filofax

Top Planner Tools for 2017

It’s that time of year again – time to get ready for a new year of planning!

If you’re anything like me you were probably a sucker for the “back to school” stationery run before the start of the school year when you were a kid. For me, calendar/planner shopping in December is my adult version of that and I just love it.

So what tools do I have in my arsenal for 2017?

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One thing I know about my own personality is that I’m very good at KEEPING on top of things, but I’m not always very good at getting back on top of them if I get slack, so I have to make sure I start the new year as strong as possible and stay on track. The best way to do that is to have the right planning tools.

#1: Time Management Binder

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I bought this beautiful A6 ring bound planner from Van Der Spek 12 months ago and it has been my main planner for the entirety of 2016. That has never happened to me before and I can honestly say that this planner might end up being the only binder style planner that I use from here on out. A6 is the perfect size for me. Wider than the personal, which always felt too “listy” and much more portable than the A5. I’m thrilled with this size.

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One downside of the A6 size is that it’s not yet very popular, so there aren’t a huge range of inserts available for it. I found a woman on Etsy who does custom designed inserts for an amazing price. I got a full year’s worth of inserts, fully custom designed to my specifications for $30 AUD including shipping from The Netherlands. The design I chose is super minimalist but Lizzu can design anything you like. Check out her shop here.

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For monthly planning I have inserts from here.

#2: Personal Growth

I absolutely cannot get enough of these Leonie Dawson products. The eBook versions start at just $10! I discovered her a few years ago now and her books have completely transformed my life. I know, I know, that sounds insane, but there is just something about them that sets off sparks for me. They are so beautiful, and as you work through them you can feel yourself consciously setting  intentions. It’s very powerful. If you want to make changes in your life and you’re not sure how to do it, or you’re looking for some inspiration or direction for your future I highly recommend getting these books and working through them. In the years I’ve been buying them I’ve experienced amazing growth in my personal life. I’m more motivated and inspired than I’ve ever been before and if I could only buy ONE planner tool for 2017 the life planner pack from Leonie Dawson would be it.

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#3: Business Planning

If you’re a business owner as well (or you want to be) you might also be interested in her biz planner pack. The digital version starts at just $10, or you can get the actual books mailed out to your address. I’ve had my own business now for 6 years and I have 2 secrets to success. The first is forward planning. When you’re a business owner it can be tough finding time to really focus on growing your business in a meaningful way.. you’re always so busy dealing with the day to day stuff and it can be hard to see the big picture. Taking time at the end of the year to reflect on the previous 12 months and to map out a strategy for the new year is so incredibly important for business growth and I recommend everyone with a business – no matter how small – make time to do it. You don’t have to have pretty pages to get it done, any plain paper will do, but if you want something pretty that you’ll enjoy filling out you can buy my favourite business planner here.

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My second secret is to surround myself with inspiring, motivated and like-minded people. I have a few groups that I’m a member of, all filled with inspiring business owners who have mentored me and helped me achieve great things and I really recommend that any business owner find themselves a group that fits their goals and lifestyle. If you’re looking for a diverse, vibrant, online group that is part magical motivator academy and part support group the shining academy is a great place to start. Check them out here. Membership has a fee but it will absolutely change your life.

GIVEAWAY

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The Personal & Biz planning packs also come with a beautiful 2017 diary which is completely gorgeous and makes a great gift if, like me, you already have a permanent planner like a filofax or VDS. I’m giving mine away! So if you want a chance to receive the 2017 diary for yourself, share this post on one of your social media platforms with the hashtag #peacefulparentplannergiveaway and comment below telling me where you shared it and your favourite thing about planning for the new year. The prize pack will include the 2017 diary, and an A3 2017 wall poster to track your goals. I’ll contact the winner via email on Christmas day.

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Getting Organised for 2016

The holiday season is one of my favourite times of year because the approaching new year means a shiny new planner set up.

Generally throughout the year I try not to change my planner up too much, so the new year gives me an opportunity to tweak my current system and add some new goodies to my stash.

My planner life consists of 3 separate areas, so over the next week I’ll publish 3 different posts to give you an idea of where I’m at and what tools I’ll be incorporating to keep me organised in 2016.

This first post will be about my day-t0-day planner, followed by one for my study/university planner, and one for my personal growth and goals set up.

