Posted in Family, Goals, lists, Planning, Planning, Reflection, self-care, Vision, Writing

Managing Mondays – Finding Inspiration and Motivation

It is another week and I am eagerly sipping coffee after a short, brisk walk before the sun was brightly shining and heating up the pavement. Although it is September and many folks are starting to see signs of fall, those of us in Phoenix are still facing high temperatures around 100°. That means getting up early to beat the heat if you want to walk outside.

I put my weekly plan together last night while watching Sunday Night Football. It took longer than usual because I couldn’t take my eyes off of the fourth quarter madness as Green Bay made their way back to claim the win. Did you know I love football? No? Well, surprise! I had so much to think about this week because I have some lofty goals. I am working my side hustle hard this week and making some time to sharpen my saw. Me time includes reading because, well, to be honest I just haven’t been doing that much lately. And I have been looking at this book for weeks. I never put it on my bookshelf. No. I keep moving it from surface to surface through the house. That tells me how much I want to read it. So, I am planning for it. One chapter a day. I deserve that much me time. I know if I don’t write it in my plan I will keep putting it off and moving the book to, yet again, another surface. What book? This one…

The book is broken into 5 parts. My goal is to read a part each day and plan to add a little Badassery into my future planning. So excited!

My plans this week are pretty loose and functional with some key goals and important activities. The most important activities are the weekend. My son turns 23 on Sunday and I aim to make any free time we have as a family about him and his special day.

It seems lately that I am on the go and running on all cylinders from the moment I wake up until I crawl back into bed. I am making a point to have quality reading time to take my mind and my eyes away from screens. When I crawl into bed I want to sleep easy knowing my plans are clear and my mind is sharpened to be the absolute best person God made me to be.

I challenge each of you to plan the following into your week:

  • Sharpen your mental saw (read a book, learn something new, meditate)
  • Celebrate something or someone
  • Love everyone

Have a great week. Back to sipping coffee.

Posted in Family, Goals, lists, Planning, Planning, self-care, Vision, Writing

Managing Monday-Let’s Talk About Lists, Baby!

As I near the end of March, I start thinking about April. Planning does that to me. I see the next month coming as the pages turn. Ugh! My mind goes into overdrive. To control the chaos, I start thinking about monthly goals, important events and I make lists. Lists help me focus and allow me to be distracted by things in the process. My kids send me texts or come to the door of my room and interrupt. My dogs don’t care that I am in planning mode. If they want affection they get right in my face or sit on my foot. Whatever it takes. So lists are helpful because if I have written it down I won’t forget it. Well, that and it eases my mind.

What on earth do I need lists for? And why do I obsess over them? How many times have you gone to the store and forgotten something? Me? More than I care to admit. And hey, the lists on the phone work for some people but I love what I call a hybrid version of this.

Shopping lists

I have Google Home and I have my household conditioned to tell Google to add items to the shopping list. Best. Thing. Ever. Except for the fact that they cannot see the list so I end up with some items repeated three or four times. That annoys me when shopping from it. Since I meal plan before shopping, I tend to start that list on paper because that is my meal planning method. Pulling up the Home app and looking at the list created through the week to add the needed items is all part of the procesd. Honestly do I need four bottles of ranch dressing? My kids might think so but my budget would argue differently if it could speak. I consolidate to my paper list and chuckle every time I look at that Google list. My kids have jokes. They come up with crazy items. This last time the mystery item was “a stick.” My daughter confessed to this little gem. I mean go in the yard for that one. Obvious right?

Fun Wish lists

All through my planner, you will see wish lists and this is one of my favorites. Concerts and Festivals. Last night after dinner I was enjoying a glass of wine with the family (the legal age drinkers had wine too) and we were all playing music from our Spotify lists and talking about shows. I grabbed my handy wish list and asked which, if any, they would be interested in. What a great time we had looking at other events and finding common artists we all knew and liked.

Why do these go on a wishlist and not right to my calendar? Well, I have to admit that I am budget conscious and won’t put it on the calendar until I bought the tickets. I just don’t like disappointing myself in the reality on that monthly spread by marking something out. I like wishlists better. How about you?

Cleaning Lists

This is a re-try at an old method. My family is ignoring the list posted on the fridge. I suspect that is partly due to everyone’s crazy schedule. When I would like to see things get done seems more like a wishlist of disappointment. The dishes get done and the trash and recycle are taken out but everything else just gets ignored until I make a fuss. So, I am putting this back in my planner and not on the fridge. And when people are home, I will ask nicely and then track who complied. Then i will settle on doing it myself if it is really bugging me. Yesterday was a day where everyone asked what I would like done. So I guess the flow is changing and I will ride the ride.

