organisation

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 settingĀ  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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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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How to use a Planner to get Organised

Here’s a secret about being organised: it takes effort!

You probably won’t find your ideal planner or inserts your first time out of the gate, and that’s okay, because the biggest tip I can give you for staying organised is not about inserts or tabs or stickers.

The biggest tip for how to use your planner is…

well…

to actually use your planner.

It’s not enough to buy one – having an organiser will not make you organised.

It’s not enough to decorate the pages – pretty pages will not make you productive.

So, what do you have to do? Here is my 3 Step Plan:

Step One: Decide What You Want to Do

Step Two: Write it Down

Step Three: Do it!!

Easy right?

David Allen of Getting Things Done fame, says

“Your mind is for having ideas, not storing them”

And that’s where your planner comes in.

Here’s What I Do

First things first I write everything down.. and I mean everything. If I see an ad for something I think I might like to buy, I write it on my wishlist, if I decide that Juniper is not eating enough spinach I’ll write it in my meal planning section, if I get a notice about a rental inspection it goes into my planner before I even put the notice down.

One of my big planning AHA moments was realising that my brain alone could not be trusted!

My planner is an A5 binder. It’s quite large and not all that portable, so it spends most of the time sitting open on my desk.

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I visit my planner at least 3 times every day to make sure I know what’s coming up, and to ensure that the day is going according to plan.

Filofax Visiting Hours

  • 7AM: First thing in the morning as part of my morning routine, I take a glance at the day and remind myself of what’s ahead.
  • 1PM: While Juniper is napping I take some time to mark off any completed items, check what activity we have scheduled for the day and prepare everything so that we’re ready to get started when she wakes up. \
  • 10PM: At the end of the day, in the last half hour before bed, I go through and make sure I have accomplished everything I had planned for the day. I reschedule anything that wasn’t achieved.

It is also open beside me on my desk whenever I am working through my freelance projects, or paying bills or meal planning, or any of the other million things I do at my desk.. out of sight is out of mind so I keep her in plain sight as much as possible.

Seeing What’s What

Ideally, you need to be able to see at a glance what is already done and what still needs attention.

Personally, I have an indexing code for marking things off. The code includes things like ‘in progress’ ‘rescheduled’ ‘cancelled’ and ‘completed’. It’s on a small piece of paper and is kept in my planner for reference:

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As you can see, items are also colour coded for the person it relates to and the type of activity it is, as well as for how long it will take to complete. So, if I know I have a spare 15 minutes I can quickly see what can be achieved in that time frame. I have that time coding reference on the top of each insert page for quick reference. You can see that, as well as the time coded to-do list in action below.

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In addition to my daily filofax visiting hours, I have time scheduled on Sundays to go through and do a weekly review and to plan the week ahead.. but that’s a post for another time! Subscribe to the blog to make sure you don’t miss out.

Want more tips?

My Top Planner Tools for 2017
Life & Business Planners starting at $10
Personal Growth Planning

Getting Organised in 2016

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Monday Mail Round Up 7/7

Some weeks I get a lot of mail. Some weeks, not so much.

It is a testament to my online shopping addiction that I can’t remember the last time I went a whole week without getting something fun in the mail.

Here is the round up of this past week’s fun stuff:

MONDAY

Project life cards from Ebay & Oli Clips from Little Bird Studio

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TUESDAY

Lots of skinny washi from this seller on Etsy, Printed DIYfish inserts (I outsourced that job) and quote cards to put in my planner from Larissa at The Organised Nest.

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WEDNESDAY

Planner stickers from Kawaii Stickers for You.

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THURSDAY

Frixion Pens

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A pretty awesome week, mail-wise! As you can tell, I’m especially obsessed with my planner right now!

 

 

 

Just a quick note to add that I’m not affiliated with any of the businesses listed above and all items were purchased by me – and not gifted for review.