Best Laid Plans Planners Reading The Podcast

BLP Ep #8: Favorites & Some Exciting Fall Planner Releases

September 21, 2020

(First of all, thank you for all of your kind and insightful words in yesterday’s post! I’m writing this on Sunday afternoon to go live with tomorrow’s episode, but I really do appreciate it! Sunday has been a bit better so far. More on that topic tomorrow).

This episode is all about favorites related to planning! I discuss my 5 favorite books and podcasts related to planning. Please share yours in the comments – obviously I enjoy this genre 🙂


1- David Allen’s Getting Things Done

2- Laura Vanderkam’s 168 hours, I Know How She Does It, and Off the Clock

3- Cal Newport’s Deep Work and Digital Minimalism

4- James Clear’s Atomic Habits

5- Michael Hyatt’s Free to Focus

(By the way . . . I didn’t mention this on the podcast, but upon reflection I definitely see the lack of diversity in these authors and am open to finding some new additional favorites! I truly love these 5, though.)


1- Planners & Wine – new and totally fun. Myra & Megan are two die-hard planner girls, and they have great chemistry. Definitely suggest checking this one out for fun conversations all about the plannersphere (yes there totally is one).

2- Organize 365 Podcast – I love Lisa Woodruff’s positive spirit and her great ideas.

3- Deep Questions with Cal Newport – Yep, Cal again. Sometime I have . . . complicated feelings about this podcast, but he brings so many useful ideas to the table. Recommend.

4- Before Breakfast – Yep, Laura’s podcast! I don’t catch every episode but I do subscribe and listen to many! I am always impressed with how many fresh ideas she comes up with. If you are looking for daily dose of productivity inspiration, her podcast is a great place to start.

5- Michael Hyatt’s Lead to Win – Yes, they also have a podcast entirely focused on the Full Focus Planner, but I prefer Lead to Win especially now that Michael’s daughter Megan is a cohost. Great tips with an emphasis on delegation and rest. (I live vicariously through his naps & sabbaticals!).

Some Fall Planners On the Horizon . . .

SO MANY!!!! Mentioned:

Note – these are not affiliate links, as this post is emailed out. If you’d like to look for coupon codes etc, there a few on the Planner Tools page.

Cloth & Paper

Day Designer

The Stationery Muse (previous guest!)

Hobonichi (of course)

Whitney English


Inkwell Press

Ink & Volt


Jibun Techo

Cultivate What Matters / PowerSheets

(not mentioned on this ep, but will be soon: Wonderland 222)


  • Reply gwinne September 21, 2020 at 7:25 am

    Hi, Sarah. To your point about a lack of diversity among your authors: yes. But I do wonder the extent to which the problem is not with your particular reading habits but this sort of self-help literature (and I’ve also read everything on this list). I mean, as an associate professor at a major research university (and pretty well paid), I would not even qualify for Laura’s study in “I know how she does it.” $100,000 minimum salary?!

    I would love love love to read a productivity type book by a woman of color.

  • Reply Marjorie September 21, 2020 at 10:06 am

    Thank you so much for sharing this list! I’ve actually read 3 of the 5 books on this list and now aim to read the other 2, thanks to your recommendations. I also didn’t realize that there’s a huge world of planner podcasts out there. What a find!

    Re: productivity books by women of color. As a woman of color myself, I would also love to read more books and listen to more podcasts by and about WOC, regardless of topic, but especially business and productivity books, most of which seem to be written by and for white men and, to a slightly lesser extent, women. I’m sure it’s still largely reflective of a world in which business is still dominated largely by white men, from tech to publishing to even nonprofits. It doesn’t mean that there aren’t women out there producing and consuming these books, but it’s so much harder to find them!

    I don’t think the salary threshold is as relevant, though. Laura’s books highlighted that specific demographic for a number of reasons specific to her thesis (i.e., that women with big jobs can also have big lives that include children), but that doesn’t mean that only those women would find her books useful. I found lots of great, useful advice and insights from her books without meeting either of her main criteria: salary and mother of humans (I’m a mother of many dogs 😁 ). There’s no reason why productivity books need to target that same demographic.

  • Reply Jess September 21, 2020 at 11:10 am

    If you haven’t read Indistractable yet, Nir Eyal is Israeli and it’s a good book in this genre. He definitely disagrees with Cal Newports philosophy on some things, so you might find it interesting. I agree it seems way too hard to find diversity in authors in this area, and agree with the reader above that it reflects how difficult it is for people of color and women to succeed in business in this country relative to white men. I’m definitely going to come back to the comments to see if others have suggested reads!

  • Reply Jenn September 21, 2020 at 11:19 am

    I’m not sure if it truly counts in this genre, but I loved How to Break Up with Your Phone by Catherine Price. So good!

    • Reply Meghan September 21, 2020 at 1:32 pm

      I read How to Break Up with Your Phone shortly before lockdown started, and then I promptly through all of her advice out the window with screentime higher than ever, lol. But that was a good one!

  • Reply Marthe September 21, 2020 at 1:15 pm

    Also not only about planning but on setting priorities: Drop the Ball by Tiffany Dufy, and to a lesser extent but very inspirational: Rhe Year of Yes by Shonda Rhimes!

    • Reply Marthe September 21, 2020 at 1:16 pm

      Strange typo, The year of yes, obviously

    • Reply Sarah Hart-Unger September 21, 2020 at 2:06 pm

      Love drop the ball! And yes great idea I want to read year of yes. Adding to list … sounds like would be perfect for December 🙂

    • Reply Sophie September 21, 2020 at 3:26 pm

      Yes! I was just thinking of Drop the Ball as an amazing book by a woman of colour in that genre. It was very influential to me.

    • Reply Mariana September 22, 2020 at 6:00 am

      The Year of Yes is *so* good! I haven’t heard of Drop the Ball, will need to check it out.

      • Reply coveredbridgegenealogy September 22, 2020 at 2:26 pm

        The Year of Yes is even better on audio – Shonda reads it herself and makes you want to be her best friend.

        • Reply Mariana September 24, 2020 at 9:40 am

          Completely agree, I did it on audio too!

  • Reply Angie September 21, 2020 at 1:59 pm

    One planner you didn’t mention that I just found after doing HOURS of research trying to find the perfect planner for myself: The Spaces Planner. I just ordered one and can’t wait to see if it’s as perfect for me as I think it will be!

  • Reply Kersti September 21, 2020 at 10:51 pm

    Love your podcast!!

    • Reply Sarah Hart-Unger September 22, 2020 at 5:22 am

      Thanks so much Kersti!

  • Reply Mariana September 22, 2020 at 6:08 am

    I started listening to Planners and Wine on your recommendation and it’s so good, thank you!

    I have read all the books you mentioned, last year I was on a proper productivity/self improvement book kick. Some of my other favourites are Range by David Epstein, and Good Habits, Bad Habits by Wendy Wood. Not exactly about planning, but self improvement. And again also not very diverse, which I do think is a problem with the genre like one of the other commenter mentioned.

  • Reply Kristie September 28, 2020 at 11:14 am

    I loved this episode. I’ve started listening to Getting Things done – getting everything out of my head and into paper is a game changer!

  • Reply Liz Wine October 1, 2020 at 10:54 am

    This will be my 2nd year with a Sacred Ordinary Days planner, switching over from Happy Planner.

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