Best Laid Plans

BLP Ep #20: Dot Journaling with Guest Rachel W. Miller!

December 7, 2020

Rachel W. Miller is an accomplished journalist, author, and editor. She’s written two books, and one of them is focused on Dot Journaling — the art of using a blank notebook to track things, work through tough times, and generally find more joy in life.

She was requested by multiple blog readers and I was thrilled to have her on Best Laid Plans! She discusses her methods and why she wrote an entire book on Dot Journaling, her planning style over this past year, and more! There is a very funny moment when she reveals her current planner and I wish there was video so you could see my reaction.

Her book is available anywhere and would make a great gift (esp packaged along with a notebook or beautiful set of pens!).

amazon // Barnes & Noble // Indie Bound.
These are not affiliate links.

Links to some posts Rachel W. Miller has written on the topic:

WTF is a Dot Journal and Why Should You Start One? An Explainer.

Here’s How to Use a Bullet Journal for Better Mental Health

I hope you enjoy the episode! Working on one more planner review, a Q&A, and a Goal Setting ep to close out the year! Keep the guest suggestions and great questions coming!


  • Reply Amanda December 7, 2020 at 6:57 am

    Sarah – this isn’t related to this episode but a general question. My husband is a GI doc and works a lot both on clinical duties and research. He’s highly productive and a very hard worker, does way more split shifts than me and is working many nights and weekends while our daughter is sleeping/napping. However, he’s never been the most organized person when it comes to his schedule. He is also a mix of a rebel/questioner. We’ve both recently transitioned to attending roles and his place of work is also less than organized on a macro level (lots of staffing issues, questionable leadership) which has led to some scheduling issues and frustration. He made a comment the other day that “he needs to become more detailed oriented” which knocked my socks off but made me think maybe he is ready to adopt a system. Currently he uses just his outlook calendar but doesn’t put everything in there. I think he might continue to best w electronic, but I was wondering if there was a book I could give him to help get started on actually dedicating brain space to planning/organization which he has NEVER done. I was thinking of a Cal Newport book after hearing him on BLP but I haven’t read any of them myself yet. He doesn’t really have an issue with the “deep work” piece and can focus on things and get things done pretty efficiently. Any suggestions welcome! Thank you!

    • Reply JGold December 7, 2020 at 4:04 pm

      Hi – maybe Getting Things Done by David Allen. Not sure if that would work well for a rebel/ questioner but it’s a classic.

      • Reply Kersti December 7, 2020 at 5:45 pm

        Was going to make the same comment! David Allen’s system is technical but his personality is eccentric so this may be a good fit.

    • Reply Sarah Hart-Unger December 7, 2020 at 6:53 pm

      I was also going to say David Allen but I would also recommend . . . Best Laid Plans 🙂 I need to write my ebook for people like your husband (and my own husband . . .lol).

      Kidding kind of but I hate how my mind instantly went to “what established old male productivity guru would your husband be interested in hearing from?”

      (and yes that’s on me!)

      Also recommend he check out Cal Newport’s podcast! Capture / Configure / Control might be ideal for him . . .

      • Reply Sarah Hart-Unger December 8, 2020 at 6:33 am

        ALSO- the Michael Hyatt / Megan Hyatt Miller suite of products/ books (free to focus, full focus planner, focus on this podcast)

  • Reply Amanda December 8, 2020 at 9:43 am

    Thanks for your suggestions! I will check these all out. And I will eagerly await your ebook Sarah ;).

  • Reply Alyce December 9, 2020 at 3:31 pm

    I so enjoyed this episode, especially about letting go of planning during traumatic times. The past two years have been rough, and my planning has been inconsistent at best. Mostly because planning doesn’t seem all that relevant when you’re in situations that remind you again and again that you have so little control over life. Also, just have to say that Rachel is best friends of a friend of mine so I’ve been lucky to hang out with her in real life a couple of times and she truly is lovely. I have to admit to having a real friend crush on her. Even my husband (who largely pays zero attention to people who focus on lifestyle anything) pays attention if I note that Rachel said/endorsed/shared whatever I’m about to tell him.

    • Reply Sarah Hart-Unger December 9, 2020 at 3:47 pm

      She was so nice and I really enjoy her writing style.

      • Reply Sarah Hart-Unger December 9, 2020 at 5:24 pm

        Also I mentioned your notes about my overobsession with smudging on one of the December episodes 🙂

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