So, I received my Project EVO Planner this week and wanted to give my review. While I am not a professional productivity expert, I do have years of experience on consulting and helping others become more productive so I will give some conclusions that are personal to my needs as well as suggestions for others.
The Planner Cover – A+
The planner itself is sturdy enough and has a modern, classy feel to the cover with great texture. It is slightly smaller than other planners I have used before, like the Full Focus Planner. From the unboxing, I was definitely impressed with how it looked and felt and would love carrying it around in public.
At first glance, I thought I joined the Assassins Creed, but very cool first impression.
Binding – A
It is designed with a “lay flat” binding, but it is bound in page groups and have found this type of binding is durable as a whole, but each page group stands the chance of ripping at the top or bottom.
The lay-flat design is a real winner and adds to the value of this planner.
Effective Productivity (Brain Type Implementation) – C
This is the whole branding to the usefulness of this planner and its primary selling point. You can take the assessment here, and you can learn more about brain types theory here, as well as a breakdown of brain types here. In order for you to purchase the proper planner, you need to take the assessment and then you will get a full report on your type.
How effectively do the folks at Project EVO apply your brain type to productivity? That is something I question a little bit. This planner does a great job of getting the productivity newcomer more productive and asking the right questions, but as a seasoned productivity practitioner (is that a thing?), I am not that motivated to use this planner. I will explain down below.
Goal Setting – D
I judge this one harshly because goal setting is a very primal part of productivity, and the Project EVO Planner lacks the yearly goal setting and jumps straight to monthly goals. I find that a bit disappointing since my brain type actually loves starting something, but is weak at finishing. So, keeping the WHY in front of me is of great importance. No matter what your brain type is a yearly goal should be a part of your productivity planner in my opinion. You lose your WHY and you lose your WAY.
I put a goal setting grade for each type below as well, just in case you see one type as more important than the other.
If you do not mind having a goal setting notebook separate from your planner, this may not be an issue for you. I am all about consolidation and avoid overstimulation with tools. I have my Google Calendar, Nozbe, Garmin Connect and my planner for tasks, health, planning, and notifications.
Monthly goal setting is decent, and it includes areas of health, relationships, cash flow, fun, and contribution. It also gives one line per type for setting specific actions, not a lot of room to work it out. Then a small line at the top asks you for a primary monthly focus, which is great! Again, what is that monthly goal based on? Project Evo needs to add one more set of pages where you work out, by brain type, your yearly goals, not just write them down either, but a brain type worksheet and summary that gets you to fine tune your annual goals.
Weekly goals are based on category, like the monthly. Weekly goals are a nice touch, but a reminder of your yearly and monthly WHY helps set your important tasks and goals and that lacks here.
Daily goals are built into tasks, which is just fine, and it does push for the “Most Important” task of the day. I do think an addition of your weekly goals or WHY is important here too. Another added bonus is the push for health and fun, which are vital to me because my brain type requires variety and I like planning it if I can.
Goal Setting Report Card
Yearly – F
Monthly – C
Weekly – A
Daily – B
Planner Page Types – B
Monthly Planning is typical of any planner with the box grid. Because it is open and not dated, you can start anytime, which is a good feature most high-end planners ($35 or higher) include. It feels a little disconnected from real life because of the overall layout, which I summarize below. Overall, monthly planning has goals as I stated earlier, major to-dos for the month (not sure that helps at all), specific actions for the goals, and request for a primary focus.
Weekly Planning and Review is a new norm for modern planners and Project EVO Planner includes it. The weekly pages include a planning side and a review side. It is always good, and in my opinion, necessary to review your week. The planning side has gray boxes for work and personal to-dos, but not very much room for actual task lists. I think the review is more powerful than the planning side on the weekly pages.
Daily Planning is where I was a bit disappointed compared to monthly and weekly. I desire a timeline of some kind, and it does not have it. You can convert tasks to show times instead of the “time it takes” and try to create a timeline of your own. The ideas and thoughts area and the daily review is a very nice touch. The graphics and simplicity make you want to fill out the pages in general.
Planner Layout – B
The planner is broken down into intro content, planner education, monthly calendars, weekly pages, daily pages, notes. Personally, I like to have this or similar format: month plan –> weekly plan –> daily pages –> weekly review and then a monthly review and this pattern for each month after. I know, I am picky, but the layout with the Project EVO feels very categorized which is easy to navigate, but harder to keep the month, week, and day connected closer together.
Companion App (No Grade since the app is just a bonus)
I find the companion app to be more focused on notifications/tracking of health, but not powerful enough for me to give up Nozbe or Garmin connect. The scan of pages does not work well at all and manual data loading is frustrating, so I do not find the companion app that useful.
Overall Planner Grade – B
My Planner Grade (my usage) – C
The Project EVO planner is a nice planner and will definitely benefit those who use notebooks and digital productivity tools that make up for where it is weak. It is very strong on simplicity and I think it needs some more revisions to really impact the Brain Type model, but it is worth the money you pay if you do not need a daily timeline and yearly planning in your planner. It costs $49.97, but is $45 at the time of this blog article. If you decide to go with the monthly subscription, it is $40 initially and then $9.95 monthly. The subscription gives you a new planner every 90 days, so you save $15 each time.