For Carina Lawson, Founder of Ponderlily, planning isn’t just about productivity, it’s about making space for meaning.
Carina dedicated her career to creating elegant, sustainable planning products for busy people who want to live more mindfully. Ponderlily planners put self-care and personal development back on the agenda, balancing to-do lists with to-be lists. In a world that’s always on, Ponderlily champions that notion that there’s more to life than tasks and checkmarks.
Six years on from founding Ponderlily, we caught up with Carina to discuss inspiration, plans for the future and building a brand with purpose.
What inspired you to start Ponderlily?
I wanted to use my business acumen to help other women put themselves back on the agenda. As a motivated woman with big dreams, a thriving career, and a wonderful family, I struggled to balance my home and work life. “Get up earlier” or “work longer hours” were advised as quick fixes, but they didn’t feel like healthy, sustainable lifestyle changes.
We’re more than the roles we play in life, whether that’s ‘the professional’, ‘the mother’ or ‘the wife’. In our busy world, it’s easy to over-schedule ourselves and put our own needs and goals on the back-burner for the sake of doing more, often for others. I wanted to help people find more meaning in their days and think about what they want to be, rather than be dictated by a never-ending to-do list.
Which is your favourite Ponderlily product and why?
This is a tough one! I'd have to say it's the Meeting Notebook.
It was inspired by three administrative professionals I admire who have very different lives but a common problem: they wanted to gather their meeting notes in one place. They mentioned it to me in passing once and I designed it during my lunch break. There was nothing more satisfying than gifting it to them just a few months later.
What's your biggest tip for staying organised when you have multiple responsibilities?
I focus on one thing at a time and I manage expectations (mine and other people's) accordingly. I do the most impactful activity first rather than multitask. I decide this by identifying one activity I need to do that will get me closer to my goals and the impact it will have on multiple areas of my life. Then, I put my headphones on, set a timer, and get to work.
What are you most proud of about Ponderlily?
I’m immensely proud of launching Ponderlily and seeing my vision come to life. There’s nothing better than seeing the products being used and enjoyed by ambitious, purposeful people who want to live more meaningful lives. Our press features have also been a special highlight. From The Independent and Huffpost to Forbes and Marie Claire, our products have had some incredible recognition over the past few years.
Who inspires you?
My children - I want to see them happy and fulfilled in their homes and careers.
The women in my life. My grandmother raised my dad on her own, who grew up to be a professional athlete with two degrees. My mother, for the energy she pours into her family. My sister, for her artistic abilities. My sister in law, for being a consummate professional. My best friend, who’s a pilot and hands down the most present friend in my life. My friend Polly, who beat cancer and continues to amaze me with her generosity. And finally, the women in my office who work hard to leave their mark on the world.
What's next for Ponderlily?
We want to build a strong community of women and engage in conversations about the things we want to make space for, the possibilities that exist to help us get there, and the support we can provide. We're more than a planner company. We'll be hosting more virtual events and we have a spectacular promotion coming up in November...watch this space!