Confession time… I’m totally a notebook-a-holic, paper planner aficionado, and workbook addict.
I’ve tried a ton of them, and this is not a new theme in my life…
My mom has pictures of me carrying a bag full of mini diaries, post it note packs, and ruled notebooks when I was just a toddler. I wouldn’t let anyone throw out or touch paper products, and when we moved into our house my mom mailed me all of my paper addiction “collection”.
My paper planner addiction took on a more “serious” role when I became an entrepreneur, because I had a reason to use all of these awesome productivity tools I kept finding.
And I’m always open to trying a new type of notebook, too. My husband has to steer me away from the paper aisles at Target, and I avoid shopping when it’s “back to school” time because I will end up bringing home more paper products than I can use.
Over the years, I’ve tried a ton of different entrepreneurial paper planners, so with the new year around the corner I thought I’d do a full on review.
Choosing The Right System For You
Now I need to say that none of these are products that you absolutely NEED to have. That might sound weird, but from my personal experience it’s not so much about which notebook or planner you use… As much as actually using it on a daily basis to get stuff done that really matters.
So please take this side by side planner comparison as a fun way to pick a helpful tool for your year… And not as a “silver bullet” that will change your life.
Yes, if you pick one of these and you end up putting it to good use you will most definitely have a productive year and get a ton of amazing traction in your business.
But that will be because YOU made it happen. You just happened to have a cool and motivating sidekick notebook to make it easier. Some of the links in this post are affiliate links, which means I may earn a small commission for recommending them, but I would be sharing this review with you regardless of the affiliate links.
So with that caveat out of the way, let’s take a look at these pretty planners, shall we?
1. Leonie Dawson’s Shining Year Workbooks
This is the one workbook and yearly planner that I’ve been buying for over 6 years, non-stop. Back in the day, the workbooks were only available as PDF downloads that you could print out…
But now Leonie has a full-on printed package that includes this amazing bestseller life and business planner, and other goodies like a wall calendar and daily notepad.
Leonie Dawson is a mentor to women wanting to create + grow massively successful and heart-centered creative + soulful businesses. She is also an author, retreat leader, visual artist, mama, and friend.
Here’s a sneak peek at just some of the beautiful worksheets and exercises you can expect…
All of her yearly workbooks have been bestsellers, and I personally can’t wait for mine to arrive in the mail!
Leonie has created a company that has generated millions and helps thousands of women every single year. Her mission is to help as many earth angels – women with creative or spiritual gifts – to have profoundly profitable businesses so they may nourish themselves and heal the world.
I highly recommend grabbing one of her workbooks to get your 2017 off to an amazing start!
Who it’s for: I think this is one of the most creative, fun, and effective planners out there. It’s NOT a daily planner, but rather a way for you to dream about your year, review the year gone by and really set the tone for the next 12 months. This year Leonie has also added a weekly planner and other bonus goodies!
2. Danielle LaPorte’s Desire Map Planner
There’s something to be said about zigging when everyone is zagging, and Danielle LaPorte’s Desire Map Planner does just that.
Instead of focusing only on your productivity and getting your “todo items done” each day, the Desire Map Planner has you looking at how you want to feel first.
Once you’ve gotten into the feelings that really light you up, you can take action in more aligned and soulful ways. This is awesome because as a Type A go-getter like many of us entrepreneurial ladies are, it’s nice to take a step back and remember why we’re doing all of this in the first place.
What I love about these planners is the beautiful cover designs, and the intentionality behind the method. There’s also a daily, weekly, and monthly spread which is awesome for keeping track of all your activities.
Who it’s for: Danielle designed this for entrepreneurs, but I think it suits anyone who wants to lean into their core desired feelings on a daily or weekly basis. It’s great if you’re ready for something a little different.
3. Briana Borten’s Rituals For Living Dreambook
Last year my friend Briana held a successful kick starter campaign to produce her Rituals For Living Dreambook, and I think it’s just gorgeous.
This is a combination life planner for the big things you want to accomplish in the next 1, 5, and 10 years… and a system for breaking it down into smaller chunks that you can take action on week after week.
