When in doubt, be a unicorn – Happy Monday!

Stationery Mondays

The other day I went to Black Ink, which is a store that sells Japanese goods, including stationery. They have a great variety of all-paper things, and I could easily spend HOURS there! I have written about this store before and you can read about it here

The shop has a great variety of erasers. I was looking into the bowl full of cute erasers and i found this one. I love it and for some reason, this little guy makes me smile so he lives on my desk. I hope it’ll make you smile too! Have a great Monday and a great week. Leave me your comments below and let me know if you like cute erasers.

Thanks for reading this short post,

Em J

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Planners that worked for me in 2016

Happy Sunday! I have seen a few fellow bloggers and instagramers who have been talking about the planners that worked for them this year, and I thought it would be a great idea to write one of these posts myself. This year, my “Planner journey” has been rather interesting and I want to share it with you.

Let’s begin, shall we?

This year the planner that really worked for me was mostly my Hobonichi Techo in A6, I call this, “the planner that could” because it helped me survived changes at work, a very crazy schedule, organizing my life at home and for my son, dealing with day care schedules, tasks, bills, meals and everything in between. The reasons why this planner worked for me are:

  • This Hobonichi Techo in A6 is portable and the size is great for someone with a busy life
  • The layout – a day on one page seems to be perfect for me because I usually have a lot of things to write down.
  • The monthly and daily pages are great although I have to stay that I stopped using my planner for about two months because I really need to have a weekly view.

Pink Fluoro Filofax in A5
Another planner that worked for me was a customized version of my  which I use as my financial planner and I love! I believe the reason why this planner works so well for me is because, actually, this is a planner that I assembled myself using various kinds of inserts and I love it.

Martha Stewart discbound notebook
This notebook worked wonders for me. I customized it and use as a notebook where I write various things. I have both, the large and the smaller version and both are wonderful notebooks. Not only because of the possibilities to customize it but because the quality of the notebook is amazing and you can add as many or as little page as you wish. Also, you can change the size of the disks and that I think, is a huge advantage!

Filofax original in Navy – personal size
I used this planner for various things, it served as a planner where I would collect thoughts, ideas, lists and other content related to my blog. I love the size, the quality and the portability of this binder. It is amazing and one of my all time favorite planners.

Now let’s move on to the planners that DID NOT work for me — based on my lifestyle, preferences, planning style, and needs.

  • Day designer day on one page – This planner is beautiful and I was excited when it came out around July this year. This particular planner was created after a collaboration between Day Designer and Sky Blue. The books are inexpensive, come in various sizes and also in different designs. I loved the idea of carrying this planner because of the format but after using it for a month I realized that it wasn’t going to work for me. I feel very limited because of the pre-set format it comes in and overall, it just didn’t call on me so  I stopped using it as a daily planner and moved it on to using it as a workout planner where I just track my workouts, calories, and other health related matters.
  • Erin Condren Life Planner — I have written about this planner before. Not only because I find them extremely expensive for what they are, but because for me, I just think that the price is not worth it. There are many other planners are out there that are better quality and I personally feel that this line of products is over priced. My story with these planners dates from two years ago when I bought my first EC planner. I ended up selling it because I wasn’t using it. The boxes do not work for me and neither does the format. Then, Erin Condren released a new series of planners with rose gold coil and I fell for it again. I ended up buying at the exorbitant price of $95 usd. After trying so hard to really like the planner I ended up setting it apart and using the pages as a finances planner. The reason why I was so disappointed is because the coil was damaged, the planner would not lay flat, the cover was damaged, and I was just not happy with the product. That’s the last time I bought an Erin Condren Planner and my inserts will end this December.
  • Kikki.K personal size planners — while I love this brand I find that not all the planners work for me. I love the binders because they are beautiful but I ended up not using a few that I bought. I sold them and now I only have a bound planner with a day on one page that I will be using for 2017 as a journal/health diary. I don’t know why the binders don’t really work for me but I am a fan of the brand and I actually have bought a few other things for this year.
  • Franklin Covey compact size synthetic leather — I love Franklin Covey but when their binders are not made out of leather, the plastic smell is too strong for me to bear it. I bought two binders and I ended up selling them. While I love the brand and I have used one of their binders in classic size as a work planner, I am not sure how I feel about other planners so for now, I decided to stop buying ring binders and enjoy using my bound books.

