The Best Entrepreneurial Calendar Planners

In Self-Help by Erinne Kennedy, DMD, MPH

Do you recognize the sound of your favorite pen on your note pad, making that straight line through a task that needed completion? That is the euphoric sound of an entrepreneur’s success. That and the quiet “ahhhh” [cue shoulders to release all tension] that results when you cross a big task off the list. I am obsessed with a good task list. I love planning. I love planners. And I love those to-do lists . . . especially the completion of them. How about you?

Over the years, I have learned that to-do lists can be a curse as much as they are a blessing if you aren’t careful. (I am sure, as a multitasking entrepreneur in the female dental world you have created a few unmanageable to-dos lists that leave you overwhelmed and defeated too, right?) One of the ways that I prevent this from happening is with a calendar that lets me plan each day and visualize my week. When I plan this way, I don’t have a list of 500 things I want to accomplish, but rather a list for one day that I know I can tackle. These daily lists are manageable and align with my life values and goals. More importantly, they plug into my life planning and are stepping stones leading to a few BHAG’s (Big Hairy Audacious Goals).

With my busy schedule, and the love of a good task list, I am always on the hunt for the perfect entrepreneur’s planner. When I select a paper planner, I like something that is bound, light weight, with weekly and monthly views, and with plenty of space for a daily to-do list. A few of my favorites include the brands: Day Designer, Passion Planner, and Lilly Pulitzer.

I decided to conduct an experiment with only one participant–me. In January 2018 I decided that I needed to “get with the times,” and I started using an electronic calendar. With anxiety and apprehension that I would forget something or lose all of my ideas, I tossed my paper planner from 2017 into the trash and embarked on a new journey. I started using Google Calendars for all of my planning and kept a small daily task list on an electronic post-it note on my desktop.

After 6 full months of technology, I have decided that paper planners are best for this dental entrepreneur! Upon much reflection, I love the portability of an online calendar and how it can sync between devices. I love sending invites to others and syncing all of my meetings and events in one place. I love being able to share my plans with a team member and my family.

However, the blank page that leaves space for creativity and possibility each week was missed. It’s not that I cannot operate or function with an electronic calendar, but I miss writing. For me when I write down my thoughts I feel like I offload my brain and give it a break from trying to remember, analyze, or organize my life. I love the opportunity to write spontaneous ideas, memories, or to take notes during a meeting. When I have all of these thoughts and experiences in one place, I am able to walk through and reflect on my week with ease. For me, a paper planner offers a platform for growth as a leader.

After this experiment, I decided to start a new Passion Planner as of August 2018, I am excited to dream, plan, and record my life on new blank pages. (This was easy to do since many planners begin with each new August school year.) For me, there is simply no replacement for pen and paper.  See what you can find!

But what about you? What “DEW” my fellow “DeWers” like to use? Have you found success with a paper planner, or another calendar online? How do planners help you grow as a dental entrepreneur?

I can’t wait to hear about your own little planning experiments and hear your stories. We are a community of dreaming, planning, entrepreneurial women raising up other women; so if you have any tips for your fellow DeWers, share them here!

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