Several times, recently, I’ve said to someone, “I need a plan, but I’m not a planner.”
Take travel plans, for example. My brain resists handling important details ahead of time, like booking flights or hotels.
The downside is a looming to-do list, and missing out on the best prices and availability. Chad and I would probably get away to recharge more often, too, if only we’d plan for it.
I feel this same tension when planning menus,
always especially around the holidays. And, most notably, when I wrote The Miracle Farm book.
I didn’t know how long it would take to write the book and, because of that, didn’t set a firm deadline until almost the end. It often felt like a never-ending project, where I couldn’t see the light at the end of the tunnel.
A written plan would have provided clarity along the way, increasing my chances of finishing the book (and maybe the fact that I did, is a miracle, too!).
Now, I don’t leave everything to chance. I always have a weekly planner on my desk. But, I mostly use it to remind me of upcoming events vs. working toward goals and carrying out a plan of action.
Now I’ll share an example of someone who takes a different approach.
I first encountered the work of Bonnie Christine around 2017, when I was starting to explore surface pattern design (think beautiful patterns you find on fabric, wallpaper, etc). I was immediately drawn to her sophisticated illustration style, with hand-drawn and digital elements that reflected nature.
It was fun to browse her online portfolio of patterns. Her color palettes were refined, with each design in her collection different from the next, but in harmony with the whole. Her eye for design was inspiring.
Over the next five years Bonnie remained on my radar, even though my focus shifted toward writing. I witnessed her creativity via social media. I occasionally listened to podcasts where she was the guest, sharing her story of how she got started in the industry.
Bonnie learned how to design using Adobe Illustrator, created a lot of patterns and, over time, built a portfolio of patterns she was proud of. Then, she was brave enough to pitch her portfolio to her dream fabric company…and they loved her work. She set big goals, broke them down into smaller ones, and took consistent action.
In other words, she planned for her success.
The Flourish Planner
To help others do the same, Bonnie has designed the Flourish Planner for the past several years. Because I’ve decided that 2023 will be different – I’m going to set plans for the entire year vs. operating in the day-to-day – and because I’ve gained so much knowledge from Bonnie that she’s freely given, I purchased the Flourish Planner to support her work. It was my first time seeing her art printed on a physical product.
Bonnie reveals her attention to detail on the inside of the planner, too. You can see complete product photos on her website, but it has ample space to drill down on days of the week or take a yearly glance, record goals and dreams, complete and prioritize tasks, track habits, and even sketch or make notes.
Side Note: The Professional Creative Podcast
This past November, Bonnie started recording episodes for her own podcast titled The Professional Creative. If you dream of building a business around your creativity, or need to get unstuck in the one you already have, I highly encourage you to listen. Bonnie drops golden nuggets with every episode, and does it with beauty and clarity, much like her art.
Episode #14, in particular, just changed my life. It’s called “Tame Your To-Do List”. In it, Lisa Jacobs describes a simple system for prioritizing the tasks on your list, for both work and personal to-dos.
I’ve been using that system for two weeks, now, and can’t imagine going back to my old process. Which was, basically, keeping a list that never ended, and took up too much brain space.
Never going back. Ever.
Even though I may not be a natural planner, I’m eager to continue filling in the pages of my Flourish Planner. Because…the rewards of intentionally working toward my dreams, with regular and consistent action, are waiting around the corner.
I believe that’s true for you, too.