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Artist, you’ve gotta have a plan!
Or… I have a date with Frosty!
Do you know that phrase — the one that by not making a decision or choosing something – that you actually ARE deciding to do nothing — you know that one?
Well, I used to think that artists, creativity and planning just didn’t mix. That is until I realized that I wasn’t getting anything done. I’d rustle up tons of ideas, dive into projects, but have stacks of unfinished dreams of doing everywhere. I’ve even switched planners, trying out different styles out to see how it would help me keep on track.
A little structure goes a long way and planning is just the edge of your canvas so you know how big your picture is, where up is, down is and where the edges are.
When you realize that planning is your buddy, the next step is to choose one that fits with your style of working so that you actually use it (novel idea) and stack and track your daily and weekly steps and priorities so that you are moving forward in your process.
No matter where you are in the year, you’re right on track and not ever behind. I’ve tried lots of different planners, and this year I switched again, so I thought I’d share what I use and give you some things to consider in choosing the best planner for artists if you’ve yet to choose yours for the new year. You can read about what I chose last year here.
A planner lays out your day, week, year just like that and invites you to choose to make your thoughts and ideas real by taking purposeful steps each day. It’s as simple as that.
Pick your choice
Basically, you want to get stuff done that matters to you. Writing things down cements it and helps clear out what you don’t want and helps you get traction on what you do.
And before another ‘no can’t do it’ pops into your head: Money is not a barrier. A cheap one from the office store, a plain note book that you go through day by day, or calendar you print out from your iCal or Google Calendar. Any of those are good to get you started.
Before deciding on a planner, get clear on how you currently organize and remember important information. (Sticky notes on foreheads don’t count!)
A good planner should give you enough space to right down tasks for the day, appointments, projects, works with other ways and tools that you use, room for project notes, space for ideas and notes pages
If you want a little more design here’s this year’s top three planners for artists and creative entrepreneurs:
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1. Desire Map Planner by Danielle LaPorte
Starting with how you feel is the way I live and when I found the Desire Map Planner, it was love at first write.
Starting each monthly page with your what feels right and will keep you lined up with your heart path is an awesome way to take action. Each weekly spread (she has a daily version too) has plenty of room to write notes, along with your top three things to focus on for the week.
I skipped a year and didn’t use this one last year — sometimes a break from something can really make things clear. I went in a circle, but THAT’S OKAY. Circles and spirals are the growth patterns of life, not straight lines.
I love the soulful prompts through this planner and the lightly colored ink that let’s you write over whatever you need. A great for creative business planner and I highly recommend it.
2. Bullet Journal Custom Planner
This style of planning works great with any basic notebook or Moleskine planner. If you like the process of creating your own titles and pages and it helps you get things done, then this style of planning is yours.
You start off by creating your index page and numbering the pages in your blank book. Then draw your year at a glance, quarterly, monthly and weekly pages, logs for projects or art, trackers, collections, brainstorm and idea pages, exercise, menus, movie list – whatever you need. That’s the beauty of this system – you literally make it your own.
I still use this in addition to my daily planner and find that it’s a slimmer, grab and go version for the day’s notes and reminders. It’s so easy to integrate this style with another planner and I find the extra step of writing an action or creatively doodling it out, organizing by collections of topics and ideas helps bring them to life much faster. There are ideas for ways of getting started on Bullet Journal and links to user videos that all have their own style.
3. Shining Year Workbook from Leonie Dawson
Last year I used Leonie Dawson’s planner and I chose it because while I love minimalist stye, I needed to shift my thinking and planning and her bright colors, fun images mixed with solid business prompts are just thing to do it. She’s not producing a planner this year, and that’s why it’s dropped to number 3, but you can Grab The 2018 Shining Year Workbook.
Take Away Thoughts
Even when you realize a choice isn’t the best for you, it may lead you to a realization or in the direction of what is right for you. With this planner, I chose it because I was frustrated with myself and needed to shake up my visuals to see if that would help me get things done. It was useful in the way it gently reminded me that it’s not the object, it’s the user 😉 and guided me back to the simple choice that is right for me this year, The Desire Map Planner. So, yeah, I went in a circle, but THAT’S OKAY. Circles and spirals are the growth patterns of life, not straight lines.
Just like last year, I limited this list to three to keep it simple and ones that I know you could do well with – but you need to decide. Just pick something to get your beautiful ideas down on paper and take action on the things you may have been avoiding.
What is your favorite planner or note system THIS year?