...And The creation of the personality-based planners
Some Background Info
(If you already know what MindfulDay Planning does, feel free to skip to ‘My First Real Planner’ section)
For the rest of you – MindfulDay Planning is all about providing you with the perfect planner for YOU based on your personality and life-needs. I sell quarterly, personality-based planners, inspired by individual people and their Meyers-Briggs and Enneagram personality types.
Every person thinks differently, has different motivations, and lives a different kind of busy life, so I firmly believe that the same old planner layout is not going to be the right fit for everyone. My goal is to provide you with the right fit. I have created 3 different planners so far (and am working on more). Each planner is undated, so you can start it anytime. If you want to know which one is right for you, try reading about each one to see which one resonate the most with you or taking the quiz.
Now for story time.
My First Real Planner
I’ve always been a high-achiever although it took me a while to figure that out that not everyone has the same intense, innate desire to achieve at all times (for those of you familiar with StrengthsFinder, if you haven’t already guessed, two of my top strengths are Achiever and Strategic).
About 4 years ago, I discovered the Michael Hyatt Full Focus Planner. It targets high achievers – particularly CEOs and business professionals. I was not the latter, but I most definitely related to the former and I was smitten with it, to say the least. It was one of those purchases that I deliberated over for a while, because it was pretty pricey for me at the time (who am I kidding, it still is). But eventually, I got it, with the hopes that if it really did make my time that much more efficient, it would pay for itself. Time is money, after all.
It did. My husband will tell you how I raved about it when I first got it all set up and started using it. I was accomplishing more than before and yet I was less stressed and still had time to rest.
It was revolutionary for me. Truly. It motivated me to do things that I wouldn’t have even considered otherwise and to be more intentional about my life.
What I had really discovered in the Full Focus Planner was a way to live more intentionally, and there was no going back.
The Beginning of My Search for Planner Peace
By the time I got to the end of my Full Focus Planner, I realized that – as amazing as it was – it wasn’t quite what I wanted. It had introduced me to a whole new world of planning, but I was maturing in my planner journey and figuring out along the way what was and was not helpful to me.
I searched and searched (and searched) through the infinite supply of planner choices available online and was disappointed to find just how similar they all are. They all claimed to be unique – different. But they all seemed to fit into one of a few basic models, with an extra prompt or two about what inspires you, or little generic habit-trackers.
Being the strategic innovator that I am, I used blank notebooks and Rocketbooks (re-usable ‘paper’ notebooks, which are also awesome) to create my own planners, tweaking the layouts as I went. However, nothing was sticking.
Enter My Husband
Watching my journey all this time, was my husband (pictured below). Having watched me tweak, create, and recreate planner designs for myself, he eventually caught the bug and ordered one of his own.
He wasn’t interested in just any old planner though. He wasn’t really a planner-type, after all, so he needed a planner that was a bit quirky and worked for him. So he tracked down and ordered the Procrastinator’s Planner. Sounds promising, right?
He used it for one week straight before usage started to fizzle. Sixteen days total (on and off) before he dropped it for nearly a whole week and tried again. Another 3 days and then he never touched it again.
Why? Because it claimed to be different. To be made for procrastinators. But it was no different than all of the rest of the planners. It worked like every other planner I had come across, just with a few extra quirky pictures of cartoon ogres.
After this failed attempt, he turned to me. This is where the story really begins.
The Adventurer’s Tale: An Origin Story
I have the basic technical skills to be able to create quality print files coupled with an unreasonable need to tackle any problem I can solve with all the force of the universe that I can muster. So when Zach came to me and asked a very simple question – “Can you make a planner for me?” – I took it very seriously. Remember how I said one of my tops strength (according to StrengthsFinder) is Strategic? My strategic side went into hyperdrive.
First of all, my husband and I are nothing alike. We think and process through things very differently. It means we make a great team, because we compliment each other very well. Unless we’re working through a math problem together, then we drive each other mad.
Anyway, I knew that the planner that worked for him couldn’t look or work anything like mine, or he would never use it and all of my efforts would go to waste. So I did my research.
Knowing his Meyers-Briggs and Enneagram types, I scoured the internet for tips and tricks for motivating and organising based on an ENFP, Enneagram 7.
I searched forum after forum of Meyers-Briggs ENFPs and Enneagram 7s discussing how they motivated themselves, what demotivated them, what organizational tactics they had tried, what worked, and what didn’t. Eventually, a pattern emerged.
