Hello June…Monthly Goal Setting

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It is hard to believe that almost half the year is gone.  I bet you can still remember breaking into your 2016 planner and thinking of all that you planned to get accomplished before the next new year.  I personally set quite a few lofty goals for this year and I am sad to say that I haven’t done so well, but I plan to more than make up for it in the next six months.  That is why for June I have decided to take a refreshing look at my 2016 goals and I am taking you along for the ride.

Recently I was talking with an acquaintance and we were going over business planning.  She had just read something about planning in ninety day increments that was inspiring her to look differently at how she worked her business.  Now one of my first jobs we did something similar that we called “quarterly strategy” but it had the same bases, and while I still implement this in my business for the most part I have never thought about it in my personal life.  However, when she was talking all I could think about was how well this could work for all aspects of my life.

For example, one of my goals was to post one picture a day that I took and didn’t edit.  See in addition to my love of planning I am also a photographer and I have found recently that I have stopped taking pictures for me.  Part of me feels like I am losing my creative edge and to take a photograph that you love and feel no need to adjust takes some creativity behind the lens. 

I was good for like the first week or two of the year and then got caught up in the day to day of life and lost focus.  Now if I had been reviewing my goals every quarter then I might have stopped and asked myself why I let this go earlier and not feel the need to play catch up half way through the year.  That is why I want to start taking a quick look at my goals per month and a longer look per quarter to make sure that I am on track.

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I have even designed new inserts that I can use to write out my goals and the action steps that I can take to keep on track.  I am also using the month at a glance and my monthly target list to keep me working toward what I want to accomplish.

So this month we are going to be taking a look at goal planning and keeping on track so we can go into the second half of this year more productive than ever.  Let’s get started.

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What goals are you working toward?  What systems have you put in place to make sure that you reach then?  Share below and together we can keep each other motivated. 

It’s a Little Early but Happy St. Patrick’s Day – Giveaway

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It’s the luck of the Irish calling and you bet your lucky charms that I have a little something special for you this month.  This is just a little something to brighten up your month and get you in that holiday spirit.  So I hope you like it.

While this months is open to everyone I just want you to be aware that next month’s giveaway will only be exclusive to those that have signed up for the newsletter.  So if you are interested then be sure to sign up in the column on the right so you don’t miss out.

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Like last month I am in love with this set and have been chopping at the bit to get in my planner and get it set.  However, I have decided to wait until the week of St. Patrick’s Day to actually design this so if you want to see it in my planner then follow my Instagram (@planology).  While you’re there be sure to leave a little love tool

With that said, enjoy and be sure to share with your friends and other planner addicts around the way.

The More the Merrier – Tips for All Your Extra Pages

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If you are a user of the Happy Planner then you have been waiting on baited breath for the new planners that they have been teasing us with all 2016.  I mean really.  Did they need to Periscope and Instagram every last one of the new planners before we could even touch them?  It has been months of anticipation and finally they are set to be in stores within the week.  Yet with each one being eighteen months and most of us still using our planners we already have that leaves six months of pages to figure out something to do with.  What is a planner girl to do?

It seems like more often than not these days when I get into my planner Facebook groups someone is asking for ideas of what to do with all these extra pages and like everyone else I am curious as well.  So I decided to do some brain storming and see if I could come up with some ideas as to what might work the best for my sensibilities.

  1. Create an art journal where you can test out new pens and new styles of writing.  We all love our pens but sometimes we aren’t sure if they will bleed through or if the new hand lettering that we learned will fit in the boxes.  Take those wonderful extra pages and create, draw, and letter to your hearts content.  This way you will know exactly which pens work the best and which styles you can’t wait to try.
  2. Test out new layouts and ideas for the future.  This one almost seems like a bad idea to me but it is still worth exploring.  Between all the kits, stickers, stamps and washi that we all have sometimes we have more than we could ever use for one month let alone one holiday.  If we use those pages as a way to get fresh ideas for how to layout our planner then we can be more productive during our normal weeks and have a better sense of what works and what doesn’t
  3. Start journaling your life.  With a few changes to dates and a weekly sticker to cover up the calendar no one will ever know what the original date on those pages were.  This way you can journal about your day, your bible readings, your kid’s classes, or just your life.  Take those pages and set up the best way for you to write about what is going on with you.  If you aren’t sure about writing and art isn’t your thing then you can always add pictures of the day or the week and use it as a really basic project life album.
  4. Create a new planner.  If you are one of those that buy multiple planners than you might have enough left over pages to create one or more new planners.  Again all you would need is to add in some date cover ups and a weekly sticker to cover the month at the top of each week and you are set.  I personally think this would make a wonderful present for a high schooler or college student that needs to track their classes and activities but doesn’t have the money to go out and purchase one of their own.
  5. Money or Spending tracker.  You might want to cover those dates again but this would be a great way to keep tabs on what you are spending and budget out what you would like to save.  You could also use it as a tracker for cleaning, errands, to-do list, or grocery list.  Matter of fact that list could go on and on depending on what you like to keep a running count of in your life.

