How Can This Be Me? | Year of Yes

Most people that know me would never in a million years describe me as introverted.  I rarely if ever have a problem standing up and speaking up in public, I don’t have children, and as far as I know I don’t have one let alone two Emmy award-winning television shows on any major network or even a syndicated one.  So can someone please explain to me why Shonda Rhimes book “Year of Yes” is speaking directly to my soul?  And let me tell you that I am not liking it one bit.

It is really strange when something holds a mirror up to your face and forces you to confront things that you have carefully swept under the rug in a steel lined and chastity belt locked room.  You realized that maybe you aren’t as happy as you thought.  Maybe you have just been keeping your carefully crafted smile in place so that no one really looks to close; including yourself.

I have a cousin that sees herself in absolutely everything that she watches.  Loner art student that just got her heart broken by the musician that is going away to pursue his dreams, physical therapist who falls for the wrong guy and has to rebuild her life, man who just lost both his legs and is struggling to learn to walk again.  All of them will have her screaming “Why is this my life?”.  I have never been that person.  Sure I can relate to characters that I have things in common with but I don’t see myself or my life in too much of anything I read or watch.

Yet Shonda, I feel like we need to be on a first name basis…she is after all cutting into my heart, has become my twin.  We might be fraternal but we are twins none the less.  From chapter one and definitely chapter two she has forced me to confront somethings that while I might have known on the periphery of my mind I didn’t want to look to close to and I’m not even halfway through this book.  This actually was suppose to be a post about ways to start getting ready for the new year and yet.

I had decided to go ahead and read this book because it has been on my “need to read” list for quite some time but for some reason I kept putting it off.  Now after starting it I think that subconsciously I knew that it would be life changing.  Still I decided to dive in as I start to really think about how I want to end the year and start setting my goals for 2018.

I normally take a few months to really reflect on how the year has gone, what is ahead, and what changes I would like to make.  Am I great and sticking to what I set before me?  Depends on the day but when I write down a goal it is well thought out and absolutely something of importance to me.

Now I’m sitting here reading this book and I’m rethinking so much about my life, about my goals, about who I am.  How did that happen?  I tell you Shonda and I are in a gladiator match for the ages right now.  Part of me wants to put this book down and move on with one of the others on my list but it’s become that huge scab on your arm that you know you shouldn’t pick at but you just can’t stop.  It’s my own personal chicken poxs and I’m scratching all up in this piece.  Besides one of my favorite quotes is “Everything you want is on the other side of fear”.  How can I stop just because I can’t take the chance that I will be inspired to change things in my life and that is as scary as stepping on a scale after finishing a pan of double chocolate frosted brownies.

If you are looking for a book that might or might not have you grabbing for the Merlot and wishing you had just read the new Stephen King book instead then I highly recommend this one.  It could go down hill from here (I’m still in the middle of chapter 5) but somehow I just don’t think the queen of Thursday night drama is coming with anything other than a “How to Get Away With Murder” wig pulled off, one tear down the check, WTF  type of ending that is sure to drop a bomb of knowledge.  I could be wrong but if you have ever watched one of her finales then you wouldn’t question my logic.

I’ll see you at the end.

Number One Tip for New Planner Peeps | Newbie Series

Number One Tip for New Planner Girls-Recollections Planner

At one point we all were new to the planner world.  It might have been when you were twelve or twenty but there was a time before planners and stickers and washi became paramount to your day.  Believe it or not there are still some that are just getting a paper planner for the first time.  If that is you then I’m about to share with you my biggest tip for just starting out.  Are you ready?  Here we go…

DON’T GO OVERBOARD!

I know, I know, that seems way to simple but it can save you so much time, effort and money.

Let me take you back to when I first came back to paper planning.  This was when the sticker crazy was high and Etsy shops were featured in every planner video.  I know they still are but bare with me.

I was gong ho to get my hands on one of the new planners and I wanted it to look just like the ladies I was watching on YouTube.  I wanted the full spreads and the cute stickers.  I wanted to walk around with my pretty planner and look sleak and organized while fun and whimsical.  Then I learned exactly what sort of investment that look entailed.  Thus the newbie planner girl tip.