I picked this format from my stash. I got it from Natalie Rebecca Design several months ago. I think I bought this from her Amazon Store. I am excited to switch it up and see how we get along with it.

Spring Cleaning

I love fellow bloggers who share great tips and tools on cleaning. In preparing for April, I decided this would be a great checklist as I plan my spring clean. De-Clutter Challenge. I actually started some of this last weekend on my own and was frustrated because I was in perfectionist mindset and spent far too long on each task. I went in search of a new method and ran across this saved in my favorites.

Master To Do List

I use a running to do list that follows me from day to day and sometimes week to week. It isn’t always the same format or paper style. This list sits in the middle of my weekly spread where I can note items while I am on conference calls, in meetings, and in those moments of meditation when there is a lot on my mind. The only way to give my mind rest at times is simply to stop and write it down.

Reading…I make lists for this too

I love this planner that Brenda Novak sent in her January Reader’s Box. My reading Vision in 2018 has been to read more. And I set a realistic goal of 2 books per month. Now, what has actually happened is that I have gotten to about 2 per week. Rediscovering this joy makes my heart sing. If you looked all over my house, there are books and my Kindle has a vast virtual library. So I don’t have to go far to make a pile like this.

Every month I have managed to build a pile of self-directed learning and pure enjoyable fiction. Did you notice Erma Bombeck in the pile? My mother always picked up those books. They were her version of the Reader’s Digest for the bathroom quiet time. Sometimes as a mother that is the only room where you tend to spend any amount of time with no interruptions. Well…let me have this moment of fantasy. I have been thinking about these books so I picked a couple up to revisit her wit and wisdom. She was always inspirational.

Oh and plots. Those Works in Progress are eating at me. I have an itch to write chapters after chapters. I am a seat of my pants writer and know I need to find a balance with some structure so this April, I am going to study on story plotting.

Managing Mondays and every day is built on the foundation of lists. What kind of lists do you make? Daily? Weekly? Wishes? Share in the comments. I would love to see pictures and read what you put on your lists.

Have a great week!

Posted in Goals, lists, Planning, Vision, Writing

Managing Mondays-How I Planned

On Sunday, whether sipping coffee, iced tea, or wine I plan out my week. At least as much as I can. Everyone has a process. And for me personally, there are three basic steps with a lot of flair.

How I get from step to step depends on my mood or something specific about the week that might help drive a theme.

This week launches the first day of spring so flowers sprung to mind. Spring colors are popping up all around the neighborhood and in my house as we switch up accents like pillows, kitchen towels, placemats, and flowers. Our neighborhood had planters and flower beds being refreshed with daisies and petunias. Oh the joy of Phoenix living! Many places are still getting snow and ice and we are already battling seasonal allergies as the smell of orange blossoms begins to fill the air.

Since the outside is blooming, I want my page to bloom too. So, I went through my vast supply of papers, washi, and stickers to celebrate the first day of spring.

With my garden of materials ready, I began the real first step of pulling my pages out of the planner. It really does make it easier to not have the binder discs in the way. This is really one reason why Happy Planners make me so happy. (Pun intended)

I wanted to demonstrate that buying stickers is not the only way to embellish a page. Pen and paper really can go a long way and can be more affordable in the long run. I may have to write a post on finding pretty paper on the cheap. Yeah?

One page I selected had cute items that would make great tips for my spread. So I cut them out.

And I saw some colored designs I thought would look great as blocks in my vertical spaves so I used my HP Classic Punch to make a few for my layout. (I often use a plastic template to make these. I will show you that another time. You don’t have to have a punch. I have only had mine for a couple of months and I love playing with it.)

I really love the spring colors so far. And the butterfly is simply sweet.

Now is when I get to have fun. I take all of these pieces and start placing them around until I love what I see. There is no science. Getting to a point that makes me smile is my goal.

And then I start gluing them in place. Now, this time I used a glue stick. If I want to feel less committed, I often use repositionable glue tape. Next time I will bring that along and show you how great that is.

All that is left to complete the Step (maybe I should call this a phase): Before Pen, is to get some washi tape. I have actually done some weekly spreads using only washi tape and pen. That can be fun and simple too.

