Tag: planning

ThriveSteer Planner

August 23
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Created by a therapist, the ThriveSteer planner is designed to be a planner and a life coach all in one. This planner has a strong focus on both helping you plan your day as well as helping you create the vision for the life you want to live.

Before the “planner” starts there are several pages of activities to go through. These activities help to sit back and think about what you really want from your life from six core values.

These values are:
Strategy
Congruency
Synergy
Courage
Inspiration
Transformation
To learn more about these areas visit the ThriveSteer website.

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After you understand the core values, the planner has prompts about many areas of your life. Through these prompts you will learn more about what you are really looking for from life as well as create pursuit statements that will help focus your actions over the next year.

The planner then walks you through the steps to make one goal for the year and helps you plan how to get to it. At the end you will have a chance to review what you’d worked on and you should leave the beginning of the planner with a strong sense of what your real goals are as well as how to get there.

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The planner portion itself it fairly simple. Monthly pages are tabbed for easy access and weeks are put together in a simple hourly vertical layout. Both have areas where you can mark the core value you want to focus on as well as space for reflection.

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At the end of each month there is a two page Monthly Follow Up  where you can reflect on the previous month. There is also a quarterly and year end review as well. These include prompts that will help you decide where you were successful and how you might need to change your pursuit statements to better meet your needs.

Overall, this is a high quality planner with unique insight that I have never before seen in this format. The paper is strong and I love that it comes with two bookmarks and a band to keep the whole thing together.

 

If you are looking for a planner that focuses on wellness and goals this one might be for you. Find out more at ThriveSteer.com 

Note: This is not a sponsored post. All opinions are my own and I was given a free product for review purposes. 

 

 

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Happy Planner Garden Planner

May 23
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One of my favorite aspects of home ownership is having a yard of my own. A space where I can create and nurture life and spend time outside. Although I have been a homeowner for several years now I had not taken the plunge into vegetable gardening until the spring. Vegetable gardening is a little different here in Florida. Our soil is bad, our temperatures are sweltering, and the bugs are everywhere. Because of this I held off on growing vegetables for so long. Finally, after seeing friends be successful I started my own little garden.

It is not much yet, I am just growing some beans, squash, cucumbers, and sweet potatoes; but it is a good solid start. This is kind of a trial run for the fall. In Florida, fall/winter gardens often have better luck as the temperatures as much more mild. My plan is to take what I learn from this season about my land and soil and use it next month.

While planting my garden I realized I needed some way to keep track of what I planted, when I planted it, and what actions where taken regarding watering, fertilizing, and weeding.  This is when it dawned on me that using a Mini Happy Planner to record my garden would be perfect.

The planner is used as a cross between a planner and a journal. I can mark when I want to plant and fertilize so I don’t forget, as well as journal how my actions, the weather, and outside factors influenced the yield.

I have also added grid paper so that I can make a diagram of my garden. I use a few varieties of seeds as well as planting methods so I wanted to be sure I remembered which plants were which in the end. This will also help in the future to see what spots work best over time as well as if I need to remember for crop rotation.

I will be keeping my punch handy so that I can punch used seed packets and keep them on hand. I also included a pocket for other literature and receipts. (Did you know many garden centers accept returns on dead plants if you keep these?)  You never know when you need to go back and see the “rules” for the plant.

Have you ever made a garden planner? How did it go? Also, please share your favorite gardening tips, especially for Florida!

Teorizanthes Apparel!

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Knowing yourself and knowing your habit type

May 2
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Wow that feels like a long title, but this is something I have struggled with I know many of you do to. I love planning out my day and week and allotting tasks and to-dos, but sometimes when the day or time comes I find that I lack the simple motivation to make it happen. Sound familiar? Good. You’re human too. Today I want to share a little bit into my struggle, as well as a resource to help.

I have again and again failed at following through with my plans. You know all those people who show up at the gym on January 1st? That is me. I plan out a great week and schedule and then by Wednesday I stop following it.

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I finally had a light bulb moment when I read Better Than Before by Gretchen Rubin. Rubin categorizes everyone into the following four habit tendencies; upholder, obliger, questioner, and rebel. Everyone more or less falls mainly into the categories which by understanding them can start to understand how we make and keep positive habits (for me, getting plans done.)

 

Here are the four tendencies:

Upholder: This person says she is going to do something, so she does it. She is accountable to herself and does it for herself. She probably stopped reading this post because she does not have this problem.