Now, these are the planners that worked and didn’t work for me based on my personal lifestyle, needs and planning style but it doesn’t mean that they won’t work for you. I have tried many many planners and I am slowly learning about what I truly like. It is difficult to not get carried away by the hype of things when they are released so, if you are thinking of buying planners, I would recommend you to read and do some research about them before buying them. Remember that if a planner doesn’t call you, and if you can’t get yourself to use it then it is likely that it won’t work for you. Planners should be something you use every day and something you enjoy using. They are a tool that will help us keep our lives organized and our days flow with ease.

Thank you for reading and please, let me know what planners worked for you this year. I would love to hear.

Thank you for stopping by and reading my blog.

Em J

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Planner inspiration – The weekend

During the week, I am great at keeping my time organized, because I carry my Hobonichi where I plan my days, both for work and personal life. During the weekends, however, it is a different story. I don’t use my planners much because my days are more relaxed. I do keep a log of what should be happening and what I should be doing to be ready for the week. It is not a strict plan that I stick to.

I thought it would be nice to post and write about how my weekends look like, with a planner but without a strict step by step plan of the day. How do you keep inspired during the weekends and how do you use your planners?

Thanks for reading!

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Benefits of carrying of home planner – My beloved fluoro Filofax

In 2016 I decided to have a household or home planner for me to track my expenses, bills, payments and other information exclusively. At first,

I wasn’t sure how exactly I would set it up, but then, after realizing that I didn’t like my Erin Condren planner and that I wasn’t using my favorite of favorites Pink Fluoro Filofax binder, I went ahead and combined both.

I did destroy my $100, Erin Condren, I saved the covers and pull out the pages, punched them and inserted them in my Filofax binder. I created some kind of tracking system where I would use the monthly inserts to keep track of deadlines to pay bills, have an overview of our budget, and keep some control of our finances. This is the first time I carry a planner only to keep the financial matters in one single place, and it worked great!

Every month, I was able to sit down at my desk and go over our bills, take our my planner, see what was paid last month, what needs to be paid, what are the due bills and even see whether our phone bill had gone up or whether we needed to pay more for our credit card this month or not. It worked! The reasons why I believe it did work are the following:

  • All your financial matters and home related numbers and bills are in one single place
  • You can use your calendar pages or any inserts to keep track of financial issues as needed.
  • You can then store the bills you paid, and file them later if you need to without losing them
  • You have a clear overview of your expenses, you can compare the numbers to the previous month and make an estimate for the next month based on past information.
  • A financial binder or home binder allows you to keep all together in one place, and have quick access to it if you need to.
  • You avoid paper clutter because you can easily store everything in there, or file in that moment or later. There is only so much you can store in your binder so at some point you will need to get rid of your papers!
  • You can use any inserts, dated or undated or use any customized inserts if you wish. You can use anything! Even plain paper
  • It saves you time and keeps your bills and numbers organized!

     
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I plan on continuing using my good Fluoro Filofax in 2017, and use some inserts from Yellow Paper house that I bought in 2014 and never really got to use. They are already punched and ready for me to insert in my binder next year.

I strongly encourage you to take any binder, especially if you have one with big rings and customize it to your needs, allocate a use to it and create the habit of looking into it every time you need to. Believe me, it will make your life easy and will save you time and energy over time.

Here you go! Filofax binders or ring binders for that matter are ideal for this kind of planner because you can put in or take out any pages as the year progresses. In this binder, I keep only 4 months at a time because I also keep tons of notes in the back.

Here are a few more pictures of how it looks like on the inside but you can definitely come up with your own setup, there are a million ideas out there and you can also refer to Philofaxy in case you need to print new inserts. They have a great section of resources for
printables!

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I hope this idea will help you make up your mind about how to enhance your good habits or create new ones, and use your new or old binders to keep a more organized life. Remember that the least number of things you store in your brain the more space you will have in your mind for those things that really matter.

Let me know if you decide to keep a financial planner and if you use one already, do let me know how it is working for you and what makes it work?

