Wednesday, July 15, 2015

Planner News.

This summer has been a summer of many changes in the Newkirk household. 

First of all, I started the KonMari process right when school was out and pared down our clothing, books, paper, and other miscellaneous items throughout the first few weeks of summer.  I am looking forward to doing one more big "purge" before the school year starts, but already the house feels so much more "light & airy".

I also started the Whole30 eating program and began to focus on getting healthy.  I'm still doing the Whole30 and getting ready to begin the 30-day Shred (Jillian Michaels) and the Couch 2 5K walking/jogging plan.

With these improvements in the house and in my lifestyle, I felt I needed to try and find a good way to maintain these changes.  

I started googling lots of organizational strategies and I landed on "bullet journaling".  It worked for the month of June, but I realized that with the way I was doing it, I would only be able to fit all of my information for about 2-3 months in one notebook, which isn't practical.

So I started research the Erin Condren planner.  I found some YouTube videos that gave me some ideas for implementing the bullet journaling method into the EC planner and I loved it.

So I ordered one.

Here it is!

The same day I got the planner in the mail, I got some fun accessories as well.  I had ordered some washi tape from Amazon and picked up some awesome pens from Target.

I started working away to figure out the best way to make my planner work for me!

Here is how I'm using the planner right now.

This is a blank spread of a month.  I'm using this for our budget.  I put our income and expected expenses on here so I can pay bills on specific dates and mark them off as they clear the bank.

I used washi tape to mark off the parts of the page that show the previous and following month, so I can make sure I keep some of those weekly expenses straight (like daycare and fuel).

To the right of each monthly page, there is a little "goals" section.

This is my "monthly to do" list.

I fill this out every time something comes up that I need to get done by the end of the month.  I've also started adding items to future months, such as "schedule session for ___" and "gather tax items".  This is where the bullet-journaling comes in.  In a bullet journal, you have a monthly to do list that you pull items from daily.  I'm doing the same thing in my EC planner.

Here is this week's spread.  There are two separate options for how you want your weekly pages to look...a vertical spread or this version, the horizontal calendar.  I'm not sure if i would stick with the horizontal weekly spread in the future.  I think I'll know more as the year goes on and maybe in 2017, I'll try the vertical pages.

On the left side of the page, I put appointments and special notes.  I also enjoy using washi tape to denote special events and just for decoration.  I use post-it notes for things I'm unsure of and write in pencil if there is a chance an event might change.

On the right side of the page, there is a little box that is just open.  I've been using that to be my "to do" list.  Depending on the time I have available for that day, I add 3-5 items that MUST get done.  This method has caused me to really evaluate what I'm able to get done in one day and it makes me feel pretty accomplished at the end of each day, when I have actually marked off the things I set out to do!  

You might notice some little labels with eight jars on them.  I created some "hydrate" stickers to remind me to drink 8 glasses of water every day!  I haven't done the best at keeping up with them, but I think this will be a huge asset to my health journey during the school year when I try hard to drink water all through the school day.

You can also see some of the stickers I'm using to denote certain events.  The washi tape on the right side of the page is showing when the girls and I will be on vacation with my mom later this week. 

Here is a week that only has school events on there right now.  I am planning to decorate each week the Sunday night before the week starts.  

I'll admit that I am still tracking all appointments on my Google Calendar that syncs with my cell phone.  I really love this app and appreciate the reminders it sends me throughout the day.

However, I have still been putting the appointments on my EC planner, as a reminder of the things I need to prepare for those specific events.

I purchased a cheap menu planner from Michael's this week and am using it in conjunction with this planner.  I think keeping my meals separate from what I've got going on here is going to work for right now.  Maybe if I move to the vertical planner with four separate boxes on each day eventually, I'll start meal-planning right in there.  We shall see!

It's a work in progress, but I am LOVING it so far!  <3

Wednesday, July 1, 2015

Halfway There.

July 1st.

We're basically halfway through summer.

Less than a month and I'll most likely be back at school, preparing for the school year.

I've gotten a lot accomplished over the last month and a half.

Some of you might remember the book I read in March called "The Life-Changing Magic of Tidying Up", by Marie Kondo.

Well, I read the book in March and didn't really get to "start the process" until school got out.  I'm happy to report that over a three-week time period, I stuck to the plan and "KonMari'd" my whole house.  I have over 30 tubs of items ready to be priced for a garage sale and I sent over 15 big trash bags of trash to the dumpster.

I will admit that now that I'm done, I'm getting ready to go back through the categories one more time before school starts.

It's absolutely addictive.

I've also started the Whole30 program.  My mom and I are on Day 17 of this way of eating and we are feeling great!

The Whole30 is explained in a book called "It Starts with Food", by Dallas & Melissa Hartwig.

The book was so enlightening and I was motivated to start the program immediately, mainly to hopefully help my mom with her joint pain management, due to her diagnosis of fibromyalgia.  It is helping and I'm praying she can stick to it for another 13 days!

After I started getting our house in order and focusing on my health, I began to research a management tool that would allow me to continue my steps in the right direction and that's when I found "bullet-journaling".

Bullet journaling seemed to finally be a planner system that I could make work for me.  I made my own bullet journal and quickly realized that for someone with three kids, a teaching job, a photography business, lots of involvement in the Church, and many other responsibilities...a traditional bullet-journal probably wasn't going to cut it.  When I filled out my first bullet journal, I had already used one notebook just for June & July.

I started searching YouTube for a way to incorporate the bullet journal method with a different type of planner and I found so many great videos.

That's when I decided to dive in head-first and order a new planner.

I ended up with this design and cannot wait for it to arrive this Friday!

Looking forward to sharing how I personalize my EC planner to work for my life over the next few weeks!  Look for a video in the near future.

Have a happy and safe 4th of July, friends!