Creative Organization

13 on Thursday: 13 Reasons I’m Excited About My New Erin Condren Planner

Recently I purchased my very first Erin Condren planner, and I posted on social media about it. Instantly I had people commenting to tell about why they love it, and how much it was going to rock my world. I’ve gotta tell you, I’ve had it just a few days, and I’m already pretty stoked!

Erin-Condren-Box

1. It comes in a pretty box

Forgive the smudgies… it did come through the mail, which tends grime things up a bit. But isn’t it nice getting pretty mail? I love any company that makes me happy before opening their stuff… like Ipsy* or Photojojo.

2. Great customer service

I’d heard that there are bonuses that they give to first time orders… but I signed up on her list ages ago, and no longer have my code. So I emailed them, and within 24 hours they’d already gotten back to me with the info I needed.

3. Arrived reasonably quickly

I used to hear horror stories about how long it would take to arrive. Apparently that is no longer the case, unless you’re ordering from overseas. Yay!

Amanda-Howell

4. It’s got my name on it

There’s just something about personalized items…

5. And a pretty cover (that I picked)

Isn’t that lace pretty?

6. You can switch covers

Not that I really think I will, but it’s nice to know I have the option. 😀

EC-Stickers2

7. It came with pretty stickers

I love that it even comes with a sticker to remind you to vote… it’s a patriotic planner! 😀

8. You can order more stickers on Etsy

Go type Erin Condren stickers into the search box of Etsy, and you’ll be met with a smörgĂ„sbord of options. Look out for an upcoming post where I tell you what I settled on!

9. You can pick between colorful pages or black & white

I went with black and white, because I know that between stickers, gel pens, and washi tape, I’ll have plenty of color in there. But if you prefer to have a color background, and write in black, they’ve got that option too!

Give-Your-All

10. It has inspirational watercolor-style pages

I love this so much…. any planner that has pretty little pick-me-ups through out it, will definitely grab my attention. It’s one of the things that drew me to Happy Planners too!

11. There’s a big community on Instagram

Okay this is a more minor benefit, but still… when you post pics to Instagram, it’s nice to know that there are thriving hashtags in place.

12. There’s a monthly calendar AND a weekly 2-page spread

I love the ability to write my very “at a glance” sort of things in the month, and then dive into the details for the week!

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13. Plenty of writing space

I love that it has lots of room to write, and the paper is thick enough that I can use gel pen. I have run into issues with that, in other planners.

And now for the fun part!

13OnThursday-Pinterest

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Why I Use More Than One Calendar (and Some of My Favorites)

In recent videos, it’s been mentioned that I have more than one calendar. Of course, when I make a video I can’t see the viewers faces, but I always imagine that my viewers are a bit amused upon hearing this.

Multiple calendars?

Isn’t that kind of crazy?

Isn’t it hard enough to keep up with one?

Life is Messy Planners
Life is Messy Planner

So here’s how I do it. I have an annual calendar that’s on my wall. My favorite at the moment is NeuYear*. It’s a pretty decent size, so the squares are large enough for me to write down a holiday, topic to blog on. I can also use the little rectangular post-its on the calendar. This is my overall view of upcoming posts, so I can glance at it, and know what I’m doing on my blog.

I have my calendar pages that I’ve printed out…. simple ones from CoSchedule get used for plotting my editorial calendar. Yes, I know I just mentioned blog posts on my NeuYear calendar, but I intensely dislike doing the actual planning on the great big calendar. I like to plan, chilling on my bed, with a big glass of peach sweet tea… and then transfer those to the big calendar.

My pretty calendar pages are from Mayi Carles’ Life Is Messy Planners* (seen above), and I use those for mapping out birthdays, crochet projects, and basically anything that’s not my editorial calendar.

Another pretty calendar printable I’ve recently come across are these gorgeous floral calendar pages from FTD. And then can be printed either in horizontal (desktop) or vertical (wall) format.

Printable Floral Calendar - FTD
Printable Floral Calendar – FTD

Last of all, I use Google calendars. Any coaching goes here, regardless of whether I’m coaching or being coached. Any Skype/Google Hangout dates go here. Any webinars go here. Any Twitter chats that I attend on a recurring basis go here. My church’s calendar is also synced up to Google calendars, so I know if I have a choir meeting coming up, or any other kind of team meeting.

