Category Archives: planning tools
Do you use a paper planner? While I use a digital task manager to organize my master list of to-do’s, I like to use a paper planner to jot down weekly business notes, and another as a health and wellness diary. There are so many beautiful ones out there that I kinda wish I could find uses for more of them. Below are my favorites:
1- Blush Full Grain Desk Diary, 2- Gold Wash Embossed Python Leather Desk, 3- Marble Mini Three-Ring Binder for use with -> 3b- Weekly Planner Sheets, 4- Day Designer Black Stripe, 5- MyAgenda Leopard Day Planner, 6- Black Natural Leather Pocket Book, 7- Sugar Paper Blush Pink Planner, 8- Moleskin Scarlet Red Planner, 9- Toile Blue Planner, 10- DapperDesk Leather Planner, 11- Panama Textured Leather Diary, 12- Sugar Paper Gold Planner
This time of year, a lot of us talk about and contemplate a list of all the things we’re going to do in the new year. We often freely toss in tons of things onto our list, unrealistically thinking we can accomplish them all, and we declare new year’s resolutions that often end up being empty promises to ourselves, which we don’t follow through on and later make us feel like failures.
An article by Martha Beck* and a video by Marie Forleo, recently left me inspired about how to write a better list of goals. How to (1) clear out the things from our lists that waste our time and drain our energy, (2) add in the things that nourish us and make us feel fulfilled and content, and (3) make our goals happen. Below is a summary of tips I learned from them.
Edit down your list by scratching these things off :
- Things that aren’t spiritually profitable – things that won’t feed your soul
- Things that, for the most part, are just to feed your ego
- Things that revolve around toxic relationships
- If it’s a business goal, projects that don’t make sense financially
Filter Questions to Edit Your List:
Does this goal make me feel joy and excitement?
Do I want to experience the activities involved in this goal, whether or not I achieve the milestones associated with it?
Do I want to do this to feel superiority toward people who haven’t done this thing?
Do I want to have this experience even if no one else would ever know I had?
Would I be thrilled to do this even if everyone thought it was weird or stupid?
Does this goal involve trying to change something that can’t be changed?
Am I leaving out certain things from my list because they aren’t socially considered as “important things”? What things am I leaving out because I feel guilty, like I’m not allowed to have/experience/achieve them?
What little things could add more joy to my everyday?
What things can I do to be more appreciative, present and purposeful?
What business projects will be both spiritually and financially profitable?
Making it happen
Schedule it! Things will just be empty promises if you don’t take action towards them. Make a plan by listing the actionable steps of each goal and scheduling the first steps. This will create momentum.
What do you think? Do you find these tips helpful?
Image above: home of Anna Liesemeyer, photograph by Chelsey Heidorn
*Article referenced is: “To-Do List, or Not-to-Do List” as seen on page 45 of the November 2013 issue of Oprah Magazine
Do you use a paper planner? While I use an electronic organizer to manage my daily to-do’s (more on that later!), I like to use a paper planner to jot down workroom weekly notes for my biz, and another one as a health and wellness diary. If you haven’t gotten your 2014 planner yet, check out my round-up below of the most stylish ones out there:
1- Black Stripe Day Designer, 2- White Gold Metallic Leather Desk Diary, 3- Parisian Chic Weekly Planner, 4- Luggage Robinson Agenda, 5- Classic Kraft Planner, 6- Leopard Desktop momAgenda, 7- Blush Buffalo Diary, 8- Pink Postman’s Lock Pocket Book, 9- Black Perfect Bound Planning Calendar, 10- Gold Mini Three-Ring Binder for use with -> 11- Weekly Planner Sheets, 12- Dove Grey 2014 Fashion Diary, 13- Peach Leather Diary, 14- Red 12M Planner Daily, 15- Silver Gunmetal Tab Jacket for use with -> 2014 Planning Diary
I previously wrote a post on how I plan dinners for the week. Since writing that post, I’ve added an extra element to my little system, that has made dinner planning even easier. I was finding that on busy weeks when my husband and I had limited time to actually sit down to think through what we wanted to eat that week, browse through cookbooks, online recipes, etc., we would end up just rushing to come up with ideas last minute on Monday mornings right before heading off to the grocery store. This would often result in us just deciding on the same few go-to meals over and over since those were what we could think of off the top of our heads.
