Teach your Kids to Plan - In Time for Back To School

Back to School time is a really great time to teach children how to plan. Planning is essential to being able to really be successful in school. Young people also need to be able to manage their time to make sure that they are getting their work done. High School and Junior high students need to be able to budget their time so that they get projects in on time and they are keeping up with studying so they aren't left high and dry the night be fore a test or when a project is due. Younger children can get used to planning their day so that it won't be such a big adjustment once they get to Junior High.

Kids banner

Make sure your child has a planner for school (yay! shopping!!) and make sure it's one that will work for your child's needs. For younger children a dated book to write down their homework is a great start. An older child should have a simple layout but with enough room to write in everything. Of course, some kids will prefer to write it all in their phone, and you maybe screaming inside your head that PAPER IS BETTER! It's ok, take a deep breath and let them use google calendar... sigh. It really will be ok, I promise. People actually stay organised using a digital calendar these days, can you imagine ;) Just make sure that they are actually using this planner (even if it's not really a planner, only paper planners are REAL planners ;D)

Kids dream close

Sit down with your child and teach him or her the basics of planning, working backwards from a deadline to schedule in time to work as well as scheduling work into moments of down time so not to leave every thing to the last moment. 

Kids lost
Introducing younger child to planning can be a lot of fun, because unlike teens and pre-teens they still really enjoy doing crafts with mom. Let them use some of your stickers, make sure they know which ones they are allowed or you could end up freaking out when you come back from refilling your teacup that your precious child has used/ripped/dirtied stickers from your favourite Etsy seller... you know, that kit that's your favourite that she no longer makes! Anyway, lock up the good stickers or just risk the caffeine headache and skip the second cup of tea :D Or better yet, get them their own stickers!

They can add stickers to their planner pages or simply use old planner stickers to get used to the idea of planning. They could create a memory planner or a bucket list planner, anything just to get them used to the idea.

Kids cedric

In this week's video, I'm planning with my youngest 3 children (couldn't get the teens on video if I paid them!). With my 5 year old, he's basically sticking down all the dino stickers he can find but the other two really get into it! Hide your sacred stickers so your kids don't snag them while you watch, and hit play! 


 


Plan Like Cindy Guentert-Baldo - Llama Letters

For a challenge, I decided to spice things up in my planner by trying a new style and taking inspiration from another planner girl. I chose Cindy Guentert-Baldo from Llama Letters because I love her style and because her method of decorating is so very different from mine. She uses bright colours and bold layouts with lots of fab doodling and lettering.

I'm going to try to add a bit of her style to my August monthly spread all the while brushing up on my doodling and hand lettering, eep!

I decided on a spread of hers from May to be my inspiration. I like the colours and I know I have similar supplies on hand so it won't require a trip to the store and extra money to complete the challenge.

Here we go, hit play and watch as I try my hand at Cindy's style!

 

Here's her original:

Screen Shot 2018-08-02 at 15.35.55photo from www.instagram.com/llamaletters/ 

And here's my take on it:
Llama-letters-full
I tried my hand at the lettering, but I passed on the doodling, I was too nervous to do it, next time I will practice beforehand.

Llama-letters-letteringOf course, I had to add a little cluster or two as a little touch of 'me' to the spread.

Llama-letters-my-touchWhat do you think? Let me know in the comments what you think I nailed and what I failed. You can watch her process video here: 


Cindy Guentert-Baldo

I think that my favourite part about Cindy's style is when will use washi tape to span days or even weeks to signify a child's activities, vacation or some long term event. This is something I used to do a bit but then completely forgot about. I need to start doing this again. Not only is super practical, I LOVE the look of the washi strips over several days.  

Have you used washi in this way? I've got 21 ways to use washi in this YouTube video: https://youtu.be/2ayUIeqJWQc


How My Planner Decorating Has Evolved

I started decorating my planner in 2015. I came over from the scrapbooking world, so my style has always been very much influenced by that. I don't see much of a change in my style so much, but more in the way that I decorate. Today I'm going to show you my evolution in decorating!

Here are a few of my earlier pages:

Relax

April-in-review

Planner-perfect

This is me trying out something new:

The-real-nov1

Now, I've settled into a style that suits me well and will probably evolve further, though for now I'm comfortable with it.

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Grab a cup of tea and hit play on the video below as I walk you through some of my older planners. Make sure you stay tuned to the end when I not only show you my current planner, but I make a BIG confession!

