My Secret Weapon for Productivity | Plan Your Goals

Use this productivity secret weapon as you plan your goals. It's a fab productivity hack that really works! Seriously, this productivity tip will change how you plan and get you to that goal in no time! I notice a huge difference when I forget to use it.

Want to know what it is and how it can help YOU? Grab your planner and a hot cup of some thing nice and hit play on this video to find out what the secret weapon is and start using it today!



The Difference Between Being Busy and Being Productive

I could be considered a busy person and the number one reaction I get from people when I tell them I have 6 children is, 'Oh, you MUST be busy!' I tend to come back with 'Naw, I'm really organised, but it does get quite loud!'

...hmmm, I think I may need to come up with something snappier...

I strive to be productive instead and in this video I'm highlighting the differences between being busy and being productive. Plus, I give you 3 tips for how you can become more productive. 

So grab a cup of tea, your planner and hit play:


No Sew DIY Traveler's Notebook Inserts

They're so many TN inserts out there, but that does not mean that there is one that suits your planning needs. Making your own inserts for your traveler's notebook is a fabulous option to make your planner more versatile and work better for you, so you can stay organised. As a bonus, it can be a budget friendly option as well.

However, if you don't have a sewing machine or a long arm stapler, you may think that it's impossible.

It's totally possible!

And in this week's video, I've got 5 ways that you can bind your inserts complete with tutorials for each one. 

Grab your TN and an eraser... yes, an eraser ;) and hit play:



My Planning Essentials

After I take you through my planner essentials, I've got 5 questions that you can ask yourself to help you find your own planner essentials. So, stay tuned for that!

 If I was held at gunpoint and asked what my 5 favourite, can't-live-without planner essentials were, this is what they would be:

First I'd need a Traveler's Notebook.

I couldn't choose a favourite among my TN's, even with that gun to my head, so I'm glad that I don't have to and I can change TN's as my mood strikes. Usually though, I'll stay in one for a long time, changing most often with the seasons.

Next, I'd need the Commit30 printables.

The Commit30 planners have been working well for me for years and the printable version is my favourite. I love creating my own inserts. I can personalise them and for the moment, I prefer printing 2 months per insert. That way I can really slim down my TN if necessary, and only carrying around one insert. Though, I usually do have the current insert plus the previous one and the one coming up (if I'm on the ball and have it printed already!)

3rd is a nice sharp pencil.

I do most of my planning in pencil, I like to be able to erase. Oh wait! I guess that pencil I'm choosing at gun point will have to have an eraser on top! Otherwise I'd need a 6th thing, the eraser. Schedules change, so a pencil is an easy fix and I can easily rearrange my week if needed, especially if I fall behind early on.

4th is clips for me!

To mark a page, to clip a bunch of pages together for easy flipping as I plan, to simply look pretty, one little clip can do a lot. I love that they are very versatile, being both fun and functional. I have a entire class all about creating planner clips. Check it out here: Planner Clips.

Last is Washi!

I love to decorate, but if I'm only allowed one item, it would be washi, it comes in tonnes of different designs and colours so it makes it versatile and adaptable to any planner girls' style or even my mood of the day. I have a fantastic YouTube video with 21 ways to Use Washi, so if all you have in your stash is Washi, then you won't be stuck for ideas! 


Now, it's your turn! Everyone's planner essentials are different, whether you are just starting out or you simply want to go back to basics for a while. Ask yourself these 5 questions to determine your planner essentials:

  1. What is the first thing you grab when you sit down to plan? 
    This may be your planner, but maybe not. Maybe it's the latest sticker kit from your favourite Etsy shop, or your master to-do list.

  2. What is your go-to planner system? 
    Do you have inserts that you love or a specific way the your planning HAS to be done? Maybe you have a favourite pen that you HAVE to use every time, or a pack of coloured pens.

  3. What could you give up if you had to? 
    These items could be taken off of your essential list.

  4. What items are you constantly putting away?
    If you are putting it away a lot, that means that you are using it a lot and that it's important in your planning sessions.

  5. What is the first item that you would put out of reach if a rambunctious child or dog headed towards your planner things?
    Those are your favourites, your essentials.

Still not sure? Grab your planner and hit play on this week's YouTube video, maybe seeing my essentials may help you decide.



Fresh Starts and Sharp Pencils!

