Category Archives: Planner(s)

So long, Filofax

Like many “planner girls” I used to see a photo or video featuring a beautiful Filofax Malden and swoon. I’ve went through three personal sized ring binders. The first was a simple brown Day Runner Harmony. The second was a Valentine’s Day gift, a Filofax Saffiano in Raspberry. The third purchase was that lovely hunk of supple plum-colored leather, the unicorn they call the Malden… Yes, this planner was beautiful. It had all of the pockets I wanted in a planner, a long strap, large rings, and felt like heaven. Yeah, she was beautiful; but she didn’t mean a thing to me. (Death Cab For Cutie) Continue reading

Cheap Starter Kit for Planning ($10 RAK)

My sister has recently come to a place in her life where she is in desperate need of a planner. Unsure if she would actually use it or not I spent just a few dollars on a nice little starter package for her. I picked up a $3 mini binder from Target along with their weekly/monthly inserts (the package includes tabs). I printed some ruled paper and stamped/hand wrote some list, home, and info inserts. I purchased her a $1 tape runner from Michael’s, made her a few folders, and created a dashboard with page flags and sticky notes attached. I also made a pocket folder, printed some stickers, and included some washi samples. Perhaps the simplest part of it all that really gives a nice touch is the elastic with the added button for cute functionality. All together it cost about $10. I’m very satisfied with it and hope she is too! Her are some photos:

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Time Management Tips

Everyone has a limited amount of time. No matter if you are a business owner, stay at home parent, or a student; everyone has tasks that need completed. You may find a large task overwhelming, forget about the tasks, or have a difficult time staying motivated. Learning some time management skills can greatly improve your productivity while reducing your stress level. Here are some of the essential time management tips I’ve learned and implemented over the years:

  1. Assess. Take a few days to observe the things you do. Which tasks are helping you be productive? Which tasks are you losing time on? What steps do you take to ensure efficiency and productivity? Which extra steps are you taking that may be holding you back?
  2. Prioritize. It is literally impossible to get everything done. When choosing what tasks to keep at the top of your list consider two things: Is this essential to success of the project? Does this task spark joy? The goal is to pick out the most important and vital tasks while releasing the commitment and stress of the others. Remember, fun tasks that will spark joy are essential to happiness too. You can’t be a slave to your work and responsibilities without taking time to do things you enjoy.
  3. Document. There are many options including digital software/apps, specialty planners, and good old fashioned pen and paper. You can see my post on different planner types (here). The important thing is that you document scheduled appointments, blocks of time for tasks, and to-do lists.
  4. Be preemptive. Set aside time daily, weekly, and monthly to plan your upcoming tasks and events. Take time to look at your daily and weekly to-do list. Remember to allot extra time for interruptions. Work ahead if possible.
  5. Stop multitasking. This was the most difficult one for me, but also the most important one. By only focusing on a single task you save the time it takes to remember where you were in the other task when switching back and forth. The human brain is much more efficient when focusing on a single task versus multitasking, more on that here.

It is easy to take control of your time. Take a look at your habits and see what needs work. Prioritize your time based on the most essential and joyful tasks. Break tasks down, schedule, and make lists. Plan ahead, allot time for interruptions or emergencies, and focus on a single task. How do you manage your time?


I’ve seen many people in the planner groups ask for ideas on archiving inserts. I thought I would share my process. When my planner begins getting to full I will go through and take out the inserts I no longer need in it. Then I sort through and any that I do not want to save I throw away. What I want to save I store in a small file portfolio that I got from Target dollar spot. It includes label stickers for all of the separate pockets and is ideal for inserts. They have many designs and colors; these are also changed with the rest of the dollar spot inventory.

Back when I was using monthly calendars instead of a bullet journal system in my Filofax I would save all of my months and weeks in separate pockets. However, since I’ve made the change I keep them all together. The monthly list acts as a divider for that month’s daily lists. Therefore, I have begun storing them all in a single pocket labeled ‘Spent’.
I also store spare inserts, notepads, and blank inserts in this folder. Eventually I will probably purchase another one and use one for notepads, stickers, dividers, and page flags; while using the other for spent/spare inserts. Among my pockets I currently have the following labels: spent, journal, extra, diary, inserts. I use the very front for notepads and the far back for stickers and dividers.

The possibilities for these little file folders are endless. If you’re a person that has a lot of spent inserts you could even use a folder per year for archiving. A bit of washi on the side with the label of what is contained in the folder would allow for efficient storage and retrieval. These fit nicely in to drawers and on bookshelves, while adding even more aesthetics to your planner area. How do you archive?

Finally have a multi pen with my planner colors that fits in my elastic pen loop! It’s a bic $3 at Target!

