Tag Archives: scheduling

Found: My Perfect Planner

I’ve finally found a planner that I’m totally obsessed with and can foresee using for months (maybe years!) to come. It’s the Bob’s Your Uncle 8 Days-A-Week Planner Journal.  Here’s what I love about it:

  • Features 52 week at-a-glance spreads.
  • Each week runs Monday-Sunday and includes a “Someday” column for other tasks you want to complete during the week that aren’t specific to a certain day.
  • Includes 30 minute interval time slots so you can map out your day super precisely.
  • Spiral-bounding allows it to lie flat and stay tucked in a drawer with the current day facing up.

This may sound a bit neurotic, but when I was contemplating the reasons why past planners just hadn’t cut it, it was the inability to create a detailed timeline for my day.

You see, my work schedule can be a bit of a puzzle. I do freelance work for a number of different clients, I work on this blog, and I side-hustle at a local wine store. The great thing about this set up is that I can create my own schedule by piecing together the three. The not so great thing? Doing so can be a little difficult to conceptualize. A traditional planner with a big empty box for each day almost felt over-whelming. Jotting down “work at 3pm” or “phone call w/ client at 10am” didn’t do my brain any favors when visualizing how I should schedule the rest of my To-do’s.

Then I had a *lightbulb* moment. What if I could find a planner that was more appointment book than daily calendar? I stumbled upon this 8 day-a-week version while searching on Amazon and the rest is history. It’s honestly one of the best things to happen to my productivity levels in YEARS.

 

Above you’ll see a little peek at my planner in action! Nothing too fancy. I throw in a few stickers here and there when I feel like it (like the devil emoji for a 7am meeting, LOL!) and use a few colors of highlighters to indicate different things. Sometimes I’ll mark off a certain time-frame for client work and then bullet point more specific to-do’s off to the side. And that’s about it. I love it!

What type of planner do YOU use? Tell me below! 


In this multi-week series, #PlannerPorn, I’m delving in and discussing all things planning-related. Here’s what you can expect from the series:

  1. Found: My Perfect Planner
  2. A Planner Round-Up
  3. Revealed: People Give Us a Peek Inside Their Planner
  4. 10 Ways to Up Your Planner Game (+ a FREE printable to get your planner juices flowing)
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Planner Tip: Prioritize Your Passions

planner

I’m totally obsessed with my Target Dollar Spot planner. While I keep a daily To-Do list, planning in this adorable binder has become more of a hobby (I can decorate it with washi and stickers! Weeee!) and a way to plan out my personal, less work-focused time. I plan on doing a more in-depth post about this planner in the future, but today I thought I’d share a little tip I’ve gotten a lot of mileage out of! Here goes…

So, here’s the deal! If left to my own devices, I can waste a LOT of time on my computer. I love to read blogs, watch YouTube videos, and scroll endlessly through Twitter, Pinterest, and Instagram. When a pocket of free-time opens up I can have the best of intentions and then find myself, 2 hours later, still sitting with my laptop open. This habit is especially frustrating if you sit at a computer all day for work!

Recently, I did a little soul searching about ways I could encourage myself to turn off the screen and prioritize my passions instead. I came up with three areas of focus…

  • I’m passionate about exercising my mind through books.
  • I’m passionate about exercising my body through yoga.
  • I’m passionate about exercising my creativity through paper crafts.

Next, I took a look at my typical day. When was I getting unnecessarily sucked into the internet? When would it be easy to indulge in a little self-care instead? For me, it was occurring between dinner and later in the evening when Chet and I spend time together (usually watching TV, unwinding, etc).

So I started scheduling my “me-time” activities in my planner! I write in “Read” or “Yoga” or some sort of craft or planner spread….

planner inside

It may sound simple…but it works for me! Instead of staring at a screen into the night (when I’ve already stared at it for so long during the day), I pick up a book or make a pocket letter. I roll out my mat or I decorate my planner. Sometimes I might throw in a long walk with a podcast or a class of some sort.

Do I HAVE to stick to the schedule? Absolutely not. But I’ve found that, when mapping out my week to come, if I give my “future self” a little nudge in the right direction I’m less likely to take the easy way out. (You also may recall that I’m all about eliminating decision fatigue! Why not make the decision about how to spend your “me-time” ONCE A WEEK instead of every single day.)

Wanna implement this TIP? Here are some easy steps: 

  1. Reflect on your daily life and identify a common “time suck” activity that you’d like to eliminate.
  2. Brainstorm 2-4 passions or areas of your life you’d like to grow. Really dig deep about what makes you happy. Do you wish you spent more time outdoors? Maybe you would benefit from a weekly bike ride. Are you looking to grow your writing? Perhaps you need to set aside time for daily journaling.
  3. Next, figure out where your “me time” best fits into your schedule. This could be different each day or the same time throughout the week. I’ve found the best way to identify when you have the time is to look to Step #1. Is there a pocket of time when you typically sit staring at your phone for 30 minutes straight double tapping random IG pics? Or do you find yourself waking up early just to end up channel surfing for an hour?
  4. When you do your weekly planning, PRIORITIZE YOUR PASSIONS! Plan for those moments of free-time with a little ME-TIME!

