. It includes a weekly layout on two pages with equal space for all days of the week. Each day has a section for your schedule, to-do list, and notes or meal planning. I love the Creative Spreads, which are positioned at the start of each month, to help you get inspired and set goals. It has a hard, semi-gloss cover, and measures 7.25 x 9.25 inches including binding.

Learn more/order: AshleyShelly.com

 

Classic Panda Planner

The Classic Panda Planner ($24.97) is small but mighty. Inside the 5.25×8.25″ undated planner you’ll find space for daily morning and end-of-day reviews, plus daily schedule, tasks, priorities, and notes. There are also weekly reviews and planning areas, monthly overviews and reviews, and space to work on habits. You also get access to eBooks on topics like “How to Crush Your Goals” and “A Billionaire’s Guide to Productivity”, plus a video mini-course on how to skyrocket your productivity. It comes in 4 colors and is likely to become your favorite planner.

Learn more/order: PandaPlanner.com

InkWELL Press 360º Disc Planners

Tonya DaltonTonya Dalton, creator of Inkwell Press planners started InkWELL Press in 2014 to pursue her passion of providing productivity tools, training and education. She believes “in ending the glorification of busy. No one can do it all, but we can take what we’re given and develop a system that allows us to manage our days in a way that leaves us feeling happy and fulfilled.”

360º Disc Planners (starting at $52) are full customizable and allow you to create the ideal planner for your lifestyle. No more trying to fit your schedule into someone else’s idea of how it should flow. The 360º Disc system offers multiple covers, page formats, and accessories. You can choose undated daily, horizontal weekly, vertical weekly, monthly, or goal setting spreads. It can take a bit to get the hang of building your own planner, but for control freaks (like me) it may be the best solution and worth the price of admission.

Learn more/order: InkWELLPress.com

Dailygreatness Planner

dailygreatness planner founderLyndelle Palmer-Clarke os a recovering self-help junkie who’s read all the books, been to all the seminars, listened to all the DVD’s and followed all the gurus only to realize that something was seriously missing from the picture—applied knowledgeShe made it her life mission to empower others to apply self-help ideas into their lives so they can start seeing results, and created the Dailygreatness planner to help.

The Dailygreatness Original Yearly Planner ($49.95) combines a yearly diary, goal and appointment planner, and daily tools for self-mastery. It includes space for appointments, reminders, gratitude, intentions, and evening reflections. This beautifully designed undated journal, with 488 full-color pages, will inspire you to upgrade your life and achieve your goals. Why wait for January 1st to start achieving your goals, when you can start today. 

Learn more/order: Dailygreatness.com

The Commit 30 Planner

jenny newcomer commit 30 plannerJenny Newcomer searched for years for the perfect planner that would help keep her busy work and home life in order. Eventually, she decided to create our own and manufacture it in the USA. A successful Kickstarter campaign funded the initial 2016 production run, and now this planner is a popular choice among entrepreneurs, moms, and busy people of all types.

The Commit 30 Planner ($29-36) is designed to help you crush your goals and dreams by focusing on 30 Day Challenges every month. I freaking love this sleek little planner, which comes in weekly (Sunday or Monday start) or monthly formats. It includes vision mapping, planning and goal setting pages, life and work to-do lists, note pages, a back pocket, and motivational quotes. Best of all, part of the sales of certain planners go to Ovarian Cancer Research Alliance (Jenny, the creator, is thriving after ovarian cancer in her early 20s).

Learn more/order: Commit30.com

The Best Self Planner

Cathryn Lavery co-founded BestSelf Co. in 2015 because she wanted more from her life, and realized lack of time was her biggest obstacle. After too many days spinning her wheels, she figured there must be a better way to create success. She and her partner studied high-performance practices and created the Self Journal and Self Planner. They now donate one meal to Feeding America for every order on their site.

Self Planner ($19.99) is the most economical option on this list. It’s a six-month life planner designed to help you manage your time and plan your life. Use the various templates to get clear on your priorities, mastermind your future, and infuse every day with the things that matter most to you. Available in a black or coral hardcover measuring 7×10”, it includes a back pocket, two ribbon markers, and perforated corners.

Learn more/order: BestSelf.co

Cultivate What Matters PowerSheets

Lara Casey is passionate about helping women get unstuck, unrushed, and living on purpose instead of by accident. Because that was her story, too. She created PowerSheets to help women make what matters happen, right where they are. She wants to get women asking themselves what makes them tick, what do they most want to cultivate in their lives, and what are the things they’ve always wanted to do. I love that!

The PowerSheets®  Intentional Goal Planner ($58) is a best-selling goal planning tool for a reason. They help you uncover the right goals for your season of life, have goal coaching on every page to keep you motivated, and include seasonal worksheets to refresh and refocus your goals. Plus, you get access to a free library of downloadable pages (including things like a meal planner, finance tracker, reading list, and budget). I highly recommend this system for anyone looking for a very in-depth, comprehensive approach to setting big goals.

