Planner Review: Travelers Notebooks!

When you hear the word Traveler’s Notebook, you probably think of some awesome, Hobbit-like, mysterious traveler who has their trusty old leather-bound notebook that has been with them on all their adventures.🧙‍♂️

And you’re right! That’s definitely what they are. These types of planners have EXPLODED in the planner world – and for good reason! They’re also very customizable, sturdy and great for creative planners who want to have a small section/insert in their planner for every part of their life.

These planners can be overwhelming if you’re a beginner planner and need a daily layout or weekly spread to walk you through your planning process, or if you’re still figuring out what your planning style is. It’s also really easy to spend lots of money on these bad boys too, decking them out with inserts, dashboards (the first page you see of a section or when you open your TN), paperclips, bookmarks, dividers, etc!

Here are a few places to get your own:

Foxy Fix

Amazon (Free 2 Day Shipping with Prime!)

Chic Sparrow

Here’s my YouTube review of a TN I bought from Portland Leather Goods! Another bonus is a lot of companies will stamp your name, initials, or whatever you’d like onto the outside of your TN! 😍

I mean, is there really anything like a trusty, quality product that holds up yet shows all your loving wear and tear on it as it goes with you through everyday life? There’s tons of appeal with TN’s for that type of feel and look!

Well, what do you think Planner Peeps? Would a TN work for you or be too much? Maybe someday you see yourself easing into using it? Let me know in the comments below!

How I Use My Planner For Our Budget

Something I just love about having a planner is that it can help capture my thoughts, keep me on track and help me see ahead! When I started to utilize my planner to help me with our budget it became a game changer and gave me so much more clarity on what money needed to do what and go where. This system is simple, takes a few steps and involves a monthly layout, which most planners have!

A fresh start in my Hobonichi Cousin (A5). 😍

STEP ONE
Use the side of your monthly layout to list out allllll your monthly bills. I don’t include categories that fluctuate or that we pull cash out for (gas, food, fun money, pets, etc.). List out recurring monthly expenses like utilities, phone bill, insurance, student loan payments, Netflix subscriptions, etc.

STEP TWO
Next, go through each bill and look up its due date and the amount that will be due. (If you’re not sure, it’s ok to estimate it!) Then, find the day it’s due and write in the name of the bill and the amount owed.

STEP THREE
Next, write out the days of the month that you get paid. You can always ask the bookkeeper at your work for a list of dates that your paycheck will be deposited or when they plan to write checks if you’re not sure!

STEP FOUR
Now, as you get paid, you can look ahead and see what bills are due before the next time you get a paycheck. As you pay your bills, cross them off in your monthly layout and on the list on the side.

More than anything, make your budget and planning as easy as can be. Some tips that we have found helpful:

– Use envelopes for categories that you tend to overspend in (for us, it’s always FOOD!). If you hate the hassle of envelopes, they make adorable wallets like these that help keep your cash separate!

– If you’re married and both working, sit down, write out your expenses and see if you can live off of one income.

– If you can, assign each paycheck a job! For instance: the first paycheck of the month will go towards your bills and necessities (pull cash for food money, gas money for the month, etc) and the second will go towards savings or debt payments and paying down debt. If you have side hustles or income, you can then use that money towards fun things like dates, entertainment, etc.

– If you struggle to pay your bills throughout the month with the timing of a paycheck, call the company and see if they will move the due date of your bill. (We’ve done this before and have found most companies want your money and are willing to make things easier for you! 🤑)

– As you go throughout your days and you think of something you need to budget for with your next paycheck, make a note of it in your planner on that day and use the $ sign before it. That way, when you get paid you can look back and see what you need to remember to budget money for and not forget.

– Now that you have written out what days you get paid, make a note/task for the day BEFORE you get paid to write out your budget for that paycheck. That way when the money hits your account, you already have jobs assigned for your dollars.