So at the beginning of the week, I quickly scan each calendar… I acquaint myself with any appointments, birthdays, or blog posts that I need to be aware of. Then as each night closes out, I write up my to-do list, and usually I recall the big things I needed to remember. But I do quickly peruse my calendars just to make sure.

I also make sure that those meetings on my Google calendars alert me the day before (comes in handy for my to-do lists), and 30 minutes before the actual event (perfect for busy moms).

*Anything with an asterisk next to it, means that it’s a referral link, so yes I get a wee bit pitched back my way, which of course towards gummy bears & world domination.

What are your favorite calendars?

 

I’m Going on a Bit of a Blogging Adventure

UnicornDocBrown2
I’m going on a bit of a blogging adventure, and I’d love for you to come along! For a while now, I’ve been considering writing a blog post on the daily (ish). I say “ish” because we all know life happens, and I feel like adding an “ish” takes the pressure off, and makes this more fun. Which it should be!

I’m inspired by a lot of people who write daily blog posts, including the wonderful Modern Mrs. Darcy. Another favorite of mine, April Bowles-Olin, did a 365 blog challenge back several years ago, and it was great enjoyed by her readers.

CheekyZoom

Don’t worry, I won’t send you an email every day (unless you want that, and then I’ll make it happen. 🙂 ), but I’d love for you to come hang out with me as often as you can.

Some of the things I’ll be blogging about are for your business: email, social media, organization, planning, etc.

But for those of us who work from home, our lives are more than just business. So other things I’ll chatting about include: recipes, reviews, and my personal creative endeavors. But more than that, I want share ideas for you to try too, and I’d love to hear back from you. What worked? What didn’t? What do you want to see me write about?

Leave me a comment if you’re coming along for the ride! (Also, if you have anything you’d love to see me blog about please share that in the comments too!)

Create A Command Center

One of the best things you can do to maintain sanity in your family schedule, is to create a command center. Come on in, and find out how!

Today is Week 2, Day 3 in a 5 week series called Strategies for Success. These posts will drop on Monday, Wednesday, and Friday. This week we’re talking about Family Communication, and today’s topic is how to reduce schedule stress-outs by creating a centrally located command center. If you want to make sure you catch all of the posts in this series, you can subscribe in the sidebar.

Okay, so on Monday we chatted about keeping the family in the loop. Easier said than done right?

One of my favorite methods for reining in the calendar chaos, is my creating a family command center. There are lots of different ways to create a command center, and you’re only limited by your budget & your imagination.

Some possibilities include:

  • A corkboard & thumbtacks
  • A designated wall-space and Post-Its
  • A wall calendar (or 3)

Or you can combine those ideas and really get funky with it. Ha!

Right now, my organizational system is on a combination of the Cozi app (more on that Friday), and my Me and My Beautiful Ideas Planner, and to-do lists.

The Happy Planner from MAMBI (Me & My Big Ideas) is one of my favorite planners ever!

If you’ve read my blog post on my to-do lists, you already know I use them to keep up with my various responsibilities. Recently I started using them on my oldest daughter, so she can keep track of her assignments as well. I tried it as an experiment, expecting her to fight me, but to my surprise she loved having a list “just like mom”. I guess you never know what kids are gonna get a kick out of!

Alright, just in case the command center is a new idea for you, I want to leave you with some extra brainstorming power.

 

Do you have a command center? What’s your favorite way to create one?

 

When Crap Happens

Ever have a day where things just don't seem to line out, and everything's getting in your way? Yup! Me too! Here are a few ideas on how to deal with that.

Today is Week 1, Day 3 in a 5 week series called Strategies for Success. These posts will drop on Monday, Wednesday, and Friday. This week we’re talking about Time Management, and today’s topic is how to handle things when life throws monkey wrenches your way. If you want to make sure you catch all of the posts in this series, you can subscribe in the sidebar.

Oh dear. My mother would not approve of the title of this post. (Sorry Mom!)

Seriously though, we’ve all had a day like that, right? Let me give you an example of a day that went horrendously wrong for me.

I was awakened by my phone ringing. Normally I don’t answer numbers I don’t know, especially if they’re calling that early in the morning. But in this case, it was a local number, so I went ahead. It turned out to be my landlady asking if I’d had any overnight company. She’d found a homeless woman in her shed, that they think slept there. Upon being busted, the woman told her that she’d stayed with me, and we were having a garage sale, and I’d I sent her to scope out the goods.