Learn more/order: CultivateWhatMatters.com

The Day Designer

The Day Designer ($59) is the original daily planner. It’s a simple and easy system created to help women find balance and productivity. There are yearly and monthly glances, but this one is all about the daily pages. There is a focus on the top three things you need to do each day (my favorite part!). There’s also a ton of space for events, to-dos, notes, meal planning, gratitude, and more. If you prefer a daily planner, I doesn’t get more elegant and practical than this.

Learn more/order: DayDesigner.com

The Refresh Weekly Planner

Jenna Murillo Planner RoundupJenna Murillo has felt a sense of magic with paper since childhood. She’s energized by turning a blank canvas into something beautiful. That’s what led her to planner design. “Designing a product that’s a stunning and functional tool for others was always a dream,” she says. “In 2015, fueled by the encouragement of friends and family and a fire inside of me to create, I fulfilled that dream.”

The Refresh Weekly Planner ($39.95) is back for 2020 with three fun new cover design options (they are all great, but the Kennedy, below, is my fave). The Refresh Planner includes a pocket design, goal-planning pages, monthly and weekly spreads, intentional space for weekly action steps and gratitude notes, and a notes section. It’s all beautifully bound with hard covers, so it won’t fall apart by April. This one always makes my list because it’s so pretty and practical.

Also, don’t miss the Enneagram Planners if you love that personality test. They are so cool for helping each type actually plan in a way that makes the most sense to their unique needs!

Learn more/order: WorkSpacery.com 

My PA Planner

Alexandra Stearn  tested numerous planners over the years, but none offered what she needed. She out to create the ‘Champion’ of planners—one with a place for everything, that addresses her productivity and time management problems, and is second only to actually having a personal assistant.

My PA Planner ($39-$49) is more than just a planner, it’s a road map for your success with everything you need to turn your vision into a reality. It’s designed for creatives, freelancers, and entrepreneurs who want to make the most of their gifts and lives. Think of it as having your very own 24/7 personal assistant helping you to stay on top of your game, stop you from feeling overwhelmed and help you make every single day count. There is a place for every goal, project, idea, thought or intention.

Learn more/order: MyPAPlanner.com

Life Planners

Erin Condren Planner RoundupErin Condren left 12-hour days in the apparel industry to become a stay-at-home mom of two. She developed a case of cabin fever, and searched online for career opportunities she could do from home. She began making cards for friends, and a friend encouraged her to sell her designs in June 2004. The rest is history.

The LifePlanner™ ($50+) is the ultimate planning system to get organized, achieve your goals, and preserve memories in one stylish space. This feature-packed design boasts two-page spreads per month, three layouts (vertical, horizontal, or hourly), stylish elements and inspirational quotes, coiled-in stickers, and a two-page goal setting spread. It’s ideal for anyone who loves scrapbooking or is otherwise artistic (and I know teachers love this one!). There are so many accessories you can use to personalize and make yours a true reflection of you!

Learn more/order: ErinCondren.com

Hope Planner

Heather Vreelandheather vreeland, creator of hopefuel christian planner for women is a wife, mother, founder of Occasions Media Group, and the creator of The Celebration Society, St. Augustine Social and Littleature Children’s Books. In 2016, she was inspired to design her own daily agenda that helped reorganize her priorities and make room in her schedule to read God’s word every day. That simple goal sparked new life and greater perspective in her normally stressed out days and became an agent of change in her life.

The Hope Planner ($34) is more than a daily planner with Bible verses—it’s an all-in-one Christian planner that combines a daily planner and prayer journal to help you be organized and put your faith first each day. This is a beautiful option for Christian women who need a daily planner that helps them make time for faith, just as they make time for tasks and appointments. It’s an undated day planner with space for monthly project tracking, goal setting weekly sermon notes, and more.

Learn more/order: Hopefuel.co

Ponderlily Planner

Carina Lawson, creator of Ponderlily plannerCarina Lawson is a Brazilian-born, Arabian Gulf-raised, Brit-wed, higher-ed executive, and twin mum. Like most of the creators on this list, Lawson created her planner for herself to solve her problem of overwhelm. “I’d internalized the message that making time for myself was less important than my to-do list,” she says. “But I wanted space to grow, learn, laugh, and to be honest, sleep, too!”

The Ponderlily Planner (£35 GBP) is made with eco-conscious materials and plastic-free packaging, and is designed to prompt you to dream fearlessly, set meaningful intentions, and take bold actions. It available in either dated or undated weekly layouts, and comes in several beautiful colors. There are gentle prompts, lists, gratitude reflections, habit trackers, and more to hold you accountable and help you celebrate triumphs. This is perfect for my European readers: It won’t fly across the world to get to you, meaning a smaller carbon footprint and a cleaner conscience!

