The Planners I use everyday- at home and running my small business.

It’s no secret that I love a planner.

So I thought I’d start back to the blog with a run down of the ones I use myself – for my business and for at home – to keep me from losing the plot entirely.   This isn’t some sort of humble brag situation though.

Given how many different things people need to juggle there is never going to be one system that works for everyone.  But in the same way there are lots of things that people may feel they need to get more of a grasp on that they haven’t had to before, and a few ideas for how they might pull things together might help.

Plus, let’s not forget that I’m nosey and like to read about things like this, so I’m going to be bold and presume I’m not the only one!

I need to caveat this though - I have included some of my own products in this run-down and this isn’t just for some subtle product-placement type scenario.  As with all my products and layouts, they originated from something that I needed. So yes, I’m using my own products and I’m telling you about them, but that’s because it’s exactly what they were designed for and also, let’s face it, if I didn’t use them then you’d be a bit suspicious wouldn’t you? I should also add that I don’t keep to all these 100% of the time either.  These are my usual planners and routines, but there’s some flex in there too – some days/weeks will work just like this and other days/weeks will be a total bonfire because that’s just how life is sometimes.

Household Planner

A full page of the Holchester Designs Household Planner is open - at October - and the columns are completed for the family to use. It is being held on the left by a hand in a pink sleeve, and the background is a pale lilac.

The first thing I look at in the morning (other than my phone to turn off the 8th alarm that’s just gone off to keep me moving) is our Household calendar planner.  Having it up on the wall tells me whether we need library books, PE kit or a packed lunch making.  And, this is key, it tells the rest of the family too.  So the kids can see what’s happening that day, whether Daddy’s working in London and might be back late, whether Mummy’s got a market, if they’re at after school club that day or have a birthday party coming up.  So not only is it not all in my head and digital calendar, but they can see and take an element of responsibility over it too.  And yes, it applies to the whole family.

If you like the look of it the last few Household Calendars have 40% off at the moment. 


Meal Planner

A Holchester Designs Cutouts Meal Planner Pad is laying flat on a teal desk.  It is in landscape orientation and has 7 blank rows on the left half of the page, and one large blank box on the right.  Around the image are arrows with details about the product such as it has 52 pages, is on recycled paper, comes in biodegradeable cellophane, is printed in the UK and that the left is for meal planning and the right for writing your shopping lists.

Next up in my quest for a organised morning is looking at the meal planner.

Breakfasts aren’t on there but I try to include lunches (just so they’re more exciting) and dinner, and I’ll try and check what we’re having in the morning so I know what to get out of the freezer or pick up at the little shop if we need anything extra.  The meal planner I use has the spaces for meals on the left and shopping list on the right – so I can do both in one planning session.  We tend to do one ‘big’ shop a week or so and one or two little ones in between to get fresh bread, milk veggies etc so I can plan those mini-shops in on there too. Personally I find meal planning like this much easier than trying to do it day by day, and it removes the sinking feeling of knowing you need to rustle something up from the dust in the cupboards when inspiration has deserted you.   I can also plan in batch cooking bigger things for stashing in the freezer and it also means the online shop is a little more efficient as we buy less extras than we would as we walk round. 

A Cutouts Meal Planner pad is laid flat on a wooden table.  On it there are lots of meals planned out, and a shopping list to the right.  The corners of the pages are folded over and it's clearly a well used note pad.

And the final bonus is there’s much less waste as we’re generally only getting what we need.  It’s not a fool-proof system – hello temperamental kids – but it at least gives us a framework to work within and that halves the battle sometimes.

 You can find the Cutouts Meal Planner Pad here 



My [paper-based] Daily Planner

A left hand is holding up a navy-blue linen bound planner book.  In gold on the front is written The Business Planner, and it is a planner from The Productivity Method.

Yes, I’m a paper planner kinda gal. This year (2024) I’m using a Business Planner from The Productivity Method (Grace Beverley’s ‘side’ business) and it’s the second year I’ve had one of their planners.  Last year I had the diary and, if I’m totally honest, it worked better for me than this one is this year, but that’s my issue not the fault of the planner itself.  I have found the business structure & goal-setting tools useful but the main reason I got it again was because of the Quick Ticks – Tasks – Projects to-do list setup.  Categorising tasks by how long they’ll take has been brilliant, and has allowed me to keep similar tasks together more easily and fit things in blocks of time much more efficiently.  Grace Beverley is a champion of time blocking and whilst I’m not as fastidious with it as I would like, I’m a productive work in progress.  The main reason why it isn’t working so well for me is that it’s an undated planner and I found being able to put different tasks in for specific dates useful, but I can work round that easily enough, I just need to practice!

Google Sheets

Having told you all about how I’m a pen-and-paper planner, I do actually do my bigger picture planning digitally.  And although there’s loads of apps & tools for project management etc I’ve stuck with google sheets as it’s easy to navigate, easy to get on my phone/ipad, and I just don’t need anything fancy when it’s just me and all my lists. I’ve got a marketing strategy and business planning pencilled in on different sheets, I can move things around and keep track of key metrics and I wouldn’t be without it.  It’s not fancy, and it does have its limitations but at the moment what’s key for me is keeping things easy to do and accessible, and google sheet fits the bill perfectly.

Notion & Trello

Notion & Trello are two alternative digital tools that I do use on occasion to help with streamlining processes and keeping information together.  Having them together on this list is possibly misleading as I don’t use them for the same things, but as two tools which both have great functionality on a free level I thought they should be included.

I mainly use Trello to keep track of processes, using it as a Kanban board to prompt me to do tasks and keep an eye on the next stages and what’s coming up – for example with reaching out to independent shops as potential stockists.  For that I can keep a list of people I want to approach, who I have approach with notes of what/when I’ve sent them an email, what replies have been etc and at a glance can see what stage different chats are at.

Notion is what I use to plan my marketing and social media strategy and content. As well as letting me categorise content under different themes and platforms, I can plan it in a calendar, keep captions and graphics together, and recycle and repurpose them later in the year.  The structure I use was originally a template from Rachel Emma Waring* (link below) and having that foundation to then build out to work for me has saved me so much time and effort.  In fact, this blog post is on a card in Notion, and once it’s gone live I’ll add it back to the digital recycle pile and pull information out from it in future when I need to.

(*Rachel's got a few different ones and you can find them here


So there we go, a run down of what keeps me in line.  As I said, all of these all the time could make a seamless system but would be one I’ve not entirely mastered.  My attitude to planners and planning is very much to give a structure to help other things flow a little easier but they are in no way a dictat to how things HAVE to be. The best laid plans need to have an element of flexibility otherwise it’ll crumble at the first sign of something unexpected, and with two kids and my own business that is generally a weekly occurrence.  But at least I know I’ve got things in place so when things do come apart a bit I can put them back together!

And one last thing – I’m an absolute sucker for a new planning tool so if you’ve got a goodun’ and are happy to share then let me know!

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