Wednesday, July 25, 2018

Homeschoolers - Free Academic Year At a Glance!

Speaking of school planning, I am knee deep!  Today I needed a year at a glance page for my attendance and threw this one together.  This freebie has two years at a glance calendar printed on letter-sized paper.  It starts on August 2018 with a Sunday start (I have to have my calendars start on Sunday, but not my week at a glance pages - weird!) and ends July 2019.  I printed the page and cut down the middle.  I have two students so it works perfectly.  Here's the link

PS - You might notice that October doesn't have the weekends highlighted - that has been corrected!

Tuesday, July 17, 2018

Health Section

I've mentioned before (probably several times, LOL), that I am a post kidney transplant patient.  Although I am definitely glad to be alive, I encounter a number of ailments and side effects from the drugs that I take.  I track unusual symptoms and change in my health to reference at my quarterly appointments with my nephrologist.  One of the biggest reasons I like using a planner is because I don't have to forget anything!

Sunday, July 15, 2018

Projects Divider

So, with GTD (Getting Things Done), I've learned that a project is considered to be any event or item that takes more than one task to complete it.

Cleaning Out The Basement:  Project
Throw away broken vacuum cleaner in the basement:  Task

As I do my daily and weekly reviews, I am often triggered to write down tasks that need doing.  Cleaning the basement is something that keeps rearing its ugly head!  I know that it is not going to get finished in a day, so I decided to make it a project.  The first thing I did was to write that down in my projects index so that I always have a short list of the projects I am working on.  I may actually do a projects page in the near future with detailed lists and instructions, but for now, I just added a next action to my projects to do list.  I'm not ready to jump into basement cleaning with both feet, but to get started I am having both of my teen boys to go downstairs with a trash bag and get them to try and fill it up with the stuff that they longer need or want.  If there's anything worth saving, maybe they'll have a giveaway bag to go along with their throw away bag.

Weekly & monthly reviews are key to always having things, such as projects, consistently before you.

Saturday, July 14, 2018

Weekly Divider

There's not a LOT to say about the weekly pages.  Some planners put them behind their monthly spread but I like everything having their own divider because it makes it easier for me to find!  The weekly pages used to be planner central for me during the week - I kept my to-do list on the individual days, appointments, menu, bills, etc, but now most of that information is captured on my daily pages.  With the GTD method, it's broken down a little more.  Now I only have day and time specific items on the weekly insert, with the bills due along the right side.

Friday, July 13, 2018

Daily Divider

One thing I like about the GTD system in a planner is that I can follow the guidelines but still use my own personal taste as far as insert design goes.  Brandy Michelle Plans on YouTube uses the GTD system and vlogs extensively about it. I recommend checking out her channel.  Her style has changed over the years as far as her daily pages go, but as far as I can tell she is using 2 days on 1 page and while I am getting used to a new system, I'm trying to do things the way she does.  I made the inserts below, she has similar inserts available in her Etsy shop.

My usual daily pages (in my half size planner) usually has a lot going on - tracking water, meals, appointments, to do's - and it's all over the place.  I do like that, but for now, I like doing my pages bullet style and I still track all those things - just differently.  The circles down the side of Monday is how I tracked water, and the heart was to check off when I exercised.  I might write dinner down on one line or just refer to my inbox where I wrote the menu when I was planning my grocery list.

I made the today marker from some letter size dividers I bought at Target ($2.99 with plenty left over for more page markers, dividers, and even dashboards.  The brand is Yoobi.

Thursday, July 12, 2018


Since I have changed planner sizes, quite a bit has changed, so today I am going to show you how my planner is working for me this week.

We will start with the dashboard.  In the past I have just used the front of my first divider as my dashboard but decided to do something different this time so I could utilize both sides.  My husband tends to save birthday cards and I raided his stash for an appropriate size.  I cut front of the card to size, punched holes and that was it.  Instant dashboard!  I keep a little sticky note on it to jot down quick items that I know we need to buy.  I used to keep a note of outstanding checks and debits to cross of when they cleared the bank, but moved it to my money section.  It may come back - we'll see how that works.  The second side has more sticky notes, an adhesive pocket (stamps) and an orange page flag reminder (this one says "H20 jugs and Aldi bags" that I put on my grocery list because I often forget).

After the divider (you'll see it on the right in the above picture), I have a couple of reminder cards that I use with the GTD system:  my daily planner routine, my weekly planner review, and my weekly checklist).  There's also a couple of blank pages that serves as an "inbox".  That's where I jot down information that I don't have time to process but will get to when I go through my daily planner routine or my weekly review.

I keep a little notebook near my planner that I use to keep notes.  If I have a lot of going on, I will put inbox items in there.  Basically, it's a place to brain dump.

Tomorrow we'll talk about my daily section!

Wednesday, July 11, 2018

Adhesive Pockets, Ya'll!

I heard something somewhere (Instagram?  You Tube?) the other day about adhesive pockets at Target's Dollar Spot.  I had already been thinking about making some sort of pockets for one of my dividers but hadn't decided how to do it.

Today, after picking up my son at 9 am from his Cross Country Camp, I headed to Target to check out the Dollar Spot.  I was disappointed that there wasn't a

Monday, July 9, 2018

Switching Planner Sizes

This weekend, without much thought or notice, I switched from my long time shalf size planner to a smaller, personal size planner. Technically it is a Michaels Recollections binder in the size of 4 x 6 3/4”  which ends up being between a personal size and a personal wide size.

I am finding that I love the smaller binder and I never thought that would be possible. I felt like the inserts would be too small and I wouldn’t have enough room to write, but that hasn’t been the case at all. The smaller size has made it quite convenient to carry around, both around the house and in the car and everywhere  I go.

I am also trying a new planning system. Have you heard of the GTD system? It stands for “getting things done.”   A planner that I follow on YouTube uses this system and has a variety of videos with lots of information that is helping me set it all up. (Her YT username is Brandy Michelle Plans).

 Just in two days of trying to implement this new system I have found that I can’t just shove things in the pocket of my planner and procrastinate putting an action to it. I have been very productive!

Would using a new planner size or implementing a new system be something you would be willing to try?

Sunday, July 8, 2018

What Dividers Should I Use?

I am in a couple of planner Facebook groups and I see this question asked a lot.  Where in the world do I start?  I'll show you what my dividers have looked like over the past few years:


The dividers I have now are:  

Daily:  this is where I keep undated daily pages to use when my normal day gets too busy.  This tab also doubles as a place to keep random current projects (for example, when I was in charge of planning a cookout for my sisters and our families.  I kept the food list and to-do list here).

Weekly:  my week on 2 pages section is the workhorse of my planner as I use it the most often.  I am currently using an insert that has a notes section, a to-do list, a Monday thru Sunday layout, and a lined column where I am keeping up with my 31 Days schedule, bills due at a glance, my weekly menu, and a look at next week.

A-Z tabs:  this is my notes section that works as a filing cabinet.  Written on the inside of the tabs are random bits of information (I blogged about this on day 3) such as my hair color number or the air filter size.  I use this section to keep up with inserts that don't need their own tab, medication list, a frequently used take out order, 2019 future dates - etc.

January - December tabs:  Although I use a half size planner, these tabs are made for a Filofax - I think A5?  They stick out a little farther than the rest of my tabs and make them easier to see and get to.  I put them in the back so they don't cover my other tabs. I use month on 2 pages inserts

Use as many dividers as you want to, but I suggest using as few as necessary to make all the items in your planner easy to get to.  Using a combination of A5 and Half size dividers helped me to do this.  Be creative - it's your planner!  Custom make it to fit your own needs!

