planner

Although I am only 2 weeks in to my new role – and a deceptively easy 2 weeks with the holidays – I am understanding how important it is too keep a calendar up to date and our daily tasks/to-do lists at my fingertips.

2016’s calendar was a Lilly Pulitzer calendar which worked out well. Each month had a calendar in review, then pages beyond it with blank lines for each day. I used the calendar for keeping track of appointments, workouts, when my husband travels, etc. and the blank lined pages for daily tasks that I would lovingly “cross out” with a highlighter once complete.

For 2017 I wanted to try something a little different. Now, I ordered this planner before my new job, but it seems the Universe was involved with this one. The ever-popular Erin Condren was a little too pricey for my taste, but there were negatives about the Lilly planner that I wanted different and I wanted something like the Condren planner.


Think about what your style is

Lilly’s planner was great because it was very colorful. The downside is it was too Lilly-focused, even down to marking when her birthday was.  Also, some of the blank pages had designs on them which took up valuable writing space.

I also needed the calendar days to be a tad bigger. I do use stickers, but not to the extent of some very creative people a la Elle Fowler.

When picking my 2017 planner I wanted it to be colorful, but a toned down version of Lilly’s, larger calendar days, and I needed more space to write daily tasks, to-do lists, and other notes. I also wanted it to be more neutral in theme.


Think about the size

I like one that is about the size of my purse, but not too huge that it overstuffs it and I look like a woman carrying a bag with only my planner inside – and a book of course. I like average book-sized planners because they feel more comfortable for me: It won’t get lost in my handbag and it fits my handwriting size and style.


How do you plan to use it

I have seen people on You Tube schedule time to plan their planners in their planner. That’s dedication! I don’t do that per say, but I do take a look at the current day in the morning and through out the day and plan things the night before. I also write things down as they come up in a small, separate notebook then transfer to calendar when necessary.  Personally, I use one calendar to keep track of everything; that way I do not have to keep looking at separate planners to see what I have to do on what day for what part of life.


Electronic or Pen & Paper

I find electronic calendars difficult to keep track of. I do appreciate the outlook pop-up reminders when I am due in a meeting in 15 minutes and it is a way for co-workers to send meetings to each other. Although I will have more meetings than ever before, I will still be marking them in my personal planner.


My 2017 Planner

After some research, I decided to buy a Plum Planner. I liked that it was custom-ordered and at a good price point for what I was getting.  I think my new planner and I are going to be very happy together.

In an upcoming post, I will write about how I will use this planner to combine life and work. Hopefully this will help you!

I have slacked on the post a day plan I had when December started. I had the best intentions, but to post something for the sake of something does not a good blog make. Nor is it entertaining for anyone to read.

It is Sunday morning and when I was thinking about my lack of writing for a few days I decided why not just write a ramble post, no structure, just ideas and thoughts typed out.

The house is decorated for Christmas and Hanukkah.  My husband is Jewish so we celebrate both and with Hanukkah and Christmas eve on the same day is quite exciting! I have his gifts done and I cannot share those because he does read this from time-to-time. I have a few more goodies to grab which I may do today. I am also meeting up with my friend Lexi for brunch, then grocery shopping, then who knows!

Loads to do today and get done for the upcoming week.

Speaking of the upcoming week, I start my new position on the 16th. I’m nervous, excited, overwhelmed, over joyed, and anxious all at once. I’m not sure what to expect but I am expecting a very positive new chapter in my career. I wanted for so long to be out of a traditional customer service role and transition into something completely different and I got it. Not without it’s tears, lack of sleep, questioning myself moments, of course.  When I want something to change, I focus all of my mental energy on it and do everything I have to do to get it.

With that in mind, I’ve been thinking about where I belong in the expansive world of the web. There is so much content and I’ve been wondering how I fit in and what I have to offer. The truth is, this is not a full time job and I’m not sure it ever will be. Writing is something I’ve always done and always loved to do so my primary reason for posting is to write and share it. I want to share, inspire, and grow a community.  A community of people who work every day, take care of a home and family, and keep their happiness and hobbies as an equal priority.