Did you know that every few weeks, I create a project and write a blog post for Simple Stories and Carpe Diem. Today, I'm going to share my latest project with you here:

School titleHappy September planner girls! I’m a planner lover and a school supply addict! September is such a fun time of year. That back to school season is fantastic with it’s fresh starts, sharp pencils and crisp new notebooks. It’s a time to set new goals or learn something new, even if you aren’t going back to school and you don’t have children going back either. 

School title 2I’ve used the School Rocks collection to decorate my TN to help me plan my month, week and day and to plan in those goals as well. This collection is perfect for us school or office supply addicts! First off, I decorated my goal page, this page has lots of space for lists (I’m addicted to lists too!) and notes. 

School goal pageThe lists are labelled for you but you can use the stickers from the Planner Basics Sticker Tablet to cover them with list titles that suit you best. I covered up ‘Notes’ with a pencil label sticker and added ‘September’ so that I can use the notes page as a general ideas and brainstorming place as I plan the month. The big pencil looks cute with the stack of pencils running down the side of the page.

School goal close upI got ambitious and fussy cut 7 paperclips and then 7 pushpins to use as my checklists. I find fussy cutting relaxing but if you don’t like it, you can use some of the small stickers from the Planner Basics tablet instead. 

School checklistOnto to the monthly spread. I mixed stickers from the September page of the Seasons Sticker Tablet and the Cardstock Stickers from the School Rocks collection.

School monthlyI don’t tend to write a lot in the monthly spread so I can afford to put the large, full stickers in my boxes. My six children go back to school on 3 different days (yes, that’s annoying, but it’s also allows me to focus more on each child on their special day) so I marked those with big stickers. I also marked the first day of autumn with a sticker. With the paper airplanes I mimicked the dashed trails from the paper airplane card from the cut apart paper. I used small round navy number stickers from the Number Sticker tablet for the days.

School monthly close upMoving on to the weekly spread, there were lots of ‘First Day of School’ stickers to choose from so I was able to use 2 in this spread.

School weeklyI combined stickers from the collection, the tablets and fussy cut bits from the papers to complete this page. I cut strips of patterned papers to trim the top and bottom of the pages.

School weekly close upFor the daily spread, I simply decorated around the edges of the pages, because I like lots of space to write, I try to keep my to-do list to a minimum each day, but I’ll use the space for notes and brainstorming too. 

School daily close upThe schedule side of the page however will be completely full! Lots to do in a day with 6 children going back to school!

School dailyIf you’d like to see how I made these pages, you can find a process video on my YouTube channel here: Plan With Me September 2018

Or hit play here:


 Are you addicted to school supplies? Do you love a fresh notebook? Then the School Rocks collection is perfect for you :D

School end

3 Functional Ways to Use Your Pretty Planner Supplies

I'm sure that you have tonnes of supplies for your planner that are purely decorative, but what if you could use them to make your planner as functional as it is pretty?

Here are 3 tips to help you do just that!

  1. Planner Clips - Sure we all use them to mark a page or to make your pockets look cute, but why not use them as you are planning. During a planning session, you need to flip back and forth so often, especially towards the end or beginning of a month when you to go from one week to the next, you need to flip through all of the end of the month pages (like the monthly round up, the monthly spread and notes pages). It's a lot of hassle when you just want to see the next week! Adding a sturdy clips to hold all those pages together will make it a lot easier on yourself. 
    If you are looking for planner clips inspiration, pop over to my Planner Clips class at Big Picture Classes.

  2. Pompom Fringe bookmark - A couple of months ago, I shared on YouTube how you can add some pompom fringe to the edge of a page in your planner, a page that you need to reference on a regular basis. So take those pompoms that we usually add to our clips and charms and instead use some pompom trim and put those pompoms to work. Click here to watch the pompom fringe tutorial.

  3. Dashboard to Checklist - Sure dashboards and dividers already serve a purpose, but why not give them double duty by adding a daily or weekly checklist. Have your list with stickers and permanent pen but check them off with either pencil, repositiable stickers or a dry-erase pen.

You can see all these tips in action on my latest YouTube video, so grab your planner and go check that out!

10 Morning Habits You Need to Stop Now!

The morning sets you up for the entire day, so it's super important that you start with good habits from the second you wake up.


Today, I have 10 things that you should not be doing in the first few hours of the day. Don't try and stop them all today, you'll get overwhelmed and won't end up getting rid of any of theses habits. So start slow, pick one and using the techniques from my 10 Ways to Create Habits That Really do Stick post from my Productivity Series to help you kick these bad habits to the curb and replace them with healthy habits!

