Best Laid Plans

BLP Ep #80: Budget-Friendly Planners, Confidential Info & More

February 7, 2022

1- Planner alternatives to the Whitney English Week on One Page with similar layout:

Ashley Shelly


2- Budget-friendly planners!

Blue Sky! Here’s the popular Day Designer collab, and the Inkwell Press (love this option!)

Clever Fox

Plus, watch for crazy flash sales on Whitney English’s IG.

3- Planning daily when you have lots of confidential info:

I do a lot of daily planning that has ‘coded’ confidential info (ie, it will just say “schedule res mtg” rather than the person’s name) and I use it for a lot of non-work priority setting (workout, habits, etc).  If you are interested in trying time block planning, having a daily layout is helpful!

One idea: daily planner pad that you could tear off and shred at end of each work day.  Ink and Volt makes a lot of nice ones!

4- How to handle “bridge months” – ie those beyond your current planner when you haven’t obtained the next one yet?

Low tech version that I’ve used in the past: free printed monthly calendars from timeanddate, tucked into the back of my planner cover. Just don’t lose them . . .

Potential option: simple list or layout in the back of your planner (if there is room)

Fanciest option: a little monthly planner book (I used an Ashley Shelly version at the end of 2021 to plan 2022! It’s no longer on her site, but I’m sure she will have something similar next year)

5- The next step for BLP . . .

At the end of the episode, I talked a bit about how overwhelmed I have been feeling. I do not necessarily plan on making changes to BLP, but need to take a hard look at when I fit it in, and how much time it actually takes (it usually takes less than 1 hour per week to draft / record / upload the ep, but I am not always strategic about when that hour happens . . .). Note: I do not do any of the editing or post-production work for either podcast.

I do plan on sticking to one guest / month and probably could continue one review ep, one Q&A ep, and one “concept” ep / month. Maybe I’ll also start airing a greatest hits ep on months with 5 weeks. That might be a nice compromise/break!


  • Reply Jen February 7, 2022 at 9:20 am

    FWIW, i subscribe and will listen whenever episodes pop up. Take any breaks you need. You are in a hectic phase of life and it’s supposed to be fun!

    • Reply Mary Alice February 7, 2022 at 11:21 am

      I second this thought!

  • Reply Taryn February 7, 2022 at 9:24 am

    I’ll absolutely keep listening if you upload twice a month or have shorter ones. I don’t want you to get overwhelmed or burned out!

  • Reply Helena Murphy February 7, 2022 at 10:18 am

    Hi Sarah, just finished listening to this week’s episode and fully support you lightening your podcast workload.

    Some suggestions:
    1. What if you kept new episodes dropping on the 1st and 3rd Mondays of the month

    2. On the second Monday you could air a past episode
    – from the exact same week one year ago
    – from a list of your favorite episodes
    – from a list of favorite interviews

    3. On the 4th Monday you could air a compilation of a few (2, 3?) recordings of listeners who, through record a question feature, share the following:
    – first name
    – where they live
    – what they do
    – what planning system they are using
    I would veto any self promotion though! It would be a sneak peek into your listeners creative ways to plan for a variety of lifestyles and careers.
    It would require a little bit of work from you, since you’d have to select these and group them but probably far less work then creating a new episode.

    If a month has a 5th Monday, you could air another past episode.

    Even if you just skip 2-3 Mondays per month, I am sure most listeners will be happy with whatever you offer us. Be well!

    • Reply KGC February 7, 2022 at 11:01 am

      For what it’s worth, the suggestion of airing an old episode is something I’d also enjoy with BOBW. I’ve listened since the first episode so have literally heard all of them, but that also means that some discussions previously not relevant to me now are because my kids have aged since you started! So if you and Laura ever feel like you’re at a loss for content or just a regularly scheduled ‘off’ week, I would fully support airing older episode (either ‘best of’ BOBW [your or Laura’s fave ep], or one from the same week year(s) back or, if there’s a repeat guest coming up, the previous episode with that person, etc.).

    • Reply Susan February 8, 2022 at 8:01 am

      I vote for this plan – two new and two blasts from the past.

  • Reply Amanda P. February 7, 2022 at 11:24 am

    For Q1: I have been lovng the Sproated Planner, but just learned about this and thin kit also looks amazing:

    For BLP, I’m subscribed and will download when they come out; maybe monthly would work well? I’d love to see a post/podcast on if our generation constantly turning hobbies into side hustles is healthy. I’ve been thinking about that a lot since you posted on your overwhelm last week. I tend to just have hobbies but think a lot about how I “should” monetize them, but then think it will likely take the fun out and make me more overwhelmed than I already am with my family/FT job/high level board positions/friends/hobbies. I’m tired just typing that list 😉

    • Reply Amy February 7, 2022 at 1:48 pm

      I think the phenomenon of people feeling compelled to monetize their hobbies is really interesting. I feel like it’s probably driven in part by 1. consumerism and the desire for more (I can make money from my hobbies??) 2. a cultural disdain for leisure — having free time to pursue what delights you is a little juvenile and embarrassing; now your leisure time is productive! and 3. credentialism, a desire to be seen as an expert at whatever you do. I think you’re right on to keep your hobbies as just that!

    • Reply Brooke February 8, 2022 at 12:42 am

      This would be a great discussion point – maybe on BOBW with a guest? I’d love to tune into that!