After a thorough series of interviews with my hubby I determined that many of these things rang true to him and was able to dive even deeper into the weeds on the issues he faced in terms of planning.
As an obsessive problem-solver, I was engrossed, to say the least and gave him homework: to keep a log of his time for a solid week and record his mood throughout the day. I will spare you the details, but this simple assignment, in conjunction with my research, gave me a LOT of insight into how his mind worked.
Soon, I had created a two-week paper planner printed on our little home printer and stapled into a little booklet for him to test out and provide intermittent feedback on (eventually, we progressed to a real printer where I could get cheap paperback prints made). After many rounds of testing, feedback and revision, the Adventurer’s Tale was born.
The evolution of the Adventurer's Tale
The Strategist’s Blueprint: An Origin Story
When the Adventurer’s Tale was well underway, I got a little bit jealous. I had made this awesome planner for my husband that actually worked for him. Really well. But what about me? My search was still a struggle.
Inspired by my research for him, I looked for nontraditional, personality-based planners and came up pretty short. Once I thought I found some, but they were, again, pretty much the same as everything else, with slightly different reflection questions depending on your personality.
So I decided to repeat the process for myself (easier said than done) and dug into Meyers-Briggs and Enneagram research and forums (I’m an INTJ, Enneagram 1, for anyone who cares). As a result of these processes, I had two very different planners. Seriously, if you go take a look at the Adventurer’s Tale and the Strategist’s Blueprint, and you will see what I mean.
I’ve Always Wanted to Use a Planner, but Never Found One that Works for Me
Along the way, I found out that Zach and I weren’t alone in our desire for a different type of planner – something that worked for us. Far from it.
I can’t tell you the number of people along the way who heard about what I was doing and said something along the lines of ‘I’ve always wanted to use a planner, but never found one that works for me’.
It turns out that the one-size-fits-all planner types that I had been seeing everywhere were more like one-size-fits-some. So I began to develop the theory that our minds work differently from one another so our planners should too.
At this point, I had a growing list of people keen to have me create something for them, or to try the ones I had already made for Zach and myself. ‘Am I going to sell them?’ people would ask me. ‘Maybe’, I would reply, but in my head I was already 10 steps ahead, and deep down in my heart I was already in love with the idea of creating and selling a product that would help people experience their inner potential, just like my planner was doing for me.
And so I continued. Quietly. Persistently. Hopefully.
Eventually, I had created 3 different planners (planner number 3 was inspired by a Meyers-Briggs INFP, Enneagram 9). I dreamt – and still do – of creating several more, so there’s a perfect match for everyone, but I knew that the process was too intensive to keep making more and more without knowing if these 3 could be helpful for other people too.
After all, just looking at my planner stressed my husband out. Simply the idea of his completely turned some people off. What if mine was only helpful to me? And his was only helpful to him? I had to know – could these work for other people too (like I theorised they would), or was the only way to bring planner peace to make a custom planner for every person on earth? A bit extreme, I know, but you get the point.
I needed people to test them. But even this is a lot more complicated than it sounds. The idea was that the planner that is right for person A, might not be the right planner for person B, and so on. Which meant I needed to have each potential product tester fill out a long survey all about themselves, so I could try to match them with the right planner for them.
Then, I needed each tester to learn how to use the planner, use it for a set period of time, and fill out surveys along the way. Here’s the tricky part. Even if I got negative feedback on each planner, it was up to me to decide if that negative feedback was because something was wrong with the planner, or if it was because it was just the wrong planner for THEM. See what I mean?
So I created my surveys, an application for any potential product testers, shared the idea on Facebook and asked for volunteers.
61 people applied. Friends, family and strangers. I was blown away. That was January 2021.
I’ll spare you the rest of the details, but the short version is, they were a hit. Yes, there were some changes to be made, and not everyone fell in love, but it answered my question. I was onto something.
My daughter was still less than a year old at this point, and I spent her nap times and my nights fine-tuning the planners, establishing a humble following, and getting prints.
Seven months later, MindfulDay Planning was launched.
I can’t possibly express to you how much work has been involved in this, but it’s all worth it. It’s like my second child, and much like a parent, I worry about it every day and think about it almost constantly. I care about it more than I realised I could and every miniscule sign of growth is a joy.
I can’t wait to look back one day at what I’ve written here and see how far it has come.