Like all years, 2016 was the cliched roller coaster ride. I went through a few ups and downs, learned and grew up in many ways. As I approach the final decent and about to start 2017, I want to be sure I am being true to who I am, what I want to share, and what I want to do.

I welcome you to do the same.

I must admit, Christmas is not my favorite of holidays. There I said it.

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I am more of a Thanksgiving and Fourth of July kind of lady.  The biggest reason why is because there is so much comfort, joy, and excitement buzzing around and then come January 2nd – or whatever work/school day follows – the magic in the air fizzles and vanishes, never to return until next year. So many of us forget that comfort and joy should be with us all year! Why reserve it for 25 days out of the year? It got me thinking what brings me comfort and what brings me joy throughout the year.

 

Below are just 3 of my seasonal comforts throughout the year. What are yours?

 

WINTER COMFORTS

  • Homemade soups
  • Leggings and sweaters as lounge wear
  • Dinners and Gatherings with family & friends

SPRING COMFORTS

  • Opening the windows in the house for fresh, spring air
  • The end of daylight savings time – Spring forward!
  • The start of baseball season

SUMMER COMFORTS

  • Cookouts
  • Ceiling fans
  • The option for my hair to air dry

FALL COMFORTS

  • Backyard firepits
  • Root vegetables
  • The scents of cinnamon, cloves, pumpkin….

 

 

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[photo credit: powerofpositivity.com]

I’ve been in an odd funk since June. The last few months have been unusually busy. My agenda has been loaded with to-dos, places to go, people to see. In the midst of all of that, my workout motivation has suffered. Not because I don’t want to, but because by the time the day is through I am too physically and mentally exhausted that I simply cannot muster the strength. Even the “it’s only 30 minutes” pep-talk does not work on most days. And, yes, I’ve tried the morning workout concept, but I simply can’t…

The only saving grace in this is the change of seasons which I think is a natural motivator for many.

My tasks lately have been getting the house in order. A few months ago I read the ever popular “Life Changing Magic of Tidying Up” and truthfully, I gave it a rather harsh review then. I found so much of it to be ridiculous and unrealistic especially when you live with others and have other peoples’ stuff to consider. I think that was the biggest reason for my less-than-positive review for it.

The Life-Changing Magic of Tidying Up book cover

However, after this weekend I started to read it again. I skipped the introductory chapters and went right for the “plan.” I think for me, I find motivation through following along with someone on following a step-by-step plan. When I was in school, I loved me a good syllabus and following along with it, crossing out each day or assignment made me feel like I was accomplishing and working toward something. These days, I am missing that goal.

When I went to the “meat” of the Life Changing Magic book, I read a part about seriously considering how you want your life to be. She uses a young woman as an example who wanted to live a more “feminine lifestyle” and asked her to break down exactly what that meant. It got me thinking: I’ve heard that question before but never thought about it seriously, let alone writing it out. I grabbed my journal (one of many) and wrote out a few ideas. The overarching theme was to have my home be a sanctuary and not a place for work. My “work” at home is mostly cleaning, cleaning, cleaning, putting things away, throwing things out, cooking this, clearing that. I want my home to be a place where I can come home and read, create, relax and enjoy my family and the “work” is secondary. Not a place that I come home to after 8 hours of doing and giving for others, but a place to do and give for myself and my family that goes beyond keeping the place clean and clutter free. Sharing a space with someone else who isn’t as organized as I am is challenging, but together I know we can come to happy medium.

While I was very cruel to this cute little book that so many people love, I am giving it a second go. That little section redirected my thoughts and put me on a different path. Sometimes it takes a second look to find what you were looking for during the first look.

