Journaling as a habit

As the end of the summer approaches in New England, I’m realizing that journaling has become a big part of my habits. Writing, helps me reflect on life, internal conflicts and challenges. It’s a good way to deal with difficulties but also to process pleasant experiences. Journaling enhances reflection but also gratitude.

Happy end of the summer!

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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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Planner stories from around the world

On the second installment of Planner stories from around the world, a new section that I started blogging about a couple of weeks ago, today I am featuring  My Summer Touch. Initially, I called this section “Dream chasers” but I am still undecided about the name so, for now, let’s call these stories “Planner stories from around the world”. As a reminder, this is a section where I will be featuring stories from people within the planner community, who are writing their own stories. People who have the courage to be creative, act on their own dreams, be happy and write new beginnings with YouTube channels, online stores, blogs, planner systems and so on.

Enjoy Clara’s story and please, share it widely. Thank you for reading and if you have suggestions about someone I should reach out to, don’t hesitate to let me know in the comments section. Enjoy!

Planner stories MySummerTouch

1. What is your name, where are you from and where do you live?
My name is Clara,  people know me as MySummerTouch on YouTube,  Instagram,  blogger, Twitter,  Tumblr,  periscope.  I realize that it’s  a lot.  And I am Marusya Ivanova on Facebook! Ha ha!  A whole another story about this name! I’m from Russia,  lived for several years in the US  and then I came back to a different part of Russia where I am right now.

2. What notebooks do you currently use, what for and why these particular notebooks?
I have quite a  long history of using different planners and journals. Originally I “came out” on YouTube as a planner lover,  showed a lot of Filofaxes,  and then my love explored in using Franklin Covey,  Midori Traveler’s notebooks,  Hobonichi,  Lovedoki.  Fairly recently I started to show my journals,  and this love turned out into the love of art journaling, which I am yet to show.

3. Why do you journal or plan?
I just recently realized that I have always loved planners and journals, loved to collect books on time management,  artist journals,  traveler’s notebooks,  sketchbooks,  and have always watched those on the Internet,  on YouTube particularly. I love to be organized,  love to organize,  and love to write things down.  Even poured out myself on paper,  and I love beautiful things,  so it all came into what I’m doing today.  I’m on Instagram every day,  and I try to post out videos on my YouTube channel MySummerTouch every week on weekends.

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4. Why did you decide to open your youtube channel?
After some time after getting back from the US, I realized that I forgot my English,  and started to listen and read books in English.  It wasn’t enough,  I wanted a real chat with people from all over the world.  I always loved YouTube,  and the main thing that I was watching on it were planner videos,  so it was a no-brainer to start a YouTube channel about planners and productivity in English.

5. What drives you to continue working on your channel?
I have the need to share my joy and my happiness with other people,  and I enjoy the interaction with people literally from all parts of the world.  It makes me happy.

6.What is your dream and what would you say to people who are working to achieve their own dreams?
I’d say,  there is no failing,  just not enough attempts.  If you won’t stop achieving your dreams,  you will get what you want! Don’t ever stop,  it’s worth it to continue to pursue your dream! My only dream right now is to be happy, I’m getting there,  I’m much happier now than before!

7. What are your favorite stationery shops?
I like to visit one of the big towns that are closest to where I live, there they have a huge bookstore that sells stationery and art supplies,  and I spend there half a day just choosing things I love to try out.

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8. Who are your favorite journalers, entrepreneurs or people that you look up to?
My absolute favorite instagrammer is @janethecrazy, I enjoy beautiful Midori Traveler’s Notebooks that she writes in,  her style is absolutely perfect,  I would say,  it’s  creative mess.  And I consider my art journaling teachers Mary Ann Moss and Teesha Moore,  love their color sense and artistic expression!

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9. How did you learn to journal the way you do, and what keeps you inspired?
I started to journal because I needed to clear out the mess in my head.  It’s almost necessary,  I’d even say it’s necessary to keep me thinking clear. Then I was bored with just plain pages,  then I bought my Midori Traveler’s notebooks in China,  and started to decorate my journals with magazine clippings and writing over them.  Now I am fully into painting and sketching.  There is nothing more inspiring than an artistic journal to me.  Just yesterday I received two  private messages on Instagram,  one said that my all my work is just amazing,  another one said that my journals inspired the person to make her own artistic journals.  I was surprised and pleased.  I’m glad I get to inspire people!

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10. Tell us about 2017, what are the next steps and how do your journals help you get there?
I hope to turn my journals into something more beautiful and pleasing to my own eyes.  I am my own harsh critic,  I try not to destroy pages when I don’t like them.  My next steps will be improving my calligraphy and to combine my art journaling and journaling together in one place,  even to combine it all with a planner,  all into one place,  so it will be one journal for everything – journal,  art journal,  sketchbook,  commonplace book.  I also want to learn to paint as a professional that will be a lot of work,  but I’m willing to go there.  Just recently I have drawn a model’s face in my Hobonichi,  and I was so immersed in it,  that I almost physically felt happy.  I completely forgot about time,  and I had something to show as a result! I want to draw more faces and people in general.  It makes me relaxed  and feels like meditation. I encourage you to try it too!