– Get cute STICKERS! Goodness, budgeting can be stressful and overwhelming at first. Make it fun with stickers like these:
o KeenaPrints
o Sweet Kawaii Design
o MonsterMomentsCo
o Erin Condren

I’d love to know, how do you use your planner with your budget? Do you pair the two together or keep them seperate? Tell me in the comments below!

Just remember, budgeting is a habit that takes time to perfect and it takes a while to find systems that work for you. Like anything, if you stick with it, you will figure it out eventually! You can do it!

 

 

Planner Review: Chalene Johnson’s PUSH Journals!

Hey, hey, peeps!

2018. Is. All. Most. Here! I can’t wait! It’s going to be an incredible year.

With a new year brings lots of goal setting and sometimes goal setting can be really, really hard for some people (like me!).

A few years ago Chalene Johnson released her book PUSH that has a 30-day system walking you through her goal-setting process that she’s taught for years. She finally made some journals to go with it!

I went ahead and did a video review of them, which you should note – are the old version! She just released a new set that took into account all of the customer feedback she got on the first round of journals.

I love these 30 day journals, because they’re undated (she doesn’t want you to feel like if you don’t use it for one day, you need to throw the entire journal out the window), have lots of health tracking options (diet, water, exercise, sleep) and make it so your goals are aligned with your priorities. Sometimes, we set goals but then don’t know where we’re supposed to fit them into our hectic schedules, but Chalene’s system really helps you narrow down what’s out of whack, what needs focus and where you want to grow in your life.

I made some adjustments to mine and took it down to Office Depot to see if they could make it ring bound instead of the hard spine bounding. It took about 5 minutes and only cost me $2-$3! The new plastic coils do go into some of the writing, but not enough to bug me or make it unusable.

If you are someone who likes to see the whole picture or year, needs to plan things out months in advance, then I wouldn’t recommend these journals for that type of planning. These are a really great option if you’re someone who just needs to take it day by day, but need a guide or system to stay on track towards your health and goals!

 

Check out more pictures of it and snag your own copy here in the Planner Index.

What do you think? Would this planner help you? What would you change about it? 

How to Find the Perfect Planner for Your Life

As the new year approaches, we all love to start things fresh and new with a new slate! And for many people, that includes buying a brand new planner too.

The planner industry has exploded over the past few years and it seems like everyone is coming out with their own planner and major brands are bigger than ever. That being said, it can be really overwhelming to find one that works for you. Often, we buy planners thinking that it will finally be the one or the product that helps us get organized and reach our goals. But there’s a need to be intentional and think through your decision, so you don’t end up wasting money and feeling guilty you bought yet again, another planner you didn’t use. Here are a few ways you can filter out which planners are not the right fit for you and which ones are!

  1. Lifestyle

This is key when finding the right planner. Each and every one of us has different schedules, priorities, and goals and our planners need to align with this! For instance, I have a very flexible schedule that allows me to work whenever and I rarely have time-sensitive meetings or appointments, so many planners with hourly layouts like the Passion Planner just don’t work for me! I’d rather have room to scribble down notes, ideas or important tasks I need to make sure I get done that day. When I was in college though, I fluctuated between the Passion Planner and the Plum Paper Student Planners as their layouts are created and suited with students in mind and are more schedule focused. 

Another example is a stay at home mom who has 5 kids in 5 different activities might need to plan out her day hour by hour, so something like the Purposeful Planner or the Day Designer work great for her so she can keep all her plates spinning as she takes it day by day. 

Take time to think through your days. What stresses or bums you out? What do you need more clarity on with your schedule? Would a planner with a monthly layout help you budget your bills? Will a planner with a daily layout help you stay focused and take it one step at a time, but still allow you to plan ahead with appointments? Find a planner that has a layout that’s conducive to your lifestyle and make it work for you, don’t work to make it fit into your life!