1. Stop hitting that snooze button! Reading Mel Robbin's 5 Second Rule changed my view on the snooze! She says it messes up your sleep cycles if you go back to sleep and it takes a lot longer to finally get awake and properly functional. She also says that by hitting snooze you are essentially failing at the very first task that you set for yourself for the day.

2. Stop checking your phone first thing. By checking in with your phone you are essentially checking in on other people's problems. Focus on yourself first and turn your phone off of airplane mode once you've got your day off to a good start.

3. Stop leaving yourself JUST enough time to get ready in the morning. If your continuously cutting your time too short to get just a few minutes more sleep then you will always end up rushed and be stressed out as you leave the house. Instead try waking up 10-15 minutes earlier, and of course that means going to bed a bit earlier too.

4. Stop skipping breakfast or grabbing processed crap, or stopping for a donut on the way. Your body hasn't seen food for a good 8-10 hours, so why would you start your day off with crappy food. Skip the processed cereal and have bakery bread or oatmeal (not the instant garbage!) and some fruit in the morning.

5. Stop planning your day. If you are planning your day in the morning, it means that you are starting your day without direction. You are deciding on what to do when you could already be in the zone and well into your day. By planning your day out the night before, you are all set and ready to go when it's time to get to work. PS. this is one I have a lot of trouble with!

6. Stop deciding what to wear. We make decisions all day long and the more decisions that we make the harder it is to make those later decisions. By deciding what to wear in the morning, you are taking away some of your decision making power for later on. If you lay out an outfit the night before or have a 'uniform' then you make it easier to make other, more important decisions throughout the day.

7. Stop waking up at different times on different days. Yes, that means weekends too! Your body has an internal clock and by waking up at different times you are messing with that clock. If you wake up an hour or so later on weekends that'll work, but try not to sleep til noon!

8. Stop sleeping with your phone. Have it completely outside of your bedroom and on airplane mode. Sleeping with your phone leads to people actually waking up in the middle of the night and checking their phone, OMG, really!! Plus, looking at that phone light right before you go to sleep messes up your sleep and you don't rest as soundly.

9. Stop drinking coffee on an empty stomach. Ideally you should wait 3 hours after waking to have any caffeine. I usually have a cup of tea 2.5 hours after.

10. Stop forgetting your glass of water. The best thing first thing in the morning is a glass of water, squeeze a lemon into it for an added 'cleanse'. Like with breakfast, your body has been without water all night, and you need to replenish so that you don't get dehydrated.

 I go through each of these points in a little more detail in my YouTube video this week, plus you get to follow me around as I do all the don'ts! And then the do's too ;)


How to Get Started With a Traveler's Notebook

What is a Traveler's Notebook, anyway?

Traveler's notebooks (or TNs) are an enormous amount of fun and a lot more versatile than you think. Essentially, it's a leather folder with elastics running vertically in the spine so that you can add notebooks. And the whole thing closes up nicely with another elastic. Usually there are pockets on the inside covers, but that's not always the case.


They are a fabulous planner for lefties (like me) and offer a different kind of flexibility than a ringed planner.

Let me explain, because I bet you are thinking that there's no way that it can be as flexible as a ring bound planner! 

Having different inserts (those notebooks you add to the leather folder) allow you to add, remove and move around entire sections of your planner system quickly and easily. A lot easier than with rings where you need to be careful to keep the pages together so the holes stay lined up, and where it's not as easy to find the start and end of a section.

It's also a lot easier to sort what you have in your planner. You can have a different theme and/or purpose for each insert. If you want to thin down your planner for vacation, or just while running errands, you can remove any inserts that you won't be needing.

If you are new to TNs but not to planning, think of each section in your planner as it's own insert. And you aren't limited to only as many inserts as there are elastics in the spine. You can join 2 inserts with an elastic and add them both to the same elastic. You could have your planner in one insert, a memory planner in another. One insert could be for projects and another could house your doodles or notes. The possibilities are endless!


Traditionally TNs are leather, but there are so many options now that if you don't want to spend the cash or are against using leather you can find faux leather or fabric options. I would suggest searching around on Etsy or try the Carpe Diem traveler's notebooks, they are a great price and are absolutely gorgeous. Though I may be a bit biased as I'm on their Design Team!

In this week's video I take you through a few TNs to show you how they work and some of the different options you can have in the TNs themselves but also with the inserts.

This video from a couple of weeks ago shows you how I set up my newest TN, so have a peek at that as  well.


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 

And here's my take on it:
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: