Favorite Planner Blogs/Videos

I’ve already linked to some planning resources I use in previous posts, but I wanted to take a moment to share a more comprehensive list of my favorite blogs and YouTube channels. So here we go, in no particular order…

Giftie Etcetera (YouTube Channel) Giftie shares a ton of helpful hints, and ways to make your planner your own. I want to incorporate parts of her system into my discbound when I make the switch.

Tiny Ray of Sunshine Kim’s blog is by far one of the best bullet journal resources (aside from the original site, of course). I go back to her setup posts over and over when I need inspiration.

Pretty Prints and Paper Jessica and Kim (Tiny Ray of Sunshine) team up to host some planning-related Instagram challenges, but Jessica also has some pretty inspirational posts about how she sets up her planner.

Quo Vadis Blog Obviously this blog is a proponent of Quo Vadis products, but there are a lot of general planning posts that are great too. I particularly enjoy the weekly Time Management Monday and Writing Wednesday articles.

From Chaos to Order I’ve enjoyed reading the series on how to build your perfect planner system.

Scattered Squirrel I discovered Scattered Squirrel in searching for printables (which there are a ton), but I’ve found a lot of useful tips here. There is currently a series on “reclaiming your life” that I’m into right now.

My Life All in One Place This one has a ton of great printables that are free to download and use.

Domestik Engineering (videos) These are wonderful detailed videos of a bullet journal/planner system in a composition notebook. I’ve experimented with some of the ideas, and while they didn’t work for me, I still find her system interesting and watch every new video posted.

Silly Mimi (videos) Sometimes I like to know I’m not the only one out there with planner restlessness, and this channel showcases a lot of planner experimentation. There are also some neat DIY tutorials, like this one on altering a composition book.

Carie Harling (videos) Carie is so organized! Her system isn’t for me, but I’m always in awe when I watch one of her setup videos and see how she keeps everything together with her family.

That’s all for now. Check back Sunday for my October recap post!

Plan With Me #2

I’ve changed up my layout for this month (about 4-5 times at this point…). Here is how I’m planning a new week now.

I decided that the weekly view is useful to me, so I start by drawing out my week layout. I’m leaving 5 spaces for appointments/day specific things and meal planning. (I’ve adjusted this a couple of ways the last two weeks, so this is one more trial.)

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Next I add in dates and fill in the day boxes (referring to my month log and future log).

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Once that’s done, I write in my list of books I’m currently (or will be soon) reading and start migrating tasks from last week to the bottom part of the left-hand page. The remaining space of the right-hand page I’ve decided to use for knitting projects, my movies-to-watch short list, a cleaning tracker for the week, and a self-care tracker. (Having everything everything in one list was just too much.)

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I’ve been using a different color pen to fill in each day’s completed tasks, that I pick randomly on the day. I write down additional tasks in black, so now I only need to carry one pen. I’m hoping I can get this sort of weekly layout modified to work for me.

It Was Inevitable

With all my Pen Addict podcast listening, and my recent participation in the planner community, I’ve fallen victim to the temptation that is Jet Pens.

It’s an urge I’ve fought for a while, but I couldn’t fight it any longer. I placed my first order on the 15th, and my 2nd (related) battle was also lost–I ordered my first fountain pen.

After much consideration I decided on the Pilot Metropolitan. It’s generally well-reviewed, and was well within my budget at under $20. I also like that it comes with a converter for using bottled inks if you choose. I was going to order some spare cartridges, but decided against it until I’m sure I like using a fountain pen.

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In order to qualify for free shipping While I was there, I picked up a few other things:

A Pilot multi pen; A fancy highlighter;

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A pen case/tray

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I don’t plan to do official reviews on what I purchased (there are plenty from experienced reviewers), but watch for a follow-up post on how things go with the fountain pen!

What I’m Using

I realized I haven’t talked about what I’m using yet, so here goes…

The journal is the Markings by C.R. Gibson brand from Staples. It’s basically a cheaper version of the Moleskine. Unfortunately, only the ruled version seems to be available in stores. (Honestly, I’m not sure that this is made in a grid or dot grid.)

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The pens I was most enjoying are the Pilot Frixion erasable gel ink pens. I could only find the 07 size locally, but I think I would like the 05 better. Out of the 3-pack I bought (that included one black, one blue, and one red) I’ve already used up two (the blue and black) of them. 😦

I had also purchased some PaperMate Inkjoy 100 1.0 M pens recently. I don’t like these as much. Ballpoint pens aren’t my favorite, and these have the habit of putting down globs of ink that smear (what I dislike about them), or they don’t always write first thing (another strike). I’m going to try using them up before I switch to anything else.

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My highlighters are just the Bic Brite Liners that can be found just about anywhere. Some of them are starting to go dry (I think mine are leftover from college?) so I’m looking around to see what other options there are.

Even though I’m a few weeks from finishing off this journal, I started prepping for the next a couple of months ago. I decided to go with the Arc discbound from Staples and a few colors of Sharpie Pens. At this point I think I’ll like this combination, but I won’t really find out for sure until I start using them and find the layout that works best for me. Let’s just hope I didn’t ruin myself with planning in advance again.

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That’s everything I’ve been using. I’ll write an update post once I switch over to the new notebook and pens. (Maybe in November???)

What I Read (September)

I got my reading mojo back over the summer, and I’m trying to hold onto it. After all, I have a huge TBR list. 😛

This month I knocked a few off the list. Here are my thoughts.

