My 2018 Planners - Part one

Ohhhh lovely jubbly, this is for all you planner lovers out there and those that just wonder what all the fuss is about. In this post I am going to introduce you to my new 2018 Franklin Covey planner, and she is a beauty. I will take you through how I have set it up and how I use it to keep me organised. 

This is one of three planners I use. This one I use as my personal, catch all planner. I have a specific planner for Tidying with Tania and for my full time job which I will take you through in My 2018 Planners - Part Two post

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The Planner

A planner is such a personal thing so finding the perfect planner for you can take some time. Let me tell you there is a never ending choice of planners out there. Yes, there are whole online businesses set up in this industry, I could go on but I will restrain myself today.  If you are interested to learn more about planners there are a number of You tube channels dedicated to planners, such as the planner spot , you can also just check out my Pinterest Planners board for ideas 

This year I have chosen to go with a Franklin Covey planner,  Blush Planner Love in the classic size (A5). It is a ring binder planner which gives me the ability to totally personalise it. I chose this planner for its style of binder and the inserts and dividers which were designed with My Mind's Eye who have the most gorgeous stationery. 

The Accessories 

Alongside the binder I purchased these accessories;

I use daily inserts but I did not like any of the options from Franklin Covey, as the lines are too small and I tend to write larger. I went on Etsy and found a great shop, Crossbow Printables that does nice clear and simple, and stylish printables and sourced their daily inserts.

 

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I also made a few extra inserts and dividers myself for my cleaning schedule and budget. It's very easy to create using Google Draw in Google Docs. The dividers were made from a really lovely poster freebie from a house and garden magazine. The colours and picture just went perfectly with my planner. I just used the purchased dividers as a template and then laminated and labelled them. 

 

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The Set up

I do have a very specific way that I like to set up my planner. It just makes perfect sense for me and means that I use it really effectively. How you use a planner is totally personal, however I have found seeing how others set theirs out really helpful and have taken some ideas that have worked really well for me. If you are wanting to get some ideas, just go on You tube and search for "planner set ups" . You will be there for years, just warning you.

So how do I set up mine? I start with a dashboard or in non planner speak, a front cover. It is also a place where we place stickers and the like. I also have my gratitude insert and planner title page at the front. Following on from that I have the following dividers;

  • Notes - this is my inbox 
  • Goals - one pager with our 2018 goals
  • This Month - Jan to Dec month calendars
  • This week - Jan to March weekly calendar (13 weeks)
  • Today - my daily planner - one month of dailys
  • Meal planning - weekly planner (13 weeks)
  • Cleaning schedule - one pager weekly list
  • Budget - monthly tracker
  • Projects - documents relevent  to current projects
  • TWT schedule - yearly view of my Tidying with Tania post schedule
  • Stickers envelope

 

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The Planning

I have been a planner for years and as woman of a certain age I know what works for me. Some people take years to find "planner peace", yes that may seem like a oxymoron but it just means that your planner set up is perfect for you and you use it really well. 

My planning approach is all about ensuring that I start the week feeling in control and that I know what is coming up for me and family.  It starts on a Sunday morning over a cup of tea with me reviewing the months activities, updating any new appointments, events etc.  I often just note down things in my note page and on a Sunday just check this off. I then move into the week and simply write down what's coming up. I also do my meal planning so I can include this in the weeks view. The weekly to do's are also written up and I then go through and spread these out over the week, this really helps to get everything done.

So my weeks write up will include meals for each day, cleaning schedule, exercise times, appointments and my to do's. 

Every night I will set up my daily planner for the next day. This gives me space to work out what I do during the day. As I have to pack so much into my day this is a fantastic way of blocking out time to do the tasks and it keeps you on track. 

 

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As we use a software programme for our budget, my budget pages are just for me to list out the cash that I need for each week and month, as we work off a cash system. I use the projects divider to hold anything to do with a current project. At the moment we are completing the renovations so I have all the business cards and renovation plans and budget in here, so I can easily get to the information that I need.

I hold my post schedule at the back of the planner, it's a year on a page and it simply lists out the dates that I have scheduled the posts. This is really helpful when I am planning and need to see what my week and month is going to look like. 

Due to the bulk created by inserts I only hold three months of weekly and meal planning pages. In fact that works really well for me as I am a 90 day planner. For the dailys I only hold a months worth. I just store the other pages and inserts on my planner box in my office.

As you can tell I love planners and love to plan, and yep I have three of them in use!!!  My next post I will take you through my other two planners so you can see how I use these, as they each are used in different ways.