 

 

 


5 Fantastic Uses for That Pocket at the Back of Your Planner

Back-pocket

I love decorating my planner pockets in the front cover, but somehow that back pocket always seems to get neglected. It's understandable because we rarely turn to the back of our planners and the pocket is usually a slit and not very practical in the first place. It's so deep that it's incredible easy to lose small things down inside if they aren't long enough.

In this week's video, I have 5 fantastic ways to put that pocket to good use. Not only will they make that back cover look fabulous, but it will help keep you organised too. There's even a secret pocket idea! So grab your planner and hit play!!

 


Where I Find Organisational Inspiration

As planner girls, we love to get organised, devouring books, videos and blog posts. Well, I've gathered some great lists for you! Whether you prefer to read or watch, I've got you covered.

Bullet-journal

5 Inspiring, Must-Read Books

Below I have a list of 5 inspiring books that have genuinely changed the way I think and have inspired me in a big way.

  1. Playing Big by Tara Mohr - This book has encouraged me to move out of my comfort zone and really go after those big dreams.

  2. The Life Changing Magic of Tidying Up by Marie Kondo - I'm an organised person, but I have trouble letting go of things, stuff. I get sentimental. This book helped me see what's truly important to keep in my life like no other organisational book has before (and I've read a tonne of them!).

  3. Finish by Jon Acuff - I'm a starter, but I have a hard time finishing projects because there's always another project that I'd like to start. This book has helped me overcome that. And, it taught me that listening to audio books at 1.25 or 1.5 speed still counts ;)

  4. The 5 Second Rule by Mel Robbins - What a game changer! In 5 seconds I can go from an I-can't-do-it or a I-don't-feel-like-it attitude to a go-getter and crossing things off of my to-do list left and right!

  5. I Know How She Does It by Laura Vanderkam - You can have a happy and productive life and this book shows you how!

 

5 Blog Posts that Motivate and Inspire

Next up is a list of websites, these are posts that inspired and motivated me to live a happy fulfilling life. Completely by accident, each of these is a list on it's own. I guess I really do love a good list :D

  1. 31 Things that Happen When You Finally Decide to Live Your Dreamsfrom success.com This is a wonderful posts with a great list of the changes you will see as you start to live your dreams.

  2. 7 Things that Keep You from Living Your Best Life at 25 - from elitedaily.com Ok, I know I'm well out of my 20's, but I think that this post is relevant to any age, so go have a read!

  3. How to Prevent Burnout - 13 Signs You're on the Edge - from Forbes.com If you are too stressed out it can affect your health and your ability to live your best life, no matter how organised you are. Check this list to see if you are at risk for burnout.

  4. 5 Tips to Live Your Dream - from entrepreneur.com This one sums up the last 3 posts into 5 items, so if you read just one article from my list, make it this one!

  5. 10 Things to Do Daily to Be More Organised - from the spruce.com If you can nail even a few of these 10 things everyday then you will be so far ahead of th game. Your day will run smoother and you'll feel so much more organised!

 

5 of My Favourite YouTube Videos for  Motivation and Organisation

To share 5 of my favourite motivational and organisational videos on Youtube, I've got my own video to share them with you, I also take you through the process of creating a spread in my bullet journal at the same time. So grab a drink and hit play.




How to Get Out of a Rut and Get Motivated

Pockets-and-spread
It's cosy and happy in our comfort zone, isn't it? I guess that's why they are called comfort zones, right? 

But, with too much comfort, we can get stuck in a uninspiring rut. Here are 5 tips to push you out of that rut and get your creative juices flowing again:

  1. Do a new craft. If you are stuck in a planner rut, try a knitting project, or sew new cushion covers for your couch. Write a story or pull out your paints., It's often motivating to try something new that's out of the ordinary, or something you love but haven't done a while. When you go back to your planner you may find that you've been inspired and you've moved out of that rut.

  2. Go outside. Go for a walk or read while lying on a blanket in the grass. There's something special about nature, we connect to it and it inspires us. Is it too cold or wet right now where you are in the world? No problem, bundle up and make it a short walk around the block, the movement will keep you warm for this short outing! It'll be well worth the few minutes of cold.

  3. Challenge yourself. There are lots of challenges online, find one that sounds like fun or invent your own just for you. Challenge yourself to do something different, new or forgotten for a specific period of time and really try to stick with it.