Getting Things Done (David Allen) (Abridged Audiobook): The constant references to entering your information in a PDA really dates this book. I’ve heard of the GTD system for years, and was familiar with the basics, but hadn’t read the book before. Some of the principles in the book don’t apply to me (mostly the work applications he uses as examples), but I enjoyed getting a refresher on staying on top of things. I do use elements of this system (your brain is not the most efficient storage device–just write it down), and it would be useful for anyone who hasn’t heard of GTD before to learn about this productivity system and see if there are any useful parts that could be implemented. However, I wouldn’t recommend the audiobook. There are so many GTD sites out there. Seriously.

Ready Player One (Ernest Cline): Video games of any kind are not my forte, but I’d heard a ton of positive reviews for this book. Some of the gaming references went over my head, but I enjoyed the pop culture references and the world built in this book. I definitely want to check out other books by Cline and the film adaptation.

Bellwether (Connie Willis) (Audiobook): This was a recommendation from the Bellwether Friends podcast (currently on hiatus :/). I wasn’t sure what to expect from it, but I ended up really enjoying it. Except I wanted to slap one of the characters in the book. Really hard. I’m glad I read/listened to it, and I’m looking forward to other books from this author and ones that the hosts have recommended.

The Miracle Morning (Hal Elrod): I decided to read this one after seeing an overview of the concept on Lifehacker.com. It was a good book, but I honestly could have done without the “personal development guru” attitude that came across in the writing. (Dude, you wrote the book, stop promoting yourself on every page.)

17 Day Diet Essentials (Dr. Mike Moreno) (Audiobook): Since Andrew and I decided to give this diet a try, I thought it was worth consuming at least part of the book and not solely relying on a blog (not from the author) to get my information from. Not having read the text version, I can’t make a comparison, but the audiobook definitely gave enough of an overview to answer any lingering questions I had. The author reads it himself and answers some FAQ’s at the end of the recording. It also comes with a great PDF supplement that can be downloaded with food lists and other useful information.

Currently Reading: The Life-Changing Magic of Tidying Up (Marie Kondo), I Am Legend and Other Stories (Richard Matheson) (Audiobook), The Death Cure [The Maze Runner #3] (James Dashner)

Up Next: The Martian (Andy Weir), NeuroTribes (Steve Silberman) (Audiobook), The Highly Sensitive Person (Elaine M. Aron, PhD)

Thanks for reading! 🙂

October Setup

I started setting up my October spreads well in advance. I changed things up a bit from September, then soon wished I had waited until I was sure that I was happy with what I was using then. Luckily, I had used a Frixion (erasable) pen to draw my spreads so I could re-purpose those pages.

I thought I would still use this grid calendar and changed my mind. IMG_20150930_213000274_HDR

Then I thought I could use this layout I found on DIY PlannerIMG_20150930_213009720_HDR

Here is what I’m actually working with…

  • I decided to use a modified version of the traditional Bullet Journal monthly log. I divided mine into 4 main columns (to which I added a 5th): Work, Personal, Bills Due, Miracle Morning, and 17 Day Diet (Cycle #). I’m not the first to try this idea.
  • Instead of the monthly goals/tasks list, I created a cleaning chart so I can mark off what days I have accomplished which task. This worked pretty well for me once before, so I’m giving it another shot.
  • I have a list of shows I’m currently in the middle of on the sticky note with tab, and a laundry priority reminder on the other sticky note.

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  • I decided to build one master list and add some signifiers so I can differentiate “normal” tasks from important or recurring ones. (The signifiers are a work-in-progress as I’m still determining what will be helpful and easy to draw/recognize.) I’m using a tip from Kim, of the Tiny Ray of Sunshine blog, to help with not migrating a whole page of tasks every day. Plus this lets me use my colored pens instead of having them just sit around.
  • I set up a menu planning page first thing, but I’m not sure I’ll actually get a lot of use from it. I’ll probably tweak how I figure out meal planning throughout the month until I land on just the right method. (Sadly, by the end of the first day of October and getting undone September tasks migrated, my list was already extending onto another page…)

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I decided to go much much simpler in the end. I’m hoping that this works better for me. In a couple of weeks when I think I’ve got the kinks worked out I’ll do another “Plan With Me” post with updates.

Thanks for reading! 🙂

September Recap

Time to review my Bullet Journal to see what worked and didn’t work for this month.

I lost steam on my morning routine and my daily cleaning. I’m not entirely sure what happened. The schedule page didn’t get much use.

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I also lost steam tracking spending due to a payment snafu on my part in August. Whoops! I’m going to try again this month. My meal planning column didn’t get a lot of use in September either. And, as is typical, I didn’t refer to my monthly lists as often as I should have

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The daily sections on the left were ok, but I was reminded that sometimes I run out of room. Also, I didn’t use foldout calendar at all. The weekly cleaning checklist was fine, I just lost my cleaning mojo somewhere. The other daily spaces were used off and on, depending on what happened during those days. I doodled in some of the open space here.

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These few days I hardly used, but I did make use of the blank page before the next weekly spread.

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I really thought this layout was going to be The One, but it didn’t end up working like I thought it would.

  • The calendar layout was fine, but not what I need. I have so much trouble remembering to follow up with that list for the whole month. Maybe I find it overwhelming? I’m not sure.
  • I still ended up needing to migrate some days and I didn’t always have room in the space for the day I wanted to migrate the task.
  • I also realized that I need a cleaning chart for the whole month laid out on one page so I don’t have to keep flipping back and forth to see how many weeks I’ve missed sweeping the stairs or washing the blankets.

Of course I got in a hurry and set up October in a similar way before September really got started. Then I got anxious about not liking that setup–thank goodness for Pilot Frixion pens. I was able to erase the weekly setups I’d marked and start over with blank pages.

I like to feel like I’ve made progress toward my ideal setup at the end of the month, but I just don’t feel that this time. Hopefully October will prove to be a better planning month for me.