Looking For The Perfect Paper Planner? The Perfect Productivity Planner For Work From Home Moms
June 18, 2022
Crunchy mom of two, married to my favorite boy for life, and lover of the dark chocolate peanut butter cups! I went from nearly losing my mind and business to an intentional, successful woman all because of systems.
Today’s episode is so exciting! I get asked all the time what paper planner I recommend, which is always fun to see everyone else’s recommendations as well. So, in honor of the brand new 2022 Dream Planner launch from Horacio Printing (which is the planner that I use, surprise, surprise!) and we are gonna take a tour of how I use my planner; how I get it set up; what layout, color, and texture I love; all of the nitty gritty!
If you’re not super in love with this planner, you’ll get no judgement here! (But I do think that you should try it!) It’s so easy to fall in love with this planner and I’m going to tell you why it’s absolutely the best planner for the five-block time blocking system that I use and teach.
But, even if this isn’t the planner that you go with, this post is going to help you understand the differences between layouts, what’s best for productivity in any planner, etc. So, grab a pen and paper because you’re gonna want to take notes!
As you know, because I’ve already let it out of the bag, we’ll just start off with the real obvious here. My favorite planner is by Horacio Printing. Yes, I’m an affiliate for them. Yes, you can use code: CHELSI10 at checkout to get 10% off of your order, and that is a wonderful thing that happens. But, that’s not why I’m doing this episode. I’m gonna tell you a little bit about how I came to fall in love with Horacio Printing and why I choose to support Polly and all the work that she does and the company of Horacio Printing.
Some of you already know my backstory: I had been a single mom for a while, I was just recently married and had a new baby, I had a business, I had been a sign-language interpreter for about 15 years, and I just was working really, really hard. I also was trying to encapsulate the spirit of the stay-at-home mom all at the same time, which I’m sure many of you will understand what I mean by that.
I was looking for something to really help me. When I got married, I was looking for a man that loved the Lord because that was really important to me. Blaine definitely had that and has had that most of his life, so that was something that I was really looking to grow in in my life. I found the SOAP notes Bible studies from Horacio Printing. I don’t know how I found them, I really have no idea.
So I got one and it totally changed my life. I’m super busy, and in five minutes I could get a quick Bible study in and it’s actually teaching me something and impacting my life. Then I saw that they also had paper planners! (I’m CONSTANTLY looking at paper planners! Seriously, if you could see the amount of ads I get for paper planners as a result of my constant searching, it would blow your mind!) So when I found Horacio’s and tried it out, I totally fell in love with it and it has really helped me solidify the way that I do my time blocks.
I just started playing around in it way before I had the Academy or even thought about creating it, and I just started working on building systems in my home. So my five-block time blocking system that I teach really came to be because the Horacio Printing Dream Planner is so breathable. It’s light and so perfect at the same time and it allowed me to put my systems inside of it. That really allowed me to flourish as a creator of the Academy; it allowed me to step back and say, “Hey, there’s this thing that really needs to happen for work from home moms (which was just me at the time) and this is a beautiful thing!” I was actually working both outside and inside of the home at this time and this planner was working so well for me.
With most other planners, the teaching section at the very beginning is SO heavy. It’s just so much to try and follow, and they’re trying to teach you a system without actually being able to visualize what that system is. So with the Dream Planner, It’s very light. There’s not a lot of mess to it and that is what I love about it so much!
That’s kind of how it came to be. I’m now actually in a mastermind group with Polly. We’ve become really close friends and as you know… or maybe you don’t know yet if you didn’t listen to my previous podcast bonus episode… My Fundamental Needs system is inside of the 2022 Dream Planner! (Which is another thing we’re gonna talk about.)
That’s why I’m here sharing this with you, because of what it has done for me and for my life. It’s not that the paper planner itself did this, it’s that the paper planner allowed the foundation and a space for these systems that are so unbelievably pivotal in my life and will be for you too. Most planners don’t allow for outside systems like the Dream Planner does.
So yes, you’re gonna want to learn the five-block time blocking system and you’re gonna want to learn the Fundamental Needs system. But the cool thing for you, whether you’re brand new to the Systemize Your Life community or if you’ve been around since day one, the Fundamental Needs is now in the very beginning and in every single season of this planner!
Here is another reason why this planner is absolutely amazing and coincides with everything I believe in: it has seasonal refreshes in it. Every single season, you’re gonna refresh your fundamental needs right there inside of your planner. Polly had something similar in years past, but she really took to what I was doing with my fundamental needs and asked if we could partner in this.