  4. Put it away. It's ok to be in a rut and just sit there for a bit. Sometimes time is all you need to shake a rut. Put your planner away, or even just put only the stickers away and plan with just a pen for a week and see what happens when you come back to it next week.

  5. PLAY! Play with some new supplies, a new technique or some older product that you've been hoarding. Make a spread just for fun and just for you. Focus on the creating and not the final outcome that you'll post on Instagram. Do it for the fun of playing and don't worry about how it'll look in the end.

In this week's YouTube video, I am playing in my Carpe Diem TN with the super fun Hello Summer collection from Simple Stories. Grab your favourite supplies and hit play to come play with me!


Come Along With me This Morning - My Productive Days Start with My Morning Routine

Morning-routine

I've often said here, how important my morning routine has become for me. Not only does it get my day started on the right foot, it actually has made me more productive. When I know what's coming next, I simple DO it and things get done. There's no decision to make or any hesitating. Plus, I'm much more energetic in the mornings so I'm able to do more then I would at night. 

I'm taking you along with me through out my morning today, not for you to recreate my routine for you, but to inspire you to create one that works for you. 

Grab your planner and hit play!

 

 


Habit Tracker Ideas to Get You Started Tracking!

As we get closer to another new month, it's a great time to think about a new habit to track in July. 

Habit-tracker

Trackers are everywhere, there are coloured ones, shaped ones, daily ones, water trackers shaped as water bottles - you can track just about anything in just about any way you'd like. Fun shaped and intricately designed trackers are trending in bullet journalling right now and it's not just for fun! Don't pass this off as just another trend, use habit trackers to really improve your life by adding in new habits to you daily routine. Habit trackers are a fab way to make new habits stick. Tracking can really help you to get motivated when you're just not feeling it and to really make progress towards your goal. They motivate and encourage, when you see your progress and success there in full colour it gives you a boost to continue. It's like that gold star stickers for adults. Hey, why not use gold star stickers as your tracker :D

It seems everyone is tracking their water intake and exercise, but there are so many things that you could be tracking. Two weeks ago, I gave you a huge list of 28 habits to try. Pick one of those and start tracking. However, if these habits are all new to you, I actually DON'T suggest that you start there! It would be incredibly satisfying and motivating to track a habit that you are already doing on a regular basis. Pick one or two of these things that you do everyday and start by tracking those. There's not much that can bring you down more than a blank tracker - an everyday reminder that you are not making progress, so be sure to choose something you do often so that you can fill up that tracker!

Squats

For June I was following a 100 squat a day challenge with Blogilates but since she was doing it on Instagram Lives at 9am her time, it was 6pm for me, which is time to bathe and feed my children and so I just wasn't able to make it a habit. Since I was tracking the challenge, I could SEE that I wasn't getting them in. If I hadn't been tracking I would have given up, but since I didn't like all those blank square in my tracker, I kept at it. I haven't done it every day, but I've done it a whole lot more than if I wasn't tracking and most importantly, I didn't give up!

We tend to focus on the negative and turn a blind eye to our accomplishments. So make a commitment to yourself to track those little daily wins! If you are having trouble finding a habit that you are already doing, reread or rewatch the list of 28 habits to see if you already have one of those habits down. Those are a bit on the complicated side if you are just starting out, so watch this video for 10 fun and simple habits to track. 

Start slow, don't pick a whole bunch of new habits at once. If you don't go slowly, you will end up disappointed. Focus all your attention on just one new habit and one already established habit to get you started. Then you can add in a new one next month.

I know you are probably thinking that you want to go ahead and jump in with both feet and try all the habits now to make some real progress towards your goals. However, if you do that, you won't be able to give each new habit the focus it needs. You will most likely get frustrated and give up. Or, best case scenario, you do stick it out, but each habit will still be weak, and not really engrained until much later. Which will be pretty much take the same time it would take you if you took it one habit at a time. So you may as well get them engrained in your brain, one by one - so you can really nail that one habit before moving on to the next. They say 3 weeks, but it's best to keep focused on it as you add in a new habit to make sure it's doesn't fall away.

For July, I'm going to add in a new habit that I'm working on. I'm going to try and plan for my day the night before. What about you? Let me know in the comments below what Habit you are going to track for July!


My Planner Supplies and Sticker Storage System

I've got a lot of pretty planner products. I've gotten supplies by being on teams, I scrapbook, I've got a kit that comes my way every month, and let's be completely honest here, I can't resist pretty washi!! All this pretty stuff could get really overwhelming, but I've got a system. Without this system, my beautiful studio would be in chaos!

