Thursday, April 30, 2015

I've Heard of Those People!

I've heard of those people - you know the ones - the ones that are so organized you sometimes want to punch them?!  (heh, heh, not really) Today I was one of them!

I took my boys to the dentist to have their teeth cleaned and while they were doing that, I pulled out my planner to see if there was anything I needed to do while I was in town.

"Write birthday thank-you notes"

Yep, I had put that one off (but in my defense, it hasn't even been a full week)!  I remembered I had stuck some note cards in the back - I could actually write my thank-you notes while I was waiting!  I've heard of people doing things like that to be organized and efficient with their time but I had never tried it!

I pulled the cards out and started writing.  I had family addresses tucked in the files section of my planner so they were ready to go.  The only thing that would have been better is if I had some stamps stashed away in a zippered pouch - maybe next time!

Tuesday, April 28, 2015

2015 Half Size Dated & 5 Sizes Undated Future Pages [printable]

I think Future Pages are the unsung heroes of planners!  I never used them until I learned more from Giftie.  You'll see in the image below that I have punched both sides like she does so I can always have the current months facing me on the right side of the page.  I have been putting items with dates on the left hand side and notes I want to remember on the right.

I made  dated 2015 future pages in half size for myself and the link for those are below - they will need to be printed on 8.5 x 5.5 size paper.

There are also undated future pages available in all sizes - just write in the month and year and you are ready to go.

2015 Dated Future Pages  |  Undated Future Pages

Monday, April 27, 2015

What Works For Me: Using a Daily Page for Two Days

I very rarely use a daily page because my days are not typically busy; even when I have several things that need to be done, they are usually just added to my weekly pages.  The Thursday before Friday school can often be filled with a lot of things to do and remember and often I will use a daily page for both days.

This is my Giftie Inspired Daily Page

Starting on Thursday afternoons, I start listing the things I need to do that evening and the next morning.  Once we leave the house at 8:20, I rarely look at my planner because once we arrive at school, I am in teacher mode and have no time.  I do occasionally need some visual reminders before I arrive at my destination, so a Post-it note comes into play with notes such as:  
  1. lunches & cash @ Walmart
  2. pay tuition
  3. give cash to Jackie
  4. pick up prescription after school
The 24th was our last Friday School day for the year but my boys and  I won't be finished with the rest of the school year until May 15th; we are very much looking forward to summer vacation.

What Works For You?

Sunday, April 26, 2015

The Results are In

The poll is now closed and out of sixty-five people who participated 46% said that they use half-size planner inserts most often.  Coming in second was the personal size inserts with 20% of the votes.  10% of the voters chose "other" and I'm curious as to what size that might be.

One reader commented that they used A5 sized inserts and was surprised that wasn't included as an option.  This is where I come clean and admit that I am ignorant about that size - who else uses A5? After some research I've discovered that the A5, at 5.8 x 8.3, is very close in size to the half or classic size planner.

If you would ever like to see a planner insert of mine in a different size than is being offered, please feel free to drop me a note and request it, and I will see what I can do.

Saturday, April 25, 2015

Favorite Links From This Week

(It's called Birthday Edition because...Today is My Birthday!!  :)

Philofaxy's Web Finds
     ►  April 18
     ►  April 21

►  Taking Care of You in Your Daily Plan  Giftie Etcetera (you also have to read "A Giftie Comedy of Errors" Loved it!)

►  Free Planner Printables at Organising Chaos (a new read!)

►  Perpetual Planner Pages by A:BLOGGISM  Documenting life in Shanghai

Friday, April 24, 2015

Flashback Friday [new printable]

A reader asked me to modify the Week on 2 Pages with columns by adding the Daily Checklist from the Giftie Inspired Week on 2 Pages v2.  The result is today's Flashback Friday - a little old and a little new!

Thursday, April 23, 2015

Personal Size To Do List - Cute Monsters! [printable]

I love these little guys - aren't they cute!?  Click the image to download this personal size To Do List.

Wednesday, April 22, 2015

I've Jumped On The Tag Bandwagon

I first read about tags (where else) on Giftie's Blog.  She uses them to mark her project pages and I held out buying some for awhile because I wasn't sure I would like how they stick out, and I was also worried that I would pull them off every time I opened a particular page.  I use A-Z dividers on my "Files" section but using a second set would make my planner to bulky.  I finally gave in and decided to try them.  As you can see below, they don't stick out too far at all.  They've become welcome additions to my planner.

I also like using them on my weekly pages, right now I have four of them.  The red tag is for "Bill Due".  I just point it to the next bill due as a "at a glance" reminder when looking for what bill is due next.  I regularly order, pick up, and call the doctor for new scripts for my medication and the yellow tag points to the next medication action I need to attend to.  I am keeping an index on my blog of the free printables I offer and the purple tag reminds me to add the newest.  I don't want them to pile up on me - that's one of the reasons I stopped doing it in the first place!  The green tag says "Charleston" on it.  My sisters and I are planning a Girls Only trip to the beach in June and that tag reminds me to save for gas, food, spending money, etc.
The tags move forward from week-to-week.  If there's no medications or bills due (ha!) a particularly week, I just rest them at the bottom of the page until they're needed.