2. Style/Color Scheme

This is also very important, as you want to be carrying this thing around with you everywhere! I recently switched over to a Hobonichi and to be honest, the outside covers of it aren’t pleasing to the eye or my style at all. So I hopped over to AliExpress and bought a $20 unicorn cover for it and now I can’t help but take it everywhere with me! Some prefer planners with more modern and professional style like a Filofax or like Michael Hyatt’s Full Focus Planner. Some prefer simplistic styles with splashes of color like MochiThings planners. Others prefer complete control over the aesthetic of their planner so a good old-fashioned Moleskine and Bullet Journaling works well for them (although, when I was bullet journaling I fell in LOVE with the Leuchtturm 1917 journals). And of course – there’s some that prefer wild, crazy, fun colors so the classic Erin Condren and Lily Pulitzer planners are right up their alley.

3. No Such Thing, Jellybean

It’s time we all accepted that there is no such thing as a perfect planner. Sorry to bait and switch ya, but it’s true! The planner itself is a guide to helping you plan out your days and weeks, but it’s up to you to stick to it and find what works for you. Don’t be afraid to get messy and write and make mistakes in your planner! If it’s dated, you will never be on that same date ever again, so go for it.

Take your time, breathe and explore your options. Rushed decisions are rarely ones we are happy with later and the same goes for choosing the right planner for you. Your unicorn planner is out there, I promise! 🦄

So tell me in the comments below, what’s your biggest struggle when looking for the right planner? I wanna know! 🙂

Planner Review: Happy Planner Mini Fitness Tracker

Few things are as fun as being able to look back and see the progress that you’ve made.

It’s pure insanity to set goals for yourself and not be able to see metrics for accomplishments you make along the way, ESPECIALLY in fitness.

Today, I’m sharing with you my review of the Happy Planner’s Mini Fitness Tracker.

Happy Planners are a great option for those that want to be able to insert and take out different pieces of their planner and accessories, without being stuck to a ring bound format. They’re incredibly popular and attainable at local craft stores such as Hobby Lobby, Michael’s and Joanne’s! (Don’t forget to bring your 30-40% off coupon with you when you go to buy one! Coupons can be found on each stores site and help knock off a few bucks!)

As the New Year approaches us, many folks nobly include health in their New Years resolutions. However, when you fail to plan, you plan to fail. It’s no wonder people show up at the gym and wander aimlessly for the first 3-4 days and then never show their faces again. And it’s also no wonder that people go on insanely strict diets that are impossible to keep up with. They don’t have a plan. Not knowing what to do is never a fun feeling. I’m all for winging it, except for the really important pieces of life and your health is one of those pieces. 

Don’t be that guy next year, ok?!

This planner allows you to track/plan your workouts, steps and log your food. But honestly, I think my favorite component of it are the reflection pages at the end of each month, that have a spot for you to post a picture of your progress, reflect on a few fitness related questions and rate yourself on how well you stuck to your plan or progressed for that month!

There’s also a regular, full-size, option as well that you can find here. I chose to purchase and review the mini version, as it seemed much easier for me to keep it on my desk and in my purse on the go! Or, you can even keep it in your gym bag for the end of your workout, you can fill out your workout progress and see what you have planned for your meals that day.

As always, here’s a YouTube review of the 2017 version I started using, just for you, planner peeps!

What do you think? How would you utilize this planner or see it helping you in your wellness journey?

What a CrossFit Coach Taught Me About Anxiety

Do you want to know something I hate?

It’s what I can’t control. It makes my anxiety go through the roof. When it’s at it’s worst I have to close my eyes as I feel my world spin out of control. It’s honestly one of the better reasons of why I am so committed to having a planner, if I can prepare and plan, I can ease my mind of some of the worst-case scenarios that might happen.

As I’ve gotten older, my anxiety gets better and better as I learn to let go of things. A few weeks ago, I read a book that really reaffirmed that letting go of what you can’t control is a good muscle to build.

For some weird reason, I have become obsessed with CrossFit athletes and coaches and how they approach their sport. Particularly with CrossFit coach Ben Bergeron who has coached Mat Fraser (2x Mens CrossFit Games champion) and Katrin Tanja Davidsdottir (she is pretty much an Icelandic princess who can kick your butt, but also has won the CrossFit Games twice as well). I was so eager to read his book, Chasing Excellence to learn more about his approach to coaching some of the fittest people in the world.

