Best Laid Plans

BLP Ep #146: Planner Reviews + Follow Ups

May 15, 2023

Ahh – sorry for the late show notes post! I had gotten into a groove of doing these ahead of time, but I think Mother’s Day and a very busy weekend threw me for a loop.

I am really sad I don’t have pictures for this post! I’ll take them later this week + link them later.

Look, I helped someone win at Scrabble today! (She sent me the pic!!!!!)

Show Notes

Follow Up Note #1: For the listener who wanted schedule and tasks on left AND notes page on right AND was interested in custom planners, some listener tips:

  • Etsy!  Lot of makers have the tools and pdfs!
  • learn to make your OWN printables – one place to do this is via A Touch of LA with Lindsay Ashworth

Follow Up Note #2: From a listener/reader:

Thank you for sharing your thoughts on screen time. I have not had social media for about 10 years but I was still finding myself on my phone reading over 20 blogs, watching Youtube videos and reading the news far too much. I was under the impression that by not having social media, I didn’t have a problem with screen time but I was wrong. After listening to your episode, I deleted Feedly, Youtube, NYTimes and all streaming apps, and set a screen time limit on my browser. It’s been a week and I can honestly say I don’t miss it, I’m more focused at work and engaged with my kids at home. I can still get a Youtube workout video on my laptop but I’m logged out so I can’t scroll for things I used to watch. More importantly, I’m feeling less scattered and I’m reading more because that is the only thing left for me to do on my phone. 

I’m not sure what my plan for the future is at this point because I do miss meal plan inspiration from the food blogs I follow but I will minimize that list when I bring Feedly back into my life.

Over the many years of following your blog (since before Annabel was born!), you have helped me get my life together in a multitude of ways. I’ve converted a few friends to paper planners and would be lost without mine. Thank you for this content and the gentle way you show us all that we can make choices with our time.

And thank YOU so much for sharing! I’m so happy the episode helped, and those changes seem totally reasonable and thoughtful.

#1: Erin Condren Life Planner

What I picked: Vertical Hourly, Inspire Interior, Snap-In Vegan Leather Cover + Gold Coil – $75.50 for 12 month planner.

Summary: I LOVE this planner and the paper is still just so so good. May be too colorful for some but I enjoy it and love the functional minimally-labelled layouts.

#2: Productivity Planner by Intelligent Change

Learned about it from listener and BLPA member Marissa! She uses a 1-3-5 goal setting system – 1 goal, 

Lifehack Post:  “The 1-3-5 rule is designed around the reality that you don’t often hit all your daily goals but most likely will get at least one thing done. To help you achieve that objective, you set up your to-do list with one big thing that you plan to do. Next, you add three medium things and five small things.” 

Seems similar to Full Focus with perhaps even more specific guidance, a 1-3-5 goals system, and slightly different layouts. $35 for the version I got; 3-month planner.

Will add photos once I take them!

Pod Notes:

Episode Sponsors:

Earth Breeze: Liquidless earth-friendly detergent sheets! So easy, earth-friendly, and mess-free. Right now, listeners can subscribe to Earth Breeze and save 40%! Go to to get started

Green Chef: The #1 Meal Kit for eating well. Go to and use code plans60 to get 60% off plus free shipping


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  • Reply Grateful Kae May 15, 2023 at 3:15 pm

    Just to clarify I have this right… is it the cover or the actual planner that you got with your initials on it? I still have trouble sometimes wrapping my head around the fact that you do all this elaborate planning and essentially journaling, in a way, but then you throw your planners all away at the end of the year?? Ha. I know you benefit from the systems in the moment, but it seems funny sometimes to me to track all these various things, goal lists, notes, bullet journals etc and then just toss? Maybe I’m missing something. 🙂

    • Reply Sarah Hart-Unger May 15, 2023 at 4:21 pm

      Yep! It’s the process NOT the product. And I get to enjoy them while I use them! The initials are embossed on the cover. EC offers a lot of customization like that.

  • Reply Katie Forrest May 16, 2023 at 3:09 am

    Hey Sarah!

    I replied to your eMail about postponing our call next week but the eMail bounced back.

    In my eMail I said how much I enjoyed your feature on Cal’s podcast. I think your energies worked VERY well together and could even imagine a regular collaboration being well received 🙂


    • Reply Sarah Hart-Unger May 16, 2023 at 5:18 am

      I wrote you back! I wonder what happened! Will resend, and thank you ❤️

      • Reply Katie Forrest May 16, 2023 at 5:25 am

        Thanks Sarah, I did get your reply but my reply to that bounced back for some reason. I didn’t want you to think I hadn’t responded. Appreciate your understanding 🙂

        • Reply Sarah Hart-Unger May 16, 2023 at 12:41 pm

          Ahhh got it!!! Of course!

  • Reply Brutal264 May 16, 2023 at 10:49 am

    Hi – just listened to the 300th episode. Re a spa day – have you ever thought about a Korean spa? Lots of treatments, rooms, and delicious food!

    • Reply Sarah Hart-Unger May 16, 2023 at 12:41 pm

      Yes!! I’ve read about these. And they are very conducive to spending the day, it sounds like. Awesome idea.

  • Reply Rachel May 16, 2023 at 11:42 am

    Love the EC review! You mentioned a EC planner that you thought would be perfect for postpartum – can you remind me which one? I have the daily duo and while it’s really lovely it’s sometimes a bit much for me when I’m not feeling 100% and i can see how that can definitely translate to the PP time as well

    • Reply Sarah Hart-Unger May 16, 2023 at 12:28 pm

      Yessss! The life planner with the 3 box vertical design. I admit I used the bottom square to track pumping amounts … omg what an era!

  • Reply Susan May 23, 2023 at 9:24 am

    Who knew Etsy had planner stuff! Off to dive down that rabbit hole!!

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