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Business Planning Tools 2020

Happy New Year! Welcome to 2020! Last night we celebrated the coming year with dinner and a movie with friends and family. This morning, on the first day of 2020, I’m doing some goal-setting and planning for the coming year, and here are a few of the things that I am using to help me reboot my business for 2020.

2019 was a tough year for me full of life obstacles, lost friends, and an unexpected house mini-remodel. So during 2019, I leaned heavily on my productivity system to help me survive four months of trials and tribulations. Many big projects were simply put on hold, a few were completely abandoned, and my coming out of a major life change, I craved some new inspiration in the project planning department.


12 Week Year

The 12 Week Year is the most inspirational business book I’ve read during the past year. It has reframed the way I think and plan both business and life projects. I’m looking forward to implementing more of the strategies in this book in the new year.

During my 2019 declutter, I realized that the books that wound up in the donation pile were all outdated business and computer books. I decided to stop buying business books in paper format and only pick up them up in digital or audio formats.

FIY – This book also is available in a workbook format. I bought both the book and the workbook, and I found that the book is all you really need.

Getting Things Done

GTD is a wonderful – but exceptionally dull – book that is filled with great information.  If you are a used book buyer, be careful to buy the latest edition which takes into account the current digital productivity tools. If you want to check it out, you can grab a copy. 
However, the author, David Allen has given several Ted Talks and this a fast, easy, and free way to test-drive the philosophy before heading to the library to check out the book, or to the store to pick up your own copy.

Dot Grid Notebook

Since I was in college I’ve carried two things with me everywhere. One is a notebook to act as “my backup brain.” The other thing I’ve carried is a planner to keep track of everything. Now, more than 30 years later, I’m still relying on these two basic elements to keep my business and life on track. Although I’m now using a lot of digital tools, paper and pencil on paper is still my go-to for brainstorming, project planning, and organization.

This year I’m using a TDP dotted notebook which I purchased simply because the price was right compared to past journals I have used.  I’ve learned over time that I like a slightly thicker paper, with a gsm of over 100.  This particular notebook has both with a thick and creamy 120gsm paper with number pages.  When I picked it up, it was under $8!  

Other journals I have used in the past include the classic bullet journal favorite the Leuchturm 1917  and the Moleskine. 

The Planner In My Bag

I carry around the ultra-slim Lucky Life Monthly planner.  It’s got a great layout that I find it really functional.  There’s a monthly calendar on the right and a grid on the left.  This grid makes it so versatile, I can use it to map out project steps, make todo lists, or to simply take notes. Since I carry a small backpack, this slip planner makes it possible to carry the info I need in a lightweight and portable size. 
This company offers a fantastic graphic with suggestions on how to use this calendar. 

The Planner on my Desk

I’ve been a huge fan of the Passion Planner since it’s initial Kickstarter.  This planner fits my business lifestyle.  The vertical layout gives me plenty of space to log “billable hours” schedule fittings, meetings, and classes. There are a ton of goal-setting pointers with an emphasis on the mind-mapping brainstorming model of project and life planning. 

Paid for with MyPoints

How do I pick up these business books? I treat MyPoints like a game. I set point goals each month, and then work for a small amount of time each day to build my points. But unlike a game, these points add up and can be cashed out in the form of gift cards.
I use MyPoints to turn my “coffee breaks” into gift cards by watching videos and answering questions.  In 2019 I “made” $172 of “mad money” while I enjoyed my morning coffee.  The points I earned I converted into Amazon gift cards. If you think you might want to add a small income stream in the time you might ordinarily surf the socials or play a game, follow this link to learn more –

Pinterest for Inspiration

I hope that your 2020 is happy, healthy, and productive. If you are looking for more ideas for planning, organizing, and goal setting, be sure to check out some of my boards on Pinterest.

Vision Boards



Thanks for your continued support of my work here on this blog. I look forward to sharing more information about costuming, design, dance, and business in 2020!

Dawn “Davina” Devine
January 1, 2020

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