This changed my life! Truly, it changed my life to incorporate these aspects into my wheel. So you’ll see that now!
Also, you’re going to see in the brand new 2022 Dream Planner some QR codes that are going to link you to special trainings by Polly and me (and some just by Polly), which is such a beautiful free gift to be able to have all of that training tucked away inside of a little paper planner.
Ok, enough of me raving about why I love this thing so much! You’ll have your own story on what you love about it and how you fell in love with it as well. Now I want to talk to you about which one I use specifically, what layout, etc. and how I use it for maximum productivity.
The paper planner allowed the foundation and a space for these systems that are so unbelievably pivotal in my life and will be for you too. Most planners don’t allow for outside systems like the Dream Planner does.
Spiral or book bound?
You have two options when it comes to the Dream Planner, spiral bound or book bound. I chose the spiral my first year and I really did like it, but then I went with book bound the next year and I really did like it! So this truly just comes down to personal preference.
The spiral bound is able to fold back on itself, which is really cool, and it truly does lay flat and doesn’t move around on you at all. But when I’m writing, it always bumped my wrist. And for whatever reason, as the year went on, it irritated me and I couldn’t wait to not have a spiral because of that. Now, I don’t know what that is or why I have that aggravation, but I did love that it did lay completely flat.
So when I got my book bound, I didn’t like it. It didn’t lay flat like the spiral one did, but that was because it was brand new. Now though, it truly does lay flat. When I open it, it pops right open. The pages have a little lift, but not badly, and the binding has loosened up so much that it does lay flat and it just feels so well loved! So I think I like the book bound a little bit more. (Plus, it can go in your purse easier than the spiral bound.)
So that’s my experience with each option. How do they hold up? Beautifully!
Let’s talk colors!
The black, vegan leather one from 2021 still looks still looks brand spanking new! (granted, I take pretty good care of it and don’t just throw it in my car except maybe a couple of times. 😉) Since it goes in my backpack, or my traveling office as I like to call it, it goes everywhere and it still looks amazing! The corners are great, there’s zero scuffs on it, it truly does still look new.
The marble, spiral bound one that I used, has gold corners on it that stayed great. The gold on the front wore slightly. So that one looks pretty loved—not used, not damaged, not dingy—just well loved.
Now, my favorite, the blush! I’m so excited about this one because blush is my jam! She’s just so pretty. (Yes, apparently it’s a she.) This is a new color for the Dream Planner and I feel like the blush is just really delicate. The feel and the texture of her is like velvet and I can’t stop rubbing my hands over her. I have no idea how it’s going to hold up, but we’re gonna find out though. I hope that it holds up as well as my black on did, but it’s blush! So if my child comes through with a black pen…Lord help us!
Vertical or Horizontal?
This is a question that I hear from everyone! When you order a planner, you can get your days to go top to bottom (vertical) or left to right (horizontal). I don’t get the horizontal and I strongly recommend the vertical. There’s nothing wrong with the horizontal layout, but for time blocking and for the flow of a day, my mind just can’t wrap itself around the horizontal.
BUT, the horizontal has an incredible brain dump list next to it on every single week, which is really awesome for those of you that don’t have workflows yet and you’re really kind of in this space where you’re operating off of brain dumps. I was really jealous of that in my first year of having this planner, but I just don’t use to do lists or brain dumps, like hardly at all anymore. Everything has a place where it lives, so I don’t have to operate off of lists, but they’re a beautiful tool.
One of my most downloaded episodes ever is How To Use A Brain Dump To Increase Your Weekly Productivity and it truly is the starting point. If I get super off track, someone’s been sick, or we’ve been on vacation for a long time, when I come home I’ll operate off of a brain dump till I can get back into my workflow.
So that might be something that’s really important to you and you might really want that brain dump and to do list. You most certainly can time block in the horizontal. Polly shows a beautiful example of what it looks like to time block with my five-block method in the horizontal layout (which I need to find and pop into the Facebook group so you can see that.) Either one of the layouts will work, I truly love the vertical though. The whole week spreads across two pages and it has a small column for to dos that it just fine for me and I love it.
All of Polly’s planners are daily planners, so you have enough room to write in there every day. If you’re not getting this planner, you’re gonna want to look for a daily planner. Weekly planners will just have the month spread and then the week kind of all jumbled together without a bunch of space to write.
When you look for a daily planner, you’re gonna have bigger days all mapped out within two pages and that’s what you see inside this planner. It just gives you a little bit more space to write.
