for the Creatives, Showcasing other Creatives

The top 6 planners & systems for creatives to tackle their dreams

We all need a new planner to try every now and again, right? Here are some of the top planners for creatives in my mind: My favorites that I’ve tried, plan to try, or that I think are a super cool system even if they don’t work for me.

(Disclaimer-y thingie: Most of these are not affiliate links, it goes directly to the small business I’m recommending just because they have a super cool thing I gotta geek out about with you. If there’s a specific option on Amazon I love, I do use an affiliate link and will receive a small portion of sales made through that link.)

1. The Makers Yearbook

This is the one I’m excited about digging into next year!

Me holding a box saying the "Maker's Yearbook" on it. I'm sitting next to a christmas tree, but don't be fooled, it's not an early christmas present. I just decorated early :)

It includes strategizing for the year, social media and sales tracker, goal setting and review areas, and probably about ten other things I didn’t mention here. If you’re a creative, you should take a look. (Oh, and I share some pics of the inside in this blogpost, too.)

2. The simple & ginormous deskpad weekly planner

(That’s an affiliate link, I may receive a portion of sales thru that link). And here’s another option if you like the wooden look instead of the bold designs.

View of weekly planner with various tasks and appointments scribbled across. It's sitting on a desk, with coffee and roses in view as well.
pic from Amazon listing. This is an affiliate link and I may receive a portion of sales from purchases thru this link

Sometimes simple is effective without all the fluff. This was my go-to as I was juggling dayjob, publishing I Know You Like a Murder, plus regular home and family to-do’s. I didn’t need some complex system, I just needed a quick view to keep each piece moving in small ways. It took up half my desk and I had an area to list what I planned for each piece of my life.

3. The Finish calendar by Jon Acuff, for when the ginormous deskpad isn’t ginormous enough

View of large markerboard yearly planner propped up on an office desk. At the top it says "FINISH 2022".
Pic from sale listing at link above.

You got big plans for the year, and now you can track it all in one view. It comes in paper or markerboard option with both portrait and landscape views, and super reasonably priced.

4. The home planner, money planner, and student planner

Because creatives gotta stay on top of other stuff too.

Pic collage of various home planners and journals
Pic from sale listing at link above. This is a referral link where you’ll receive $5 off your purchase!

This year I used the home planner from Passionate Penny Pincher. (The link is a referral link where you’ll get a $5 off coupon, and I’ll get one too!). She also has a student planner and this money planner (this is an Amazon affiliate link, I may receive a portion of sales).

5. The Hero’s journal, for the less structured, more go-with-the-flow adventurer

To document all your quests for future generations, or, okay, just to keep track of it yourself 🙂

A grey hero's journal with gold embossing and an elastic band around.
Pic from sale listing at link above.

If all the dates and structure of a typical planner just boxes your dreamer spirit in too much, this may be the solution for you. Put on your (metaphorical or literal) hero hat and document your hero’s journey because you’re the main character of your own story. Includes both print and digital option. It’s an undated journal with a section to list your 3 tasks to “seize the day”, as well as allies, threats, and more.

6. Trelloing

Is it officially a planner? No. Does it help me stay on top of to-do’s and track my tasks with start dates and due dates and everything? Absolutely.

View of my public Trello board for what I'm creating currently. You can see cards about my various creative endeavors, items on my to-do list, what's scheduled and launches, and what's one step completed of a bigger project.
This is my public Trello board for what I’m creating currently. You can set up Trello in a way that works for you, even if that looks different than what’s working for me 🙂

Plus, it’s free and user-friendly, available on web and mobile app, and lets you invite members to your boards to manage family or business team tasks all in one place together. So versatile and still simple. Try it out!

And bonus planners if ya just want more:

You can also try out these amazing looking planners that I’m digging:

  • The Practice Planner, a great tool for any artist looking to consistently work on their craft.
  • The Passion Planner, for structure and creativity all in one space
  • The All-in-One Planner, with a unique layout to see the weekly and monthly view at the same time
  • The Clever Fox Planner (affiliate link), with multiple versions to scale up or down as you see fit. This planner is built to build harmony in all the pieces of your life coming together in one clear place for you.

Tell me about your fav planners!

I’m always on the lookout for a new planner tool to geek out over. There are too many planners in the world to choose just one, am I right? So what’s your fav? What’s been working for you, or what are you excited to try out next year? Tell me in the comments, I wanna hear all about it 🙂

for the Creatives

When your old planner suddenly no longer works for you

This is an ode to yearly planners of all sorts.

There’s something to be said about consistency and routine that builds momentum toward your dreams, whether that’s dreams of keeping up with juggling all the appointments and a clean home and work tasks, or dreams of publishing a book, building a creative business, or [insert your dream here]. Trusty old planners and systems are comforting.

I’ve had plenty of things thru the years that have worked for me (and, things that fizzle out or bomb outright).

In terms of yearly planners, I’ve went from a daily planner, to a weekly planner, and I’ve always despised the monthly views. I’ve went from ones that I can carry here and everywhere, to ones that are ginormous and fill up my desk. I’ve tried mobile apps, and I’m still absolutely in love with Trello for task management. I adore discovering a good new planner, but haven’t yet found one that I buy _every_ year. Inevitably I find something different that will work for the next.

Someone recently said* that because our brains crave newness, sometimes something that previously worked no longer works, and finding a new system is exactly what’ll help. That’s a comfort to this person right here, who craves routine and consistency and follow-through, and freaks when something no longer works when it “should”.

The new planner tool I’m trying this next year

This new year, I’m so excited to be trying out this Makers Yearbook Planner. I’m geeking out over every last bit of it. Take a look at these pictures and just _try_ to not click the link above to buy one of your own.

If you’re looking for a small business to support as a belated Small Business Saturday (or ever) and this planner interests you, go get it!

I have systems that are working this year, but I’m excited for this detailed plan to take me along the next steps of the journey as I work to publish my paranormal circus novel. Every year I think “Ahh, this planner is _the_ planner I will use forever, it’s the best system for me.” This year is no different. I’m convinced I’ll shell out the cash every year into eternity to have this beauty.

Granted, every year so far after thinking that, I have switched it up later for something new and shiny. But now, I kinda know why, because science 😉

So besides this shiny new planner, where does this leave us?

While drafting this post I began geeking out over just about every planner I’ve fallen in love with ever, but I reeled it in here. So, be looking for that post next if you want to see more amazing new options 🙂 And share your favs in the comments below!

If you have a system and it’s no longer working, maybe try switching some piece of it up – buy a new planner, try Trello, move your workspace around, or whatever change is beckoning you. (And hey, if you don’t have a consistent routine and that’s not working for you, maybe try making one – after all, that would be switching it up.)

Overall, let’s not be afraid when our systems no longer work, and let’s remember it’s not indicative of our work ethic or commitment. We can stick with it, lean in, and see what happens. But we are also free to let it go with gratitude for where it’s brought us thus far, and step into something new for the next season.

*Btw, hey, on that vague “someone recently said” thing above, I don’t remember who said these wise words, and I can’t find it. There’s a whole bunch of old publications related to it when googling, but I heard it from an individual’s website, social media, etc. If you recently posted about it somewhere or know someone who did, please post below or message me as I’d love to give proper credit here!