Best Laid Plans Planners

Ep #144: Q&A: Customizable Systems, Planning vs Productivity Gender Divide, My Dream Planner + More

May 1, 2023

Screen Time Comments – thank you for your comments on last week’s episode!

Q1: Seeking templates to create a planner, or a planner with schedule on one side / notes on the other

I don’t have specific templates or software to recommend (though I am 100% sure they are out there!) but there are also lots of established customizable planners out there that may be a middle ground that will allow you to create a book that has what you need. Ideas:

1) Agendio – the MOST flexible.  Tons of options!

2) Personal Planner – Swedish company but they ship everywhere

3) Plum Paper – lots of people love them!  I like their designs but find the paper slippery for me

4) Golden Coil – love their paper, similar to Erin Condren paper but with much more customizability.

(Also worth noting that both Full Focus — affiliate link; use SARAH10 for 10% off — and Productivity Planner have layouts similar to what is mentioned here!)

Q2: Listener note that the audience is mostly female + that the planning process can be more valuable than the plans themselves. Yep! I discuss planning vs productivity here. (To me, 99% of productivity is linked to having a robust planning / calendaring / task management system.)

Q3: Listener asks what I would put in a planner if I were creating one. WHAT A FUN QUESTION!!!!

Amazing paper

Gridlines (light and unobtrusive)

Spiral and lay flat opinions 

Vertical weekly

Functional monthly layout

Some kind of annual/habits view

Decent # blank pages

Some kind of optional accompanying daily booklet (change every quintile, perhaps?)

Q4: Update on current favorite podcasts

Running Podcasts: Run Free Podcast, Nobody Asked Us with Kara Goucher + Des Linden, Ali on the Run, Fuel for the Sole with Meagan Featherstun, Another Mother Runner

Life Podcasts: Laura Tremaine 10 Things to Tell You (back from yearlong break!), The Mom Hour, Girl Next Door Podcast

Planners: Planners & Wine, The Stationery Cafe

Finances Etc: Freakonomics, Planet Money, No Stupid Questions

Organizing Etc: Cal Newport’s Deep Questions, Happier, The Productivity Show (previously Asian Efficiency), Edit Your Life, Organize 365, Jenny Blake – It’s Free Time, Tim Ferriss (sometimes!)

Books + Music: NPR All Songs Considered, What Should I read Next

Health: The Drive with Peter Attia

I did not include links here since everyone uses different players anyway! If you have trouble finding one, let me know!


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  • Reply Jami May 1, 2023 at 10:01 am

    Passion Planner Daily has daily schedule on the left, notes on the right.

  • Reply Leneigh May 1, 2023 at 10:33 am

    Another book recommendation podcast you might like (and my favourite) is the currently reading podcast.

    • Reply Elizabeth May 1, 2023 at 9:24 pm

      Just wanted to chime in that I love my Plum Paper! I’ve had several now. I think I originally read about the company on this blog, so thank you! For me, there are enough options that it is fun to customize, but not so many options that I get overwhelmed, and I always end up with a planner I enjoy using.

  • Reply Lisa of Lisa's Yarns May 1, 2023 at 11:53 am

    My favorite reading podcast is “Sarah’s Bookshelves Live.” Her author interviews are AMAZING and really add to my reading experience when I read the author’s books. There are no spoilers so you don’t have to have read the book to enjoy the podcast. I also love Currently Reading, like the previous commenter mentioned.

    • Reply Lee May 1, 2023 at 7:12 pm

      Lisa, I listened to that podcast a few times. It seemed like a copy of the What Should I Read Next format. Do you think so? Aside from that, her reading tastes seem good.

      • Reply Lisa of Lisa’s Yarns May 1, 2023 at 8:38 pm

        I actually don’t find anything similar between WSIRN and Sarah’s Bookshelves Live! When she has guests she does ask them about old and new books they’ve enjoyed, a book they disliked, and their last 5 star read. So she does talk about books the guest has liked and disliked but that’s the only similarity – plus the focus of the podcast is so different as she’s not playing literary matchmaker like Anne Bogel is. I really like her seasonal preview episodes and her author interviews are so great since she comes up with really interesting questions.

  • Reply Miriam May 2, 2023 at 6:26 pm

    I wonder if you’d like The Hurdle Podcast, not that you need another podcast!

  • Reply Henrietta May 25, 2023 at 4:36 pm

    I’m Swedish, and have bought a couple of planners from Personal Planners throughout the years. I always order our family wall calendar from them, love it!

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