Previous month:
January 2016
Next month:
March 2016

Newbie Planner Girls Start HERE! 6 tips for you


The planning community is so amazing.  It's fun and creative but OMG it can be sooooo overwhelming!  There's so much to see and learn and obssess over ;) There are so many different types of planners and inserts and stickers. 

How do you choose?! 

Not to mention the endless amount of terms that people toss out on periscope, youtube and in FB groups. Words that everyone seems to understand but you!  'Half boxes' and 'dori' don't mean anything to the average Joe, so it's quite intimidating to newbie planner girls. Right?  Do you remember what it was like when you joined the planner community? Or maybe you are a newbie planner girl.  If so keep reading!!

I've got 6 tips for all you overwhelmed planner newbies:

ONE. Just start!  With any planner.  Do a bit of research, but don't obsess. Print some free printables from the internet or buy an inexpensive planner.  Chances are that it will not be the perfect one for you and you will move on to another one soon enough, but for now, just start with whatever catches your eye.

TWO. Don't buy all the things!  At least not just yet.  You may want to jump in full force but wait just a bit. Stickers are only a few bucks, but it adds up fast!! Not only in expense, but they take up room too. Wait until you know what you'll use.  Buy a few thing at first but don't go crazy or you'll have a bunch of stuff that you won't use taking up precious storage space.

THREE. Watch and Learn and Participate. The best way to get to know a new online worldd like the planner community is to get involved.  Watch youtube videos, and periscopes.  Check out pictures on Instagram and read the comments.  You'll slowly pick up and understand more and more. and it's so much fun!! 

FOUR. Make using your planner a new habit. If you are new to using a paper planner all together, it's hard to get in the groove of using it.  Set alarms on your phone to remind you to check it. After 3-4 weeks of using your planner, you should be getting used to it and that habit will be getting set in.

FIVE. Watch what's working.  This is the MOST important tip today! It's the squeaky wheel that get's the grease, so you have to be extra attentive to what is working for you.  Keep track of what you love about your planner system as well as  what is driving you crazy.  A page in the back of your planner would be the perfect place to write all these things down.  So when it comes time to change to a new planner or even just change out the inserts or some other element of it, you will know what to look for and what to stay away from.

SIX. Learn the lingo.  Whenever you step into a new area online, it's almost as if they are speaking another language with all terms and acronyms.  It seems like everyone knows what's going on except for you!  I've gotta little treat for you ;)  I created a cheat sheet that you can use to learn the language and end the confusion whenever you hear people talking about TNs and unicorns and team vertical!

Click here for the free cheat sheet:


If you liked this post you can check out the other posts: 

OMG Where do I Start? Planner Series: Choosing a Binding
OMG Where do I Start? Planner Series: What SIZE to choose
OMG Where do I Start? Planner Series: What inserts to choose
OMG Where do I Start? Planner Series: How to Make Multiple Planners Work
OMG Where do I Start? Planner Series: 4 things to do Before you Buy All the Things!


And if you're new to the Planner World don't forget my free (and pretty) Planner Newbie Cheat Sheet with some of the definitions of those terms and acronyms that seem so foreign to you, but everyone else seems to know what they mean, then just click here:

Planner Newbie Cheat Sheet

If you've been at this planning thing for awhile now and have the hang of it, you could hlep out a newbie too!  Let me know in the comments what you would tell your best friend if she saw your planner and decided to jump in whole hog into the planner world.

How to Flourish in a Busy Season Instead of Drowning in Overwhelm - tips from a mom of 6 who is ALWAYS in a busy season!

There are times and seasons when our lives become busier than other times.  Right now, I'm wearing many different hats and unfortunately piling them all on my head is just making me drown in overwhelm!  What I need is a hat made from a bouy to help keep me a float!  


This month, I'm participating in LOAD (layout a day) and I'm having a fabulous time!  However, making a scrapbook (or planner) page everyday takes time, no matter how fast I scrap.  Today is the carnaval (mardi gras) party for the geeklings so I was up late last night putting the finishing touches on costumes, reparing some and painting a bright orange star wars nerf gun black and silver to look more like Han Solo's.  The look on geekling 3's face this morning was well worth it, but that smile, even along with a LOT of coffee, won't keep me going all month!


