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New Year, New Planner

Planners that help mover your business forward

Planners: Welcome to my annual obsession

Listen, there’s something I want you to do: buy yourself something sexy this holiday season… a new planner!

A planner…Sexy?


And here is why: Having a planner that you love (and use religiously) gives you the confidence of knowing that you are on the road to success in your business and your life.

Nothing is sexier than confidence! Am I right?

Well, maybe success is a close rival. And that is where you are headed when you have a plan to reach your goals and you execute that plan a little bit every day.

Making 2017 the year of YOU

Repeat after me…

“I am a self-employed service provider – my success depends on me.”

You may have heard me say this before, but whether you’re an employee, an independent, or even a salon/spa owner, what you can attain in this business depends on you AND how you plan for it.

The start of the new year is a great time to reflect on your goals from last year: celebrate what worked for you and learn from what didn’t.

Use this information to decide how you want to grow your business this year. What will be your theme for the year? What goals will you create?

No matter how you answer those questions, if you want to have a successful 2017, planning is crucial.

If you haven’t done this in your life yet, in 2017 make planning a daily habit.


“Businesses who plan ahead perform up to 60% better than those that don’t.”

 – Amber McCue, publisher of  The Fresh Start Planner

Over the next few weeks I’m going to share some important tips about goal setting and planning (two very different things), but today I want you to get prepared for 2017 by getting yourself a worthy planner.

The journey toward success begins with a great Planner

There are hundreds of planners on the market – both in print and electronic – and there is no “right” choice. Almost all planners have a calendar function, and all good planning requires timelines and due dates; however, some planners are primarily just calendars and some have added features to help you set goals and figure out the actions necessary to achieve those goals.

Choosing a planner is a personal decision, but I want to share some of my favorite planners in this post to highlight some of their key functions. If these don’t work for you or your needs, do more research. Just be sure to get one – it’s that important.

NOTE: Appointment books are NOT planners

In our industry, we live and breathe by our appointment books — our Book of Business. They fulfill the important job of giving us a place to schedule appointments and record information and notes about our clients in a spot that is easy to look up at a moment’s notice. No matter what kind of appointment book or software you and your salon/spa use, these are strictly for scheduling appointments and for other record-keeping needs. But they are not planners.

To be successful in your business, you need more than an appointment book, you need to use a Planner.

Planners fall into two general categories:

Business- or Life-Building Planners

Business- or Life-building Planners are designed to help you reflect, dream, plan, measure, and build success in your business or your personal life.

The planner is full of pages that prompt thinking and expressing thoughts or emotions and that encourage using the planner to record all of it. Some will be formatted more like a workbook, asking specific questions for you to answer, and others will be more open-ended for brainstorming, providing blank pages for free thinking.

No matter the format, the Business-Building (or Life-Building) Planner is designed to help you put into action your ideas and dreams, and thus, they usually include sections that help you manage specific projects, timelines, and to-do lists.

Most also have a calendar to help you schedule the actions on your lists and manage the many projects you have going.

Calendar Planners

The other category of planners is the Calendar Planner, which is first-and-foremost a calendar. The guiding principle of these kinds of planners is to help you keep track of your daily/hourly schedule, your appointments, and finding time for your to-do list.

However, many Calendar Planners also include sections (similar to the life-building planner) that allow you the space to record Goals, Projects, and Tasks, but the primary focus of these planners is the calendar.

The Wide World of Planners

There are literally thousands of planners out there – far too many to cover in this post! I have included a small sampling of planners I am familiar with or have used in the past and that I think are worth sharing with you. Several of these have both printed and electronic (and downloadable!) versions, so you don’t have to limit your search.

Full disclosure: I am a pen-and-paper girl because I just LOVE the feeling I get when I check something off my list – such satisfaction! If you’d rather have yours electronically, no problem…many of the vendors below have versions that are available for your phone or tablet.

Other disclosure: This post may contain affiliate links. I only link to products I use and love myself. Learn more about my policy here.




The Leonie Dawson “Shining Year” Planner

This planner (or series of planners based on your needs) is primarily a life- and business-building planner (she has separate planners called “Life” and “Biz”). Both planners are highly actionable and make you feel great about yourself – the key word here is “feel.” Leonie Dawson has an infectious personality and she has the ability to guide you to the root of what you are doing and how you feel about it. Don’t let the cartooning fool you – these planners are the real deal!

Digital and hard copy: from $9.95 to $69.95



This is what I consider to the holy grail of planning devices.

This planner makes you stretch and see that everything you want IS possible. Her workbook/planner takes you step-by-step through your business on a month-by-month basis so you can get clear on what is working and what isn’t. This planner/workbook is digital so you can download it to your phone/tablet/computer and get going on it right away.

Digital Workbook: for $34.00

Calendar Planners


Day Designer

Calling the Day Designer a “calendar planner” is a little like saying that a Pumpkin Spice Latte is a cup of coffee.

Their mission is to get you “organized and on your way to living an intentional, meaningful and well-designed life.” And this planner does that by creating an agenda that covers daily, weekly, monthly and annual planning pages, as well as to-dos, notes, even dinner planning. Plus this planner is so beautifully designed, you’ll want to carry it around with you everywhere!

Hard copy planners range from $49 to $59. Replacement pages are available as well.



Day-Timer has been around since…well I don’t know exactly, but this is pretty much the calendar planner that most people are familiar with. Day-Timer helps you keep track of your business day with sections of each day’s page dedicated to: Appointments and Scheduled Events, To Be Done Today (Action Items), Phone Calls, Expense and Reimbursement Record, and Diary and Work Record.

Day-Timer is an economical choice with basic planners starting at less than $10.


Franklin Planner

This well-known planner is better described as a “time management system” that follows principles originally created by Benjamin Franklin for organizing his time. Updated for the 21st century, of course. Franklin Planners are organized by date and include space for appointments, task lists, and meeting notes each day. The planner also includes space to list and track individual projects and goals for the year.

The Franklin website also has a  What Planner Are You? Quiz to help you decide which kind of planner is the best fit for you. The answer will be one of theirs – it is a marketing tool after all – but it also might be helpful to take to get suggestions about what you are looking for in a planner more generally.

Franklin comes in a wide variety of sizes, colors, and price points ranging from about $15 to about $60.

The Hybrid


The Daily Greatness Planner

Now, let me introduce you to my personal favorite. The Daily Greatness Business Planner. This planner satisfies both my need to set goals/plans AND to schedule all in one cheery book.

I call it a hybrid planner – the LIBRA in me sees equal value in the two functions – and I seriously get a rush at all the possibility that’s available to me every time I open it.

It’s fair to say I have a complete crush on this planner.

I love this planner so much, I was even able to negotiate a DISCOUNT on it for my readers. Normally it sells for $49.95, but the creator of the planner will give you a 5% discount. Be sure to click here to access the discount!

Pro Tip:

Now, I’m going to let you in on a little power-planning tip. I am currently using 2 planners.


Yes, I am using Amber McCue’s planner for hardcore, get-to-the-roots planning and goal setting. Refining it a bit and scheduling my plans with the Daily Greatness Planner. Frankly, the combination of them (for me) is perfection.

What to do next

Over the next two weeks, I will be sharing with you ideas and suggestions for Goal Setting and Business Planning to get you thinking and ready for a great 2017! To make the most of those posts, be sure to spend time choosing a planner that you will love AND use! Let’s bring sexy back to planning in 2017.



New Year, New Planner

by | Dec 19 | Business Growth, Personal Growth