It’s so fun to watch all the haul videos and the plan with me’s and join the Facebook groups to see everyone’s plans but some of those people have been planning for some time and they know what works for them.  You are just starting out and while it might look good to have all of those things it might not help you stay organized.  You bought your planner for a reason and for most of us that reason was to gain some control of our life and our time.  Filling your week with washi isn’t always going to do that no matter how pretty it looks.

You need to figure out what works for you.  The check boxes might look great on the page but you might find that a simple checklist works better.  Sure full boxes are a great addition but you might find that a half box gives you the space that you need for writing.  You might love the little emotis but every time you go to use them you can’t remember what each one means.  You could get all the accessories and still not find a system that keeps you on track.

This isn’t a post against stickers or washi or planner accessories.  Matter of fact I have a number of both.  This is just a simple truth.

Find what works for you and then gradually add in the stickers, washi and weekly sets that you might want.  This can keep you from getting overwhelmed but more importantly, it can help you find the right balance to your planning.  In the long run that is better than all the quote stickers in the world.

Movie Club | The List is Out

“Oh yes it’s movie night; and the feelings right.  Oh yes it’s movie night; oh what a night!  Oh what a night!” (think “Ladies Night”)

Yep movie club is in full swing and we are gearing up for a heck of a good rest of 2017.  We have some true stories, an Oscar nominee, and a musical (if you too believe that actors breaking out into song counts as a musical).  All and all, you are not going to want to miss this and just to get you excited for the upcoming months here is a list of all the movies to come.  Added bonus is that you can print these out and use them as stickers in your planner to make sure you don’t miss any of the dates.

Did I tell you or did I tell you…these are some great titles.  Be sure to join us on the 4th Wednesday of each month over on the Youtube channel for the live stream and if you are interested in being a VIP MOVIE WATCHER then check out the Movie Club page.

Catch ya around the movies.

Productivity…It’s My New Dirty Word

It is amazing how as you grow up things that were said to you as a child can still haunt you. Words said as a joke or just off the cuff stay with you sometime even when you think they don’t. You know there was no harm meant and that the person that said it probably doesn’t even remember it but deep down, acknowledged or not, you do. For me that word was lazy and it wasn’t until I started taking a long look at my relationship with productivity that I really started to understand just how that word as affected me all these years.

You would think someone that is all about being productive and using your planner in a functional manner wouldn’t have a problem with productivity but alas I do. I don’t have a problem with getting things done but more with the idea that it’s never enough. It doesn’t matter how much I get done in a day or if I check off everything on my to-do list I still have this feeling that I didn’t do everything I should have and god forbid I get sick or have to take a day off. You might as well bring in the wine cause I’m going down in a blaze of glory.

The thing is that I know that I’m not lazy. Can I be lazy? Of course but so can most people. However, I know that when given a task I can complete it and I have never had a complaint about my work ethic on any job I have ever had. In fact most of my reviews have said that I go above and beyond. Yet now that I have my own business and I set my own hours it’s like if I don’t put in an eighteen hour day then I feel like I’m not being productive.

I love to read, always have. As a business owner I feel like it is part of my job to keep up with the trends and new information about my field. This requires reading books and blogs and websites galore but if I take more than an hour to read anything in a day I start to get that you aren’t being productive itch or even worse the word lazy dances around in my head like it’s doing the macarana to it’s own special beat. Which leads to the question of why? Why am I so hard on myself about having a “productive” day and the thing is that I know I’m not the only one.

How many times do we as women, wives, mother’s, business owner, and friends feel like we haven’t done enough? It’s like you can work a full day, put food on the table, do the laundry, all your mommy duties and wife duties but when you lay down I can bet there are so many of you that are thinking “did I do enough?”. It’s really a never ending cycle but I don’t think it is just a woman thing.

My cousin and I use to say that we were off to be a “productive member of society” almost all the time that we headed off to work. In our minds being productive meant that we were earning a money for a hard days work but is that really the only way to be a productive member of society?

