How is it already almost April? It feels like yesterday that the year was turning over and we were making the move to Chicago. Around this time of year, I like to check in with myself regarding my yearly goals: am I on track to hit them? Do I need to reevaluate some plans, or has my focus and what I want to accomplish changed? I do this by conducting quarterly reviews every three months!
It can sound like extra work or a report you don’t want to deal with, but it’s important to set aside time to check in with yourself. You’ll be able to see what’s working well and what isn’t – plus, it’s a great opportunity to review great memories over the past three months.
This year I’ve been using a Passion Planner as my monthly agenda – it has built-in reflection tools at the end of the month, so I’ve actually been doing it even more than ever. If reviewing every month feels like too much, quarterly reviews allow for more time between reflections.
Quarterly reviews have two parts: reflection and preparation. This is the process I go through when conducting my quarterly review! Read more…
It’s no surprise that I’m a big planner nerd. I watch planing videos on YouTube, stare lustfully at cute Etsy shops, and can’t be trusted being let loose in Paper Source. It’s so bad that a friend merely mentioned the word “planner” the other day, and I got too excited, sharing recommendations of different types that might work well for her.
During one of my recent YouTube binges, I discovered bullet journalling, which seemed like it might solve one of my biggest planner gripes. I grabbed an empty notebook and for the month of January, I’m testing out a mix between my traditional ban.do ringed planner and a small-scale, adapted bullet journal.
ne of my favorite parts of the end of the year is shopping around and looking at the pretty new planners that are coming up and dreaming of ways I can organize my life. Since college, I’ve used the same planner (the Moleskine Weekly Planner) but that never stopped me from looking and lusting. This year I did pull the trigger and buy a new one, but before I reveal The One, I thought I’d share some of the other contenders!
Day Designer: this thick spiral bound notebook features a hard cover with thick black and white stripes. Join her email list to get a preview of the daily pages, which include a priority to-do list and hour-by-hour blocks to plot your day.
May Books: I’ve reviewed May Designs before, and I really like them. I considered getting one of them for the new year, but wasn’t sure they’d offer enough space for me.
Sessa Vee: Her printable planners are absolutely gorgeous. Pretty, florally designs and extremely functional. Ultimately I didn’t go with this one because after waffling back and forth and back and forth again, I decided against doing a three-ring binder for portability reasons.
Kate Spade: I would have gone with this one if it had been in-stock at the kate spade website where it is $12 cheaper, but these sell out fast. I love the gold dots, and the hard cover keeps the spiral from being exposed and getting tangled up on things in your bag. It also opens so that the pages lay flat, which is awesome for writing and keeping things organized.
And after all that, the one I said yes to: the ban.do 2015 17-month planner. (This is an extremely popular one and the design I originally wanted, a cover that reads “I am very busy.” is sold out everywhere. The linked website is actually the only webstore I found that still had either design in stock!) It has a lot of the features I loved about my Moleskine (pocket on the back cover, ribbon to cord off pages, and elastic band to keep it shut) as well as things I always wished for in my red beauties – tabbed months and full page calendar views, for example. (If Hattan Home still has it in stock, use code “OINKOINK” to save 10%!) It’s also the most affordable on the list, clocking in around $20 pre-discount.
Inside, it features colorful illustrations, fun messages to cheer up dreary days, and suggestions for weekend activities – “dye your hair pink” and “bake a pumpkin pie from scratch” are two of my favorites!
I’m only sad that I didn’t get this planner a few months ago so I could have been using to to its maximum, but I’m excited to jump in now.
How do you organize your life? Are you a physical planner person like me or are you all digital?
After that whirlwind summer, I’m desperate to get back on track. While I did, arguably, complete my biggest goals of the year in getting a new job and moving out of Virginia, many other things that are important to me flew way to the wayside.
Be active every day, even if it’s just a walk around my complex or the golf course
Pay off my credit cards (I utilized them often during my move. Oops.)