So here are some tips that you can apply to help you flourish in a busy season:


You can do a lot in 5 minutes
When you have a time constraint or deadline you tend to work faster.  Studies have shown that we fill the time we have to do a task. So if you have 20 minutes, you can usually get it done in 20 minutes, but if you have an hour it can take you the whole hour to do that same task. So set yourself a time limit or deadline whether it be real or invented and get to work.  I like to try and finish things right before I have scheduled activity.  So if I need to leave in 5 minutes to go pick up the geeklings from the school bus, I will run around like a mad woman and do a 'turbo tidy' of one room of my house to see how much I can get done!

Shift your mindset before you start the task
Multitasking gets a bad rap because they say changing from one task to another takes time.  Your brain needs to adjust from one activity to the next.  So each time you shift your focus back and forth, you lose time.  This is why checking facebook and trying to write a letter don't mix.  However, if you know that you are going to change activities and will need to get yourself into that mindset, then get into that mindset even before you start the task.  For example, if I'm driving home from dropping off a geekling at music lessons knowing that I need to go back in 30 minutes to pick him up, but I want to get a start on a blog post in the meantime, I will think about that blog post content on the drive home and be completely in a 'blog writing' mindset before I even walk in the front door.  So that when I sit down to write, I'm already all warmed up and ready to write and take full advantage of the half an hour I do have.

Make decisions before sit down to work
Another task that takes up an awful lot of time is decision making! If you have a task that you need to do that takes a lot of decisions, try making all those decisions ahead of time when your brain is free, but you are doing something else.  Let's use LOAD for an example.  I usually do my layouts after the children are in bed, but I've watched the prompt video first thing in the morning.  This gives me all day to make all the decisions that need to go into making that page.  First off, the page topic usually comes pretty easy with the prompt video and I have that idea already. If not, it may come in the shower (that's where the best ideas always happen!).  If I have 5 minutes while water is boiling for a meal, or in that 5 minutes before I need to go to the bus stop, I'll choose and print photos.  While driving back after dropping my geeklings off at hockey maybe I'll roll around a draft of the journalling in my head.  So you see when I sit down to scrapbook, I get to just play!

Take breaks
Don't let your self get run ragged. You need to replenish yourself.  If you just keep going and going all day long, you will crash!  Now I'm not saying that you should curl up with a can't-put-down book or watch a movie, but flip through a magazine or watch a quick youtube video that will recharge your batteries and motivate you to get back at it!

Coffee or tea while you work
I love my tea breaks, I like to take a good 30 minutes each morning and afternoon to myself, but in busy times that is just not possible.  So after 10 minutes or so, I'll take my cup into my studio and get back to work, sipping away as I go.

Don't lose sleep!
Get your sleep!  You just cannot function at 100% on too little sleep! Maybe there will be some nights where you just have to stay up late and 'get 'er done', but don't make it a habit! After 3 nights of midnight sewing, tonight I'm heading to bed at a decent hour.  I'm going to curl up with a book and fall asleep before I've read a full paragraph and probably after reading the same line 7 times trying to stay awake enough to understand it.  If you do have a late night or two, make up the missed sleep with a nap or an early night the following day.  A friend once told me that not getting enough sleep is like credit, it builds up like interest and you just get crankier and less efficient.  If you max it out, it comes back to bite you in the butt.

Use lists and schedules
Even if, as a general rule, you are able to keep track of things without a list, write tasks down when things get busy.  Not only will this help you remember all the things that you need to get done, it will stop them from running on repeat over and over in your mind.  This endless mixed tape of tasks in your head is only making you worry about getting it all done and keeping you from functioning at your best.

What can you illiminate in this busy time?
You only have 24 hours in a day.  What can either, wait until things calm down, or be illiminated from your to-do list completely? I don't watch TV or read when things get busy.  Sometimes we'll skip hockey practice or baths... just as long as I'm not skipping baths after hockey practice ;)

What can you let slide or only do half assed? ... just this once 
Not everything has to be done perfectly.  Some things just need to be done.  Period.  So what if you could cut a few corners?  How about buying cookies from the corner bakery for that pot luck party instead of making them from scratch? Or, making quick meals or reading your children just one book before bedtime instead of 5?


I hope that next time that you find yourself in a busy season that you will benefit from these tips and be your very best 'you' in the moment and get it all done!

Share in the comments what your busiest time of year is.