Best Laid Plans Planner Review

Best Laid Plans Episode #30: Makse Life Mini-Review + Q/A

February 15, 2021

MakseLife Mini Review

MakseLife is pronounced “Moxie Life” and has taken over the planning world (at least the Instagram one that I have observed) by storm over the past year! The MakseLife products are developed by CEO Sierra Friend, a life coach, and they have a heavy emphasis on effective goal setting.

MakseLife makes a very comprehensive (and heavy!) weekly planner, but today’s review focuses on the Quarterly Companion Notebooks, which I ordered and paid for myself as is my new personal Pod Policy.

Here are some pix! These are mockups, because I already have my own goal setting which I do in my current everyday planner. They are mostly based on reality, but not my actual pages.

Monthly goals by category. The rainbow colors are pretty! Lots of people use matching accent pens + markers.
weekly page. I had some trouble using the color codes/suggested categories.
monthly reflections
pen test!


The paper is great.

The framework for a goal-setting system is great, particularly if you don’t already have one.

The layouts are enjoyable and aesthetically pleasing (though I hate filling in blank monthlies!).

Very positive and active community on social media that may help maintain enthusiasm throughout your goal setting journey.

Would tuck nicely into an A5 system – example: could easily fit this alongside a Hobonichi Cousin Avec in a Hobonichi cover for a nice side-by-side system.


$48 for 4 fairly slim softcover quarterly notebooks seems a little steep, though the website sometimes has sales.

If you already divide your goals into different categories, it may be hard to adapt to the 8 realms this system suggests.


SPEAKPIPE! Just want to let you can now submit an audio question or suggestion! I joined Speakpipe with BLP in mind, but you could leave a BOBW-focused question there too, and then you’ll hear your voice on the pod.

So please – try it out! Would love to hear/feature some of you.


1- Goals vs to dos – what’s the difference?

I see goals as the completion of a more complete project, and “to dos” items to be done in one step/sitting. However, sometimes breaking a bigger goal into smaller ones can be psychically satisfying (to me, anyway!) and then the little goals can basically be to dos. (So . . . maybe it’s semantics!)

2- From a GTD die-hard, asking how to “manage these kinds of non-goal related tasks without falling back into an obsession with cataloguing every little thing on a set of context lists?

Summary of my answer: build into either automatic routines OR hard schedule landscape!)

3- “I often (pretty much always) have several projects going on at work. My concern is that I can forget where I have left off or what else is left to do to finalize implementation. I have folders, notes, piles all over my desk – looking at all of these can cause anxiety.  I am looking for a good paper project planner where I can keep progress and next steps for each project in one spot.

Summary of my answer: you don’t need a planner; you need something like an Organize 365-style Sunday Basket! Note: they also do have a work-focused product called the Friday Work Box, so I’m not the first person to realize this product’s versatility! Note – these are not affiliate links and I have not tried these personally, but I love the concept.


  • Reply Planner Whisperer February 15, 2021 at 8:35 am

    For Question #3: For project planning, I really love the Ink+Volt planning pads ( It’s a great way to capture project details and easily see where you left off and what you need to do next.

    • Reply Sarah Hart-Unger February 16, 2021 at 5:35 am

      Ooh! I can share with the original questioner as an addendum 🙂 Thank you!

  • Reply Cheryl February 15, 2021 at 9:28 am

    I work the same way as the woman who has piles of paper and folders for each project. I live and die by the Planner Pad planner. It has a weekly format with seven categories across the top page. You can use the categories to track projects and list what needs to be done for each project/category, and check things off as it gets done each week.

    • Reply Sarah Hart-Unger February 16, 2021 at 5:35 am

      So interesting! I feel like their products have such a following. Do you tear each sheet off? To me that’s what I think of when I see something called a “pad”!

      • Reply Cheryl February 17, 2021 at 9:37 am

        Not at all. The planner pad is actually a planner, not a notepad. Check them out at The planners are frankly super boring in terms of designs (I’ve decorated mine with washi tape in the past) but their functionality of setting up different categories and having goals funnel down into daily and hourly tasks is amazing for me.

