I have run my business for nine years and just before the Christmas break I had a fantastic opportunity to have a client face-to-face strategy session. My client, Shannon, is one of a few long-term clients that I support in her digital marketing and web maintenance. We worked in person for some serious business building and strategizing, and I am here to tell you, if you have the opportunity, do it!
Shannon is in NYC and I’m in Maryland so we met halfway, in Philadelphia. Our intention was to stay at an Airbnb she had set up but that didn’t work out. We ended up at the Sonesta Hotel in downtown Philly. Beautiful space and functional for what we had planned. I tell you that so you know that because flexibility was a big part of the weekend.
Going into this, we knew we wanted to work on both of our businesses. Our respective areas of expertise complement each other really well. I am a structure builder and digital strategist, and she is a kick-ass content strategy coach. We’ve worked together for three years now. We each had a list of things we needed to get done so we jumped right into our Friday work session alternating between the two of us. We worked. We had dinner. We worked some more.
Saturday was pretty similar except we decided to play for the first part of the day, have lunch, and then work until dinner. We set out to see what we could get into on Saturday morning. We didn’t have a plan. We walked down to Dilworth Park and watched the ice skaters, found the Liberty Bell and the Tomb of the Unknown Soldier. I was introduced to “real” Ramen for lunch at Nom Nom Ramen. The Ramen was great but the vegan “pork” buns were out of this world fabulous. I need to find some of those in Maryland.
Instead of working in the room on Saturday we went down to the restaurant in the hotel. The large tables in the center were perfect for plugging in and spreading out. We spent hours there working through our lists, alternating between her list and mine. By creating that focused time to work, we got a ton accomplished.
One of the main things on Shannon’s list was her re-brand. We’ve been talking about it virtually but to sit together and go over all of the pieces, to show her how I work and the tools I use, to really hear what she was thinking and how she envisioned this re-brand was priceless.
One of the main things I hoped to gain from the weekend was to have a solid content strategy in place. I have ideas written down on sticky notes, in Google Keep, in Google Drive, all over the place. And to be honest, there are so many ideas that writing my blog posts was starting to feel a bit overwhelming. I walked away with so much more than I had hoped for. I finally got super-clear on my writing process.
So, if it is ever an option to have a face-to-face, big ideas session with a client, DO IT! It is fun and rewarding all the way around.
My hunt for the perfect planner has begun. If you know me at all, you know that I am a digital badass. I love working the digital side of mine and my client’s businesses. It’s what I do! For the last few years, I’ve used my mobile and various apps and online programs to coordinate everything I need to do. However, I’ve come to realize that when it comes to to-do lists and appointments, I crave pencil to paper. So, I decided that for 2015 I am going to move most of my daily routine to paper. Now, I made this decision several weeks ago and headed straight to Google to do some searching for the ultimate planner. Easy, right? No so much.
I am struggling to find an awesome planner that is both functional and beautiful. Below is a list of the top five planners I’ve looked at and my initial thoughts.
Passion Planner :: I love the concept of the Passion Planner and it has many of the elements I’m looking for but it also has many elements I don’t really need and it doesn’t incorporate enough of a personal life as in weekly grocery list or events I may be attending. And honestly, if I am going to carry this and use it every day I want it to be beautiful and colorful.
Erin Condren Life Planners :: Okay, seriously beautiful planners here, and personalized too. Oh yeah! I was super happy to find this planner but I definitely need to do more research. While there is some space for weekly goals/notes, I have to really think through how I see myself using this and if there will be enough room. Initially I had intended to add my grocery list right on my weekly layout but if I choose this planner I would need to rework that thought. There are some features like the notepad at the back of the book that could replace at least that part and some blank and lined pages for any random brainstorming that could occur. I’m not 100% sure this planner is “the one” and that makes me really sad because these are extremely beautiful planners. I haven’t completely taken it off the table yet 🙂
Plum Paper Planner :: Just Wow! These planners are awesome; beautiful and can be customized with a name. I am still researching the possibilities with Plum Planner and have an email into them but the add-on page options make it a strong contender. I love the direct sales pages, household pages, and the extras but it looks as though the monthly pages and the weekly pages are separate, and I’m not sure I can deal with that.
The Nifty Planner by Bobbie King :: This is almost exactly what I’ve been looking for as far as the layout and space. One trend I noticed is most of the other planners, with the exception of The Nifty Planner, is they start the week on Monday. My week starts on Sunday and this is a big adjustment for me to make. She has a really cool Brain Dump page that would make getting ideas out of my head and onto paper so much fun and she has tons of add-ons. The biggest roadblock I have with this one is that it is a digital delivery product and I would need to have it printed. Because one of my criteria is beauty that would mean printing it in color and having it bound somehow. That will end up being crazy pricey and I’m not sure I’m ready to shell out that much money. We’ll have to see ; )
Create One Myself :: This is always an option. I have mad document prep skills and could create my own planner to meet my specific needs. I was really hoping to find something close to what I wanted because the amount of time it would take me probably isn’t the best use of my time.
I would love your feedback. What is your favorite planner? How do you use it? Is there anything about it you would change (and did you adjust to anything you couldn’t change)? Please share. I need your help! And when my decision is made, I’ll be sure to share it with you here.