What do you think? Do you keep a planner? Would you consider scheduling specific activities for your free-time? Or do you prefer a more free flowing approach? I’d love to know your thoughts! xoxo 

Santa Monica

6 Ways to Find More Free Time

6434 (9003179) Natalie WOOD (re., *20.07.1938 - 29.11.1981), amerikanische Schauspielerin, mit einem Pudel springend, vermutlich während Dreharbeiten. Links ein Crewmitglied des Drehteams. Ort unbekannt, undatiert ca. Ende der 60er Jahre. [SPERRVERMERKE BEACHTEN | PLEASE CHECK RESTRICTIONS! Nutzung nur mit Genehmigung und gegen Honorar, Beleg, Namensnennung und zu unseren AGB. Nur zur redaktionellen Verwendung. Honorare an: KEYSTONE Pressedienst, HASPA, BLZ 20050550, Kto. 1235130877];, Außenaufnahme, color, 20. Jahrhundert, 1960er Jahre, Personen, Schauspielerin, brünett, Brünette, rot, rotes, Kleid, Sommerkleid, Schuhe, rote, Kopftuch, Pudel, Hund, weißer, springen, springend, springt, lacht, lachen, lachend, Dreharbeiten, Stagehand, Crew, Crewmitglied, Name= Wood, Natalie, a00669

A few months ago I conducted a reader survey to find out more about the folks dropping by. I asked a myriad of questions but the one which garnered answers I found the most illuminating was, “What challenges are you currently facing in your life?” There were certainly some trends. Overwhelmingly, answers discussed difficulties with carving out spaces for self-care, new interests/passions, and hobbies. This is a tough one. It’s tough to create time for yourself amidst a busy schedule.

A couple weeks ago I talked about how and why to invest in yourself, but how do we create those little pockets of time in our day to do so? How do we make time to do it all? While my answers to these difficult questions are certainly a matter of “practice what you preach,” I hope they’ll still prove helpful.

1. Track your time

Spend a few days with a pen and paper (or the Notes app on your phone) by your side and keep tabs on yourself. This is a great way to visualize your day from a new perspective and find moments that went unused, under-used, or used in a way that didn’t necessarily serve you. Pockets of time may rise to the surface once you actually have to write down “Scrolled through Instagram feed from 7:46pm-8:17pm” or when you notice you cooked really elaborate meals 5 days in a row instead of eating up the multitude of leftovers in your fridge (and you don’t even like cooking!)

2. Find things that fill you up

It’s a lot easier to make time for or prioritize your passions. If you’re having trouble identifying things you’re passionate about then definitely check out this post. Still at a loss? Pay attention to what others are passionate about and see if it sparks a little joy in you, too. When a friend beams when discussing a dance class, and you love to dance, see if you can tag along. Once you’ve identified a few loves, schedule them! Pencil them into your planner each week and stick to it.

3. Stop making comparisons

One of the quickest ways to guarantee a “full plate” is by looking to other’s lives and drawing comparisons. We see someone else doing x, y, and z and suddenly we feel the need to pile those things on our To Do list along with a, b, and c. I find this especially prevalent in the social media age. Friends who post about jet-setting to another country, keeping up a fabulously decorated house, and doing wonderfully creative things litter my newsfeed. And that’s fantastic! But as soon as my feelings go from “How awesome for them!” to “Shouldn’t I be doing these things too?!?” — I need to click that unfollow button. You can’t compare what someone else is doing if it’s their passion and not yours. Don’t pile a bunch of unnecessary crap onto your life for the sake of keeping up with the Jones’s.

6. Multi-task!

On average a person spends 45 to 62 minutes waiting every single day. Waiting in traffic, waiting in line at the grocery, waiting on hold, etc., etc. Add to that some of the more mindless activities we have to do to live our lives (Think: walking from Point A to Point B, blowdrying hair, chopping vegetables, folding laundry.) and you’ve just stumbled upon a whole bunch of untapped potential. Are there things you could be doing in these extra minutes that might bring you some joy? Could you multi-task in a more fruitful way than just pulling out your phone? How about bringing a podcast along for that morning commute or how about always having a book on hand in case you have to wait in line!

7. Say “No!”

I talked about saying “no” in this post but there are more than just financial reasons for doing so. Doing it all and saying “yes” to all sorts of invitations and obligations can cut into much needed free time, too. The same principles apply though. If you’re worried that saying no means you’ll never get asked to do anything EVER again!!! I think the best way to combat this is with honesty. Tell whomever extended the invite what circumstances are causing you to pass on this particular invitation. Giving them context lets them know that your answer is “No, not right now.” and not “No, NEVER!”

8. Ask for help from loved ones

Let those you hold near and dear know that you’re working toward a more balanced, joy-filled life. They can help hold you accountable by encouraging you to take time for the things you love once and awhile instead of just holing up with your work for hours on end. When someone else is asking you to go for a walk with them or encouraging you to spend some time scrapbooking instead of scraping dishes, these things will feel a lot more like a luxury than an item on a To Do list. An item that can easily get pushed to the bottom of the page or even eliminated completely.

Have any tips for carving out some free time in a full-to-bursting schedule? What’s your favorite way to spend your hard-earned, well-deserved time? Share below!

(Photo of Natalie Wood and her dog, circa 1950s)