Goals · lists · packing · Planning · Planning · travel · vacation

Managing Mondays…and A week of one event after another

Sipping coffee this morning I thought about how busy this week was really going to be and I spent the quiet time focused on meditating instead of making lists. Afterall, I deserve to gift myself a bit. Tuesday is my birthday!

Weeks ago I told my offspring that the only gifts I wanted were ones that included their time working on projects around the house…indoor and outdoor beautification and organization. I am happy to see a little improvement each day as these small to big projects and various phases getting completed. So far so good. The goals are aggressive so the timeline was extended to the first week of June.

I love birthdays.

This week is also the last week of school for my youngest. So early release days and finals make the week hectic. As a working mom I am negotiating pick ups for the early release days. I truly am very blessed to be surrounded by a village of family and friends who help out on crazy weeks like this one.

I have work partners who are in town this week so I have a dinner out with them while they visit. I made sure I batch cooked a few meals yesterday to be easily warmed up for lunch or dinner. Good thing too since I got the invite to dinner on Wednesday very last minute.

Thursday includes an all day meeting and an appointment for my daughter. That day could be ripe with conflicts since it also the last day of school with an early noon release. Did I mention how blessed I am to have a village of support? I just need to note who is who and when so I don’t get confused or set false expectations with anyone. I cannot imagine life without my planner on weeks like this one. How would I ever keep it straight otherwise? And then there is the all day meeting…so of course there will be a lit of notes and action items. Insert a half page for a list and notes.

This coming weekend is Phoenix Comic Fest and as much as we want to attend all four days, we are only attending on Saturday.

Insert Checklist! This is a work in progress. Planning Cosplay and a survival kit for a day long convention requires planning and preparation.

But that’s not all…next week is Vacation so….I need to start making the packing list.

I want to keep it simple so that throughout the week I can add to my list and pack whenever I have a window of time. I know most will be last minute. That’s the beauty of the lists. I have a place to note down whatever I think of whenever it comes to mind. I can worry less and enjoy the busy birthday week.

So, let the list making and note-taking begin. I think I am ready for the week. Just keeping my coffee fresh and my planning time quiet and productive.

Have a great week!

Family · Goals · Planning

Managing Mondays-Busy Days with Lofty Goals Await

This week is full of fun and I have a lot to do around all of it.

  • Live Music
  • Movie
  • Mother’s Day
  • Work
  • Appointments
  • Writing
  • Home Organization and Cleaning

Will I get it all done? I have a plan. And I decided to color code my days with Work in pink and Home in Green.

This is a new idea. With so much going on I thought the segregation would help my mind focus and fight the clutter. Let’s see how it works.

If nothing else I love the symmetry it lends to the design. This layout is using 100% Happy Planner brand products. Well, and a pen.

I love busy weeks yet when I start laying out the week I get a bit anxious. The events are non-negotiable. Time with friends at movies or live music shows are Aces to me. I live for moments that make memories. And I am well rested and camera ready. By the time Sunday comes around I will definitely love the fact that Mother’s Day means I get to take the day off. No chores from this Mom! And my son gave me a ticket to the live show on Sunday which will make the day the best ever. Ending a week eating at my favorite restaurant, enjoying live music that I love all on Mother’s Day means my blessings are truly overflowing.

With a week ending in so much joy I already feel motivated to rock this week at home and at work. I know I can get it all done and more.

Back to sipping my coffee before I tackle it all!

Goals · lists · Planning · Vision

Reset – When Plans Need More Plans

Some weeks my planner needs more than the weekly spread. Honestly, I take a lot of notes on random pieces of paper. I make time during email blocks or between my many meetings to capture highlights on planner notes pages.

I also like to repurpose daily pages like the one below. Washi tape and stickers are by best planner friends. Truly they are!

My notes aren’t always pretty but I know what they mean when I come back to them later and ideally that’s the purpose they serve.

I have never shared and end of week spread so I thought I would.

I love seeing the check marks showing what I planned and accomplished each week.