#planner #filofax #bicpen #target

Favorite Facebook planner group!

I never really used Facebook groups the last time I had Facebook; but I’m seeing the benefits. Not only do they give me easier and better comm time than forums, but they are a way for me to share information and help others as I do with my blog. Here is my favorite planner group:

Planners, Journals, and everything in between

After watching this video I made this page marker as a gift. Will definitely be making a Totoro one like it for my own purposes. A cat would be super cute too!

Planner Tips I Wish I Knew Before (and a few updates)

It has taken some time to work out the kinks in my planner system. Here is a list of things I wish I knew when I started. Some of them are no-brainers that I can’t believe took me so many weeks to figure out!


1) Size matters. Before I got my first personal sized ring-bound planner a few months back I had always used larger planning “mediums” if you will. Moleskines, assorted spiral-bound planners, and even large binders. I soon realized that if I wanted to keep my Filofax small and portable I needed to trim more than just my inserts. After trying to find stickers and flags that were the right size for my chosen inserts I realized that I could just buy the pack of $1 skinny page-marker Post-Its and trim them down. Easy, removable, and cheap. I use these for my weeks. I also found $1 Avery stickers 500+ per pack. They are the perfect size for my month inserts.

2) Notepad secrets! You can find very, very cheap and super cute notepads everywhere. Everyone knows you may have to trim them to fit your planner, but how should you put them in there? I tried punching them, but I wanted them to be easily removable and to save time. So I started clipping them in. This worked okay for a few months, but they were still hard to get out of my Filofax. Finally while battling with the notepad, trying to keep the glue attached when tearing off more sheets to put in my planner, a light bulb lit up in my head. I realized I had been doing it all wrong, clipping the papers in without the glue would make them SO much easier to remove and save time by eliminating the fight to keep the glue attached. DUH! I clip my notepad paper to a Spider Man post card (it provides a smooth and sturdy writing surface, and allows for some geek decor in my planner).


3) Save paper with dry-erase. I began my Filofax adventure printing cute little journaling cards and using them for to-do and task lists that could be carried from week to week; or could be used just for the day. In an effort to save paper and ink I thought about creating my own to-do list, laminating it, and using it with a dry-erase marker. Then I stumbled upon this free printable and made a dry-erase to-do list for myself and step-mother. You could do anything this way from lists to calendars.


4) On writing… I use my Filofax for more than just planning. It houses all of my ideas, thoughts, and dreams (at least until archived). This includes my journal and doodles. I was printing my own ruled paper until I fell in love with the Filofax ruled paper. I really liked the small lines for the pen I was using (Sanrio 3-Color Erasable Frixion). Then I switched pens because I was running out of ink far too quickly (and frankly did not want to keep buying ink cartridges just so I could have a cute pen because I didn’t really use the erasable feature). When talking to my beautiful bright partner over a meal about it he asked me why I don’t use my calligraphy pen. We took a calligraphy class together a few years back and I purchased a cheap Manuscript italic nib fountain pen for $5 Hobby Lobby. It had been stored away in my craft supplies. I loved writing with a fountain pen, but back then my journal did not have compatible paper for the job. I pulled it out and tried on some unruled paper I had DIY-ed and much to my surprise it did not bleed through. It did bleed through the Filofax paper, but I’ve always preferred unruled paper for journaling anyway. I can make three sheets of personal-sized unruled paper from a single letter-sized piece. At $5 a pack that makes $5 for 1500 sheets of personal-sized paper vs. $6 for 48 sheets of unruled Daytimer paper (cheapest I could find). Even if I wanted a more fancy paper, it is much, much cheaper to DIY unruled paper. Here is the pen and ink I use:


You can see the ink through the page a bit, but not enough to cause any problem reading the ink on the other side. I never used the cartridges that came with the pen, just the converter. I love writing with it and hope to get a better quality one soon.


5) Business cards do not need to be held in a plastic card-holder page. Envelopes make great holders for cards that do not need to be looked at all the time. I keep my customer stamp cards, a password card, and some other bits in a small felt envelope that was intended for a gift card. It sits in the back of my Saffiano in the notepad pocket. It helps keep spare papers or sticker sheets snug in there without any sliding around.


6) Printable tab sets save a few steps of the tab-making process for what can be a very low price. I purchased a set of polka-dot tabs for less than $2 on Etsy and they look great! Instant, uniform, and easy.


7) Anything can be a marker! For some reason when I first got my Filofax I had tunnel vision when it came to page markers. I was thinking only in terms of paper clips and stickies. Then I realized that anything I can punch holes in and add a few slits to can become a marker that doesn’t require open rings. I use a bookmark my daughter made as a marker for my journal spot. I moved it to my notes from a journaling workshop I’m attending a few weeks this month for privacy reasons.


