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April 2017

The Secret to Successful Planning and Why I HATE It!

Urg!!! If there is one thing about planning that I don't like, it's reviewing, bleck!! But, to move forward into the second quarter of 2017, it's so important that I review how it's been going so far. I know it's important, so I do it. I teach it in my classes, but that doesn't mean that I have to like it!

Alright, let me go grab a nice strong cuppa and some chocolate and let's attack this thing.

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I think the reason I don't like to review is that I'm a starter'. 

I love the blank page, and new idea and all the potential for a new month. A fresh Monday morning gets me jazzed up and energised for the week. However, my motivation wains, I get bored and I move on to start another new and exciting project!

I find 'finishing' very difficult. And reviewing has that feeling of finishing that I seem to be allergic to. It's so much more fun to move onto the next month/project or random fun thing that crosses my path. 

Feathers 1goodies from my March Hip Kits

Here's what I've learned about reviewing over the years:

  • Reviewing allows me to improve upon what I've done with past projects so that the future ones are easier and better executed.
  • Reviewing mid-project, or after each yearly quarter, helps me adjust my path if I seem to be getting off track or falling behind on my 'deadlines'
  • Reviewing allows me to see where I'm slacking off on a long term project and where I need to step up my game
  • Reviewing also lets me see what is no longer working and what I need to stop.
  • Most importantly, reviewing lets me see my WINS! It shows me all that I have actually accomplished, and it usually surprises me.

A lot of us tend to concentrate on the things we haven't done, or haven't finished. That certain craft that turned into a mess, the exercise programme we completely abandoned and all the various balls we've dropped. Reviewing opens our eyes to how awesome we really are.

One year I set set myself to read 24 books, I love reading, but had let other things get in the way in recent years and I wanted to carve out more time for it. Come December I was on book 20 and with Christmas preps I knew I would never achieve my goal. I was upset with myself until I realised that I had read TWENTY books! That was about 12 or 13 more than I had read the year before! I think my goal of reading more often was definitely achieved.

Feathers 2goodies from my March Hip Kits

If you are nervous to review your progress, start with listing the accomplishments. That'll give you the confidence-boost you need to peel back that layers of why you dropped the balls you did.

Here are 5 guidelines to reviewing your progress.

  1. Check what you wanted to have accomplished at this point
  2. List what you did finish, noting especially what you really rocked at
  3. Decide what is still left to finish
  4. What happened? Why did you drop the ball?
  5. What projects will you continue with and what will you leave by the wayside?

 

Here are some of my main goals for the year:

read 25 books 
Juliet's first Communion
52 Baking days
teach live somewhere this year
teach 3 online classes this year
1-2 date nights a month
knit and scrapbook more

What do I need to get done in April through June to be able to achieve them by the end of 2017?

After reviewing I found that I'm on track for most things, so far, except the scrapbooking and knitting. But I can totally see why, there's no plan! What does 'scrapbook and knit more' even mean? So I need to address this for Q2. I also have to get moving a little faster on the plans for my daughter's First Communion. I have about 45 people coming to my home for a sit down formal dinner party! Eep!

 

 Ok, now it's your turn. Let me know in the comments what you could be reviewing. If you are having trouble with reviewing, this lesson from my class Plan Your Dreams is a great place to start: Lesson 6: The Adjustment Bureau

Plan-with-tea


Your Foolproof 3 step Formula for Creating Fantastic Clusters

Clusters are gorgeous, if you can get them right!

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 There are lots of tips here for you today so that you can create clusters in your planner. It's a fantastic way to add a lot of product, yet leave lots of room to write, and I know you love your stickers, page flags and washi!! So let's add as much of your favourite things as possible, eh?  I have a fool proof formula for you, along with a free cheat sheet so that you can easily add clusters to your pages today!

Cheat-sheets

HP-clusters-FB

One way to add the feeling of calm in your day is to cluster your stickers, die cuts and embellishments together. Like we talked about last week, adding breathing room adds calm. Clustering stickers is a great way to achieve a page with lots of breathing space.

This video will help you create gorgeous clusters everytime. Put the kettle on, grab your planner and your favourite products and hit play.

