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During my 2019 declutter, I realized that the books that wound up in the donation pile were all outdated business and computer books.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


“On Finger Cymbals” – a Free Live Workshop with Dawn Devine & Sara Shrapnell

To celebrate the holidays,
I will be joining author/dancer/teacher Sara Shrapnell
of the Belly Dance Business Academy
for a free workshop!

“On Finger Cymbals”

 Live on Tuesday, Dec. 10, at 5:00pm
But available for replay at your convenience!

During this free, hour-long talk, we will be presenting tactical strategies and
tried-and-true methods for selecting, practicing, caring for, and storing finger cymbals.

No matter what you call them, Arabic Sagat, Turkish Zills, or English Finger Cymbals,
playing these instruments is one of the most ancient and enduring traditions of belly dancers worldwide.


This is a free gift for our friends and students, followers and fans!
Thank you for your continued support of our creative and informative projects.

Watch it live, or catch it in the replay – follow this link to sign-up!

Sharing our love of music and dance this holiday season!


Fall 2019 – Booked and Blessed

Hello gang!

What a fun and exciting fall we are having! I’m thrilled to be completely booked this fall with a couple of fun projects.  Taking a phrase from the world of drag, I’m feeling very “Booked and Blessed!”  What’s coming up?  Where will I be?  Scroll down to find out more.

Right now I feel a bit like the meme above.  I’ve got projects on the left, projects on the right, and a few events tossed in for good measure! This weekend I have the unique pleasure of organizing not one or two upcoming projects, but FIVE!

Belly Dance Bedlah Sets

Over the next 10 weeks, I’m going to be hard at work on three complete bedlah sets. In my studio, a bedlah set is a matched or coordinating bra and belt set. I’m a bit old-school in my approach. It’s important to me that costume pieces are as versatile as possible, so I make separate belts. This allows my clients the option of pairing the bedlah sets with a variety of skirts.

This fall, I’m working on a brilliant highly reflective duo-chrome turquoise/blue holographic set that includes a matching skirt.  This fabric, above left, is high-spandex blend with a laminated surface. Try as I might, my camera simply couldn’t capture the rich color.

For an ATS dancer, I’ll be converting this damaged vintage assiut shawl, middle left, into a tribal style bra and belt set.  I’ll be building this bra with a traditional ring and tie closure.  The belt will be fairly simple because this fabric is so lovely.

Then I get to make a sparkly micro-sequin and organza bedlah set with a skirt and topper. For this ensemble, I’ll be combining orange with accents of gold and red. This costume is going to feature rhinestones, ruching, and layered fabrics to create texture. Once the turquoise/blue costume is finished, I’ll be diving into the orange costume.

Studio Davina Facebook Group

If you are interested in these three projects, I’ll be sharing in-progress photos, links to sources for materials and supplies, and thoughts on techniques.  I check it every day to respond to comments and answer questions.  And of course, all our members are encouraged to share their costume creations too!  Come join the conversation here:

Event: Fabulous Fall Festival

If you are local to the San Francisco/Bay Area of California, why not check out the Fabulous Fall Festival Saturday, November 9tth from 11 am-8 pm?  I’ll be vending at this event with books, jewelry, and assiut costume accessories for sale.  Even if you’re not shopping, swing by and say hi to me and my co-authors Sara Shrapnell and photographer Alisha Westerfeld.  Find out more details about location, price, etc, check out the flyer below.

Behind the Scenes on Instagram

As I spend the next two weeks working on these costumes and accessories, I’ll be posting regularly on my Instagram feed. So if you want to follow along and catch the behind the scenes peek, be sure to follow me there.

Have a happy and creative weekend!
Dawn Devine ~ Davina
October 26, 2019