Both Ghandi and Mother Teresa didn’t go off to the grindstone every day putting in hours of “the man” yet I don’t think there is anyone around that wouldn’t agree they did so much for our society and the world. Martin Luther King Jr. stayed in other people’s homes most of the time that he traveled and again I would argue that he was quite productive in his fight for civil rights. Who says that you need to be working or earning money each and every day of your life. I mean even God rested on the seventh day.

I think for me it is a matter of changing how I look at the word productivity as well as laziness. Sure it is okay to take time to care for yourself and to do absolutely nothing. Matter of fact, I recommend it from time to time. It is also important to be productive. To work hard and earn what you need for yourself and your family but it’s when we get to the point where it’s all we can think about that I think we need to step back.

While listening to a workshop the other day I head two words that really resonated with me, accomplishment and follow through. For me going forward I am going to not be looking so much at if I had a productive day but more if I accomplished what I needed to do and followed through on what is important. Because when it is all said and done, that is the most lasting part. Not how much you made or how many things you could do but that you left a legacy of how you did what was important and the grace you showed while accomplishing it.

Have you found yourself going down the productivity spiral? Do you push yourself too hard to get too many things done? Have you found your own way of coping with your own issues around pushing yourself to hard? Keep the conversation going by leaving a comment below.

Movie Club | THE LEGEND OF TARZAN

*I am going to try to do this without any spoilers begin dropped in or at least letting you know when they are coming so be on the look out for “Spoiler Alert” tags.

Hello my planner peeps.  I know that this isn’t really planner related but who doesn’t like a good movie and I’ve recently decided that I am going to start a movie club for us lovely folks so that we can enjoy cinema to our hearts content.  Think of a book club but switch the book for a movie and we are in business.

Once a month I will be hosting a live chat on YouTube to discuss the movie and to share my insights and most importantly to get yours.  This month however, I am kicking this off with a simple review of our first movie: The Legend of Tarzan (2016).

I probably should start by telling you that I went into this with very low expectations.  In fact I think I told someone I was going to watch it because I was tired and if I happen to fall asleep while watching I didn’t think I would be mad.  Let me tell you how wrong I was.

To start off I did find it a little confusing.  Like most when I think of Tarzan I think jungle and gorillas, although I had to Google whether they were suppose to be gorillas or apes, and Africa setting.  While the movie does start in Africa and the majority of it takes place there the timing of the beginning and a short view of Tarzan’s life in England threw me off.  I guess when you give something a title like “the legend of…” I expect it to be more of an origin movie then it started out to be even though you do get some sense of his origins later on.

SPOILER ALERT: The story starts with Leon Rom (played wonderfully by Christoph Waltz) heading into the heart of Africa in search of diamonds.  He is met by a tribe of men that ask for one thing in order to share their diamonds and that is Tarzan.  From there we are whisked to England where you see Tarzan as John (Alexander Skarsgård of True Blood fame) being invited on a tour of Africa and really not willing to return.  Enter Samuel L. Jackson’s character George Washington Williams who talks him into returning and Jane (Margot Robbie) who insist on returning with him.

Once they are in Africa to me is when the real story begins.  While it was interesting to see Tarzan as a member of society and to know that he could transition from “jungle man” to lord of the manor I didn’t understand the reluctance to return until we really got into the story.

For me I think the director David Yates, who also did a number of the Harry Potter films, did something that captured my attention more than the action.  He went for the relationships between Tarzan and almost everyone in the film.  I found the love and trust that you could feel between Tarzan and Jane to be quite beautiful and the growing respect between Tarzan and George humorous and well paced.  Yet I think the relationship I found most enjoyable was the one between Tarzan and the animals especially his gorilla brother.

Yes we know that Tarzan is suppose to have this wonderful connection to the animals of the jungle and be able to speak to them but it isn’t over done in this story.  It is in those subtle moments that Alexander does such a wonderful job of conveying emotion without going overboard.  Not to mention the way he explains the rift between him and his brother and how it is resolved.  If only humans could move on so quickly; if not as violently.  Also I don’t know who did the animation or CGI for the gorillas but it was spot on.  They were completely realistic and I started to wonder if they might have used humans to do the movements and then added the animals over their moves.