Learn more/order: Ponderlily.com

Rule The World

Ilana Griffo Planner RoundupIlana Griffo decided to make a planner when she couldn’t find one that fit her needs. “As a design student, I wanted a place I could doodle, take notes, and stay on track of my classwork,” she says. In the last five years, Griffo’s planner has evolved to reflect her creative journey and her customers’ needs. 

The Rule The World Planner ($35) is full of goal-setting tools bound to help you crush your goals. From budget-planning worksheets to inspirational quotes, it’s bound to make this year your best yet.

Learn more/order: Amazon.com

Bloom Planners

Kaylyn Minix and Michelle Ashkin started Bloom in 2010 to appeal to everyone, from middle schoolers to moms. Their aim is to make staying organized trendy and fun. “We hope to use our products as a vehicle to inspire and encourage women around the world to accomplish their dreams. Never stop dreaming, never stop blooming!”

The Woman with a Plan Planner ($18.95) runs July 2020 through July 2021 and has a hard cover with reinforced metal edges. It includes a yearly mission statement prompt, yearly overview spread, purpose page, values page, life auditing page, things not to do page, yearly goal setting, vision board, habit tracking, ideal week planning worksheet, weekly scheduling template, monthly task tracking, monthly spending tracking, to-do lists, notes pages, contact pages, website login tracker, monthly challenges and more!

Learn more/order: BloomPlanners.com

There you have it! My roundup of the best planners for 2020. I hope you find one you love! If you found this post useful, please share it with your friends and on social media. Help me spread the love for these amazing women who are making beautiful products to help all of us get more organized. Thanks!

The best 2020 planners for women from BeckyMollenkamp.comThe best 2020 planners for women from BeckyMollenkamp.comThe best 2020 planners for women from BeckyMollenkamp.comThe best 2020 planners for women from BeckyMollenkamp.com
Don’t List

Don’t List

Even without knowing you, I can almost guarantee that you have a to-do list. And if you’re anything like me, you have a half-dozen or more! We make these lists all the time with the goal of remembering important tasks, and in hopes they will prompt us to start check items off.

Knowing what you need and want to do is important, of course, but have you ever given much thought to the things you don’t want to do? Probably not.

The truth is, a to-don’t list is probably even more important than a to-do list.

Having clarity about what you don’t need or want to do can go a long way toward helping you live a better-quality life.

There are many ways you can go about creating such a list. You can have make one each morning to help you reduce distractions and focus on pressing priorities. You can create a big-picture one to help you stay on your intended life path. You can also make them for various aspects of your life—professional, finances, relationships, parenting, etc.

No matter how you use them, the goal of to-don’t lists is to reduce distractions, temptations, and obligations so you can stay on your intended path.

Doing the right things is far more important than doing #AllTheThings. Getting rid of tasks and activities that you shouldn’t be doing will free up time and energy for you to do what matters most. And that will make you more effective, efficient, and happy.

“There is surely nothing quite so useless as doing with great efficiency what should not be done at all.” Peter Drucker, Managing for Business Effectiveness

How to Write a To-Don’t List

You need a guide for knowing what to embrace (to-do) and when to intentionally say no (to-don’t).

To do create your to-don’t list, identify what you want to let go of. What actions in your life suck up time, make you feel trapped, or are completely unrewarding? They may be things you want to completely eliminate or just hand off to someone else. Some will be big, others will be small.

Here are some guiding questions to help you think about what should go on your to-don’t list:

  • What are you priorities?
  • What do you want to get out of your (business, relationship, parenting, finances etc.)?
  • What are you currently doing that won’t help you achieve those goals or that aren’t contributing to success?
  • When are you least productive?
  • What do you find yourself distracted by over and over?
  • When do you most often get sidetracked?
  • What activities are you hardest to complete?
  • What do I always regret saying yes to?
  • What do I do out of a sense of obligation, guilt, or “should”?
  • What always leaves me feeling “icky” later?

Here are some examples of items that could end up on your to-don’t list:

  • I won’t answer the phone on the first ring.
  • I won’t immediately say yes or no to requests.
  • I won’t answer email before 10 am.
  • I won’t drink coffee after 2 pm.
  • I won’t accept meetings or calls from someone I wouldn’t have invited myself.
  • I won’t go to sleep after 11 pm.
  • I won’t try to win the regard of NAME.
  • I won’t use “just” or “sorry” without thoughtful consideration.
  • I won’t be lured by gossip.
  • I won’t feel guilty for saying no.
  • I won’t live in the past.

Write your to-don’t list on paper and post it above your desk. Keep a copy in your planner, in Trello, or in an app like ToDon’t so you can always access it when you are faced with a decision. The goal is to start relying on the to-don’t list as much as we get focused on our to-do lists.

Want to learn more? Read How Women Rise: Break the 12 Habits Holding You Back from Your Next Raise, Promotion, or Job by Sally Helgesen and Marshall Goldsmith.