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Improve Your Productivity in 2015 The Old Fashioned Way

Everyone knows I’m a tech geek, but there is one way I still revert back to the old fashioned ways of pen and paper: planning.

Since the new year is right around the corner, I wanted to share my favorite planners and workbooks for laser focus and maximum productivity. Every planner out there isn’t right for everyone, so maybe this hit list will help you find your match made in planning heaven and help you improve your productivity!

The Top Three Hit List of Planners

Whitney English's Day Designer
Whitney English’s Day Designer

The Day Designer

Whitney English’s Day Designer is my absolutely favorite planner, it brings in all the necessary needs in a planner. It has the traditional month and daily agendas, plus daily places to write out your top three to-do’s, your gratitude list, what’s cooking for dinner, and more, plus you snag a inspirational quote daily as you speed through the year.

You can snag a free preview of a daily page in exchange for your email address. The Day Designer website is currently out of stock (next stocking in January!), but Grommet has some left.

Design Love Planner

Another beautifully designed planner to get you through the year is the Design Love Planner from Marissa Cristina. Unlike other planners, the Design Love Planner has two sets of weekly planner sheets – one for scheduling and another for to do lists. Another awesome feature is the monthly goals and budget sections (yes, budgeting – yay!) I love that the Design Love Planner has a new inspirational print to tear out each month, and pockets on the inside covers for stashing little bits.

You can check out the Design Love Planner on Marissa’s website, and get a further peek into its absolute brilliance.

Passion Planner
Passion Planner

Passion Planner

A newer kid on the block, the Passion Planner just wrapped up another pretty amazing Kickstarter campaign. This time around, Angelia is looking at shipping over 50,000 planners in January – talk about a success! And there’s a good reason why: the Passion Planner is everything you need in one.

An appointment calendar, goal setting guide, journal, sketchbook, gratitude log, and personal/work to-do lists, it’s really all inside one notebook. The best thing about the Passion Planner, in my opinion, though: all that blank yummy space to write in (dozens of pages!)

You can snag one of your very own, it’s a little more affordable than the Day Designer or Design Love Planner if those two scared you off with their price tag.

Of course, there are other fabulous planners to checkout…

I totally dig these planners, too, and they are worthwhile to checkout, if you haven’t found your ace-in-the-hole yet:

Not the planner type? Improve your productivity, anyways!

Some people just don’t do well with planners, but adore workbooks and worksheets that help them stay on track. I can totally be one of those people sometimes, so here’s some of my favorite resources for just that purpose:

Leuchtturm 1917 Large Hard Cover NotebookWant to know what I’m using this year?

I’m sticking with my ToDoist, Google Calendar, and a bullet journal. Despite loving all of the planners above, I need more blank space and freedom to do my own thing. The bullet journal method has been amazing for me this year, and I’m sticking with it.

I’m kicking off the year by archiving my old bullet journal and starting up a fresh Leuchtturm1917 Large Hard Cover Notebook (with dot ruling). The notebook I used this year was a cheapie from Target that is similar but it didn’t have the nice pockets, pagination, table of contents pages, or thick paper that won’t bleed. I’m really looking forward to switching over!

I’m also going to try to incorporate David Seah’s methods from the ETP sheets, because I adore their quick-hit reality check on time management.

Do you have a favorite planner? Did you snag one of the ones I mentioned? Shout it out and let me know in the comments below!

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16 Responses

  1. Hi there,
    I thought I’d let you know that I too use the bullet journal, although I didn’t know it was called that!
    I do find as the year goes on, I am pushing more things to the next month, so in 2015 Im making a resolution not to let myself push more than one thing along, and try to get more done when I plan to do it!!
    Happy holidays,
    Gill x

  2. Interesting! I can’t get in the hang of using a physical journal, because I just never remember to take it everywhere. I use a combination of my google calendar and Wunderlist to keep track of everything. Since I never go anywhere without my phone (aside from that one time I left it on a Target shelf in the furniture aisle) I’m able to keep track of everything no matter where I go.

    1. Every time I try to go tech-only, I miss putting a pen to paper and seeing reality right in front of me on the page. It’s too easy for me to look at things as less tangible when they’re digital! 🙂

  3. I just switched to Todoist this year and LOVE it! I also pair it with Google Calendar. And I’m a big fan of checklists, but I don’t use them for everyday; they’re more project-based and specific for different tasks. It’s so satisfying to just chuck the whole list when the project is done!

    1. I loooove ToDoist so much. I am the same way about making lists for projects and tasks, but I keep them in my journal – it keeps *everything* in one place, and I like to refer back to them. I can see how throwing them away would be cathartic! LOL

  4. The Bullet Journal is definitely my style. I’ve tried so many planners over the years with the high hopes of actually using them, to only put them aside a few weeks in because a. I forget to use them and go back to my sticky notes b. it isn’t a good fit c. it’s not flexible enough. So I tend to make lists daily and check off as the tasks get done. I’ve never been able to wrap my brain around a technique to organize my stuff like this. Wonderful! This is already in line with what I do, only way better organization and referencing. I also want to start using something on the computer to remind me of things in advance. I get so focused on a big task and then forget the smaller ones that are just as important (birthdays are my downfall 🙁 ) Thanks Kendra for the ideas!

  5. I’ve tried numerous ways to organize electronically and can’t seem to find just the right one for me. I’m to the point where I am exasperated over the number of different calendars and lists I have. Thank you for telling me it’s okay to use paper again. I love the idea of the bullet list but don’t have the time to fill out the pages. After looking at the passion planner – I went for it! The clean pages really appeal to me. Thanks, Kenna. You Rock!

  6. I just love planners! Last year, I was using a Personal Size Filofax and it ended up just being to small. So I ended up with an Erin Condren Life Planner and am loving it thus far! I break down my weekly by 3 sections – Work, Family, And Personal! I plan to use my Filofax as well! Thank you for sharing, there are some planners that I haven’t even heard of on your list!

  7. I won a Day Designer and I am so glad I did!!!! Not only is the planner beautiful, but the community is awesome, as well!! I think I will make some great connections there!

  8. I started using Todoist after reading this post and I really like it. I was using Outlook Tasks before. Is that considered old fashioned? I don’t think I would like the bullet style to-do list though. I like everything neat and once a job is done in Todoist it’s wiped clean away. Thanks Kenna for another great tip to help in my business.

  9. Hello.
    Finding this site was no accident……so grateful.
    I just started a home based hand crafted soap business that is taking off quicker than I imagined. After emailing an upscale boutique owner with pics etc….she wants to meet with me. She is looking for someone to design a line of soaps specifically for her store alone with her name on the front and mine on the back as the designer. Sould I still charge her the wholesale price or a bit more for this special request? I’m not really sold on this as it will stifle my creative spirit.
    Appreciate your input/advice.

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