Overall, I really was pleasantly surprised.  I would have loved more flashback scenes to really show more of the history and origins of Tarzan and more so of how his relationship with Jane developed but maybe they are saving that for a sequel (isn’t there always a sequel).

I do have to call out Christoph Waltz because once again he delivered a character that you really couldn’t help but dislike.  It actually started me wondering if he has ever played a character that was really nice or was lovable and I don’t think he has.  Here again I found myself just waiting for him to get what was coming to him and excited when it happened.

Another performance I have to mention is Margot Robbie.  I love that she brought a love and strength to Jane.  This was definitely no damsel in distress.  There is even a part where Rom tells her that he wants her to scream and she mockingly looks at him and says, “like a damsel” and them keeps her mouth shut.  Still her unwavering faith that Tarzan with come for her is so powerful and deep that even though you know from a story standpoint he will you also believe it on an emotional one too.

In the end I would give this 3.5 out of 5 popcorn’s and would obviously recommend it even though I have heard that it hasn’t always received the best reviews.

Our movie for next month is: Heart of the Sea.  Be sure to check it out and if you are interested in being on the YouTube chat then join our Facebook group, The Planology Club, or like my Facebook Page where I will be sharing all the information

**All images are from Google and used with deep gratitude.  All copyrights are subjected to their rules and guidelines.

Have you seen Legend of Tarzan? What were your thoughts and how many popcorn’s would you give it?  Share your review in the comments below.

10 Ways to Take Your RAKS Into the Real World

It’s Valentine’s day and while it would be great to spend the whole day in bed being pampered by that hot guy that dreamed about last night and eating your weight in chocolate, most of us actually have to get up and be productive.

Sure it is a commercialized day of love and candy and I do hope you get your share of both but there are so many people out there that will spend today wishing it was February 15th.  Why not show them some love as well.  Yes it is great when your sweetheart, kids, significant other, etc showers you with kindness but why not pass it on.  As the saying goes, “It’s better to give…”

As planners we love to go into the community and bless others with extra stickers, washi, post-it’s and happy mail.  We share every time that lovely package arrives in the mail but what about those around you in your real life.  Do you ever share with them as freely as you share with those from around the world?  Here are some ideas to bring your Random Acts of Kindness into your real world and make some of the people around you smile.