Wow! I just love it so far. I did grab a few stickers to pop in some key events for the week. It wasn’t necessary but it was fun to sift through and find ones I thought tied into my theme. Now we are ready for the final phase with pen!

4 key focus blocks I tend to repeat are:

  • Goal for the week
  • Space to jot things foe next week
  • specific to do lists
  • Key appointments or meetings each day

Here is this week’s plan.

In one view I can see all of the most important tasks, events, and priorities for the week and by day. I have a place for important things to keep in mind for next week. I know when my work day really starts and whether I can roll out of bed and go straight to work after my morning quiet time or if I have to plan extra time to commute. And I love this little dashboard.

Do you plan your week? In a plannet? In your head? Would you like to see more of my weekly spread styles? I would love to hear from you on what I can share on Managing Mondays.

I hope your week is focused and rewarding.

Posted in food, Goals, health, Planning, Planning, travel, Vision

Planner for that: Focus on Fit and Healthy

Of course I am sipping coffee.

It was a rainy week. And today, the forecast calls for more. In Phoenix? Yup. Unusual to be sure! January is usually a rainy month and not February. So with the rain, I have been feeling lazy. No walking around the neighborhood. To be honest I am still recovering from some illness that took over my body while in Florida on business. I tell myself every morning that I feel better but by the end of the day, my body wants to rest. So I let it.

In January, I set simple goals.

And this post is a way of being real with myself and everyone else. I did not meet all my goals. Not in the pen and paper sense anyway. My fitbit does track some but my planner has a lot of white space left.

I started strong as you can see in week one.

And week two looks similar.

But the last half of the month looks like I fell off the wagon.

I didn’t completely fall off. I was definitely more focused on food. I did monitor my weight. I did work on sleeping better. I certainly focused on moving more. I just epically failed on tracking everything.

What do you do when you recognize you failed? Do you ask yourself why bother? Do you reset and start again.

Me? I sat in my chair and I looked at my vision board hanging on the opposite wall and I remembered that this is no New Year’s Resolution fail. This is a journey to a better me. It is where I want to be.

And the healthier me remembered that I should take time to reflect and reset.

After reflection, a vacation and a business trip have passed, I am picking right back up for the balance of February.

I am keeping the same goals and focus for the month and reminding myself to be kind as I reset.

The bonus to all of This? There is one. I may have not been perfect but I did come home from vacation and a business trip maintaining my weight within a pound. Oh…and as of today I lost two more.

Perfection is nowhere on my vision board. Loving myself and focusing on self-care in easy manageable ways one day at a time is. Let’s see how I do for the next 30ish days.

How are you doing with your plans and vision? I would love to hear. Please comment and share.

Posted in lists, packing, Planning, travel, vacation

Seriously…What to pack?

Saturday and Sunday I started packing, I organized myself and got down to brass tacks. I am sipping coffee and reviewing my lists. Because, well, do any of you live in New Orleans? Southern Florida, Cozumel?

I think I may need to adjust my plan. I see lots of rain and plain old chilliness on some days in the next two weeks.

I did the laundry, got the suitcase out of the closet and checked the weather forecasts. Then I put only definite items in the case and set it aside. Because I decided today was the day to look at the forecast one more time and make final adjustments.

Is packing such a process for you? I am still trying to avoid cranky. Cold and wet cranky is like a wet blanket. I think I need a couple of sweatshirts and sweaters in the mix. And a beanie and gloves to layer with my jackets.

I saw this post from a friend on social media saying that the day we sail out of NO LA will be chilly. To this Phoenician that high in the mid-50s will feel icy. I might look like I am heading to Alaska as we sail away but I assure you I am hoping that our captain puts the pedal to the metal. (What is the ship speed equivalent? Anyone know? Full Speed Ahead? Or is my Trekkie-ness showing with that one?)

Anyway. I never really worried about forgetting any thing because my lists have been ready and I will follow them. The dilemma is making adjustments. A reader suggested some capsule bloggers who are masters at packing and wardrobe optimisation. I may watch a few tonight. If anything resonates for me to recommend I will share before I set sail and let you know how it worked. For now, I have some coffee to sip.

Any last minute tips? Any suggestions to add to my “while in NOLA” list?

Posted in Planning

My Dilemma: What To Pack?