I was pleasantly surprised to read that he is really focused on not winning, not being the best, but giving your best regardless of the leaderboard. He touches on positivity and how weaknesses are fun because they give us a chance to get better and to become our strengths. But one chapter in particular really stuck out to me as someone who struggles with anxiety, and that was the chapter on Control.

As Ben coaches these athletes, over and over again he reinforces that they have 5 things they focus on and give their all in:

  1. Recovery
  2. Nutrition
  3. Sleep
  4. Training
  5. Mindset

 

Ben talks about an exercise he does with his athletes right before the Games, where he has them list out everything that could possibly go wrong at the CrossFit games. This past year with 3 of his athletes, their list had a total of 101 items on it. They went through the entire list and anything they could control got a plan and the things they couldn’t control were erased from their minds.

(Small circle are things they can control, big circle are things they cannot)

I absolutely love this quote from the chapter:
“A huge piece of chasing excellence is attention to tiny details, but the key distinction is that you pay attention to the right details, the ones within your control and the over which you have power. Most people go through life having no idea what they can actually control. They’re concerned about a lot of things, but that doesn’t mean they control those things. Many people struggle to recognize the difference between the two. Imagine a book of matches. A typical matchbook has twenty matches, and together they represent all your energy for the day. Energy is a finite resource; once it’s gone, you can’t get it back. If you burn through your matchsticks on things that are outside your control, you have less energy for the things you can control — things that can actually move the needle on your performance.”

Wow. I don’t know about you, but I breathed a sigh of relief after I read that. How many of my restless nights have I spent staying awake, wondering what will happen? Thinking out all the worst case scenarios that have literally never come close to happening?

I think that’s why planners are so important for us control freaks and those like me who are ridden with anxiety. The things in our outer circle that are out of control, we let go. We can prepare, but minimally as you just never know. And the things in our inner circle get a plan. Those plans get written down in our planners and we live them out, giving our best and achieving excellence. I love this approach because it reinforces what my heart has been telling me all these years and that is that a life without intentionality is a life wasted. My planner helped me see that no intentions = going everywhere but nowhere at the same time. It’s like running a race but zig-zagging the entire way there and getting off track, never crossing the finish line.

Planners can help us with the plans we need and they hold us accountable to action. They also help us be realistic about what we can control. No, we can’t control that it will rain on this day, but we can control planning and preparing for it. No, we can’t control if someone is serving junk food and sweets at a party, but we can control eating a good, healthy dinner before we go and bringing nutritious snacks with us to eat along the way, helping your nutrition stay on track. No, we can’t control the poor decisions that a friend or family member makes, but when we show up in their lives, we can love them well and be there fully.

What is it that you’re trying to hold control of that you really shouldn’t? What is it that terrifies you that you know is incredibly unlikely to happen? Don’t spend 80% of your matches burning through energy and emotions on the things that won’t happen, burn through your matches giving your best every day, no matter what your doing and success will follow after.

 

Planner Review: Michael Hyatt’s Full Focus Planner

If there’s anyone who can truly be considered a productivity expert, Michael Hyatt is your go-to guy. I’ve been following Hyatt online for a few years now and it’s safe to say, he knows what he’s doing. His tips and content have been invaluable and he’s most known for his book Platform: Get Noticed in a Noisy World and his Best Year Ever (goal setting) & Free to Focus (productivity) programs.

This planner combines his approach to daily productivity with a long-term, yearly goals in mind.  One journal covers 3 months at a time and they’re all undated. This is helpful because you don’t have to wait to get started! As soon as you acquire the planner you can begin to use it.

When you first get the planner, I highly recommend going through the videos they made for it and watching through them before you get to it, as he has certain pieces of the planner that don’t make sense or are unrecognizable at first glance.