A well-organized planner will help you reach your financial goals much better because it will allow you to keep a clear view of where you’re spending your money and what you can do to adjust your budget, spend less and do meaningful things.

Planners help us keep track of where things go in our lives and choose the direction we want to go once we see how we spend our time and what we do it with. After all, we are the ones taken the decisions of where our money and time go, you are the one writing your own story. I hope this will inspire you to continue finding your own system.

Thank you for reading and don’t forget to share this post if you liked it. Until next time!

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Filofax series, part IV: The “Lists” Section

Welcome back to the last installment of my Filofax series  today we will be talking about the lists section. In theory, this section should be straightforward and easy to understand but there are also sometimes occasions where we are not exactly sure what to include in a list.

The reason why I think it is important to have this section in a planner is because lists help have a better idea of what the components to a project, a thought or a plan are. The possibilities are endless! Lists help us empty our minds and create categories or group items into different categories of things. For example, you can make shopping lists and know that you have that list available when needed. You can also make lists that help you know what you need to do to accomplish a goal or a project. For example, you can make a list of items you need to set up your home office. A list like this will support you in numbering the pieces of furniture that you need, or the items that you need to buy or how much money you will need to budget for this project.

You can also make lists of books that you want to read, and the list will help you keep them in mind when you need to borrow them from the library, look for them or buy them.

It is very simple and you really don’t need to have a special insert for this section. For example, what I do is to add pieces of paper from different note pads that I have around my office, I perforate them and add them to my planner. My lists section is a collection of paper in different sizes, colors, types and even shapes. I love it! It is fun and it also keeps your mind busy in creating an entire section that can be customized to your needs. You can also make lists just for fun!

Last year I participated in the “lister’s gotta list” challenged launched by The restet girl and it was fun. If you are someone who loves listing items and group them in categories for your projects or plans, then a “Lists section” is definitely the way to go.

How do you use this section and how does it help you? I´d love to know so please leave your comments under the “comments” section here in the blog.

Thank you for reading and until next time for another Filofax series.

Em Jorden

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ONE SECRET TO ADVANCING YOUR LIFE: THE EINSENHOWER MATRIX (AND PLANNERS)

“What is important is seldom urgent and what is urgent is seldom important.”

I read this quote today when I started looking for more information on an old method that I learn some time ago, it consisted of learning to distinguish the urgent tasks from the important ones. Once you would learn to distinguish the difference, you will be able to take decisions on what to do next, and tackle your to do lists, your projects and also advance, move forward and advance your life.

This will also help you to stop procrastinating. It turns out that there is one principle called the Eisenhower decision principle where you can learn to separate the important from the urgent tasks, but what are these anyway?

So, Urgent means an action or a task that requires immediate attention, something that you can’t leave the office or go to bed without doing. They usually fall into the category of having to do them “right now”.

Important are the tasks that will help you advance towards your final goals or short term goals. These can also be urgent, but usually require us to be attentive and thoughtful about what we are doing and how we will do it.

Eisenhower developed a matrix where he actually showed how we can learn to distinguish both tasks and take decisions based on that information. This is the matrix
MerrillCoveyMatrix

By Rorybowman – Own work, Public Domain,https://commons.wikimedia.org/w/index.php?curid=2135450

 

This matrix became very popular when Stephen Covey talked about it in his book Getting things done. But it is really attributed to ex-president Eisenhower. Here is how the matrix works.

Urgent and important tasks, first quadrant: Are those that need to get done, now. They can’t wait and require your attention so you should plan on inserting them onto your planner as a top priority for the day. They can also go on a post-it note if you need to have them present and at hand but they need to be done.

Not urgent but important, second quadrant: I find that most tasks fall into this category. Usually here’s where we will place a lot of the things that help us get closer to our goals, they are actionable steps that will add value to your achieving something. For example, writing in your planner that at 6am you need to get up to work out. It is important if you are planning on losing some pounds but it is not urgent because nothing happens if you don’t get it done – you will just take a lot longer losing the weight and reaching your goal, or not reaching your goal at all. You want to plan for these tasks in your planner.