So, without further ado:

Getting Organised in 2016: Day-to-Day Planning

If you’ve read my “how to use a planner to get organised” post, then you’ll know that I am a big fan of only having one active calendar, no matter how many planners you have. So, while I have 3 planner systems, only one of them has an actual calendar in it. In my opinion this is crucial for keeping on top of everything in your life. More calendars means more ways for stuff to fall through the cracks which is just setting yourself up for failure.

This year I’m using my trusty old Holborn Zip as my main planner. I’ve had this lovely thing for about 4 years now and it’s in great shape. I also have an A5 VDS which I adore, but nothing beats being able to stuff things into a zipped planner and know they’ll be safe until you need them again.

Meet the Holborn. She’s not as pretty as some, but she’s not delicate either and that’s what I like about her.

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This year I’ve chosen printable inserts from the “Perfectly Organised” etsy store. They are very similar to what I was using last year, but with a slightly different colour scheme to make it feel fresh and new.

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The main thing I’ve found with a weekly view planner, is that I need a section to put upcoming events/appointments. So I’ve changed the IMPORTANT box in this printable to a NEXT WEEK box, where I can write down any big events in the coming week. That way I don’t get blindsided on Monday morning when I flip the page to the new week.

I don’t do a lot of decoration in my main planner, but I do allow myself one planner luxury throughout the year and that is stickers. There’s just something about playing with stickers that makes me happy. I tend to prefer functional stickers over decorative ones, and my favourite way to create stickers that work for my family is by personalising the Erin Condren photo stickers.

They are $5 per sheet of 30 stickers and you can put anything you like on them. You can have the same sticker 30 times or 30 different stickers or any combination in between. I got a bunch of these this year, including: swimming lesson stickers for my daughter, “due” stickers for work projects, “7 days” stickers to warn me of uni assignment due dates and so much more. It was a lot of fun creating them and they really stand out in my planner which makes staying organised super easy.

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The one problem with stickers is that they can be difficult to store. I’ve chosen to store mine in a 4×6 photo album which I picked up super cheap from a dollar store. I’ve categorised each pouch for easy access: work, school, family, money, housework etc

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Aside from the main calendar section in this planner, I also have a few other tabs. Including:

Info
This section has all of our bank account information, utility account numbers, license numbers, passport details. It’s basically a quick reference guide for anything we might need for each member of the family.
Contacts
Pretty self explanatory!

Shopping & Budgets
Here I write meal plans and shopping lists, all my budgets and financial information, as well as wishlists for each family member.
To-do:
Here I have a master to-do list, broken up into smaller to do lists including the flylady section, which I’ve covered in another post.

PRO TIP: To avoid ‘to-do list panic’ choose only 3 things a day from the master list and add them into your personal tasks each day. If you get them done and have spare time choose 3 more.

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So that’s the basic run down of my day-to-day planner for 2016. If you have any questions about the set up (or anything else) leave a question in the comments below, and stay tuned for the student and personal goals updates coming later in the week.

Happy planning!

Welcoming the Gorgeous Gillio Mia Cara

This year has been a good planner year for me. My collection has grown, and shrunk and grown again, and I have expanded my taste from being solely a ‘filofax gal’ to being a bit of a planner connoisseur.. at least that’s how it felt this morning when this beautiful Mia Cara landed on my doorstep!

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Those of you who follow the blog will know that I splurged on a Van Der Spek earlier this year, and while the VDS has become a permanent part of my collection (Velda is my time management planner), when the chance to buy this (third hand!) Gillio came up I simply couldn’t say no.

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I got a great deal on her, even though she is barely a month old, because Kate (her 2nd owner) felt bad about not loving her enough – this is how I know that planner people are my people, they are as sentimental about these bits of leather and metal as I am!

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She is going to be my ‘love binder’ where I’m going to collect all those little things that make me happy. AKA my thanksgiving, motivation and inspiration binder. Which is especially perfect since I bought her on thanksgiving day.

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Isn’t she gorgeous?

Now if you’ll excuse me, I have to get back to petting her.

Starting Fresh

It’s been quiet around here the last little while – on the blog I mean, not in real life – in real life there’s been a lot going on, but the reason for the blog silence is that I fell into planner limbo.

It all started with DIYfish..

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I LOVE the DIYfish inserts, I love how flexible they are and I think that the fold-out-able weekly and month view is pure genius. I loved using them, but I don’t have a lot of free time. I have a business to run and an autistic 3 year old to chase after, so the DIYfish ended up being too high maintenance for me.

Of course, by the time I had realised that DIYfish was too high maintenance for me, I had already RAK’d all my other inserts!