The key is variety. If you shake it up, you add interest, style and a bit of fun to your clusters. Here are 3 things to keep in mind to get foolproof clusters every time:

  1. variety of shapes
  2. variety of size
  3. variety of texture.

If you add 3 elements in each of the these 3 categories, you are garanteed to have a stylish cluster. Print off your cheat sheet now, it even has a simple formula to get you started. Click here to get the cheat sheet:

Cluster Cheat Sheet

Cheat-sheets

Why does this work? Well, the variety adds interest and the more interest you have the more appealing the cluster. If you have any questions, or are having trouble getting your clusters to work, don't hesitate to ask. You can email a picture of your troublesome cluster to cara@thehootingpirate.com or ask here in the comments! Have fun with it!

Fox-IG

Happy Planning!


Master the Use of White Space to Create a Breathable Schedule

When you use white space in your planner decorating you are also creating some breathing room in your daily schedule.

Friday-Mar-17

What you see in your planner will dictate how your day will go! 

No, seriously! :D

Of course the tasks and appointments you have scheduled will create the structure of your days and lend to how much breathing room you have in the day, but the decorating counts too!  The layout, the design of your page and the elements (stickers, die cuts etc) that you add, will influence how your day will play out.

Think of it this way; if you see your day's schedule written out in your planner but crowded with stickers and albeit pretty designs, you can still get a crowded feeling, like the day is crammed-full of tasks and appointments, even if it really isn't. But, if there is white space and an airy feeling to the decoration, you will also feel airy and freer as you go through your day.

Did I just get a little too woowoo on you? Just try it for a few days and see if it makes a difference ;)

Butterflies-roses

I'm sure a lot of you want your days to feel less rushed and busy, so first off, you must be careful not to over schedule yourself. Breathing space and calm need to have time on your schedule too. And no, drive-thru coffee on the way to your next meeting or the carpool pick up does not count!

click to tweet: Breathing space and calm need to have time on your schedule too.

If, on the other hand, your days are feeling like nothing but white space, you may want to add more structure to your daily routine, so that all that open time doesn't feel so overwhelming. This way, you'll be able to get a better picture of the time you have available to introduce new things into your day. Check out my post on morning routines, if you'd like more help with that.

Tip-in

What I really want to talk about today is how you decorate your pages!

If it's an eclectic mix of stickers practially overlapping and you are looking for more calm in your day, you probably won't get it. There's nothing wrong with this way of planning, of course, there is no wrong way. However if you are looking to feel less rushed in your day, try adding some white space to see if it makes a differecne. It doesn't actually have to be 'white' it simply needs to be a more open space on your page where your eye can rest as it looks around your page, and your mind can rest too.

Here are 4 tips to help you add a little breathing room to your planner and your day:

  1. Try adding less sticker, especially if you are just adding them for the fun of it
  2. If your days are busy and you don't want to use less stickers, put them on the lines or corners of the boxes, or group them neatly so that the white space is unified instead of spread out in little pockets around the page
  3. Try using clusters on your spread. (more on clusters coming next week)
  4. Use like colours and patterns

In this video I walk you through planning with white space in my Planner Perfect planbook and then I show some more examples from my Happy Planner and Commit30. You may want to pop the kettle on, it's a long one ;)

Here's a look at the other planners so you can get a feel of how it could look in a planner with boxes.

Breathe-happy-planner

Breathe-commit30

HAPPY PLANNING! 


Get the Look! 5 Planner Styles You Can Copy Today

Are there planner girls out there who knock your socks off every time they post? They have a certain style and way with their stickers that makes you swoon every time. I'm going to break down 5 different planner styles so that it'll make it easier for you to copy them in your own planner. 

Clusters-YT

No matter what the particular theme or colours a planner girl is using, everyone has their own unique style. 5 planners can be decorated in green with St Patrick's Day themed stickers and embellishments but they will look completely different depending on who made the spread. 

Here are 5 planner styles plus tips on how you can incorporate these styles into your own planner pages.

 

The Sticker Lover
These pages are covered with lots of little shaped stickers that reflect how the planner girls feels and what she has going that day.