I like how there’s an emphasis on doing something fun for yourself each week, giving gratitude for the amazingness in your life, and also picking only 3 top priorities per week.
Who it’s for: This dream book is most definitely ideal for entrepreneurs, and while it’s not a daily planner it will give you clarity on a weekly basis to move toward your goals. Oh, and there is a daily planner option / addon you can check out, too!
4. Daily Greatness Business Planner
I finally got to play with the Daily Greatness planner, and it’s been an amazing way to think through business decisions and think big.
What I like about it is that it’s an un-dated yearly planner, so you can start using it anytime (no need to wait for the new year!). It also includes finance and budget worksheets, quarterly goal setting pages. Plus there are specific prompts for daily, weekly and quarterly planning.
If you like to plan on paper, there’s a social media content planner section, the one-page business plan to keep you focused, and on-going check ins to keep you motivated throughout the year. They also offer non-business planners for your overall life goals, I have a feeling it’ll be the perfect fit for those looking for a colorful planning tool!
Who it’s for: The Daily Greatness company offers different journals and workbooks based on your needs, but I’m especially keen on the Business Planner for entrepreneurs. The books are colorful and flexible enough so you can be your own guru!
5. Strategic Coach’s Weekly Planner
This isn’t a weekly planner that you can just purchase, because you need to be a client of the Strategic Coach program (which is a yearly mastermind-style program that runs just under 5 figures per year)… But I wanted to include it here because I like to joke that it’s my most expensive paper planner.
One of the things I really like about this planner is that you start a new one every quarter, and there’s a big emphasis on celebrating your successes along the way.
There are also places to track the different tools that are specific to Strategic Coach, like splitting your days between Focus, Buffer, and Free Days.
Who it’s for: This weekly planner is only for Strategic Coach clients, but you can draw inspiration from their Positive Focus page and make reviewing your successes a habit. I really like that it condenses all the practices of the program into doable daily habits!
6. Whitney English’s Day Designer
I first started using my Day Designer back in 2013 when Whitney English was a sponsor for our Off The Charts event. I fell in love with the impeccable design, the focus on the entrepreneur’s busy day… and the gorgeous daily quotes.
This daily planner is a beast because it includes one page per day, but this is great because it allows you to write down daily meetings right beside your daily to-do’s.
This was the first planner to offer such a simple and effective design, and it’s still a winner today. One drawback for myself personally is that I prefer to organize my meetings and calls via Google Calendar, and keep my paper planner for my own todo items.
Overall, I absolutely loved using this day designer and it definitely kept me on task and productive!
Who it’s for: Designed for busy creative entrepreneurs, it blends productivity and design beautifully… It’s one of those planners that you won’t want to get rid of, but it is pretty bulky so you won’t be carrying it around with you a lot if you travel often.
7. Emily Ley’s Simplified Planner
The next contender is very much on the same plane as the Day Designer, and it’s equally beautiful and practical. The Emily Ley Simplified Planner has a touch of whimsy and it’s won a couple of awards for design in the printed products industry.
I got whisked into the excitement last year because I couldn’t decide on which cover design I preferred (all so pretty!). I ended up not using the planner as much as I anticipated, despite the fact that it’s gorgeous, because of the small space for writing out tasks.
Just like the Day Designer, there’s a page per day which makes this a bulkier planner and you need to squeeze your meetings and calls beside your daily tasks.
The quotes and calendar are a nice perk, and it’s expertly designed and I hear this year the planners are a little lighter and more portable, too.
Who it’s for: From my understanding, this planner is more geared toward moms and busy ladies of any kind. It’s less entrepreneur focused, and it includes a spot to mark down what you’re making for dinner, too. These planners are gorgeous and very colorful!
8. Savor The Success Daily Action Planner
This planner is good for the commitment-probes among us, because one planner only represents one month at a time. That means that you’re not tied to a planner for an entire year, which might suit you if you want to play the planner field a little.
This also makes this planner one of the more expensive options, since you’ll need to get 12 of them to cover your whole year. That being said, this action planner has a few features that make it stand out.
One of the things I love about it is the emphasis on writing down tasks for the week – and who you are delegating them to. This helps you offload or at least start to see how you can stop being the bottleneck in your business.