Alex-open
If you are overwhelmed by product and planner goodies, follow my system, adapting it to fit your needs. You don't need an entire room. You may only have one cupboard to store you planner goodies. Whatever your storage, you need to keep it organised to keep yourself sane, and your space chaos-free. Try my 6 step system below:

  1. Know how and how often product comes in. Do you shop in spits and spurts? Or do you binge buy every blue moon? Or maybe you have a kit subscription. Knowing when and how things are coming in will dictate how you organise it.

  2. Have a spot for new and exciting products. A basket or drawer of your new, fun goodies will be your first stop when you go to decorate. If they are all in the same place, it will save you time and energy instead of having to root and sort through every thing you own.

  3. Similarly, have a spot for the stickers and things you use on almost every spread.  This will also save you time and energy. Simply having products that you use on a regular basis will also help save you time because it takes the decision out of it.

  4. Know how you look for things as you create. Do you plan with kits? Are you forever looking for just-a-little-something-turquoise? Or a flower? Or pretty icons? Knowing how you look for things will tell you how things should be sorted. If you are often looking for something pink or turquoise etc. then store your goodies by colour. If you need a flower or a bow, then store your things by theme. If, of course, you are decorating by kit, then store by complete kits.

  5. Once things no longer seem new, move them to your regular stash. This could be after your next shopping trip and you need the room for your newest goodies, or when the items in the 'new' basket just don't feel as exciting as when you first bought them.

  6. Have a place for items you are no longer digging. A basket, box or drawer specifically dedicated to things you no longer need or love, will free up space in your storage. When it's full, you can give it away to a planner friend,  a hospital or a pre-school.

In this video, I show you my Alex drawers and give you a peek inside. One of these drawers holds my 'new' things, others hold my products from Carpe Diem and Paper House. Hit play and have a snoop!

 

This video is from a few months ago, if you haven't seen it yet, I take you on a tour of my craft room! Grab a cup of tea and come on in!

 


28 Habits of Successful People

Morning-routine-styledcheck out more pictures on the Simple Stories blog

Last week I gave you a list of 10 ways to create habits that stick. Now, I've got some ideas for you on what habits you can start creating!

First though, let's talk about the word 'success' for a sec. For me, being successful doesn't only me rich, powerful or famous. For me, the true meaing of success is to be living the life you want and loving it! To be successful is to be truly happy in your life, doing the things you love.

So consider that when you are deciding on what habits you would like to create.

Covermore photos on the Simple Stories blog

There is no magic formula! Different habits work better for different people. If you google 'habits for success' you are going to get a large variety of habits and different conbinations of them too. Different habits will have worked differently for the different people who wrote the articles/made the YouTube videos/wrote the books that come up in your google search. You need to choose the habits that work for you and for what you want.

But where to start?

How do you know which habits to choose? I say start with just one. Start with the ONE on this list that jumps out at you the most. Or maybe, as you read the list, you'll get another idea for a different habit that's not even on the list - go for that one! If you've got a few that appeal to you, just pick one. This isn't rocket science, eeny meeny miney mo will work just fine ;)

Inside-coversee the process video on my YouTube channel

Once you get one habit solidified (again see last week's post), then you can start on a second habit, but make sure you give each new habit enough time to really become second nature before adding in a new one to the mix or you risk losing that first habit.

Ok, let's get to the list:

  1. get up early
  2. be a life long learner
  3. read everyday
  4. learn things outside of your general interest
  5. focus on one thing at a time
  6. batch your tasks
  7. journal everyday
  8. write down your dreams
  9. turn those dreams into goals
  10. exercise on a regular basis
  11. feel the fear but do it anyway
  12. put your phone down
  13. know that you will fail
  14. be persisitant
  15. surround yourself with happy, glass-half-full friends
  16. stay organised
  17. pay attention to the details
  18. be grateful
  19. have a morning routine
  20. know how to say NO
  21. be adaptable
  22. plan!
  23. look for the beauty in everything
  24. meditate
  25. go outside everyday
  26. have music in your life
  27. keep your stress levels down
  28. do work that you love

If you'd like more details on each of these 28 habits watch this week's video below. I go into some of the habits that I find difficult and I have a challenge for you!

 

Let me know in the comments below the ONE habit from this list that you are going to start with.

Choose-happy