As I continue to do a massive decluttering of things, I recently was able to reduce my Keepsakes down to 1 box. This does not include photos which are too down to a single, well organized box.

When I began my decluttering/organizing last summer I had 2 shopping bags and a larger tote box full of birthday cards, yearbooks, and books. I went through each box and bag and looked though every single item that was in them and decided whether or not to keep them. During round 1, I was able to get the tote down to a size where the lid could be put back on correctly rather than teetering on top of my college graduation cap and a large Pre-K graduation diploma. I put the box back in the closet and left it to simmer for a few months. I went back in about a month ago and went for round 2.

 

I am happy to report this is my only box full of keepsakes and each item holds a very personal and positive feeling and memory.

keepsakebox1_edited

If you are looking to reduce your keepsakes to a manageable side, here are a few ideas. Also remember, you can do a few “rounds” like I did, but the key is to really think about it. Just because you are getting rid of an item, does not mean you are dishonoring the memory or the person who gave it to you. In fact, it is the opposite! You are making room for more memories and no one can declutter your brain. It’s a lot harder to throw out a box of memories in your brain than it is in your home.

  1. Let Go of Old Birthday, Holidays, etc. Cards : Over the years we have all been given hundreds of cards. I still give and receive them to this day, of course, but to keep every single one is a waste of precious space. My first round I had at least 50 cards going back to high school graduation from 2003.  I took each one out, read them all, and decided if they were worth keeping. I had a ton from my parents and I decided to keep 2 of each. I also kept ones from my step-grandparents. And all of the notes and cards from my husband since we met in 2005. Yes – those fit in this box too!
  2. Do you still know the person who gave you the item : This is a big one. Aside from those who have passed away, holding on to stuff from ex-relationships or friends from elementary school are no-brainer give-a-ways in my opinion. I found random stuff from people I kind of remember, but couldn’t tell you their last names or even where they are today. If that is the case, I say toss it. Odds are you aren’t going to run into them again and if you do I doubt your conversation will include the empty pack of M&Ms you saved when you both had a sleep over for the first time.keepsakebox2_edits
  3. Does it matter if it is one-of-a-kind? Sometimes we hang on to gifts that we didn’t like then and don’t like now. Going off of #2, if you no longer know the person and it has no use in your current life, toss it. There are exceptions of course, but the key here is to get really honest with yourself. You don’t need the half of a tarnished “Be Fri” friendship necklace from 8th grade…even if you know the person now. Also, if it is a one-of-a-kind knick-knack, is it something you’d put on display in your home now?
  4. Does it bring you a positive memory? As I was going through things I found some things that didn’t bring me much of a positive feeling. If you look at the item and your first thought is sadness or pain, get rid of it. Don’t keep it. Another hard thing to get rid of are those memorial cards from those who have passed. These I had a hard time getting rid of. The truth is, keeping it or getting rid of it does not have any direct impact on that person, their memory, or the relationship you had with them. If you can part with it, please do. It may feel icky and disrespectful on some level, but after it is gone, the memory and honor of that person is not.
  5. Is this something you’d want to go through or look at again? This goes for things like yearbooks, letter notebooks (remember those where you passed a notebook back and forth between a friend where you wrote and replied to each others’ letters?), etc. If it is something you take pleasure in looking at one last time and do not feel any real desire to look at it again, it may be time to part with it. Some suggest taking pictures of things, but I think that is another way of holding on to something that, on some honest level, you want to part with. And truly: are you ever going to go through pictures of your old stuff? Probably not.

The Keepsakes are one of the hardest to part with and declutter. By nature, I am not a hugely sentimental person so getting rid of things is easier for me than others. If you are like me, the steps above will be quite easy. if you are the opposite and worry about getting rid of memory items: sort through everything in “rounds” and do it over a period of time. There is no due date for any of this. But do be really honest with yourself as you go through things and make room for new keepsakes rather than hold on to ones that only serve a purpose of dust collecting and space hogging.