Urgent but not important, third quadrant: These are probably things that might not be necessarily important to do because they don’t directly affect you but that you need to do. For example, making a call to schedule your dog’s grooming, texting your friend to ask how they are, making favors, emails, etc. Usually, they are also emerging tasks which you can write down on your daily plan as they emerge, get them done and cross them out. You can also migrate them but then you will only be procrastinating!

Not important and not urgent: Are the tasks that don’t add anything to your life, usually they hinder your progress and distract you from getting anywhere or getting things done. You want to either delegate them or avoid them for example: Watching TV, staying too long on Facebook, gossiping, talking about other people’s lives, being negative or simply wasting time.

Remember that some of these tasks can also be delegated which means that you can ask someone else to do them – e.g. a colleague, a friend, your spouse, etc – and this is totally fine because you can then focus on the things that matter and are important.

These tasks can be planned among your top three, your weekly priorities – or even your monthly – your running list or to-dos, or simply add them to your brain dump to allocate them to particular days and times when you do your weekly planning.

It is easy once you learn to distinguish one task from another, but once you get the hang of this matrix, it will be super easy and you will be a productivity ninja!

And remember:

“What is important is seldom urgent and what is urgent is seldom important.”

Thanks for stopping by and until next time!

Em Jorden

Be happier: This is how your Filofax can help!

hap·pi·ness
ˈhapēnəs/
noun
  1. the state of being happy, it also means pleasure, contentment, satisfaction, cheerfulness, merriment, gaiety, joy,joyfulness, joviality, jollity, glee, delight, good spirits, lightheartedness,well-being, enjoyment – basically, anything that makes you smile, according to the google definition.

In the Buddhist tradition happiness is the ultima goal, and it is also the ONLY thing that all of us, human and non-human seek for. Happiness is everything we all want, and why wouldn’t we? But happiness doesn’t come just like that, or does it? Many of us can attain contentment through simple things like shopping, food, watching a movie, doing something fun but this will only be temporary happiness, right? Ultimate happiness is ever lasting, or at least something that lasts a little more than a few minutes or days. Most of us at some point, stop wishing to last long and conform with only enjoying it for however long it is.

If you are like me, who has a full-time job and also has to comply with many obligations at home, as well as on the side things, there is a point where you feel out of balance. Like life is sucking you in and you don’t even know what is happening. This is where a planner comes into place. That little thing made out of paper and bound together so that we can get a hold of our days and nights. A planner is important not just because it gives you an excuse to sit down for a few minutes and reflect on your day, but because it also helps you organize yourself, manage your time, know where your time is going and have a sense of what you are doing with your life.

Don’t under-estimate the power of a planner, be it Filofax, Inkwell,Erin Condren, Hobonichi or a Midori  all of them, are great tools to help you manage your time so that you will have enough time to do the things you enjoy. The way to start using your planner as a tool to enhance your life – instead of overwhelming you – is by writing down your appointments and having an idea of what are the things that you can’t move because they depend also on others, then write down the special events that you have, go ahead and write down the things you have to do like going to work or meetings that you have and then scheduling the emergent tasks wherever you have a window of time and then check for the number of hours that a project or a task that you are working on will take, that will probably leave you with the number of hours available for you to do the things you enjoy and if not, you will also have a sense of the time that you DON’T have to do things that you enjoy and you can change that by moving things around so that you have time for those things.

The idea of using a planner is to write down things, and to give you a visual idea of how you spend your day, how much time certain tasks will take you and what you can do to make time to go to the gym, cook nice food, spend time with your family or simply spend an hour or so doing something that you truly want to do. This is also a great way to see what your habits are and how you end up spending your evenings or mornings and how you can change that to re-program your life so you acquire healthier habits like going to the gym, cooking at home or meditating.

There are all kinds of inserts on Etsy, Pinterest and various sites like Philofaxy  or other fellow bloggers where you can find pages that will help you take life over control, at least partly and the things that can be controlled. Also, there is a great tool that I love which is called Chronodex that was created by Patrick Ng where you can actually color different areas of the Chronodex shape to administer your time visually and get a better idea of what you do with your days. This tool is so easy to use and will help you change your habits as well or know what changes in your life you need o make to have a more fulfilling and happier life.

Ultimately, we all come here to be happy and if we let life to suck us in, we will never get to that point where our lives will be more balanced and our minds and hearts filled with joy rather than stress.