Have you ever just thrown the suitcase on the bed, started grabbing random things and stuffing them in the night before you leave? I have. Those were times when I got where I was going and forgot the toothbrush, the important pair of shoes, shampoo, or the one article of clothing needed for that theme night. And these mishaps changed my mood. Instantly. I wasted time in search of what I forgot in towns I didn’t know. I had to pay gift shop prices which translated to less money for fun and food. And, well, made me cranky. No one wants to be around “cranky” on vacation. Do you? So my dilemma for this trip is avoiding packing pitfalls and making sure I have everything for two trips, business and pleasure, so I am sure to leave my cranky self at home.

I am sipping coffee and pondering what I need to pack. I will be in travel mode for 14 days. Being away from home for two weeks makes me think I need to pack the whole house. Umm. Really? No. But it can seem that way and become overwhelming. I don’t think packing is fun. It is painful to me.
I will endure a little pain for my favorite annual vacation, The Rock Boat. I need to be prepared for my heaven on earth. This floating music festival will be sailing out of New Orleans at the start of Carnival/Mardi Gras season. I get to spend time with hundreds of friends I have made over the past 18 years. And this year is going to be fun because we are headed to New Orleans early. So more to pack and more to plan. Knowing that I have events, theme nights, and a business trip on the flip side means a lot to consider for my luggage. Some people go all out on the theme nights with cruise wear by day and costumes by night. I used to. I decided a few years back to be selective and simplify. So glad I did. Makes packing even more of a struggle and I have never been the girl who will leave a music set in the middle of fun to go change into a costume. Many years the costume stayed in the luggage. Why pack it? One year I wore a pirate costume that was fun and comfortable. Another year I dressed up in a formal dress and heels and wanted to trade the darn thing with pajamas within thirty minutes. That was one of my last minute packing trips and I didn’t pack an optional pajama or extra clothes. Woops! So I sucked it up and was cranky. And..I digress. Back to the plan.

I looked at my weekly spread this morning to think about my day. And I realized I was supposed to start my packing list. Again, woops! This morning I reset and here I go into planning mode while grabbing coffee cup number two.

When? Where? What?

I have to ask myself these three questions. Because 14 days is a long time and having theme nights, meetings, three flight days and events along the way can seem daunting to a planner. So I mapped it out. I will continue filling in the details a little each day. I need to look at the weather forecast. So many climates to consider!

Study before the big list is final…

There are things I don’t need to pack. Every cruise cabin and hotel room include amenities. So I will double check the sites of my hotels to hopefully leave home the blow dryer, the travel iron, and anything else I can scratch off the list.

What do I think I need?

Well I certainly do not need the kitchen sink! No matter what I think. But the list I have so far is long and I am sure there may be more items. And some things may get eliminated because as I really begin to pack I ask myself the following questions:

  • Will I use this hat/shoes/spray/essential oil (insert any item) every day or more than one time?
  • Do I really need this?
  • Is there anything I have already packed that works instead?
  • Can I wait to buy this in Florida for my business trip? Can it be expensed? Can I order it on Amazon to be delivered to the hotel?
  • Can I send this to the ship laundry and use again later in the trip? (I get free laundry service as a frequent cruiser…maximize the benefits!!!)

The last thing I need is 25 t-shirts for the 10 days of casual wear. And if I don’t have room for small essentials like toothpaste or deodorant that is a problem! I just invited cranky me on vacation.

As you noticed on my weekly plan, I am packing at the end of the week. I will tell you how it went and show you my lists and my bags to see where I land with these plans.

Do you have any sage advice? What am I forgetting? What should I not bother packing? Do you have a packing list you use? Comment below on anything that helps you (and me) get ready for travel.

Posted in Crafting, Family, Planning, Vision

Crafty Corner

I learned in the past few years that I love to craft. So as I sip coffee this rainy morning (so rare in Phoenix), I look at my Vision Board. Three areas tie to this:

  • Relationships
  • Creativity
  • Home

I want to encourage myself and others. I want to be frugal, and I want to get crafty.
Over the holidays I made holiday décor for my home, holiday cards and gift tags. It was fun and I enlisted help from my girls that turned into fun together time watching Hallmark Channel.

in 2018 I am determined to do more and share here inspiration, craft fails and wins, and ways to faithfully and frugally plan this fun into daily life.

Here are some things I made in December.

I need to be better organized and devise a plan. I have unfinished projects as well.

Guess I need to start making lists.

January is my organizing, goal setting, and reset my focus month. So today, I am starting here:

Each week I will come back into this virtual crafty corner and hope that I inspire your creativity in posts from my Crafty Corner. You know I will be sipping coffee then too.