Obliger: This person may skip out on a habit (like going to the gym) unless the promised someone else that they would. She might neglect to follow plans that are just for her, but will totally make sure anything that she promised to anyone else gets done, like prepping meals for her husband. (I fall into this category.)

Questioner: This person has a hard time with things unless they understand why doing it is good as well as what the benefit is for them.

Rebel: These people resist expectations from themselves and others. Also, they probably don’t own a planner or read this blog.

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Once you understand where you fit you can start to find ways to make your plans work for you. As an obliger, I found that being accountable to others makes me work my best.  My best personal example of this is that I wanted to wake up earlier in the mornings, but was having trouble because I didn’t have to get up, I could sleep in and it would not hurt anyone. My husband leaves for work about an hour before me and I wanted to get up with him. I also wanted to make us both smoothies to take to work each day. I spoke to my husband and told him my intentions to get up and make smoothies and asked him to help me do this by reminding me if I was still in bed to make smoothies. The next day, without his reminder I was out of bed and at the blender. I wanted to do what I had promised him.  I use the same system to keep myself on track. I tell him what I intend to do and he will come back a few days later and ask how I did. To the outside eye this could come off in a slightly controlling way, but I have asked him to keep me accountable. If you’re an obliger, find someone to be accountable to and ask them to help you. When you do something for someone else you will be more likely to follow through.

Please read more about these types, it really did help put everything into view for me. Rubin has two books Better Than Before and The Four Tendencies. I suggest reading both, but if you don’t have time at least check out her website.

BONUS: Understanding the tendencies as well as how your family scores helps so much in understanding where they come from in things. My husband in a Questioner. Knowing this, I know that if I ask him to do something without giving him the WHY he will just drive me crazy with questions. I now explain why I am asking him to do something while I ask so he understands the reasoning and is more willing to comply.

While I don’t have any one great tip, I honestly believe that looking into your tendency will help you know yourself the best.

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My wellness planner /meal tracker

January 15
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When Me and my Big Ideas (the Happy Planner people) released the new items for winter 2018 there were few items I felt I immediately needed, however as time passed I started to think that maybe the wellness extension kit was for me. I kept checking my Michaels stores to to see if they had it but I never found one.

I have noticed that when I do not have meals, snacks, ect planned out I tend to either binge on junk or just not eat and I then I end up in a grumpy mood and just kind of over everything. However when I eat well I feel so much better emotionally.  I have also noticed that I have gained some weight over the last year. My job is more sedentary than ever and we eat a lot of food. Between the new job and just being a lazy person I am not doing the best I can for my body. I want to be proud of myself and the way I look and I just don’t feel I am there.

My goals with the new planner is to plan out my meals so I know the night before what to bring for lunch and snacks as well as what I need to take out for dinner. Generally, I am pretty good about dinners except the nights that my husband isn’t home. So, I am actually going to have a plan for those nights. wether it be a leftover option or something easy to make that I will actually enjoy. I want to point out that I am not “dieting.” There is no restriction here, but more of a tracking system to plan what I will eat and keep track of what I have eaten. This will also help to go back and see how foods affect my moods. Fun, right?

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So on my last attempt to find the wellness extension I randomly picked up a small recollections fitness planner. (Have you seen the 2018 recollections spiral planners? They really stepped up their game.) Anyways, I loved that it tracked water intake and was super cute. I then walked over to the Mambi products and saw the mini fitness planner. There were only like 5 planners left total and one of them was mini fitness. What a win. Anyways, it had a place for meals, snacks, activity, water intake, and calories. Although I did not need all of these sections, it really seemed like the best option so I grabbed that and the mini fitness sticker book.

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Anyhoo, after reviewing the wellness extension online and comparing it to this mini I think I ended up with something that will work better for my needs. It tracks all my meals, exercise, and water and can be carried in my bag whereas the extension pack was just going to stay with my home planner which does not go everywhere with me. The fitness planner does track calories which I will skip as I do not collect that information. I am a little disappointed that the wellness extension did not include more, I feel like it was more of a regular planner with an emphasis on wellness/self care instead of a planner just for that. I guess that would work for some, it is just not what I was looking for for me.