The quality of this planner is unmatched! You can tell the hardbound cover, ribbons and paper thickness are great for those on the go and those who need to pack it around. Hardbound planners can often have a hard time laying flat making them impossible to write in at times, but not with the Full Focus Planner. At the beginning and end portions of the planner it can be a little unruly and want to close, but through a majority of the book, you should be a-ok!

I think my favorite parts about the layout of this planner are the weekend optimization portions (we don’t really think about planning out our weekends, but it’s still so good to figure out what you’re going to do so you’re proactive about them instead of reactive) and how it reiterates looking at your goals on a daily basis, so you can make your schedule match making progress towards them!

Here’s a short video doing a walkthrough of the planner, so you can see for yourself all its productivity powers in its glory!

This planner is perfect for entrepreneurs, business-focused folks, guys and people who need a straight and narrow approach to their day!

As always:

Why I Didn’t Buy the Pants

A few weeks, ago, I was spending time with my Mom. I told her that I was in desperate need of some new jeans. My mom, being the incredible bargain shopper that she is, hopped up out of her chair and off we were off to the store.

Some of you may know, that I’m not the average height for a woman. I’m 6’0” tall, so finding pants that are long enough can be a bit difficult and unusual. We walked into a store that we were guessing had my inseam size.

I kept telling myself to not be a cheapskate and that I had the budget to buy some good jeans that would last me a while. My mom spotted a young woman in the jeans section, made a beeline for her and told her what I needed (my mom is pretty much just the best). The girl quickly sprang into action, pulling me this pair and that pair and did I like this color? And maybe this style! And ooooh, this has a 32-inch inseam! I walked into the dressing room with my arms FULL of stacked jeans.

I tried them on. Most of them, I knew as soon as I started putting them on, were just not going to fit. Ugh. But I needed pants! I can’t walk around pantless! (I mean I could, it’s just not super ideal). I had 2 pairs that I had narrowed it down to. Did they fit me super well? No, not really. But they did the job, I guess. Were they colors I liked? Nope. Were they comfortable? Nope, definitely was gonna have to suck it in when putting some of them on (WHICH IS THE WORST). Was I happy to pay $50 a piece for them? Not in the slightest – I was grumpy about it actually. Ah, but that poor girl! She had spent all that time and effort gathering all these pants. Surely she would feel so defeated or mad if I didn’t buy a single pair?!

I then remembered my promise I had made to myself a long time ago about spending my hard earned money and a newfound commitment I had made to minimalism (Thanks, Marie Kondo!). Do not buy something unless you really, truly, love it and/or you actually need it. Enough was enough. None of these jeans worked for me. I didn’t really like any of them. I walked out and put them back. It felt so good. Later on that night, I decided to poke around online and found 2 pairs of jeans on sale, with plenty of length, the style I loved and a coupon code! I ended up using only half of my budget.

Friends, I don’t want this to be you when buying a new planner. I’ve been there, done that. And on those days where things fall through the cracks, literally nothing is going right, you’re exhausted and you just want to get your s*** together already, it seems like a planner could really help you.

Don’t buy a planner out of desperation, thinking finally, maybe, perhaps you will actually be put together.

Don’t buy a planner feeling like maybe this will be the system that gets you closer to your goals.

Buy a planner that has style and colors and binding that you actually love and really works for you.

Buy a planner that has systems that revolve close to your lifestyle and values, not vice versa.

Buy a planner with a layout that makes sense for you and your lifestyle.

We need to make our planners and purchases work for us, they shouldn’t make us work to fit them into our lives. I want you to feel not good, but great about whatever planner you decide to purchase. I designed and created a planner index to help you narrow down some options on what kind of planner might suit you best. It’s a constantly changing and updating space.

I can’t tell you which planner to get, but I can help you get started towards getting there.


“You will know (the good from the bad) when you are calm, at peace. Passive. A Jedi uses the Force for knowledge and defense, never for attack.”

– Yoda

 

Planner Review: Hobonichi Cousin!

What’s up Planner Peeps?!