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So I was left with a system that wasn’t working for me and no back-up, and because it’s the end of the year, everything on the market right now is for 2015, not 2014.

Needless to say, panic ensued.

My first idea was to team up with a designer. Which was a great idea until we actually had to try and communicate (ha!). That didn’t work out – awkward!

But then, in a flash of inspiration I decided to create my own instead. I’m not really a DIY kind of gal so this was a big undertaking for me.

I can’t take full responsibility for the end result because the background design came from another free planner printable that I found on Pinterest a year ago and saved to my computer. I just worked over the top of it to personalise it to my needs.

Of course I can’t for the life of me find where the printable came from (I’ve been scouring Pinterest all morning!) so if they are yours, or you know where they came from, let me know so I can give credit where credit is due!

Here is what I came up with:

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I am not clever enough to figure out how to have the date appear on the pages, so I have to write them in myself, but I did the rest of the year last night and it only took 30 minutes so that’s not too bad:

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Here is a run-down of what each section is for:

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And here’s what it looks like in my planner:

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Overall I’m pretty happy and at least now I’m set for the rest of 2014.

I’ve got some Life is Crafted W02P pre-ordered for 2015 so they only have to get me through until then!

Budgeting in my Planner – Envelope Style

In the age of online shopping, the only sure-fire way for me to save money is to squirrel away cash. Otherwise my savings get frittered away, one late night Etsy purchase at a time, until there’s nothing left in my accounts (but my desk drawers are full of pretty stickers for my Van Der Spek!).

I’m sure you can relate.

Paypal has a lot to answer for.

Anyway… to make sure there’s always cash around for when we need it, I have an envelope budgeting system set up in my lovely binder.

I took some photos for you to see.

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My bills and rent are paid automatically out of the bank account so they aren’t included in the envelope system. Instead I have these categories:

* Rainy Day Fund – for unexpected expenses like broken appliances or lost phones.

* Home School Fund – for fun excursions or school supplies.

* Savings – for big purchases or holidays.

* Snip Fund – the big V 🙂

* Car Money – these are usually yearly costs like registration, insurance or servicing.

* Family Fun – a nice meal out, a day trip to the zoo – that kind of thing.

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I got the envelopes from this seller on Etsy, and punched them with my filofax holepunch.

Then added the super cute mason jar stickers, which were a group buy on facebook.

The speech bubbles came from Joey Design on Etsy.

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Each time I add some money to the envelope, I put a little star or heart on the outside.

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I work from home, so my filofax doesn’t really venture outside. If you take your filofax with you everywhere this might not be a good system for you.. as if losing your filofax wouldn’t be heartbreaking enough, losing your life savings as well would really put a wrinkle in your day!

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Weekly Planning – The Sunday Sessions

One of the biggest secrets about being an organised person is that it takes time.

I’ve already posted a little about how I spend my organising time in “How to Use a Planner to Get Organised” and in “Prepping for the Month Ahead” I outlined how I set up my planning ‘foundation’ for the coming month.

Today, I’m sharing my process for my weekly planning session.

My Sunday Sessions are probably the most time intensive, but also (I think!) the most important for making sure the week ahead goes smoothly.

Step 1: The Week in Review

First things first I do a review of the week that just passed.

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If you’re using DIYfish inserts, there is already a section there for you to do this, if you’re using Life is Crafted, Arienne has a monthly review area you can use, but just a plain sheet of paper will be fine too!

What you choose to focus on in your week review is completely up to you, it might be financial goals or fitness goals – whatever you like.

Personally I focus on 4 areas:

  • Gratitude – 3 things I’m grateful for
  • Achievements – 3 things I’m proud of
  • Memories – 3 best moments of the week
  • Improvement – Something to change/focus on improving next week

This process gives me an opportunity to reflect on the week that passed, and take stock of my strengths and weaknesses, as well as celebrate the fun moments or things that made me feel happy.

Step 2: Setting Your Intentions

That sounds really ‘new-agey’ but setting intentions is a great way to acknowledge what you want to achieve in the week ahead.

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Sometimes this section includes things like:

  1. No More Washi Tape!
  2. Stop Procrastinating!
  3. Don’t Visit Etsy!

Other weeks I focus on my personal or work goals, or even specific to-dos. My priorities change from week to week depending on what I feel is needed to balance out my life in that particular week. We are currently in the process of moving house, so for this week my top 3 priorities are:

  1. Pack non-essentials using colour coding index
  2. Create cleaning plan for new house
  3. Book services for moving weekend (mover, carpet cleaner etc)

Step 3: Weekly Overview

Before I even step into my daily pages, I use my DIYfish weekly overview page to map out the week.

