The BEST 2017 Planner (and why I created it!)

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The Best Free Planner for 2017 ... and why I created it

I’ve been searching for a planner. I’ve eagerly followed every link I’ve seen on Facebook to check out the various recommended planners. There are a lot out there! And I figured out why there are so many: every person is different.

Okay, so that’s a simplification. But people process tasks and agendas differently. Some love having everything all pigeon holed into time slots, others need space for creativity, while others need help goal planning, etc.

I’ve tried planners before. I really did try.

January 1st I pull out my new planner and schedule my week. By January 2nd, I’m off schedule and feeling like I failed. “If I can’t even stick to a schedule, how will I ever make it in the real world?” I wail. And then I go eat ice cream. It usually makes me feel better, but I still have a messed up planner so I put it on a shelf and go on my merry way, winging it per usual.

This year will be different.

And I’m pretty confident I’m right this time too. Here’s why: I created my own planner based off the way I work. A year ago, my husband and I moved from Idaho to Alabama. My company back home kept me on, working remotely. Then, in May, one of my coworkers left and I took over a portion of her job as well. I HAD to keep up with things and ensure nothing fell through the cracks. I found myself using a steno notebook to identify the things that HAD to be done that day, leaving space to jot down notes or phone numbers or whatever, that helped get those tasks (and others) done quickly and accurately.

It worked.

Here’s what a page in this “planner” looks like:

photo of a planner drawn in a steno pad

There are a couple drawbacks to this system:

  • I have to handwrite it out every week, drawing the sections and little checkboxes each time
  • It only allows for four days (though typically that’s fine for work since one day a week I have a huge project which is the ONLY thing I do that day)
  • It’s not scalable: I can’t share it, nor multiply it out.

So I decided to create a planner based on my steno notebook. Same concept, but one that others who think like me can use. And it has tremendous growth potential.

Here’s what it looks like:

pic of two pages covering Mon-Fri of the planner

As you can see, it’s based on a 8.5 x 5.5 page format, which is the direction I’m planning for other printables as well.

One of the best parts is a section at the end of every week called SCOPe. It’s based on the¬†SWOT analysis used for strategic planning. In this case however:

  • S = Successes: List anything from the previous week that worked
  • C = Challenges: List anything from the previous week that didn’t work
  • O = Opportunities: List how you will capitalize on the successes during the next week
  • P = Progress: List how you will progress towards overcoming the challenges during the next week

It’s very simple. I have other resources for goal setting, blog planning, income generating, etc. This is just to list what must be done on a given day. And keep track of family birthdays.

I plan to use this during 2017, tweaking and adding to it here and there. I expect to have it completely redesigned and reimagined for 2018. I’ll probably offer it for sale then, though I haven’t decided. However, for 2017, I’m making it available for free download. Please, if it makes sense to you, try it! Print it out and use it. And give me your feedback! I’d love to know what you think.



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