These are just a few little ideas that might help you as you plan out which planner you are going to pick up and what you might want to do with the rest of pages you will have left over.

Did one of these ideas inspire you?  Do you have other tips that have worked for you in the past or something that you are dying to try this year?  Share them below and let’s keep the conversation going.

Back to Basics – Planner Edition

Back to Basics Notebook

Back to basics is a phrase that people use quite often.  It’s a way of expressing a return to the beginning of something or maybe where you feel you were your best.  Most often when people say it they don’t really have a time or a situation in mind but more a generalization of where they would like to start.  In that respect I might be the only odd ball in the bag.  When I say it I tend to know exactly what and where I want to go back to and for me that is usually the drawing board, the beginning of the beginning.

See to me, if things were going so great or if you really liked where you were headed then you probably wouldn’t feel the need to go back.  Therefore if you feel that you need a change maybe you need to look at the foundation first before building on already shaky ground.  For me that conversation came around and hit me right smack dab between the eyes last week.  However, before I get into that I want to make a little disclaimer:

This is an open and safe space and I intend to be completely and unashamedly honest about life, love, planner peace and the reality of who I am.  In doing so I ask that you do me the courtesy of being completely honest about yourself, your struggles and who you are.  I want us to be real here and offer each other understanding, grace, and a soft shoulder to lean on.  We are on the REALLY REAL here and if that it to much for you then we understand.  It’s a hard road but I believe it is worth the journey.

Okay now back to our scheduled programing.

Last week I hit a crisis of everything.  I had poured so much of my heart and time into this blog, this shop, this project and after it launched I found myself in free fall.  I had so many things I wanted to do and say but I couldn’t figure out how to say them.  I had subscribers for the first time in anything I have ever published on a blog and while excited I became terrified and that was when the doubt set in.

I’m sure you can relate.  That voice inside that tells you that you can’t do this.  That you are going to fail and that you were crazy to take on such a huge dream.  You start to question everything that you are thinking and you wonder what to do now.  Yes that was my week which lead to a complete and total Netflix binge and a half empty planner.  Then in an effort to “look good now that I have a planner blog” I started to write in things but realized that just made the feeling worse because I couldn’t think of what to write in.  There was nothing to share.

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So after eating more cupcakes than I want to admit (but it might have been enough to feed a little kids birthday party) I decided that I need to sit down and really think.  I shut off the television, I turned off the noise, and I just asked for guidance.  Now whether you are a person of faith or not, let me tell you that in my life I know that when I ask I receive.  It may not always be what I want but I do receive and today that blessing came.

I have a goal to read 24 books this year and to say that I am off to a sad and pathetic start would be completely true.  Yet recently I started a new book and as I was reading there was a line about time being our most precious asset and everything came flooding at me.  This was my answer and I had to share it.

When I first got back into the planner community it was because I felt like I needed something to help me manage my time better.  As an entrepreneur I felt like I was letting too many things slip through the cracks and as a person I felt completely overwhelmed by life.  I’m sure you guys have been there and it might be why you picked up a planner too.

However, as I dove further and further into the plan with me videos, Facebook groups, and Etsy shops I lost some focus.  I started striving for the prettiest planner and the coolest layouts and for my spreads to look just like everyone else’s.  I stopped worrying if it was functional and started worrying if it would look good on Instagram.  I lost sight of the beginning, I lost sight of me.

Yet as I read that line and I realized that here I was with not only a wonderful tool to help me shape, share, and cherish my time but also an amazing opportunity to share that with the planner community my mind opened up like a brand new water pump and ideas started flowing again.  I felt like Elle Woods in Legally Blonde 2.  I had found my voice!

So with that in mind, when I say I am going back to basics I mean that I am going back to pens, paper, and my dream and I am moving forward into my most cherished asset.

That doesn’t mean that everything will be changing around here only that it will be enhanced by what has taken root in my mind and in my heart and I hope soon it will be able to touch your heart too.


