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A guide to planners + how to use them

Here is a guide to planners and how to use them! While I’ve designed planners, and use them, I just barely realized the depth to them.

I recently had a speaking engagement at the Wild for Planners conference and LOVED it. I’ll do a separate post about that, but first let’s go over the different planners on the market so you can choose which one is best for your lifestyle!

For a crafting enthusiast like me (and you too!) who wants to optimize and kinda organize their creativity – trust me, there’s a planner for it. 

A guide to planners + how to use them

planner on a table

For a crafting enthusiast looking to optimize organization and creativity through the use of various planners, here’s a tailored list combining different types of planners with specific applications for someone who loves to craft:

Daily Planner:

I call this a to-do list. You can use a notepad and keep it simple. Jot down what you want to accomplish the next day. Use it to schedule dedicated crafting time, manage daily tasks, and jot down sudden bursts of creative ideas. This planner is perfect for keeping track of daily inspirations and to-dos, ensuring each day is productive. 

These are notepads I make and sell in my Crafty Chica shop. They work great for making a to-do list each night!

Weekly Planner:

This is good if you just want to focus on one week at a time. Or if you are a content creator and plan a week out at a time. Plan out a week’s worth of crafting projects and personal appointments at a glance. This helps in balancing crafting time with other weekly responsibilities, ensuring a smooth flow between creative pursuits and everyday tasks. I found this one online and like it because it is the perfect size to plan the week!

This one also works great if you are working on a BIG project, you can take it week-by-week to track your progress and stay on task.

Monthly Planner:

There are sooo many of these to choose from. I really love this Law of Attraction one because it is themed around manifesting and turning goals into reality! It’s also great for tracking upcoming craft shows, workshops, or deadlines for project submissions. This broader view helps in planning out long-term craft projects and ensuring you have all the necessary materials ahead of time.

Yearly Planner:

Go for a big dry erase annual planner. This is for the folks who always have something going on and REALLY have to see the big picture. Set goals for crafting achievements you aim to reach by the end of the year, such as mastering a new technique or completing a certain number of projects. This planner can keep you motivated and focused on your year-long crafting ambitions.

Wall Planner:

Sometimes you want a clean desk, or don’t want to lug anything around. In that case, a wall planner will be a great idea! This one is pretty sweet – it is themed around Frida and even has stickers and accessories to help your planning be artful and organized. It would also work nicely in a craft room or studio and you can dedicate it to your projects.

Bullet Journal:

A bullet journal is made up of pages made up of tiny dots. The idea is to use a fine point pen and create lists and boxes to your liking. Customize your own craft project tracker, include pages for sketching designs, and make lists of supplies. The bullet journal’s flexibility is ideal for a crafter who enjoys having everything from creative brainstorming to daily planning in one place. I love this teal one by Ottergami. It comes with stencils!

Goal Planner:

Break down your creative aspirations into actionable steps and track your progress. Whether it’s sharpening your skill with a specific technique or launching an awesome online store, a goal planner can help you stay on target. This one is nice because it is themed all around your goals and why they are important to you. 

Undated Planner:

These are my fave. No dates. So you can work on it as you wish and fine-tune it to your style. Start using this planner at any point in the year without wasting pages. It’s perfect for crafters who may have seasonal projects and need the flexibility to plan without constraints. Bloom Planners makes beautiful products that are very easy to incorporate into your life.

A guide to planners: Other types of planners (and links to my faves)

Project Planner: Organize specific crafting projects with detailed notes on stages, materials needed, budget, and deadlines. This type of planner is invaluable for managing complex projects or multiple smaller ones concurrently.

Digital Planner: Ideal for the tech-savvy crafter who prefers digital tools. This one is called Todoist and it has high ratings. I haven’t tried it, but I want to! When in doubt, just use the app on your smartphone. You can use it  track project progress, and sync your crafting life across all devices. Digital reminders can help you manage time effectively.

Travel Planner: Plan crafting retreats or trips to craft fairs and sourcing trips. Keep all your travel schedules, packing lists, and itinerary details in one place to make your travel smooth and enjoyable. This is the planner I’m taking with me to Spain!

Peace of Mind Planner: This sounds a bit morbid, but this planner helps organize all the essential info for your family in case of your passing. From medical info, last wishes, will, memories, last wishes….I think it is a beautiful way to well, have peace of mind! 

Budget Planner – Who doesn’t need one? This baby will come in handy, especially with all those craft supplies you want to buy! It’s an easy way to zero in on your spending habits.

Manifesting Planner – I have my eye on this “maniscripting” journal, it looks gorgeous. It is $60 for a 90-day journal, but it be exactly what I need. Here is another version that is only $22, might be a good way to ease into it!

Self-care Planner – This planner focuses on YOU and your desires. We are not on this earth to be robots, we are here to have an experience and enjoy each day as much as possible. If you go through a routine, life can become boring and mundane. Just use a blank book and start writing down something good that happened that day, what you want to do by the end of the week, something you are happy for, etc. 

crafty chica journal
One of my planner/ journals on display at the 2022 Atlanta Gift Show.


Related content: 12 Ways to make a DIY art journal

Reasons to use a planner:

Diving into a planner every day can actually be a game-changer. But remember, it will only work for you as long as you keep it up. While it seems daunting and easy to forget about, there are so many benefits. You’ll love looking back and seeing all the things you did, thought, and dreamt about!

Here’s why it’s so awesome:

It’s Like Having a Personal Assistant: Seriously, using a planner is like hiring a little helper that doesn’t take up any room and never needs a day off! It keeps all your appointments, birthdays, meetings, and even those tiny to-do’s that you’d definitely forget otherwise. You can just dump all your thoughts in there and not worry about remembering everything.

Stress Relief in Book Form: Imagine dumping all the buzzing thoughts from your brain onto paper and just feeling that wave of relief. That’s your planner at work! It’s like your personal stress ball. When you write things down, you’re less likely to feel overwhelmed because you’re not juggling a million things in your head. It’s all there on paper, neatly organized.

A Creativity Booster: This might sound a bit out there, but hear me out! When you use a planner, you get all the mundane stuff out of the way and give your brain some breathing room to get creative. You can doodle in the margins, use colorful pens, or add fun stickers all over. It’s not just about keeping track; it’s about making it your own little creative outlet.

Your Own Time Machine: Okay, not literally. But think about it—planning lets you look ahead and prepare for the future while also giving you a record of the past. It’s like having a diary and a crystal ball rolled into one. You can see where you’ve been and plot out where you’re going. Plus, looking back at everything you’ve accomplished is super satisfying!

Motivation Station: There’s nothing quite like the feeling of crossing something off your to-do list. It’s an instant hit of satisfaction and motivation. And on days when you feel like you haven’t done much, just look at your planner and see all those checked boxes. It’s a visual reminder of your productivity, which can be a huge motivator to keep pushing forward.

So, yeah, if you’re not already on this planner bandwagon, hop on! It’s not just about keeping your life in line—it’s about making it more colorful, less stressful, and a bit more fun!

I haven’t even mentioned the other elements – like creating artful layout, lettering, pens, stencils and stickers. Those are to come!

Lastly – you don’t need to buy a planner, you can always make your own! Here is a video I made showing that!

YouTube video


No-sew DIY ruffle top

Best practices for using a planner


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