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…


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.

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.

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.

My New Little Obsession | Welcome to 2017


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.


The Top Thing You Must Do for Functional Planning


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?