Something Special For You…A Little Valentine’s Day Surprise

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It’s February and love is in the air.  It is the season for joy and giving and peace on earth…wait that’s Christmas.  Oh well, since I already got them mix up and I don’t have any flowers to share then I might as well do a giveaway.  A little something to say thank you for dropping on in and taking a look around.  Besides it’s better to give than to receive, right?  But if you happen to have a box of chocolates just laying around I wouldn’t turn that down.  I’m just saying.

This month as an exclusive for new comers to our little community I am giving away my Valentine’s day spread.  It is in PDF format so all you have to do is click the links below the picture to download it.  After that simply cut and enjoy.


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I will say that I am absolutely in love with this set and personally I can’t wait to use it.  I hope once you see it then you will feel the same.

While it is set up for Valentine’s there is no rule that says you can’t use it for an anniversary or birthday or just because you are in a lovey mood.  Added bonus is that if you like pink this might just do it for you.  So enjoy and be sure to share with all your friends.

The Best I Ever Had…Don’t Go There; I’m Talking Advice

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I know, I know but in my defense I was sitting here watching an interview with that “50 Shades of Grey” guy and well that can put thoughts into anyone’s head.  Did you know he was married?  Oh well I digress.

Let’s get to it.  Welcome to Planner University or Planner U.

I debated long and hard about what would be the first posting here and believe me it was a tough decision.  I mean should we start with which planner to get or which style or what is planning.  That last one almost won out but then I thought about it and figured you must know what planning is or else why would you be here.  Now that doesn’t mean that it might not pop up later only that it doesn’t get the dubious honor of being first.  That honor starts right here with this post.

See I started thinking and I realized if you were going to start at the beginning then you might need a few tips.  You might need someone to come and hold your hand and talk you down off the sticker ladder or out of the washi aisle.  When you are starting out you need advice.  You need that person that is going to stop you from having to figure out a way to write off Etsy as a business expense or a donation on your taxes because the amount rivals half your yearly income.  Therefore we are starting with some of the best advice I have found in the planner community.

  1. YOUR PLANNER IS FOR YOU & THE ULTIMATE GOAL IS TO HELP YOU BE ORGANISED.  This I think might be the best of the best.  So many times we get caught up in the way we see others planning. We look at their planners or their videos and we want to be just like that.  Yet each of us are different and our lives are different.  So why do we think that our planners should be the same.  You bought that planner not just because it looked good but because you wanted to get a handle on your life.  You wanted to keep things from falling through the cracks.  Therefore make sure that it is working for you because that is all that matters.
  2. IT DOESN’T HAVE TO COST A FORTUNE. Again we get so involved in the look that we sometimes forget the purpose.  Of course it is amazing to get new stickers or weekly sets but don’t be afraid to go simple in the beginning or even now.  Don’t be afraid to check out dollar bins in different stores or look around your craft room to see what you might have that will work.  You don’t need to start right out the gate with every sticker on Etsy or every washi Michael’s carries.  Even if you have been planning for years you can still find deals that will make you want to jump up and down like a fan chick at a boy band concert(One Direction anyone?).  The point is don’t break the bank trying to keep up with the Jones’s.
  3. TAKE THE TIME TO FIND YOUR GROOVE.  Without argument young Michael Jackson was killing it.  Those beginning songs with the Jackson 5 were, are, and will forever be classic.  However when he came out with Thriller that was a WHOLE NEW LEVEL!!  My point is that even some of the greats need time to come into their own.  Don’t worry that your first few spreads might not be what you thought they would be or that you’ve had your planner for months and you still aren’t sure exactly how to use it.  That is okay because you are learning.  It takes time to figure it out and find what works for you.  In the meantime, use those spreads or weeks to mark what you love and disregard what don’t.  Let your groove find you and you will be dancing in no time.
  4. DON’T LET A SPREAD YOU THOUGHT YOU’D LOVE BUT DIDN’T GET YOU DOWN.  We have all been there.  You get that kit in the mail or you plan out exactly what you think you want to do.  Maybe you saved those stickers especially for this one week and when you get in there and put them down you feel like a balloon that has lost it air.  It’s like that rollercoaster ride that you hate but keep getting on because you think this time it will be better.  Look, doll, it happens.  Sometimes things just don’t work and that is okay.  It doesn’t have to be perfect.  Let it sit, let it get you through the things you need to do that week, and let yourself figure out why it doesn’t work for you.  It could be that you miss your white space or that you felt overwhelmed by the pressure of the week.  Relax and move on to next week.  As the song goes, it’s only a day away.
  5. MOST IMPORTANTLY-PLAY!!  While we all got into this to keep organized and to run our lives or our business let’s keep it real, this is fun :).  It’s like someone set an extra arm on the clock and for a few hours in the day, week, month it reverses and we get to travel back to our elementary school days when we had no worries.  We could sit with our friends and draw or write our name a hundred different ways with a thousand different pens or colors.  We could put stamps or stickers on our jeans, shoes, shirts, or skateboards.  We could mark your world and make it standout as ours.  We could show our style, our personality, our love in our own way.  At the end of the day or week that is what this is about.  Being you and having fun while doing it.