The other cool feature is the “outgoing ships” section, which is all about doing one small daily action that might bring back a cool opportunity.
My only complaint with this planner is that there isn’t a ton of space again to write down tasks, since it is a smaller planner and it tries to fit a ton of different types of things on each page.
Who it’s for: This paper planner is most definitely designed for entrepreneurs, and you can tell that it suits the creator’s workflow to a T. I recommend giving it a try if you’re looking to fine tune your daily planning and try something different.
9. Erin Condren’s Life Planner
This is one paper planner that I have yet to try, but have heard great things about. This one is ideal for you if you like having a weekly at-a-glance view of your calendar.
Personally, it reminds me of the types of agendas and planners that we had in our primary school years… and it doesn’t provide enough space to enter my daily tasks.
But I can see how it would be really beneficial for planning lots of different weekly events, so if your business has more of that type of flow (and you’re not on the Google Calendar train) then this might be a good option for you.
Who it’s for: I can see this planner being a life saver if you travel a lot and need to keep track of different appointments, important dates for launches, and really looking at things from an at-a-glance viewpoint. It could even make a great editorial calendar!
10. The Passion Planner
The Passion Planner is another kick starter success story, and I love the ethos behind the brand. It’s aimed at a more mainstream audience who are ready to embrace their passions and make a change to their daily lives.
The design shows a full week of days over two pages, which is a nice compromise from the full-on (and heavy!) daily planners out there… This gives you just enough space to write down all the meetings and calls you might have, with another section for your todo items in more detail below.
I do like how tasks can be broken down into personal and work, and how there’s a “top priority” and “errands” category, too.
Overall, I think it’s a fun and very usable planner with cute quotes and lots of function packed in. It doesn’t have the same design flair as some of the others, but it might just spark your passion!
Who it’s for: Ideal for anyone who wants to break down their bigger yearly or monthly goals into doable weekly action plans. It’s got a younger vibe and the founders are really passionate about what they’ve created.
11. Ink + Volt Planner
This is a new planner that I discovered just last year, and they have both a dated version or an undated 6-month “start any time” version.
There are a few things that really made me enjoy using this weekly planner: it offers a monthly “30 day challenge” which is great for changing habits or going after bigger goals. It’s also got useful journaling prompts, and nudges you to review your monthly and yearly goals each week.
Plus, it has a great “2 in one” system where the first half of the notebook is your weekly planner and the second half is reserved for notes. I usually have two notebooks going at a time, and with the Volt Planner I’ve been able to reduce it down to just one. The only downside in my opinion is that it’s a no-frills black notebook, which isn’t as pretty or colorful as some of the other ones on this list.
Who it’s for: This planner is awesome for more corporate ladies who want some introspection along with their high-power goal achieving. I also think it’s perfect for you if you travel a lot, since you can have all of your important tasks and notes in one place.
12. Blank Notebooks – Make Your Own!
Okay, now that we’ve looked at a ton of different options for planners and workbooks… let’s be honest here: if you’re reading this, you’re a highly creative entrepreneur and you might be hankering to make your own!
From some of my comments above, you might have guessed that I sometimes feel stifled by boxes that are too small for my tasks or that don’t necessarily focus on the things I want to focus on.
That’s where picking a pretty blank notebook comes in! Although a blank or lined notebook won’t have a calendar or other cool prompts, it does tend to bend to whatever planning system you prefer.
If you don’t quite know how to organize your tasks or todos, I recommend taking a look at the Bullet Journal.
Some of my favorite blank notebooks are spiral bound, so it’s super easy to keep my “today” page open and make notes about future days or review past weeks, too.
So what’s The Best Planner for Entrepreneurs? You Decide!
There’s no one-size-fits all when it comes to choosing the best planner for entrepreneurs, but I think each of these is a strong contender.
Now that I’ve shared my take on some of the top entrepreneurial paper planners out there, I want to know what you think!
I’d love for you to leave a comment and let me know:
1. What’s your favorite notebook, planner, or organization system?
2. What are you most proud of from 2016 (so far)?
Happy 2017 planning!