Best Laid Plans

Episode 67: Reflection Season, Planner Pad Review, and an Etsy Find

November 8, 2021

Some brief notes/links for this ep:

Planner Pad! The one I got to play with was the Green Ink Personal Size. I can see why these planners have a die hard following even if I’m not sure they work the same way my brain does! Many people who struggle with prioritizing (including those with ADHD) seem to love these planners. The brand has been around for 40 years so there are some relics of the past (phone directory . . .), which can feel charming or dated depending on your perspective.

But if we are going to be wearing 1990s jeans, we might as well embrace some vintage planning styles, too! After all, perhaps our attention felt a bit less fragmented back then . . .

Whistle & Birch! A big thank you to the listener who brought this Australia-based company to my attention. They offer a lot of things, but one highlight is the Daily/Weekly/Monthly “Hybrid Duo” with multiple layout combinations available! It’s fairly expensive with shipping to the US included, but I know the lengths that many (including me) will go to find the perfect planner.

from their site

Show Sponsor: PrepDish! Menu plans that are healthy and designed to help you do a lot of the prep work in advance of your busy week. In addition to the Super fast menus that I love, Prep Dish has gluten free, Paleo & Keto options so there is truly something for everyone. You can try it out with 2 free weeks —

Giveaways are coming! I have a number of 2022 Planner samples around that I would like to share with the world (rather than have them languish on my bedroom floor)! Stay tuned.

Very full week . . .

I have a seriously packed week ahead. Much of it is relatively positive; the issue is that I don’t see much (if any) margin to work on some (work) projects that are tugging at my consciousness. The good news is that perhaps the time change will work on my side!? Bedtime went swimmingly last night, and for once we were finished with all of the dreaded Sunday Prep by ~7 pm!

(I guess that depends on whether the kids wake up at 6 am this week, which will be revealed in about 25 minutes.)


  • Reply Lisa of Lisa's Yarns November 8, 2021 at 10:01 am

    The phone number list made me giggle a bit while listening on the call. It did make me think of a question for a future Q&A episode. Do you know of any little planners that are meant to keep track of birthdays/anniversaries/etc? I always write them in my new planner but it seems like a poor use of time for dates that never change. Something cute, small and easy to insert into my planner cover would be ideal!

    • Reply Jen November 8, 2021 at 11:31 am

      Oh! You remind me of this thing that my Dutch family we always had. We joked that it was the bathroom calendar but many Dutch people keep a perpetual calendar on on the wall (but often in the bathroom which is amusing) that lists birthdays and anniversaries … here is an example (there are some super cute ones on Etsy). And even my husband has come to rely on it for our niece’s birthdays. Very handy.

      • Reply Amy November 8, 2021 at 2:39 pm

        Jen — yes! She needs a birthday calendar on her bathroom wall! 😂

    • Reply Charlotte November 8, 2021 at 12:04 pm

      Erin Condren has them. They used to be included with the full planners but I think that ended. Here’s the link:

    • Reply Cate November 9, 2021 at 3:33 am

      Agendio! When you design your planner (choosing layouts, daily/weekly etc, one step is to enter important dates. The website can retain them too, so you only have to enter once and then choose to have them automatically appear pre-printed into any subsequent Agendios you design. It’s really handy!

  • Reply Elizabeth November 8, 2021 at 2:10 pm

    Love the look of that whistle & birch planner!!!

  • Reply Cheryl November 8, 2021 at 2:32 pm

    Hooray–thanks for your Planner Pad review.

    Despite being a diehard Planner Pad fan, the outer look of it is what keeps me looking for better looking planners, but I love the funnel system so it keeps pulling me back to it. I also hack the system by using the areas for what I need, such as listing gratitude things each week instead of listing expenses, for one. I also track my cardio and daily steps in one of the areas used for future planning, and have decorated past planners with washi tape (though I would love a more colorful and modern look from the company each year).

    For anyone else out there who is as into Planner Pads as me, there’s an “I love my Planner Pad” group on Facebook with a few other diehard fans. But yes, this system totally predates the Instagram-era of planner companies out there.

    Sarah, I know the company may not seem as compelling as some of your other guests have been, but would you be willing to interview a Planner Pad company person on your show? Maybe you could ask them how they are competing with the many other planners out there that are more colorful and on Instagram? Why DO they continue to offer a paper address book when so many people do use smartphones? (I’ve actually never used that part of the system). The company recently scaled back some of their products and now sell direct on Amazon–what other changes might be in store?

    Thanks again for doing this review!

    • Reply Sarah Hart-Unger November 8, 2021 at 5:08 pm

      I wouldn’t rule it out 🙂 I definitely see the value in the funnel system. And I’m sure the fact that it hasn’t changed is a benefit to some. But I do prefer a more modern look personally!

    • Reply Ellen November 11, 2021 at 6:05 am


      I listened to this on my way into work Monday and immediately got on their website and bought one. One of the perks for me is the phone number section! I imagine this planner appeals to a lot of government workers (including myself) who work in buildings where cell phones are not allowed. I keep a phone list in my current planner but it’s always getting crammed full and disorganized–this is going to solve that problem! It’s style is also very “government” in my opinion–wonder if any government entities actually have contracts with them to buy the planners for their staff?

      I’m also excited to try the funnel system. The only thing I wish it had was monthly tabs to flip to particular months more easily.

      Thanks for the recommendation!

      • Reply Susan November 12, 2021 at 1:08 pm

        It’s “government” but really, it is like a dupe of the 1980’s Daytimers in style.

  • Reply Anne November 9, 2021 at 4:28 pm

    I ordered a Planner Pad and joined the Facebook group mentioned above. This is exactly the system I’ve been looking for! As a contractor with two PT volunteer positions, I’m hoping it’s a great fit.

    Fun to see your podcast mentioned in the FB group too 🙂

  • Reply Susan November 12, 2021 at 1:07 pm

    OMG! The Planner Pad is so perfect for me! I would not have looked at it except for the review. But for work “wear many hats” and this seems to be a great way to manage all of them at once. I hacked my current Hobonichi Cousin weekly pages in the same format and it’s game chaning.

    Now I have a Hobonichi Cousin in its wrapping I need to unload. I’ll include the cute spoon or 2.

  • Reply Allee November 18, 2021 at 10:03 pm

    I love the layout of the Planner Pad, but don’t think I could ever use it as my full planner. I kind of hack my way to it using a Dashboard pad from Ink and Volt. It has a place for lists in multiple categories and a small place for scheduling the week. However, I then have to use a daily page to finish the job, but I do love that I can look at them both at once instead of flipping back to a weekly review page.

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