Photo of the Wellness Extension from shop.meandmybigideas.com

Photo of the Wellness Extension from shop.meandmybigideas.com

I will also be tracking my steps in this mini planner. I have used a jawbone in the past but did not want something bulky on my wrist so I bought a Jawbone up move so that I can clip it into my top, pocket or bra to track my steps on the sly. Bonus: These are less than $15, what a great deal. My *goal* is 10k a day which is where I was back when I was a busy Children’s librarian running around in the summer. I know I will not hit it every day, but I want to try. This may mean walks before or after work or taking

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I also bought a new scale to track my weight. I have never personally owned a scale as I do not take much heed in what it says, but I want to have a way to track progress a little more. I purchased this scale for under $12 on amazon and it works great. It can connect to apps but I did not fuss with that because who needs their phone and scale to talk, really.

So this is where I am at right now. I just bought all this yesterday so it is new to me but I think it is a step in the right direction. I will share more in a few months once I get a better feeling for what I am doing. Until then if you have questions ask me here or on Instagram.

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New Happy Planner accessories

December 27
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So today Me and My Big Ideas (the people who make the Happy Planner) are releasing new planner products. Although there are no new planners, there are tons of new inserts and stickers.  If you want to see everything check the videos here. Below I will go over the aspects of this release with screenshots from the YouTube video. Items are linked to Michaels and will be in stock soon online.

So the product I am most excited for is the new sticker rolls. The idea behind these is that they took the most popular stickers from the value packs and put them into one easy to access kit. Also included in the stickers release is mini stickers. These are all super cute mini stickers for all sorts of stuff. My favorite part of this kit is that they are not sized for the Happy Planner so they can be used with whatever planner you’d like.

Sticker roll options: Click the link to see info and purchase.
Wellness, appointments, faith, travel, checklists, mom, schedulefood, fitness, and home,

New sticker value packs: Mini, productivity, and budget.

To help turn your planner into a more general planner/notebook/life kit MAMBI has released tons of new inserts. These can be added wherever you’d like in your planner.

My favorite of the new inserts are the mini trendsetter/goal getter(hourly) expansion packs. These are great for someone wanting to try out one of these newer planner styles without committing to an entire year. I am currently using the Goal Getter planner so if you’d like to try it as well this is a great option. Also be sure to check out the Fitness and budget expansions as well if those are areas you’d like to focus on.

The last aspect of this release is the extra pages inserts. We’ve had these types of inserts for some time now, but these are just kind of better. First of all we have new pastel filler paper. These come in lots of color options like neon as well as some with a gold foil header. These are SUPER adorable. These come in regular and BIG sizes.

Besides the full page inserts there are also half sheets. The half sheets have a notes option, a weekly menu plan, and weekly half sheets. There is also an expense tracker that looks super useful for those working on budgeting or if you need to track expenses for work.  The half sheet daily inserts are great for those random busy days.
These items will start appearing in Michaels stores December 28th. Michaels puts out new products as they change for the season so they will be put out when staff have time. If you find items in your store tag me in photos on instagram! I’m @_amberdowns!

All items will also be available in the mambi shop on January 8th.

 

HP winter release PIN

 

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My favorite planner stickers

September 3
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Please note: This is not a sponsored post. Affiliate links are in use.

There are a lot of companies out there making planner stickers these days.  At first they were few and far between, expensive and online only. Now it seems you can get them everywhere. By far my favorite planner stickers are the Happy Planner Value Packs.

You get your monies worth. These packs retail for about $20 but often times you can get them for less on sale or with coupons. Each pack comes with 30 sheets so this is less than a dollar a sheet at retail price and even less when they are on sale.

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I love cute stuff as much as the next girl, but I want stickers that help me make the most of my planner. When I use stickers in my planner I want to mix both function and form. I like to keep two types of sticker books at hand, cute ones, and fictional ones.

 

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If you have a Michaels nearby that is great, but if not you can pick up a set on Amazon with free prime shipping if you’re a member. I hate waiting for stuff, so I love how accessible these are. By just having one of two of these around I can make a super cute layout that really helps me make the best of my week.

 

Have you used these stickers? What did you think?

 

 

 

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What I do with old planners

August 8
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One of the questions I always get asked is what I do with my old planers. I know everyone’s answers and reasonings will be different, but my answer is a easy one. I keep them. I store old planners on a shelf in my office; close enough to be grabbed and reviewed at any time. I do not keep old planners that I did not use. I keep my planners for both practical and sentimental reasons.  These reasons work for me but may or may not work for you.