Uhmmmm negative Ghostrider, on all counts.

From there my husband went to test for a fire station, and missed the next phase by only 3 points. At this point we were super frustrated, but I thought I’d get some crocheting done.

Guess again.

The baby was teething, and feverish, and cranky. To make matters worse, just as I finally soothed her to sleep someone pounded on our door, causing me to startle, and her to wake up. I left my room and my middle daughter was yelling that there was a “pa-pleese” officer at the door.

As it turned out, he’d been cruising by our neighborhood and spotted the electrical spool we use as a table on our porch, and wanted to know where we’d gotten it.

Imagine me doing the Jim Carrey “Alrrriiiigggghhty then” about now.

Crap happens. And okay, so sometimes the day just isn’t recoverable. But this is when having a to-do list comes in super handy for me. If things throw me off balance, and I get scattered, I can come back to that list and remind myself what I should be doing.

If you’re feeling crazy disconnected or scattered, another favorite of mine is to stop and have a dance break. Some people would say to take this moment and breathe, but I’ve just never really been a palm-press and ommmm sort of person. Soooo dance break?

How do you handle it when life throws a monkey wrench in things?

Working Around Weird Schedules

Day 1 of the Strategies for Success blog series is Working Around Weird Schedules

Today is the first day of a 5 week series called Strategies for Success. These posts will drop on Monday, Wednesday, and Friday. This week we’re talking about Time Management, and today’s topic is weird schedules. If you want to make sure you catch all of the posts in this series, you can subscribe in the sidebar.

 

A “typical” day in the life of a unicorn wrangler…

7:30am – My daughter comes and asks if she can wake up (we instituted this policy because she likes to get up at 4-5am and then just wreak havoc, lol)

7:45am – The toddler wakes up and demands a new bottle, and to get out of the playpen.

8:00am – They come downstairs dressed, and my oldest gets them breakfast.

8:30am – They’re done eating and getting cleaned up. They want to play downstairs until Daddy gets home… okay.

9:00am – Daddy’s home and ushers them upstairs. If it’s a school day, my oldest comes and gets her school stuff and sits near me. If it’s not a school day, Phillip (my husband) entertains himself, and I go burrow up in my room to work.

11:30am – We start prepping lunch.

12:00pm – Lunch.

1:15pm – Kids go upstairs for rest time, Phillip’s napping, and what I do depends on if the baby will sleep, or if I have a client call that afternoon.

1:30pm – If the baby is napping, I’m napping. If the baby is awake, I’m either on social media or taking notes on webinars.

4:30pm – I go Scope usually around this time.

5:00pm – Dinnertime.

8:00pm – Kids go to bed and we head to the bedroom. Phillip goes to sleep, and I either get to work (I do try to not to do this as much anymore) or I crochet & watch TED Talks on Netflix. And by TED Talks I mean Grey’s Anatomy or Vampire Diaries. True story, I used to watch TED Talks, but I had to stop because Phillip would get so interested he’d forget he was supposed to be sleeping.

And from there it’s a series of swapping between working/crocheting, feeding the baby, getting kids settled and back in bed, changing diapers, getting bottles, etc., until 11:15pm when I wake Phillip up to go to work. Then I go back to the swapping, but with sleeping thrown in there somewhere.

Oh, and I feel that I should point out that all of these times have a big fat ISH on the end of them. There’s nothing precise when you have toddlers in the house.

So how do you work around the weird schedules?

  1. Figure out what parts of the schedule are non-negotiable. My husband has to go to work. That doesn’t change, regardless of what else does.
  2. Figure out what traditions you want to hold on to. Taco Tuesday? Family night on Friday? Put it on the calendar.
  3. Are there things that get done on certain days? Do you always go grocery shopping on pay day? What day is trash day? Do you attend church? Put those things down.
  4. Then, work everything else around those things. The beauty of working from home is that we can do crazy things like that. If we want to spend time in the morning with our kids, and then work in the evenings while they sleep, we can do that. If we want to take the day off for swimming and snow cones, we can do that too.
First step to a schedule that works, is determining what parts MUST happen. Click To Tweet

Next week, I’ll talk about some tools you can use to keep up with the family schedules! 🙂

What are some of your non-negotiables or family traditions that get penciled in on your calendar?