  1. Bake some sweets for your child’s class or the break room at work.  We all love a good sweet and what better way to make someone’s day then with a surprise treat.  You don’t have to do it on Valentine’s day but just a day when you think everyone might need a pick me up.  Not a baker?  Try bringing in donuts or cookies.
  2. Do a little yard work for your neighbor.  True story.  My uncle went to cut my aunt’s grass one day and accidentally cut her neighbors cause he couldn’t remember which house it was.  Now while the rest of the family teased him mercilessly for not knowing where is sister lived you know who thought he was the best thing since sliced bread?  That would be the neighbor.  Sometimes it night to do a little extra for those around us.  Maybe shovel their driveway or offer to pick up their mail when they go out of town.  Not only will you help them out but you might make a new friend.
  3. Send a random person a card.  We all know someone that seems to always be having a hard time.  Even if you don’t I’m sure there is someone that you could find that might need a little pick me up.  Why not send them a card to brighten their day.  You could even make some little note cards and when you are out and about leave one on a few cars just to wish others a wonderful day.
  4. Volunteer at a nursing home, church, shelter, etc.  This is an oldie but always needed.  So often we turn a blind eye to those that need help the most but we shouldn’t.  My church does an outreach program where they take toiletries into the homeless areas to help as much as possible.  We do pictures for events at nursing homes.  I offer my photography services to military families separated during the holidays.  Don’t be afraid to reach out these places and share your time.  Sometimes that your most precious gift.
  5. Offer to babysit for a friend or family member so they can have a date night or just some time to themselves.  I don’t have children myself but I have friends and family that do and I’m sure I don’t have to tell you how excited they get for a night off yet some of them can’t afford to hire a babysitter too often.  Offering your services gives them piece of mind with someone they know and trust as well as not having to worry about the hit to the budget.  I have one friend whose family rotates who watches the kids every month so that the mom’s and dad’s can have a night to just enjoy being free.
  6. Write a hand-written letter to an old friend.  My cousin and I use to write each other letters all the time.  Yet with cellphones, email, Facebook and so forth we barely keep in contact even though we have so many more options then before.  Why not take it back to old school and pull out your paper and pen and drop a note to someone that you haven’t really talked to in awhile but would love to catch up with.  It’s such a keepsake and a wonderful way to communicate and it’s an art that we are loosing.  Let’s bring it back.
  7. Plan a girl’s day so you can have fun and reminisce.  Can you say par-tay!!  I don’t know about you but when me and my girlfriends get together it is hours of laughs, jokes, and stories that stay with you for days.  It’s refreshing and it brings you back to why we need those friends that know us sometimes better than we know ourselves.  Plan a potluck or night in or just some time to really connect with those lovely ladies and don’t forget the drinks.
  8. Help someone out in the store.  I was in the store one time and this woman had a question about flour.  She was baking for the first time and wasn’t sure about the difference between cake flour and regular flour.  It was a simple thing to answer but I’m sure that it helped her.  If you see someone struggling to get something off the top shelf give them a hand.  If you have the means pay for part groceries of the person behind you.  You could even cover someone’s dinner when you go out or their movie ticket.
  9. Read to children at schools, libraries, or bookstores.  I absolutely love to read!  It is one of my favorite pastimes and I truly believe it’s the best way to open up children’s imagination and let them believe they can accomplish anything.  However, there are so many reading programs that are being cut due to lack of funding.  The same is true of art program across the country.  If you have these skills this is a wonderful way to give into the next generation.  To show them that imagination and fun go hand in hand and to give them a gift that will keep on giving.
  10. Give someone a ride to work, running errands, church.  Believe it or not, my godmother never drove a day in her life.  Neither I believe did my grandmother.  They were of an older generation where women just didn’t drive.  While that statistic is few and far between now that doesn’t mean that their aren’t still people that don’t drive in our country.  What about someone that just had surgery or is home bound?  Running errands for them when you are already going out would be easy for you and such a help for them.

And a bonus one:

Organize a garage sale, bake sale, book drive and give all the proceeds to charity.  We all have things we could easily get rid of and how many time to we all say we need to have a garage sale.  How about getting together with some family and friends and making it happen but this time giving to your favorite charity.  People are more inclined to spend a little extra if they think the money is going to a good cause and it’s a wonderful way to raise awareness for a cause that might not get the spotlight that it needs.

These are just a few ideas but there are ways to share kindness all around us.  A small word, a easy task, a giving heart.  These things will have you being a blessing to those around not only on Valentines but every day of the year.

How do you show kindness to others in your life?  Do you have any tips to add to this list?  Keep the conversation going in the comments section below.

Calling All Writers | It’s Coming

 

When I first had the thought to start this adventure with you guys I had one goal that was clear in my mind.  I am pretty sure that I haven’t taken the road that I originally thought of to get there but I am finally there and I am so excited to share it with each of you.

PLANOLOGY IS GOING TO BE A MAGAZINE!!

That’s right. We are branching out into being a digital planner magazine that you can enjoy on the go or while having a cup of tea and lounging around on a rainy day.  How exciting is that?  Eeek 🙂

In light of this wonderful moment, I am looking for contributing writers, illustrators, planner addicts that want to share their planner knowledge with our wonderful community.  The first issue is tentatively scheduled to be released in June which might make you wonder why we are starting so early.  Well the simple answer is so that you will have time to write until your heart is content. 😉

Our first planning meeting will be February 26th so if you are interested then I need to hear from you quickly.  Just send an email to tiffany@theplanology.com and I will forward all the information that you will need.

Again I am so excited not just to be able to share this opportunity with all of you but to see a dream come true.  Let’s get to it.

My New Little Obsession | Welcome to 2017

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We say it all the time, where did the time go?  I don’t know about you but personally I am quite happy to see the last of 2016.  If I’m being honest, and I promised I would be, last year really kicked me in the you know where.  There were so many ups and downs both personally and professionally that I just couldn’t seem to get things were I wanted them to be.  Not that the year was all bad.  After all, I started this blog and YouTube channel and found the planner community and that has been a wonderful addition to my world.