When I start a new planner for a new year I go back to the monthly spreads of my previous planner to find any important reoccurring dates; birthdays, anniversaries, ect. I also note the date of events that happen every year such as 5Ks and festivals. Generally speaking these types of events take place on the same weekend such as the third Saturday in July. If the upcoming event is just an estimated date I put it on a sticky note and put that in the monthly spread of my new planner. This makes planning out vacations and other events much easier.

I also use my old planners to remember when things happened. Often times I will reember something like “I don’t remember the day she had the baby, but I know it was the same day as my hair appointment and I think it was July.” Then I can go to July, see when I had my hair done, and make a pretty good guess that is the child’s birthday. I also go back and use my old planners to remember when the last time I had a doctor’s appointment, had the carpets cleaned, and other infrequent tasks. I win a lot of bets with my husband this way. :)

The last reason I keep my old planners around is for the sentimental value. Just flipping through an old planner or notebook from a few years ago opens up a whole wealth of memories that you may have almost forgotten happened. Just like we take vacation photos to remember great trips, flipping though an old planner is like a trip down memory lane remembering what life was like then. I am sure these memories will be even more precious as time goes by.

Do you keep old planners? What do you do with them? Share below!

 

What I do with old planners

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Making a summer bucket list in my Happy Planner

June 6
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So the summer is finally here and I am ready to make the most of it. Last summer was a little crazy with our home search, a new job, and handling a new commute but I now I am ready to go for it. My problem is that at the end of every summer I feel like I haven’t done anything “summery” and that I’ve wasted my time. Of course in all actuality I am usually super busy with work and the like over summer, but still, I wanted a way to really sit down and decide what I wanted to do.

So last week I took the MAMBI seasonal sticker pack and use their summer bucket list stickers as a start. I then added in my own items with other stickers and pen. I used a sheet of planner filler paper, however you could also make your own dot paper

 

OK, so maybe I cheated and added items I knew I was going to do, but that is OK. I want to be able to go back and say I did these things and then after I do them I will write the date. For the more general events this will be a way to remind myself of great ways to celebrate the season when all I feel like doing is watching TV. 

 

Disclosure: This post contains affiliate links. If you purchase an item via a link from the page I will receive a small commission. This does not affect the price you pay for the item. In fact, I research the best prices for my site. All printables are free. Enjoy!

 

Need a punch? I have this one and love it!
The new Happy Planners are out! Grab one here!.
Looking for sticker paper? I buy this one from Amazon.
I cut my stickers with a Silhouette Cameo electric cutting machine.
On a budget? Try the Gyro-cut to cut your stickers.
Looking for more? Check out my archive of free printables.

 

creating a summer bucket list in your planner

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My 2017 planner setup

December 28
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For 2017 I am starting a new planner from Me and My Big Ideas. I will again be using their Happy Planner in what is now called the Classic size. (Happy Planners also come in Big and Mini as well.)   Mine is called “This is Your Year.


I have been using Happy Planners for a year and a half now and I love how simple yet functional they are. I love that these planners use the ARC page system so pages can be added, removed, and made with ease. I own a punch which allows me to add whatever I’d like to my planner which makes holding lists, saving, invitations, and other important notes super easy.


One of the first things I do when starting a new planner is to go through my old planner month by month and add any reoccurring events to the new planner. Birthdays and Anniversaries don’t change  so you know when they will be.  I add items on sticky notes so that I can add it how I want when we get to that month, but the basic information is there so it is not forgotten.


My planner uses a vertical setup and each day has three boxes. I use the top box for my to dos, so this list is added to daily and as the week progresses. Some days will have many tasks, while others will only have a few, it really depends on what else I have going on.  What I love about this as opposed to an ongoing list, is that I can say “Hey, I need to do ___” and then look at my week and see where I will have the time to accomplish this task and put it on that day.  I find a major problem for those just starting out with planners is that they over schedule to dos which just leads up being upset over not accomplishing goals.

The second box is for scheduling. Here I mark my husband’s schedule for the week, any changes or unusual aspects of my own schedule, and our dinners for the week.  I incorporate meal planning into m weekly planning so that I know what I am doing when I go to the grocery store and we actually have something thawed and ready to go each day.  We don’t get home from work until 6pm and want to eat by 7pm so having a plan really helps make this happen successfully.

