Even though I run my freelance business entirely from my portable devices with online tools, I have to admit there’s nothing better than holding an actual planner in my hand. It may sound very old school, but if something isn’t written down in my planner then it’s not actually happening.

I’ve tried several physical planners throughout the years in the hopes of finding one that will take me to planner nirvana. You know, that place where you have finally found a physical planner that fits all of your needs so you can just stop looking. While I haven’t exactly found one planner that gives me planner peace, I have found a few rockstars. Here’s my curated list of the best planners freelancers for 2016.

The Desire Map Planner by Danielle LaPorte

The Desire Map’s ability to combine introspection with organization gives it a spot on my list for the best planners for freelancers. The Desire Map is a goal setting system by spiritual entrepreneur, Danielle LaPorte. In her book, The Desire Map, she walks you through determining your core desired feelings (a.k.a. how you most want to feel each day) and then setting goals in alignment with those feelings.

The planner takes it a step further so that you can design your day according to how you most want to feel. For example, my top core desired feeling is freedom. It’s why I went into business for myself in the first place. By using The Desire Map Planner each day I can ask myself whether or not my schedule and business decisions make me feel free. For example, does that new prospective project make me feel or restricted? If it’s the latter I know to turn it down.

This planner is good for people who like having introspection in their days. It’s also for people who like good design. LaPorte is a stickler for design. You can learn more and grab your copy at DanielleLaPorte.com.

The Day Designer by Whitney English

The Day Designer was a game changer for me and that’s why it’s on this list of best planners for freelancers. I was gifted a weekly version at an event and immediately dove into using it. I loved it so much that I ended up buying the full-sized daily flagship planner from DayDesigner.com. (Yes, I spent $60 on a planner. Don’t judge me.)

The reason I love The Day Designer so much is because it’s designed specifically for entrepreneurs. In the first few pages of the planner you work out your goals for the year – including a budget and accounting for any obstacles that may get in the way! Admittedly, as a finance and business blogger, the ability to track my money in my planner is what sold me on it.

Additionally, you get a page to a day so this is a perfect planner for people who have large handwriting or take lots of notes. If you don’t want to commit to a large planner purchase, The Day Designer also has a collaboration with Blue Sky Planners that you can find at Target.

Productive Flourishing Planners

Productive Flourishing is on the list of planners for freelancers for two main reasons: they are designed for freelancers and they are free. Yes, free!

I’ve used Productive Flourishing planners to map out large client projects, keep track of multiple clients and map out what my month may look like work wise. They also have planners for content creation and blog posts, tracking your best times for productivity and catching ideas for later.

The team at Productive Flourishing releases a new set of PDF planners for free every month on their website.

Final Thoughts

By mapping out our ideas and getting in the habit of creating business plans, we can move our businesses forward with ease. Use our list of the best planners for 2016 to help you get clear on your business goals for the year ahead.

Amanda Abella is a full-time writer who specializes in online business and finance. She's also an online business coach and the Amazon best-selling author of Make Money Your Honey.

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