  • Reply The Evely Pack February 15, 2021 at 11:08 am

    I think your speaking pace is perfect! It’s not too fast to listen to at regular speed, and I also don’t feel the need to increase the speed either. Love every episode!!!

    • Reply Sarah Hart-Unger February 16, 2021 at 5:36 am

      Thank you <3 !!!

  • Reply Evi February 15, 2021 at 11:49 am

    When a new project comes up during the week, do you update all your lists: weekly list, monthly list and annual list?

    • Reply Sarah Hart-Unger February 16, 2021 at 5:36 am

      I update my weekly list all week long as things come up, but you know what – I don’t ever touch the other two! If a project comes along that is big enough, it will make it onto the next monthly or quarterly list!

  • Reply 2016windaily February 15, 2021 at 4:31 pm

    This isn’t related to this pod, but maybe someone here will know? I am building my own 5 year journal, from a Wonderland 222 notebook. I have hit a snag, though. What do I do about leap year? Combine February 28/29 for 2024?

    • Reply Sarah Hart-Unger February 16, 2021 at 5:37 am

      Haha – yep, makes sense! Those days get short entries 🙂

      • Reply 2016windaily February 16, 2021 at 7:41 pm

        HAHA! BTW, I only listen to podcasts at normal speed. I figure if I really want to hear it, it’s worth savoring!! And, I listen to a lot of podcasts!!

  • Reply Courtney February 15, 2021 at 8:00 pm

    Sarah, you should checkout the Goal Digger Planner: I’m using it this year and loving it. Also, the price (even with shipping from Australia) is very reasonable once converted into USD.

    • Reply Sarah Hart-Unger February 16, 2021 at 5:37 am

      ooh good to know!! I will check out!

  • Reply Lisa of Lisa’s Yarns February 16, 2021 at 11:47 am

    I listen at 1.5 speeds and while you are one of the faster speaking podcasters I listen to, I can still listen at 1.5 speed and don’t have issues understanding you! But I like fast talkers and am a fellow fast talker!!

    • Reply Brooke February 16, 2021 at 5:04 pm

      I’d looked at Makselikfe before, and pulled the trigger with their imperfect sale going on today. $68 felt high, but $40 felt more reasonable to try out a new to me product. Thanks for the review! I think my plan is to simply rename some categories that aren’t focus areas for me. I love my powersheets but I can see the advantage if having everything in one place.

  • Reply Erin February 16, 2021 at 11:46 pm

    Holy moly! I am so excited that you are going to have Lisa Woodruff on the podcast. I’ve been following her since before she had physical products and I think she has a lot to offer your audience! I completely agree with your suggestion for the listener today regarding staring a Work Box for her office piles and as a way to organize the next steps of her projects. I have always been a very organized person, but following Lisa has helped me take it up another level. I currently have five of her boxes in place – the Sunday Basket for Household, the Work Box for my actual career, a Volunteer Box for my community service as PTA President (during the pandemic), another Work Box for my husband’s photography business and a Portable Sunday Basket (because I have been working from home for 11 months and helping Littles with Distance Learning with no designated home office). And a lot of her ideas will resonate with GTD followers. Of course, I use a digital calendar and a planner too, but there are things that need physical space too.

    • Reply Sarah Hart-Unger February 17, 2021 at 5:59 am

      Yes!!! And yep- epidode is coming. I think Lisa is amazing.

    • Reply Charlotte February 18, 2021 at 6:33 pm

      I’m intrigued by the work box idea. Did you buy her work box kit? Is it worth it?

      • Reply Erin February 18, 2021 at 9:42 pm

        Yes, I have several of her products, including a work box. I think it’s worth the investment for sure. But if you want to learn more, she has a great website and a great podcast too!

  • Reply Charlotte February 18, 2021 at 6:04 pm

    Do you know if MakseLife put the price of those books up? You said $48 and so did another review I saw, but they are listed at $54 on the website.

    • Reply Sarah Hart-Unger February 19, 2021 at 5:42 am

      Oh my goodness – it was $48 (I looked it up!) when I did the review. I guess they increased it!? I think it’s a nice product but honestly that is rather steep for relatively thin soft-cover books.

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