Disclaimer: This planner was provided to me as a gift to thank me for years of support of Charlie Gilkey, his planners, and his website Productive Flourishing.
I've been a big fan of Charlie Gilkey's Productive Flourishing website (which has super-mega advice for entrepreneurs, freelancers, and creative people) and his excellent planners for a long time now, so I was very excited to get this new planner! Charlie's downloadable free planners are famous for helping folks manage their multiple projects. This new planner, the Essential Daily Planner, is a fantastic addition to the Productive Flourishing planners lineup.
The Essential Daily Planner takes a lot of the concepts from the Productive Flourishing planning methods and bakes them directly into the planner. These concepts are then printed and assembled into a planner that will be your personal assistant, life coach, and project manager all in one.
Charlie does a run-through video of the planner and explains the concepts behind it on this page. Take a look at that, then come back for more details on the planner itself.
The planner measures about 8 by 5 inches, so it's portable and easy to keep with you all day. The easier it is to access your planner, the more you will use it. (And you need to use your planner often for it to be effective.) The spiral binding allows the planner to lay flat on a surface or fold back on itself for compact use.
I'll walk you through the planner to show you all the features. The front cover is laminated for a sturdy, wipe-clean surface that can keep up with your life. The plastic coil is sturdy and flexible.
The first page has space to write your contact information just in case you lose your planner:
The first two-page spread (which I won't show you) gives you tips on how to use the planner, how to plan from the big picture down to daily details, and several online resources for more help and information on planning and productivity.
Next are some very handy annual overview and quick-reference pages, right at the front of your planner where you can find them easily:
Next is a two-page spread for more contacts. This is a great place to capture those frequently used contacts as a backup for your phone.
Now we start getting into the real meat of the planner. The Annual Strategic Planner gets you to think about what you want to accomplish during your entire year. It gives you spaces to break down goals and steps by month, and lots of space for notes.
Next is the Quarterly Planner, where you take those monthly goals from your Annual Strategic Planner and work through the details of what you want to accomplish each month. These pages give you plenty of room to brainstorm your Objectives, Milestones and Benchmarks for each month plus more space for notes.
After the Quarterly Planner comes a monthly overview for January. Right at the top of the page is a space to write your Monthly Objectives, so you can keep them visible all month long:
After the month overview come the weekly pages for January. On every weekly spread there is a nice big space for your Weekly Objectives. These will flow from your Monthly Objectives, and will be those actionable tasks that will get you to your goals.
At the end of that month's weekly pages, there is a page for Individual Project Planners, and three pages for notes. The notes pages are a great place to write your Mid-Month and Monthly Reviews.
These pages will help keep you on track with your projects for the month, and make it easy to find the related notes for each month.
Next is the following month's spread, with a new motivational quote every month:
Then there are the weekly pages for that month, again followed by a page for Individual Project Planners and three pages for Notes each month.
At the end of the three-month quarter you get the Quarterly Planner for the next three months. This prompts you to re-evaluate your goals from your Annual Strategic Planner, figure out what needs to continue from your previous quarter, and which priorities have changed. Having the Quarterly Planners embedded chronologically in the planner ensures you won't forget when it's time to plan and evaluate each quarter.
The pattern continues all year: Quarterly Planner, month overviews with their associated weeks, Individual Project Planners and pages for Notes.
At the end of the planner there are eight more pages of Individual Project Planners, and a whole bunch more pages for Notes. The result is a planner that will keep you on time and on track with all your appointments, projects and goals all year.
This planner works well alongside the Free Planners and Productivity Worksheets. For example you can plan your days in detail with the Daily Action Planner, write all your tasks on the Action Item Catcher, and plan your blog posts for the month with the Blog Post Planner and Calendar (which are excellent for helping you create valuable content on your blog). You can download these planners for free each month, or if you don't want to wait for them to come out each month you can buy the entire year's package to download as the Premium Planners Set.
Back in February 2010, Charlie Gilkey himself very graciously did an interview with me here on Plannerisms. It's a great insight into the thought process behind making his planners, and he has some excellent advice there for using planners in a way that fits your needs.
Huge thanks to Charlie and his team for sending me this planner! Keep doing what you're doing you guys, you help and inspire a lot of people!!