    • Reply Anandi February 8, 2022 at 1:28 pm

      OMG I have so many thoughts on this, as someone who monetized both creative hobbies (making jewelry and scrapbooking). I hated it enough to quit making jewelry altogether, though I’m starting to come back around to it after 9 years. But man, I needed a break. I quit the side hustle with scrapbooking before it made me hate it, thankfully. I’m just not cut out for that. But I read a great article several years ago saying it’s definitely an American cultural thing – that a lot of hobby-prioritizing, good work life balance cultures like Denmark and the Netherlands, think it’s so weird we would try to monetize a hobby 🙂

  • Reply Lisa of Lisa's Yarns February 7, 2022 at 11:39 am

    I think 2 episodes/month would be great. I suspect all of your listeners are happy to listen at whatever cadence works for you! Kelsey and Erica’s episodes are every other week and that is just fine with me!

  • Reply Katherine B February 7, 2022 at 1:35 pm

    Outlook has just decided today that your regular email whenever you have uploaded a post is junk! Three years of not being junk and suddenly it is! This is not relevant to the points you are making at all but just annoying! I wondered a few times today if last week’s call had been so bad you had missed posting a BLP episode and then there it was in junk at just the normal time it always is! Keep to whatever makes you feel more in control on podcasts; and personally it’s more important to me to get regular posts on the blog – but absolutely no pressure on that either.

  • Reply Dominique February 7, 2022 at 1:55 pm

    I fully support you skipping weeks but please don’t re-air old episodes more than about 20% of the time. Too much repeating is a trigger for me to unsubscribe.

  • Reply Mark February 7, 2022 at 2:33 pm

    I’ll happily subscribe no matter how often you have new episodes: every other Monday, once a month with occasional bonus episodes, etc. I don’t think you need to repeat episodes during the “off” weeks, but personally I’m fine either way.

  • Reply Amanda February 7, 2022 at 3:45 pm

    Answer/advice to #4 – “bridge months” (ie those beyond your current planner) — blank page at the end of your planner is what I’ve done for years. It’s a simple system and it works. 🙂 I just add the next year’s dates in list format. Then when I buy and set up the new planner, I use the page as a list of dates to add to the new year.

    #5 – Yes for 2 episodes/month.

  • Reply Brooke February 8, 2022 at 12:40 am

    2x a month is fine – it would give me time to catch up on other podcasts 🙂 I agree with others on not reairing old episodes (unless maybe you add 5m of updated content in the beginning?). Any podcast player shows your old episodes which people can pursue if they are interested. But also – it’s OK to stop if it’s no longer working for you. Life changes. With BOBW, you are not completely out of the podcast game if you ever want to come back.

    • Reply ARC February 8, 2022 at 5:41 pm

      thanks for posting this. super interesting.

  • Reply Jenny February 8, 2022 at 4:13 pm

    Just a thought for the attorney who wants to do daily planning with confidential info. Could she use her client matter numbers? They are not protected the same way medical record numbers are and would be an easy way to code her schedule.

  • Reply Angie February 8, 2022 at 4:59 pm

    I will listen however often you put out new episodes and if you choose to re-air past ones, I will listen to those I want and skip those I don’t think I can get anything out of the second time around. I love what you do so please don’t stop altogether!
    I have a suggestion for the listener who liked the Whitney English planner except for the binding around the spiral – cut the binding out so then the book will flip in half.
    I second Amanda’s suggestion of using a couple of the notes pages in your current planner for “bridge months”. Also, most of the planners I have used have a two-page layout of the next year which you could use to pencil in dates as you start to get them.
    Really interesting comments about the drive to monetize your hobbies. I have thought about that a lot as well. In addition to this podcast, I listen to several others by women who have either a side hustle or a full time gig based on their hobby and for awhile it made me feel the pressure to do the same. I remind myself often that it’s not a requirement!

  • Reply Helena Murphy February 8, 2022 at 9:30 pm

    The Spaces planner website is having a SUPER SALE now (don’t know how long it will last). It’s a very unique layout which I am enjoying using (combined with an Erin Condren petit daily planner). The “abstract” Spaces is down to only $22

  • Reply Alyce February 9, 2022 at 12:03 pm

    I guess my only feedback is don’t worry about what we, your listeners want. What we want doesn’t really matter. What do you want? What works for your life? You don’t need our approval for a decision that reflects what your want and what works for your life. You don’t owe us anything.

    • Reply Sarah Hart-Unger February 9, 2022 at 12:15 pm

      Thanks Alyce. I DO owe the sponsors that I have booked for BLP, but I don’t think they care if the podcast is less frequent as long as their ads run. And i could always just refund them.

      I truly appreciate your comments. I hope my blog gives as much to you as I get from your thoughts!

  • Reply KIRSTEN February 21, 2022 at 8:15 am

    Just want to say that I like others who commented would listen whenever you post a new episode. I loved going back to the beginning and listening to all of your episodes. You have fun and relevant content! Take time for you and your family or whatever you need. 🥰

  • Reply Tammy Igo April 19, 2022 at 3:14 pm

    For the “Bridge Months…” use your “Calendar” Slash Pocket in your Sunday Basket! Another great reason to get a Sunday Basket from Organize 365! You can write dates to remember on index cards, or you can slip invitations and appointment cards in the slash pocket! Then, when you’re ready to start planning the next bit of time, or write in your new planner or calendar, you just pull out all the bits to write them in and add them to your digits calendar! Voila!

    • Reply Sarah Hart-Unger April 20, 2022 at 5:26 am

      great idea!!!

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