But I often end up with notes and thoughts tucked into each week. Sometimes it is a to do list of sorts. Or just random ideas I want to look back at when I have time.

Every week I make some type of cleaning list. This is my latest favorite because it has daily, weekly and a focus area. I also love the cleaning tips and supply list. I delegate these tasks to the family via texts and check it off when I see it is done.

I love these daily pages for very busy days. I don’t always use the time slots unless I feel I need it because I am going from room to call to room to call and it helps me keep track where I am headed next when my laptop is closed to be respectful of the discussions in the rooms.

How about you? Do you have lots of pages in your planner? Any favorite formats or modifications? I love modified pages and would love to see ideas of what’s in between the pages.

Happy planning and many blessings!

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.

Family · Goals · lists · Planning · Vision · Writing

Unboxing – Erin Condren Haul

Every once in awhile I come home to a box waiting for me. It feels like Christmas.

So, here is the latest box from Erin Condren! Isn’t that a pretty box? The word “enjoy!” and the pretty design lend a subtle clue that EC has blessed my step. I kinda dig when the box does not blatantly display a company name.

And when I saw this pastel beauty next to my front door I was a giddy girl. Ready to see what is inside? Me too!

Let’s open it!

The enjoy! theme is mirrored inside. I just adore when I order items and they come packaged like a gift. Personal touches is a trend that big box retailers miss.

When I was browsing the site I wanted a new notebook (Her planning system is not what I use these days) and was hoping I could find something with my words for 2018. This little gem ties nicely to Strength. So I jumped on in and customized to colors that made me happy. That is the fun of Erin Condren. You can personalize with your name and change the colors within her palatte range. And the paper quality is amazing! Let’s tour this notebook.

The cover is laminated so the inside can be used over and over again with the wet erase markers.

Instead of the standard lined notebook, I opted for the productivity notebook with a list margin. We all know i love making lists! I haven’t decided what I will do yet with this notebook. I know it is going to be for writing projects. And as a lover of lists I thought I could brainstorm in bullets or list what I might need to research.

The notebooks are filled with quotes and reminders of positivity which make me smile when I use them. I need more positivity. How about you?

Did I mention I love the paper? Made in the U.S.A. and a nice thick paper that won’t tear easily. I am in love and can’t wait until I have a block of time to play.

What else is in the box?

These gift tags were a freebie. I realized I shop regularly with EC and prefer online versus going to Staples for their limited inventory. And I never signed up for the EC Insider program. I finally took the plunge for the perks. And as a thank you they sent me these! What fun! Watch for a post in the not so distant future when I embellish with them.

Markers! I have to hide these from my teenager. I really do. Not only because she would likely borrow them with no plan to return but because I have been organizing in my office in my spare time and my marker/pen/highlighter collection is already put of hand. These are my first ever from EC. They were 15% off and the Wet Erase are needed for some other items in the box. And those are…

These laminated beauties were also on sale. I wanted to see how they work with any and all spiral notebooks. And I wanted to explore laminated or permanent reusable inserts for planners would work for me. Now you know why I needed the wet erase markers. I just love these colors! Watch for some future blogs where I plan with them. I am so excited.

Oh…that isn’t all!

I love pen holders that can be stuck in journals, notebooks, and planners. And these were on sale making them under $2 each. I have never tried EC holders. I have several from Happy Planner and Michael’s but they are not plain and simple. I am into the thought of the pen holder blending in and the pen of choice standing out.

And the Coil Clip Connectors allow you to put anything inside the spiralbound notebook, journal, or planner. A custom-made dashboard or checklist might be good to pop into one…and I have always wondered what to use. So I grabbed a couple to play around with and maybe share with my readers.

Last…but certainly not least. I love these daily dots sets.

And I have been meaning to play around with this on one of my planners. I cannot wait to show you how. I will also compare these to other daily dots that I have found via other retailers.

All in all I am happy with my new unboxing. The notebook feels so personal and was definitely a treat for me. I did pay full price for it. It is okay to splurge every once in a while. All of the accessories were on sale so I went a little crazy while still staying under my budget for my splurge. Don’t you love when that happens?