Screen Shot 2017-03-10 at 18.25.15Plannermania

To get this look:
It may seem easy to achieve this look, but once you start placing the stickers down, it may end up looking messy or like the dreaded sticker sneeze. The best ways to get your stickers to look good is to make sure they aren't floating all over the page. You can do this by clustering them together to look coherent or adding them to the very edge of the boxes (even over lapping the lines).

 

The Hand Lettered or Scripted Style

Lots of bullet journallers fall into this category as well as ladies like Jenny Penton who like to script out their day instead of following the boxes. 

Screen Shot 2017-03-10 at 18.46.10viacalligraphy

To get this look:
Practice practice preatice! Handlettering is so pretty, but it's not easy. Try writing a few lines every day to improve your lettering.

 

The Matchy-Matchy Kit 
On these pages they usually only use one kit and if not, anything else that has been pulled in will being in matching colours and theme.

Screen Shot 2017-03-10 at 18.54.38yespleaseplanning


To get this look: 
Using one kit can be an easy way to get a great looking planner spread. The key is to not go too overboard and leave some white space (that doesn't have to be white).

 

Theme-y

These pages will be centred around a certain theme, usually a holiday or specific event. Here, it's an adorable rainbow and unicorn theme.

Screen Shot 2017-03-10 at 20.39.25MrsPlannerAddict

 

To get the look:
Use like colours and motifs when going 'theme-y' otherwise you can risk a hodge-podge-y feel. The unified colours and motifs will pull your theme together.

 

Clusters

For me these pages are quite like scrapbooking, and I think a lot of girls who decorate their planners like this have come from the scrapbooking world. Me included!!

Clustersby me!

To get the look:
Use variety in colour shape and size in your clusters to add interest. Plus, having 3 clusters of 3 different sizes and shapes on your spread will balance the spread.


Pop the kettle on and make yourself a nice hot drink and watch this video for an example on how I acheive this: 

I've got a treat for you, coming soon, stay tuned for a cluster cheat sheet! It'll help you make foolproof clusters on any of your paper crafts. Sign up in the tag below to make sure you don't miss out!


My Dirty Little Planner Secret

Before I tell you my little secret, I have a fun announcement! I'm back on the Hip Kit Club Design Team for another term! I'm so excited, their kits are my absolute favourite. Everything is perfect, the colours, the style, the products, I LOVE all of it. And the ladies on the team are all so awesome.

16999149_10155887897939778_1036142389736090113_nHere is the very first project I made for this new term:

Dashboard

Ok, now on to the juicy stuff!

Some people think I have it all toegether, and honestly, I do... for the most part... on a good day! :D However, I can't do it all. I have 6 children for crying out loud!

And so, I DON'T do it all.

If I want to have my cake and eat it too, I'm going to drop some of those katrillion plates that I have in the air. 

So, my secret? 

I abandon the plates before I even think about spinning them. I pass them on to someone else or drop it all together if it's at all possible. I keep it simple doing what needs to get done as well as things I want to add to my life, like planning!

When it comes to planning, I don't decorate everything! Actually, I barely decorate anything... I want my planner to make me smile, I also want to stay productive and actually cross off the tasks that I've written in my planner. So most days, I just don't decorate. 

When I do decorate, I really make it count. It's go big or go home! It's often things that will stay in my planner for a long time, like an insert cover or a dashboard, so that I see it every day, compared to daily pages or even a weekly spread that is seen once and then often forgotten. 

So what does my planner actually look like? 

Let's pull back the velvet curtain and have a look shall we?
eeep, so embarrassing!

Bare-bones-planner

Nothing glamourous here! Lots of scribbly scrabbly bits, but to me this means PROGRESSI love looking back through my planners and seeing things crossed off! It's such a great feeling to know that I've accomplished all those tasks. Little tasks that bring me closer to the big picture, the big dreams. I know that nothing happens over night and by crossing off one little task at a time I can get there in the end.

Ok, so back to the pretty eye candy ;)

Dashboard-close

Do you like the cutfile I created? I had a dashboard in mind when I came up with the idea.

February-cutfile

Here's my process video so you can follow along and make your own dashboard.

Design Team Badge
HAPPY PLANNING!