Thank you! 

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You can find Clara at:
Blogspot: mysummertouch1.blogspot.com
Instagram: @mysummertouch
Tumblr: Mysummertouch
YouTube: youtube.com/MySummerTouch

Thanks so much Clara for sharing your story with us and for inspiring us to do what makes us happy!

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Four differences, one hobonichi

If you are new to hobonichi and want to get a book for 2017 but you are not sure which size is the best for you to buy, keep on reading. Here, you will find a brief explanation of the three different hobonichi sizes and their main differences. Hopefully, this post will be useful to you!

Hobonichi techo is a Japanese book that translated means “life book”. It is made in Japan and one of its main characteristics is that tomoe river paper. This paper is special because it is very thin, yet resistant and strong in a way that can even be used with fountain pens and water colors. When wet, it will wrinkle but there won’t be transfer to the other side of the page. It is a fantastic paper, and if you are a stationery enthusiast like I am, you will love this paper because it is smooth, yet thin and mighty.

The hobonichi techo comes in three different sizes and four kinds of books

  • A6 (4.1”x 5.8”x 0.6”) known as Hobonichi Techo original; Weight: 210g this book comes in Japanese and English
  • A5, also known as Hobonichi cousin only comes in Japanese (148 × 210 mm)
  • A weeks hobonichi book, Wallet-Size (3.75”x 7.4”x 0.4”); Weight: 135g
  • Hobonichi cousin avec, equivalent to A5 (148 × 210 mm), these are two books each one carrying six months which means it is a lighter version than the cousin

All of them have the same following characteristics:

  • Tomoe river paper
  • all of them lay flat, except the weeks book which needs a little bit of training
  • All of them lay flat, 180 degrees binding
  • Quotes on each page
  • January start or April
  • Tons of covers to choose from, and all of them can have a cover on cover

The main differences between the four books are:

  • Hobonichi techo A6
    – Has monthly, yearly and daily, and a few blank pages to plan, but this book
    doesn’t have a weekly       overview
  • A5 cousin 
    – Has yearly, monthly, weekly and daily pages in addition to blank pages for notes in
    the back
  • Weeks hobonichi
    – It only has monthly and a week on one-page overview, the beauty of this book is that it has over 30 blank pages to take notes on and it is narrow and taller than all the other books. It fits a traveler’s notebook cover.
  • Avec cousin hobonichi
    This book only comes in A5 size like the cousin, the different is that it comes in a pair and each book has only six months each, one from January to June, the other from July to December. It has a yearly, monthly and weekly view of the days.

Personally, I love all of the books and each can be destined for different uses depending on your planning system and lifestyle, it also depends on whether you want to carry the planner with you every day or if it will stay at your workplace or at home. All of them except the cousin are very easy to carry. The cousin can be a bit heavy because of its size, none the less, I still plan to take it with me sometimes.

Here you go, I hope this has been helpful and please don’t forget to check out the hobonichi site for more info on sizes and differences if you’re still undecided.

Happy plans!

Em Jorden

2016 planner reflections

It’s almost October, and for all planner people out there, this is about the time you start thinking about what planner you will be getting for next year. For me, this has been a year where I found myself spending very little money on planner goods – I had to, or I’d be broke!.

I didn’t buy any ring planners at all this year because I found myself using them very little. I did try out the new covers for traveler’s notebooks that Webster’s pages launched this year, I bought one of the covers and I have written about it here on my blog. I also bought the Passion Planner because I wanted to try it out. I used it weekly until I found myself writing the same thing over and over because mostly my schedule looks the same week by week. This planner is nice but not for me.

This year was the first year I also started using my Hobonichi in A6. I used it as a work planner and I loved it until I decided that, maybe, I should try something else, I used it every day and it was working fine. The problem was that the A6 Hobonichi doesn’t have a weekly layout, and I realized that I was forgetting things.  I needed to have that weekly view of my time. I stopped using it in July and changed it for a Day Designer planner that I bought at Target for $12. The Day Designer has a day on one page but I ran into the same problem, the lack of a weekly view doesn’t work for me. Especially for work!

I absolutely love the Hobonichi techo  planner! Towards the end of last month, I started using my hobonichi more consistently again. After all, it always worked for me as a planner, except not for work. I continued using it as a diary or journal, to keep track of things and to note down reminders or things that I didn’t want to forget. It kind of became my on the go planner/notebook/journal. I carry it back and forth between work and home.

With the new year coming and the fact that Hobonichis are yearly planners I started thinking about what planner(s) I will be using next year. One thing I know is that I don’t want to use multiple planners because I find myself losing information or not remembering where I wrote certain things down. Right now, I have too many things to remember and my mind has no more storage space, so I decided that I need only ONE PLANNER.