I hope that you found this insight into my crazy planning passion interesting. Does anyone else plan like this? Are you thinking of starting a planner?  Do you want to know more about planners? I would love to hear from you, so just leave a comment below.

Have a well planned week everyone and happy planning

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Make sure you follow my on social media, links below where I have more fun and interesting information.

 

Giveaway 

Now for the most exciting news. I have a beautiful 2018 planner from Create 365 The Happy Planner, to giveaway this month to help you to plan and achieve your goals. All you need to do is to ensure that you have signed up to my newsletter below and you will go in the draw to receive this fantastic giveaway. All existing subscribers are included so you do not need to sign up again.

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My 31Days2GetOrganized challenge

I had a brain wave at the start of the year and thought that it would be a good idea to do a declutter/organising challenge. There was method to my madness as I wanted to experience what it is like to actually complete one of these organising challenges, especially as I plan to run these challenges as my audience grows. So how did I go and what did I learn?

 

No More "Later"

Pete Walsh set the new year off with his 31Days2GetOrganized challenge and so I jumped right in, thinking it's only for a month and hey I am already pretty organised.

Each day Peter would post a link on his Facebook page with a short intro and the challenge of the day. 

I loved his videos, short and funny and ended with the challenge of the day.  In his very first video he used the phrase "no more later", explained that to maintain an organised and tidy home you have to stop saying "I`ll put that away later, I`ll do that later..." so his first challenge was to stop saying "Later"  I actually found that advise, up front, really helpful and I did reflect and realised that I would often put things down with the intention to put away later. I realised that I was wasting time by not putting things away straight away, it's actually a lot less work to put away immediately.  So learnings #1 you need a mission mantra to make the mind shift. So I now find that I actually put things away first time. And yes the house is tidier more of the time now. Can`t say the same for my son's room though!!!! That is a challenge for another day, well actually just wait until he moves out, it's probably a lot easier.

The Challenges

Over the 31 days we tidied and decluttered most areas of the house. Started off with a small and "ease us into' challenge, clearing the dining table of any unwanted papers and items that have collected on the table, followed by 30 more daily challenges as below;

  • Set up two bins by the door for Hospice  (donations) and Recycle
  • Decluttering the Christmas papers and bags
  • Purging the freezer 
  • Sorting out under the Laundry sink
  • Declutter the paperwork in the study
  • Purge your Shoes
  • Sorting the electronic cords 
  • Purging the underwear draw
  • Declutter and sort Luggage storage
  • Taking time out to chat with someone
  • Clear and sort the utensil drawer 
  • Manage the snail mail
  • Clear out cleaning products 
  • Clear out under beds
  • Purge magazines
  • Pens and pencils
  • Brooms and mops
  • Recipes n Cookbooks
  • Clothes closet
  • Tackling the hidden messy place
  • Clearing Kitchen bench tops
  • The Pantry 
  • The Linen Closet
  • The car
  • Managing receipts
  • Cups and Mugs
  • Sort boxes in the garage
  • Medicine Cabinet
  • Books 
  • Kitchen Containers

It was really good to be part of the challenge, sharing your efforts and challenges with others, in fact to share was a good motivation to keep on task.

Generally most of the challenges were not time consuming for me because I already have an organised home and systems in place to keep on top of "stuff" that accumulates in the house.  There were a couple that I did really enjoy, simply because they have been a "I must sort that out" problem, but I never took the time to actually do it. It was very satisfying to finally kick those to the curb. One in particular was the boxes in the garage. We have two boxes that had been following us around through 5 house moves......ridiculous really. Boy did it feel good to finally sort and get rid of those boxes. Most of the content we donated to the hospice and I actually found the lid of one of my favourite tea tins which I lost about a year ago.

 

The Challenging Challenges

Sorting the electronics cords turned out to be a mission, only because I had to involve my son and husband.  On the day of the challenge, I wanted to just get it all sorted and done, however Pete was 1) not ready 2) not keen and 3) "could use them one day".  So there was no way that I was going to achieve that challenge that day. However it did need to be done, so Pete was happy to sort them out another time. This actually meant in his world .....never!...but in my mind that was actually a step forward. I continue to mention that we should sort them out and then on a certain weekend (which I had planned in my head) I just said hey babe lets sort out the cords. So we did, and guess what it only took about about 30 mins and we were done. Most of the gear going to technical recycling and some to donation as they still worked and are useful. 

 

The Pantry was the other challenging challenge mainly because how we were using it had changed slightly and I needed to make some changes to the storage. See my video explaining the issues. Again it was not something that I could quickly do on the day, had to plan out another weekend to tackle that one, which by the way has now been done!