Today I am SO EXCITED to share with you this incredibly popular planner, The Hobonichi Techo! This planner has sold millions of copies and is the go-to planner for Japan, where it was created.

Fun fact! The creator of this planner, Shigesato Itoi, is also the voice actor of the father in My Neighbor Totoro (my ALL TIME favorite movie) and also created several popular video games such as Earthbound and Mother. What! I know! He’s totally a renaissance man.

The best features of this planner are the versatile layouts as it includes a monthly, weekly AND daily layout for you to use. The Tomoe River paper that is used provides incredible quality and very little bleed through. I even used some stamps and wrote in Sharpie and was very impressed. Most papers don’t stand up to such a test.

Even though it’s hardbound, it lays flat making it much, much easier to write in. A rare bonus for many hardbound planners!

I snagged mine off of eBay at the beginning of the summer, as they were nowhere to be found other than their official site. Shipping from Japan can take a while, but have no fear! I just checked and Amazon now has the 2018 editions in stock, yippee! 

I did a video walkthrough of it all here: https://youtu.be/9S135M7aEFA

As I mentioned in the video, I ended up getting really overwhelmed with all the possibilities of the different layouts it provided! I ended up gifting it to my husband who uses it for many things such as our budget and to keep track of his writing.

I’d love to hear what you think of this planner! Would it work for you or be too much like it was for me?!

Have a great week, everyone!

4 Ways My Planner Changed My Life

A few years ago, I was in a job I hated, I had dropped out of college, was in thousands of dollars in student loan debt and had no direction in my life.

Yet, I always felt so busy and like I never had time to do or invest in the things I wanted to accomplish and spend time with the people I loved.

That all changed when I picked up my first planner and committed to using it.

You see, I have always been more of a “Type A” personality. I still remember so clearly the first ever planner I got in 5th grade. It had a horribly bright, orange clipart Tiger cover on it, thick paper, with small, silver coiled binding. I treasured that thing. I loved writing in it. I loved seeing what was coming up next. I loved feeling productive and like I was “ahead” of my homework. Since 5th grade, I’ve had multiple planners and desktop organizers, but none had been life changing like my first Erin Condren planner was.

I don’t remember how I stumbled upon Erin Condren planners, but I was hooked. You could be organized and make it bright and whimsical too? Sign. Me. Up. I was always drawn to organization, but feared becoming a crazy, stuffy, obsessive type person. I had a limited mindset that I wasn’t creative.These things just aren’t true. Sure, they come more naturally to some personality types. But anyone and everyone can be organized. I truly believe this with all my heart. I think it takes hitting rock bottom to see that it’s time for change, it’s time to make better decisions.

My planner became my happy place. I would look at it often when I was at work, motivated by the cute, small stickers and plans for fun things I had written down that afternoon. It gave me peace, it gave me an exit plan, it gave me hope.

Soon after I began using my planner, I realized a few things:



1. I was a human being. I need white space in my planner.

White space in design is not a good thing, but in our real, actual, very mortal lives, white space is necessary. It’s a very good thing to have in your planner, scattered throughout your weeks. It means you don’t have anything planned. You can be spontaneous. You can rest. You can relax. You’re giving yourself space to be a human.

  1. I was doing a bunch of things I didn’t like, with people I wasn’t fond of, in places I hated.

That’s what happens when we don’t take ownership over our lives and schedules. Truly. You have more control over these decisions than you think.

  1. Time is precious.

It goes by so fast. In my deepest bouts of depression, time seemed to drag on forever and ever. Yet, I would flip the pages in disbelief that I had let another month go by, sitting in the same space I had been when I had began that month. Enough was enough. It was time to change.

  1. Daily habits, when done in the right mindset, add up immensely over time.

Do what you can, when you can.

I hope you enjoy your time here. The planner index is a great place to start for beginners and it’s something I’ll be changing and updating on a weekly basis. Please know that it takes time and discipline before you may feel, “in the groove” with your new paper friend. 🙂 Give it at least a month, daily committing to using it/looking at it before you move on to the next one.