Well that is it my Lovies.  The intro and beginning to PlannerU.  I hope that this was helpful for you whether you are a beginner or have been planning for awhile.  It is always good to go back to the basics and I personally find that I learn a little something new each and every time.

Like with all classes the Q&A is just starting.

If you have any questions or would like to add something to the conversation then be sure to comment below.  Look forward to seeing you next class.

Let’s See Your Style…Planology Edition

I had to make that Barry Manilow up to you somehow so I decided a little TaTa would do just fine.  Although it does lead to almost the same question.

Why are we watching clouds float through Taylor’s neck?  And like before I am going to tell you.

No reason whatsoever that relates to planning.  However, I would suggest that you take a look at the abs on that guy in the video.  They do make me swoon just a little.  On the relevant side, the title of the song just happens to be what we are talking about and that is style.  Specifically you planner style, but as a side note you really need to check out that guys in the videos abs?  Yes please.

Okay back to our regular scheduled programing and welcome to our STYLE section.

Here is where you can show off your favorite spreads.  You know those weeks that are so dang blasted cute that it almost seems a sin to put pen to paper and you really wish that you could frame them and put them up so that people walking in will be like “OMG look at your life.  It is so amazing.  I think I just died”.  If you don’t get the reference click here.  Those are the spreads, layouts, weekly wonders that we want to see.

To share send them to yourstyle@theplanology.com.  I will be posting as many as I can and the one that gets the most comments at the end of the month gets to share all about how they put it together, where their inspiration came from, or just why they chose those stickers.  Whatever tickles your fancy.

Added bonus is that if you just aren’t really feeling that creative bug or simply can’t think of what to do for the week, this is going to be a great place to come and find some inspiration.

Questions?  Be sure to leave them below and don’t forget to send your spreads in and show us your style.

Oh Mandi…Sing With Me

First off I just have to apologize but it had to be done.  You know what I’m talking about but just in case your not sure; I’m speaking of the video.  Sure it is cheesy but it is a classic and extra brownie points or washi strips if you actually listened to it.  You really deserve the whole roll if you listened until the end.

Now you might be asking why, oh why, is Barry Manilow blasting Mandy through your house.  I will tell you.

There’s that quote about how there are no stupid questions just stupid ans…that’s not it.  It’s there are no wrong answers just wrong q…no I don’t think that’s right either.  Anyway it’s about not asking questions when you need to, right? Right.

That is why we are setting up an “OH MANDI” section of the blog.  Do you get the song reference now 🙂 ?

We all have questions, and let’s be real, we all sometimes feel like we are the only one.  However, you are not.  There are plenty of us out there that have a ton of questions and while it is great to ask them in our Facebook communities sometimes those questions or answers get buried in the long line of post and feeds so that they are never to be seen or heard from again.  If you are like me then you can only remember like one part of the question and then you spend hours scrolling through search or the regular feed only to end up asking again.

With this section I am hoping to not just have an ask MANDI section but sub categories so you can go in and find the answers quickly without draining valuable sticker hunting time.  I am even crossing my fingers that I might be able to get some of the big names in our community to answer a few of the questions if I ask really nice and promise happy mail :).

For right now this will only be a once a month post.  I would love to see it grow to every two weeks or even weekly but as I’m still new I might have to crawl a little before I can walk.

Now how do you submit a question you might be asking.  You can send an email to ohmandi@theplanology.com.  We can’t wait to hear from you.


Let’s Change the World…To Soon?

Who starts off a blog talking about changing the world?  This crazy girl right here.

Alright so maybe I’m not looking to turn into Pinky or the Brain no matter how much I love the color or the show but I thought it was a great way to get this started.  And what are we starting over here?  A community, a support group, a journey, a team of planner avengers (you think we could get costumes?), or at the very least a place to share the struggle to find the right washi for that new spread you just bought, downloaded or designed.  It’s real y’all, that struggle is REAL.