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What I Learnt

This challenge was a really great experience and it gave me a lot of things to ensure that I consider and incorporate into any challenges that I what to lead with my audience, the main learnings for me were;

  • You can`t rush it- may take several goes - little steps at a time
  • Motivation and accountability is very helpful and works
  • Sharing ideas and inspiration helps with motivation
  • It's a continuous process, needs and use change over time  
  • Change of habits - identify things that distract you from your goal and eliminate, like saying "Later"
  • Celebrate wins - always give yourself a little reward after each accomplishment
  • Be realistic with challenge - it can take time and you should only take little bites at a time.

If you do have an area that you do want to tackle it's a good idea to break the job into steps to help you complete the task. I have a previous post on how I tackle my secret messy space, here, which will give you helpful steps to get you on your way...

Have you done an organising challenge?, would love to hear from you, how did you find it?, what worked for you?

Until next time my friends


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Mum and Career, the 4 things you need to do to succeed in both

It was a conversation with one of my staff that lead me to this week's blog. With two young ones at school and working full time, she had a challenging week. Like a lot of women, she chose to work full time and have a career, and why not? However it can be a tough road being a Mum, whether working full time or at home, it can be a hard but rewarding road. Surprisingly enough we are not superwomen and we need to recognize this and give ourselves a break.

 

Having raised my kids and worked full time in my career I have learnt a few things on the way, so I thought I'd share some of these with you and, hopefully, you can take something from it to make your life a bit less chaotic.

You are not the only parent

Ok, so you’re the Mum and you think that because of this you should be the authority on your children……well, that is true, but there is another parent, so make sure you let them be the parent too.

One of the most frustrating things I hear is “hubby's babysitting the kids” or Dad saying “I'm babysitting the kids”. No you are not! They are your children, so you are actually simply doing what a parent should do - parenting.

I learnt this really early on with our daughter, first born. Within our first day back at home with her, Pete was bathing her and I was hovering over him…..”do it like this…..don't do it like that.. blah blah” He turned around and said to me “she is my child too and I`ll do this my way”. It really made me stop and realise that I didn't know any more about bathing, dressing, changing nappies etc than he did , we were both new at this. So yeah, I totally let go of feeling that I had to be the authority on our kids. From that day on I never had to plan or organize anything when Pete was with the kids, he did it his way and he did it well.

So as women we need to stop feeling precious about that and let go sometimes.

Let it out of your head and share

I don't know about you but I carry lots of crap in my head, you know the usual stuff, school stuff, dates, appointments, birthdays, sports… it goes on. You need to get this information out of your head and get the family aware of these things and involved in helping with them.

There are great ideas and tools that can really help with this

  • calendar
  • diary
  • to do list
  • family home folder

Whatever you chose to use, make sure you keep it for everyone to use and see.

We always had a big calendar that had everyone’s name on it, so you could easily see what was coming up for the family weekly and monthly. We found this kikki-k one worked really well.

Flexible work options

Ok, so we may not all be in a position to have flexibility in our work, but I strongly suggest that you do try and achieve this. If your present work environment doesn't support this, think about finding one that does.  I know this is easier said than done, but think about the difference it would make to your life and parenting ability.

One of the reasons I remained with my employer was because they are so supportive of work-life balance. I always made the effort to attend all the important events in my kids' lives - at school, on the sportsground, etc. It wasn't always easy, but I did it.  My husband did the same, between us we were always there.

I recall once at a parents' event at the school, a group of mums talking to me about how hard it must be working full time and raising a family. This was about fifteen years ago and a full time working Mum was still not that common. Obviously I talked about the challenge, but I did ask them if they had asked my husband the same question? And do they ask other fathers this question? I didn`t meant to be rude, but it’s important to change some perceptions and expectations that we place on ourselves.

Create the Social hub

My final word on this topic is, as far as I am concerned, the most important. No matter what else is going on in the world, your home must be the social hub for your family. It has to be the place from which their values, and their skills to get through life successfully, are developed . Yes, school and sports friends and other external factors help to broaden their skills and can influence them, but don't ever underestimate the importance of the home. Its one of the things you can actually control and achieve as parent, is to make your home a strong social hub. Always keep your kids close, and never, ever, stop communicating with them, especially in the teenage years.

I know we all have our own family experiences , but I hope this has helped in some way towards making your life easier.

I will be sharing a lot more practical ideas for organizing and planning in my upcoming blogs, so please “stay tuned”. Look forward to talking to you again soon.

Hugs and smiles

Tania