Use your planner to change your habits and the way you spend your time, you will notice that it is very easy to make adjustments and achieve your goals easier. Be happy and try! It will be easy to get things done.

Let me know if it works and what you think about these ideas.

Thank you for reading and until next time,

Em Jorden

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Day planner Filofax review

Last year I bought the day planner Filofax inserts and I have not used them until now. These inserts are ideal for someone who is on the go often and who wants to have a clear layout of their day. The inserts are undated which is great because you can use them any time any year and month. It is divided into a section where you can add the times for your appointments, to dos organized by priority and reminders.

On the back of the day view you have a one page section for notes which is find very useful because for me, usually it is hard to write everything I have to do on small sections that come in the week on two pages for example. These inserts are ideal to be used for one day use or you can simply start using it on a particular day and continue using them on several days or use one page for a whole week if needed and if you have enough space.

Here is a picture of how these look like, I decided to share with you an example of how I use it for some writings that I am doing. These are by Filofax by I know that other bloggers also have their own versions of these or something similar. I bought these because I am too lazy to print my own but there are plenty of examples like these on pinterest for example.

They are great and very useful when you want to have your tasks, appointments and reminders organizer on one single page together with notes and priorities.

Have you use these inserts before and what do you think about them?

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Five reasons to use grid paper in your Filofax

Happy Sunday beautiful people! As you all know I am in love with this personal size Filofax original in navy. I just think it’s one of the most beautiful planners out there, also, as you all know I use this planner in addition to a few others. Each one has a different purpose and contain different information. This particular one houses all my blog related things, I run two blogs so I need tons of paper to organize this information, ideas, thoughts and editorial calendars.

For me, just as it happens to many stationery enthusiasts out there, the quality and feel of the paper I use in my planners DOES matter. I am not the biggest fan of the Filofax inserts that come with the binders when you buy them but I do love many other of their inserts. I don’t own a printer so I can’t always print my own calendars and when I do buy inserts I usually buy them on sale. Last year, I actually bought a packet of their notes papers from my local stationery shop in Boston. This packet contained different colors of paper and also different types, some of the pages were lined, some other ones blank and some others were grid.

Now, let me tell you how much I love having grid pages in my binder and the reasons why I think they are useful are mostly grouped in these five categories:

  1. Grid paper makes it easier to create tracking charts that can help you keep track of habits and will definitely help you change your lifestyle to that one you desire to have.
  2. It is super easy to write own, unless you have gigantic handwriting, grid paper will definitely help you to write easier because of the lines. The lines are the secret to having a better perspective of the space you need to create your weekly layout, tracking charts is simply jot down your notes and ideas.
  3. Grid paper is helpful when you are creating your own layouts. If you are like me and don’t want to keep buying inserts every time, you can create your own. Grid paper is a great alternative to make this happen and make it easier.
  4. It is great for art projects or creating blue prints, if you are someone who enjoys re-creating your physical space so that you can organize it better or improve your house, grid or graph paper will be great for you. You can have a more clear and better guides to help you determine proportions, measurements and simply, have a more clear understanding of your page.
  5. It is great for financial planning: If you are like many of the planner people out there, you also use your planner for organizing your bills, tracking your finances and writing down your expenses. Grid paper is great for this because by the nature of it, you can do an easier allocation of expenses, lists, tracking your numbers and creating different columns, rows and areas on your page where you can write down different concepts, numbers and check numbers. If anything I do think that grid is great for numbers and bills!

So go get yourself a regular notebook from staples or your local office store, cut it down to size and make yourself some inserts for your planner. You will be amazing of how much actually the kind of paper you use will help you make your planning easier or harder and how much grid paper will help you for different purposes, even if all you do is write down notes, just like I do.

Do let me know what you use grid paper for and if you find it useful. Thank you so much for stopping by and don’t forget to subscribe to my blog if you like the content.

See you next time!
Em

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How do you cut a tree in six hour with a Filofax?

You spend four hours sharpening the saw, and two hours cutting the tree. This applies to your planning of the week. How do you get a hang of changing your habits and achieving your goals with your planner? You spend many, many hours planning, trying what works best and learning from your mistakes but NEVER, NEVER giving up.

Happy planning for this week!

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