Posted on July 08, 2018 | Categories:

Saturday, July 7, 2018

Friday, July 6, 2018

Daily Page or Weekly Spread?

It took me a while to convince myself that I didn't have to use both, or one or the other.  From my perspective, it is all about figuring out what works best for the individual.  There are all sorts of planners:  single moms, stay at home moms, working moms, Moms with a home business, single or married women without children, single women with a home business...the list goes on and on.  Not every single woman will need the same layout or inserts.

I'm a homeschooling mom with teenagers.  We have a lot of activities going on, but not every day is busy enough to warrant a daily page, so this is how I set up my planner.  I regularly use a week on 2 pages layout with plenty of space to write.

If I have an appointment, I write it on the appropriate day like this:  2 - Ortho Jon, which means at 2 pm Jonathan has an orthodontist appointment.  I don't bother with am or pm unless I somehow end up with an appointment at 6 am and 6 pm.

I also write my to-do's on each day like this:  ○ Make ortho appointment  I can tell at a glance that a circle is a to-do item and a number is an appointment.  Typically I put the appointments at the top of the day.

If I have several appointments and many to-do's for a particular day, or if  I need some extra room to plan, that's when I will pull out a daily page.  I keep several undated daily pages printed so they are always ready.  If I am referring to both my weekly spread for the current day AND a daily page, something might get lost in the process so I always take a highlighter and write "Daily" in my weekly spread to remind me to refer to and write everything down on the daily page.  That might sound confusing - please feel free to ask questions.

That's how it works for me.  Do you use a daily page, weekly spread or both?

Thursday, July 5, 2018

The Double Punch Hack

I use the double punch hack often in my planner, especially with daily pages.  I do not like writing on the left side of the planner because I am left-handed and the rings get in my way.

To avoid this I simply fold my insert in half lengthwise, punch the holes down the unfolded edge, and open the insert.  You now have holes down both sides of your insert.

Use your insert as normal and when you are finished, take it out of your planner, flip it over and reinsert - it's a new day but you are still writing on the right side of the page.  To really enjoy this hack,  your desire to write on the right side has to be stronger than your perfectionist tendencies, ask me how I know!  :)

Wednesday, July 4, 2018

How to Add Color to Your Pages When You Are Not a Decorator (and you like simple pages)

Three Words:
1. Highlighters
2. Page Flags
3. Post -It Notes

I've included a few examples so you can see what I mean. When I complete an item on my to-do list, I highlight it so the undone items stand out.  I use colored page flags for repeating items such as "change air filter" or "trash day" and just move them forward when they are completed.  I also will put an item on a page flag that needs to get done but I know deep down that I'm not going to actually do it that day.  Putting it on a flag helps me remember.

I use a lot of small post-it notes in my planner - mainly for shopping lists and little reminders.  I also keep a post it note on my dashboard and record outstanding checks and debit purchases until they clear the bank.  It's all just the right amount of color.

Monday, July 2, 2018

How to Make Your Own Inserts

Please know that you will not become an insert-making master overnight.  It takes time!  I started in 1997 using Microsoft Publisher. A few years ago I did an internet search for a free desktop publishing program and discovered, for free, Serif PagePlus.  Others use Microsoft Word, Excel and a number of other programs.

Here's how I learned to make inserts:  practice, practice and, yes, more practice.  I learned it the same way I learned my way around a computer - I spent lots of time clicking buttons to see what this or that function would do.

It may feel like it is slow-going, but just think of the world of possibilities it will open to you.  Want to know what one of my favorite things to do when creating inserts?  I like to pour over Instagram and Etsy looking for inserts I love, and then try to recreate them myself.  Sometimes it is just a challenge to see if I can do it!

It's important to note that I never offer these on my blog for free (or otherwise), nor do I share finished project - they are just for my own personal use.  Linking to the original creator's site would be a good thank you - tell your readers how much they need that insert!

Do you make inserts?  Please feel free to share your links to your shops, blogs, etc.