5 Favorite Planners for the Creative Fanatic Planner


What a better way to say hello to a wonderful new year than to dedicate this space to find new ways to get more intentional, organized and purposeful in 2016.

Being a creative entrepreneur is not an easy task. It takes lots of focus to plan and courage to execute our plans. Paradoxically our creative right brains insist on creating a successful business.

And what is required for a successful business? Among many things…

It requires planning and action.

As you already know here at Dari Design, I am the one obsessed with planning. I love organizing my life so much that I have to be careful about actually remembering to execute the plan. The times of my life when I’ve been the most efficient, productive and happy have been the ones I planned out. Even when I plan to do nothing, I feel better doing that “nothing” because it was planned out.

I know it sounds like my life lacks spontaneity. But don’t be so quick to judge.

Last month I was reading a post of one of my favorite entrepreneurs. I consider her a creative fanatic planner  Theresa Reed from the Tarot Lady, she was talking about how she likes planning her day to the minute:

“I don’t just create a schedule because I want to be fruitful in my efforts… I plan rigorously so that my life has room for the other things that I want to do outside of work: namely, cooking fancy meals and reading (and soon, photography – it’s on my list as my most wanted hobby). My schedule is simple and strict. This sets up a rhythm for me, my family, and my clients.”

I can relate so much with her words!

For some people, planning is a turn on that sets the right environment for fun activities, extra time and even relaxing. For other people, planning is such a turn off that they feel restricted and suffocated, leaving them with no desire for executing the plan and even less desire to plan for fun stuff.

It’s a fact that planning will provide a more realistic path to reach your goals.

Just like in money management. Budgeting will take you closer to your goals than not budgeting.

A goal without a plan is just a wish –Antoine de Saint-Exupéry

Successful people plan, budget, sit down to reflect and hold themselves accountable.

Now the trick is to find the right planner for you. And because I enjoy so much looking at planners and analyzing them I curated two lists of five planners to help you choose. One list for the Creative Fanatic Planner and another one for the Creative Free Spirited Planner. The Free Spirited planner’s guide will come out next week, please stay tuned for it!

Here is my list of 5 Favorite Planners for the Creative Fanatic Planner:


1. Your Best Year by Lisa Jacobs 

I love this planner. I like the simplicity of the layout. It feels clean and it helps bring forth clarity. The actual planning part is my favorite of all planners in this list. Lisa takes the time to really dig into your priorities and goals forming processes efficiently. There is also invaluable content to help you stay focused as a business owner, using key questions and exercises. Plus it’s impossible to not get inspired with her stories and by how she openly shares her experiences.

I wasn’t so in love with the actual day to day calendar area as I was with the planning prep content. Don’t get me wrong, the whole planner is amazing, but I found this area in other planners to be better suitable for me. The only thing I would add to this planner would be samples of how to fill out the worksheets and a visual description for how to fill out each area. Most of the samples are on Lisa’s website, which sets me a little off track since I wanted to be completely off line during my planning sessions.

This planner was created with the creative entrepreneur in mind.  It’s heavy on marketing and business tools. Also, if you care more for the day to day part of planning without doing much of the goal setting or prepping I’ll recommend using another planner.

This planner costs $17.49.


2. Shining Year workbook by Leoni Dawnson 

I purchased Leoni’s  whole package. I wanted to mainly explore the Shining year in life and the Shining year in business. There are many favorite things about this planner. I love how Leoni makes every bit about planning super visually attractive and inspiring. She is very creative when illustrating all the goal setting prompts. It makes you get into a hands on creative planning mode. I also love how after each area she gives tons of amazing resources to go even deeper into exploring and learning about that area of your life (or business). The planner is mostly hand drawn. Nothing is boring about this planner.

The big difference is that most planners will ask a question such as: What habits do you want to cultivate this year? next to a blank area for your answer. In Shining year, Leoni asks the question and gives you a playground space to answer. A page filled with illustrations that represent ideas of habits that you can cultivate plus fun areas to fill in with your own habit ideas. The reminder and ideas are key for me on these planners.

The whole set comes with a day to day workbook and other fun stuff. I wasn’t too fond of the day-to-day planner mainly because of the size and it needed more details for my style of planning. Another plus is that Leoni shows the whole book on her website. A lot of times, the planner creators don’t show their product very well, understandably because a lot of people abuse of their kindness and steal their work. However it’s hard for the buyer to buy a planner that you don’t know how would it look on the inside.

This planner was definitely created with the creative woman in mind. It’s super colorful and feminine. I recommend the Shinning Year workbooks over the daily planners and over the downloads. It’s a special experience to plan directly onto the original book.

This bundle of planners costs $64.95.



3. Dream Book 

I didn’t purchase the Dream book this year (because it was sold out) but I’m completely in love with it. I spent a ton of time looking at the working pdf sheets and I think this planner is a masterpiece. I love the fact that you can purchase the dream work separate from the planner, although I will choose to have it together. The simplicity of the design is beautiful as well. One of my favorite things about this book is that it does many of the thinking work for you. It gives handy dandy prompts to not forget things that we commonly forget. Their website and planner contains very easy to understand worksheet diagrams so you know how to fill in each area of the book.

You can purchase a downloadable pdf from their website in case you want to get started today. I would say all their books (and specially the dream book) can be use any time of the year.

This book is for those who forge rituals. The men or women hoping to balance their physical, spiritual and mental life while arriving at their dream goals.

This planner costs $45.00.



4. Inner Guide Yearly planner 

This is the planner I’m using this year! The set up is a mix of personal and business life with an emphasis on self guidance. I don’t like the cover design much (well I’m a designer you know, this things are important ;-) but I love the simple layout and the way this whole book was thought through. The goal setting part at the beginning is light but profound. On the weekly spread there are tons of bits that inspire me and motivate me. A different “staying on track quote” every week. A being present diagram that reminds me of what areas of my life I’ve been connected in a meaningful way. It has space for ideas, reflections, to-do lists, priorities and an area to “be grateful for …”

This planner balances perfectly my right and left brain while keeping me focus on setting goals based on my feelings and inner guidance.

This planner costs $25.95.



5. inkWELL Press planner by Tonya 

Beautifully designed. Their branding it’s cohesive and impressive. Even though I haven’t held one of these planners in my hands I can tell from their website videos that the quality of these books is gorgeous. They really went the extra mile finding beautiful patterns for their cover and creating a masterpiece in the inside layout.

This planner is for the overall chic women in life and in business. Besides the goal setting areas and the day to day planning, it has prompts that no other planner has such as a list helper for gift shopping, an area to write down the books and movies you are looking into reading/watching next and a monthly bill tracker. There is an option to just get the planning book every quarter (also beautifully made) and they even have more planning books on meal prepping and fitness. Clearly getting this planner will not be a waste of money.  Now all you need is to find out if the style matches your needs.  This last step is very easy because their website is packed with videos and tools to help you know their products well before you buy.

This planner costs $54.00.


So after writing this post I’m curious about the way you plan for a New year.  What type of planners do you use? Did you buy one recently? I would love to hear about what you liked in this list and if you are planning to purchase a planner soon what are the things you look for in a planner?

Happy New Year everyone!!! We can’t wait for 2016 to start. We know it will be a year filled with much more creative abundance and financial prosperity!!



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