All the tools you need to plan for a great 2023.

Today is the day.

Every year during the week between Christmas and New Years, I earmark one day to do a year end review and action plan for the year to come. Today is that day! And I'm excited! 

As I mentioned last year, I try hard to walk the talk of the productivity tools that I am often advising others on. 

That's why I faithfully take the time in this week each year to sit down to do an annual review and action plan for the upcoming year.

Whether you are a business owner, an artist/maker, a director in a big organization, a teacher, a parent ... doing an annual review can be fun, thought-provoking and a nice way to carve out a few hours for yourself at this time of year to look back and look forward. 

I shared a few of my tried and true go-to's when it comes to doing a yearly review in the year in review roundup I wrote last year. This year, many of those are hitting the list again because they are THAT good. But, I'm also adding a few new ones that you will want to check out, so here we go ...

1. Once again, my Maker's Yearbook hits the top of my list. This is my fourth year using this system and I love these things about it: 

  • The book is BEAUTIFUL, coil-bound and sturdy.
  • It is the perfect guide through my review of the year that has just passed and it sets me up with my goals, vision and plans for the one to come.
  • It helps me stay on track by establishing my weekly and daily priorities in a clear, no-nonsense way.

There is still time to pick up a digital copy of this whole agenda system and start using it right away - sweet!

A few others that I would use if I didn't love my Maker's Yearbook so much: the Full Focus Planner, Desire Map Planners and the Productivity Planner. Also a new one I just saw from Julieanne over at Heirloom Island is the Modern Maker Studio Agenda and it looks lovely!

But the key to ANY agenda you might pick is USING IT! So, grab yours and jump in with both feet.


2. My FREE Creative Wellness Workbook will help you to prioritize your own wellness this year using creativity as the lens. I provide a few of my best tools and tips for reflection and planning to fit creativity into your life in order to (yes!) feel better. 

Here's the link to get it straight to your inbox.


3. Chris Guillebeau (The Art of Non-Conformity blog and podcast) goes through his own handy framework for doing an annual review. Here is his wrap-up for 2022. (p.s. he writes a great many other blog posts that you might just want to curl up and get into with your next cup of coffee ... so good!).


4. Another nice one you might want to try out: YearCompass. It's a beautiful booklet and absolutely FREE. It's also available in many, many languages! Love that.


5. How about taking the time to do a calendar audit? Here's how (in brief):

  • Carve out an afternoon to go through your 2022 calendar. This might be a difficult exercise if you don't use a calendar system for noting your appointments and plans. But if you do, look back through the last 12 months and note the things that were worth your time and that you want to see more of in 2023.
  • Next, note which things were a waste of your time and energy; things you do not want to do again in 2023.
  • Now, note the things that make you feel you are having a good life and want to experience more of.
  • Going forward for 2023, put all your goals and vacation and family time and everything in your calendar so that you can meet your commitments and audit next year against the goals you set. Don't forget time for professional development and learning!


6. If you can't make the time for a full review right now, how about just coming up with a word for the year, as suggested by Gretchen Rubin. I've been doing this for a few years now and it is another good reflection/looking forward exercise.


7. Last by not least, there are many artists and creative types that I follow that have either a great year in review podcast now available and/or a blog. Some of my favourites are: Emily Jeffords, Heirloom Island, Austin Kleon, The Knowledge Project, Jenna Kutcher, Amy Porterfield and Mel Robbins (to name a few).


I hope you find some of these suggestions useful. I wish you an incredible 2023. 

- Carmen xo

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