Watch for some projects coming up in the next couple of months as I put these to good use and compare EC products to other brands.

Have you ever purchased Erin Condren products? The company has quite a selection and not just paper and planners. The colors and desings change regularly throughout the year. I tend to place an order every quarter if one of the new designs catches my eye.

What do you think of Erin Condren products?

Family · lists · Planning

Blockbuster is so not Netflix-Not To Me

While standing at a register buying a cup of coffee in a local Circle K a couple of weeks ago, my cashier said to a nearby employee, “It isn’t like going to Blockbuster anymore.”

How long has it been since I had even heard any reference to that storefront? Yep, you guessed it. I eavesdropped. Even better, I jumped right into the conversation and realized I missed that place. Or the experience of the place. This past weekend when my family and I were browsing all things streaming through our Amazon Firestick, we couldn’t seem to pick anything to agree on. Frankly, I got annoyed by the browsing along with the respectively bored faces . We kept saying no. Browsing by topics we vetoed one after another. Nothing seemed new. At first I thought it was my desire to grab the remote and manage the search process. We through one title after another when everything seemed like the same old same old. Then Blockbuster came to mind again. I asked my son who is 22 years old if he remembered going to Blockbuster. He recalled a vague memory and it made me a bit sad. Especially when I realized my daughter, a mere teenager definitely seemed clueless. Game Stop is probably the closest comparison and she loves that place.

Blockbuster, and the experience it offered, seems so lost on the next generations tuned into the more common addiction to satellite tv, cable, On Demand, binge watching the seemingly limitless streaming services.

Think I am Crazy?

Maybe. I miss going to Blockbuster. I miss walking the aisles of New Releases and other movie sections looking to see something I might have missed seeing or an old favorite to see again. I miss the conversations my friends and family and I would have about movies we loved or hated. We reminisced about who we experienced movies with, some of the crazy covers, the actors, the soundtracks all while we picked cases up and held them in our hands. Date nights were fun because you learned each other’s likes and dislikes. And sometimes you talked to strangers who offered recommendations or chimed in on conversations. How about times when you would browse alone and pick something and meet your co-conspirator in another aisle with a suggestion or two in hand? Wasn’t that fun, like a scavenger hunt?

I loved picking out 2 or 3 movies, debating to a point where some were mutual selections and others were compromises. It was energetic, frustrating, fun, disappointing, and great quality time together.

I loved the chance to pick up used DVDs on the cheap to add to my personal collection. I miss the overpriced snacks, drinks, toys and collectibles that were perfectly placed like a concession stand as you waited in line to buy or rent the movies. Oh and the games too!

Why did we let this part of “date night, family night, friend night…whatever night” fade to black like the end of so many great movies we wished would keep on going?

Netflix? Yeah. We picked something to watch together. But I don’t think we all wanted to watch it. Some of us fell asleep. There was no build up for what was next. We never spend 30 minutes browsing titles saving and queuing two or three movies and devising a game plan on what to watch first. We aren’t dividing and conquering in the virtual aisles either. We did search for snacks in the house. But the selection wasn’t as great. They were free.

Streaming Better Options

Sipping the last of this cup, I miss the Blockbuster experience and for the life of me, I just cannot think of a plan to bring that to life with the unlimited streaming options I have available with those around me. Is it because we aren’t engaged physically? Is the search and browse method limiting? I remember walking through Blockbuster many Fridays in a row and feeling like there was nothing to get. I also remember going in expecting to get our hands on a New Release only to find all the copies were claimed. I kept going back though. Redbox and Netflix became the newer things. Redbox can simulate the debates and the sale tion is much smaller at the kiosks. But still full of experience gaps.

Is it the process? Vould it be the lack of options in Streaming? Is it how we are blindly looking at only what we can see? I really think Netflix suggestions were better ten years ago.

Does anyone have a method that takes us through the process that ties it back to the relationship and the experience? Are we just lazy and expect our technology to know what we want when we don’t know ourselves?

Do you miss it? What else do you miss? Do you have streaming struggles too? Why?

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.