To add variety and help make things as stress free and easy as possible, I decided to take the time one day to list out as many dinners as I could think of that we know how to make and love, as well as a few new ones we’ve been wanting to try out. I then typed them all into a business card template (one dinner per box) and printed them on business card paper (I used this because it had a nice decorative border). Once I had everything printed out, I grouped the dinner cards by category (photo above left) and used little post-it tabs to create category dividers. I put all the cards in a business card holder (photo above middle), which I adhered strong magnets to the back of (photo above right), so I could stick it up on our fridge – a convenient accessible spot that’s right next to the pantry where we keep our dinner planner sheets.
So now, when it comes to deciding what we want to make for dinner on any given week, we can grab the cards, quickly look through them and choose one (or two) card(s) for each day. Once we’ve picked our cards, I fill in a dinner planner sheet with all the ingredients I need to shop for, and then stick up the cards up on our magnetic weekly board. If we change our minds in regards to which dinner we’ll make on what day (which often happens), we can easily move the cards around without having to erase and re-write things on the board like we used to.
There are several things I like about this routine. It makes deciding what to make quick and easy so it doesn’t feel like a chore. It eliminates the dreaded “what should we do for dinner?” question. It helps us eat more healthfully since when we have our dinners planned out and all the ingredients on hand, we’re less likely to order take out. It prevents multiple last minute trips to the market, so it saves us time. It helps us avoid getting into a dinner rut by putting into rotation all the dinners we know how to make and love – not just the ones that seem to come to mind most easily.
It does take some effort to set things up, but once you have a system in place, and you use it a couple of times, it’ll become habit and you’ll find that it makes life a bit easier. For anyone thinking of setting up something similar, here’s a list of what you’ll need:
- Magnetic board with the days of the week – the one I have in my home is this one by Three By Three Seattle
- Several copies of the Dinner Planner (free printable!)
- Something to hold and store the planning sheets in a convenient spot – I have a transparent pocket adhered to the inside of my pantry door.
- Business card paper to make the dinner cards – index cards folded and cut in half would also work well
- Filing tabs to label and separate your categories
- A business card holder to hold your dinner cards – if you’ll be adding magnets to it like I did to stick it up on the fridge, be sure to get one that has a flat (non-slanted) back
- For recipes you don’t know off the top of your head how to make, include a note of where you found the recipe on the card (for example, the name of the cookbook and the page). That way, you can easily find it the day-of. You can also write on the back of the card the key ingredients for that recipe that you don’t usually keep on hand so that you can easily and quickly fill in your dinner planner/shopping list.
- Keep a few blank cards on hand for adding new recipes
- If you usually go to more than one grocery store each week like I do, when writing out your shopping list, use different colored pens for each store. In the dinner planner shown in the photo above for example, I used an orange pen to write ingredients I wanted to get at Trader Joes and a purple pen to write the ingredients I wanted to get at Ralphs. So when I was at Trader Joes, I just had to focus on the items in orange, and when I was at Ralphs, I just had to focus on the items in purple. I was able to go in and out of each store quickly.
- Choose a convenient day of the week that you can integrate dinner planning into your routine. For me it’s Sunday so I have my list ready for when I go grocery shopping Monday morning.
1. Browse through your dinner cards and pick out a card (or two) for each day of the week that you plan to cook at home
2. Fill in the dinner planner sheet. Dinners go in the furthest left hand column then ingredients you need to shop for go in the appropriate columns to the right (Produce, Dairy & Refrigerated, etc).
3. Stick your dinner cards for the week up on your magnetic board. Assign a card to each day keeping in mind you can always easily move them around later if you want.
4. Grab your dinner planner sheet and go shopping. Note that the columns on the sheet correspond to the aisles of most grocery stores, making it easy to shop down each column.
5. Feel good knowing you’re prepared for the week!
Let me know if you give this a try. Hopefully I explained things well enough. If you have any questions, feel free to ask in the comments section below.
This post was brought to you by Office Depot. All thoughts, ideas, and opinions expressed here are my own. Thank you for supporting Arianna Belle sponsors!