After much thinking and even considering buying a set of DIYFish inserts, I also thought of buying a set of Franklin Covey inserts for my Franklin Covey planner which has huge rings. I want to have a planner that has enough space to have a weekly, monthly and daily overview, and I thought that the Franklin Covey planners could be a great option. After looking into which one to buy I couldn’t decide. Mostly, I think I am tired of using ring planners. It is not working for me because I don’t have time to be setting it up, changing the pages, perforating inserts and so on. Even if I buy pre-made inserts I still don’t see myself feeling as productive as I do with a bound planner.

This said, this year I went ahead and bought ALL THREE sizes of the Hobonichi techo 2017! Yes, all three sizes! I will be downsizing this coming year and I don’t want to keep jumping from notebook to notebook or planner to planner, I find myself losing things and also losing inspiration to continue using either my journals or notebooks. The hobonichi planner is the one book that I actually use every day because I love everything about it. The paper is fantastic, the layout, the flexibility and how quirky it is.

In conclusion, after using probably most planners out there in the market, after using ring planners for many many years and especially, using a hobonichi book for one year, I have realized that I am a hobonichi person! Just because right now, this planner seems to be the one I am most excited about using, even after suspending its use for work for a month or two I still went back and continued using it for different things. I couldn’t give it up.

So for for now, I have sold many of the planners that I had and kept my most loved binders, the ones I continue using for different purposes. I won’t be buying new ring bound planners, just because even this week I realized how little I use the day designer and how little I like it. I have kept three Filofax binders, the ones I absolutely love and use for other things, I have two Franklin Covey planners that I want to have because of the size of the rings, I have two traveler’s notebooks – one large and one field notes size – and my hobonichis. I use the Martha Stewart notebooks for various uses for work.

2017 will be a one planner for all year, I have no idea how it will go but I am willing to try, in fact, I can’t wait to try. My hope is that one book will house my different lists, tasks and notes and that I will stop losing notes just because I can’t remember where I wrote them down!

What are your planner plans for 2017? Have you bought your 2017 planner or have you decided which one you will be using?

I’d love to hear so please leave me a comment with your thoughts!

Happy plans!

Em Jorden

 

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Having multiple planners – Effective or confusing?

If you read my blog – thanks so much if you do – you will notice that I haven’t posted much lately, and the reason is simple. I am reaching the point where I am reassessing my planning system and how I want to go forward from here on.

I use multiple planners like many of you, for so long I thought that this system was working for me, using a planner for my home management, another for work, another for journaling and also another planner for my personal stuff. It did work, for many months it worked. Now, half way through 2016 I am finding myself feeling overwhelmed with so many planners and I am starting to question whether having just one or two planners should actually be enough.

If I had to choose only a planner or two I think I would use my hobonichi, and my A5 Filofax ring planner, or maybe my day designer. fI do see no that having multiple planners can be ineffective because I forget things or I can’t remember in which planner I wrote them down! That defeats the purpose of having a planner.

For now, I am still pondering my options and what is it that I will be doing, but for now I am leaning towards considering having a planner or two. Anyway, stay tuned fore more news on how the second half of the year goes by with the dilemmas of planner systems.

How’s your half of the year going so far and how’s your planning system working for you?

Do let me know, I’d love to know!

Thank you for reading!

Em J

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Make your own Traveler’s Notebooks, three ideas

I am not exactly the most crafty person, I do make some inserts myself and I try to come up with ideas but I am not very handy or crafty when it comes to  making big projects. I admire people who do and I so wished I was the creative kind. This is also why sometimes I also force myself to make things because I believe that it will stimulate my creativity, the one that once upon a time was very active.

This said before I bought the traveler’s notebook that I have right now by Webster’s Pages I thought of making my own cover. I gave up! I still watched many videos about how to make my own and about how to make a cover without all the craftiness. While searching I actually found a few ideas that I am sure will help you create your own fauxdori if you are interested. Even if you don’t want to spend money on a cover – which I understand – I encourage you to watch these videos and try to make your own. These ideas go from very simple, for example, I love the idea by Journalingmylife in Youtube where she made a fauxdori out of a Filofax flex! Her set up is brilliant and I enjoy her videos a lot. Also, she is based in India and I just think it is great to have a fellow stationery lover from across the oceans! Check out her videos and enjoy them, she has some amazing ideas for different set ups!  You will fine her under her handle journalingmylife  and her video is here .

Last year, I remember what came super popular was buying a passport cover by Kate spade and turning it into a fauxdori which I thought was brilliant too. Ms. Wendaful has a great video where she shows her “Katedori” and I find it so fun to watch. You will find the video here  and of course, don’t forget to check out her blog where you will find some beautiful inserts and more ideas.

Last, we have the highest level of being crafty which to me is this video made by  Craft Made Simple where she teaches us how to make a fauxdori cover with fabric which I love love love. You will find the video here . This fauxdori cover that she shows is so pretty and I love it! If you have the tools and the energy to create one fauxdori from scratch, check out her video! It’s so neat!

And these are all the ideas I have for a traveler’s notebook without being super crafty – like myself – so check them out and let me know what you think!

I am really loving this traveler’s notebook fever and I hope you will enjoy it as much as I am!

Thank you for reading! Happy end of the week.

Em J

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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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