How I’ve Used This Planner
This planner is perfect for maximizing your productivity. Inside, you’re gonna go through the whole entire beginning. I use every single page of it and do all of it at the Dreamers Summit. The Dreamers Summit is relatively inexpensive and is a virtual summit and it’s absolutely incredible! I’ll be speaking at it, so will Stefanie Gass, as well as many others (including Polly!) and so many topics will be being covered such as health and wellness, home,
business, and more!
Polly goes through a lot of the Dream Planner there, then I have my own little planner setup party right at the same time. I go in the planner, get myself focused, and lead myself through the first season. That’s what I want you to do is make sure with planning out your quarterly goals for the new year that you’re planning that quarter out before you go into it. That is the number one way that I use this planner to give me clarity on what I’m supposed to be doing.
That’s where your productivity is going to come from. If you don’t know what you’re supposed to be focusing on, you’re gonna be all over the place and for most of you, that is the biggest issue. So many of you are just uncertain about how to do it all because you’re doing so many things at once and you’ve gotta get super clear on what you’re doing right now, in this specific block of time and in the next bock of time, that stretches out and pulls back to an even higher view so we can get down into the details of what we’re doing week by week. Day by day. Then pull back and figure out what we’re doing in the quarter.
So, inside of this planner, it talks about that. Polly has generosity planning and a heart check, so it’s not just like, “Hey, I want to lay out a bunch of plans.”, it’s actually turning inward and looking at why we’re setting our plans. Why are these things important to me?
There’s a section in it that truly helps me, it’s a section for your fears and I love it. So I go through, looking at my fundamental needs, goals, and dreams and what I think is keeping me from accomplishing them and then I write them all down in this section. I like to put scripture next to all of my fears to help me understand and know why I don’t need to have those fears and why I’m capable of achieving things even with those fears (you could also do mantras or whatever you want). So it’s such a beautiful thing to be able to do inside of your paper planner and look back on and that is the number one way to get maximum productivity out of your planner is to be able to have that foundation set before you go into setting up your plans.
Here’s the other thing that I do to increase my productivity with this specific planner. I put my dream board, just like you did when you were a kid and cut out pictures and magazine pictures, I do that inside of my paper planner so that every time I open the front page, there it is! I see it over and over again and it keeps me focused. I know exactly what I’m supposed to be working towards. And each month I go through and I use the monthly grids to map out everything that I’m doing, high-level, that month. So, I have all of my partnerships that I do, all of my time off, any promos I’m doing inside of my business, all my podcast episodes that I have, and I have a color code for each and highlight all of them. I’m able to use that monthly view for my business to be able to see globally what’s gonna be happening that month.
Then obviously, if you’ve been around for even a short time, you’ve been able to see inside of my paper planner over in the Facebook group and you know this one. I love laying out my fundamental needs week by week. I put my weekly intentions at the bottom. My color key for what my time blocks are is in the bottom right. My habit tracker is underneath all of that. You can put whatever you want at the bottom of your days because, with the vertical one, there’s so much usable space inside of these planners for you to put down what helps you focus and stay motivated. There’s truly so much space. (The horizontals have this as well, but in a different area) This is really the simplicity of it.
As you move through and towards the end of a month there is a section for notes, praise reports (which I absolutely LOVE), and then you’re gonna go through your whole season refresh every single seasonal change. It’s gonna take you through that whole wheel with your fundamental needs in it to give you an opportunity to asses what is going on in this next season.
For those of you that have different fundamental needs than I do, there’s actually two pieces of the pie that are left open so you can put in what you need to put in aside from the given ones of personal, spiritual, physical, financial, professional, and dwelling/home. Then you can put your marriage in there, your motherhood, whatever you need to do to fill in that wheel for you. You can go through and set your 90 day goals in each of these categories, go back through that internal heart check, and keep yourself laser-focused from quarter to quarter and that’s what’s going to tie you over as you move through every single month.
That is my sales pitch for why you need to buy this planner! 😆 No, really, I just love this planner so much, it’s so beautiful. Again, you can go to Horacio Printing and use code CHELSI10 at checkout to get 10% off.
I can’t wait to answer your questions. Feel free to hop inside the Facebook group or drop a comment below and let’s chat! (I did do a live video in the group showing everyone my 2022 Dream Planner, so be sure to go check that out too!)
Frequently Asked Questions
What is my all time favorite paper planner?
Hands down the Horacio Printing paper planner. Find our own here!
Knowing what to prioritize when everything in your life feels like it's about to slip through your fingers is a really tough call. That's why I came up with a simple system to show you exactly what to prioritize every week on repeat.
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