8) Archiving. I was at a loss on how I wanted to archive my spent pages. I tried using another planner, binder clips, and envelopes. I disliked the fact that all of my methods included the sections being all together. I had thought about making some tabs or separators but then I found a small (just a bit larger than my planner) file folder from Target (dollar spot!). I use it to divide up my sections and when this is full I will toss what I do not want to keep, and store the rest. I will probably clip or tie them together, wrap them in a cloth, and add them to my bookcase.


Planner Sections

I know multiple people that could greatly benefit from having a planner. A few of them have home management binders, agendas, and other types of organization systems. I just wanted to have a post that I could refer them to instead of explaining the different sections of my FIlofax over and over. Maybe this will help other people too!

While my Filofax came with more tabs I had already made five tabs in my Dayrunner and am currently only using those five (six if you count contacts as it’s own) sections. What really helped me figure out how I wanted to set up my planner was watching and reading about other people’s setups for theirs. Here are my sections:

First off, I use my Filofax as a wallet too. The pockets in the front of the planner house my IDs, insurance cards, and debit cards. The folder in the front also holds my syllabi (syllabuses?) for school and a piece of paper with my ‘working ahead’ list on it. In the very back of my planner I keep one envelope with stickers and stamps in it, and another top-loading one for my cash. My planner also has a notepad pocket in the back that houses a number off different things clipped together (extra papers, envelope of journaling cards, coloring pages, things like that).

The very first page of my planner has a photo of Joey and I on the font and sticky notes on the back. The second page is my dashboard for notes. My favorite thing about ring-bound systems is that they are so easy to customize, decorate, and archive!

1) Calendar/Agenda – This is also sometimes referred to as a diary. I have a single quotes page at the beginning of the section but the rest is a month view, year view, and weekly view. I also keep a running list of birthdays and anniversaries in the back of this section, along with a “future planning” page where I write appointments and things that are far off.

2) Lists – This section is for lists of all kinds. I keep a running To-Do/Task List on a journaling card that I can move from week to week if need be. In my lists section I keep a “Less and More” list of the habits and things I want to do less of this year, with their ‘more’ counterparts. The other lists I keep in this section include yearly goals, projects, wish list (for the whole family), blog/YouTube ideas and plans, books to read, gift ideas, and gardening/plants. I also keep a sheet in here for lists of assignments so I can mark off different sections as I complete them.

3) Home/Family – This is my section for everything pertaining to the family and my “Mom duties”. I keep a cleaning list/schedule, check register/bill tracker, accounts information, kid’s quotes, kid’s websites, clothing inventory pages for all the kids, and blank paper for Marley to draw on. I have separated a section of the paper to use for my “inbox” section (just a place to jot notes and info any larger than a sticky note’s worth). I chose this spot for my inbox section because it is in the center of my planner which makes it easy to access quickly and write in anywhere. I also keep a folder I made in this section for things that would go in my wallet like preferred customer cards, coupons, and receipts.

In the very back of my family section I have a weekly journal on one page to write little things about the kids in. I saw the idea in Target when I spotted a book called Mom’s One Line a Day and really liked it. I’ve found that with busy life I neglect setting down to write about the kids and I’ve forgotten a few of my favorite little things Marley did as a baby. This will help avoid that.

4) Self – This section is for all of my hobbies and journal. I do keep a list of DIY recipes I use often here that most people would probably put in the list section (a sheet of paper with deodorant, laundry detergent, hot oil, and play-dough recipes). I just like that being back here because it lays nice and flat at this spot and is easy to find. I keep a running “Item Info” list for different things like pen refills, nook info, knitting needle info, and things like that. I keep a bit of paper back here for creating knitting patterns, jotting down ideas, and tracking different things pertaining to my other hobbies. In the back of the section is my journal.

5) Health/Wellness – This section houses my exercise logs, list of postpartum exercises, bipolar symptoms page, and eventually more. Once I get the clear to start exercising again I will be printing out different routines, the monthly blogilates calendar, and probably some things from Cassey Ho’s new book. I log my water intake in my weekly schedule section, but will probably add a food log and meal planning inserts in this section as well.

Still a part of my health/wellness tab but separated by a harder sheet of paper with personal information on the back (used the one from my Dayrunner and covered the front with some pretty paper) is my info/contacts section. The most useful thing I have in here would probably be the hard piece of plastic that came with my Dayrunner. I’m not sure the proper term but I call mine a paper-lift. It allows you to stuff whatever in the back while still giving you a nice writing surface throughout your planner.