Best planners, calenders and visioning tools for 2016

Best planners to stay organized and to plan your year.

best planners 2016 1

It turns out that I’m a bit of a planner addict – maybe that’s true of all smart, busy women. I am a firm believer that if I don’t envision what I want and create a space for it, it’s highly unlikely to happen. Finding the right system to help me do this has been a bit of a challenge.

I love the idea of the perfect planner – a system that can make organization, project planning, and scheduling work easily and feel fun. This has resulted in my spending a lot of time checking out various systems, calendars, and agendas. I’ve tried everything from huge 12 month whiteboard calendars to simply using my online calendar, and I’ve finally come to the conclusion that what works for me is a collection of tools.

This is the first year that I feel like I really nailed a system that works for me – so much so that I’ve already purchased the exact same products again for 2016.
I’m so excited to share these with you. I hope you find them as helpful and inspiring as I do!

Here’s what I use to stay organized, plan, and stay inspired and motivated:

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Best tool for planning your year, goal setting, and, and pulling the pieces together:

Shining Year Workbook
The Create Your Shining Year Workbook

I have so much fun with this! How can you not love a workbook specifically designed to help you plan out “your most amazing year yet”?
There is actually a complete Create Your Shining Year series for 2016. I pre-ordered them all and can’t wait for them to arrive. There’s a workbook for creating your shining life – with sections that help you map out where you want to go with your health, your relationships, your big exciting dreams – and a lot more. This workbook is a great tool for connecting with what you want and creating plans so your time, schedule, and actions will help you make it happen. There’s even a section on what to do if you get sidetracked from your workbook and your goals.

I can’t say enough good about this workbook. It’s colorful and designed in a way that makes me want to write in it. A lot of thought and care has clearly been put into it and it gets me thinking too, not just about what I want to plan for the next year, but about the teeny tiny details that will help me succeed and enjoy the ride.

I have a group of friends who all use this workbook every year (there’s even a separate workbook available for entrepreneurs who want to create a shining life in their business). I’ve already blocked out most of a day in November for a planning retreat with my Shiny Year materials.

You can check it out the Create Your Shiny Year resources here.

Favorite tool for big picture scheduling:

Paper Source Great Big Calendar


For day to day appointments, Google Calendar does the trick and is easy for me and my team to access and update. However, there’s a sense of perspective I just can’t get looking at a computer or phone screen. That’s where my Great Big Calendar comes in.

This calendar makes me happy. It’s huge. Each day of the month is more than big enough to hold a square sticky note.

This calendar is made of heavy brown paper, and it’s just screaming to be marked up, jotted on, and filled in. It can be used as a desk blotter or a wall calendar. I’ve done both. Currently, I have the next six months posted on my wall so I can keep track of how all the pieces of my life fit together. I use this calendar to track big projects, vacations, and ongoing events (not details or daily appointments). Here’s what that looks like in my office.


Best daily planner for staying positive, aligned, and on track:

I am a big fan of Danielle LaPorte’s book, The Desire Map. If you haven’t read it, definitely check it out. Danielle shows you how to home in on your core desired feelings. These are the feelings that you want to be feeling every day – the feelings that underlie your goals. They are how you feel when you are your best version of yourself. The Desire Map Planner is something I use like a quick, structured journal. The daily pages have a place for you to remind yourself how you want to feel today. There’s also space for notes, and prompts for positive declarations and actions. Because it’s one thing to say I want to feel joy today. It’s another to be prompted to consider what I will do to make this happen. There are all sorts of other great stuff here too – a daily motivating thought or question, space for your schedule and to-do list, intentions, and your goals for that day or the year. This year she’s also added a quick tool for condensing your to-do list to your top three priorities.

I’ve created a morning ritual of spending five minutes or so filling this out each day. I find it brings me back to my priorities, helps me remind myself about what’s really important, and has helped keep me on my priority list during some stressful periods. The simple practice of focusing on the feelings I want to generate each day has been incredibly powerful.

You can check out the full collection of Desire Map planners here. I went with the daily version because I really like the habit filling it out has become.

So now you know how I’ll be staying organized and purposeful this year. The best part is that I’ve found a process that keeps me looking forward to it!

Take good care,

Full disclosure: Everything I use, I have purchased myself. I am in love with how these products have simplified things for me. So much so, that I have become an affiliate for a few of these. This means that if you decide to purchase one of these products,using the links here, I may receive a small commission. This does not affect the price you’ll pay in any way, and it certainly does not affect my recommendation.

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