Anyway, as the song says, let’s get it started in here…

Simply put I just wanted to share where I would love for this space to grow.  I figured I would give you the overview, the idea, the five cent tour of my mind if you like and let you know what to expect.

As we are just getting started there is plenty of room to grow and LOTS of room for ideas.  Which means if I am missing something that you would love to see on here then by all means leave it down below.  I want to know what you think because as I have said before and will say again this is about us as a community.  So let’s jump into it.

First off, let’s just get the elephant out of the room.  Yes there is a shop here and yes there will be stickers for sale.  It’s there because I love that designing stickers gives me a space to be creative and I think they are pretty good.  If you’re interested you are welcome to browse, recommend, or purchase and if you’re not then please don’t be put off by it.  Stay and have fun with us.  You know you wanna.  All the cool kids are doing it :).

Moving on, here is what you can expect.  We are going to be talking about planners from the bottom to the top; “started from the bottom now we here”.  Yes that was done in my Drake voice and yes you should be glad that you couldn’t hear it.

Anyhoo, with PlannerU we are going to be talking about everything from what is planner peace to how to find the right planner for you to what is decorative planning.  Who knows by this time next year we could all have our PH.D.’s in the art of planning.

Also, I want to see what you’re working with.  We are going to have a space where you can submit your favorite spreads just cause or to give others inspiration.  At some point there might even be a give away *bites nails excitedly*.

Since in my opinion, nothing’s every really done without a good quote, I will be scouring the WORLD (or at least the world wide web) to bring you the best in quotes that you can add to your planner or just post around the office.

That is just a sneak peek of what I hope to bring to this blog.

With that said let’s kick this thing off with you joining in the conversation.  If there is something that you feel you would love to see added to the list here then leave a comment down below.  I can’t wait to hear from you.

“You can succeed alone but it is so much more fun when there is someone to share it with.”


Let’s Play “What If I”…Can You Guess the Rest?

So have you ever woke up one morning and played the “What if I…” game with yourself?  You know that game of “What if I didn’t have to go to work today?” or “What if I won that crazy huge lottery that we just had?”.  My personal favorite is “What if when I open my eyes that gorgeous hunk of man from the movie we watched last night is laying right there waiting to say in his deeply sexy voice ‘morning beautiful; what can I make you for breakfast?'”…I’m sorry where was I?  Oh yeah the “what if” game.  We have all done it once or twice or every morning when we hit the snooze button.  But let me tell you how that little thought started a dream.

There I was one morning in the cold of January pissy that I had to go out and meet with someone that I really didn’t want to talk to about something that should have been done months ago.  To get my mind right I started reading a devotional book that I had downloaded the sample of and thought would only take a minute to flip through.  As I find myself still sitting there ten minutes later and about to be late for my meeting an errant thought ran through my head…”what if I started a place for those obsessed with planners, new and seasoned, to come together and share, laugh, grow, and connect?”.

Of course as I grabbed my drink and ran from the house screaming at myself about the dangers of reading in the morning when I have somewhere to be, I tried to let the thought go.  I tried not to think about it at that first light or the second.  I tried not to let my mind wander as the person droned on and on, and I really tried not to think about it as I wished with everything I had that I was still back home curled up in bed with the rest of that book.

After three people blew their horns at me for almost missing the light on the way home I decided to come in, get another cup of tea, and sit down to think if this was something that could really be something.  After all, it is one thing to have a thought.  It is quite another to put it into action.  Three hours and twelve pages later PLANOLOGY was born.

In those three hours many things came to me but the best of them was this:  IT’S ALL ABOUT COMMUNITY, KNOWLEDGE AND FUN!!  This isn’t my world, it’s our world.  We are each beginners and experts and what you know or don’t know might help others in ways you never expected.

There is this awful movie that is just so bad it’s amazing called “Accepted” with Justin Long before Drew and Jonah Hill before the weight loss.  It’s about this boy that actually doesn’t get accepted into any of the colleges that he applies to so he creates his own by accident.  I won’t spoil it for you, just in case you are checking Netflix right now (it’s not there), but there is this great line where he says something like at his college everyone is a teacher.  The point was that everyone had something they could share.  That is my “What if”.

So come join along on this crazy journey of design fun and planner joy and let’s see what we all have to give and just how big we can grow this community.  I think it’s going to be epic; it might change lives.  I for one hope so!