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Dear Artist, you’ve gotta have a plan!
I used to think that artists, creativity and planning just didn’t mix. Don’t give me structure – give me Freedom – RAAAHH! Ever feel that way?
That was me, 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. I’ve narrowed it down to the ones that keep me moving and am giving you my pick for the best planners for artist entrepreneurs for 2019.
Even Freedom Needs a Road to Ride On!
You CHOOSE nothing when you DO nothing. By avoiding a choice — you actually are choosing to do nothing.
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 added one, so I thought I’d share what I use and give you some things to consider in choosing the best planner for artist entrepreneurs in 2019 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 style, I’m giving you my top 3
Basically, you want to get stuff done that matters to you. Writing things down cements it in your mind and helps clear out what you don’t want and helps you get traction on what you do want in your day.
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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My 3 picks… drumroll please!
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. Prefer to print your own? Grab the printable. Save the paper? The interactive digital version’s got your name on it.
New this year is the addition of astrology pages and free access to the Desire Map Program! Planning AND support. Golden.
I skipped a year in 2017 — 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. 90X Goal Planner
I was introduced the 90X Goal Planner by Tiffany lee Bymaster and it’s not your average daily planner. This one puts your goals first and forces — well, strongly encourages you 😉 to only pick 5 and get them done in the next 90 days. WHOA! Actually DO the things you want to do? Like, finish them? Obstacle busting revelation. I grabbed this one to test it out this year.
My favorite features so far are the pages that have you rewrite your goals and action steps EVERY DAY and the vision board.
In the first week I caught myself sliding things I didn’t get done to the next day… and the next. I didn’t want to write it down again, so I did the thing and now am one micro-step closer to my goal. That’s the whole point, right!?
The vision board section gives a focus section for doodling dreams and goals – a page I can turn and get an instant visual of where I’m headed. Will I get another after this 90 days is through? Time will tell!
3. Bullet Journal Custom Planner
This style of planning works great with any basic notebook, a blank journal in wild colors and Washi tape or the classic Moleskine planner or sketchbook. 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.
Take Away Thoughts
Even when you realize a choice isn’t the best for you, it may lead you in the direction of what IS right for you. Sometimes you need to shake things up a bit. Get more visual and sketch your day or if you’ve crammed too much in your day — simplify and go from a daily to a weekly planner and focus on the 3-5 most important things.
Gentle reminder: It’s not the object, it’s the user 😉 Go with what feels right and will move you to finishing the dreams and dos on your list. Sometimes you go in a circle, I went in a circle, but THAT’S OKAY. Circles and spirals are the growth patterns of life, not straight lines.
Each year, I limited this list to three to keep it simple and ones that I know you could do well with – but you decide. Just pick something to get your beautiful ideas down on paper and take action on the things you may have been avoiding.
Tell me: What is your favorite planner or note system THIS year?