For this Thursday’s blog post, my husband let me take pictures of him with his planner–the Productivity Planner ($24.95).
I had tried to get my husband, Frank, into planning for a while. The dated planners–a Moleskine and a FRANK Stationary planner–just didn’t do it for him. He would lapse in using it and feel guilty picking it back up and seeing all the blank space. So I tried an undated approach and purchased the Productivity Planner for him.
It’s no secret that the world of planners and planner products is dominated by women. This means that a lot of planner companies and product designs are created with a female audience in mind. While adhering to a gender binary system is a conversation for another time and tied to the idea of performing gender in pre-determined ways, it is still nice for men to have unisex or masculine planner options. The Productivity Planner delivers in its minimalist, unisex design.
The Productivity Planner went into production after a successful kickstarter in 2016. This compact but content-packed planner is filled with 35+ pages of tips, productivity hacks, instructions, and advice on how to best use this tool. When you buy their product (at least off Amazon–it can also be found in anthropologie and paper source) the company sends you a PDF of their first 35 pages of content so that you can get started before the planner even arrives. Frank loves productivity tips/books/advice and dug right in.
I chose this planner for Frank because he works on a lot of projects and is trying to juggle a full-time job with rigorous research on the side. This planner is meant to be a non-work planner for him, a place where he can return to when he has time to work on a research paper or collaborative project. The undated system is perfect for his fluctuating schedule of availability.
With the Productivity Planner, you get 6 months of undated pages in a compact 5.2 x 8.5 inches. Frank carries it in his work bag almost every day and brings it along to our coffee shop dates. He uses it to manage multiple projects and to map out research strategies and progress. With so much going on in his head, he has really been enjoying using this planner to get everything down on paper in an organized, intentional way.
As mentioned, Frank primarily uses this planner for specific projects. He does a lot of original research with the goal of producing academic articles and often has multiple ongoing projects. This planner helps him focus on being productive and sticking to his research goals and process. He does not use this planner for daily life, which is why the undated system works so well for him.
The Productivity Planner includes a Weekly Planning section followed by five day-per-pages. The Weekly Planning page lets you write in the week you are working during and list the Five Most Important Tasks of the Week, asking you to consider that “If these were the only tasks you completed during the week, you’d be satisfied.” Then there is space for Tasks of Secondary Importance. We love that the tasks are numbered and that secondary tasks continue with #6–10 instead of restarting with another set of #1–5. This reminds you that your secondary tasks literally come after whichever ones you set as your primary. Then there is space for any additional tasks. The bottom of the Weekly Planning page includes a space for you to make a commitment to being productive that week.
Daily pages follow the prioritizing method of primary, secondary, and additional tasks. Daily pages also include an inspirational or motivational quote to get you hyped. The Daily pages only give you space for five tasks with #1 as the most important. This helps you narrow in your focus and attack your goals in more bite-size, digestible chunks. There are check boxes and circles for using different productivity techniques like the Pomodoro method. Then there is space for Notes and a Productivity Score that you can give yourself at the end of your day.
The paper quality is decent. There is some ghosting but Frank can use his Pilot G-2 07 or 10 pen without any bleed. He’s left-handed and writes a bit large, so he often packs these pages. I’ve never heard him complain about the paper or the size of the planner, even though he has mentioned writing in a small space can feel a little cramped.
I asked Frank what he likes best about his planner and he wanted to do his own Loves and Nopes. So I will let his words speak for themselves:
- A great collection of quotes, weekly and daily, to help you stay in the zone.
- The planner is so flexible. I use it for side projects that I go through on/off phases working on. It would be wasteful for me to use a dated planner for this because whole weeks worth of paper would go unused (or I would have to cross out and rewrite dates all the time). So, it’s perfect for organizing sessions to move forward on side-projects that are timeline fluid rather than planning every workday.
- Great size, about the same as a Moleskine notebook so it’s very portable.
- I really like the textured cover. It feels sturdy and yummy when I pick it up.
- The focus on one solid to-do each day should be the primary goal is really good.
- Weekly reviews prompt you to reflect on how things are going and how you can improve.
- I’m conflicted about the introduction in the start giving tips for how to use the planner and helping you build good habits. I enjoyed reading it and found it very helpful, but I don’t like so much space in the planner being dedicated to it. Not that this is a major issue, I’m going to get a fresh one when I run out of space and I’m positive I will re-read the introduction. Another option is for the creator to package the introduction into a small booklet shipped with the planner.
- Productivity scoring yourself at the end of every day can be useful for starting to build habits and finding what works and doesn’t work, but it can become anxiety-inducing because life throws up roadblocks that aren’t your fault.
There you have it! A #plannermatch featuring my husband Frank and his Productivity Planner! If you have questions for me (or Frank) leave them in the comments below and we will answer them! 🙂