Still I have to say that I am super duper excited for 2017.  I’m excited for some of the movies that are coming this year (can I just say Beauty and the Beast and Wonder Woman), the return of Nick as the Bachelor (don’t judge), and getting my s%*# together over the next 12 months.

I am really beyond excited because of my new obsession that is quickly becoming one of my absolute favorite things and that is my bullet journal.  Now I have to give full disclosure that I probably don’t have what most would call a traditional bullet journal but that is the fun of the process.

The traditional bullet journal, designed by Ryder Carroll, can be any notebook where you basically design your calendar and journal to fit your needs.  Normally you don’t do more than the current week that you are in and you can create these collections for anything you need to keep track of.

I had heard of bullet journaling before but I really found myself getting into it after binge watching Boho Berry‘s videos.  I had every intention of waiting until January and starting with a new year but I decided to go ahead and get things started in December and let me tell you that I have been hooked from minute one.

The reason that I say that mine is not a traditional bullet journal is because I am actually using it for collections and pre-planning.  I have the first quarter of the year already set up so that as I am booking clients and setting up business meetings as well as planning promotions I have everything set up.  The added bonus is that I can go through and put in the task for my goals as well as when I need to be working on any projects and not have to think about it until the day that it pops up.  How awesome is that?

If you would like to know more about my bullet journal and how I have it set up then watch the video below and if you have any questions or would like more post about bullet journaling leave that below also.

 

How to Plan Your Month for Success – Functional Planning Series

october-month-at-a-glance

We are getting crazy close to the end of the year and each month I’m reminded that there is still quite a few things I would like to get done before 2016 rolls on and we rock in the new year.

It’s so funny how at the beginning of each year we all have these amazing goals or resolutions about what we want to do for the year and then as the calendar counts down we find that list less about how excited we will be to accomplish those goals and more about how we can’t wait to get them done. It could be that is just be but I would be willing to bet any of my lovely high heeled shoes that I am not the only one out there with this thought running through her head. The voice that says, “Let’s just get it done already”.

However, just because the year is ending that doesn’t mean that we can’t set our calendars up for great success in these last two months. After all someone once said, “it’s not how you start but how you finish that counts”. So let’s finish strong.

Here are five of my top tips for planning your month for success:

1. Set aside at least a half an hour to an hour to really plan your month.

How many times do we just put some sticky notes down when things come up or pencil it in without thinking about the full month? If you are like me sometimes the month can get away from you without any thought whatsoever. Add in that we watch monthly plan with me’s that are ten to fifteen minutes long and you can start to think that as long as things are on your list then you are good. This is just reactive planning and we want to be pro-active, right? When you take the time to really sit down and plan your month, and I’m not just talking about the monthly tab in your planner but the whole month, then you are making sure that everything is set up correctly.

So grab a glass of wine (not to big because we want to make sure we stay focused) and look through each week thinking about what needs to get done. Add in all your appointments and scheduled events and then move on to your monthly task and so forth and so on. Take the time to really look at your month and remember that just because you formally planned the month doesn’t mean that you can’t add anything to it or take something away. This is simply insuring that you have a road map for the month to keep you on the right path.

2. Have all your schedules there with you when you plan.

How many times do you have something planned out and your kids, spouse, significant other, whoever adds something that throws your whole schedule out of whack? It has happened to us all, believe me. You just want to go into your room, grab a pillow and scream like you’re Jamie Lee Curtis and it’s Friday the 13th. While that might be a little therapeutic it doesn’t help the over all situation. That is why it is so important to have ever schedule that you manage in front of you when you get ready to plan your month.

When I was managing a retail store I had to do the schedule for all the employees and I tried to do the whole month before the first so that everyone could schedule themselves accordingly, especially during the holidays. Let me tell you that trying to manage scheduling 12-20 people around when you need everyone there was not a fun task. I had a rule that if you had a request then it had to be in no later than the 15th of every month. Which means if you needed a day off in November I needed that request before the 15th of October. This is a practice that I have kept now that I work for myself. I make sure that I am contacting any and everyone that I need to by the 15th or the 20th at the latest to firm up dates.

