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A New Pad in 2018

With a brand new year quickly approaching, I have been asked several times recently “Brenda, do you use a planning calendar besides your phone and if so what do you use?” My answer to that is YES! And I am always happy to highly recommend the Planner Pad system that I have now used every year since 2007. I will start by saying that I am in no way tied to Planner Pad and there is nothing in it for me to endorse this product which in my opinion makes it the best kind of recommendation.

When I first started using a planner the first “professional” system I chose was the Day-Timer now found at It was great, at the time and I loved carrying around the then thick and clunky leather bound loose leaf binder. It made me feel important as a recent college grad to have such a substantial appointment book. The functionality was fine and I doubt I used all the systems designed by Day-Timer. I simply jotted down appointments and did some note-taking on the one page per day system.

When I was promoted into the HR department at Blockbuster… (Ugh…. that dates me doesn’t it?), I was trained to be a “trainer” for the Franklin Covey planner system for our management team. Just like getting a new toy at Christmas, I was excited about my new calendar! It offered pretty themes and pages as well as a more detailed system for prioritizing and planning your day, week, month and year. I was even able to find a leather “purse” accessory with a shoulder strap to encourage me to bring it with me wherever I go. Long before the cell phone calendar, nothing was worse than a planner left on the desk at your office when you are away with meetings and life in general. (Boy was that thing heavy! If attacked, that thing could certainly knock someone out if I gave it a good swing in the right direction.) The Franklin Covey system now found at also used the “page per day” approach and although I appreciated the goal setting and organizing systems I found I often needed to “carry forward” action items from one day to the next and writing them over and over became cumbersome and sometimes got lost from one day to the next.

And then I found the Planner Pad at! What I loved about it right away is their unique funnel down - week at a glance system. The top section has several columns “Weekly Lists of Activities by Categories” to list activities or projects that you would like to make progress on this week. I list things like prospects, follow-up calls, Team building activities, to-do’s for my charity event and I even have columns left over for kids, household and personal.

After listing everything you would like to get done, you move down to the middle of the planner page to the “Daily Things To-Do” section that is divided by day of the week, Monday thru Sunday. Here you list activities from the Weekly list and assign a specific day. Lastly, the third section of the Week-at-a-Glance is broken down into specific times between 7am and 9pm where you can designate appointments and plan out your day hour by hour. In addition to the weekly planner pages there are many additional pages for Goals/Projects and lots of room to take notes. I have found this system to be the most effective and efficient for my planning purposes.

A few other things I prefer about the Planner Pad:

  1. I like that they teach you how to use it front and center on their website and even have a quick video that illustrates the system that you can see here:

  2. They aren’t selling a bunch of accessories tools and binders, just their planning system.

  3. I love that it is sleek and spiral bound. I can easily slip it into my briefcase, bag or portfolio to take anywhere. There are three sizes. Personally, I prefer the Executive size 8 ½ x 11”.

  4. In a small amount of space on a bookshelf I have ten years of my life easily accessible if needed.

  5. They will personalize it for less than $5! (Where’s the “Like” button?)

It has been years since I have tried another system and I am certain they have all made improvements in the past decade but I have had no reason or urge to look any further. I also use the calendar on my iPhone heavily. A phone calendar is an invaluable tool that I would find hard to live without. However for me it does not replace my need for a space to organize my SDMO (Solopreneur Daily Method of Operation), to plan, schedule, take notes, reference the current week as well as weeks past and forecasting. Next year I will be going into great detail about planning and the SDMO and how to easily get an extra 5 hours out of your workweek.

Until next time, I wish you all the gifts of this joyous season – Peace, Love & Hope!

Brenda Ridgley

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