The third box in my planner is used for fun extras such as a short list, motivational stickers, or event information.  If we have a party or other social gathering I’d jot the details down here so that we know what is happening and when.  This area is also great for fitness tracking, food tracking, or information regarding school for yourself or children.  In the past I have used this section for planning out my blog postings however I now use Horizontal Happy Planner pages for that.  (more on that later)

 

When starting a new planner I like to add some of my favorite inserts so I am prepared and ready to go.

I add:
A few daily sheets
Lined paper for misc notes
Contacts sheet
Goal planning sheet


I also fill out the front page and make sure to add a phone number and email address in case the planner is lost.

 

Pages you may also consider:

Emergency contact information
Medical conditions/ medications
Clothing sizes for family members

Keep in mind that if your planner is lost, all information will be available to the finder. With this in mind, you may want to add a few items about your children and their school/teachers, however adding this information in a more secretive way that would not be obvious to a predator. Consider adding the teacher’s phone numbers or info as contacts without mention of the grade/school they teach at. Make these choices as your own discretion.

 

So this is the main planner I will be using for 2017 at home. Next week I will be sharing a little bit about my work planner and  I use it to organize my day, schedule employees, and keep on task at work.

 

Disclosure: This post contains affiliate links.  If you purchase an item via a link from the page I will receive a small commission.  This does not affect the price you pay for the item. In fact, I research the best prices for my site. Enjoy!- Amber D.

 

my-2017-planner-setup

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Weekly planning with my spouse

October 26
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One of the aspects of my planer experience that I get asked about often is how I incorporate my spouse into the planning process. Because we both have work schedules that vary and evenings activities to be aware of, I find that it is critical for my husband and I to get together before the week begins to sit down and line up our schedules. We write down each other’s work schedules, activities, events, and plan out meals. We also make it a priority to carve out time to spend together.

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Generally at the beginning of each month we mark our days off in our personal planners on the monthly pages. This way I can plan ahead for parties and events even if we haven’t gotten to that week. Generally these are just little tick marks or X’s to mark the days.  With this, if a friend asks if we can get together on a Friday at then end of the month I can quickly get a tentative answer. (I would then confirm this with my husband and then add to both of our planners.)

 

Around the middle of the month we glance at the following month to see if there are any days we need to request off in advance. We can then get this information to his boss for his schedule and I can work it into mine.

Alright, on to the week at hand.

When it comes down to the week ahead, first we confirm shift times. We should know the days that both of us work, but we both sometimes have different hours or evening work commitments. We record these as well and if we have holidays of other weird days. In my planner I just write down my husband’s initials next to his work schedule. Generally, I do not write down my schedule because I know it. I do write down if I have an important meeting, something that I need to bring in from home, or an unusual schedule change.. This way I see it before I go in to work.

Next we see if we want to add any plans to the week. A date night? Game night with friends? Trip to the beach? Now that we have out week put together we can see what time we have together and how we want to use it.

After we have our days down we pick meals. Generally, before we sit down I have a list of the meals that I plan to make and then we can write down which days we will have what. Due to our evening events we do not have dinner together at home every night, but we do like to have a plan for the nights we are home.  In the morning when I get up I check the evening’s meal plan and take out whatever is needed for that dinner. This is not a strict plan, but instead a guideline so that we don’t get home hungry with nothing thawed out. We do not write down lunch plans but do prep meals ahead for the week. Often these are just leftovers.

At this point we have a pretty solid plan for the week. I then take this information and fill in my personal tasks around our plans. I schedule my office hours for blogging and household tasks. One way to set yourself up for failure is to give yourself a massive to do list on a day you are booked for 15 hours. It’s just not possible and will leave you upset and defeated. Place those tasks on a shorter day or, better yet, spread them out over the week.

Lastly, I want to leave you with the reminder that this is all flexible. The plans we make change often, and we just have to roll with the punches. Having a basic idea for the week really helps me keep everything in sight, but you know what, some plans are meant to be broken.

My planner: Enjoy the Little Things Happy Planner

Charlie’s planner: An undated kit similar to this one.

We use the Happy Planner punch to add pages and notes to our planners.

Charlie’s stickers are all made by me using my Silhouette Cameo and sticker paper.

Disclosure: This post contains affiliate links.  If you purchase an item via a link from the page I will receive a small commission.  This does not affect the price you pay for the item. In fact, I research the best prices for my site. All printables are free. Enjoy!

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