I have my book club and any other obligations in front of me and any family schedules also when I sit down to start planning. I wish I could tell you that with this method those last minute items won’t pop up anymore but unfortunately life is life and whether we like it or not those little schedule bumps always show up. Yet when you start out with as much information as you possibly can then they are fewer and farther between.

3. Look through the goals that you have for the year and integrate them into your monthly task list.

Our goals should be what keeps us productive through the year. Whether they are short term, quick goals or a full whopper of a year-long goal, they should be one of the first things that you look at. Now I know some of us don’t have formal, written out, multi-task goals but you should have some game plan as to what you want to accomplish for the month.

Here would be an example. Let’s say that you don’t have a full goal list but you know that you want to spend more time with your kids for the holidays. That is a goal. So when you are planning your month then try to figure out exactly how you can do that and plan accordingly. Maybe you can be a teacher’s aid in their class for the day or take them to the petting zoo or pumpkin picking. Whatever it is be sure to add it in.

What if you are a blogger or Etsy shop owner and you haven’t written out goals but you know you want to increase your readership or your client base. Well you might want to stop and think about how you can reach these new readers or maybe you need to learn a new program to advertise more. Those might be task that you need to add in.

4. Start with the most important task and work your way through the list.

When I was in school and would come home with homework I always started with my English assignment. I was good and English and could get it done quickly. I hated math and that was the absolute last thing I worked on. Sometimes that would mean that I was up way later than I wanted to be because I had to get it finished and the later it got the harder that math seemed. Now why didn’t I start with the thing that I didn’t want to do first and then I could have breezed through the other? Because that is what we do as people and as planners.

How often do you know that you need to schedule a check-up for the family or an appointment with your tax attorney but instead you put in movie night first or you YouTube binge videos? When you are really planning for success sometimes you have to put in the not so fun things first and then go from there.

Steven Covey use to call it putting in rocks. You always start with your heaviest rocks and then add the pebbles last. The idea behind this was that you could get the heavy rocks in and then add the pebbles around them. As great as this is I like to limit my heavy rocks because I have found that if all you are doing is heavy lifting sooner or later you get tired and nothing else gets done. For me I try to stick to only two or three really big things for the month depending on how big they are.

The most important part is that you start with the things that really matter and then move forward. You can always make time for the small stuff later.

5. Keep a running list of anything you didn’t accomplish.

This tip isn’t to encourage you to not get everything done but more to not beat yourself up if life gets a little out of hand and you don’t get through your list. Sometimes there are time constraints that can’t be helped or emergencies that come up without warning and that it okay. The important thing is not to blow off what you already set out to accomplish simple because they do. Too many times we have something written down to get done and then we lose track of time and think that we are going to get back to it later but we leave it written right where it is and we never go back to that page.

Try having a separate sheet of paper or a special spot where you put the things that didn’t get done. This way when you start to plan your month you can reference back to that place and be able to add it back in. I do have a rule about this for myself though. If I have added something three times and it still has not gotten done then I stop and re-evaluate it. Do I really want to do it? Is it worth my time? Is it important to a goal or value I hold dear? If the answer is yes to at least two of those questions then it get top priority and I can’t do something I really want to do until it gets done. I also tell someone else about it so that I am held accountable for it. I have to be honest and say that it doesn’t always work but for the most part it has helped along the way.

I hope that this ideas have given you some great thoughts for your next monthly planning session and that they help you have a productive and fun last two months of the year.

As a bonus I am doing a special Friday only price for my November inserts. Today only you can get the printable monthly pages and the monthly stickers for only $5. That is almost half price. Be sure to head over to my shop and take advantage of this wonderful offer before the end of the day.  You can click on either image to take you to the inserts.

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Let’s keep the conversation going as always. What have you found that helps you plan your month more efficiently? What tip are you most likely to try? Is there anything you would add? Leave your comments down below.