Go to 3 networking events
Eat at least 5 fruits and veggies per day
Drink 8 glasses of water a day (I used to be very good at this, but I fell off the rails as soon as I left my last job.)
Bring lunch to work 3x a week
Go to the gym 4x a week
Post 2x a week
Read 2 books
Get better organized
Through all of the moving frustration (the Ikea fail – actually, all the furniture fails, since there are more I didn’t blog about) the thing I have been most disappointed in myself for is that I’ve put my health to the wayside. I can’t remember the last time I went for a run. I eat more sugar that I need to. Actually, I eat more than I need to in general, so I’ve gained some weight back. It’s also hard to work in a restaurant where I get 50% off, so the delicious food is less than fast food… but I’m not sure how “good” for me it is. (The chefs have already caught on to me, though, and offer me a sweet potato every day.) As soon as my budget will allow it this month, I’m going to do a juice cleanse to get all the crap out of my system and really reboot everything.
I am a really big fan of specific goals, which is why mine typically include a number. But it’s hard to quantify how you “get better organized” – so I’m trying to work on a plan that involves maintaining meeting notes (I now sit in meetings for over ten hours a week), and on top of that, I have so many other things going on that I’m really starting to outgrow my Moleskine. Managing work events, networking, personal life, goals and fitness, I’m exploring all kinds of printers and planners and ways to make everything work.
The nice thing about my new job is that we have GREAT coffee, so I’m very rarely tempted to stop for Starbucks on my way in. We also get free pop or juice, and we just installed an espresso bar. The only thing I’ll need to go see the Siren for now is my sweet PSL.
In addition to my day job, I’ve also landed a side hustle in the city that I’m really excited about. So even as down as I still am a lot of the time, I’m trying to keep my head up. Good things are happening and I just need to keep believing that!
When you’ve “gone off the rails,” whether it’s with food, spending, or whatever else, how do you reel yourself in?
At the end of the month of September, I sat down to catch up on my spending tracking. Though I was great at tracking (and spending) in August, I did less well on tracking through September. I didn’t think I was spending too much, but I had a HEART attack as I added up the totals I spent on food. For just me – one person – I spent $228.35 on food. That is totally unheard of for me – and even worse that that included a free $50 haul from Relay Foods and did NOT include a $20 bar tab from a Mayer Hawthorne concert! It’s time to do something serious. I need a dedicated budget tracker (not just jotting down what I spend in my planner) and I need to STOP spending so much.
I fell in love with May Books the first time I saw them, and was excited to find their expense notebook and food/exercise tracker. I ordered one of each and after a month or so of using them, these are my thoughts.
May Designs books are absolutely gorgeous! They’re hand stitched notebooks with beautifully printed covers. They’re about the size and width of the standard Moleskine notebooks, for reference. In addition to the two I chose, they have several planners, plain or lined notebooks, and other inserts to choose from.
Budget book: I wish there was a better system for outlining variable income. There’s only one small line, but I have so many different secret shopping incomes that it’s hard to figure out where to distinguish all of it. I also don’t like that there are so many lines for savings, insurance, and investments as compared to other things, like shopping. My insurance and investments right now come out of my paycheck, so they aren’t even included in my monthly income anyway. And as much as I would love to have enough money for 12 lines of savings goals – I just don’t right now. I’m working to customize it more for my needs, but I’m not quite there yet. I do really like that in the back there are sheets for special event/vacation budgets, though.
Calorie and exercise journal: There’s literally nothing I would change about this. It has places for breakfast, lunch, dinner, and snacks, your daily target calories, a water tracker, and a place to log exercise. Everything has plenty of room, and it’s a great tool to use for pre-planning what you’ll eat in a day. I do this a lot to keep my dinners on track, since I don’t have White-Out at home 🙂
Another criticism is that the pretty designs on the front seem to be rubbing off, so that means I need to take better care of them than just throwing them in among the clutter of my Thirty-One Retro Metro. This would be easier in a more structured/organized purse than my “throw in and carry around everything that fits” mantra.
Click through for more photos and to enter the giveaway! Read more…