Tell us how you use tags in your planner!

Check out this post on tags from Chaos to Order.

Tuesday, April 21, 2015

Basic 2015-2016 Academic Year Monthly Calendar [printable]

Click Image to Download

Today I cheated a bit and used a software download that I got from DIY Templates to make these calendars.  They're not particularly pretty (they're more basic), but they would work in a pinch for those who needed dated calendars for the school year quickly.  I will begin working on 2015-2015 monthly calendars soon - let me know if you would like to see something particular on them!

Sunday, April 19, 2015

Peek at My Planner - a Project Page

The image to your left is what one of my current project pages looks like.  As you can see, I am using my latest project page printable that uses boxes.

My three sisters and I are planning a trip to the beach this summer to celebrate my oldest sisters 50th birthday (I'm just 10½ months behind her).  I'm the planner in the family (at least on paper), so like to see things written down.

Here I've recorded my lodging costs, the dates we'll be gone, some sight-seeing we have planned and some vegan options that I am researching.  I can add more as time progresses.

I used to think people who had business jobs needed project pages, but since reading more about the planner world I've discovered that isn't so.  I have a project page for online purchases (for tax purposes), weight loss tracking, and an idea I have for a recipe binder.

Do you use project pages?  What for?

Saturday, April 18, 2015

Favorite Links This Week

My list of links is nowhere near as big as Philofaxy's (don't you love their big list of links!?), but I do want to share with you some of my favorite links from Facebook, the web, and Pinterest, this week.

►  I found this blog post, Reclaming Back my Health, by Susana from The Paradox of an Organized Scientist very helpful.  I have always wanted to start a health journal and she has some really great ideas - enough for an entire planner, if you want.

►  I always check out the Web Finds at Philofaxy twice a week.  I'm always so geeked when I find one of my posts mentioned!
►  How To Use A Planner (Without Getting Totally Overwhelmed) I found this article on the Huffington Post, of all places.  I think it is a good, simple and basic article on how to get started using a planner.

It's Back! Newly Updated Printables Index

I quit updating my index of printables at the end of last year.  Since then, I have been working on revamping the page and, hopefully, making it more accessible.  Each printable/insert below is listed under specific categories and beside each printable will show you what size is available.  I've marked some of my favorite printables with "FAV".  

Previously I would update each category and maintain a list at the top of the page of the "recently added" inserts.  I won't be doing that now (trying to cut my time where I can)  but usually, the newest printables will be added at the end of each category.  Subscribe to the blog and you will always get the most recent printables in your email box!

If you are looking for something in particular and just can't find it, please feel free to drop me a note at and let me know.  I am always looking for new ideas and suggestions for new printables.

Friday, April 17, 2015

Flash Back Friday [printable]

Click for Larger Screen View
I've been making printables for several years now but only in the past year have I made more than the occasional planner printable.  Today I want to share with you the first Week on 2 Pages I made after beginning this blog.

The format is not too different from what I use now.  There's room for notes and to do boxes to check off when completing a task.

This one has lots of white space to add Washi tape if you're into decorating your planner pages.


Thursday, April 16, 2015

Please Answer This Poll!

  • letter (8.5 x 11)
  • half (8.5 x 5.5)
  • personal (3.7 x 6.7)
  • compact (4¼ x 6¾)
  • pocket (3.2 x 4.7)
  • other

If you choose "other", would you please tell me what size you use in the comments below?   Thanks!

What Does Your Desk Look Like?

I've always heard it said that "a messy desk is the sign of a creative mind".  Do you believe that?  I am somewhat creative but I also like things neat and organized and the mess on my "desk" is driving me crazy.  Truth be told, I need a bigger desk!  This is just a little table that I have set up next to my chaise lounge where I homeschool my boys.  Lots of stuff gets piled on it and I try to clean it off fairly regularly.

What does your desk look like?

Tuesday, April 14, 2015

Favorite Family Meals [printable]

Click to Download
Do you ever have a hard time trying to figure out what you are going to prepare for dinner.  Even though you might have your favorites, it is often hard to remember them when you're faced with a menu and grocery list.

You can avoid that by placing a list of your favorite family meals in your planner.  Sometimes I cheat and add a meal to this list that I want to try, but only using a post it.  If it becomes a favorite, I write it in.


This planner insert is available in five sizes:  letter, half, personal, pocket and compact.  Click the image to download.

Monday, April 13, 2015

What Do You Do All Day?

You've probably heard, or seen the jokes on Facebook where the husband come home from work, takes a look at the house, and asks his wife, "So, what did you do all day?"  Sometimes it doesn't look like much yet we really can't recall having much free time in our day.  What did  we do?

I battle with that myself.  Weekdays are spent schooling the boys, and they help with chores - so where does my time go?  Surely I do something productive with my day!?

I experience a lot of low energy due to medications I take to trick my donated kidney into believing it is in the right body.  There are days I feel like I do nothing.  This is where I tell you to keep your old to-do lists or weekly pages.  That will give you a big boost of accomplishment.  You do dozens of tiny (and big) things that keeps your home and/or job running smoothly.  Remind yourself of that.

Somedays it might feel like you didn't do much that day, but what if you hadn't done the things today that you did manage to finish?The work you do is important - even "little" bits.

Thursday, April 9, 2015

Tips for Paper Planner Wannabees

So, you want to start using a paper planner but don't know where to start?  I have a few tips that might give you a push in the right direction.

Pick a Size
Chances are, you already have a pretty good idea what size planner you are interested in using.  Some of your choices are notebook size (8½ x 11), half-size (8½ x 5½), personal size (3.7 x 6.7), compact (4 x 6) and pocket ( 3.2 x 4.7).  I would suggest starting out with an inexpensive version of the size you think you will go with.

For example, if you are thinking about a half-size planner, purchase a 3 ring binder in that size, or an inexpensive undated planner.  No, they are not as pretty as the more expensive planners but it is good to see if you are going to stick with this size before handing over your hard earned money.    I would hate to be stuck with a planner that I didn't really like just because I paid a lot of money for it.

Get Some Inserts
Just like there are lots of planners to choose from, there are also many inserts to choose from.  Don't go crazy in the beginning; choose some week at a glance and monthly insets first.  Start writing on them  Find your groove.  I suggest Giftie Etcetera's blog for developing a planning system that is efficient and practical.  You will find lots of free inserts right here on my own blog.

You'll Need Some Dividers
I have made my own as well as bought them.  If you are a true beginner and not very crafty, Amazon has basic dividers to fit most planners.  Start with those and write in your categories.  I suggest:  Calendar, Projects, Future, Tasks and Files (or Notes). Giftie suggests waiting a month before adding more dividers, which I think is a very good idea!

Write Things Down
This is how I started!  I opened up my monthly pages and write down items that had a due date:  bills, doctor's appointments, church meetings, due dates, etc.  I would expand my week by using the week on 2 pages inserts; I still write down due dates, but I also add tasks that need attending to ("call the pharmacy on Tuesday", etc).  My week on 2 pages have more or less replaced a dedicated to-do list

Review Your Usage
Do you like the size you chose?  If so, and you started out with a basic binder, now might be the time to consider a more permanent home.  I went with a Daytimer Binder - not cheap but not top of the line either.  Are the pages working for you?  How about your planning method, are you getting things done.  After you have put some mileage on your planner, you should have a better idea of what is working for you and whether or not you need to make changes.

The best advice is to start small and just jump in.  Your style and methods will mostly likely change and evolve a number of times in the beginning.

Tuesday, April 7, 2015

Project Pages [printable]

As most of you know, most of my printables start from a specific need of my on, and this one is no different.  I do a lot of my project planning on graph paper or just regular notepaper but sometimes I need paper with areas broken up, and this one fits the bill.

Saturday, April 4, 2015

New Week on 2 Pages [printable]

Check out all the planner inserts from March HERE

I was having a hard time figuring out what kind of printable to make to post today but after rummaging around in my files, I found this insert that I had started working on in January.

I'm not sure where the idea came from but I do know I saw it on the web and thought I would like to make something similar.

This is an undated, week on 2 pages for half-size planners.  There is a letter-size insert in the works if there is any interest in it.  You can download it below.  Let me know if you have any printable ideas!!

Thursday, April 2, 2015

Planner Peace [Real Life Examples]

I am a big fan of project pages.  I think for so long just the word "project" threw me off because my brain always went toward big companies, offices and their work projects.  I never even imagined that a stay-at-home might have projects!

But we do, don't we?  Spring cleaning is a project.  Planning a birthday party is a project.  Being on schedule to teach for your homeschool group and having to prepare activities for the month is definitely a project, and is my real-life example for this week.

Here is how it worked for me this week:  our homeschool group is having SAT's this week and since I live 25 minutes out of town, I brought my laptop with me and planned to hang out at the library.  Our homeschool administrator contacted me about activity/field trip dates for April and needed information as soon as I could get it to her

Of course I had my planner with me so I opened to the project page I had already created:  "Friday School in April" where I had listed potential activities.  After a couple of text to my April mom partner, I knew what activities we were going to do and was able to let the administrator know that all of our activities would be in town and during our regular school hours.

I have a few details to hammer out but by just giving her those parameters, she was able to complete her planning as well.  Had I not had my planner with my notes about this "project", I would have had to put her on hold.  I hate the feeling of not being able to plan something because I am waiting on someone else, so I was happy I could do this.  In turn, I once again experienced "planner peace". No anxiety!   This is why I diligently use my planner and write everything down.

If you would like to share your own examples of how using a planner makes your life easier, please feel free to share in the comments below.  Maybe you would even consider writing a guest post on the idea (long or short - your choice!).