The Top Thing You Must Do for Functional Planning

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We all say that we want our planners to be more functional but how many times do we get caught up in the pretty of it all. I for one an not immune to the gorgeousness of the sticker selection on display both on Etsy and YouTube. How can you be when we are getting hit left and right with colors and styles and washi’s of epic proportions. However, if we want our planners to be more functional I am going to share with you what I think we have to do first. Are you ready because this is going to be beyond belief? It is going to change lives. It is going to knock you back on your heals and make you sit there in stunned silence for about two seconds. Okay here we go….in order to make your planner more functional this is what you have to do…are you ready…here it is…

I know, simple right? Are you okay? Do you need a minute? Maybe a sip of water? I mean it really is mind-blowing right? That something so simple could be the key to having a functional planner. Maybe you would like me to explain.

See so many times as we are getting caught up in the pretty of stickers and washi and kits we might not ever use we forget why we bought the planner in the first place. Now if you purchased your planner just to decorate it and use every sticker you could find then by all means continue on and God speed. However, if you bought your planner to journal, to scrapbook, to God-forbid plan, then this is where we sometimes jump the track.

Full disclaimer here. I am not against decorative planning. In point of fact I use quite a few stickers in my own planner and have a golly good time doing so. I peruse Instagram and Facebook planner groups same as you and oh and ah over the pretty spreads like every other planner girl out there. I even will admit that I have a planner girl crush on a few sticker designers out there and flock to there pages, YouTube videos and Instagram accounts like a good little planner girl should. That being said I just believe that their is more to planning then how pretty your spread looks. I think it can look good and function at a high rate of return also. There, I hope that clears the air.

Getting back on track, I want to talk about getting to the heart of why you plan and using your planner to it’s fullest potential and to do that you need to start with function. Look you would never buy a cup and expect it to act like a plate even through they are both dishes. Everything has a purpose and to get the most out of your planner you have to use it for what YOU INTENDED IT FOR (GREAT TWEET)!

So let’s get real. Not all of us bought planners for planning. That is perfectly fine. No one ever said that “pure, traditional planning” was the only thing a planner was good for. There are any number of ways that you can use your planner but first you need to sit down and figure out why you have your planner and how you want it to function.

To start here are a eight questions that should help you figure out if your planner is functioning the way you intended and if not then you might want to think about how you are using it and if you can re-work it so that it can.

  1.  For what purpose did you purchase your planner?
  2. When you look back over the last month or two months have you been using it as you intended?
  3. If not, what is causing you not to use it as you planned in the beginning?
  4. Do you have the tools, supplies, and resources to use your planner the way that you want it to be used?
  5. If you could plan your perfect week in your planner as you intended when you bought it, what would it look like?
  6. Do you find yourself worrying about what others might say about how your planner looks if you shared it?  Does that hold back how you are using your planner?
  7. If you could describe how you want your planner to work to someone else how would you do it?  Looking at your planner, is your current style living up to that description?
  8. What can you change to bring your current style more in line with how you want your planner to function?

If you picked up your planner as a journal but you cover every inch of the page with stickers that leave no room to write then it isn’t functioning the way that you intended. If you wanted your planner to act as a scrapbook or memory keeping book but you have no pictures or stories in there then once again it isn’t functioning as you wanted. You have to figure out what you want your planner to do and then do it (GREAT TWEET).

For me I want my planner to work as a planner. I want to be able to look at it and see my plans for the day and the week and to use it to keep me on the right track to reaching my goals. Yet it has taken me almost this whole year to come up with a system that works for me in that direction. I had to realize that I needed to move beyond the pretty and go back to just writing down my day before I could figure out which stickers could work for me and which couldn’t. Sometimes that is what you have to do.

At the end of the day, we each think differently so we each plan differently. We each have different goals and challenges in our lives so no two people’s planners should look alike. You have to find what works for you to achieve what you want your planner to function as. Once you do that then you are well on your way to staying on track; wherever you are headed.

Let’s keep the conversation going as always in the comment section below. What have you found that helps you keep your planner functioning as you intended? Do you have multiple planners? How do you keep them all running separate and correctly to achieve what planned?