I break each day into 5 sections.

  • Meal Planning
  • Cleaning Zone
  • Project Deadlines
  • Daily Kid’s Activity
  • Blog
  • Luke’s Roster

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I have 2 main reasons for using this section.

  • Balance: I want to make sure I have a good balance over the week. That I’m not overwhelmed with work, that we’re eating well, and that our activities are focusing on each of areas that Juniper needs to build on (Fine motor, Gross motor, Memory & Listening).

 

  • Flexibility: This is just an overview and is not set in stone. This plan often changes as my week evolves. For example: I might switch up the meals if Luke’s roster changes or drop an activity if we stay out late one day and don’t get back in time. So often I don’t add them all into my daily pages until I have a better idea of what’s happening.

 

Step 4: Daily Pages

As you know I use DIYfish Day on 2 Pages inserts, which leaves me with lots of room for planning and tracking and routines. This is what they look like at the start of the week:

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Often I add a little flair to my pages with positive quotes and stickers, but the most important thing for me to add at the start of the week is Luke’s Roster, and my project deadlines – everything else in our days is flexible and may change.

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Luke’s work hours are indicated with the green line.. I block out the hours he will be gone. The red dot means that I have a deadline that day – the details of which will be added to my work to-do list on the 2nd page.

I also add in any immovable items like time specific appointments, social gatherings or visitors, and then I build up my ‘flexible’ daily items around them, and that includes things like my blog posts or Juniper’s daily activities.

Before I finish my weekly session, I cross reference against my DIYfish monthly and weekly inserts to make sure I haven’t overlooked anything important.

Then I’m set for the week!

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I’ll give you a closer look at how I use those daily pages this week when I write my DO2P post – so stay tuned!

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Prepping for the Month Ahead

If you read my post “How to Use a Planner to Get Organised” then you already know that being organised takes time. Aside from the daily “visiting hours” I wrote about in that post, I also have a planning session before the start of each new week, and each new month.

Today I’m sharing how I prepare my planner for the month ahead.

Preparing for the Month Ahead

My monthly planning session has 3 simple steps, some months will naturally be more complicated than others, but this process should give you a good place to start.

Step 1: Separate Your Weeks

This first step has been a huge time saver for me.

Having daily pages – or in my case, day on TWO pages, means that you have a lot of pages in your planner each month.

When I was first transitioning from my week on two pages set up I found it very frustrating flipping between pages and often wasted a lot of time trying to find the right page. So, I created this system to help me easily identify each week in the month.

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Each weeks get a different colour so that I can more easily find any date I need.

For people who have a week on 2 pages, this system could still work for differentiating between the months in your planner.

You could also do it on the side edge, but I like to keep that blank so I can still use the DIYfish indexing system.

Added bonus – it makes your planner look extra pretty!

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Step 2: Customise Your Pages

One of the things I love about the DIYfish inserts is that they are so plain, which sounds like a bad thing, but it actually makes them really customisable for whatever you need.

My monthly prep includes washi taping the blank second page into sections to make it more usable for what I need.

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I also use a custom stamp from Etsy to put my daily tracking prompts.

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I also add some little motivation stickers and stuff like that. Some people like to theme out their pretty pages, but I am far too style challenged to do that!

Step 3: Transfer Your Information

I have three places where I store information that needs to be put into my inserts at the start of each month.

  1. Monthly Inserts – I only have one month at a time of daily inserts in my planner, but I keep an entire year of monthlies in there so the monthly pages collect a lot of information as I go.
  2. Important Dates – I have a page entitled “Dates to Remember” in my planner. On that page I write anything that will need to be scheduled, but isn’t necessarily important enough to go into my Monthly page. So, appointments that need to be made, but don’t have a set day yet, or general tasks that won’t fit in the small monthly page.
  3. Perpetual Calendar – I keep my Erin Condren perpectual calendar in the back pocket of my planner. It has all of my important recurring dates throughout the year – birthdays & anniversaries mainly. When adding these dates to my planner, I not only put a note on the date itself, but also a reminder the week before to get a card or gift.

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These 3 small steps give me a great foundation for planning throughout the month.

Next up I’ll show you how to use this foundation to help with weekly goal setting, priority planning and daily tracking. Make sure you follow the blog so you don’t miss out – and remember to become a fan of the Peaceful Parent Facebook Page.